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Old 01-29-2016, 02:46 PM   #15
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Yes, ProPride can be hitched at an angle as easily as straight in. It's easily adjustable in vertical or side tilt, and/or direction. It's all about alignment, get it right and back in, latch up and go. No heavy lifting, the hitch head stays bolted to the trailer tongue, you only slide out the stinger from the truck if needed.

Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 01-29-2016, 03:01 PM   #16
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2010 30' Classic
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Originally Posted by g.u. View Post
We are very close to tying the knot on a 30í Flying Cloud FB Bunk (with a slight chance we will end up with a 27í International). We never towed anything nor, for that matter, drove a truck. Our main concern is safety and we are absolutely OK with being overzealous or even paranoid.
One of the dirty little secrets of the RV industry is that something like 10% first-time buyers of travel trailers end up selling them because they cannot develop sufficient skill and confidence in backing them up. It's an expensive mistake to make. With large class A motorhomes there's a similar problem with people who are never comfortable driving them because of their size and handling characteristics.

Unless you're sure of your ability to learn this, I would highly recommend that you figure out a way to get behind the wheel of a tow vehicle/trailer combination before spending money. It doesn't have to be an RV, any kind of trailer will work. Whatever you can scrounge up from friends and rental places, or buy something off craigslist for a few hundred dollars and sell it when you're done. Then just go somewhere and learn to back it up.

Truck-wise we are close to buying a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500 HD. We are going with the Duramax as we donít mind diesel and value the added peace of mind of exhaust braking. My hunch is that it should be plenty of truck for the trailer, but feedback is definitely most welcome.
I would characterize that as a good match, as long as you understand what you're getting into with the diesel and are OK with it.

We are pretty much lost on WD hitches and sway control though. Plenty of choices, plenty of mistakes to be made, no clear winner, yet apparently a crucial piece to feeling safe down the road.

The dealership recommends Blue Ox somewhat implying itís built for Airstream and sort of the official equipment: I like that they would be installing and stand behind it
Blue Ox is an adequate product as far as it goes but they're recommending it because they'll make money on it and it is convenient for them. Go ahead and buy it if you want but don't believe the hype. They will install any hitch you insist upon.

Reese's strait-line hitch is similar to Blue Ox but provides better sway control.

Iím wondering if a Hensley would give us more peace of mind as we learn our ways in towing a big rig. We could definitely use some advice from this community.
I have a ProPride which is functionally similar to the Hensley.

The sway control features of Hensley and Propride hitches are beyond reproach. However, it is not clear to me that the overall safety record taken as a whole is any better than less expensive weight-distributing hitches. These hitches are complex and are made in short production runs. There have been documented instances of structural failures of the ProPride hitches. Hensley hitches have a well-known problem with the tension bar pins ripping through the housing if the maximum turning angle is exceeded. It is possible to do this without realizing it, and it could lead to loss of control at speed.

So it becomes a balance of harms thing. Reese and similar manufacturers have far more hitches on the road and their safety record is well known. They are simple products. With a well-matched combination like the truck and trailer you're considering, sway shouldn't be the only consideration. Most fatalities involving recreational towing occur because of separation of the trailer from the tow vehicle, followed by a collision between the trailer and a hapless driver in the oncoming lane. Sway accidents rarely result in fatalities.

Given the lack, as I see it, of a compelling safety difference, overall, between Hensley/ProPride and conventional weight distributing hitches, cost and practical considerations carry the day for me, and if I had it to do over again, I would get a simpler hitch.

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Old 01-29-2016, 03:05 PM   #17
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Originally Posted by g.u. View Post
Should that not be the case, and should we decide we really want a Hensley-type hitch, would it be safe to take delivery of the rig and tow it to a center who would be able to set it up? And while at it, any suggestion on such shops in the Seattle area?
Three years ago I moved to a new house. It was a complicated deal for a bunch of reasons but the short if it was that I purchased a 30' box trailer specifically for the move and sold it when the move was complete. I put less than 50 miles on the trailer while I owned it.

I purchased a weight distributing hitch for those 50 miles. I've been pulling trailers for over 30 years.

You decide what's right for you.
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:20 PM   #18
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I think Jammer's comments are will above the average you will find.

The only things I would add is if you decide on a trial run towing a trailer you keep one thing in mind. The longer it is the easier it is to back up. So if you can master a U Haul you are home free.

None commercial diesel owners do not drive diesels for logical reasons. It's a Guy thing.
2004 Excursion 4x4
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:32 PM   #19
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2014 30' FB FC Bunk
Somerset County , New Jersey
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I tow with an F150.

I had a 25' with 600# Equalizer and felt the experience was just OK. More sway then I liked.

I now have a 30' bunk with 1000# Equalizer and the towing is much better. Very little sway and it's damped quickly. I also changed to LT tires from P tires on my truck at the same time so there were two changes, but I'm very happy with the the Equalizer now.
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
The only things I would add is if you decide on a trial run towing a trailer you keep one thing in mind. The longer it is the easier it is to back up. So if you can master a U Haul you are home free.
Howie makes a good point, also, trailers that are small enough that you can't see them in your mirrors pose their own set of difficulties.
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
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Old 01-30-2016, 11:18 AM   #21
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1974 29' Ambassador
Columbus , 43220
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Welcome Newbie,
You are smart to consult the Oracles to be found in this forum and I must share a cautionary tale with you. We learned the hard way last year that this towing of an Airstream is not as simple as it might seem. Long and sad story short: I totaled our newly acquired '87 sovereign 29' and our 2003 Ford Expedition on our maiden voyage. Made the news and everything and the rescue squad was quoted as saying we had done everything right in the prep for towing, but it was bittersweet praise for all our "research." I am not trying to scare you here, I just want to share how important it is to really understand the physics behind hauling your house behind your truck! As I said, the sages in this forum will give you a lot of excellent advice, to which I will add the following: When I stopped crying over our loss, I jumped back on the horse by buying a '74 Ambassador 29', which I promptly had hauled to the Ohio factory and had the experts install a new ProPride P3 hitch and teach me how to use it. I chose this based on research in this forum and elsewhere, but I think our better understanding of the forces at work in towing is just as important as this new hitch. Listen well to the advice of seasoned Airstreamers so you can not only feel safe with your rig, but be safe as well.
Happy Trails to You!
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Old 01-30-2016, 11:20 AM   #22
Tom T
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Originally Posted by mojo View Post
But to make any of them easier to hook up, order your truck with a backup camera.
I absolutely agree - & you'll hitch easier!

Also make sure to get it equipped with the tow option package rated for more than what the gross trailer weight rating of the AS & it's hitch wt. at 15% of that (add 160# for Hensley or ProPride or 75-100 for the others) to the HW. Most truck mfgrs. have a base tow rating & several option packages to up rate it for their higher & max advertised tow ratings. You're talking about a BIG trailer, so make sure the specs match!

Also as a Hensley owner (Cub for smaller/lighter trailers), a couple of other advantages in my mind beyond it being cheap insurance for no sway (relative to repair costs or trailer cost if totaled) - are:

1. that the Hensley stays on the trailer when unhooked - so no messy head & spring bars etc. to dismount when parked (pretty much every time) & need to store at home.

2. Their spring tension adjustment jacks are infinitely adjustable (rather than full & half links of the chain types, or bolt-holes of that type) - plus they're far easier to use with the supplied ratcheting wrench, or crank handle with socket, or even with a cordless drill - a big plus as you age!

3. Lifetime warranty offsets them being one source & needing parts FedEx'ed, but then they can overnight most things & I'm pretty sure they cover the warranty parts' shipping cost anyway - so IMHO that offsets the other issue.

4. The Hensley (& PP) design will allow for much tighter turning radius, so much so that you need to watch that you don't hit the trailer with the rear quarter of the truck.

5. The longer hitch head & tow-bar set-up also allows you to drop the tailgate (or raise the rear hatch on SUVs) & actually load/unload stuff in while hitched - without fighting the LP tanks etc. on the A-frame.

6. Hensley is pretty great on 800# customer service (I think ProPride is too, & it's a similar Jim Hensley design), whereas some folks I know with other hitches haven't had good support (to non-existant).

I was a newbie too as of July 2012, so that was important to me, as well as the peace of mind of pulling with the Hensley being so easy & sway non-existent - & I'd towed from ABQ to SoCal & SoCal to Central Coast/Pismo on bare ball - & the difference was night & day!

The other lesser cost Blue-Ox, Equalizer, Curt, etc., etc. may have had the same or close effect for us & will probably WD just as well & fight the sway close of somewhat (depending on design/type of anti-sway - friction, cam, etc. are varying degrees of effectiveness).

I can't say if the others would've been the same effect for us, but I got the Hensley since we'll be towing with a mid-sized V8 SUV with a shorter wheelbase than your truck (looking for a used 08-12 Porsche Cayenne S right now), so I wanted the best sway control/elimination & easiest handling possible.

PS - we've been renting Ford F250 & Dodge 2500 in both gas & diesel V8 from Enterprise Commercial Truck Rentals (not the car rental arm) to tow our trailer since July 2012 (in addition to some Nissan Pathfinders with V6), so you could rent from them to try out a 3/4 ton while towing.

Good Luck & Happy Trails!
Tom T (janabanana48's other half )
Orange CA
1960 Avion T20, #2 made, Hensley Cub, TV tbd- looking for 08-14 Cayenne S
1988 VW Vanagon Westfalia CamperGL (Orig Owner)
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Old 01-30-2016, 11:35 AM   #23
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Oshawa , Ontario
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Until last year I towed my 29' 1993 Excella with a 2006 Ford Explorer V8. Took it all across Canada coast to coast and up to the Yukon and Alaska. Some white knuckle moments in the Rockies but no casualties due to cautious driving. Switched last year to a 2011 Sierra 2500 HD 6.0L gas. World of difference. Driving up or down hills is now a real pleasure. The Hensley ensures no sway and the engine pulls effortlessly until we get to extreme grades, then downshifting the engine is necessary. I'm sure a diesel with exhaust brake would be an improvement. But I'm happy with mine the way it is. It handles the 8000 lbs of trailer easily.

As has been mentioned, whatever your hitch, make sure it is dialed in properly and you know how to adjust and maintain it regularly.
Good luck.
Hans Grim
1993 29' Excella
2011 GMC Sierra 2500 HD 6.0L
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:37 PM   #24
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2016 27' Flying Cloud
Woodinville , Washington
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A 39th Opinion ---

I have a 27 FB & pull it with a Ram 2500 diesel --- flawlessly, as if the trailer just is not there (except for a little extra weight). Gratious, you should have no problem whatsoever pulling your 30 with a 2500 diesel, an ideal tow vehicle for your AS.

As for hitches, I bought a Blue Ox (as recommended by my local AS dealer), for approx. $600 over the Internet, & installed it myself, in approx. 15 minutes; I don't know how much they would have charged for it & its installation, probably a bundle more. The only issue is that the Ram has a 2.5 inch coupler & the Blue Ox has a 2 inch connector, so I had to buy a 2.5 to 2 inch reducer, for all of about $10-15. My experience is that the Blue Ox does everything it is supposed to do --- I have not experienced any sway or other problems towing the AS --- for example, at freeway speed & with 18-wheelers by its sides.

As for a Pro-Pride, while I have no personal experience with it, lots & lots of its users on this Forum swear by it, as you can see by some of the posts above. My concern is not about it quality but about its price. It costs somewhere in the range of $2,000-2,500, & my only concern is "Why spend to buy a Pro-Pride some 4x the cost of a Blue Ox?" Is it really different? And close to $2,000 better? I simply don't know. So far, the Blue Ox has worked for me, at $600 & 15 minutes of installation.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:39 PM   #25
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Redmond , Washington
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I live in Redmond WA and went through the process you describe exactly 1 year ago. Since then we have driven 15,000 miles (in all conditions across the continent) with our set up (2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, Equalizer hitch, and 2015 23 FB Airstream. The advice above is useful and typical. In the end you must sort it out for yourself and decide. I found it best to really learn how things work and do as much as possible myself after becoming fully informed. Manufacturers' information is almost always more accurate and technically complete than the occasional fanatical responses you will observe here. Because each trip is different (load, terrain, weather, distance, etc.) the dynamics change. Thus, you will feel more in control if you can adjust the hitch and other aspects of your total setup accordingly.
TorqueLift in Kent is a reputable and very capable hitch dealer and installer. The AS dealer in Covington delivered our AS to them for hitch installation. I would not drive anywhere without a properly installed WD hitch, not even for a short trip to get it installed. I'm glad to respond to further questions if I can be of help.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:06 PM   #26
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Stowe , Vermont
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We have had 2 AS in the past 10 years, pulling both 25 Safari and 27FC with an Equalizer on 2500 diesel Ram and now F250 diesel. We have traveled thru gale force winds, high speed interstate highways and have only had one issue - there are times that I have to double check my mirror to see if the AS is still there. The Equalizer has kept us without sway, and safe and sound.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:15 PM   #27
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2016 30' Classic
Indianapolis , Indiana
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Service is a key consideration

We have a new 30' Classic pulled by a 2016 GMS Sierra 2500. Plenty of power and weight.

For me it is both the quality of the Pro Pride and the excellent customer service that seals it. Sean came down to the shop around Thanksgiving, as we were on the way through, in order for us to pick up our hitch.

When the installers had trouble fitting the hitch to the frame (Some small differences between 2015 and 2016 Classics) Sean was right there on the phone consulting. Took photos and texted back and forth. Got it solved perfectly.

It's a perfectly smooth hauling experience and worth the money and peace of mind.
2016 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
2016 30' Classic
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:41 PM   #28
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2014 27' Flying Cloud
Stowe , Vermont
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PS - I just checked out the ProPride hitch with their series of videos. After using an Equalizer for over 80,000 miles, and the ease of hook-ups and great stability in all situations and speed with the Equalizer, the PP looks like a pain in the butt to hook-up. With the Equalizer and my back-up camera on the F250, it's a breeze. As for the towing, I hear that the PP is amazing - as is my EQ... but those videos did not make the process anything that I'd like to try.

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