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Old 09-04-2012, 11:16 AM   #365
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HowieE, good lesson learned for all of us Andersen users. Safety first, always!
I am still trying to picture what actually happened. As always pictures would help, but I suppose you were a little busy trying to not get smashed to worry about pictures. Glad you are ok and not injured.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #366
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Thanks for the update Howie, will use the Andersen method of unhitching by turning the nuts to loosen the chain.

Just ordered the hitch this morning after much research. The factors came down to overall weight, simplicity, no spring bars for smoother ride, price, and excellent reviews.

The Hensley design is no doubt far superior in stability but the hitching/unhitching difficulties is something I don't care to deal with.

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Old 09-04-2012, 11:53 AM   #367
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HoweE: I am glad you found this without being hurt. I ran across it early on when I got my hitch and in reading your posts, wondered how you were doing all your hitching and unhitching with the tongue jack only, and not loosening the nuts, but didn't give it a lot of thought, or I might have warned you.

For the others reading this, I might clarify the situation a little. The Andersen ball has a longish tapered shaft which rides in the anti sway friction material. On the bottom, there is a space with a hole for the triangular plate to be pined on when hooking up. If you put upward pressure on the ball, it can lift out of the tapered shaft. In fact that is the only way it can be disassembled or built. So, the Andersen instructions say you are not to put a lot of upward pressure on the ball when hitching up (but they don't say why and they should). In other words, you should not hitch up by jacking the trailer/TV up with the hitch jack in order to get the triangular plate on the bottom of the ball shaft. If you do, there is danger of the ball coming out of the tapered shaft and dropping the TV, as happened to HoweE.

As I mentioned, I found this out when hitching up early on, and then figured the instructions were right, and you should not place a lot of upward pressure on the ball when hitching up. That is why I have been loosening the chain nuts for my hitching and unhitching. It is quick and easy that way with the large socket that Andersen provides, and a 1/2" wrench.

I agree with you HoweE, that there could be modifications made to the hitch ball shaft so this was not an issue. Something like a very large C clip or a second collar and pin so the ball could not be lifted out of the tapered shaft, other than by their removal. However, I don't think this is a flaw in the original design or instructions. The instructions might have mentioned the "why" not to lift the trailer and TV with the tongue jack, but they do tell you how to do the hitching properly.

A second generation of the hitch might include the modifications you (and I) mention, but this generation does not. The instructions could be easily changed to say why the trailer and TV should not be lifted high with the tongue jack, and I would recommend that Andersen do that for now.

I just returned from another 850 mile trip with the Andersen and my 22' rear door Argosy. I did not have the level set up quite right and on the rear door Argosy, the dual axels are pushed a bit forward so the tongue weight is a bit low. I detected a small amount of oversteer on the Jeep at times. However, no sway at all from passing trucks at 75 mph on the interstates. Then I got into 35 mph cross winds in Wyoming and again no indication of sway at all. I believe the oversteer could be dialed out with the proper level and fine tuning, but I was taking the trailer to it's new owner and will not be towing it again. He can report on it now.

BTW, I have found that spraying some silicone lube into the tongue hook up chain brackets (in front of the nuts, where the chain goes into the square tube) is helpful in reducing or eliminating the creaking noises I occasionally have on my hitch. The chain moves slightly due to the bushings and that rubbing movement causes some creaking noise at times. I am going to suggest to Andersen that they slightly round the square tube ends where the chain enters to reduce or eliminate that issue.

It is a new hitch, and everyone, users and manufacturer, can benefit from in the field experience. Few products are faultless in their first iteration.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:42 PM   #368
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I hadn't hitched this way as I have a manual jack stand and thought it would take to long to do. I bought the hitch to cut down on time and not having to lift and lower my jackstand as I did with my old WD...

I simply put the trailer on the ball, attach the chains and tighten them up. backwards for taking off... If found this quicker than jacking up to put it on. lowing it, then jacking it up again, then lowing it to take out my jack stand.

I do however think Howie's idea of an extra bolt/pin is a good one and could stop accidental drops.

I don't see this as a flaw in the Andersen Hitch though. Just need to follow their directions for putting it on and off...

I wanted to take the ball out to look at my brake sleeve. It took 3 good taps with a mallet to get it to pop out, and then almost hit my toes... Brake material looks fine with no real wear..
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:29 PM   #369
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Wow HowieE - that was a close call! So glad to hear that you weren't injured. Also, thank you for posting what you did to help others avoid from doing the same.

We're still some months away from buying our Airstream but we have the Andersen WD Hitch on our list of things to buy :-) Thank you again!
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:22 AM   #370
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Hi, I'm glad to hear that HowieE was not hurt although knowing that the ball shaft is coned shaped, he should have known that the ball would come out. And he should have been following their instructions. But I also agree that since this has happened that Andersen should consider putting a ring with a pin on the bottom so the ball shaft can't be pulled out. I can't imagine it being too hard to fit a ring with a pin without re-designing the whole hitch. [my opinion]
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:33 AM   #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
Those that have followed this thread know that I was quite excited by the new design and it's advantages over other WD hitches.

Now after several trips I have to report an situation that greatly disturbed me. Yesterday while hitching up the ball shaft came out of the housing dropping the TV. Had my hands or legs been contacted during that drop I would not be in a position to writing this reply. Now I must say I have used the tongue jack to lift the combination of the TV and trailer high enough to place the triangle plate on the ball shaft, something the Andersen does not suggest. I am writing this to advise others that may be hitching the same way to reconsider this practice.
There are a couple of questions I have... how would you have been injured by the tow vehicle falling? The rear end would drop, but I'm presuming you weren't changing the rear wheels of the TV at the same time... wouldn't the suspension just return to it's normal sag? Or, do you have the thing actually off the ground?

Next... how did this ever work in the first place? There is no mechanical link between the tapered shaft and the sleeve until the triangle plate is on... so I would have never though to even try what you did knowing the friction of the brake material was all that was holding the shaft... especially knowing the whole thing pivots, so is not usually seized.

It's not that 'Andersen doesn't suggest'... they tell you NOT to do that. It's no suggestion. While your improvement is interesting... the only reason to do that would be to bypass an unsafe procedure. I can see why they were defensive.

Glad you didn't get hurt, but I can't help but wonder what other outcome would be expected from what you were doing...
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:43 AM   #372
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I only raise the tongue to facilitate loosening or tightening the chains. Once loose, the nuts can be unscrewed by hand quickly. Then I lower the jack and when it is at the point of being loose on the ball and the chains still loose, I unlock the ball and then raise it and drive the TV forward. The procedure takes a little practice to get things in the proper order but the important thing is that there be no tension on anything when unlocking or unhooking anything. I would think that principle goes for any hitch design, not just Andersen. BTW, I really like the hitch after three trips and 5,000 miles towing with it. I will post a more thorough review in a week or so.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:27 AM   #373
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It's not hard to loosen or tighten the bolt with weight on the chains, I'm not sure why you want he extra step of raising an lowing the TV. This for me was one of the reasons to buy the thing. Not to have to raise and lower my jack stand more than once. IMO.


Andersen clearly states in the directions that when setting up, with all the weight the trailer on the TV the chains should have no slack in them with 2 threads showing. from here you tighten up the chains, or loosen them to drop the ring off. It's very clear the jack stand should not be used to take weight of the chains and remove the bottom ring. Although it's a good idea it will need that extra ring on the bottom to work. And the shaft would have to be at least 3/4 inch longer. I'm guessing they are not going to change production, just so people don't have to follow their directions...

Yes the ball will stay in the brake sleeve, and is hard to get out. In Howie's situation it stayed in while he removed the ring and lowered it back down. TILL ONE TIME IT DIDN"T..

like my Daddy always said; "RTFD the first time and follow them".
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:25 AM   #374
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Push

Do you feel the push of a big rig passing you with the Anderson? This is one big advantage of the Hensley over friction anti sway designs.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:45 AM   #375
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rp709
Do you feel the push of a big rig passing you with the Anderson? This is one big advantage of the Hensley over friction anti sway designs.
I feel them pass but not anymore than I would without the trailer. I never felt the trailer sway with the Andersen hitch. Even in the strong winds of the Columbia river gorge. The TV and trailer move as one unit.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:53 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by rp709 View Post
Do you feel the push of a big rig passing you with the Anderson? This is one big advantage of the Hensley over friction anti sway designs.
Not ever on my 20' Argosy and Jeep Grand Cherokee combination. I tend to drive about 70 on Interstates when the speed limit is 75, so I do get passed by large trucks.

My recent trip to Wyoming with the 22' Argosy had both trucks and crosswinds, but no indication of any push, pull, wiggle or sway with trucks or 35 mph crosswinds. However, the 22' was not set up quite right (towed too high in the front) as it was a one time tow. I felt some oversteer in the Jeep, not much, but not quite as easy to drive as the 20'. I believe that could have been corrected with a proper setup.

Those with longer Airstreams or Argosys may want to offer more comments on the subject.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:17 AM   #377
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With a tongue weight of 875#, it not that easy to tighten the nuts to get weight dist as I need. Jacking up a little makes it easier.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:19 AM   #378
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rp709
Do you feel the push of a big rig passing you with the Anderson? This is one big advantage of the Hensley over friction anti sway designs.
No. The TT and TV move as one. That said, I never noticed with my equalizer either. From an anti sway perspective I can't say it is better as I didn't experience any sway with that one
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