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Old 07-27-2015, 09:06 AM   #1
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Comparing hitches

As I continue my research, I'm becoming confused about the various hitches available. Is there some place that has a decent comparison of the various brands/models? For example, what's the difference between the Hensley ProPride and Arrow? How do they compare to the Blue Ox product? I've looked at the various websites, and each claims their product is the best on the market (no surprise there), but they can't all be right. For context, we're looking at 30-34' Airstreams from the late 90's.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:41 AM   #2
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No manufacturer, publisher or ethitical source has ever done a side by side test of all available WD systems and they never will. Everyone has their opinion and usually they will say the best is what they have.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:56 AM   #3
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Your best bet is to define your rig first, TV and trailer size, and then talk to others that are using similar equipment.

Every different type of hitch addresses different requirements. One may concentrate on WD, another may concentrate on sway control, another on ease of operation, and then there is cost.

Talk to and or watch those that have been towing for a while and never talk to a dealer.

Even where you camp will be a consideration. Parking on a campground pad is completely different than camping in the woods when it comes to hitching.
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Old 07-27-2015, 11:27 AM   #4
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All weight distribution hitches work the same way, with three exceptions to that rule, in my opinion. The exceptions are the ProPride, Hensley, and the Andersen. The ProPride is a later version of the pivot point projection technology first introduced with by Hensley, and the Andersen applies it's pressure in a different plane with the same resulting force, albeit to a lesser degree, than all the other conventional hitches. The three mentioned all have their limitations, and good points.

In my opinion based on using many different brands and types of weight distribution hitches in the last 35+ years, the setup of the hitch with the particular trailer and tow vehicle used is much more important that the brand of hitch you use. I would however, recommend you stay with one of the better known, longer term manufactures within the weight range for the trailer that you do eventually buy, and you will not have major problems. Just minor setup problems that we all go thru with a new trailer/hitch setup.
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Old 07-27-2015, 05:15 PM   #5
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What we're talking about is an F250/350 (2008 or so) and a late 90's 34' Airstream. I've seen a few coaches for sale that included a hitch (various brands). The only hitch I have any experience with is the Equal-I-Zer that we had with our mpg. Once I learned how to hitch and unhitch it was pretty easy.

It sounds like there isn't a comparison of the various types (brands) out there. Maybe that is something that a club (or even a few friends) could do. I'm not looking for some sort of "buy this one" comparison, but rather what are the benefits and drawbacks of each type. It would be nice if someone who actually uses the hitch could comment on how much of a benefit or drawback each point actually is.

Hmmm, wonder if Airstream (corporate) might be willing to prepare this. Get a new truck from each of the major manufacturers, a new Airstream (best selling model), and a new hitch for that coach from each of the big names. Properly install the hitch (that means following both the hitch manufacturer's recommendations and Airstream's recommendations). Then have someone who is unfamiliar with that particular brand unhitch and hitch the trailer. A weight test would tell whether the hitch was transferring the proper amount of weight. Sway control is pretty much a subjective call in that there are too many variables (how close is the semi, which direction is the wind from, how strong is the wind, is it gusty, how familiar is the driver with the truck/Airstream combo, etc.) that it probably would come down to whether or not the driver felt comfortable as a truck went past. Probably an hour or so on the Interstate would be sufficient for a road test.
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Old 07-27-2015, 05:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
Maybe that is something that a club (or even a few friends) could do. I'm not looking for some sort of "buy this one" comparison, but rather what are the benefits and drawbacks of each type. It would be nice if someone who actually uses the hitch could comment on how much of a benefit or drawback each point actually is.

Hmmm, wonder if Airstream (corporate) might be willing to prepare this. Get a new truck from each of the major manufacturers, a new Airstream (best selling model), and a new hitch for that coach from each of the big names. Properly install the hitch (that means following both the hitch manufacturer's recommendations and Airstream's recommendations). Then have someone who is unfamiliar with that particular brand unhitch and hitch the trailer. A weight test would tell whether the hitch was transferring the proper amount of weight. Sway control is pretty much a subjective call in that there are too many variables (how close is the semi, which direction is the wind from, how strong is the wind, is it gusty, how familiar is the driver with the truck/Airstream combo, etc.) that it probably would come down to whether or not the driver felt comfortable as a truck went past. Probably an hour or so on the Interstate would be sufficient for a road test.
You have no idea how much work this would be with each hitch manufactured, and then even if you did, how do you quantify how well an anti-sway system works. I say it virtually cannot be done.
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:59 PM   #7
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The VPP hitches don't allow the trailer to move away from the track of the tow vehicle until the the TV initiates a turn. Sway elimination.

All other WD hitches do or do not have integrated antisway. Those that do have varying amounts of force (a few hundred pounds) of resistance available. How this resistance is accomplished is the difference between them. Some are by design better than others.

In all cases it is imperative to set the hitch correctly.

A rough-in according to directions can be done anywhere. One then proceeds to a three-pad certified scale to dial it in over the course of several passes across the scale.

Once done the range of possible further adjustments is narrow, given the same TT and TV.
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:55 PM   #8
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"The ProPride is a later version of the pivot point projection technology first introduced with by Hensley..." From what I have been told here, and what I saw on another thread, the ProPride and Hensley Arrow are similar, but competing, products. Is that a fair assessment? Every once in a while I see an interesting coach for sale that includes a hitch.
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
"The ProPride is a later version of the pivot point projection technology first introduced with by Hensley..." From what I have been told here, and what I saw on another thread, the ProPride and Hensley Arrow are similar, but competing, products. Is that a fair assessment? Every once in a while I see an interesting coach for sale that includes a hitch.
Yes, that's a fair assessment. Given a choice I would take the ProPride over the Hensley for several reason, but the main one is the adjustable shank.
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