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Old 07-22-2013, 01:51 PM   #1
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1967 24' Tradewind
Greenville , North Carolina
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proper spring bar weight - 1967 Tradewind

The tongue weight on the 1967 Tradewind I just bought is supposedly 440lb dry (according to this chart) but I'm measuring 660lb in my driveway (by levering the tongue onto a bathroom scale, as described here.)

I realize the method of weighing I've used is not perfect, and the trailer may not have been exactly level (I eyeballed it) AND my driveway has a very slight incline in it; however, the tongue weight I measured is 50% over what is listed. (There's no sticker or plate that I can find on the trailer that gives the tongue weight or any other weight.) This is not at all what I expected.

I have to install a new hitch setup because the existing hitch head is not height-adjustable and won't work with my tow vehicle. Should I get 600lb bars or 800lb bars? I was going to go with 600lb, but after reading 660lb on the tongue, I'm not sure which makes more sense.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:28 PM   #2
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I would get the trailer loaded for Camping and level, re-weigh the TW.

Best case....get your adjustable drop stinger, tow carefully to the CAT Scales to determine exactly how much TW needs to be transferred forward.

What are you towing with?

POI...800lb bars worked well with our 63 22' Safari on several different TV's.

Bob
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:21 PM   #3
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1959 17' Pacer
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Really depends on what your tv is. I have a 2005 tundra and the 550lb bars(with a reese hitch) are plenty. The last thing you want to do is beat the trailer with bars that are too stiff.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:29 PM   #4
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proper spring bar weight - 1967 Tradewind

Greetings retrocar66!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!

Quote:
Originally Posted by retrocar66 View Post
The tongue weight on the 1967 Tradewind I just bought is supposedly 440lb dry (according to this chart) but I'm measuring 660lb in my driveway (by levering the tongue onto a bathroom scale, as described here.)

I realize the method of weighing I've used is not perfect, and the trailer may not have been exactly level (I eyeballed it) AND my driveway has a very slight incline in it; however, the tongue weight I measured is 50% over what is listed. (There's no sticker or plate that I can find on the trailer that gives the tongue weight or any other weight.) This is not at all what I expected.

I have to install a new hitch setup because the existing hitch head is not height-adjustable and won't work with my tow vehicle. Should I get 600lb bars or 800lb bars? I was going to go with 600lb, but after reading 660lb on the tongue, I'm not sure which makes more sense.
My take on your situation is that the answer depends upon on your tow vehicle. Your Tradewind will have just a little less hitch weight than my '64 Overlander. When fully loaded for an extended vacation, my Overlander has a hitch weight of between 725 and 750 Pounds. My hitch spring bar selection has been as follows:
  • 1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z71 Silverado, and 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban -- 600 pound bars (550 pound would be even better if you can find a set . . . they were out of production when I had my hitch rigging revised)
  • 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible and 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible -- 800 pound bars
The Chevrolet K1500 was so high that I had to purchase a new hitch setup when I bought that truck and allowed the hitch dealer to talk me into 1,000 pound bars . . . those combined with the Chevrolet's unforgiving suspension resulted in many popped rivets and a stress crack above the entry door before I found someone who knew what they were doing and outfitted my hitch with 600 pound bars. The hitch that I am utilizing is the Reese Strait-Line with Dual Cam Sway Control.

Good luck with your hitch adjustments!

Kevin
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:39 AM   #5
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1967 24' Tradewind
Greenville , North Carolina
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tow vehicle

I'm towing with a 1966 Chrysler Newport convertible.

It's news to me that the tow vehicle makes a difference for the spring bar weight. How does the tow vehicle play into this?

Based on the responses so far, I think I'm going to start with 800lb bars. If they don't look like they have enough flex, or if I end up with lighter tongue weights than I've measured so far, maybe I will go to 600lb instead.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:57 AM   #6
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A lot of us prefer the larger trucks and SUV's as TV's.
A very stiff TV suspension can cause damage to the AS's skin and frame.
The stiffer the suspension the lower the bar rating to reduce the pounding transferred to the AS.

Your choice of TV is not "stiff".... Just make sure all systems are go....

Good Luck

Bob
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:20 AM   #7
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The tongue weight on my 68 TW is around 550 lbs. I have weighted it at at CAT scale on the jack but since ball is a little forward of the jack there will be a small difference between the exact weight on the ball the the weight on the jack wheel. That said, for an Equalizer I run 600lb bars and have been very happy them. I tow with a 2001 Tundra and the ride is smooth and the trailer and truck stay level. It does take some time getting and the hitch set up perfectly for your particular tow vehicle but it is time well spent as once you have it set up it doesn't change. If you have an Equalizer do make sure and re-torque all the bolts per the instruction booklet as they can loosen over time.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:16 PM   #8
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proper spring bar weight - 1967 Tradewind

Greetings retrocar66!

Quote:
Originally Posted by retrocar66 View Post
I'm towing with a 1966 Chrysler Newport convertible.

It's news to me that the tow vehicle makes a difference for the spring bar weight. How does the tow vehicle play into this?

Based on the responses so far, I think I'm going to start with 800lb bars. If they don't look like they have enough flex, or if I end up with lighter tongue weights than I've measured so far, maybe I will go to 600lb instead.
I think that you are on the mark with 800 pound weight distribution bars for your 1966 Chrysler Newport. Period luxury cars have soft rear suspension even when they had the optional factory trailer towing packages or heavy duty suspension. I utilize 800 bars with my Cadillac Eldorado and did so with my '65 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible as well. Something to keep in mind with your Chrysler Newport is that it is a convertible with a unit-body. Chrysler published very specific directions for welding-up the weight distribution hitch for their cars of that era. I am attaching a copy of the directions that appeared in many of the mid-1960s MOPAR owners' manuals.

Good luck with your setup!

Kevin
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