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Old 04-10-2005, 04:37 PM   #15
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jimmickle's Avatar
2000 31' Land Yacht
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 497
Originally Posted by Tarheel
Kistler go to it shows that the ball heigth of your truck should be 18.750". Set your ball as close to this height as you can then adjust using your equalizer bars to bring your truck level.
Based on personal experience with Airstream data, do NOT trust it. Measure your ball height yourself, as Reese tells you. Airstream data was off almost 2 inches on ball height for my 2002 safari. I'm not saying that 18.750 is wrong, but the only way to know what is correct is to measure.

Based on the original post, it is probable that the only problem is that the tounge load has increased when the trailer was loaded and the spring bars need to be tightened a link or two.

Here is what Reese says about ball height in their instructions:
1. Line up tow vehicle and trailer on level pavement, in straight-ahead position, uncoupled.
2. Level the trailer and measure and record the distance from the ground to the top of the ball socket (X dimension Fig.1).
3. Select a hitch ball with a diameter that matches the trailer coupler size. The three most common sizes are 1-7/8", 2", and 2-5/16". Select ball with 1-1/4" or 1" threaded shank that is V-5 rated equal to or greater than trailer gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). A thin jam nut (.72” thick) should be used on standard ballmount to prevent interference with spring bar trunnion.
4. Attach hitch ball to the ballmount (G). REESE standard height hitch balls with 1-1/4" shanks are supplied with lockwashers and nuts (If you must use a 1” shank ball, use bushing 58109 (B) to reduce hole size in ballmount (G) to 1”). Always use a lockwasher and place washer next to nut. Unless otherwise specified by ball manufacturer torque ball nut to 450 ft/lbs for 1-1/4" nut, 250 ft/lbs for 1" nut.
5. Some installations may require a longer hitch bar (D). Extended bumper guards, pickup truck "caps", or rear mounted spare tires can limit turn angles unless a longer bar is used. Individual hitch bars (D) are available in various sizes.
6. Insert the hitch bar (D) into the hitch box and install a pull pin. Place ballmount (G) onto hitch bar and move up or down
for proper height. Hitch bar may be used in either the up or down position (see below).
NOTE: Ball height should be greater than coupler height (measured in step 1) to compensate for vehicle "squat”(approximately 3/4” to 1”).

Hope that this helps.

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Old 04-10-2005, 08:44 PM   #16
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1982 34' Limited
Tidewater , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 186
Hi Gang and Kistler!

Having gone through this same experience with my Suburban here's my re-account(?):

First: Get the unloaded ball height set per Airstream recommendation. This seems to be 18.75" for your trailer. Raise/lower your ball to get the proper initial height.

Second: Now hitch up your trailer without the load bars (yet). Does your Expedition sag some in the rear? Yes? Good.
Finally: Now take the tension on your load bars to make them (the bars) level or slightly bent up to the tongue. To work properly the load bars MUST have significant tension on them. Experiment with the proper number of links . . . same on both sides. Use Tarheels method of unloading (raising/lowering) the rear to change the number of links. The goal is a level trailer, level truck, and hitch height very close to the Airstream recommended height.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

Old trucks and old trailers . . . a comfortable combination!
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:52 AM   #17
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1993 29' Excella
Jonesboro , Louisiana
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 125
My Expedition(1997) has automatic air bags on the rear installed by the factory. I don't know about yours but if you have air bags, then, they must be turned on or you will have great difficulty leveling the vehicle with trailer load on the rear. The proper set up requires some experimentation and the will affect the ride greatly. The more load you have on the bars the harsher the ride will be. The air bags keep the vehicle level.
James Schmidt
29 ft Excello 1000
97 Expedition/Hensley Hitch/
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Old 04-11-2005, 09:02 AM   #18
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2002 25' Classic
Oro Valley , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 835
Once again, thank you people for the advice/instructions.

The front end of the tv is about 1 1/2 " higher than the rear; I don't have air bags. The Expedition being a 2003 has that independent rear susupension that was new in 2003....I don't like it but it does make the vehicle ride nice....kinda Cadillac squishy

Since you guys don't encourage my using a pipe wrench or two for this job, I am sorta stuck at the moment. Brenda is sick of gifts from Harbor Tools. AND you said I need to torque the torque wrench doesn't accommodate a socket that size....don't have a socket that size anyway.

I am now "shopping" for an independent trailer-hitch place (not the Airstream dealer) that seems to understand my problem.

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Old 04-12-2005, 12:35 PM   #19
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Moyock , North Carolina
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JimMickle has given you good instructions. If you follow them you won't go wrong. I have a 3/4" drive set from China that I picked up cheap. the socket wrench and 5' piece of pipe puts a good load on it. It doesn't hurt to check the nuts from time to time they can and do work loose. I ended up putting locknuts on mine were the height is adjusted.

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