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Old 04-27-2007, 08:47 AM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Reese round bar or trunnion?

I have a 78' Soviergn Intl. I tow with a 3/4 Chevy. When I bought my Airstream, it came with a reese dual cam and 1000 lb trunion bars. The hitch bar is welded in place and has no adjustment. I have 2 problems. I need to lower the ball height a few inches and get lighter bars. I can't find any articles that compare the difference between the round bar and the trunion bar type weight distribution setups. It looks like from the pictures that a round bar setup is lower to the ground than a trunion becuse the trunion comes straight out from the hitch and the round bar drops below the hitch and then toward the trailer. Since I need a new adjustable hitch bar and lighter bars (probably 550 or 600lb), it is just cheaper to get a new setup. I also have the older style dual cam sway as opposed to the newer style dual cam HP sway. Can I use my older sway setup with new bars, or should I just go ahead and get the new HP sway? What are the benifits of the new HP sway?
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:19 AM   #2
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erock--I think it could be cheaper and easier to go with a complete new hitch system than to mix and match. As to the difference in HP and standard Dual cam this is my understanding. The advantage to the HP is in adjustment. Once installed, adjustments are made by threaded clevis. The standard Dual cam requires loosening the cam mount on the trailer frame and moving it as needed, sometimes a pain. The down side to the HP is that it requires drilling the frame and bolting the cams to it rather than clamping. Personally I don't like drilling if it cam be avoided.-----pieman

As a PS have you concidered a Hensley?
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:44 AM   #3
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I would love to get the Hensley, but I just can not justify spending more on the hitch than I did on the Airstream! If $ were no object, I don't think it would be a question. I am curently gutting my 78' and if I did get a Hensley, my wife would make me move out and live in the Airstream! She is already not on board with my recent purchase. I keep telling her that after I get it fixed up we will have something special. She likes our Pop-up.
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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Go on eBay, get a hitch bar, get a hitch to attach to that bar and you should be in good shape.

I do not believe the older cam system is compatible at all with the older system.

For some of the base pig iron, ebay is hard to beat because in most cases, it's hard to destroy the iron hitches. I would still suggest going online for any dual cam HP parts or hitch ball since those can either wear and/or have parts you just might not want to trust eBay for.

I bought my bars, horseshoes, hitchbar and hitch to bolt onto the adjustable hitch bar for somethiing nuts...think it was under $100 for all of it. Picked up a ball and the Dual Cam HP together for I think $150 or less.
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:08 AM   #5
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The round bars (aka EZ-Lift or Robins) do eat into your ground clearance. It's even more pronounced when you're hitching up because you need the extra space to install the bars. Having used both I think the Reese trunion is far superior. There are a couple problems with the round bar. The socket that they go into needs to be greased and since it's a blind hole it's prone to dirt build up. If you don't keep it greased (and it's hard to tell) then the pins that lock in the bars will wear. I doubt they'd pop out under load but it's annoying. As far as towing performance I don't see any difference. However, with the round bar system I think the only sway control option is a friction device which hardly seems worth the bother.

Are you sure you need lighter bars? I'd get the hitch height taken care of first and see how the current set-up works before making an investment in new gear. I'm trying to picture how your hitch head is welded? There should be an adjustment for angle as well as height. Without that you can't fine tune the tension on the bars. One link is too course of an adjustment. That may be when you're having trouble with the current set-up.


-Bernie
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhayden
I'm trying to picture how your hitch head is welded? There should be an adjustment for angle as well as height. Without that you can't fine tune the tension on the bars. One link is too course of an adjustment. That may be when you're having trouble with the current set-up.


-Bernie
Bernie, back in the olden days of yore, a hitch builder would do the whole job, fabbing up the frame mount, and welding the head together at the corrrect height. This is something of a lost art, everybody wants "plug n play" now, and everything is bolt together.
On our round bar setup, we have threaded U bolts that hold the chain links to the bars. You can crank the nuts up and down on the U bolts to fine tune the links, up to half a length of travel.
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:08 PM   #7
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Terry,
I come from the (g)olden days of yore. We had hitchs welded up on an old Pontiac station wagon and on a Dodge Charger. However, even back then anything other than farm trucks used a receiver hitch. Granted the part that went into the receiver was generally either a straight bar or a set drop. We used EZ-Lift back then and the head wasn't adjustable. I think the Reese and Equalizer (much more expensive back then) were by design adjustable for angle and if they go so far as to do that then you can just change the shank to get more adjustment.

The threaded U-bolts sound like a pain. Without the ability to use leverage to snap the bars up into place you'd have to rely totally on raising the trailer tongue and with the way the round bars slip in through the bottom I guessing you have to completely unbolt the U-bolt every time.

Another option would be to put a 1/2 twist into the chain. That's how we adjust the length of the breakaway chains. Never tried it with torsion bars. I can't see it as a great long term solution but I suppose it would work.

-Bernie
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Old 04-27-2007, 02:38 PM   #8
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don't underestimate the power of threads

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhayden
The threaded U-bolts sound like a pain. Without the ability to use leverage to snap the bars up into place you'd have to rely totally on raising the trailer tongue and with the way the round bars slip in through the bottom I guessing you have to completely unbolt the U-bolt every time.

Another option would be to put a 1/2 twist into the chain. That's how we adjust the length of the breakaway chains. Never tried it with torsion bars. I can't see it as a great long term solution but I suppose it would work.

-Bernie
Bernie, it's pretty easy with a ratchet and socket to tighten or loosen the u-bolts, it's amazing how much torque you can put on them without even trying.
The last totally custom hitch we had made was in 1967, on our 1966 Ford Galaxie 500. Everything was welded in place, so there were no bolts or joints to work loose, but also if anything changed, you were stuck with the way it was built. Usually not a problem unless your hitch fabricator didn't do something right.
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Old 04-27-2007, 05:18 PM   #9
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Thanks for the help guys. As previously stated by others the hitch that I have is welded up. I'm not sure what kind of TV the previous owner had, but my truck must sit much higher. The welded up contraption is set level with the receiver, no drop or rise. From the measurements that I have taken, I need around a 4-5 " drop. My truck is 3/4 ton heavy duty, and the stated tonuge weight is around 555 lbs. I have been told by numerous people and this forum, that since I have a HD truck, I need bars around 600lbs. If I were to use the 1000 lb bars I would be "over-hitched." Does anyone disagree with this statement?
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Old 04-27-2007, 06:42 PM   #10
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same boat as you

erock53, I'm in the same boat as you. I purchased a '78, 31 foot Excella 500. The P.O. sold it without the W.D. hitch, he dropped it off at my house and now I need to buy the hitch. I think I want the Reese Straight Line. I to cannot afford the Hensley. My T.V. is a '91 Ford 3/4 ton extended cab, long bed. From what I have read on this forum, and since our T.V. and T.T. are about the same, I have decided on the 550# or 600# bars. I hope Inland Andy will reply to your question, as to what the difference is between the round bars and the trunnion bars. I want to know which is best for our situation.
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Old 04-27-2007, 06:48 PM   #11
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Good question! Some of the post have touched on that a bit. I am running a one ton plus duelly and gather the wd is not needed but sway control is always a good idea. Heard the lighter the WD the easier it is on the trailer frame as well.
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Old 04-27-2007, 06:53 PM   #12
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Not sure if you are in the market for an Equal-i-zer brand hitch, but I am getting ready to sell my 31' AS and plan to sell the hitch as well. It is their 1200# model and is in great condition. I also have a tall truck and had to purchase a drop bar for the hitch. The hitch has worked great for me since I purchased it new. I spent the extra $$ on one because they incorporate the anti-sway control into the hitch. If you are looking for a new hitch, most trailer outfitters carry them. Equal-i-zer® Hitch - The “American Original” with 4-Point Sway Control™ and Weight Distribution
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7xp
erock53, I'm in the same boat as you. I purchased a '78, 31 foot Excella 500. The P.O. sold it without the W.D. hitch, he dropped it off at my house and now I need to buy the hitch. I think I want the Reese Straight Line. I to cannot afford the Hensley. My T.V. is a '91 Ford 3/4 ton extended cab, long bed. From what I have read on this forum, and since our T.V. and T.T. are about the same, I have decided on the 550# or 600# bars. I hope Inland Andy will reply to your question, as to what the difference is between the round bars and the trunnion bars. I want to know which is best for our situation.
I use 750 pound round bars on our F250 extended cab, long bed truck with our 6200 pound Overlander, it is just about right for it.
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Old 04-28-2007, 06:43 AM   #14
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I use the 750lb bars the trailer weight is about 5200.

I also have the dual cams, drove about 1,000 miles without them,

on an empty road w/o dual cams I turned the wheel back & forth we did swerve a bit.

Then I little bolted them up ----big, make that BIG differance.
Trying the swerve with the sterring wheel again, like a train on a track, hardly know when a semi passes.

I have no issues, can't see how a Hensley can be better.
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