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Old 07-13-2004, 09:47 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
Livingston , Montana
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Question A/S Newbie Tow hitch system

Hi ....I bought a 1965 Caravel in May and I'm in love with it. I recieved all the
original paper work (manual,warrantys,updates instuction booklets ect.)and have most of the history from the PO. The skin is great! all original parts
fridge stove,heater,porc.commode down to all the plastic contaners in the cabs. It needs a new axle ordered from Inland (drum to drum) Trailer also has 70s Coleman A/C unit mounted through the 14x14 vent with no cutting as far as I can see I will replace sureflow pump with rebuilt P&H Need to reglaze all windows new seals everywhere ...floor is not soft.. but I'm going to pull the bellypans and check it out any way...
My real Question for now is what kind of Hitch Do I need... weight EQ ?
sway control ? ..I'm not going to buy a H arrow ..but do I need more then
the standard hitch on my avalanche ( I will be towing with a 2002 Avalanche 1500 4x4).. I towed it home from WI with no problems (without trailer brakes)
As a side bar is inertia control braking ( prodigy ) enough with a combo
of this weight/ length?

you guys have been a great help while I looked for my airstream ..and remain a source of insperation and information
Thank You All
joe gilmartin
1965 17' Caravel
J-0175680
2002 1500 Avalanche 4x4
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Old 07-13-2004, 10:22 PM   #2
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A/S Newbie Tow hitch system

Greetings Joe!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyrodbldr
Hi ....I bought a 1965 Caravel in May and I'm in love with it. I recieved all the
original paper work (manual,warrantys,updates instuction booklets ect.)and have most of the history from the PO. The skin is great! all original parts
fridge stove,heater,porc.commode down to all the plastic contaners in the cabs. It needs a new axle ordered from Inland (drum to drum) Trailer also has 70s Coleman A/C unit mounted through the 14x14 vent with no cutting as far as I can see I will replace sureflow pump with rebuilt P&H Need to reglaze all windows new seals everywhere ...floor is not soft.. but I'm going to pull the bellypans and check it out any way...
My real Question for now is what kind of Hitch Do I need... weight EQ ?
sway control ? ..I'm not going to buy a H arrow ..but do I need more then
the standard hitch on my avalanche ( I will be towing with a 2002 Avalanche 1500 4x4).. I towed it home from WI with no problems (without trailer brakes)
As a side bar is inertia control braking ( prodigy ) enough with a combo
of this weight/ length?

you guys have been a great help while I looked for my airstream ..and remain a source of insperation and information
Thank You All
joe gilmartin
1965 17' Caravel
J-0175680
2002 1500 Avalanche 4x4
Your Caravel is just a bit smaller, but likely is similar in loaded weight to my '78 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre (19' 3") - - it has a gross weight of 3,100 pounds with a hitch weight of 550 pounds. Whether towing with my Cadillac or GMC K2500 Suburban, I use a Reese Straight Line weight distributing hitch with the Dual Cam Sway Control - - with the GMC, I use 500 pound weight distribution bars and with the Cadillac I use 700 pound weight distribution bars. The Reese system has met all of my expectations since I first began using the Straight Line system in 1995 - - rock solid handling and absolutely no sway noted. With an Avalanche as a tow vehicle, you will also need to be cautious about getting the propper drop in the drawbar for your hitch - - it has been an issue both with my current K2500 Suburban as well as my previous K1500 Z71 Chevrolet club cab pickup.

While my choice of the Dual Cam on the small trailer is far from a point of consensus, I was never thrilled with the friction sway control that I used with my Brand X trailer (I have always used Reese Straight Line since switching to Airstream products except one short sting with a friction control on the Minuet before I had confirmation from Reese that Dual Cam was designed for any trailer having 400 pounds or more on the hitch). The thing that frustrated me the most with the friction device was the need to stop and readjust the unit every time traffic or weather conditions changed appreciably. Having to take the device off prior to backing the coach was also a minor problem (I ruined one friction sway control backing into my parking spot beside my house when I forgot to remove the device).

Good luck with your hitch selection!

Kevin
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Old 07-13-2004, 10:45 PM   #3
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The prodigy gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
I bought one for $125 with free delivery from a supply house on the net
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Old 07-13-2004, 11:45 PM   #4
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I'll catch heck for saying this, but I can't imagine needing sway control and equalizing hitch for that small trailer. How did it feel when you pulled it? Did it drop the rear end of the truck much? I pull a 23' Safari (5000 lbs) with no hitch gizmos and no problems, with an F250. Your trailer is a lot smaller and lighter.
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71_safari
I'll catch heck for saying this, but I can't imagine needing sway control and equalizing hitch for that small trailer. How did it feel when you pulled it? Did it drop the rear end of the truck much? I pull a 23' Safari (5000 lbs) with no hitch gizmos and no problems, with an F250. Your trailer is a lot smaller and lighter.


I'm with 71 Safari on this one.

I dont use WD or sway control on mine. It tows real well, and doesnt sway at all.

My trailer is a 20' Argosy and my tow rig is a 2001 F-150 and i am comfortable with this set up. If i were you, i would tow the trailer around town a bit and down the highway. See how it does without the WD and anti-sway gear. If after a camping trip or two and your not comfortable with it, you can still go get it.

I'm betting after towing it a few times you will be perfectly comfortable without the extras.
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:02 AM   #6
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A/S Newbie Tow hitch system

As an experiment, I towed my Minuet with my K2500 Suburban for 300 miles without the weight distribution system and Dual Cams. While I didn't experience sway and wouldn't have expected to, the combination resulted in a "seat-of-the-pants" sensation that the lash-up just was not as solid. In addition there was a noticeable degradation of the ride quality in the Suburban - - more rocking over rough spots and what seemed to be an increased tendency to wander. The Minuet causes less than 1.25" deflection in the rear suspension of my Suburban (10,000 pound trailer towing package).

While I could tow the Minuet with the straight hitch, I view the Reese Straight Line hitch as an inexpensive "insurance policy". The weight distribution helps to transfer some of the load from the rear axle of the Suburban to the front which does improve the ride and handling of my rig - - I also tend to believe that it helps to even the wear on my tires (my last set of Michelin LTX tires didn't need replacement until they had covered 88,000 miles). I choose to use the Dual Cam system as an "insurance policy" as well even though I have never had a sway problem with either of my Airstream products - - I look at it as being too late if I wait to see IF there will be a sway problem to adopt one (my first RV, a 1980 Nomad that was purchased new, was nearly totaled after an accident that may have been prevented had my dealer insisted upon installing an adequate sway control - - this was in 1982 well before the information sharing that the Internet has made possible).

A weight distributing hitch system with a built-in sway control such as the Dual Cam system may not be an absolute necessity for a smaller coach, it is a realtively inexpensive "insurance policy" for what is often a significant investment of cash in the coach and tow vehicle. I seem to travel with Murphy of "Murphy's Law" fame, and generally take a very cautious approach to setting up my tow vehicle/trailer combination.

Kevin
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:11 AM   #7
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Joe, Kevin,
Right on, Kevin. When i used a 1-ton van to tow my Tradewind, weight distribution was not really necessary. It, too deflected about 1.something inches when hitchin gup the TW. However, I'm with Kevin on this, in that the combination would handle much better, track straighter, and feel more secure when changing lanes or on curvy roads.
Weight distribution, when properly set up, does much more than just bring up the rear of the truck. At least it seems like that to me.
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Old 07-14-2004, 07:46 AM   #8
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I certainly agree that the Reese straight line is the way to go. Just be sure that it is properly set-up. Many dealers do not seem to know how to set them up. Complete instructions can be downloaded from www.reeseprod.com. If you can measure, you can set it up correctly.
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:00 PM   #9
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Tow hitch & brake controller

I purchased a '99 19' Bambi in October of 2003. I had a hitch and brake controller installed by the local company owned U-Hual Dealer. The hitch and Prodogy brake controller were cheaper at U-Haul than the local A/S dealer and others I check for installation.

I tow with a 2000 Toyota 4WD Tundra. I have had no problems with wind or sheer from other vehilce. In November I drove from Las Vegas south to Laughlin with a cross wind of about 50 MPH. The road is two lanes and not a safe road. No problems the A/S tracked perfect.

Check out your U-Haul Dealer. I think you may want to go to a large dealer ours is a company owned location. U-Haul installs a lot of hitches.

Good luck.

Jim Brown
Liberty, UT
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Old 07-14-2004, 03:12 PM   #10
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Joe.

I sent you a "PM" (Private Message)

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Old 07-14-2004, 08:56 PM   #11
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Hi,
I tow my Caravel with an '03 Tahoe and use the Reese Friction Sway control and Prodigy brake controller. This works great for me and is really pretty easy and not expensive. We had a minor problem ("operator problem") with the sway control that caused me not to use it last trip and I really did notice the difference. I did have some sway as 18 wheelers were plowing past me on I-10 and it just didn't feel as good. I really likethe setup that I have. I think it's perfect for my Caravel. Just dont forget to loosen it for backing into the parking spot.
Heidi
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Old 07-15-2004, 12:14 AM   #12
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Go with what your most comfortable with as that is the only thing that matters in the end. I would just like to add that my set up has never once felt unsafe be it in the way to tows or handles while under way.

Then again i am used to towing a 6000lb uniloader behind a flatbed 1 ton.
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