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Old 09-25-2007, 08:24 PM   #15
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Here is what my manual says...

The hitch ball on the T/V - on level ground - should be 19.5 inches from the ground measured to the top of the ball.

Attach the trailer to the hitch - latch and lock the coupler.

Use the jack to raise trailer/tow vehicle several inches (the manual says all the way). Install the WD bars and latch them in place. Lower the jack until it comes off the ground and measure again at the coupler. Keep doing this (changing the number of links you drop) until the result is the hitch/tow vehicle is approximately 1 inch higher than before the trailer was connected.

Remember how many links you dropped to get there. Again, this is from the Airstream manual - not my instruction but I do follow them.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:12 AM   #16
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"Keep doing this (changing the number of links you drop) until the result is the hitch/tow vehicle is approximately 1 inch HIGHER than before the trailer was connected."

Ganglin,

I'm sorry, Airstream manual or not, I cannot see where the above could be correct. Should it be one inch lower?

Thanks for you input, but the above still does not answer my question of what is the result if the ball is mounted too high to begin with.

Steve
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
The hitch ball on the T/V - on level ground - should be 19.5 inches from the ground measured to the top of the ball.

Attach the trailer to the hitch - latch and lock the coupler.

Use the jack to raise trailer/tow vehicle several inches (the manual says all the way). Install the WD bars and latch them in place. Lower the jack until it comes off the ground and measure again at the coupler. Keep doing this (changing the number of links you drop) until the result is the hitch/tow vehicle is approximately 1 inch higher than before the trailer was connected.

Remember how many links you dropped to get there. Again, this is from the Airstream manual - not my instruction but I do follow them.

Ball heights cannot ever be what Airstream advertizes, after a period of time. How much time, who knows.

1. Torsion axles are weight sensitive.

2. How much have the axles settled because of non use?

Therefore the ball height of exactly the same trailer can be very different from one owner to another.

The "only" way ball height can be determined, is to measure the coach in question.

Granted, there is a starting point, but rarely after a few years, does that measurement hold true.

Because of loading and axle condition, ball heights can change almost 3 inches, and sometimes more.

Also, when adjusting the chain links, "NEVER" count how many links are dropped, but "ALWAYS" count how many under stress.

1. There have be examples of a different number of links from one side to the other.

2. Your eye's should be on the business end of the chaian, so that you don't accidentally put a twist in the chain, which shortens it's length. Should that happen differently from one side to the other, then the chains will not have the same stresses on them. That would be bad news.

Andy
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Old 09-26-2007, 12:10 PM   #18
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It's becoming clear to me that either I cannot explain my situation and therefore ask a question that anyone understands, or no one knows the answer to my question.
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Old 09-26-2007, 12:48 PM   #19
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"Seems that I remember the unloaded hitch ball height is supposed to be 1" higher than the hitch on the trailer when the trailer is level when using a WD hitch. Is this still popular concensus?"

NO!

"My current tow vehicle (to be replaced in the near future) is a short wheelbase half ton Dodge pickup, and with the adjustable hitch set to it's lowest position, the ball is quite a bit higher than that. So, can I "get by" with it for a while, and what in your opinion are the consequences?"

NO. consequenses could be big dents to trailer, tow vehicle, you, or even worse, ME!

buy the proper ball mount for the hitch. i sure hope you're not going to use the bumper.
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:01 PM   #20
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SteveH,

I'll scan the manual pages and send them to you this week - even though some don't seem to agree with Airstreams instructions - you have to have something to use as a starting point. The simple answer to your question (yes we do understand what your saying) is no don't try to tow it that way at least in my humble opinion.

Yes Higher is correct - that is the best balance of the trailer and tow vehicle according to both Airstream and what I've read other places. If it's lower that lifts the A$$ of the trailer and lifts the proper weight/balance somewhat off the front tow vehicle steering - not good.

If your really uncomfortable find either a VERY good RV dealer to balance it for you. Or, my favorite here locally, a commercial trailer dealer that also works on RV's - the one I'm dealing with knows what they are doing when it comes to proper hitch setup for the first time and are much less expensive to deal with than an RV shop..
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:18 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny
"Seems that I remember the unloaded hitch ball height is supposed to be 1" higher than the hitch on the trailer when the trailer is level when using a WD hitch. Is this still popular concensus?"

NO!

"My current tow vehicle (to be replaced in the near future) is a short wheelbase half ton Dodge pickup, and with the adjustable hitch set to it's lowest position, the ball is quite a bit higher than that. So, can I "get by" with it for a while, and what in your opinion are the consequences?"

NO. consequenses could be big dents to trailer, tow vehicle, you, or even worse, ME!

buy the proper ball mount for the hitch. i sure hope you're not going to use the bumper.
Ricky,

Actually, the bumper is rated to pull a gross trailer weight of 5000 lbs, and my trailer has a manufacturers stated weight of less then 3500 lbs, so it could easily be done.

The only thing wrong with my current hitch setup is the ball is too high on the weight dristributing hitch, causing too much weight, relative to ideal, to be put on the rear axel of the truck. However, we are talking about a truck, not a sedan or an SUV. Pickup trucks are built lighter in the front, and have the suspension to handle heavier weights in the rear.

Additionally, I have already pulled the trailer with this setup approximately 900 miles with no one being hurt, do dents in the trailer or other vehicles on the road, or for that matter, no significant ill effects like sway, braking, or stearing problems.

I would still like some more scientific predictions than the above to any problems with this setup if anyone knows any.

Anyone?

Thanks,
SteveH
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:57 AM   #22
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how about posting a picture of your setup? one picture is worth a 1000 posts. :-)
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:57 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH
Ricky,

Actually, the bumper is rated to pull a gross trailer weight of 5000 lbs, and my trailer has a manufacturers stated weight of less then 3500 lbs, so it could easily be done.

The only thing wrong with my current hitch setup is the ball is too high on the weight dristributing hitch, causing too much weight, relative to ideal, to be put on the rear axel of the truck. However, we are talking about a truck, not a sedan or an SUV. Pickup trucks are built lighter in the front, and have the suspension to handle heavier weights in the rear.

Additionally, I have already pulled the trailer with this setup approximately 900 miles with no one being hurt, do dents in the trailer or other vehicles on the road, or for that matter, no significant ill effects like sway, braking, or stearing problems.

I would still like some more scientific predictions than the above to any problems with this setup if anyone knows any.

Anyone?

Thanks,
SteveH
Steve.

There are several answers to your questions.

These are not opinions, but "facts."

If you chose to ignore them, then that is your choice.

A tandem axle Airstream, "MUST" be towed level or very close to in, so that it handles correctly.

If the tandem trailer is not level when towed, excessive weight would be placed on one axle, which "ALSO" causes a sway.

Your truck, is a truck. Simply because it's a truck, does not make it something "magic" where you can ignore the laws of physics.

When the ball is too high on the tow vehicle, and the trailer is level when being towed, simply means that the back end of the tow vehicle will ride "low." Doesn't matter car, truck, whatever.

When that situation happens, the front end of the tow vehicle "will" lose some weight, period. Again, a truck doesn't change that fact.

If you want the rig to handle correctly, and to comply with the laws of physics, you must lower the ball on your truck.

How you do it, is not nearly as important as doing it.

Until that ball height of your tow vehicle matches the trailer, your rig will not ever tow correctly.

When the ball height "is" correct your rig will handle correctly, provided the hitch rating is correct, the hitch is properly adjusted and that you have a good sway control, and no overloads on the back of your truck, or improperly inflated air shocks or air bags.

The answers to all your "ball" height questions can easily be answered by a truck scale.

The bottom line of what you have, is your looking for a place to lose control of your rig, "guaranteed."

I personally have investigated more than 1000 (one thousand) loss of control accidents, specifically while towing an Airstream or Argosy trailer, and proved more than 90 percent of the time, what caused the loss of control, and how easily it could have nbeen avoided, "IF" that person listened to facts, not opinions, and complied with the laws of physics.

According to your description of your rig, you fit the criteria, to lose control of your rig, "guaranteed."

When, I can't tell you.

Where, I can't tell you.

But for sure, I can tell you, it will happen, sooner than you might expect.

Statistics and physics make that guarantee.

Be as safe as you can, when towing. That is the best that anyone can do.

Your rig, by your desciption, is far from safe.

I won't even bring up the liability you have, should you lose control and hurt someone.

This certainly, I think, is not what you want to hear, but you have asked the same question over and over again.

The answers are abundant, in an effort to help you. You have to make the choice of "what to do."

Andy
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:16 AM   #24
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Steve,

See if this helps you any as a reference and starting point.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Airstream Hitching.pdf (1.75 MB, 59 views)
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Old 09-27-2007, 01:03 PM   #25
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Andy Wrote"
" A tandem axle Airstream, "MUST" be towed level or very close to in, so that it handles correctly.

If the tandem trailer is not level when towed, excessive weight would be placed on one axle, which "ALSO" causes a sway.

Your truck, is a truck. Simply because it's a truck, does not make it something "magic" where you can ignore the laws of physics.

When the ball is too high on the tow vehicle, and the trailer is level when being towed, simply means that the back end of the tow vehicle will ride "low." Doesn't matter car, truck, whatever.

When that situation happens, the front end of the tow vehicle "will" lose some weight, period. Again, a truck doesn't change that fact."



Andy,

I understand all of what you are saying, and trying not to seem argumentative here, agree with some of it. However, I have to disagree with some as well. Not so much about my specific situation, but in principle.

Specifically, no a truck is not something "magic", but it is different from a car or for that matter, even a lot of SUV's, and that difference is that it is designed and built to haul a load, of significant weight, directly over the rear axle. My truck is designed to haul 1000 pounds safely down the highway, at highway speeds, carrying that load. Cars, and most SUV's, are not. Trucks are designed so they can carry that load, again over the rear axle, without increasing the weight on the front axle, and handle safely. If this were not the case, every fifth wheel RV running down the road would be as you say, " looking for a place to lose control". We all know from their history of performance, that is not the case.

Another example of the fact that trucks are designed to haul weight over the rear axle....a while back with another Dodge truck I had that was older and had sagged in the front suspension which was coil spring, I went to the dealer trying to buy 3/4 ton front springs. (I figured they would be stronger, and would raise the truck a little, and stiffen the ride) Low and behold, Dodge makes two different front springs, standard, and heavy duty. Those two sets of springs are used in 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton trucks with all body and bed combinations, at least of the year model I was dealing with. The point again, trucks are designed to carry their load over the rear axle.

I completely agree with you that all trailers, especially multi-axle tortion suspention trailers, should be towed in the level condition, and mine is.

I also agree with you that whatever the tow vehicle, if the tongue weight of the trailer lifts the front end of the tow vehicle, it is unsafe.

Now, what I am going to do is get my outfit on some level pavement, measure the front and rear of my truck, hook up the trailer, adjust the bars so the trailer is level, and then measure how much my truck went down or up, both front and rear. From that data, I will make the determination if I need to buy a new hitch to change the unloaded ball height.

I will take pictures of what I find. By the way, it is true that I have just joined the forum, and it is true that I have just bought this Airsteam, but it is also true that I have been towing travel trailers with WD hitches since 1971, and three of those trailer were Airsteam products, so I didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

Thanks to everyone for your inputs.

SteveH
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:59 PM   #26
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load equalizing hitches.

Steve.

The purpose of a load equalizing hitch, is exactly that, it equalizes, a payload does not.
A well designed, properly installed, properly adjusted load equalizing hitch functions as follows.

Assume a tongue weight of 900 pounds for simplicity.

The load equalizing hitch will redistribute that weight by sending 1/3 of it to the trailer axle, or axles, in this case 300 pounds.

It also will take 2/3 of that weight and forward it to the tow vehicle, in this case 600 pounds, or 150 pounds per wheel.

The hitch, again everything being correct, will redistribute that 600 pounds, equally to the fours tires.

Therefore a load equalizing hitch, on a car or truck, does indeed shift the tongue weight from the trailer, thru the chassis or frame of the car, or truck.

When your carry a payload in the bed of a truck, granted, most of the added weight goes to the rear axle.

That is a very different set of parameters, than a load equalizing hitch. That payload does not have any way to go forward. In that respect, I agree with you.

But again, what a load equalizing hitch does to the weight on each tire, is very different from a payload, in the bed of your truck.

A truck scale will confirm that information to you.

If you wish to discuss these issues in detail, feel free to call me at 800-8777311.

Andy
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Old 09-27-2007, 05:39 PM   #27
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Andy,

I know very well how a load equalizing hitch works. I fully understand the theory, and the application. A person does not use a product as long as I have without understanding it. I keep asking what are the consequenses of my senario, and everyone keeps telling me how a hitch works.

My point in the above post about trucks is, I don't think the same parameters should be used with trucks and equalizing hitches as with cars or SUV's because trucks are designed to carry the load over the rear axle. Cars and SUV's, for the most part, are designed to carry their load just as you say, in the center of their frame.

In your very same senario, (900 pound tongue weight, and 600 pounds transfered to the TV) suppose you transfered the 600 pounds to just over the rear axle, instead of the center of the truck? (the bars would simply not be as tight, the truck would be lowered in the back from the weight, and the front of the truck would be at it's original, designed weight)

As I see it, that is exactly the senario that I have with my truck, trailer, and hitch. Since the truck is again designed to carry the weight like that, why would that not work, and one more time, WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENSES?

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 09-27-2007, 05:51 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH
Andy,

I know very well how a load equalizing hitch works. I fully understand the theory, and the application. A person does not use a product as long as I have without understanding it. I keep asking what are the consequenses of my senario, and everyone keeps telling me how a hitch works.

My point in the above post about trucks is, I don't think the same parameters should be used with trucks and equalizing hitches as with cars or SUV's because trucks are designed to carry the load over the rear axle. Cars and SUV's, for the most part, are designed to carry their load just as you say, in the center of their frame.

In your very same senario, (900 pound tongue weight, and 600 pounds transfered to the TV) suppose you transfered the 600 pounds to just over the rear axle, instead of the center of the truck? (the bars would simply not be as tight, the truck would be lowered in the back from the weight, and the front of the truck would be at it's original, designed weight)

As I see it, that is exactly the senario that I have with my truck, trailer, and hitch. Since the truck is again designed to carry the weight like that, why would that not work, and one more time, WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENSES?

Thanks,
Steve
Steve,

Please take your rig to a truck scale.

You are incorrect in assuming how a truck is designed to carry weight from a load equalizing hitch.

Many thousands of dollars were spent on a research program, that I headed, that says otherwise, from your theory.

Please, have everything weighed, and then post the resulting data.

If not, then I will as freindly as I can be, tell you, that you will lose control of your rig, unless you make some changes.

Andy
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