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Old 02-05-2010, 11:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by safari 28 View Post
Do I hear, all of us really only need a well equipped 1/2 ton gasser for ANYTHING EVER MADE BY AIRSTREAM? I suspect the mother ship is tired of repairs due to 3/4 ton diesels that are not needed and making warranty issues already a problem worse. At some point it must be surfacing what Inland Andy has been saying all along. Over rigged equals repairs. At best, removal of the springs and full air ride must be the choice if you want the so called "relaxed towing" of a diesel.
A 34' 2010 PanAmerica has a tongue weight of more than 1200 lbs and a gvwr of 11500 lbs. This is more than my 3/4 diesel is rated to pull w/ 3.55 gears. Suggestions that a 1/2 ton pickup is better suited to towing this (or other 10000 lb gvw) trailers will be met w/ some skepticism.

If your truck is oversprung (you've added helper springs, etc) and it makes your teeth rattle when hitched up, it won't be good for your trailer. There's nothing inherent in a 3/4 ton diesel that makes it ride hard - progressive springs solve that very nicely.

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Old 02-06-2010, 12:00 AM   #16
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That is the way they talk in the midwest. It is perfectly understandable, but sounds horrible, somewhat like eubonics. They say similar things in New York as well, only they think it makes them sound smarter.

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Old 02-06-2010, 12:11 AM   #17
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Two stiff of springs on the backside do's make it more harder to forward the weight up....NY speak for, you finally figgered it out dummy.
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:37 AM   #18
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NOTE: Be realistic when ordering heavy duty springs. Only springs heavy enough to support your loaded vehicle (not including trailer) are necessary. Too harsh of spring rate will only shorten the life of the tow vehicle and trailer, and make your journeys less enjoyable.

! WARNING: Too stiff of springs can hinder the action of the weight equalizing hitch and prevent the transfer of weight to the front of the vehicle.
This is so ridiculously vague, it's almost pointless.
How about: "Having an instantaneous deceleration with another object will make your journey less enjoyable."
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:29 AM   #19
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I am sure a few of you have come to the same conslusion. After towing using diesel powered pickup trucks, I have concluded that weight distribution hitches really are not made for heavy front axle trucks. The diesel weighs so much more than a comparable gas engine that there is no reason to add more weight to that axle. Taking a couple hundred pounds off the axle actually allows the truck to handle better. Since the WD hitch takes weight off the rear tow vehicle axle minimizing rear end sag and/or potential overloading the rear axle and redistributes some of that weight back on the trailer axles and most to the front axle, the hitches are counter productive. What most diesel powered pickup trucks need is only sway control/ mitigation for the trailer. Hitches like the popular Equalizer are ineffective as sway mitigation unless the weight distribution feature is also used. The spring bars need some tension to work sway mitigation. We need a new generation of hitches that work for sway without much or any spring tension for use with diesels. Before some say that is already available with the chain hitches like the Husky that has the little add on sway control bar with the handle that dials in the amount of sway needed, forget it! Those are pitiful for small trailers and almost useless for larger ones. Maybe a hitch manufacturer will address this issue, make a hitch that predominately addresses sway and make the hitch 'Airstream friendly' for the (apparently) special AS needs. The hitch would accommodate a shock of some kind to soften the really big bumps??

As long as we read/follow the hitch instructions, measure the amount of spring tension with a tape measure from the tow vehicle's front bumper or fenders to the ground and the same at the rear of the tow vehicle and then try to add more weight back to the front axle to compensate for the rear end drop, it will not work. Most pickup trucks sit rear end high from the factory, if the rear drops two-three inches and the truck sits level there is no need to add that measured truck to ground difference back to the front axle or the trailer axles. When the truck sits level, it handles better, the front axle is slightly unloaded, and all that is needed is sway mitigation. My truck actually handles better with the trailer attached (1000+/- tongue weight) than empty. And without jacking up the tension on the spring bars to mitigate the two or three inch drop, we are minimizing damage to the tongue. It can be a win win situation.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:59 AM   #20
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Vague indeed 'joe, and I have been curious what others thought about it. To me there is a call to use common sense in selecting a tow vehicle, that it is important to match tow vehicle and trailer.

There are extensive opinions, some experiments, about proper tow vehicles, hitches, and weight distribution bars. The consensus is that too light of equipment is simply dangerous, not so agreeable on too heavy equipment. I suspect you could weld all the axles to the frames, install a stout w.d. hitch, and take it to the CAT scales and properly distribute the weight among the axles. But when it is moving down the road - bumps, dips, rises, corners, accelerating and braking - everything changes. The suspension must be compliant enough to keep the rubber firmly on the road, and the hitch connection must be compliant enough to prevent large stresses to be applied to the tv and trailer in these real-life conditions, meanwhile not transferring excessive lift or pressure to the axles of the tv.

I understand why Airstream would not try to be more specific, considering all the factors involved. It is not as easy to understand why hitch builders can make definite recommendations without considering suspensions of tv and trailer.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:07 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by jmtandem View Post
I am sure a few of you have come to the same conslusion. After towing using diesel powered pickup trucks, I have concluded that weight distribution hitches really are not made for heavy front axle trucks. The diesel weighs so much more than a comparable gas engine that there is no reason to add more weight to that axle. Taking a couple hundred pounds off the axle actually allows the truck to handle better. Since the WD hitch takes weight off the rear tow vehicle axle minimizing rear end sag and/or potential overloading the rear axle and redistributes some of that weight back on the trailer axles and most to the front axle, the hitches are counter productive. What most diesel powered pickup trucks need is only sway control/ mitigation for the trailer. Hitches like the popular Equalizer are ineffective as sway mitigation unless the weight distribution feature is also used. The spring bars need some tension to work sway mitigation. We need a new generation of hitches that work for sway without much or any spring tension for use with diesels. Before some say that is already available with the chain hitches like the Husky that has the little add on sway control bar with the handle that dials in the amount of sway needed, forget it! Those are pitiful for small trailers and almost useless for larger ones. Maybe a hitch manufacturer will address this issue, make a hitch that predominately addresses sway and make the hitch 'Airstream friendly' for the (apparently) special AS needs. The hitch would accommodate a shock of some kind to soften the really big bumps??

As long as we read/follow the hitch instructions, measure the amount of spring tension with a tape measure from the tow vehicle's front bumper or fenders to the ground and the same at the rear of the tow vehicle and then try to add more weight back to the front axle to compensate for the rear end drop, it will not work. Most pickup trucks sit rear end high from the factory, if the rear drops two-three inches and the truck sits level there is no need to add that measured truck to ground difference back to the front axle or the trailer axles. When the truck sits level, it handles better, the front axle is slightly unloaded, and all that is needed is sway mitigation. My truck actually handles better with the trailer attached (1000+/- tongue weight) than empty. And without jacking up the tension on the spring bars to mitigate the two or three inch drop, we are minimizing damage to the tongue. It can be a win win situation.
I was going to counter what you said with a well thought out post with examples, but I decided it wasn't worth it. What you say may apply to light trailers.
It suffices to say that I know from experience that I need weight distribution for my Ram 2500 Diesel with tongue weights over about 400 pounds, and it is nice before that. My Classic 31 has a fully loaded tongue weight of near 1,000 Lbs and without it the rear is lower than the front noticeably, measurably, and I can feel it when I drive.
Regards,
Ken
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:27 AM   #22
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Ken,

You are kidding, I hope. A tongue weight of 400 pounds squats your 2500 diesel that much? I am hard pressed to believe that. You have approximately 2500 pounds payload and it is squatting at 400 pounds! I had a 4x4 2500 Dodge king cab (or whatever Dodge calls them) and carried a 2500 pound cabover camper on it everywhere. It would not even squat it to the point the overloads touched! I have a friend that carries an Artic Fox 990 cabover camper on a Dodge 2500 and it weighs about 3000 pounds and it does not need suspension help. Something is wrong if 400 pounds is squatting your truck. 1000 pounds tongue weight, maybe, but certainly not 400 pounds.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:13 PM   #23
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Ken,

You are kidding, I hope. A tongue weight of 400 pounds squats your 2500 diesel that much? I am hard pressed to believe that. You have approximately 2500 pounds payload and it is squatting at 400 pounds! I had a 4x4 2500 Dodge king cab (or whatever Dodge calls them) and carried a 2500 pound cabover camper on it everywhere. It would not even squat it to the point the overloads touched! I have a friend that carries an Artic Fox 990 cabover camper on a Dodge 2500 and it weighs about 3000 pounds and it does not need suspension help. Something is wrong if 400 pounds is squatting your truck. 1000 pounds tongue weight, maybe, but certainly not 400 pounds.
After thinking about it, I should have said 600 rather than 400 lbs. I am not sure what squats means to you. The problem is not the loading of the rear axle, it is the unloading of the front. I am sure you realize that payload numbers numbers can't be compared to tongue weights because of the difference of where the load is in relation to the the rear axle. Payloads are supposed to be loaded so that the center of gravity of the load is over or in front of the rear axle. Tongue weight is applied a number of feet behind rear axle. The purpose of weight distribution is not to help the rear suspension. The purpose is to enable you to maintain the proper distribution of trailer weight on the front and rear axles of the truck and the trailer axles. I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree on what is an acceptable minimum load on the front axle.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:51 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by jmtandem View Post
...the hitches are counter productive....
this is some of the screwiest nonsense evar posted here, in relationship to MOST of the tow vehicles (diesel or not) used for towing 'streams...


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmtandem View Post
...What most diesel powered pickup trucks need is only sway control/ mitigation for the trailer.... Before some say that is already available...
this MIGHT be true for tiny trailers or 500 lb or LESS tongues, but clearly NOT for the heavy long streams of recent production.

and what about v8 250s? or v10 250/350s?

owners don't SELECT spring ratings for these trucks (gas or diesel) it's ALL based on gvwr and payloads.

with the ONE exception of the 'camper package' option

which includes 1 overload spring and a center of gravity/load certificate related to using SLIDE IN campers...

in ALL other cases the 'spring rating' is in fact based on PAYLOAD/gvwr not anticipated trailer towing parameters...

that a/s reference provided in the o.p. is gibberish.

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Originally Posted by jmtandem View Post
...What most diesel powered pickup trucks need is only sway control/ mitigation for the trailer.... Before some say that is already available...
and the fact is this option IS ALREADY available...

both the pp and haha provide TOTAL sway elimination with as little as ZERO tension on the w/d bars...

the 2 functions are COMPLETELY unrelated on these 2 hitches although UNLoading the front/steering axle much on ANY vehicle is UNwise.

but for someone who IS concerned about bar tension issues or towing a TINY trailer...

the pp and haha can be used with NO w/d stress and still provide total sway control...

so for a 1 ton drw truck either of those hitches WILL eliminate sway and without w/d bar tension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmtandem View Post
...And without jacking up the tension on the spring bars to mitigate the two or three inch drop...
using w/d tension is NOT about mitigating the 2-3 inch drop, it's about RELoading the front for steering, braking and control.

IF u've weighed/scaled the rig and the front only drops 2-300 lbs you might be just FINE (especially with drw) ...

but MORE that that and stuff happens...

see the example in post 91,92 and 93 here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...tml#post798719

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmtandem View Post
...My truck actually handles better with the trailer attached (1000+/- tongue weight) than empty...
your profile lists a 1 ton drw drive truck and there are some differences with drw set ups...

for example MOST drw trucks have payload ratings 800-1000 lbs HIGHER than the srw counterpart.

but i tried doing EXACTLY that with a 3/4 ton srw diesel truck...

in fact i towed 2,000 miles with the front axle Unloaded (minimal REdistribution of a 1000lb+ tongue)...

the result was TOTALLY light/squirrelly steering, which made for some interesting days of mountain pass driving...

and 4-5/32s of extra TIRE wear on the rear in 4 days of towing.

and the A frame still flexed excessively and showed BUCKLING of the front shell skin...
__________

cheers
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:24 PM   #25
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Ken,

Yes, we certainly can agree to disagree. I enjoy a lively discussion or I would not have posted what I did. 600 pounds is about the weight of three men sitting on your tailgate. No, it won't overload the rear suspension but it also is not necessary to redistribute the weight. I also agree that a cabover camper, firewood, etc. is distributed throughout the truck and that the receiver tends to put more of that weight farther back therefore less weight that far back has more overall impact. My three quarter ton experience is all 4x4 and they might be sprung more stoutly than a two wheel drive. I can't comment about a two wheel drive.

Air,

I stand by my comments. With all due respect, I did not find one thing you said that would make me rethink my positon. If you can add more data or seat of the pants impressions, I will consider it. I am on these forums to learn and to that end weigh carefully what is said. I have amassed over 300,000 miles driving 4x4 diesel three -quarter ton trucks since 1985 and my comments are my experience. Your experience is obviously different. Trucks come rear high from the factory for carrying things. When loaded they level out. They are made that way on purpose. I don't know what hitch you have but Equalizer says to measure (for spring bar tension) the drop between the ground and front fender before and after hitching, and the same in the rear of the tow vehicle. Then add tension until the difference (from stock unloaded unhitched positon) is about the same front and rear. I would not want the distance to be the same front and rear since the truck is made for squatting or settling with a load. It is supposed to do that. And yes, mine handles much better with some weight off the front axle. And, yes, I use a tongue scale and am not just smoke and mirrors. My point was that using the hitch directions on an Excursion/Suburban diesel powered SUV is probably all right. For a truck that is made to settle under load, the spring tension will be way too much to try to mitigate that settling. Too much spring tension leads to problems with trailer tongue and body integrity.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:33 AM   #26
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I have a tongue weight of about 800 pounds, and when a weight-distribution bar fell off on one side at the beginning of a long cross-country trip, I took off the other bar and kept going. I found the F250 diesel truck actually rode better without the weight-transfer bars. Steering was unaffected, but the truck/trailer interaction was much smoother for me.

I do use two of the classic friction sway-conrol bars, with very satisfying results. They do provide a lot of sway control for me. In fact, I just recently had to have the ears of my hitch straightened and reinforced with extra welded components because of the pressure put on them by the anti-sway efforts of the hitch. The ears are where the two little sway-control balls are attached.

I think my long-wheelbased truck and the heavy diesel engine largely negates the need for weight transfer on my rig. With my truck, I have relatively little margin for adding weight on the front axle, due to the extra weight of the cast-iron diesel.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:54 AM   #27
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I think my long-wheelbased truck and the heavy diesel engine largely negates the need for weight transfer on my rig. With my truck, I have relatively little margin for adding weight on the front axle, due to the extra weight of the cast-iron diesel.
This makes perfect sense; the long wheelbase means that moving the effective tongue weight ahead of the rear axle enough to make much of a difference on truck weight distribution would take a lot of torque on the AS frame.

Since that 1000 lb diesel is ahead of the rear axle by at least 12 or 13 feet, having 800 lbs of tongue weight 3 feet behind the rear axle just won't have much effect. W/ a wheelbase of easily 14 feet, the reduction of front axle load due to the tongue weight is easily offset by an additional passenger in the truck.

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Old 02-09-2010, 10:17 AM   #28
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2Air,

I have carefully reread your comments to me. Interesting dialog. Your first broad brush comment is that what I said was screwy, then as you dissected each of my points you agree, mildly agree, or at least don't disagree. I have a 1200/12000 Equalizer hitch. Unfortunately, it does not allow for sway without weight distribution as well. That is a huge shortcoming of the hitch, as is unchangable hitch spring bars without changing the hitch head. You tow with a relatively light duty truck, you added a spring pack to it to tow better. I am not sure how much experience you have with one tons or diesels for that matter but the last two responses from other folks tend to support my screwy position as did the dealer that sold me the trailer. They said, realizing they were possibly losing a hitch sale, that I really did not need any WD with the truck/trailer combination.

A diesel is about twice as heavy as the gasser engine. That is about 1000 pounds over the front axle. Weigh the truck empty you will find that two thirds of the weight is over the front axle. One third over the rear. I have 5500+/- pounds empty on the front axle, 2500 or so on the rear for a total weight of about 8000 pounds empty. GVWR is 12,200. If the rear axle is like a childs teeter totter pivot point and an extra 500 pounds is that far forward from the pivot point, imagine how much weight would be required just to offset the extra 500 pounds when it it added ONLY about three feet behind the pivot point.

If Ken wants to provide his reasoned rebuttal to my assertions about diesels I will welcome it. Anything you want to add is OK as well. This is a learning place for me. All I know is my truck and trailer handles very well, would like a hitch that does not need WD for sway (you provided recommendatons) and the whole unit actually rides better, and handles better than without the trailer at all. So, I must be doing something right.
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