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Old 05-27-2004, 02:41 PM   #1
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1984 31' Excella
Santa Barbara , California
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Pullrite owners--lessons learned

I would like to start a discussion with Pullrite owners and others on lessons learned, problems and solutions using the Pullrite Hitch. To start, I use a Pullrite for a 31 foot Excella and love it....I like to say "the only time you know an 18 wheeler is passing you is when you hear its engine in your left ear."

I have had a few problems though:

The first was the chain lift mechanism that I found to be inferior to the original weight distribution system chain lift that came with my Airstream when I bought it. The Pullrite system did not give the user enough mechanical advantage in lifting the weight distribution arms. I modifiied the Pullrite system by substituting my old pipe and lever lift mechanism and welding on the extra length of "downplate" needed for the horizontal bolts through the Pullrite distribution arms to make contact and keep the arms "stiff" horizontally.

Another problem I had, which was a real shocker, was the breaking of a lift chain (in mid chain) when going over a good sized dip or dropoff in a road construction detour in Mexico. I heard a loud thud but did not immediately stop. About 3 hours later down the road at a rest stop I found that the chain had snapped and I had lost the one weight distribution arm that it was attached to (as it is a straight bar that is inserted into the hitch with no other way of keeping it attached once the chain was gone.) I do not know how safe it was towing with only one arm but I kept the speed down and drove VERY cautiously afterwards. To make a long story short, I went directly to a welding shop and came up with a temporary fix until I got home.

When I called Pullrite they were nice enough to send me 2 new weight distribution bars and higher tensile strength chains at no cost and said they would have sent them via airfreight to me while I was on the road.

My concern was customer service telling me that I should have "added more length to the chains" or "Down chained" before going over the dip/dropoff. My reaction was that they previously knew of this kind of problem, but there is nothing about this in the operating instructions. I have not had further problems with the new arms and strengthened chains. (Although my next project was to attach a short length of stainless steel cable as a keeper clipped to the frame near the hitch and connected to each arm with a hose clamp.)

I do not find attaching the hitch to the trailer to be a problem. You should never attach the hitch without the weight distribution arms in place if the ground is not level (front to back) as the pivot arm will swing to one side and you will not be able to stop it manually and this may possibly damage the pivot arm and the semicircular rail as it hits the limit of swing.

Yes, backing is more difficult and turns have to be taken a bit wider, but this is a small price to pay to avoid those "white knuckle experiences" from cross winds and passing 18 wheelers. I also like that the design inherently does not need anti-friction equipment.

I would appreciate other comments and hints on using the Pullrite Hitch.
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1984 31' Excella, mid bath, king size bed
1998 Chevrolet Suburban K2500, 7.4L/454 c.i., 4WD, Pullrite Hitch
AIR No. 2375

"You know... life is just the way it is...."
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Old 06-03-2004, 01:15 PM   #2
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1984 31' Excella
Santa Barbara , California
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Pullrite does not need friction or cam anti-sway control

Another feature of the Pullrite hitch I like has to do with the simplicity of design and function of the hitch in that no special friction anti-sway (or dual cam) equipment is needed. In making turns there is no worry of bending a friction anti-sway fixture and with a Pullrite you can make very sharp turns. The only limit is the end of pivoting angle on the tow vehicle's hitch radial arc suppurt and this is monitored by looking in your side mirrors to monitor the extent of travel, looking for hitch "end" being visible by the driver. For my Pullrite I put highly relective white and red tape on the hitch end so if you see this tape you know you are near the maximum turning angle.
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1984 31' Excella, mid bath, king size bed
1998 Chevrolet Suburban K2500, 7.4L/454 c.i., 4WD, Pullrite Hitch
AIR No. 2375

"You know... life is just the way it is...."
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Old 06-03-2004, 01:28 PM   #3
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1984 31' Excella
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Spare tire

For those considering a Pullrite Hitch there is a configurartion issue if you have a spare tire mounted under the rear of your tow vehicle. The Pullrite Hitch attaches with a pivot bolt under your tow vehicle just to the rear of the rear axle. A radial arm connected to the hitch then swings from this pivot point. This configuration will not allow the spare tire to be mounted under the vehicle. The exhaust pipe may have to be modified also but this is not a great expense.

I have a Suburban where the spare is mounted inside on the sidewall in back of the rear seat so this was not a problem. The exhaust pipe was modified by cutting off the last 12 inches so that it terminates pointing down under the vehicle instead of out the side.
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1984 31' Excella, mid bath, king size bed
1998 Chevrolet Suburban K2500, 7.4L/454 c.i., 4WD, Pullrite Hitch
AIR No. 2375

"You know... life is just the way it is...."
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Old 08-15-2004, 08:23 PM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
1992 34' Excella
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My new pullrite

Quote:
Originally Posted by markparker22
For those considering a Pullrite Hitch there is a configurartion issue if you have a spare tire mounted under the rear of your tow vehicle. The Pullrite Hitch attaches with a pivot bolt under your tow vehicle just to the rear of the rear axle. A radial arm connected to the hitch then swings from this pivot point. This configuration will not allow the spare tire to be mounted under the vehicle. The exhaust pipe may have to be modified also but this is not a great expense.

I have a Suburban where the spare is mounted inside on the sidewall in back of the rear seat so this was not a problem. The exhaust pipe was modified by cutting off the last 12 inches so that it terminates pointing down under the vehicle instead of out the side.

I just bought a suburban tow vehicle with a pullrite hitch on it. My problem is I don't know how to operate it and the p/o did not use it. He had it pulled over to the side out of the way and said he knew little about how to pull with it. Any advice about this particular hitch system.
Thanks wayne
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Old 08-15-2004, 08:38 PM   #5
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Pullrite owners--lessons learned

Greetings Wayne!

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurandwayne
I just bought a suburban tow vehicle with a pullrite hitch on it. My problem is I don't know how to operate it and the p/o did not use it. He had it pulled over to the side out of the way and said he knew little about how to pull with it. Any advice about this particular hitch system.
Thanks wayne
While I don't tow with a Pull-Rite, I did consider the hitch system when I purchased my Suburban. The manufacturer has a very informative website. You can find Pull-Rite Hitch Systems at:

http://www.pullrite.com/

Good luck with your quest for information!

Kevin
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:18 PM   #6
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1977 31' Sovereign
1992 34' Excella
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Salem , Oregon
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Pull-rite hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64
Greetings Wayne!



While I don't tow with a Pull-Rite, I did consider the hitch system when I purchased my Suburban. The manufacturer has a very informative website. You can find Pull-Rite Hitch Systems at:

http://www.pullrite.com/

Good luck with your quest for information!

Kevin
Thanks Kevin
The website was very helpful. One article in particular commented on the hitch I now own. Apparently, this hitch was road tested with a suburban and trailer very similiar to mine. The article was well written and very informative.
Wayne
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Old 10-05-2004, 10:11 PM   #7
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I don't need to be convinced of the values of a Pull-Rite hitch. I just need to find one for less than the $2800 price of a new one.

Does anyone on this forum know of a Pull-Rite hitch for sale? I need one to fit a 2000 Dodge 3/4 ton Ram pickup, Quad-cab, 6-foot bed. I would prefer the 20,000 pound rated hitch, but would settle for the 10,000 pound hitch. I would also prefer the 90 degree hitch over the 70 degree hitch. According to the Pull-Rite web site, these are model numbers (in order of preference):
0053: 20,000 pound, 90 degree
0069: 20,000 pound, 70 degree
0052: 10,000 pound, 90 degree
0070: 10,000 pound, 70 degree

I will probably look for one of these until I find it, even if it takes a few years. After all, that's how long I looked until I found our Airstream.

Any help would be welcome. Thanks.

Loren
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Old 10-06-2004, 06:00 AM   #8
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Used Pullrites

Loren,

Try www.hitchtrader.com . They usually have a number of used hitches. Used Pullrites seem to sell in the $400 - 500 range.

I think the Pullrites are built as a standard unit with brackets or adaptors for the specific application. You might be able to buy a used hitch for another application and then buy the proper brackets to fit your truck from Pullrite.

Neal
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Old 10-06-2004, 06:47 AM   #9
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If anybody wants, I have the head, spring bars, chain attachments, and attaching lever (everything that attaches to the trailer) for sale. $50 plus freight. All you need to do is purchase the stuff for under the truck. Private message me if you are interested.

Mark
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:26 PM   #10
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1984 31' Excella
Santa Barbara , California
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Safety Chains

Recently a post regarding how tight safety chains should be connected caused me to review the safety chain set-up I use on my Pullrite hitch. Pullrite hitches operate differently from the classic hitch. Because of the Pullrite design where the Weight Distribution bars connect the Trailer hitch to the receiver in a "rigid" fashion (and the receiver is at the end of a long radius arm that pivots under the Tow Vehicle) it became obvious to me that the safety chains should be tight. The reason they should be tight is that the Pullrite hitch loses its control method if the trailer hitch becomes seperated from the receiver ball far enough for the Weight Distribuition arms to slide out of the Receiver (approximately 4"-5"). In an emergency separation if the Weight Distribution arms seperate from the receiver then the radial arm under the Tow Vehicle is no longer rigid with the Trailer hitch (Trailer itself also pivots) and the radial arm will slam into the end stops on either side of the radius track under the Tow Vehicle when your emergency stop occurs.

The tight connection of the saftety chains described here is meant for Pullrite hitches only because of their unique design. (If the Pullrite hitch is used in a classic hitch manner, where the radial arm is secured and the weight distribution arms are removed, e.g. for easier parking, then the safety chains need to be loose enough to allow the Trailer to pivot on the hitch.)
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1984 31' Excella, mid bath, king size bed
1998 Chevrolet Suburban K2500, 7.4L/454 c.i., 4WD, Pullrite Hitch
AIR No. 2375

"You know... life is just the way it is...."
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Old 04-17-2005, 11:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markparker22
... (If the Pullrite hitch is used in a classic hitch manner, where the radial arm is secured and the weight distribution arms are removed, e.g. for easier parking, then the safety chains need to be loose enough to allow the Trailer to pivot on the hitch.)
Two issues:
First, Pulliam does NOT sanction using the Pull-Rite hitch without the spring bars. If you study the hitch you can see why. When the spring bars are attached, the drawbar (the main bar that pivots at the axle) will ride upward against the curved I-beam. It will place a load on the large bearings on the bottom of the I-beam. If the trailer is attached without the spring bars, the load on the drawbar will be downward and the small bearings that run inside the I-beam will be carrying the load. I'm sure that they are not meant to handle this load for an extended tow.

Also, with my hitch at least, Pulliam does not provide any means to secure the drawbar in the center.

Pulliam does mention hooking up with the drawbar off to one side and easing the trailer into a straight-behind position before hooking up the spring bars, but I'm sure that they meant for this to be done very slowly and carefully.

The very newest Pull-Rite hitches are available with an additional receiver that is in the center of the hitch, just above the drawbar. This allows using the hitch as a conventional frame hitch if desired.

Second, regarding the tight chains, you should be able to get them very tight on a Pull-Rite hitch. With most other hitches the spring bars move fore and aft as the trailer turns on the ball. Since the Pull-Rite prevents this movement, you should not require any minimum length of chain to provide slack. On my 34' Airstream, I hook the chain to the fourth link up from the bar. I could probably take up one more link, but haven't found it necessary so far with limited towing on the new hitch.

You clearly understand this, based upon your comments, but I wanted to point it out to others who may try to tow with the drawbar centered using the Pull-Rite as a conventional hitch.

(By the way, readers, I found a used hitch. Pulliam customer service (great people) helped me track one down.)

Loren
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