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Old 04-20-2014, 10:26 AM   #1
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Full sized P'up TV hitch setups

I'm a newbie yet to squeeze off on a AS. My choice unit will be 30'+ Signature or Classic using my F350 PSD to do the tow work. I was smart enough to order the truck with the factory trailer brake controller so that side is covered. I realize there are TONS of hitch setup and options out there.

Considering I have a 1 ton truck is there really a need for the whole weight distributing hitch setups? I've towed several different ball hitch trailers with no real issues. This would be my first RV of any size so I just want to be ready.

Additionally I know I could try to swing a deal on buying the AS that they add in a hitch setup. Considering that possibility what's a reasonable hitch setup to have the "total package price" include for my deal??

Thanks to all!
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:33 AM   #2
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A weight distribution hitch would benefit you in ride quality, and handling stability. Almost any of the name brand hitches will work fine, but I'd look for one with built in sway control. There are many discussions on this subject here, so it would save a lot of time for everyone else if you would do a search on the subject, and a lot of reading.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:57 PM   #3
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I didn't realize I was wasting your time. I shall seek an answer thru other means.
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:26 PM   #4
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Get a Hensley Arrow hitch and be done with it....
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavyAssault View Post
I didn't realize I was wasting your time. I shall seek an answer thru other means.

Actually, I said "everyone else", but here's just the first thread I found without doing a search on the first page of the towing forum, and there's lots of reading for you there, with lots of opinions:


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...-d-117425.html
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:18 PM   #6
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If you're not familiar with a Hensley, that would be one place to start. Your Airstream is a significant investment, likely with more value than your truck or the other trailers you've pulled. You asked if there is really a need. In my view (and I have been Airstreaming for all of 12 months, so I am not an expert by any means) that is the wrong question. The question is, What is the optimal hitch set up, the best for my set up? There are 3 parts to the equation - the tow vehicle, the trailer, and the hitch set up. If you have 2 of the 3 covered, you don't want a "weak link" with the third.

Good luck - as much fun as we're having now planning our trips over Memorial Day, Alumapalooza at Jackson Center, and our summer trip out west, we really enjoyed the "currently looking" phase last year.

Rich
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:25 PM   #7
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I didn't want to get into the brand war question. I know there's always a favorite and there are usually more than just one. I just read over the Hensley site which was new to me. After looking at the video I do think the maneuverability is quite impressive. I need to revisit the ProPride site again to see if they have that ability.
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
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Yes, the brand wars will occasionally break out. I like to think of it as people speaking from a basis of familiarity with a device they use. There are pro's and con's of just about everything involved with towing, and only you can figure out how to weigh those and make the best decision for you.

Last year (my first with the Hensley) a couple of times while hitching someone would approach and say something to the effect of "I've never seen a hitch like that before". Surprising to me since they've been around for the better part of 20 years and are painted the distinctive orange. But years ago a friend of ours had one, so that is how I learned of them.

Our trip out West last year was to Santa Fe, and the route we took was through Tulsa. We drove some on Route 66, and one overnight stay was at Twin Bridges State Park near Wyandotte, OK. It wasn't planned, just where we ended up at the end of the day. Nice country. (that last para would be considered thread hijacking, I guess.)
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:59 PM   #9
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It's all good. I'm new out here due to job relocation. I'm enjoying the area so far. I'm just now getting to a point that I can enjoy things at a little slower pace.

From your above reply I do agree about it being a 3 part equation. Watching the ProPride videos it seems to be the same maneuverability as the other. It's even more interesting to read it's basically the same hitch. LOL Okay so I need to factor in another $2500 or so for a hitch setup. I'll hope to use that as leverage on the sales floor.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:58 AM   #10
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The PP is improved over the HA. I have the latter, and the bad luck to have purchased it only a few months before the PP became available. A pickup is more the weak link than the trailer . . and A/S is faster through the slalom than any pickup (rollover tendencies). This hitch type you'll find is confidence-inspiring, meaning that driving is less stressful.

How well it is set up (using a certified three-pad public weigh scale [CAT Scale] separates the men from the boys. Better said, the optimizaton of individual tire loads before and after WD is applied will make for an optimized rig.

Many of us will no longer use ST tires, but have gone to LT spec for our TTs. Several good threads on that subject.

Good luck

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Old 04-21-2014, 07:23 AM   #11
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I started the AS hobby last year and before I bought an AS, I read almost every thread on WD hitches. While I already had a 1/2 ton TV with the factory towing package, I felt that having the right hitch and tires was essential to safety and mental security. Clearly wd is more important on my 1/2 ton TV, but I did not and do not believe there is such a thing as overkill when towing something more than 25 ft and weighing more than 6000 lbs.
I went with the PP because I felt it had the best engineering and support of anything available. I bought it, my selling trailer dealer installed it at no charge. It has been a pleasure for towing.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavyAssault View Post
Considering I have a 1 ton truck is there really a need for the whole weight distributing hitch setups? I've towed several different ball hitch trailers with no real issues. This would be my first RV of any size so I just want to be ready.

With all due respect to HA and PP owners AND those North of the Border towing 34'ers with minivans, ANY 1 ton US made tow vehicle is a pretty awesome TV. Personally, I tow with 3/4 ton vehicles with a HAHA.


Let's face it, $2500 is a significant chunk of change.


I have towed with a variety of hitch setups, and more so than weight distribution a good hitch will arrest sway.


In my estimation, the Reese hitch would give you the most bang for your buck in your situation. If you start to pull almost full time, then explore the need for a more costly (and complicated) hitch.


My opinion only.


Be careful of some advice offered here - there are many who are professional posters, but whose actual tow time is minimal.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:43 AM   #13
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I would go with a WD hitch (with sway control). While you may have more margin for error, a poor setup can affect stability even with a big, heavy TV like the F350.

I've towed our FC25 (and a previous 5er) with an F350 dually, and more recently with an F250. Our AS dealer threw in an Equalizer brand hitch with the deal, and I've been satisfied with it. I've also towed a "white box" SOB with the old Reese style hitches with a friction sway damper...I think those would work OK as well. I've never used any of the "super hitches" like the PP or the Hensley...but many swear by them.

There are different opinions about how closely you need to adhere to the rated capacities for you setup...some people treat them as rules and some more like guidelines. But I think it is important to at least understand how weights are distributed in your rig between the hitch and axles...they strongly influence stability while towing. Your Airstream isn't especially heavy, but it is long and presents a big lever on the back of your truck. A WD hitch will let you tune the weight distribution once you get the rig.

The first thing I would not do is exceed the rated capacity of my hitch and hitch receiver...the last thing I want is a hitch failure, and I would be concerned about the long term stress on an overloaded receiver. The max tongue weight for a 2014 F350 factory hitch without sway control is 850 lbs, according to the Ford towing guide, 1850 with weight distribution...I would imagine yours is similar, depending on the year. Your AS will likely have a tongue weight of 800-900 lbs.

The second thing I would not want to do is overload the tires and/or axles. Rear axle/tire capacity is what you run out of first with most rigs. With an F350 you have lots of rear axle, but I would at least take a look at the tire ratings (especially if not a dually) and think about how much stuff you are going to haul in the bed. plus the load from the tongue of the AS.

Lastly think about the total weight in your truck verus payload. Unless you are carrying a lot of stuff in the truck, you should be OK with the total payload (a dually has 4000lbs of payload, an SRW F350 has 3000 IIRC). F250s have a surprisingly low payload, because the curb weight of an F250 Crew Cab with FX4 is so high (8000lbs or so).

Again, you obviously have plenty of truck, but I think it is a good idea to understand the loading and balance the rig.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:49 AM   #14
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We tow our 30' with an F-250 with a Reese setup, with a friction sway bar (not the dual cam). Generally, it's pretty solid, although we noted some squirelleyness on the last trip that didn't exist before. Our theory is that the sagging springs and worn out shocks on our F-250 were finally to the point that they were causing problems, so we had them replaced and are looking forward to our next tow to see how it handles.

Once we got the hitch set up correctly, it performed well - nary a wiggle when a truck passes us in the opposite direction on a two-lane road at 60 mph. Any "porpoising" movement is damped down quickly. I believe the key for ANY hitch is to ensure it's set up correctly (and having the suspension in the tow vehicle in good condition, apparently). The settings the previous owner used basically meant we were towing without weight distribution or sway control, and we had problems with porpoising and swaying, and the rig wasn't level. Over time, I adjusted everything to get dialed in, a little bit at a time.

We have 1200 lb bars, but I think they're a bit too heavy for the rig, and we have a third battery and a large inverter under the front couch, so our tongue weight is somewhat higher than normal for a trailer like ours. Buying 800 lb bars as a test is kind of expensive if they don't work out, and I don't know anyone local with a Reese who'd let me borrow 800 lb bars. (My theory is that a 1000 lb bar would be perfect for us, but I don't think Reese makes them for our hitch.)
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