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Old 06-07-2002, 01:41 PM   #1
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Hitch height

According to the airstream.com site, the ball height on all the 70's trailers is 19.5. (I'm assuming that means "inches"). I just checked the receiver on my truck, and the bottom of the receiver is 19.5 inches off the ground. (I was kind of surprised by this, because the truck seems to sit up high...its a 4x4....and airstreams have always looked to me like they sit low). Anyway, can I assume that a straight ball hitch (as opposed to a "drop-down") is appropriate? Certainly, the 580lb hitch weight is going to lower the rear-end of the truck some. The smallest drop-down they have is 2", and I'm not sure where exactly what they mean by "ball height". Is that the top of the ball...the middle? what? I suppose if they mean 19.5 to the top of the ball, then a 2" drop would be just about right....

(have I mentioned how great you guys are for answering all of these newbie questions for me? I really appreciate it...)
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Old 06-07-2002, 01:49 PM   #2
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The manual for my 1989 Excella states that the ball height is 19.5 inches "to the top of the ball"
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Old 06-07-2002, 03:25 PM   #3
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top of the ball

Hi Chuck.
The manual for my '77 Sovereign says 19.5" to the top of the ball when the tow vehicle is loaded. Presumably with your truck, unless you are putting a lot into the bed, the passengers, etc. won't cause the truck to sit lower than when unloaded.

I have a '94 Ford F-350 that I use to tow a horse trailer (gooseneck), but I also have a hitch for the receiver for when I want to tow a regular trailer. That hitch has an 8" drop because anything shorter made the trailer tilt back. If your truck is like mine, 4x4 with overload shocks, it is a LOT higher than a conventional (SUV) vehicle.

When I bought my A/S a couple of weeks ago, the hitch with weight-distributing bars came with it. Even with several inches of drop, the trailer still tilted back. Then I tried hitching up to the regular hitch with the 8" drop and it was almost perfect. So today I had the hitch device mounted onto a receiver bar with an 11" drop, although we didn't use the whole 11 inches. Once thing the man who changed the hitch told me is that you have to adjust the tilt of the ball so that the weight distribution bars don't drag or sit too high. The Reese hitch I have has a spline device that can do the adjustment. Other hitches use different mechanisms.

Wish I had a digital camera to attach pictures of all this. But hope it helps anyway.

Good luck!
Eugenie
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Old 06-07-2002, 03:54 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. Maybe I should think about getting one of the adjustable ones....just trying to save a buck, ya know?

My truck does sit up high, but not nearly as high as the 3/4 and full-ton models. Like I said, the bottom of the receiver is 19.5 inches about ground.

That reminds me: how big should the ball be? 2"?
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Old 06-07-2002, 04:03 PM   #5
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My '89 Excella takes a 2 5/16 ball with a 10,000 lbs max load. I believe all A/S use this.
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Old 06-07-2002, 04:26 PM   #6
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Hich height

Chuck,
What kind of hitch do you have? the hitch I am buying says to measure from level ground to the inside top of the receiver box, for the trailer measure from level ground to the top inside of the trailer coupler.
Also check web sites of the manufacturers, I know Reese has one for example.

John
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Old 06-08-2002, 06:00 AM   #7
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My hitch (or should I say, "receiver") came from the Dodge truck factory...factory installed tow package. Its not something you can adjust, anyway...it bolts to the frame of the truck. So it is what it is.
My question is: how much of a drop-down do I need for the gizmo (ball mount) that sticks into the square hole on the receiver? I think it should be 2", because the ball is going to be 2" (thereabouts) and the reciever is already at 19.5.

I was thinking before that I should let the ball mount stay high, and the trailer's weight would make it sag down to "level", but now I'm thinking that this is the job of the weight distributing hitch. I should start out "level", let it sag, and remove the sag with the weight distribution system. yes?
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Old 06-08-2002, 04:38 PM   #8
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hitch question- I just got a Saturn SL2 to tow behind my motorhome. It has the roadmaster attachments for a roadmaster or stowmaster tow bar, which I intend to get later in the summer.
My question is concerning the drop down of the hitch. My hitch was used for a jeep by the prior owner, so should I assume I will need a greater drop to accomodate the Saturn, which is lower to the ground? Or does the bar ride up enough so that it does not matter which car you tow?
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Old 06-09-2002, 11:24 AM   #9
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Chuck,
All Airstreams since the middle '60's have had a 19.5" ball height. If the trailer has a gross weight rating greater than 5000 lbs. it requires a 2 5/16" ball, this is from Federal standard V15 for trailer tow.

You will need a weight distributing hitch which when properly set up will have the trailer level or slightly nose low, never nose high. When the weight distributing bars are hooked up the truck will drop equally front and rear. My 1500 Dodge Ram drops 1" at all 4 corners when the trailer is hooked up. If you have a 2500 series it will not drop as much but will still drop at all 4 corners. The amount of drop is influnced by the tongue weght. Follow the manufactuers recommendations in the instructions for set up.

There are several good hitches on the market including some very expensive hitches such as the Hensley Arrow or Pull-Rite, however I use the Reese with Dual cam sway control. I do not recommend using any of the friction type sway controls avaliable. You should also weight your trailer in a loaded condition and make sure you have a minimum of 10 % tongue weight. 12% is considered ideal and the trailer will tow and track fine and will be stable under windy conditions or with passing trucks.
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Old 06-09-2002, 11:32 AM   #10
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Alan,

I do not belive that you will need any kind of drop on the ball to tow your Asturn. The tow bar is hinged where it conects to the tow cat so level is not an issue. The only thing I would be concerned with is if the tow bar drops at an exterme angle that could cause it to be pryed of the ball when going into or out of a gas station and such. I would assme that a straight out hitch with the standard amount of drop would work. You will want to be very carful with regard to how you mount your bikes if you are going to tow the car. I have heard of dents, scratched, and lost bikes beacuse the car to bike gap was not big enough.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:40 AM   #11
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Apple 1 says that AS since the mid 60's ride at 19.5 inches. My 1962 Overlander, when leveled, sits at 14.25 (rough, since the ground is rocky.

I'm thinking I should pull this AS at 14 inches or slightly less. Is this a reasonable determination, or have I got bats in my belfry?
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
According to the airstream.com site, the ball height on all the 70's trailers is 19.5. (I'm assuming that means "inches"). I just checked the receiver on my truck, and the bottom of the receiver is 19.5 inches off the ground. (I was kind of surprised by this, because the truck seems to sit up high...its a 4x4....and airstreams have always looked to me like they sit low). Anyway, can I assume that a straight ball hitch (as opposed to a "drop-down") is appropriate? Certainly, the 580lb hitch weight is going to lower the rear-end of the truck some. The smallest drop-down they have is 2", and I'm not sure where exactly what they mean by "ball height". Is that the top of the ball...the middle? what? I suppose if they mean 19.5 to the top of the ball, then a 2" drop would be just about right....

(have I mentioned how great you guys are for answering all of these newbie questions for me? I really appreciate it...)
All published ball heights, brand new, are out the door, no pay load, and change in time.

Torsion axles settle, especially the vast majority from 1974 and back. That changes the ball height.

Secondly, torsion axles are weight sensitive. Therefore the correct ball height must be measured on the trailer that will be used, when loaded for travel.

The ball heights therefore can only be determined by each individual case, and not what your friend or neighbors Airstream may be, or from someone that has the same trailer.

That variation can be almost 5 inches, at times.

Andy
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnored View Post
Apple 1 says that AS since the mid 60's ride at 19.5 inches. My 1962 Overlander, when leveled, sits at 14.25 (rough, since the ground is rocky.

I'm thinking I should pull this AS at 14 inches or slightly less. Is this a reasonable determination, or have I got bats in my belfry?
If your ball height is that low, then more than likely the axle is shot, big time.

Andy
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:07 PM   #14
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Sounds like a Lowrider. Would look even sweeter if this is your ride.
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