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Old 01-28-2014, 05:15 PM   #1
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600 vs. 800 vs. 1200 lb trunnion bars?

I just recently moved up from a 19' Evergreen Ascend to a 2014 Flying Cloud 25 BWB. My previous weight distribution setup was a Reese with 600lb. trunnion bars. (Reese Reese High Performance Trunnion Weight Distributing Hitch (600 lbs) 66020) The Airstream dealer originally recommended bumping up to 800 lb bars. They ended up using 1200 lb bars, which I didn't realize until I got home and unhitched 3 hours away. When I asked them what their rationale was for increasing up to 1200 lb bars when the initially recommended 800 lb bars, they stated that was what they had in stock and if they ordered 800 lb bars, then I would have to pay more for shipping. And that they did not charge me more for the 1200 lb bars, and they stated it was like just getting heavier duty bars for the same price.
The 19' trailer was about 3200 dry, closer to 4000 loaded and the 600lb bars seem to be fine, but this was my first trailer and weight distribution setup. The Flying Cloud 25 is 5600 dry and closer to 6500 loaded I would guess. Hitch weight is 835, an increase up from the hitch weight of 399 on my old 19 footer.
Is it OK to use the 1200 lb bars? Are there advantages and/or disadvantages to having a 1200 lb. bar vs. a lighter one? Any input would be appreciated.
From what I have read so far, there is much debate about this topic.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:42 PM   #2
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When we bought our Airstream, the dealer installed Reese 1200lb bars. I did not ask why.

They do a really nice job leveling out my 1/2 ton which seems to need more weight transferred up front than the 3/4 ton. The rig always feels solid and steady.

They provide a bit softer ride on the 3/4 ton but I suspect that is because the chains are down a notch and more weight is on the truck's rear suspension.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:46 PM   #3
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The first question I have is what is your tow vehicle. My first set up was a 27' FB towed by a F350 4WD diesel. The store where I bought the WD hitch started me out with 1200# bars. I read the threads here and switched to 600# bars. I immediately noticed an improvement in the ride. I also had discovered a crinkle in the shell at the bottom left of the front access door behind the propane tanks. The original 1200# bars were beating my AS to destruction with the F350's stiff suspension.
I would demand the dealer exchange the 1200's for 600's or 800's depending on the suspension stiffness of your tow vehicle. They should pay for the shipping since it sounds like they just grabbed what was in stock and you have a 6 hour round trip to exchange them.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:53 PM   #4
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I would take them back to the dealer and tell him to shove them. They are way too heavy. What is your tow vehicle. The heavy bars will shake your trailer to death. I would say 800lb bars max. The price of shipping new bars is minimal to replacing a trailer. They order 1200lb bars because they don't understand weight distribution and the structural issues with Airstreams. They are using a one size fits all mentality which is not what you want.

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Old 01-28-2014, 06:36 PM   #5
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Lucky I never read any of that. I've experienced no such problems.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:08 PM   #6
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Conventional Wisdom?

I am not buying that late model steel framed Airstreams are are somehow fragile to WD setups. The frame thickness and section on my Airstream is larger than on my 10,000lb cargo trailer.

So...seeing I've got pretty much the same weight trailer as Doc Foster I looked up the Reese info on my DualCam HD setup. Below is their recommendation chart.

The 25' FB has a dry tongue weight of 720 lbs. If I add 60lbs for propane, 50 lbs for other fluids and then 100 lbs of cargo in the bed, I am at 930 lbs according to the number Reese wants.

That, according to the Reese chart puts me smack in the middle of the 1200lb bar range and far outside the 800lb bar range.

It looks to me like my Airstream dealer knew what he was doing and selected the correct bars at 1200lbs, as did Foster's.


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Old 01-28-2014, 07:37 PM   #7
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Tv

Yes, I forgot to add that my tow vehicle is a 2014 Toyota Tundra w/ 5.7L V8 rated to tow 9900 lbs. , so in other words a 1/2 ton truck. Sorry, should have included this in the first place as it does make a difference. Thanks for all the feedback thus far.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:23 PM   #8
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Andy from Inland RV explains it best:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ml#post1401912
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Old 01-28-2014, 09:17 PM   #9
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why speculate when the manufacurer has the data needed?

"Andy from Inland RV explains it best:"

I read it. It says that the vehicle's suspension plays a factor but gives no numbers only a ballpark example. It does not help me determine the weight bars needed for my rig or even give me a starting point.

The Reese chart on the other hand provides a clear range for each bar and tells me how to calculate the load needed to use their chart.

Reese, which engineers, designs, manufactures, and is liable for these systems does not even use vague terms like "rigidity of the tow vehicle". They are quite specific about the tow vehicle factor which is: "vehicle cargo load behind the rear axle".

I think I'll use the recommendation of the manufacturer of my hitch. They are simple to understand and unambiguous.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:39 PM   #10
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We have a 2012 half-ton Ram pickup and the same Airstream as you. The tongue weight is in the heavy range as Airstreams go.

We bought a ProPride hitch and the hitch manufacturer recommended 1400# bars. He stated lighter bars may not be able to transfer enough weight with our pickup.

I used Inland Airstream's (Andy) advice to stand and bounce on the hitch junction and look for flexibility. There is lots of flexibility. It also appears much of that flexibility is in the truck and trailer suspension.

It looks to me like the 1200/1400 bars used with a 1/2 ton truck and mid-sized Airstream is a good combination, able to distribute the weight among the axles without roughing up the trailer. That may not be the case with a heavy duty truck.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:22 AM   #11
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Doc, you've entered one of the most highly discussed topics on the forum. I was right where you are a few years ago and found this thread to be very helpful:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ml#post1079073
… and I now pay very close attention when reading posts by dznfog and Inland Andy. They work from experience and empirical testing.

I have a one ton van, and traded my #1200 Reese bars for #600 (found a guy on Craigslist who had just what I needed!) The improvement in the AS tow was dramatic. No drawers popping open, no pillows on the floor… and I still feel I have good control of the van and trailer.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:00 AM   #12
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Rivet

to listen to the many years of experience of others and combine that with your own and manufacturers recommendations, sounds like a wise approach to me.
When I pulled the bottom trim in the front on my 34', I found many sheered rivets. The rivets that connect the shell to the frame channel.
I was using an old Reese system with 1000# bar that were 3" shorter than the newer trunnion bars, which made them even stiffer.
I am pulling a with 1 ton extended chevy van and it felt like I was going down the road like 1 stiff board. Doors were flying open and stuff was moved around in the trailer.
After changing to the longer 800# bars, the ride is considerably softer with no loss in control or increase in sway.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:07 AM   #13
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We use an SUV (QX56). Started out with the 1200 lb bars on the dual Reese WD hitch. This caused a very rough ride. Went down to the 800 lb ones and what a difference. It really smoothed things out, and still able to transfer the weight needed. My tongue weight is right around 1,050 lbs.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspafford View Post
I have a one ton van, and traded my #1200 Reese bars for #600 (found a guy on Craigslist who had just what I needed!) The improvement in the AS tow was dramatic. No drawers popping open, no pillows on the floor… and I still feel I have good control of the van and trailer.
I did notice on that first tow home, that most of my pillows ended up on the floor and even the cooktop vent hood screen fell down, so it obviously was a bit stiff, though I didn't really notice this up in my Tundra.
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