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Old 08-20-2014, 07:36 AM   #85
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I ordered a ProPride; having it delivered to the dealership so I can put it on before I drive away.
That is an impressive connection system ciparis. Congratulations. Just be patient getting it installed and set up the 1st time. It is worth it!
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:56 AM   #86
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The cutting to fit of the jack stand base plate and rub rail was necessary for our custom battery box.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:43 AM   #87
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Quick question: would it be safe for VERY short distances (like, to the other side of the RV park) to tow our 27FB with our un-modified hitch (factory class 4 on a '13 with Airmatic) using just a ball hitch? Hitch weight is 770 lbs. I'm getting a hitch reinforcement in a couple of days, but I need to move the trailer... I haven't installed the ProPride yet.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:07 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Hensley is sold through dealers, ProPride only direct from the company (terrific price and customer service).

Does anyone in Bay area know of a shop that can install a ProPride or Hensley? Or take a look at their websites. The ProPride is heavy, but not a difficult install for most owners and ought to be basic for a decent hitch shop.
Avalon RV in Benica can install a ProPride. They had never done one before they did mine. I wanted to understand the ProPride so I assisted with the installation. Great folks!
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:21 PM   #89
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Quick question: would it be safe for VERY short distances (like, to the other side of the RV park) to tow our 27FB with our un-modified hitch (factory class 4 on a '13 with Airmatic) using just a ball hitch? Hitch weight is 770 lbs. I'm getting a hitch reinforcement in a couple of days, but I need to move the trailer... I haven't installed the ProPride yet.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:55 PM   #90
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Well, here goes my first post on an Airstream forum. I'm a newbie and nervous as hell to even be writing this because you all seem so damn knowledgeable. But, I'm getting so much conflicting information it is CRAZY, so I came to the forum to attempt to get the straight answer from YOU --because you've lived it and you seem to care about fellow airstream enthusiasts (which I am now gladly one of).

I have a 2014 Mercedes Benz GL350 Bluetec. I'm in love with this SUV for reasons that have nothing to do with pulling an Airstream. I'm about to take delivery of my first Airstream, having wanted to own one for 20+ years. It's a 2014 19' International Signature. I'm so excited I could scream. Enter: naysayers and experts on WD and sway control and MB factory hitches.

Today, in my fury of trying to find the right answer from someone in Denver (this is where I'm meeting the delivery service to pick up my new baby), I landed on a (unnamed) self proclaimed 'largest, best hitch dealer in Denver, CO', who told me that my MB would in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM be able to pull my Airstream because the factory hitch is junk and 'some guy' in Canada is the only person that can help me retrofit it and OMG fell apart at the seams when I told him I bought a Hensley Arrow Cub to use as weight distribution. (You can ONLY buy Hensley factory direct, found that out the hard way, after hours of internet searching to find a dealer that I could buy AND install the hitch from.).

I had called this hitch dealer upon a referral from Windish RV in Denver because they don't install Hensely, so they sent me to this specialty hitch guy who ALSO doesn't install them and guess what, had NOTHING good to say about this hitch. I panicked because he seemed like he knew what he was talking about. I called Hensley back thinking I would cancel my order, and they assured me (and actually were quite angry) that their hitch was perfect for my MB Bluetec. So I left the order in place and Hensley gave me a list of all the tools I will need to install and assured me they are only a phone call away, should I get stuck. (Why doesn't Hensley create a simple youtube video to walk me through the installation?? That one is baffling.

Then I called George Sutton RV to make sure my SUV was capable to tow it. And of course they said yes, but weren't real 'high' on my choice of WD hitch.

So, this is my long and wordy way of asking anyone that will respond to a lame-o Iowa girl who just bought her first Airstream IF 1) I bought the right hitch and 2) my factory installed tow package will be sufficient to tow my new baby, without me having to drive to Canada to see the hitch God known as Andy. I'm desperate for advice. I'm married -- but the hubs is not at all handy so this whole hitch install and towing is all me. I was raised on a farm by a dad that wished I was a boy, so he taught me how to take care of myself as if I was one). :-)


Iowa Girl
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:43 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by kimdrautz View Post
Well, here goes my first post on an Airstream forum. I'm a newbie and nervous as hell to even be writing this because you all seem so damn knowledgeable. But, I'm getting so much conflicting information it is CRAZY, so I came to the forum to attempt to get the straight answer from YOU --because you've lived it and you seem to care about fellow airstream enthusiasts (which I am now gladly one of).

I have a 2014 Mercedes Benz GL350 Bluetec. I'm in love with this SUV for reasons that have nothing to do with pulling an Airstream. I'm about to take delivery of my first Airstream, having wanted to own one for 20+ years. It's a 2014 19' International Signature. I'm so excited I could scream. Enter: naysayers and experts on WD and sway control and MB factory hitches.

Today, in my fury of trying to find the right answer from someone in Denver (this is where I'm meeting the delivery service to pick up my new baby), I landed on a (unnamed) self proclaimed 'largest, best hitch dealer in Denver, CO', who told me that my MB would in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM be able to pull my Airstream because the factory hitch is junk and 'some guy' in Canada is the only person that can help me retrofit it and OMG fell apart at the seams when I told him I bought a Hensley Arrow Cub to use as weight distribution. (You can ONLY buy Hensley factory direct, found that out the hard way, after hours of internet searching to find a dealer that I could buy AND install the hitch from.).

I had called this hitch dealer upon a referral from Windish RV in Denver because they don't install Hensely, so they sent me to this specialty hitch guy who ALSO doesn't install them and guess what, had NOTHING good to say about this hitch. I panicked because he seemed like he knew what he was talking about. I called Hensley back thinking I would cancel my order, and they assured me (and actually were quite angry) that their hitch was perfect for my MB Bluetec. So I left the order in place and Hensley gave me a list of all the tools I will need to install and assured me they are only a phone call away, should I get stuck. (Why doesn't Hensley create a simple youtube video to walk me through the installation?? That one is baffling.

Then I called George Sutton RV to make sure my SUV was capable to tow it. And of course they said yes, but weren't real 'high' on my choice of WD hitch.

So, this is my long and wordy way of asking anyone that will respond to a lame-o Iowa girl who just bought her first Airstream IF 1) I bought the right hitch and 2) my factory installed tow package will be sufficient to tow my new baby, without me having to drive to Canada to see the hitch God known as Andy. I'm desperate for advice. I'm married -- but the hubs is not at all handy so this whole hitch install and towing is all me. I was raised on a farm by a dad that wished I was a boy, so he taught me how to take care of myself as if I was one). :-)


Iowa Girl
Hi kimdrautz,

It was the early model Mercedes ML's/GL's that had the faulty hitch. The hitch design after (I believe) 2010 has changed. I have not heard of any issues with the new hitch (I am also on Mercedes forum). The hitch is definitely not junk.

Your trailer is pretty light (4500# GVWR) and has a dry hitch weight of 550#. You are definitely within the towing capacity of the GL (7500#) and most likely within the hitch rating as well (600#). To make sure, you can weigh your trailer at a certified scale (CAT scale).

The discussions on hitches and reinforcements are very heated on this forum and different people have different opinions. I guess you need to do some research and decide the best course of action for you.

BTW, you have a heck of a (tow) vehicle.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:43 PM   #92
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Kim
I'd be happy to give you my advice. I've pulled a 30' flying cloud with my 2012 ML350 with a Hensley. I think it'd be easier if you called me, because I'm sure you'll have lots of follow up questions.
Send me an email to ronfeinberg@gmail.com and I'll reply with my telephone number. I'd be available to take your call all day tomorrow.
I'm sure I'll be able to put your mind at ease.

Regards
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:58 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by kimdrautz View Post

I had called this hitch dealer upon a referral from Windish RV in Denver because they don't install Hensely, so they sent me to this specialty hitch guy who ALSO doesn't install them and guess what, had NOTHING good to say about this hitch. I panicked because he seemed like he knew what he was talking about.

Iowa Girl
Let me guess: Lampert Hitch? If so, that would make TWO people Windish has sent there in the past week (including me) -- we just bought an International Signature 27FB from Windish, with the same tow vehicle you have. I chose the ProPride hitch, and I received the same reaction you describe when I arrived at Lampert for assistance.

Denver has proven to be a VERY tough place to find anyone who knows anything about towing with any vehicle that isn't a pickup truck (or based on one). It being a Mercedes is just icing on the cake -- they all seem terrified to touch it.

For your questions...
The good:
- the tow rating is fine for your trailer weight and hitch weight
- you chose a great hitch for the job

The bad:
- the factory hitch on our ML350s is not designed with WD hitches in mind (they don't use them in Europe)
- Andy has had to rework one current ML350 after it was used with a WD hitch to tow a 25' Airstream from Florida up to Ontario; the hitch rotated upward from the WD pressure, and lifted the rear bumper. Andy fixed that while reinforcing it.

My strategy (granted, our trailer's hitch weight starts at 770 before loading the trailer) is that I am not going to fully engage the weight distribution until I can get the hitch reinforced; I'll probably just slightly shift the weight, enough to get some of the weight off the back but not put too much upward pressure on the hitch.

I don't imagine you would have any such issues with a 19, but even then, personally, I would call Andy (that's what I did).
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:20 AM   #94
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ciparis, Denver (or anywhere I have tried) is a very tough place to find anybody who knows anything about towing, ESPECIALLY a pickup dealer!

However, our 2010 ML BlueTec's hitch IS designed for WDH. The unibody chassis even has additional structural members within it, if it is built with hitch specified, to resist twisting from a WDH (it is shown on the body shop blow-up I looked at. It is absent on the non-hitch body.)
That would mean that even if a M-B Dealer added a "factory" hitch they could probably not get into the chassis to add that reinforcement.

We DID go to Andy's Can-Am RV and had our 2010 hitch reinforced. the tech who did the work (in 2012) said that there was clearly more structure and bracing with our hitch than the older models, even though he couldn't see inside the chassis.

At Andy's suggestion (we called an talked prior to buying out TT), we use an EaZ-Lift WDH with friction sway bars. Perhaps the biggest benefit was that Andy drove our rig after the tech finished and fine tuned the weight bar chain tension by 1/2 link on one side and 1/3 link on the other side!
Now we know how wonderful a perfectly weight-distributed setup feels like and can do minor adjustments in loading to retain that controlled feeling.
Note that we pull a SOB - a Lance 27' weighing @6000+ with 675-700 lbs on the tongue, over the 600# hitch label.
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:09 AM   #95
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Kim from Iowa in Denver,
More specifically to your questions:
1. Hensley makes great hitches, and the Cub looks pretty interesting. We pull more trailer with our BlueTec and we "only" use a low-priced Eaz-Lift WDH with basic friction sway bars.
2. Your hitch will be fine. There is a label on the hitch itself that shows its limitations, INCLUDING weight distribution, and you will be well within its limits. It's a much better design than before.
3. Whoever installs it, it's just nuts, bolts and some instructions. You may need some big wrench sizes or a torque wrench if you do it yourself, but hubby can at least read the directions to you and point to the right picture.
4. After 1500 miles you will want to do another setup because things will settle in, and you will do a better job the second time.
4a. I have attached "the hitch god known as Andy's" old article on how to set up a hitch.
5. Your biggest problem might be getting a brake controller. I don't know about 2014 MLs, but on previous years you had to pull up the drivers floor mat and insert a "green plug" that you make up with parts from Mercedes, which than has wires to attach any brake controller to. Ciparis is right - it's hard to get anybody, including M-B dealers, to get into M-B brake wiring.
I have a spare set of all the green plug parts (I am 2 hours south of you now) and instructions and part numbers (also attached) if you want to go that route, but
5a. An EASIER WAY TO GO FOR A BRAKE CONTROLLER is to use the
TEKONSHA PRODIGY RF CONTROLLER. It just needs to bolt to the trailer's A-frame, and the cockpit control only needs a 12v cigar lighter for power. Set it to zero boost and follow the instructions to set the gain.
6. Set your ML tire pressures to 35 front and 38 rear, cold.
7. You will want good mirrors - Hensley's are the best (mail order) for your combo, although Milenco Grand Aeros are a close second. Everything else is junk. LINK TO MILENCOS
8. If you really get in a bind, I could probably lend/sell you some of the above setups - email me at msvendor@bresnan.net. I could reorder before we will be traveling again.
9. Have fun and laugh at the naysayers as you leave them behind on the twisty, fun-to-drive roads.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 164_Brake_Controller[1].pdf (146.8 KB, 67 views)
File Type: docx How To Set Up Your Equalizing Hitch - Andy Thompson.docx (36.6 KB, 87 views)
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:20 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by mikapen View Post
Kim from Iowa in Denver,
More specifically to your questions:
1. Hensley makes great hitches, and the Cub looks pretty interesting. We pull more trailer with our BlueTec and we "only" use a low-priced Eaz-Lift WDH with basic friction sway bars.
2. Your hitch will be fine. There is a label on the hitch itself that shows its limitations, INCLUDING weight distribution, and you will be well within its limits. It's a much better design than before.
3. Whoever installs it, it's just nuts, bolts and some instructions. You may need some big wrench sizes or a torque wrench if you do it yourself, but hubby can at least read the directions to you and point to the right picture.
4. After 1500 miles you will want to do another setup because things will settle in, and you will do a better job the second time.
4a. I have attached "the hitch god known as Andy's" old article on how to set up a hitch.
5. Your biggest problem might be getting a brake controller. I don't know about 2014 MLs, but on previous years you had to pull up the drivers floor mat and insert a "green plug" that you make up with parts from Mercedes, which than has wires to attach any brake controller to. Ciparis is right - it's hard to get anybody, including M-B dealers, to get into M-B brake wiring.
I have a spare set of all the green plug parts (I am 2 hours south of you now) and instructions and part numbers (also attached) if you want to go that route, but
5a. An EASIER WAY TO GO FOR A BRAKE CONTROLLER is to use the
TEKONSHA PRODIGY RF CONTROLLER. It just needs to bolt to the trailer's A-frame, and the cockpit control only needs a 12v cigar lighter for power. Set it to zero boost and follow the instructions to set the gain.
6. Set your ML tire pressures to 35 front and 38 rear, cold.
7. You will want good mirrors - Hensley's are the best (mail order) for your combo, although Milenco Grand Aeros are a close second. Everything else is junk. LINK TO MILENCOS
8. If you really get in a bind, I could probably lend/sell you some of the above setups - email me at msvendor@bresnan.net. I could reorder before we will be traveling again.
9. Have fun and laugh at the naysayers as you leave them behind on the twisty, fun-to-drive roads.

Mikapen - thank you, thank you, thank you. I didn't even think about mirrors. I will get those ordered ASAP. I printed the PDF you attached from Andy and will take it with me to Denver. I had a Prodigy brake controller installed here in Des Moines yesterday and it took 30 mins (apparently 2014 MB allows for a plug 'n go install in brake controllers, very easy). I truly appreciate the time it took you to respond. This was enormous help to me.


Iowa Girl
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:30 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by ciparis View Post
Let me guess: Lampert Hitch? If so, that would make TWO people Windish has sent there in the past week (including me) -- we just bought an International Signature 27FB from Windish, with the same tow vehicle you have. I chose the ProPride hitch, and I received the same reaction you describe when I arrived at Lampert for assistance.

Denver has proven to be a VERY tough place to find anyone who knows anything about towing with any vehicle that isn't a pickup truck (or based on one). It being a Mercedes is just icing on the cake -- they all seem terrified to touch it.

For your questions...
The good:
- the tow rating is fine for your trailer weight and hitch weight
- you chose a great hitch for the job

The bad:
- the factory hitch on our ML350s is not designed with WD hitches in mind (they don't use them in Europe)
- Andy has had to rework one current ML350 after it was used with a WD hitch to tow a 25' Airstream from Florida up to Ontario; the hitch rotated upward from the WD pressure, and lifted the rear bumper. Andy fixed that while reinforcing it.

My strategy (granted, our trailer's hitch weight starts at 770 before loading the trailer) is that I am not going to fully engage the weight distribution until I can get the hitch reinforced; I'll probably just slightly shift the weight, enough to get some of the weight off the back but not put too much upward pressure on the hitch.

I don't imagine you would have any such issues with a 19, but even then, personally, I would call Andy (that's what I did).

Ciparis - you are correct, Lampert. The guy I talked to told me ALL about you and how he "sent you away". (Are you bald?? Haha... He asked me if I was your wife because we have a near identical setup situation I guess). When I get the Hensley hooked up and the trailer attached, I will have to fight the desire to drive by there on my way out of town. He was a nice guy but for being a self proclaimed expert, he was wildly misinformed. It sounds like my challenge will not be hooking the hitch up, but getting it set properly for the ride home. We only have 800 miles to tow it so I'm going to just do my best until I can get it back here to Des Moines and have my the local hitch company (Schuling Hitch) that installed my brake controller take a look and set it properly. They knew nothing about the Hensely hitches, but they were so kind and told me to bring my rig in when I got back and they would help me make sure everything was proper. Thank you so much for responding.


Iowa Girl
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:51 AM   #98
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We DID go to Andy's Can-Am RV and had our 2010 hitch reinforced. the tech who did the work (in 2012) said that there was clearly more structure and bracing with our hitch than the older models, even though he couldn't see inside the chassis.
Yep, I remember the early reports. I spoke with Andy just last week, though, it turns out that while he was initially hopeful that the factory hitch would be fine (because the hitch on the '12 and later is vastly better than the older models -- far heavier construction), it still has problems with WD on larger trailers (his opinion as supported by the ML he updated that had ended up with the twisted hitch from pulling a 25'), and he is recommending those users have their hitch reinforced.

That said, I agree that Kim is probably not going to run into that with their 19'. I'd still talk to Andy, though.
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