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Old 02-28-2008, 06:04 PM   #1
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towing the 32 excella vs 34 excella hitch recommendations

We just purchased a 34 and with the triple axle expected it to tow as easily as our 32. Frankly the 32 was a piece of cake behind us however, this 34 is all over the place. We've adjusted the hitch up and down and nothing seems to work. Would anyone have any suggestions before I spend the big bucks on a Hensley??
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:11 PM   #2
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Before we can help you, we need more info. First, what year is the trailer?
Second, what are you using to tow the trailer?
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:00 PM   #3
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If your hitch set up turns out to be OK, simple things like tire pressure - on either the TV or trailer can have an impact on towability.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Before we can help you, we need more info. First, what year is the trailer?
Second, what are you using to tow the trailer?
The 32 trailer was an 87

And the 34 is a 96

We're using the same vehicle to tow both...a 2001 one ton 5.7 liter chevy van
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:28 PM   #5
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Hi Lakelady,

I have a 2000 34' and I needed to upgrade my 1/2 ton shortbed pickup to a 3/4 ton long bed. I just could not get the 1/2 ton to be stable, played with hitch heights and tension on the trunions, nothing worked. Also, added reece anti-sway attachements. Now it is rock solid. This was a majorly expensive upgrade, so I hope you can find an alternative, but don't wait until you are on some hill going around a corner and hit some dips to find out you got the wrong TV.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:36 PM   #6
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Is the triple axel a problem on the 34'???? We have a F250 gas....
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:40 PM   #7
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How do the tires look? are they all wearing the same?
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:00 AM   #8
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Hi

34's of the same year should tow better than the 32'. The tri axle is superior for stability. However a 96 has a little less than ideal hitch weight once you load the back storage compartment but it is still very good. The van you have is a very stable tow vehicle so I would say something else is causing the problem in your case. What hitch system are you using currently? What size tires do you have on the van & is the 34' empty or loaded?

Thanks

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Old 02-29-2008, 12:50 AM   #9
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MORE INFO is the way TO the answer...

Gotta agree with Andrew on this question... There is a serious lack of hard data on this unit.

Get it on a CAT scale and get some weights. If the unit is loaded with in such a way that the tongue weight is light, then the result is exactly what you discribe.

Is there a Rear bath? Bike rack back there? Something else?

The CAT scale can and will be able to offer you concrete numbers which WILL get you on the trail to figuring this situation out.

My 34 pulls SO well that I cannot fathom your problem. When you get it all sorted, you'll be some REALLY HAPPY CAMPERS with that Airstream. I surely LOVE mine.

Go BIG! You'll never regret it. JMO.

Be sure to keep us here informed of how this all shakes out. Photos - both units??? We LOVE photos....

All the best,

Axel
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:02 PM   #10
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I have a 1984 34' that I tow with a 1990 3/4 Suburban and it tows beautifully. Your problem is probably two fold. The tow vehicle is too small, light and underpowered for the 34' and by moving up to a 1996 from a 1987 you have picked up a lot more weight. I would take a look at upgrading to a 3/4 ton tow vehicle. I sstill tow with the old Reese equalizer that came on the coach with no problems. Good Luck getting this worked out because once you do you are going to find that the 34' tows great.
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:33 PM   #11
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Didn't Airstream have an issue with some 34' units being way too light in the front? Their fix was to add lead weight in the tongue.
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Old 02-29-2008, 01:15 PM   #12
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I have towed the 34' both a 94 and 2001 they both tow good, however, tongue weight is critical!!!! The 94 had issues with light tongue weight 750 lbs, the 2001 weighs 1250 lbs. There is a package for the 34' with light tongue weights that adds weight via flat bars. I used lead shot ballast on the 94 and this helped considerably. I also found that full potable water tanks were a necessity and that a partically filled tank was downright dangerous. Don't know what year you have but hope this might help.
Rick
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Old 02-29-2008, 01:22 PM   #13
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First try and determine your true tongue weight on a scale. Not all Cat scales will let you drop the trailer because they are just too busy so ask first. Your tongue weight should be between 10 & 12% of the dry trailer weight.

The fact that you mentioned you moved the hitch up and down tells me you have not set up the hitch properly. I am assuming you are using a weight distributing hitch. The hitch should be set so while the trailer on the TV, and is sitting level, weight is placed on the front axle of the TV. The amount will vary depending on the spring set of the TV. As a general rule to start measure and note the height of the fender through the centerline of the wheel without the trailer hitched. Once the trailer is hitched set the WDH so the fender drop in about a 60 40 ratio. That is if the rear drops 3/4 of an in. the front should drop at least 1/2 in. Setting up a hitch correctly is not a 10 min. job and is much more important with a tri axle. The torsion bar suspension Airstream uses requires that the trailer set level while hitched. If the trailer is tongue high you will be putting more weight on the tongue. If the trailer is tongue low you will be putting less weight on the tongue. This is because there is no system of equalizing between the axles.

Another critical reason to make sure the trailer is level when hitched is that the weight changes per axle when the trailer is not level, thus you would have to carry different tire pressures per axle in order to have the tires properly inflated. Refer to the manufactures inflation chart to see the differences. DO NOT INFLATE TIRES PER THE SIDEWALL NOTATION ON THE TIRES OR THE STICKER ON THE DOOR POST.

If set up properly you will have to look back once and a while to make sure the trailer in still there.

While your TV is on the light end I have seen 34s towed with less. Not saying I would.
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Old 02-29-2008, 01:23 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies.. He's working on several of the suggestions and info gathering.

Our hitch is new... a Reese with the sway bars. Probably should have invested that $$ in a Hensley but this is water under/over the dam now.

The unit has basic supplies in it for a weekend. There's nothing on the back end like storage or a bike rack etc.

AS's book has a method to figure the tongue weight w/o finding a CAT scale. He just tried it and it came out just under 900 which the AS book says it should be. Could they be wrong?

SilverToy here's some pics if I can get them in here...

The first one is our old 32 at Lake Allatoona north of Georgia..taken April 07 when the lake had some water.

The second is the new to us 34 taken at Hillsborough River State Park in Florida.. taken a couple days ago.
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