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Old 08-07-2013, 08:48 PM   #1
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1973 27' Overlander
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Stirrin' the Puddin'

So I finally stuck a crow bar in my wallet and bought a real tow vehicle. We've been towing with a 1998 F150 Extended Cab Lariat for the past several years, but it's obviously past its prime. Monday I picked up a 2002 F250 Extended Cab Super Duty V10 4x4. This thing will pull your house off the foundation. The guy that I bought it from had been towing a 12,000 lbs fifth wheel with it. Included in the deal was an air bag suspension system under the rear end. And it looks like he lifted the back end about 1-2 inches with a lift kit of some kind. This truck rides very "soft" (as this is the only way I know how to describe it) even with the airbags deflated and no load/camper behind it. Long and short of it is, it's a great great looking and great riding truck. Appears to be mechanically solid (I had it checked out before purchase) So now to the puddin' stirin'.

Do I really need a weight distribution or anti sway hitch with this thing? I haven't actually hooked the 'Stream to it yet, so I really have no idea how level things will be once I do so. Keep in mind that the Overlander only weighs about 4000 lbs, with a max gross of 6300. The truck is rated at something like 9000 lbs towing. I towed the 'Stream back in January on just the ball (no weight distribution of any kind) about 600 miles with a buddy's F350 Dually and kinda got hooked on bigger trucks. It towed the 'Stream like it wasn't even there.

OK boys and girls, whadda y'all think?

Jim
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:01 PM   #2
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I use WD and sway control on our even newer model F250/ Sovereign.
Remember, if it does get away from you while towing, there's no "reset" button to push at the end of the ride.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:17 PM   #3
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Warts and all

90% of the time you never need more than a ball and chains. Then 9% you need a great weight distribution hitch. And 1% of the time a ProPride or Hensley will keep you from getting a brand new truck and Airstream and $50K of payment books left over after the insurance pays for the depreciated value of a 2008 Chevy Silverado Diesel 2500 and a 2006 Safari 25' FB SE.

Ask me how I know.... or see "Foiled Again Starts Again".

Meant entirely as a compliment - you have a nicely depreciated truck and Airstream that can serve you well for another 5 to 10 years without breaking a sweat. You will NEVER control that sudden wind gust, or a bad spot in the road that you can't avoid, or another driver who is drunk, hostile, or just driving with a case of acute cranial-rectal inversion. There's nothing quite like having a new Airstream and tow vehicle... and there's nothing quite like having one that's paid for either!

See you down the road, Paula
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:41 AM   #4
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Sway control would be a good idea, wd probably not needed if front and rear measurements are okay. Jim
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:58 AM   #5
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I will chime in with the WD and sway folks above. With your truck/trailer combo, you don't need it for moving around the yard, but you don't want to be on the road without it just for the unforeseen event. An example is the person who made a u-turn in front of me when I was doing 60. Before I could get slowed down enough I was even with the middle of his car while I was half on the shoulder and half in the grass. I am convinced that without our ProPride, I would have lost it.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:05 AM   #6
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TW is the determination for a WD hitch. The truck hitch receiver itself is likely only rated for 500-lbs. A WD hitch allows that to rise to 1200 or 1500-lbs.

The values derived from a three-pad scale, remember, are static representations of dynamic forces far in excess of those as we go down the road.

A WD hitch keeps TV steering/handling closer to what it was while solo. Overcorrection is cited often in loss-of-control accidents. And it takes very little to put a pickup over on its side . . all that weight finally works against it due as much to crude suspension as to high center of gravity. A truck will roll over where a car will spin out.

Anti-sway is a separate function. Optional, according to vehicle manufacturers, but "mandatory" in the eyes of those of us doing this for decades. Sway "resistance" and sway "elimination" is what separates the second and first tier of WD hitches with integrated anti-sway. Takes only a few seconds of a bad situation to change years of "I know what . . . . "

Weigh the rig. Truck solo, and then both, hitched. A WD hitch, properly adjusted, brings the TV front axle back to its solo weight value. Do the weighing of both on the same day, both loaded for travel (full fuel, full propane, full fresh water, etc). Get the numbers and work from reality, not half-a@# guessing. Your TV tire pressure numbers are also dependent on scale values.

Your rig may be on the edge of "needing" a WD hitch. But a decent one with integrated anti-sway will give some extra margin where you consider it to be of great value. Do the investigation and do the reading.

Enjoy the truck, sounds nice!

.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:05 AM   #7
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I would definately use sway control and get rid of that redneck lift kit if you can. You probably don't need the air bags and you want some bounce when you jump on the hitch. If there is no bounce then you risk shaking the trailer to death. I have a Ford Excursion which is an SUV version of your truck with softer suspension. It has no problems pulling the trailer but I did have a sway event when I had the sway bar too loose in the rain.

Perry
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:39 PM   #8
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For no more than a Reese Dual Cam costs, and the easy of hooking up, as compared with the PP or Hensley, it would be pretty cheap insurance. I agree with Perry, get rid of that "Redneck" lift hit.
Another consideration to the above would be to add an "AirSafe" setup with the Reese.

Larry
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:54 PM   #9
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So I decided to take the good advice offered here and try to set up the old weight distribution hitch for the "new" truck. I was concerned that the new truck would sit way too high to use the old hitch (hitch is 4 1/2 inches higher that the F150). Turns out it's just about right. On the old truck, the top of the ball sits abut 19 1/2"off the ground (without the camper hooked up). I was able to lower it all the way down on the vertical axis. This puts it about 19 7/8". Airstream specs are 19" ball height ready to roll. I decided to leave the "pitch" axis as is for now until I can get it connected to the camper. May to adjust once that's done. Couple pics.

Jim
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:18 AM   #10
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What Terry said....
"I use WD and sway control on our even newer model F250/ Sovereign.
Remember, if it does get away from you while towing, there's no "reset" button to push at the end of the ride."


WD, sway control, quality brake controller=added safety factor.


Times three on the lift kit...not needed. High CG, less stability.

I won't comment on the add on "bags" for towing.

Sweet Streams


Bob
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:17 PM   #11
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S'more stuff......
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:19 PM   #12
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Don't think I'll be needing this. Anybody in the market for a good used 5th wheel hitch?
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:21 PM   #13
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Here's the airbags, don't think I'll be needing those either.....
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:23 PM   #14
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Couple of closeups of the rear springs.....
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