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Old 07-29-2003, 07:42 AM   #15
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I tow with the ball only, & it handles 100% perfect in all circumstances, mountains, sharp bends, trucks etc...
& thats a FACT. Those who think otherwise should try & I bet you will love it.

Hart
If I had a Volvo tractor, I could probably do that too. I can tell you from experience that pulling a 34' with what I know now to be an improper hitch setup is, at best, a white knuckle ride. At worst... Towing it WITH the proper hitch setup is a completely different and comfortable experience! As was pointed out int the "Tow vehicle for a 34 trailer" thread, my Excursion is probably marginal for my 34' trailer from the standpoint of wheelbase and GVWR according to accepted theory.

I towed the '61 Bambi with just a ball on an Astro AWD van to AZ as the Bambi was only 1800lbs dry (approx), and I'd never bothered with sway control towing it locally and had no problems. My trip to AZ got scary enough that I tried to get a Reese Dual-Cam while I was there, but no one had a properly sized one in stock, nor could they get the parts in time for our return trip. I ended up pulling it back with just a ball and it was white knuckle time again. Lesson learned.

When I bought the Argosy 20' Minuet in Milwaukee that I intended to restore, I bought and installed a properly sized Reese Dual-Cam, and it towed like it was welded to the Astro; a completely different and pleasureable towing experience than with the Bambi, and... WITH THE SAME VAN!

I presume that if I were pulling the Bambi with my Excursion, weight distribution and sway control wouldn't be the issues for me that they were with the Astro as the wheelbase and vehicle weight ratios would change dramatically from the Astro to the Excursion.

Tires, tire pressure, tow vehicle weight, wheelbase, towed vehicle weight, balance, and load distribution all contribute to how much effect trailer sway will exert on your tow vehicle. If they're all perfectly balanced, as yours must be, it's apparently no problem. If any of these factors are out of synch, it's a nightmare!

I've had enough experience now, towing enough trailers of varying sizes with various vehicles over enough miles over the years that I wouldn't recommend that anyone tow ANY Airstream without a properly sized and fitted hitch system with weight distribution and sway control. I had to learn the hard way, as back then, there wasn't any way, at any cost, to get the information that is available here for free!

Roger
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Old 07-29-2003, 08:10 AM   #16
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Roger,
As you said, when all the factors are perfectly balanced there is NO PROBLEM & thats a fact

Hart
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Old 07-29-2003, 08:16 AM   #17
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What's this about the hitch head angle being *correctly* set at 15 degrees? That's not what the Reese instructions say. They say that the head should be angled so that the cam end of the spring bars is a certain distance above ground. If it were always supposed to be 15 degrees, why do they make them adjustable?

discuss:
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Old 07-29-2003, 08:22 AM   #18
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Originally posted by chuck
What's this about the hitch head angle being *correctly* set at 15 degrees? That's not what the Reese instructions say. They say that the head should be angled so that the cam end of the spring bars is a certain distance above ground. If it were always supposed to be 15 degrees, why do they make them adjustable?

discuss:
Right. And right. All of the Airstream hitches are between 17 3/4" and 19 3/4" in height. A 15 degree hitch head angle puts the WD bar ends at approximately the correct height on Airstreams.

If you had a substantially different hitch height, either taller or shorter, the angle would be different.

Roger
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Old 07-29-2003, 08:34 AM   #19
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Chuck

Go for a spin without all those devices... we have the same combo truck/Safari
Its pefectly balanced and in synch, & the ball is quite enough.

Hart
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Old 07-29-2003, 08:49 AM   #20
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hart, I have a hard time believing that. (see other thread) You have a 1/2 ton dodge 4x4 as well?

I just checked the weights on A/S's site, and there is a significant difference between the 71 and 73 safari's. like 140 lbs!! maybe that's it.....
I wonder what shifted around so much between those couple of years to make such a difference in balance?...


Oh, and on the hitch: I must have mis-read the instructions. They give a table with bad line drawings of 3 different types of couplers. (type "a", "b", or "c", with different numbers for each). Mine doesn't look like any of them, so I guessed which set of numbers to use...and I guess I guessed wrong! Also, my spring bars are only 28" long, and I think those instructions are meant for 30" bars. tried to compensate for that, but the way it worked out, the head isn't angled very far back at all. I need to raise the whole thing up one more notch, then angle back to get to the right spot.
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:12 AM   #21
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Don't believe me, try & then you will believe.
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:13 AM   #22
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Originally posted by chuck
Oh, and on the hitch: I must have mis-read the instructions. They give a table with bad line drawings of 3 different types of couplers. (type "a", "b", or "c", with different numbers for each).
Chuck... I know JUST what you mean! I don't think you mis-read the instructions. They're just not very clear. I don't think that the three examples look anything like ANYONE's hitches!

Roger
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Old 07-29-2003, 02:52 PM   #23
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The "A," "B," and "C" refer to...

the coupler's vertical relationship to the bottom of the frame. My Tradewind was an "A," and I'll bet yours is too.

See The Reese Instructions

So, you first adjust the ball mount for as close to the right height as you can, then get the tilt adjusted so the ends of the bars are the right height from the ground.

Hook up the tow vehicle, raise the whole shootin' match 5" with the electric jack, hook up the chains, and haul your assets down the road.

It worked exactly like that for me. I had it all adjusted before I even saw the trailer. And it worked - was I ever surprised!
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Old 07-29-2003, 03:37 PM   #24
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now, why couldn't they just *say* that?

I think you hit it on the head. I think I picked "c". I was paying more attention to the thickness of the frame member. "a" isn't marked, "b" says 6", "c" says 5"......I measured the frame on mine, and its about 4", at which point, I went



AND...last trip, when I was setting this up, I figured that I was about an inch too low overall. I set it so my spring bar is about 7" above the ground, and according to the chart, it should be 8. and that's just about the amount of height I'll get by raising the whole head up to the next hole in the draw bar.....

So, I should just go ahead and tilt that head all the way back to 15 degrees?
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Old 07-30-2003, 05:06 AM   #25
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I am not certain from your description, but it sounds like you may have one of the special Reese draw bars from the 1980s/1990s when conversion vans with rear mounted spare tires were so popular.
I agree with what Kevin is saying! I had an extended bar that I used (when I towed with a van) which added some distance from the hitch to the ball and I think this contributed to a sway problem which almost turned into a disaster.

This is the thread where I posted it.
The Ultimat Disaster-Airstream Rollover
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Old 07-30-2003, 06:00 AM   #26
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I agree with what Kevin is saying! I had an extended bar that I used (when I towed with a van) which added some distance from the hitch to the ball and I think this contributed to a sway problem which almost turned into a disaster.

This is the thread where I posted it.
The Ultimat Disaster-Airstream Rollover
I revisited that entire thread. Even though I read it just a while ago, it's good to re-visit so as not to become complacent. I confess that in all of the years I've towed trailers, I have never given much consideration to how critical it is not merely to HAVE equipment, but that the RIGHT equipment must be installed and properly adjusted to do its job.

Although I wasn't happy with the performance of my hitch system, I THOUGHT my Reese was OK until I tried the proper draw bar. What a difference!

I guess that if there's a moral to this story, it's that if you haven't had your hitch (whatever the brand) set up by someone who is really familiar with the physics and mechanics of hitches, find someone who can check it for you. I've used Reese hitches for years, and thought that a draw bar is a draw bar is a draw bar. Don't assume that by merely having the parts, and presuming that the parts you have are the right ones, you're towing as safely as possible, particularly if you got your hitch from the last guy who owned the trailer! Don't assume that it worked ok for him.

Obviously, in my case, the P.O. experienced sway with that draw bar too, as evidenced by TWO friction sway controllers in addition to the Dual-Cam! And just as obviously, he didn't have it checked either!

Driving is a risky pursuit. Driving and towing a trailer adds complexity to the formula. At least make sure the equipment you have is as competent as it can be. After nearly twenty years of towing (fortunately without major incident), I have learned my lesson.


Roger
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