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Old 10-17-2003, 11:09 PM   #1
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First time towing the new 31' Footer - w/o WD...Help

Hello All,
First off let me say what an amazing source this forum is...just spent an hour having a look and you all are terrific!
Ok...I just bought a 1975 Sovereign 31' and need to pick it up to transport home about 120 miles. I have a 2000 Ford Excursion with the heavy duty hitch and tow package.
Am I going to be fine for this first trip without installing a weight distribution system?
I have never towed a trailer of this length before but would like to get it home to my local trailer supplier to install the upgraded hitch. I don't want to be penny wise pound foolish however.
Any suggestions appreciated.
Best,
JB
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:16 PM   #2
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I'm a sissy .. so I wouldn't do it.

Do you have a brake controller?
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:41 PM   #3
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No, I don't have a brake controller yet either. My plan was to install the weight distribution hitch and controller after getting the trailer back home. But...that hundred and twenty miles is seperating me from that plan.
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:12 AM   #4
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I wouldn't do it without a brake controller.

Thats a pretty big trailer to try and stop w/o brakes!

You need to get the right stuff sooner or later anyway. Make it sooner
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:13 AM   #5
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Silver Eagle,

Welcome to the Forum

When I bought my Safari , I towed it 500 miles without any device, no brake controler & ..........only a small ball on the bumper (Silverado )
If you drive with caution, you won't know its behind you & all will be OK , just make sure the whole outfit is level & drive xtra slow.

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Old 10-18-2003, 02:13 AM   #6
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silver,

i agree with tim!

make it sooner than later!

safety first!

john
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:17 AM   #7
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Silver Eagle,
Welcome to the Forum! I too am in the process of closing the deal on a 1975 Sovereign 31'. With the Excursion if you take it slow and easy you could get by without the WD hitch, but I would not do it on the bumper, use a drawbar. I would not tow with out a brake controller. You really need the brakes the 31' weighs in close to 6000#. Besides it is illegal in all 50 to tow a trailer that weight without working brakes. Make sure you post pictures! BTW what is the layout? Rear Bath, Side Twins? that is what ours is but it isn't going to last very long in that layout.

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Old 10-18-2003, 07:36 AM   #8
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Wahoonc,

What layout do you have in mind?
I hate the end bath layout

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Old 10-18-2003, 08:11 AM   #9
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JB

Welcome to the forum. As you can see from my info I have a 31' Excella and a 2001 Excursion. Great tow vehicle, BTW. I have hooked my coach up to the Ex to move it around and it really weighs down the rear end. The hitch gets close enough to the ground that it would scrape easily. You wouldn't be doing your springs any good.

IMHO you would be better off checking with your local dealer, tell him of your dilemma and maybe he can be of help.

As for brakes, I have towed mine for 60 miles without brakes when the controller failed. Of course that was in Florida, flat country and all. I had no problem. Just be sure to keep an extra long separation, especially in city traffic. If you are in hilly or mountainous terrain, then no brakes can be a big problem.

One last thought, regardless of your decision, be sure to pump your tires up to 60 pounds on your Ex and check the inflation and tire condition on the coach.

Good luck. You have a winning combination in coach and tow vehicle. ENJOY!!

Vic
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Old 10-18-2003, 08:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silver Eagle
No, I don't have a brake controller yet either. My plan was to install the weight distribution hitch and controller after getting the trailer back home. But...that hundred and twenty miles is seperating me from that plan.
Silver,

First, Welcome to the Forums!

I have a 34' that I tow with an Excursion. I have a Hi-Performance Reece Dual Cam hitch setup. I will occasionally tow my trailer the six blocks to the sewer dump station without my WD bars, but I wouldn't tow it any further than that. I always have the brakes hooked up even to go dump. As heavy as the Excursion is, your 31' without brakes can still push it around like a toy.

Make your first trip a successful and safe one. Get the hitch and have the controller installed before the trip. It may be a little extra hassle up front, but nothing like dealing with an out-of-control trailer or the potential aftermath. Air up your tires to near maximum and that will help a lot to reduce any sway problems.

Don't forget that there are some legal issues here too. If you're involved in an accident and you're not properly equipped, you're probably on your own. Your insurance may not cover the damages, and should there be lawsuits and you're shown to be negligent you could be in real trouble.

Best of luck!

Roger
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Old 10-18-2003, 09:39 AM   #11
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You have an excursion, they are built on a 3/4 ton so towing without a weight distro system will be fine. I pull my 76 soverign 31 without a weight distro system with no problem using a ford f-250. I will go along with everyone about the breaks though, not with out trailer brakes.
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Old 10-18-2003, 11:07 AM   #12
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Silver Eagle,
I am not far from you, in Orange County.
You can use my weight distributing system, and I can show you how to set it up on your Excursion. I do think you will need it for the 31footer's tongue weight.
I disagree with the posts that say " just drag it home,etc". That's unsafe.
Your first tow should not be a nightmare.....
I will be glad to help, seriously.
Order a brake controller NOW, and have it put in before you even think about towing a 7000lb trailer.
There is a welding shop nearby, they did a fantastic job installing my brake controller and wiring to the Suburban.
PM me if you want to use my stuff.
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:39 PM   #13
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I just thought about something. Somewhere I heard that in california it is not legal to to a trailer in excess of 5000lbs without a weight distro system, can anyone ring in on this and clairify to either confirm or deny this? If its true you will need the weight distro system, even if your tow vehicle dont.
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Old 10-18-2003, 04:42 PM   #14
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Law

I don't think it's a law. Trailer brakes have legislation, but not weight distributing systems, to my best knowledge.
Anyways, the weight distributing system does not just level the rig, it also makes for a substantially more stable ride if adjusted properly. The angle of the spring bar ends helps provide a certain camber arrangement that want to make the rig track straighter than without.
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Old 10-18-2003, 05:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by qqq
Wahoonc,

What layout do you have in mind?
I hate the end bath layout

Hart
Hart,
For the time being the rear bath is going to have to stay. I am planning on converting one of the twins to a double and removing the other one for desk, wardrobe type space. I have to unbastardize the front couch, FO added a bunch of plywood and 2x4's trying to make a queen This is my first AS so I am not trying too much right off the bat. But that may change real quick. I am really looking forward to having something that I can work on and not worry about the consequences. Plus I am sure I can sell it tomorrow for what I have in it, if necessary.

uwe,
Wanna come pull mine home? Our TV is in the shop... for at least another week But we may be getting another one shortly anyway.

Aaron
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Old 10-18-2003, 06:50 PM   #16
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I have completed the twin conversion as far as the construction is concerned. I put in a full size bed but used a futon matress so it can fold up into a couch when not in use and allow access to the rear bath and give me the extra room for a desk and set of drawers on the road side. I still have some finish work to do. I dont think the queen will fit, better take a tape and make sure.
I use 2X2's and 3/8" ac plywood for most construction but used 1/4" for the bed decking.
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Old 10-18-2003, 10:49 PM   #17
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Thumbs up Thanks Everyone

Thanks to all of you for your great replies! I will definitely be getting the brake controller...I must sheepishly admit that I was not certain one could be installed independent of the trailer. I thought their had to be some sort of "synching" between the tow vehicle and the trailer regarding the braking system!

Uwe in Orange County thank you for your kind offer! How generous! I may take you up on some tips and give you a call. I am not certain how to contact those on our list via email but will attempt to do so.

Regarding the 31' Sovereign layout...it has a midships bed that I think is a double on the curb side. Rear bath. I think the living room set up is a bit unique as it has an L type of sofa that is quite large that wraps along the street side and front. Very nice layout for my family!

Once again thanks to all for the great welcome to this forum as well as the generous advice!
JB
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Old 10-19-2003, 06:50 PM   #18
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Thanks to all of you for your great replies! I will definitely be getting the brake controller...I must sheepishly admit that I was not certain one could be installed independent of the trailer. I thought their had to be some sort of "synching" between the tow vehicle and the trailer regarding the braking system!

Yes, the controller must be "leveled" prior to towing, but it is a 2 minute thing, involving a couple of minor adjustments to the controller. After doing this, you need to adjust how aggressive the trailer bakes will be, also a few minute thing. You can install the controller without the trailer being there, you can install and drive to the trailer, then make your adjustments. You would have to do this anyway, no matter where you picked up the trailer.
Good luck with your new "baby".
Terry
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Old 10-20-2003, 07:11 AM   #19
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Re: Thanks Everyone

Quote:
Originally posted by Silver Eagle
Thanks to all of you for your great replies! I will definitely be getting the brake controller...I must sheepishly admit that I was not certain one could be installed independent of the trailer. I thought their had to be some sort of "synching" between the tow vehicle and the trailer regarding the braking system!

Uwe in Orange County thank you for your kind offer! How generous! I may take you up on some tips and give you a call. I am not certain how to contact those on our list via email but will attempt to do so.

Regarding the 31' Sovereign layout...it has a midships bed that I think is a double on the curb side. Rear bath. I think the living room set up is a bit unique as it has an L type of sofa that is quite large that wraps along the street side and front. Very nice layout for my family!

Once again thanks to all for the great welcome to this forum as well as the generous advice!
JB
No problem installing the wiring on the tow rig. That is actually a standard these days'. Most shops will be able to have it all wired un in about an hour. Now what may run you into a problem is the trailer may have the old style plug on it. That may need to be updated. Might check with a large trailer hitch place and see if there is an adaptor from the old "Pin" style to the current "Spade" style. If you can find that then you should be completly ready to go reguardless.

As for towing without right gear. DON"T DO IT!

We moved out 59 30 miles. Had no choice it had to be moved right then due to it being the only time a tow vehicle was available. The WD hitch was MIA. It was a white knuckle ride.
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Old 10-20-2003, 08:13 AM   #20
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I towed my Overlander 60 miles with only 3 tires holding air, no brakes and no lights (during the day of course.) I had to get it off the peoples property right away, as they were being fined $250/day for it being there. I had a buddy of mine following right behind in his pickup with my hand held CB, and me with my CB in my Suburban. 50 of the 60 miles were empty highway on a Sunday morning. The trip through town wasn't too bad either. I just left a lot of room between myself and the other cars. I wouldn't reccomend doing this, but in my case it was then or never.

I'm not experienced at towing, but that old yacht tracked perfectly behind me at 50 mph, effortlessly. Of course, there were no trucks blowing by me to cause any swaying.

I have a Tekonsha Voyager that I inherited, but haven't as of yet had it installed. I have read that most people prefer the Prodigy. For now, and for my local treks, I will use the Voyager. When I get ready for longer hauls, I will consider upgrading.

Good luck on your tow, and take it slow. Have someone follow you if you can. They can let you know if things are falling off the trailer, or tires are going low.
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