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Old 09-19-2016, 12:11 AM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Advice on my hitch set up please! Can you look at his pic and tell me if this okay?

It looks so low to the ground. My local RV place recommend this set up, and installed for me. I was disappointed that it severely limits my ground clearance, looks like it's slightly tipped forward too much?

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Old 09-19-2016, 01:49 AM   #2
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As long as the trailer and truck are both level while loaded, you're good.
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Old 09-19-2016, 02:09 AM   #3
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Find some scales that's the best way to figure it out. They don't need to be cat scales any Dot scales well work but cat scales are fine too. Ideally your front axle weight well be the same as unhooked and the rear axle won't exceed its rating.
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Old 09-19-2016, 11:25 PM   #4
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Can you you explain that for a dummy , new to this. Find a scale station .. Drive truck and trailer to weigh together or just trailer assume, can't quite wrap head around this !
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:39 AM   #5
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That hitch does severely reduce the ground clearance the fellow can drive over by a whopping lot. I assume that is "what you gotta have" but my gosh, he can't drive over a pebble now, let alone any rocks.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:15 AM   #6
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Only using the pics as a basis, it looks as though the trailer is level as hitched to the Tundra. IMHO I think you have a good setup. Do not discount the low center of gravity of an Airstream. Your setup is sufficient to tow anywhere. I have a 75 Sovereign that I have placed where newbies would be afraid to park their tow vehicle. Bear in mind that what you read on any forum is worth a grain of salt. That said Airstream is the best no matter what year. I have a vintage that cost as much as a new one to restore, but will never trade no matter what.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by NevadaGeo View Post
That hitch does severely reduce the ground clearance the fellow can drive over by a whopping lot. I assume that is "what you gotta have" but my gosh, he can't drive over a pebble now, let alone any rocks.
I have the same hitch on a 75 Sovereign and have gone down a dirt, two track, and at least a 75% grade, while dragging the rear in order to reach the best site. Wally designed these trailers to do just that. The rear tail is designed to slide over obstacles and continue the adventure no matter the incline.
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:02 AM   #8
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That style wd hitch does greatly reduce ground clearance. Which is why I don't use it. But they do work well if the ground clearance isn't an issue.

This link covers the basics of wd hitchs I hope this helps.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:38 AM   #9
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I have pulled out 32' with a similar setup. I also have pulled out 25' many miles with a similar setup. On the 32 the place the ground clearance is a problem is at the rear of the trailer. In many, many miles with the 2 trailers I do not think I have hit the ground with the WD bars. I have had clearance problems backing the longer trailer into a uphill campsite.

With the scales: Go through with the trailer hitched and weigh each axle. Then drop the trailer there in the parking lot and go back across with just the truck. Comparing the loaded and unloaded weights will give you the load the trailer is adding to the front and rear truck axle. You want the front axle of the truck to be carrying somewhere near as much weight with the trailer hitched as without it.

My 32 is slightly subject to tail wiggling when not hitched right.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:49 AM   #10
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Looking at the trailer tires in the wheel well I wonder if the trailer itself is too low. Just a thought as I am not familiar with that particular trailer.

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Old 09-20-2016, 08:01 AM   #11
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Looking at your photos, to me, one looks level and one looks like the tongue is low. The only way to tell if the trailer is level is to measure. Go to a large flat paved parking lot and measure. If the tongue is low move the ball mount up one hole.

A perfectly level trailer is ideal. If the tongue is low there will be slightly more weight on the front trailer axle and this shifts the pivot point forward. If the tongue is high there will be slightly more weight on the rear axle and shift the pivot point rearward. If you cannot get it level it is better to be slightly high. Pivot point forward will contribute to sway because there is more length and weight behind the pivot point.

add edit:
Others mentioned weighing, which is extremely important. But, weighing will have no affect on the ground clearance issue you asked about. Weighing is needed for two issues: 1. to make sure no part of ether vehicle is overloaded and 2. to see how much weight is transferred off of the rear tow vehicle axle by the weight distribution system.
Keep in mind, if you add tension to the torsion bars, hitch weight is transferred off of the rear axle from the hitch load. So adding tension can make the tongue of the trailer and rear of the tow vehicle raise.
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by nickclifford View Post
Can you you explain that for a dummy , new to this. Find a scale station .. Drive truck and trailer to weigh together or just trailer assume, can't quite wrap head around this !
Your rig looks level (to the naked eye), which is good.

As for weighing it, you need 3 passes at a CAT scale:

1) Truck alone
2) Truck and trailer with WDH bars NOT engaged
3) Truck and trailer with WDH bars engaged

The goal is to apply enough tension to WDH bars to return the front axle weight to that measured in step 1 AND make sure rear axle is not overloaded.

As an example, lets assume your front axle weight is 3000# in Step 1. In Step 2, the front axle weight is reduced to 2600#. This means you have a drop of
400# by connecting the trailer. You must restore this 400# to the front axle by cranking the WDH bars. Incrementally add tension to WDH bars and weigh your setup. When the front axle weight is restored to 3000#, you are done.

You must also make sure your rear axle rating is not exceeded. Applying tension to WDH bars helps in here too.

You may have to repeat step 3 multiple times, to fine tune your hitch. Most CAT scales charge a full fee for the first weighing, and an extra $2 for each subsequent weighing.
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
.......

A perfectly level trailer is ideal. If the tongue is low there will be slightly more weight on the front trailer axle and this shifts the pivot point forward. If the tongue is high there will be slightly more weight on the rear axle and shift the pivot point rearward. If you cannot get it level it is better to be slightly high. Pivot point forward will contribute to sway because there is more length and weight behind the pivot point.
...
I have been led to believe that this is OPPOSITE what you should do. Level is the goal but slightly down in front is better than high. Maybe we can get some support from those more in the know.

Your set up looks good to me. Weighing helps determine if the hitch is set up properly and returns weight to the steering axle.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:21 AM   #14
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My initial knee-jerk reaction based on the first photo:
Looks like there isn't enough tilt angle on the hitch head. Add washers.
Also looks like you could ratchet the chains up link or 2.
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