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Old 04-08-2009, 11:30 PM   #1
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Air Safe Hitch - Thoughts & Questions

My TV is a 3/4 ton Dodge Cummins, and my trailer a 16' CCD, so most would agree I don't have the ideal match. I've been reading the threads about trailer damage (popped rivets, etc) due to the harsh ride. So I'm about ready to order an Air Safe - not going to get a smaller truck or a larger trailer any time soon I'd like to hear thoughts about the following:

- I need to get a Class IV Air Safe (smallest one that will accommodate my Equal-I-Zer hitch). It is good up to a 10,000 # trailer, and my little Bambi weighs 3,500#. So will I really get the 'soft ride' for my trailer, since this Air Safe is stout enough to handle so much more? Or does changing the pressure in the air bag allow for that much difference in weight range?

- I can lift my Equal-I-Zer and draw bar ok - but when it gets bolted 'permanently' to the Air Safe, I'm worried the entire assembly will be more than I can lift. Anyone have an idea how much all of this is going to weigh? Any thoughts on how to handle the whole assembly to avoid injuring my back?

I'm willing to spend the $$ to get a good set up, but don't won't to throw away ~$800 and not get the soft ride needed to protect my Bambi from damage, nor get a White Elephant that is so heavy I'm not able to install it.

Appreciate hearing your thoughts and ideas!
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:43 AM   #2
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I don't think you have to worry about durability on the 16' even though you are towing with a HD truck. The 16' is short enough that it does not build a lot of momentum like a longer unit. As well you likely do not have enough weight on the truck to sink the rear springs to the helper springs which are much stiffer.

There are some other options to smooth out a 3/4 ton if you do not normally carry heavy loads in it.

I would be a little more concerned about the Equalizer hitch on a 16' as the bars can put substantially more pressure on the A frame than you might want.

Is your truck a two or four wheel drive? Do you every carry a lot of weight in it?

Andrew T
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:24 AM   #3
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My tongue weight is about 800 pounds, and I put about 50 pounds of air to get the leveling marks even on my Class V AirSafe hitch. I would assume with a tongue weight of perhaps 400 pounds or so, that it would take a lot less air pressure, and should provide the great cushoning effect that the air hitch is capable of. I would ask AirSafe about that.

Relative to the use of weight-distributing bars with a 3500-pound trailer on a three-quarter ton truck, I risk being attacked by saying you probably do not need them. If not, you could use a simple friction sway control bar or two to handle any sway. Let the flames begin.

About the weight: I'm a 65-year-old man with diminshing strength and can handle the Class V. It's not light, but it's OK for me.
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:45 AM   #4
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MOR/ryde?

Quote:
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There are some other options to smooth out a 3/4 ton if you do not normally carry heavy loads in it.
Andrew T
Hi Andrew,
What are those other options? I've looked for opinions on MOR/ryde here on the forums, but have been unable to find any comments.
We'll be pulling a '74 Sovereign with an F-350.
Thanks,
Grant
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:58 PM   #5
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We pulled our 19-foot Bambi behind a 1978 3/4 ton Chevy crew cab for a couple of years before we got our new Tundra. The old Chevy had really stiff springs, but most of the trailer weight is on the trailer wheels and suspension. Also, even the 19-foot is really light compared to what the truck is rated for, so we didn't need an equalizer hitch.

IMHO, you don't need any changes to your Dodge. I'd just hook it up and hit the road. I'm sure the 16-foot will tow just like the 19-foot. We couldn't even tell it was behind us except on hills. Same thing with the Tundra, although it rides a lot softer, being a 1/2 ton truck. I am probably going to stir some controversy here, but I don't think an equalizer hitch is needed unless the tow vehicle is relatively small in relation to the size trailer being towed. And, certainly a 16-foot Bambi behind a 3/4 ton Dodge pickup should have absolutely no problems.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:57 AM   #6
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Hi Grant

If you no load your truck to maximum with other cargo frequently then a good spring shop can soften your rear suspension. They just change most of the leafs to lighter ones. This is relatively inexpensive and effective.

Also on most 3/4 ton trucks the front springs are much stiffer than they need to be. We have had good luck using the gas springs on a deisel. When you soften the springs you need to control the suspension with good shocks, some Monroe Sensatrac or Bilsteins will work well.

As well you want to keep your tire pressure as soft as possible. The best way to do that is to weigh each axle and then carry the correct tire pressure for the weight you are carrying. On The Wings of Goodyear | RV Tires - Tire Care: Proper Tire Inflation Will tell you the amount of air to put in.

What tires do you have on the Airstream? Is it a rear bath or rear bedroom? Has the frame had the reiforcement kit installed on it?

For those with smaller trailers,you do not absolutely have to have an equalizing hitch with a 19' and a 3/4 ton a light equalizing hitch with a little pressure on the bars will smooth it out a little and take the rattle out of the hitch and ball. I like a 550 eaz-lift because the bars have lot of travel and it allows the ball to be closer to the bumper than other hitches.

Andy
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:39 AM   #7
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Hi Grant
What tires do you have on the Airstream? Is it a rear bath or rear bedroom? Has the frame had the reiforcement kit installed on it?
Andy
We have new Goodyear Marathons (ST 225/75R15 Load Range D). It's a rear bedroom and I don't see any sign of a reinforcement kit. Were they only used on rear bath models?

We'll be replacing the axles.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:52 PM   #8
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We have new Goodyear Marathons (ST 225/75R15 Load Range D). It's a rear bedroom and I don't see any sign of a reinforcement kit. Were they only used on rear bath models?

We'll be replacing the axles.
I assume you are talking about a reinforcement kit in connection with rear end sag? It is my experience that a minority of coaches had the correction. The problem rally affected mainly the 70s Beatrice Foods years coaches, but it's not like there was a recall. I don't believe earlier coaches had the same degree of sag/ separation problems.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:49 PM   #9
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Oddly enough I too had been considering an AirSafe hitch. I had this conversation today offline with a forums member and they brought up an interesting point that I hadn't considered with the AirSafe product.

Since the AirSafe is not a static connection, how does weight distribution work (which is not an issue for this particular application which was the orig question of this thread)?

As for this situation, I do firmly believe that something would have to be done. The 16' is so light and the the truck's suspension is very hard. I'm not convinced that simply because it's a 16' and not a larger unit that eventually you won't see an unintended bi-product of that tow rig. I'm not advocating that you trade in your truck, but it is a good sign that you're investigating this as even the smallest Airstream is a significant expense.
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:11 PM   #10
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Since the AirSafe is not a static connection, how does weight distribution work
I would also be interested in this answer, but my guess is the ball floats dynamicly and the WD bars attach to the static part of the hitch attached to the draw bar. Can anyone jump in here?
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:15 PM   #11
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I've seen the pics. The weight bars do very much appear to connect to a weight bar bracket (sold separately) which does appear to connect to the non-static part of the hitch. I could be looking at it wrong, and to that fact, I've emailed the company asking that very question.

I know that these do a great job of softening the ride, but in my case with an 800lb or more hitch weight, distribution is important since in my case it also manages my sway control. No bar flex, no sway control from the cams.

Check out the videos on the sales site:

http://www.airsafehitches.com/receiver_videos.html
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:50 PM   #12
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I've seen the pics. The weight bars do very much appear to connect to a weight bar bracket (sold separately) which does appear to connect to the non-static part of the hitch. I could be looking at it wrong, and to that fact, I've emailed the company asking that very question.
There is a similar hitch called "Air Ride". If I remember the WD bars connect a little differently. I don't know if one is any better than the other. They both cost.
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:47 PM   #13
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There is a similar hitch called "Air Ride". If I remember the WD bars connect a little differently. I don't know if one is any better than the other. They both cost.
Yea, they are pricey. I first looked at Air Ride and it disappeared to a few different variants. If you still have a link for the Air Ride one, I'd love to take a peek at it and of course, I'll post whatever the company tells me about the weight distribution specs.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:08 AM   #14
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On the AirSafe hitch, the item called something like a weight-distribution bar is simply a vertical bar with holes in it that the weight-distribution hitch bolts to. In turn, this vertical bar is bolted to the air-bag mechanism. So, everything is rigged in such a manner that everything is cushoned by the air bags.

Clear as mud?

Well, clear or not, it all works very well. For me, it's the answer to the quest of having your cake (a heavy duty truck) and eating it too (being gentle with a sensitive trailer).

IOW, Serendipity.
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