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Old 07-02-2009, 06:37 PM   #169
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I switched the rear spring pack on my dually to an alternate softer pack offered by GM. I believe that the alternate pack was commonly used on ambulance setups and, as such, it reduces the rear axle load-carrying capability of the dually by about 2000 lbs. When hitching a long-bed, crew-cab dually you get very little "unloading" of the front axle. I've reported my scale weights before, but suffice it to say the front axle and rear axle weights for the rig are very close when hitched. Truth is, with 4WD, and the Duramax/Allison combo, the front axle could use a little "unloading!" Afterwards, the ride was softened considerably but I was still using 1,000 lb Husky bars - with a hitch weight of 940 lbs. Note that this is for the 2000 30' Excella herein. As others have pointed out, the dually can "dead load" carry 1,000 lbs. Accordingly, I stressed the bars very lightly with no noticeable bending. After reading and studying some earlier threads (---and heavily based on Andy's suggestions) I decided to switch to the 600 lb bars and put them to work with a proper bend when hitched up. The improvement in ride was immediately noticeable! As for sway control, the rock solid handling of the long wheelbase chassis with dual wheels is similar to what I would expect if the rig was riding on rails! I do not use any form of sway control.

I just made another 2,200 mile delivery tow for my son with a very heavy 18' box trailer. The tongue weight was 1,000 lbs and the dual axle weight for the trailer was 7,000 lbs. I once again used the 1,000 lb bars - this time with little concern about overstressing the trailer - but with due respect for its' 10' high "billboard" sides and the desire to keep every bit of weight I could on the front axle of the truck. It rained for over 1,000 miles - but I never experience any handling problems in spite of heavy truck traffic.
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:39 PM   #170
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I would like to carry a boat on my TV 3/4 T Chev Duramax but need more clearance between the truck and the trailer. What about extensions for the hitch? Will it effect the trailering of my 25' Safari? Thanks, bill
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:51 AM   #171
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I would like to carry a boat on my TV 3/4 T Chev Duramax but need more clearance between the truck and the trailer. What about extensions for the hitch? Will it effect the trailering of my 25' Safari? Thanks, bill
Yes, the further back you put the pivot point, the more likely sway will occur. The Hensley Arrow creates the geometry of moving the pivot point forward nearer the rear axle. This is why the ideal tow vehicle has very little rear overhang. There is also a hitch system that actually mounts under the frame of the tow vehicle and swings on an arch beneath the rear of the tow vehicle. In essence, this configuration puts the apparent pivot just behind the rear axle. I can't remember the brand, but it is cost comparable to the Hensley and does require removal of the spare tire from beneath the rear of the tow vehicle. This is also why semi trucks don't need sway control. The closer the pivot is to the axle, the less likely sway can control.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:06 PM   #172
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Thanks Andy for the article about Towing Myth's. I am very new at the towing game, having just purchased a 2008 27' Flying Cloud. Great shop guys where I got the rig set up with my TV and they took lots of time helping explain how to hook up but I had no idea of the things I must consider while towing and the maint. required. I am in love with the AS but also scared like crazy I will do something wrong that will either cost me bucks or maybe get me or someone else hurt. It is good to get a wake up with such an article.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:38 PM   #173
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Thanks so much. However, I'm very much a newbie--pre-newbie, actually. I'm looking at tow vehicles and Airstreams now. But given that I buy, say, a new F150 with the towing package, and an in-shape Bambi (nothing larger than 20') --around 2006 +, am I going to need to buy separate equipment for them to match up? People keep talking about "replacing" or "adding." Thanks
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:41 AM   #174
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Not to get off topic too much, but one of the earlier posts mentioned Caravanner Insurance and not knowing why they went out of business. My understanding is that a giant hail storm at one of the WBCCI Internationals, maybe the one in Bismarck in '93, took out a bunch of units, and the claims put Caravanner out of business. The story was relayed to me by a former Airstream dealer.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:37 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by poems&songs View Post
Thanks so much. However, I'm very much a newbie--pre-newbie, actually. I'm looking at tow vehicles and Airstreams now. But given that I buy, say, a new F150 with the towing package, and an in-shape Bambi (nothing larger than 20') --around 2006 +, am I going to need to buy separate equipment for them to match up? People keep talking about "replacing" or "adding." Thanks
A Bambi behind an F150 you won't even know that it's there. Put in a controller to take advantage of the brakes that are on the trailer for safety. I'd add a transmission cooler just for piece of mind and if your the sort that keeps a vehicle until the wheels fall of it'll pay for it's self. I'm a big believer in weight distribution hitches but honestly the torsion bars can be a hassle and I think you'd be fine without them. I'd use them but if it's a hassle I think you'd be just fine without.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:23 AM   #176
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Mikethefixit Thanks Roger, for your input. It is now the final word reguired to make a believer in that what Andy,the Guru, has been trying to drum into us that you don't need to make an solid IRON-BAR connection between TT & TV. I got it!!! It's got to flex so you can control it, not have it control you. I'm convinced that with my stiff sprung TV with a long wheelbase the 600#s will work great. Glad I went ahead and bought them to use as it will make that 2000 mile trip better and safer. Again I must thank You, Andy, and all the other inputs that make this Forums a great place to find info needed to share our experiences. It's the best.
Airhouse, after re-reading your posts this morning, I agree that with the heavy suspension under your van, that the 600 lb bars are probably better for your setup. I suspect that the heavier bars worked better with my Excursion because of the soft rear suspension it had. I had the bars flexed about 3" and it rode nicely. The heavier suspension on your van probably wouldn't allow that kind of ride with 1000 lb bars.

Roger
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:27 AM   #177
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Thanks so much. However, I'm very much a newbie--pre-newbie, actually. I'm looking at tow vehicles and Airstreams now. But given that I buy, say, a new F150 with the towing package, and an in-shape Bambi (nothing larger than 20') --around 2006 +, am I going to need to buy separate equipment for them to match up? People keep talking about "replacing" or "adding." Thanks
The "dry" tongue weight of a 2006 19' Bambi is 490 lbs. Most class III receiver hitches are rated at 500 lbs dead weight and 1,000 lbs with weight distribution. 490lbs "dry" will put you well over 500 lbs with a battery and LP in the tanks, not to mention any load in the trailer.

You'll still need a weight distributing/sway control hitch. Trailer brakes and that hitch equipment is required by law in some states for trailers over 3,000 GVWR. I used WDH/sway control on a sub-3000 lb Burro 17 trailer with a Toyota compact truck. The difference in towing between that equipment (properly set up) and a bare-ball hitch towing was night and day.

Roger
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:02 AM   #178
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A Bambi behind an F150 you won't even know that it's there. Put in a controller to take advantage of the brakes that are on the trailer for safety. I'd add a transmission cooler just for piece of mind and if your the sort that keeps a vehicle until the wheels fall of it'll pay for it's self. I'm a big believer in weight distribution hitches but honestly the torsion bars can be a hassle and I think you'd be fine without them. I'd use them but if it's a hassle I think you'd be just fine without.
A late model Bambi weighs in the neighborhood of 3800 to 4500 pounds wet and loaded. I wouldn't pull that much trailer around the block with an F150 without a weight distribution hitch. Think of 380 to 500 pounds of tongue weight three foot behind the rear axle. Just don't think it's safe, IMHO.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:51 AM   #179
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Weight Dist. Bars

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A late model Bambi weighs in the neighborhood of 3800 to 4500 pounds wet and loaded. I wouldn't pull that much trailer around the block with an F150 without a weight distribution hitch. Think of 380 to 500 pounds of tongue weight three foot behind the rear axle. Just don't think it's safe, IMHO.
Gotta go with Steve... I got a new half-ton Silverado this summer and wondered about what it would feel like pulling the Bambi not using the bars. Tried it for a short run, then hooked up the bars to compare.

That is the only time I will willingly tow it without the bars on. The rear of the truck did not squat without bars and moved the trailer like it wasn't there but there is a definite difference in the "feel". With bars, whole different world and just makes the combo feel like it was made together.

Truck has integrated brake controller, so far so good. Even though there was no problem stopping the trailer without bars on, one large part of the "good feel" of the bars being on was felt during stopping. To me, that is extremely important.

TB
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:15 AM   #180
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Inland Andy,

Maybe you could post a spreadsheet with the Airstream models along the x-axis and typical tow vehicles up the y-axis. In the appropriate cell you could post your recommended weight distribution rating for the dual-cam you recommend.

That would be very useful to everyone.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:19 AM   #181
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A Bambi behind an F150 you won't even know that it's there. Put in a controller to take advantage of the brakes that are on the trailer for safety. I'd add a transmission cooler just for piece of mind and if your the sort that keeps a vehicle until the wheels fall of it'll pay for it's self. I'm a big believer in weight distribution hitches but honestly the torsion bars can be a hassle and I think you'd be fine without them. I'd use them but if it's a hassle I think you'd be just fine without.

This is entirely true for our setup - a Caravel behind an E150, but the Caravel is only 2800# and about 250# tongue weight. I wouldn't want to do it with a modern Bambi, which is significantly heavier. However, for our vintage trailer, this setup tows perfectly, and we don't even know it's there.

Part of the reason we don't use weight distribution (in addition to the tongue weight being about equivalent to a stout person sitting in the back end) is that none of the hitch makers make bars for any less than 500# tongue weights, which I think way over-hitches our setup and provides unnecessary stress on the trailer. We were towing with 1000# bars when we started out, not knowing any better, and we were losing rivets out of the front end.

This is my opinion, for my trailer only - what you find works with your trailer might be completely different.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:27 AM   #182
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For Small, Light Trailers

Here's a WD hitch that only uses one bar, and is designed for trailers up to 4,000 pounds, and for tongue weights from 100-400 pounds. So, it would work well on even early model Bambis with a moderate to small tow vehicle. Probably not needed with a 3/4 ton truck, however.

Single Bar Weight Distribution Kit for A-Frame 3205 : Trailer hitch bike rack and trailer hitches - etrailer.com

Later I will give a report on how this hitch does, as I have one on order to use with the 17' Casita that I use going to RC funflys.
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