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Old 07-17-2016, 02:56 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Air suspension and replacement hitch shanks

Ok...so just got back from 2nd trip with our 77 Excella '31 and had some sway on the way to our destination. I figured this was mostly wind but could have been that I locked the hitch down on the fourth chain link instead of 5th in hopes of bringing the rear up a bit..it sags in the back.

On way home is reverted to using 5th link on the anti sway setup (not sure of brand it came with trailers and actually looks factory installed.

So i'm hoping to replace the shank with one that has a greater drop to level out the trailer as it rides a bit high. Does anyone know anything about the original anti sway kits that might have come with these older trailers? I have been able to find a similar shank on line. Mine uses two bars, one on each side that have a t bone fitting that locks into the side of the shank and a chain attachment on the trailer to adjust the sway and height on the trailer.

I also just read an article from Inland RV that suggests using Air suspension is a bad thing when towing? Can anyone comment? I have a Lincoln Nav as the tow vehicle..should I switch off the air suspension when towing?

Thanks
Mike
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Old 07-17-2016, 03:46 PM   #2
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It's not clear (to me, but I'm a dummy) what you mean by 4th link or 5th link. From which end? Is there some kind of anti-sway feature built into the hitch?

A picture of the hitch would help, too.
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Old 07-17-2016, 04:07 PM   #3
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Air ride can make it hard to properly setup an wd hitch. But when used correctly it works great. It sounds like you need a different hitch setup. Mine came with the same hitch as yours, but I opted to get an Anderson wd hitch instead. My truck also has factory air ride and it tows excellent with this setup.
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Old 07-17-2016, 04:17 PM   #4
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The description of the bars sounds like one of the Reese hitches. They can be had with or without sway control components. Here's a page from E-Trailer with some of the options.
https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Wei...-pm-Reese.aspx

As far as air suspension goes I have full rear air suspension on my Expedition. I asked Andy about this via an old thread at one time and never received a reply. I've never had a problem with sway using a round bar Curt on the Tradewind with the Expy.

The owners manual provides a procedure for adjusting a WD hitch with the airbags. After I did the initial set up with a level trailer everythings been OK.

Tom
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Old 07-17-2016, 05:44 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Hello Ft.Erie....

.....we be on the other side of the "P" Bridge...

Some pic's of the rig & hitch would help a lot...With an older straight line Reese the sway is separate...

Our's...from our 63 Safari.


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Old 07-18-2016, 12:21 PM   #6
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I suggest you look up the instructions for your particular hitch. The key points to setting up a weight distributing (WD) hitch properly are:
1. The trailer must ride level. If it is not, more weight will be carried by one of the two axles causing handling problems, tire and axle wear etc.

2. The hitch must be set up to distribute the weight of the trailer tongue evenly to the front and rear axles of the tow vehicle (TV). What I've seen the most is the WD hitch not having enough spring tension so most of the tongue weight carried by the rear axle of the TV. The lever effect of the weight lightens the front wheels leading to unstable handling.

The internet is full of instructions on hitch set up so getting the needed information won't be a problem. A correctly installed hitch will make your rig as safe as possible and minimize wear and tear on the trailer, tow vehicle and driver.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:47 PM   #7
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anti-sway bars are exactly that - anti sway - they work to minimize sway but they do not completely eliminate sway. I've found that adding links doesn't really make a difference in this area and it is more a leveling factor.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
.....we be on the other side of the "P" Bridge...

Some pic's of the rig & hitch would help a lot...With an older straight line Reese the sway is separate...

Our's...from our 63 Safari.


Bob
Hi Bob...we just got back from another trip to ASP in fact...great park you have there!

I'll get some pics up tonight after work.
Mike
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Old 07-18-2016, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajnz View Post
I suggest you look up the instructions for your particular hitch. The key points to setting up a weight distributing (WD) hitch properly are:
1. The trailer must ride level. If it is not, more weight will be carried by one of the two axles causing handling problems, tire and axle wear etc.

2. The hitch must be set up to distribute the weight of the trailer tongue evenly to the front and rear axles of the tow vehicle (TV). What I've seen the most is the WD hitch not having enough spring tension so most of the tongue weight carried by the rear axle of the TV. The lever effect of the weight lightens the front wheels leading to unstable handling.

The internet is full of instructions on hitch set up so getting the needed information won't be a problem. A correctly installed hitch will make your rig as safe as possible and minimize wear and tear on the trailer, tow vehicle and driver.
Thanks..this is very helpful. I'll try and pull a brand name off the set up tonight and snap a few pics, but I'm sensing that I need a shank with a longer drop to lower the front of the trailer.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:10 PM   #10
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Based on the pics it would appear that I indeed have an older Reese strait line hitch. I see the shank and head are sold separately and are adjustable...ill reach out to Reese and ask if a new shank/head combo would work with older kit.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopmonster View Post
Based on the pics it would appear that I indeed have an older Reese strait line hitch. I see the shank and head are sold separately and are adjustable...ill reach out to Reese and ask if a new shank/head combo would work with older kit.
I pulled a '72 with this hitch some years back, The equalizer arrangement locks the trailer by hooking the bars into a saddle in the chains that resists movement. The owner of this trailer actually pulled it with a Willy's 1940 Army Jeep, and was unable to turn on icy roads when bringing the trailer back home one wintery day because the rig was so rigid. I was pulling the trailer with a 1500 Jimmy with 31.5 x 10 tires and never had any issues with sway. Maybe you are not quite set up properly and info from Reese might be helpful
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:24 PM   #12
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Rigidity is a problem with friction anti-sway systems. When road conditions are slick, i.e., ice, snow, and/or rain and you need it most, they are useless if you follow the manufacturer's recommendation of loosing them up to prevent the system from being too rigid. Only trapezoid design hitch systems work under these conditions. That is the one single best reason to have such a system. Yes, it is more expensive, but so was your TV and TT. They really only cost about 2% of the overall combination.
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Old 07-19-2016, 05:47 AM   #13
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Rigidity is a problem with friction anti-sway systems. When road conditions are slick, i.e., ice, snow, and/or rain and you need it most, they are useless if you follow the manufacturer's recommendation of loosing them up to prevent the system from being too rigid. Only trapezoid design hitch systems work under these conditions. That is the one single best reason to have such a system. Yes, it is more expensive, but so was your TV and TT. They really only cost about 2% of the overall combination.
guskmg
Correct, under very slippery conditions it used to be common knowledge to loosen sway control if possible. You're going slower anyway in these conditions, or at least you should be. Easy adjusted with external sway units. Your speed should be greatly reduced under those conditions, sway is much less likely.
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