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Old 05-15-2003, 08:55 PM   #1
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Talking hitch set-up?

Hello all,
We just got our first A/S 84' 31' excella,just installed
hitch on 2000 f-250 psd 4x4 lowest I could get the top of ball
is about 20-1/4".Will the tongue wieght bring this to 18-3/4"
or close enough?PO dropped it at storage area for us as I didn't have a w/d hitch at that time.Never had one to tow the boat and
it wieghed about 8000lbs with trailer.How critical is this ball
hieght and what about ball angle does this affect load range of
Hope to see you on the road ! Larry

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Old 05-16-2003, 05:54 AM   #2
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Congrats on your new trailer! The two happiest days of any trailer (boat, car, home, airplane etc.) owner's life is the day you buy it and the day you sell it!!!

Anyway, it is my understanding that the 18 3/4 inch hitch ball height on your tow vehicle is at the top of the ball standing level & unladen. The proper height is important because it has an effect on the trailer axle load. If it's too low, there is too much weight on the front axle, too high and your're overloading the rear trailer axle. That also affects handling and braking, and changes the geometry on the stress points on the chassis of the trailer. Remember that a two inch difference at the hitch end can make a larger corresponding difference at the bumper end cantilevered over 32' as it rises and falls over bumps down the road.

Other folks here can give you the exact hows and whys, but in a nutshell, I believe that's the issue.

Forum members... is this right?

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Old 05-16-2003, 08:54 AM   #3
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Larry, my understanding and practice is that the 18 3/4 inch is when the trailer and tow vehicle are connected, and the load distribution bars are under the correct tension. You need to connect the two, and then ensure that the height is 18 3/4. Whether or not the rear of your tow vehicle goes down sufficiently, or too far, will depend on the ratings of your tow vehicle springs. You can then decide if you need a drop down bar. The desired end result is that the trailer frame is horizontal. (I use a spirit level on the A-frame, after ensuring I am on level ground.) The angle of the ball should be altered until the load distribution bars are also horizontal when loaded up under the proper tension. This is their designed position. The proper tension on the chains can be ascertained by procedures detailed in other threads. Come back to us if you need more details. Good luck. Nick
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Old 05-16-2003, 06:24 PM   #4
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hitch set-up?

Greetings Larry!

Welcom to the froum and the world of Airstream ownership.

I can understand your concern about getting a deep enough drop on your draw bar - - it is a problem with many 3/4 ton or larger tow vehicles, especially if equipped with 4 wheel drive.

The general idea is that you want the top of the hitch ball at the specified height when the the tow vehicle is sitting on level ground with a full fuel tank (especially important for those towing with cars that have the 25 gallon rear fuel tanks like my Cadillac).

Then, when the trailer is connected to the hitch, it is the job of the spring bars to return the tow vehicle to a near level attitude with the ball height remaining very close to the specified height - - it usually isn't too difficult to get a near exact height with a truck based tow vehicle when starting out with a draw bar having enough drop. Under some conditions, it can be beneficial to have a very slight lowering of the heigh - - I would be concerened if the height went more than 1/4 to 3/8" lower.

I have found it nearly impossible to find a draw bar with enough drop to get a hitch ball height of 18" as required for my Minuet when being towed my Suburban - - the Cadillac takes the standard draw bar that was included with the trailer when I purchased it last August.

Good luck with your hitch setup!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
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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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