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Old 01-08-2009, 10:13 PM   #1
Augie R.
1960 22' Safari
carlsbad , California
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Found Original Hitch

Hi there folks,
So as I was gutting my AS I found this Travel-Lite Reese products tow distribution hitch thing wonder if its safe to use. What do you guys think?
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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Cool find! Fun to talk about and show off but i would go with newer technology and a little more flex in those bars. Who knows what story they have to tell.


2014 Intl 23' FB
1959 Tradewind 24'
2011 Dodge Dually Crew
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:21 PM   #3
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1954 29' Liner
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If you don't want it, I will take it.

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Old 01-08-2009, 10:49 PM   #4
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Hummm. Kinda looks like ours.

WBCCI 21043
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:29 PM   #5
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1981 27' Excella II
Lynnwood , Washington
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Looks like ours, works great!
81 Excella II

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:33 PM   #6
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Hi, with a little bit of paint and some grease it should work just fine. Use it.

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"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:40 PM   #7
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Found Original Hitch

The only issue that I can foresee is that the drop may not be correct for your current tow vehicle -- particularly if you are towing with a truck based vehicle. From the drop it looks like it was probably welded up for a large family sedan -- the one for my Cadillac has comparable setup -- probably a little more rise.

If the drawbar drop is correct, I see no reason not to use it. It is a Reese Trunion style hitch and it should accept current trunion weight distribution bars as well. Someone with knowledge of Reese products should be able to help you identify the rating of the bars -- if the setup was for a large family sedan my guess would be 750 to 800 pound rated bars. On edit -- Travel Lite bars could be as little as 350 pound rating -- I have a set of those that I use when towing my Minuet with my Suburban.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:36 AM   #8
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1977 31' Sovereign
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1989 34' Excella
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For your S-10 Chevy tow vehicle the hitch may be adequate but you will have to pull it a while to tell. From the looks, the bars have a 750 pound rating. These may be adequate for your 22 foot trailer with only one set of wheels. Measure the bar size where it goes into the trunnion and the trailer tongue weight to see if you are in the right ballpark. Hook it up and see how level the trailer is and whether it can be adjusted to transfer the proper amount of weight to the front wheels of the truck with the proper amount of deflection. Then, you have to find out if it has adequate sway stability. You only can tell this by some time on the road at your usual tow speeds. This hitch does not have the self centering capability or the later Dual- cam hitches. If it is not stable enough for you, you could buy new frame brackets and cam adapters to make it work like a later model Twin- Cam.
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:46 AM   #9

2003 25' Classic
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Thumbs up Original hitch...

Looks a lot like the one that came with our 63 Safari.

Ours did have an adjustable drop and friction sway control. Worked great for us for 18 seasons, but then again that was long before we knew anything, (like the Forums), ignorance is bliss I guess.

Don't know exactly what the #s on the bars mean, but I thought it might help.
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AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:59 AM   #10
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With a little paint and cleaning, the hitch "could" be usable. The hitch ball height is important as Kevin already mentioned. When stripping the old paint from the hitch head, look for cracks in the "welds" or for any signs of metal fatigue. And for sure, replace the hitch ball and torque it properly.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by augier View Post
Hi there folks,
So as I was gutting my AS I found this Travel-Lite Reese products tow distribution hitch thing wonder if its safe to use. What do you guys think?
The ball height must match the trailer.

That ball mount can be cut apart and rewelded, 3 times.

The rating of the bars, may or may not be correct, depending on the exact tow vehicle you have.

You can measure the top of the square bar, as it enters the trunion, to determine it's rating.

1" = 500#
1 1/8" = 750#
1 1/4" = 1000#

Your hitch is load leveling only. You can add the dual cams, to include the sway control setup.

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Old 01-09-2009, 07:08 AM   #12
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Looking for cracks in your hitch

An easy way to find cracks is to pour some liquid WD-40 into a small can and mix some Rit black or red powdered dye into it. Paint the solution onto the part, let it sit for a while and then wipe off any on the surface. Cover the part with talcum powder and let it sit for 30 minutes or so. Any cracks will be visible as a black or red line in the powder.
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:33 AM   #13
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There are a number of advantages to the old style, welded ball mounts. The first is that there are no nuts/bolts to come loose.

The 2nd and big advantage is the compact WBM has the ability to get the ball as close to 3 inches from the back bumper of the tow vehicle. This reduces stress on the vehicles hitch and reduces flex.

Having the ball close to the back bumper improves the wheel base to overhang ratio. This makes the TV act as if it had a longer wheel base.

One of our ball mounts is a 35 year old Reese WBM. Works great and is preferred.
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:26 AM   #14
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Valid points about inspecting the welds and hardware. We check the welds for cracks and fatigue, and we check the equalizer bar cups on the hitch for work hardening. Stress cracks caused by flexation, or work hardening are typically tight and shallow and can be difficult to see with the naked eye.

We use magnetic particle, or liquid penetrant test methods. In the absence of NDT equipment use eye magnification and supplemental lighting to assist you.

It looks like your hitch has the original paint, which often indicates little use.

If you were closer I'd gladly test them for you.

Good Luck With Your Project,



"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

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