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Old 08-01-2010, 05:37 PM   #1
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Excursion and 31' airstream - do I need a special hitch?

Newbie Here.

I will be picking up our 1973 31 sovereign in 2 weeks. We have a 2004 excursion diesel. Do I need a special hitch for towing this? The TV is rated to 11900 pounds. We will be traveling full-time with this set up.

If I do need a hitch what type of Reese weight distribution hitch do I need. All the numbers just confuse me.

Yes I will be getting a brake controller.

Many thanks.

Steve
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:44 PM   #2
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I recently sold my 2003 Excursion and it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to part with. With all my boys gone or soon gone, we simply didn't need that much space. We opted for an F-150 which suits us great now.

Anyhow, the 6.0L PSD Excursion is a great tow vehicle, great torque and suspension. But you'll still need a good weight distribution hitch and anti-sway hitch. The Equal-i-zer or Reese Dual Cam are the systems under 500 bucks. If money isn't an issue, then the Hensley Arrow is the best.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:05 PM   #3
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We pull our 2008 31' Classic with our 2005 6.0L diesel Excursion using a ProPride hitch. Perfect combination. Tows beautifully at all elevations and all types of roads.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:13 PM   #4
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The Excursion is as good as it gets. My 04 pulled my 28 foot ccd like it wasn't there. I had the Hensley hitch, but was always annoyed with the difficulty of hookUp.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steventothem View Post
Newbie Here.

I will be picking up our 1973 31 sovereign in 2 weeks. We have a 2004 excursion diesel. Do I need a special hitch for towing this? The TV is rated to 11900 pounds. We will be traveling full-time with this set up.
If I do need a hitch what type of Reese weight distribution hitch do I need. All the numbers just confuse me.
Yes I will be getting a brake controller. Many thanks. Steve
There are many setups you can use it all depends on how much money you want to spend, 1 thing for sure with the excursion you wont have to spend much to make yourself happy. With my Excursion & 1976 Soveriegn 31 ft, I already had bought a new (at the time) version of the WD/Sway from Reese for my 07 GMC & Sov where the WD bars sat on a pad instead of a chain hookup. This eliminated the binding noise and twist you get with chains because it allowed for better movement of the bars which contributed to better WD & Sway control, I hardly knew the Sov was behind me even on the highway.
When I bought our current 98 Legend 35 it came with a Hensley Hitch and I had many problems with it on the Excursion mostly because it was wore out, switched to the Reese and cured all my problems.
1 other thing you might want to consider for the Excursion, this is because they was made they was designed for smooth ride it left the springs lacking in the towing dept in my opinion, so add a set of Ride Rites by Firestone and you will get a much better experience in towing because you can air them up for weight/towing, down for ride, It will also give you better steering control by placing weight to the steering axle.

Sarge
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:04 PM   #6
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Had the same question last year, and Andy Thompson recommended the Reese Dual Cam system with 800# bars. It's a great system, works beautifully, and is around $500. The Hensley, which I hear is the very best, is around six times that.

Read Andy's great article in the latest issue of Airstream Life--be sure and slant the ball of the hitch system away from the truck and toward the trailer. It's not vertical, but canted rearward about 15-20 degrees. This makes the physics more stable (as Andy explains in his article).

Don't find out the hard way, like a friend of mine did with a rig similar to yours. He picked up the new trailer and decided it didn't need any anti-sway gear. Scared him to death on the San Diego freeway when he had to suddenly change lanes to avoid an accident.

Wishing you the very best--Think you'll enjoy the Reese, and have money in your pocket too.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:38 PM   #7
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Does it matter if it is rated to 10000 pounds or is the amount the bars a rated to?
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:26 PM   #8
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10,000 lb hitch = 1000 lb bars.
7500 lb hitch = 750 lb bars.
Probably either would work but I would go with the 10,000 hitch and 1000 bars.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 1bbboomer View Post
10,000 lb hitch = 1000 lb bars.
7500 lb hitch = 750 lb bars.
Probably either would work but I would go with the 10,000 hitch and 1000 bars.
I have to disagree. The stiff suspension of the Excursion (equivalent of an F250) coupled with the 1,000 bars will beat the hell out of your Sovereign. This combo popped rivets on both the inside and outside front of my '72 Sovereign. I would go with 800lb bars. The smaller the better.

The dry weight of an early 70s Sovereign is only about 4800 lbs, much lighter than a modern Airstream of a similar size.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:19 AM   #10
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I'd trust Andy's advice and go with the 800lb bars. Yes, the hitch should support 10K lbs, but your 31' AS will top out at about as noted above, well below the weight required by a 1K bar, fully loaded. "The smaller the better" is the right physics/engineering principle here.

Engineers, correct me if I'm wrong (I am a retired Chaplain), but the hitch rating only applies to the amount of weight/stress the hitch can stand, not the weight of the trailer. Having a 10K hitch means you have excess capacity on the ball of the hitch, which is great. It does not correctly correlate to a formula for the bars. That is related directly to the weight of the trailer. My 1994 30' Excella weighs about 8K lbs, so Andy suggested the 800 lb bars. And they work splendidly.

There is a lot of stress transmitted to the A-frame on the AS, and the extra 2K lbs. with the heavier bars only buys you problems, IMHO.

Best to you!

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Old 08-02-2010, 10:25 AM   #11
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There again I disagree. I have an F 350 with a Reese dual cam-straightline and I switched from 1000 lb bars to 550 lb bars. The ride was rough and rebound of the 1000 lb bars was scary. The 550 lbs bars give the flex needed for a soft ride from a stiff suspension.
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:19 PM   #12
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There's a lot more to the choice of torsion bars than you think! Wait till you see Andy's next article in the Fall 2010 issue of Airstream Life ...
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:41 PM   #13
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I too love my Excursion V10. It is one terrific tow vehicle. I used 750lb bars on an older Reese hitch to tow my two 31' Airstreams. Towed like a dream.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:17 PM   #14
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1973 31' Sovereign
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I'm picking up the trailer on Sat. with the excursion.

Suggestions on brake controller's?

Do I need something added onto my mirror's (don't have telescoping)

Thanks
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