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Old 09-06-2015, 02:16 AM   #1
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1958 18' "Footer"
Idyllwild , California
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Advice on Towing Vintage AS

I have a 1958 18' Traveler. According to the brochure the dry weight is 2,100 Lbs. with a 220 Lb. Tongue Weight. It came with a Reese Trunnion style Weight Distribution System that looks to be older (welded to the height of the previous tow vehicle). We will be towing the AS with a '14 Silverado 1500 4X4 and later a 1952 Pontiac Sedan Delivery---not stock.

Question is how important is one of these? should I use it since I have it? I would need to purchase a Head and Hitch Bar for the Silverado and maybe adjust the current one for the Pontiac.

Could it do more damage than good? maybe I should be considering a Sway Bar or both especially on the Pontiac?

I am coming to the end of the restoration so a few hundred dollars now may be well worth it. I am attaching the 1958 Brochure for this 18' Traveler.

Thanks in advance
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:22 PM   #2
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1968 20' Globetrotter
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My 1968 trailer feels more secure with a WD hitch. Towing a small trailer with WD is safe and comfortable.


1968 20 foot Globe Trotter is 20' 11” long. Dry, weighs 2990 pounds, 370# Tongue Weight. TV 4000lbs, 113” WB, 40” axle to ball overhang.


WD/Sway... If you can endure admonishment from the PP/Hensley pontiffs, Reese, in business for over sixty years, has designed a WD/Sway Control in one device, well suited for lightweight towing. Reese has been developing hitches for over 60 years, Reese “Mini 350” is a great idea.


With five years of use, I've been very pleased with the Reese Mini 350 WD System. It's a sensible and harmonious contraption. Loaded, Cat-Scale indicates mine is adjusted to tip 270# onto the front TV wheels, and 130# to the Trailer wheels. The entire assembly weighs 35 pounds including Bars, Shank& Head. The friction pads atop the A-Frame provide good anti-sway, and operate silently. It uses friction material of brake pad-like composition, and cast feet of brake rotor-like steel, on top of the A-frame instead of clamp and chain from below.


With regard to lightweight trailers, what is pictured is very satisfactory in terms of easy hitching, anti-sway, weight distribution, minimal added tongue weight, quiet operation, excellent ground clearance, backs up fine, turns sharply without consequence. With fewer parts/less apparatus, it has a relatively clean appearance.


Hitch head angle/bar load/ ball height adjustment is similar to most other hitch methods. It doesn't squeak, moan, creak, or pop. It doesn't do anything weird when backing up, and functions perfectly well thru ruts, dips, rock hopping and curb jumping.


I chose to modify the propane bottle mount to allow friction pads to fit neatly onto the A-frame, but Reese sells a pair of optional tabs to solve that possible interference issue, bolt-on style, if you like. I switched to a single 40# propane bottle. It's base mount is mounted flush to the depth of the A-Frame, rather than on top. It is situated closer to the body to reduce TW. Consequently, it does not interfere with WD, and reduces tongue clutter.


The Reese Mini's simple design makes hitching up and setting load-bars a two minute job, and that's with a hand crank jack-post. Two minutes is not an exaggeration... Drop and latch coupler onto ball, hand-wind jack like mad to near full extension. Position load-bar feet over friction pads on A-frame rails, unwind jack to preferred level of jack-post retraction... Done. No-chains dangling/no frame clamps. Quick and easy, It only fits 2” couplers.


Its design clarity is as impressive as its anti-sway and WD function. I would recommend this clever device to a friend.
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:21 PM   #3
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1963 16' Bambi
Stevens Point , Wisconsin
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Hey Prairieschooner,
We have a similar size trailer and tow with a 2013 Sierra 1/2 ton. Have taken it coast to coast, over 75k miles since 2009 using just the ball. I'm sure some would consider this risky, but we have never had any problems. We do drive at reasonable speeds.
Stop by if your travels take you to the north coast.
Tim
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:49 PM   #4
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I know I'm probably in the minority here, but with the weight of the trailer and the tongue weight, then given the tow vehicle, why do you need a wd hitch? The truck is easily able to tow the trailer all on it's own, you don't need a wd hitch to throw weight to the front wheels, in fact with the weight of the trailer I doubt you'll know the trailer is back there.
Sway is a different matter however. I think that you have a solid leaf spring axle, and that set up doesn't tow as well as the Dexter style axles. You might consider an anti sway bar.
Just my 2c
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:00 AM   #5
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1958 18' "Footer"
Idyllwild , California
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Thanks for the advice guys!
I did forget to mention that I have the original Leaf Springs with a new Dexter Axle with Electric Brakes.
I was thinking that a Sway Bar would be best when using the Silverado but may need a WD when the '52 Pontiac is finished. With that in mind I would want to set it up for whatever TV I choose.
Thanks again!
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:05 AM   #6
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1978 31' Sovereign
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I am in the "no WD" minority. If your TV has a good suspension that is qualified to handle a certain tongue weight, you are good to go, imho. I see a lot of RV's with and without WD. Mine pulls just fine without it. I drive a bit slower than the average, and maybe that is why I don't need the WD to compensate. BTW, that is a fine looking setup you have created. Nice work.
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prairieschooner View Post
...
I did forget to mention that I have the original Leaf Springs with a new Dexter Axle with Electric Brakes.
...
Installation of my Dexter TorFlex axle did away with the existing leaf springs when (45,000 miles ago) the original single axle on my 1955 was replaced. My 15' (overall) trailer weighs 2750# with a 450# tongue weight (seems heavy?) I tow with a 2014 4L V6 Tacoma, rated capable of towing 6000 lbs. With the bed loaded with camping gear, I detected some slight rear end sag which was addressed by adding airbag helpers, not a WDH. I've never experienced sway with this tow vehicle and my 15' trailer; the 2014 Tacoma curb weight is nearly double the trailer's (wet) weight. However, when I was using an '04 Toyota Highlander 3.3L V6 as my tow vehicle (full of camping gear) -- even though it was rated to tow 3500#, I felt I was approaching the capabilities of the vehicle, and so I moved up. On the Highlander, because it is a car, nowhere near a truck, I used the Reeze 350 Mini combination WDH and sway control. It worked great. (It's for sale in southern California if anyone cab use it.)
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:27 PM   #8
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No WDH, no sway control

This combination of TV and vintage aluminum works dandy.
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:52 PM   #9
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The Silverado is probably ok on a bare ball - esp. with their built in anti-sway on the tow option pkg., but that single axle panel could get squirelly without WD & anti-sway.

Also, that HW & TW in the manual is probably off by quite a bit to reality, since they did those on dry, empty & base level trailers - often with no LP, fresh, gray & black water tank options, etc.!

We have a 1960 Avion T20 (21') which has those tanks & LP upgraded by PO to 2x 30#, fresh 20 up to 28 gals., etc., plus my Hensley Cub WD/AS hitch (+/-65# itself) & their factory 275# hitch wt. is really something more like 345#, & wet & loaded for travel overall wt. of "book" 2680# is more like 3500#.

Bottom line - you need to get an accurate HW & GTVW for yours as loaded for real world use, in order to dial everything in, so go to the scales & buy/borrow/kluge a tongue wt. scale (a Sherline runs +/- $125 on-line).

BTW - that older WD will probably work fine, but if you decide to update/upgrade due to age, then you may want to consider the smaller Hensley Cub (smaller & cheaper than their Arrow for TTs up to 600# TW & 600# HW) & ours was only about $1500 2 years ago with lifetime warranty.

I went with it for convenience of everything staying on the trailer when parked, ease of using the winder jacks to adjust spring tension (no half link BS with chains & lifting the spring brackets - although they sell a $1330 version with chains).

You'd just get 2 "stinger" tow bars for your 2 TVs' drop hts., & they have lifetime exchange on them for you if you change TVs.

Have fun & check out the vintage trailer rallies in your region, since they're really also classic car rallies!

Happy Labor Day!
Tom
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