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Old 09-20-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
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To WD or Not.... Sport 16

I will be picking up my new 2014 Sport 16 in three weeks (to say I'm excited would be an understatement!) and I'm trying to figure out what I need for a hitch. I've read and read and then read some more here on the subject but I'm still confused. My AS dealer is telling me I don't need WD, just sway control... Others say you need WD if you tow anything bigger than a little red wagon. So I'd love to get some collective opinions from the experts (you who already tow an AS). Really appreciate any insight/ thoughts you would share with me. I've towed before but nothing like this, my experience is either with horses (gooseneck) or this past year with my current truck and my T@B trailer which is just drop the hitch on the ball and go. Here is all the relevant (and irrelevant probably) info on my truck...

My TV: 2013 Ford F150, with Trailer Tow and Trailer Sway package. 5.0L V8 FFV Engine with 3.55 Electronic Lock RR Axle, 7100# GVWR package. GVWR is 7100 lbs., 145" wheelbase. Max GCWR 14,900.

I know how to figure weights - I just don't know if I need to distribute it with this little of a trailer.

Thanks in advance,

Deb
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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This in an opinion only, expect others to disagree, I am not an expert, just and experienced RV'r.

With your relatively small trailer and relatively large vehicle with electronic sway control you probably could get away without anything more than a ball. However I believe the stability and safety of your rig can only be improved by a "better" hitch.

The weight distributing hitch transfers weight from the rear of the truck (hitch) to the front wheels and corrects tow vehicle rear end sag and levels the truck back to where it started. With a lighter tongue weight you can get away without weight distributing bars, but they create a much better connection to the tow vehicle. With my Safari my truck only squats about an inch as measured at the rear wheels, but if you go over a bump without the weight distributing hitch if feels as if the front wheels of the truck are trying to lift off the ground. I actually feel much more comfortable towing my 23' Safari with weight distributing hitch and sway control than I do towing the 13' Trillium (1500lbs, 150lb tongue weight) with no weight distribution.

I would recommend buying the best hitch you can afford. You can keep the hitch for use with a bigger trailer or different tow vehicle if you own something different in the future.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:40 PM   #3
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How about you try it with just a ball to start with and see how it feels? You can do all the math you want, but how it feels on the road is what matters.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:13 PM   #4
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I believe it is best to use one because it can distribute all loads on your rear axle, trailer tongue weight and gear in the bed of your truck. Get a good one with sway control.

doug
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:18 PM   #5
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I have a friend that put a full-out propride hitch on his small airstream. Everyone laughed at him.

He laughed back knowing he probably has the absolute best set-up out there. In short, it's like new underwear. You probably don't need'um. But, they sure feel nice to have on and they will last a long time. And yes, they will stop sway better.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:22 PM   #6
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You should not need WD unless you are hauling cast iron stoves, fire pits, and 100 gal of water in the truck. You could get a friction sway bar set up which can help deflect crosswinds and passing truck bow waves. Try it without and see how it feels before taking the next step.
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
I have a friend that put a full-out propride hitch on his small airstream. Everyone laughed at him.

He laughed back knowing he probably has the absolute best set-up out there. In short, it's like new underwear. You probably don't need'um. But, they sure feel nice to have on and they will last a long time. And yes, they will stop sway better.
Hey, whatever makes him comfortable towing is his business. No one else is behind the wheel
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:43 PM   #8
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I support AldeanFan's and dkottum's thoughts. I don't think you technically need a WD hitch assembly, but the upside is that it will certainly smooth out your ride and handling when travelling and will help to minimize sway to some degree.

Downside? I guess the cost of the hitch assembly and the couple of minutes it takes to hook/unhook at the beginning and end of your travels.

Personally, I'd put one on with fairly light bars.
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:38 PM   #9
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Go WD and sway control/elimination. It's better to spread the load across all the available axles, your ride will be smoother and your Airstream will behave better while under way. It'll be a few hundred bucks is well spent in my opinion.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:35 PM   #10
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My AS dealer is telling me I don't need WD, just sway control...
My experience is just the opposite....I pulled my 19 ft with and without the weight distribution bars in place.
I have the flat slide sway control bar but I've never "felt" the need for it even after I stepped up to a 25 ft' trailer.

One thing I did notice when pulling the 19 ft'r without the weight distribution bars on is the trailer wanted to bounce the back of the truck up and down allot on rough spots even at slow speeds.

I'd for sure go with a weight distribution hitch with 5 or 600 lb bars and not worry too much about the sway control bar. (Be sure and don't let someone sell you a hitch with too heavy weight bars).

Here's an example on Ebay.... http://www.ebay.com/itm/600-LBS-Roun...30622679454%26

this is all you need you might even find one cheaper.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I believe it is best to use one because it can distribute all loads on your rear axle, trailer tongue weight and gear in the bed of your truck. Get a good one with sway control.

doug
^
X2

I would load it for camping, get it provisioned and set-up the way you'll use it, and ball it to the CAT Scales.

That way you'll know exactly what weight you need to transfer.

Don't forget to anti-sway it too....

Bob
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:59 PM   #12
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It's not going to take Rocket Science to figure out the bars needed for a 16 ft Airstream....here's a cheaper priced hitch with #550 bars.

RB3 Weight Distribution Kit w Shank Chains Hardware 10K GTW 550 TW | eBay

Be sure you have the appropriate weight trailer ball....as they come in different trailer weights.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:04 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for weighing in (pun intended)! For some reason this just wasn't connecting in my brain -- I was worried about weight distribution on the axles (as in not wanting to damage my truck by overloading back axle). Knew I was okay there but didn't connect with the quality and stability of the ride at all. Don't know why, just wasn't sinking in....duh!

I'm sure I'll have more dumb questions before it's over.... Three weeks and counting! Trailer is at the dealer but we are waiting on rock guards to come in. I've so far avoided embarrassing myself by asking if I can dry camp in their lot until they come in.

Appreciate this forum and your time in sharing your knowledge!
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:19 PM   #14
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Can't you go pick that baby up and just take it by for installation when the rock guards come in? I don't think I could stand it knowing it was so close and still three weeks out!

Good luck, i think you'll find it's all easier than you thought once you start doing it. Personally I found my trailer rides better without WD, but my rig is completely different than yours, so I prefer to tell people to try it out and decide for themselves.
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