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Old 08-08-2007, 11:00 PM   #15
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I don't think any of the hitches are that hard to hook up. I use a Reese with chains on the bars. I elevate the rear of my truck with the hitch jack to help get the chains on as well. I think the HA-HA has the highest level of challange, the hardest part getting the stinger into the back of the truck. I watched the Silverbacks hook theirs up this year at a rally and they made that look pretty easy as well.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:08 PM   #16
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Greetings zimbop!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbop
Ok, so I visited the local dealers today and here's what I found:

Equal-i-zer: Found one in the 1000# setup for $550 or so. The only one I saw today that has true anti-sway built in. That one looks quite a bit harder to lock in the bars. There doesn't seem to be a lever-operated mechanism like the chain-type bars have. How do you spring up the bars? With the trailer jack or something?
A hitch rated at 10,000 pounds would put tremendous stress on your coach. Equal-I-zer offers weight ratings down to 600 pounds -- I haven't heard whether they offer a special "light-weight" model for smaller coaches.

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Originally Posted by zimbop
Reese: Nobody had a straight-line, but somebody offered to order it for me for $575, no drawbar included (extra $100 or so). They also showed me the dual-cam in a catalog and advised me to stay away from it without a real compelling reason.
It is not unusual to find this situation with the typical dealer. For some reason, the typical (non-Airstream) dealer is most likely to offer the same response to the Straight-Line request -- it doesn't, however, take too long to get one from the factory or the dealer's distributor. The advice to "stay away from the Dual Cam" is another example of a dealer who's personnel have not received adequate training on the installation and setup of the hitch -- it took me multiple tries to find a dealer who understood the hitch and ordered the Straight-Line that I needed for my coach. Another oft repeated but non-factual statement is "you cannot use the Dual Cam with coaches under 4,000 pounds" -- I had heard this several times so I contacted Reese customer relations and received a message from someone in their engineering department stating that "gross weight isn't the greatest determining factor -- the most important determining factor is the gross hitch weight must be at least 400 pounds for an effective Dual Cam installation."

A photo of my '75 Eldorado Convertible with Minuet show the Reese Straight-Line hitch as I have it configured for this towing pair.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbop
So that's what I learned, Having read the responses above I wanted to see the Equal-i-zer and the Straight-line [though now that I re-read some of those I guess I meant to look for the dual-cam, which I did not find except for the catalog view at one dealer who suggested I stay away from it]. Seems as though I should really get a look at the trailer tongue and be sure the positioning of the attachments for each hitch will work before I go buy one I guess.
The Dual Cam is a standard part of the Straight-Line Hitch. Reese also offers the Dual Cam as a separate package that can be added to a Reese hitch at any time. Today, there are two versions of the Dual Cam -- the original that bolts to the hitch via a bracket setup (requires no drilling of the frame) -- the new version Dual Cam HP is permanently mounted to the hitch (requires drilling of frame). I am utilizing the older clamp-on style for both of my coaches and am a fan of this setup as it allows for easier adjustment if multiple lengths of spring bars are utilized to tow the same trailer (something that I experience when utilizing my Reese Light Weight 350 poun trunion bars from my first RV -- a 1980 Nomad).

Utilizing the clamp-on style Dual Cams, no modifications were necessary on my Minuet -- for easier adjustment, the LP tank mounting hardware needed to repositioned on my Overlander. It is necessary to special order the clamp-on style Dual Cam with special shorter U-Bolts to facilitate attachment to the smaller frame utilized with the Minuet (an Airstream dealer typically stocks them, at least in my region).

Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbop
How hard is it to set up and connect/disconnect the Equal-i-zer? For half the money there are several round bar and chain type options. Also the Reese trunion bar type. I certainly like the anti-sway simplicity on the Equal-i-zer as opposed to the relatively clumsy-seeming friction sway control bars that can be added on to the chain type, but I'm unsure if it's much harder to deal with.
Can't be of much help with the Equalizer, but thought that I might clarify that the Reese Straight-Line hitch does utilize chains (in fact the clamp-on style Dual Cam uses the same chains that are removed from your weight distribution bars -- at least mine did). The chains remain on the trailer tongue rather than with the weight distribution bars. Once the Straight-Line hitch is properly installed and adjusted, hitching up is a simple task of locking the coupler on the ball and then raising the tongue with the jack to make locking the chains in the snap-up brackets a simple affair that does not require a cheater bar.

In my experience, it is very difficult to find a hitch dealer who is familiar with properly sizing and setting up a hitch for an Airstream, particularly a Vintage coach. My first 10,000 pound Reese Trunion hitch was sold to me by the most respected hitch installer in the region, but he knew nothing of any unique considerations for Airstreams being towed by heavy duty tow vehicles; and he only sold Dual Cam systems by special order.

Good luck with your hitch selection, it is indeed a perplexing arena out there with all of the new "low-cost" competitors in the market.

Kevin
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:42 PM   #17
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Thanks for the responses all.

AZFLYCASRTER: What is "HA-HA"?

OVERLANDER64: Great detailed info, thank you.

First of all, I wasn't planning on purchasing the 1000# equal-i-zer, specifically because of the over-duty concerns you mentioned. If I were to get the Eq I would order the 600# version, though I think they're priced the same.

On closer inspection of the Reese catalog, I understand now that the Straight-line and Dual cam are the same thing in different packages. However, the straight line pakages seem to come with a different cam bafr with an adjusting nut that is missing in the "dual cam" model. Of all the ones I've seen, these one look to be the least friendly to backing and tight maneuvering, is that a fair conclusion? They make it in trunion and round bar styles, what's preferred? For my Minuet I assume I would use the 550 or 600# models? I sort of like the idea of using a reese hitch and adding the dual cam later if I need it. Or maybe its best to just start with the whole set.

You're right about finding a dealer. There's a trailer supply house in Albuquerque who is good and I trust, but nearly all the RV dealers were mostly useless, especially the airstream dealer. They weren't helpful at all. All the guy there did is point at the one they had on dislplay and stood there with his hands in his pockets. They didn't have anyone who knew anything. In fact, that's what I got at most places. A couple had someone who had at least used one or two of them, but still couldn't offer much advice on how to set it up (which is what I used as a test to see if they really knew from experience or not).
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbop
Thanks for the responses all.

AZFLYCASRTER: What is "HA-HA"?
HA-HA is the Hensley Arrow


Great hitch at a great price. They retail for $3,000.

I can not explain how they work, I did not go to MIT.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
HA-HA is the Hensley Arrow


Great hitch at a great price. They retail for $3,000.

I can not explain how they work, I did not go to MIT.
That's a little scary looking to me, and I AM an engineer. Is this a popular model?
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64



Dude, if you can tow an airstrem with your Caddy, then I'm totally done worrying about whether my Xterra can hack it. :-)
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:58 PM   #21
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Greetings zimbop!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbop
On closer inspection of the Reese catalog, I understand now that the Straight-line and Dual cam are the same thing in different packages. However, the straight line pakages seem to come with a different cam bafr with an adjusting nut that is missing in the "dual cam" model. Of all the ones I've seen, these one look to be the least friendly to backing and tight maneuvering, is that a fair conclusion? They make it in trunion and round bar styles, what's preferred? For my Minuet I assume I would use the 550 or 600# models? I sort of like the idea of using a reese hitch and adding the dual cam later if I need it. Or maybe its best to just start with the whole set.
In nearly ten years with the Dual Cam setup, I have never had to disconnect the weight distribution bars for any maneuvering. It will, however, make its own symphony of pops, cluncks and squeaks during slow speed maneuvers particularly when backing up at a sharp angle.

Unless things have changed markedly in recent years, there was a slight price advantage to purchasing the entire Straight-Line hitch as a package. I believe that the savings was close to $100 when I purchased the setup for my Overlander.

What you are noting in the catalog is the difference between the new HP Dual Cam system compared to the familiar clamp-on bracket Dual Cam. The Dual Cam was an add-on for my Minuet as the previous owner included a Reese Hitch with my purchase of the coach. At that time, the cost of the Dual Cam as a separate device was a bit over $200 when shipping was added to the catalog price.

Good luck with your selection -- your research will pay off!

Kevin
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:12 AM   #22
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Weight Distribution Hitch

zimbop
Lets keep things in perspective. The Caddy in the picture probally weighs around 6000 lbs. On top of that it probally has a 455 Cubic Inch V-8 engine which has more brute torque than all engines except the turbo diesels and the 455 chevy even though it a low compression engine (less than 10:1). That being said the Caddy with its full chassis represents a 3/4 or one ton pickup with a very comfortable ride. If it were a rear wheel drive sedan the differential would be the same size as the differential in a one ton truck. The differential in my 71 Olds (455 ci) was. In short the Caddy is a slow turning high torque brute force lead sled.
Just remembering the good old days, you can't beat cubic inches.
Also, I don't disconnect any part of my dual cam setup to back or manouver, its just not necessary.
I was very fortunate in that I had mentors locally to guide me in the selection of hitch configurations, diagnosis of problems and to pass down pearls of wisdom concerning situations you will encounter on the road in varying conditions. I miss those gentlemen.
Beginner
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:24 AM   #23
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Greetings Beginner!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beginner
zimbop
Lets keep things in perspective. The Caddy in the picture probally weighs around 6000 lbs. On top of that it probally has a 455 Cubic Inch V-8 engine which has more brute torque than all engines except the turbo diesels and the 455 chevy even though it a low compression engine (less than 10:1). That being said the Caddy with its full chassis represents a 3/4 or one ton pickup with a very comfortable ride. If it were a rear wheel drive sedan the differential would be the same size as the differential in a one ton truck. The differential in my 71 Olds (455 ci) was. In short the Caddy is a slow turning high torque brute force lead sled.
Just remembering the good old days, you can't beat cubic inches.
Beginner
The '75 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible had a shipping weight of 5,500 pounds +/- depending upon optional equipment. The transmission is virtually identical to that which was installed in the GMC Motorhome -- the front axle was quite similar but had different axle shafts and different torsion bars for suspension. In '75, the Eldorado came with the 8.2 Liter V8 with a displacement of 501 cubic inches. Thus far, it doesn't seem to make much difference whether towing or solo, the fuel economy remains about 10 to 12 MPG. When applied to the GMC Motorhome, this front drive configuration yielded a 3.05 final drive ratio while in the Edlorado the final drive ratio was 2.70 in later years but in earlier years the Eldorado also carried the 3.05 final drive ratio.

Kevin
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:27 AM   #24
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You talk about catalog orders... who's good for that? I have been looking at etrailer.com, 1800hitchit.com, rvsupplywarehouse.com, and reese-hitches.com.

Found the straight line 600# with tow bar/shank for $508 at 1800hitchit.com
Found the Equal-i-zer 600# with tow bar/shank for $409

Rvsupplywarehouse.com ranks the hitches in terms of installation difficulty on a 1 to 5 scale. They call the straightline a 4 and the equal-i-zer a 3.
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:34 AM   #25
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Greetings zimbop!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbop
You talk about catalog orders... who's good for that? I have been looking at etrailer.com, 1800hitchit.com, rvsupplywarehouse.com, and reese-hitches.com.

Found the straight line 600# with tow bar/shank for $508 at 1800hitchit.com
Found the Equal-i-zer 600# with tow bar/shank for $409
When purchasing the Dual Cam for my Minuet, I consulted the sites that you mention, but due to a special President's Club sale at Camping World, I was able to purche the system from them for the lowest price at the time. Something to keep in mind -- get the shipping price as this can be significant -- I was fortunate to be located near the Camping World shipping point so shipping was more reasonable than expected.

Kevin
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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 08-09-2007, 12:42 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64
Greetings zimbop!



When purchasing the Dual Cam for my Minuet, I consulted the sites that you mention, but due to a special President's Club sale at Camping World, I was able to purche the system from them for the lowest price at the time. Something to keep in mind -- get the shipping price as this can be significant -- I was fortunate to be located near the Camping World shipping point so shipping was more reasonable than expected.

Kevin
rvsupplywarehouse has free shipping on orders over $150. At 1800hitchit.com it's flat $20. There's a camping world in town here... I should see what they have... they have the 600# StraightLine for $399 plus bar for $110 makes $509. Might not be bad if they have it in stock locally, I can just go pick it up... but then there's sales tax too.
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