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Old 08-09-2009, 08:56 AM   #1
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Reese dual sway and w/d hitch

After driving to Colonial Airstream and seeing first hand the quality of these trailers I sat down to talk about purchasing. After the initial money shock I was told I needed a w/d with sway control for another $900 to tow my new airstream. I just purchased a new Dodge Ram Hemi with built in sway control and did not think I needed such. The sales person said that I'd have to sign all kinds of disclaimers if I towed a new airstream without? Even with shocks the trailer would bounce all over the road?
The tongue and trailer weight are both in the middle of my truck's capacity and I presently tow with out a w/d nor sway control.
Is this true, that you must use one if you tow an airstream?
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:07 AM   #2
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The tongue and trailer weight are both in the middle of my truck's capacity and I presently tow with out a w/d nor sway control.
Is this true, that you must use one if you tow an airstream?
I'd say that generally, yes, a weight distribution and sway control hitch would be necessary but that's a difficult call without more information. Can you give specifics for your truck's capacities and which Airstream specifically you're considering? It'll be much easier for folks to give you an informed opinion if they have facts to look at.

We'd need to know the GCVWR, GVWR, class of hitch, wheelbase and tow rating of your truck along with the model, lengthe, GVWR and tongue weight of the trailer you're looking at.

Thanks!

Roger
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:19 AM   #3
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The trailer is a Flying Cloud 20' 4000# weight and 600# t/w. the truck has 6800# rating and class IV 2" receiver. The GVWR is 6700# and the GCWR is 12,000#- thanks
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:29 AM   #4
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I would also say "yes" to an anti-sway/weight distribution (AS/WD) hitch system.

Having said that, there is new technology out there that uses pulses to the trailer brakes to help control sway. If your new truck is equipped with such a system, it may impact the sway problem.

On the other hand, I don't see how you can safely tow a heavy trailer without any weight distribution hitch equipment. If your tow vehicle is not pretty much level when towing, you are not towing safely. The lower the back of your tow vehicle sits, the less contact the front (steering) wheels have with the road. This adversely impacts both steering and braking, and the majority of a vehicle's braking capability is in the front brakes.

If you look on your TV's hitch receiver, it will show two different weight capacities for both tongue weight and gross trailer weight. The higher number is with WD equipment in use and the lower number is without WD equipment. You need to look at these and see where you are really at. The TV's total advertised towing capacity is meaningless if the receiver is not up to it. It's the old 'weakest link in the chain' sysdrome.

You also failed to mention what model Airstream you are considering. Airstream tongue weights go anywhere from 450# up past 1000#.

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Old 08-09-2009, 11:14 AM   #5
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Your hitch is a Class IV which could, theoretically, carry the tongue weight without weight distribution, but at 600 lbs tongue weight dry, I'd think that a WD/sway control hitch would be necessary. Your truck only has a 6800 lb tow capacity, so when loaded you're going to be under it's capacity, but probably not by much.

I'd say get the Dual Cam. You'll be a lot happier with the performance of the truck/trailer combo, particularly if it's a short wheelbase truck.

Oh... and it's not just Airstreams that you need this equipment with; it sounds like Colonial is probably a more responsible dealer than the last one you dealt with for your last trailer.

On edit: You can expect the tongue weight to be pushing 800 lbs loaded.

Roger
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:04 PM   #6
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Just my opinion, but if the dealer is trying to get you to sign disclaimers, they are probably just trying to sell you a hitch. This doesn't mean that you don't need one or wouldn't benefit from using one, but I think this dealer is just trying to pad the deal.

If it were me, I'd shop around for another Airstream dealer, or at least another hitch installer if you decide that you need a w/d hitch.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:24 PM   #7
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BTW, Although they can be found for less online, $900 is not unreasonable for a Straight-Line Dual Cam setup, installed.

Roger
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:38 PM   #8
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Question

The cost of a proper hitch set-up is a fraction of the total investment, why cut corners?
The new "built in" sway controls only start working AFTER the sway starts. Better to do whatever you can to prevent it from starting in the first place.

IMHO... Colonial AS is one of the more reputable dealers around, I don't really think they are trying to "pad" the sale, just trying to have a safe happy new customer.
Check with your insurance carrier and see how they feel about you towing the new rig the way you describe.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:04 PM   #9
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I view AS/WD equipment as in the same light as Seat belts, anti lock brakes, crash helmets etc. It's safety equipment.

If everything goes well you will never need it. If something goes wrong you'll wish you had had it.

I am overtrucked for my trailer but I have AS/WD in case I have to make a sudden or evasive turning movement. I want to be sure that a sway situation will not develop and that my trailer will calmly follow me. It's the same reason I broke the piggy bank to install trailer disc brakes. That shorter stopping distance may be the difference between a rump pucker and a tragedy.

Money spent on safety equipment is always cheaper than repairs to property or people.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:39 PM   #10
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There is no reason in the world to have to sign any forms to buy a trailer without also buying a WD Hitch. If a WD Hitch was necessary in all condition Airstream would have recognized the liability years ago. Now that said I would consider a WD Hitch but under no circumstances would I ever allow a dealer to set it up for any more than the trip home.

If you are going to buy the trailer do some research on how to set up a WD Hitch and have a good idea of how it should be done before you take delivery. Note if you front end of the truck rises after the dealer installs the hitch and drops the trailer on it stop right there and ask for the tools to set it up yourself.

Also it is very important that an Airstream trailer set parallel to the ground while towing. This is because of the type of axles used.

Setting up a WD Hitch correctly on an Airstream can take several hours an no dealer is going to take that time.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:09 PM   #11
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signing waivers

I'm not shocked by the dealership requiring a form be signed if you choose not to get a WD.

No doubt someone somewhere either opted not or was not given the option of buying a WD and got into an accident.

Naturally their attorney blamed a dealership and litigation ensued.

Thats why my lawnmower came with a big warning not to use it to trim hedges.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:56 PM   #12
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So true and sad in the same respect

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping View Post
I'm not shocked by the dealership requiring a form be signed if you choose not to get a WD.

No doubt someone somewhere either opted not or was not given the option of buying a WD and got into an accident.

Naturally their attorney blamed a dealership and litigation ensued.

Thats why my lawnmower came with a big warning not to use it to trim hedges.
This is unfortunately what things have come down to. We have to be notified that the coffee is hot and may burn you... yes.. i hope so!

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Old 08-09-2009, 07:31 PM   #13
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The Unit Base Weight of the Flying Cloud 20' is not 4000# weight. The Technical Specification lists it as 4179 pounds. If you choose to tow with a bare ball you might want to pay attention to small details.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:08 PM   #14
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I have to agree with HOWIE and the others that the dealer is tryin to sell ya something. But You can get it for alot less elsewhere. DON'T SIGN ANYTHING only the bill for the trailer. I also am OVER TRUCKED. But I still use an old style REESE DUAL CAM w/d hitch. I bought my dual cam for about $150 used,$900 is out of reason. Althought my F350 came with a hitch I have had several installed at UHAUL for a lot less. THEY sell Draw-Tite /Reese.
BUT U defineatly need the W/D hitch most states require them by law.I would not pull my AS without it.
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