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Old 02-03-2010, 09:34 PM   #1
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Do we have a problem with tow vehicle or hitch?

Hello All,

As compete newcomers to Airstream and to towing we are really enjoying ourselves even though we were camping in winter last month. We have quickly put a little over five hundred towing miles on our '06 Safari 25ss and now we see an interesting development. The upper door hinge pin was protruding about a half inch at our last fuel stop and today the hinge pin showed evidence of working after only six miles under tow.

In other threads on the hinge pin subject we read posts suggesting an over-rated tow vehicle with over-stiff springs and shocks or other possibilities. Here's what we are using today - tow vehicle is a Chevy 2500HD diesel/crew cab w/long bed. Our hitch is an Equal-i-zer with 1000# spring arms. Is the tow vehicle a good match? Could the hitch be over-rated for this trailer? What else should I look at? and in what order?

In every other way our pre-owned trailer seems to have been gently used. We have been treating these initial trips as a thorough shakedown and a great time for a tune-up. Would all with experience in this area have suggestions on a logical approach to sort this through?
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:44 PM   #2
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We use 750# bars with our 31' trailer and 2500 Silverado and Suburban. I'll beat somebody else to the punch, and tell you to have the wheel balance checked as well, all the little vibrations together can move things around.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:31 AM   #3
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can't just change bars on an equalizer, they are different sizes I believe. I would suspect the hinge and not the tow vehicle as I tow my 28' with a 3/4 ton 4x4 and have not had a single problem with rough ride or vibrating anything loose. As a matter of fact I have towed over some pretty bumpy roads and things I have left on the table were still there when I got home. With that said i am sure others will disagree.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:46 AM   #4
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Yes, you've got spring arms that are too stiff. You should have bars that are in the 500 lb range with that heavy a truck. You may have other issues as well, but I'd certainly start there and see what happens. Frankly with that 2500HD platform, you may not even need a WDH, but you still need sway control.

Roger
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:54 AM   #5
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I would agree with Roger. I think you have too heavy of bars on the hitch. Those are also non-tapered square bars also. They ride rougher.

I tow a 25' with a 3/4 ton GMC, but with a ProPride hitch. I like the combo, but the ProPride uses round bars.

Like mentioned above, you may have wheel/tire balancing issues too.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:15 AM   #6
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We have a 30' Safari Bunk and I use the Equal-i-zer with 1,000# bars and tow with an F-250 diesel. You don't have too much truck, but your bars are probably too much. I use the heavier bars because of the conditions I usually tow under. The Equal-i-zer is a great hitch and I am very pleased with it. Round bars vs. square bars for the same rating won't make any difference, IMHO.

I would recommend a set of Centramatics (SP?) to maintain balance on the wheels. That will be my next purchase when I replace my tires later this spring.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:37 AM   #7
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Thanks for the quick replies. I'll start with checking wheel balance first since my first project was to change the tires anyway. Three of the four are probably original equipment and I don't know how they were treated. They're the first to be bit of equipment to be changed. Centramatics? Will need to learn about that. Then, if necessary, on to the hitch.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:00 AM   #8
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For quick reference, go to this page of the Centramatic's website. There are demos of how they work and how they are installed (demo is for semi, but I'm sure it is similar for trailers).

Centramatic
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:15 AM   #9
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Thumbs up accurate weights...

...you need accurate weights to determine proper hitch set-up, GCVW, tongue, vehicle axle and trailer axle, fully loaded ready for the road.
You have to know how much weight you are transfering to the steering axle.
For three seasons with the Classic I relied on the Cat and bathroom scale method of determining tongue weight, usually between 700 and 900lbs, got a tongue scale and found out that our tongue wt was actually 1175lbs. Our 1000lb bars on the haha are doing there job just fine on the 2500 Burb. Use Centramatics on the trailer, and inspect trlr wheels often for slung wheel weights, also a short ride in the trailer each Season to confirm ride quality.

Have used this on our door hinge pins with good results.
Make sure pins are clean and not binding, trailer is level and latch is lubed.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:18 AM   #10
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After buying our 23 eight years ago we notice the front A frame was bent up slightly. We checked out the frame and found it to be solid (rust free).

The PO used a HD pick up and 750lbs bars.

We have been using the same 750 lb bars and towing with lighter weight tow vehicles.
The A frame deflection amount has not changed in all the years we have towed the trailer. (note over 300hrs of towing).

Compared with other box type trailers and 5th wheels Airstream"s are easy to tow.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:57 AM   #11
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In addition to vibrations, just the action of opening and closing the door will make the pin work it's way out. My trailer has the same problem, not caused by towing.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsmithii View Post
Hello All,

As compete newcomers to Airstream and to towing we are really enjoying ourselves even though we were camping in winter last month. We have quickly put a little over five hundred towing miles on our '06 Safari 25ss and now we see an interesting development. The upper door hinge pin was protruding about a half inch at our last fuel stop and today the hinge pin showed evidence of working after only six miles under tow.

In other threads on the hinge pin subject we read posts suggesting an over-rated tow vehicle with over-stiff springs and shocks or other possibilities. Here's what we are using today - tow vehicle is a Chevy 2500HD diesel/crew cab w/long bed. Our hitch is an Equal-i-zer with 1000# spring arms. Is the tow vehicle a good match? Could the hitch be over-rated for this trailer? What else should I look at? and in what order?

In every other way our pre-owned trailer seems to have been gently used. We have been treating these initial trips as a thorough shakedown and a great time for a tune-up. Would all with experience in this area have suggestions on a logical approach to sort this through?
Drive the hinge pin back in place.

Drill a small hole into the hinge and thru the hinge pin.

Install the smallest drive pin, that you can find into the hole.

That should permanently keep the hinge pin in place.

Lower your hitch torsion bars down to 500 to 600 pounds and balancing the running gear and/or installing Centramatics, will offer considerable help against vibration and road shock.

Andy
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:19 PM   #13
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Robert's right. Weigh your rig.
2005 25' Safari publishes 750lb tongue weight.
Loaded for travel, 950lbs wouldn't be unreasonable.
If that's the case 1000# bars are perfect.
Your TV is perfect.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:47 PM   #14
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Boy! Oh, boy! What a wealth of useful information. We knew that we were embarking on a very technical activity when we decided to camp in a trailer. To summarize all the very helpful comments, here is the game plan. First, start with tire's, replacement ('cause they're OE) & balance, pressure, temp., etc. Then check hitch setup, etc., etc. Then (with thanks and apologies to Andy R) put a great big bloody nail through that dad-ratted (as my grandpa would have said) hinge.
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