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Old 03-24-2007, 08:55 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davenpow
OK, Now I'm really confused.
Just bought our first Airstream, 1975 Sovereign 31'.
Driving south, about 600 miles to pick it up.
Have new Chysler Aspen, tow ready.
Which do I use to pick it up with, or what?
Ted
Hi, davenpow. welcome to the forums! boy, you really stepped right in it, didn't you?

what you'll need:
You'll need to purchase and install a brake controller in your tow vehicle. Your Aspen should have come with a harness that will make this easy.

you'll also need a weight distributing hitch, as is being discussed in this thread. The trailer might come with one...parts of these need to be installed on the trailer...often times, they go with it when its sold. You'll also need an adjustable hitch head/ball mount that matches this hitch system...or you'll need to buy all new and install it on the trailer before you tow.

Learn to use the search feature here...there are oodles of threads discussing brake controllers and hitches.
also, browse a few tire threads...if the tires on this rig are more than 5 years old, you'll want to get new ones...also might be a good idea to get the bearings inspected and repacked before embarking on the 600 mile trip home.

good luck!
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Old 03-24-2007, 09:15 AM   #58
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I adjust my Reese hitch based on the attached document. The number of chain links is correct when the front and rear of the TV have equal amount of load on them as measures at the wheel well. I did the entire adjustment in the document and the result was a much better ride.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf reese.pdf (364.6 KB, 66 views)
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Old 03-24-2007, 08:58 PM   #59
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Reese Dual Cam Setup

HowieE
I went through and set up my spring bars measuring the drop of the tow vehicle (front and rear) and the level of the trailer. I did the best I could.
Then I took the rig to the closest CAT scale and checked the weight on the two trailer axles (front and rear) and the two tow vehicle axles (front and rear). I kept tweaking (changing the angle of the ball mount and the number of chain links under tension) until the weight on all four axles (two trailer axles and two tow vehicle axles)was equal or as close as I could get it (3100 lbs +- 100 lbs).
The last thing I did was to pull the unit straight app. 50 yards, stop, loosen the nuts on the ubolts holding the dual cam units to the frame and allow the cams to center themselves.
The rig handled significantly better.
Andy of Inland RV recommended this be done to increase safety and handeling. It worked on my rig.
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Old 06-17-2007, 10:23 AM   #60
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Equal-I-Zer Update

Just a quick update on the Equal-I-Zer decision. We opted for the Equal-I-Zer and to-date couldn't be happier. Only towed about 300 mi, but so far can't notice a difference between towing the Bambi and towing the 25' FB (except the 25' is easier to keep straight while backing up). So far, seems rock solid with no noticeable effect from passing semi's or cross winds. I think it's way too soon to come to a definite conclusion because haven't towed long enough or under severe enough conditions.

I am still interested in hearing from forum members about sway incidents and the circumstances under which they occurred.

Also, it wouldn't be surprising to buy a Hensley some day, once I get over my fear of "hitching". The engineer in me really appreciates the Hensley's elegant design.
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:26 AM   #61
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Great thread guys!
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:20 AM   #62
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Weight Distribution

HowieE
First, I want to appologise for over looking your question. I missed it somehow.
When I finished playing with the ball mount height, ball mount angle, links under tension and dual cam things (Saddles? Its really neat how they self locate when you loosen the nuts slightly on the u bolts), I had between 3100 and 3200 lbs on all four axles (two on the tow vehicle and two on the trailer).
Again I appologise for the oversite on my part.
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:48 AM   #63
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Ewe... how's the hitch performing now?

Sorry I missed this thread when it first started... but it appears in the last photo that your ball mount is vertical or nearly vertical. I'd start with it at about a 15* tilt from vertical. That change allows for a change in deflection of the weight distributing bars and gives them more leverage per chain link. The problem you're experiencing may just be that you're not getting enough down-ward pressure from the WD bars on the dual cams. It took me a while to figure that one out with my new hitch when I set it up and experienced what seem like similar problems. After adjusting the ball mount, it works like it's supposed to, even towing the 25' Bigfoot behind the 6 cyl Tundra!

Oh, and BTW, the 800 lbs in the back of the Sub isn't tongue weight, it's just weight on the rear axle of the Sub. It'll cause handling issues, and along with the 800 lbs of tongue weight from the loaded trailer may come close to overloading the GAWR of the Sub, especially with a full tank of gas. I'd certainly check it closely!

Roger
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:34 PM   #64
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I have a tradewind 25 foot. Towed it with a 3/4T Ford pickup used a Reese equalizer hitch. Traveled many miles in wind, bad roads, rain etc with no problems of sway or anything else.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:48 PM   #65
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We had Reese + friction anti-sway on our 22' AS. We installed Equalizer brand on our new 25 last year. Approx 5,000 miles in past year the Equalizer has performed magnificently. Zero sway problems. Thanks to Airforums we already paid attention to tire pressures, trailer weight loading, and the mfr instructions. All said, the Equalizer has two super advantages for us over the Reese. No chain links to count and pry into place, and no auxiliary anti-sway device. All taken care of by the Equalizer. The Equalizer has consistently been easier to hitch up and remove and has never offered sway under any conditions. Granted, we are towing a 25' with a 3/4 ton Silverado HD extended cab truck. Weighing two weeks ago during cross-country odyssey the truck outweighs the trailer by over 1,000 pounds, and the trailer is close to its gvwr.

Installation was a cinch, cost was at least $100 less than Reese, and performance has been every bit I have needed on every kind of driving conditions we will encounter.

I don't need the highest torque engine to tow a 6,300 pound Airstream. I don't need the biggest 5er to full-time. I don't need bigger rims or higher rated tires for my driving conditions. I don't need the brightest lights to travel highways and byways at the permitted speeds. I don't need the best hitch money could buy to tow safely. To paraphrase an excellent insight from an earlier post, you should buy the best hitch your money can buy if you think you will be safer with it. I would buy the Equalizer again.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:23 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
Ewe... how's the hitch performing now?

Sorry I missed this thread when it first started... but it appears in the last photo that your ball mount is vertical or nearly vertical. I'd start with it at about a 15* tilt from vertical. That change allows for a change in deflection of the weight distributing bars and gives them more leverage per chain link. The problem you're experiencing may just be that you're not getting enough down-ward pressure from the WD bars on the dual cams. It took me a while to figure that one out with my new hitch when I set it up and experienced what seem like similar problems. After adjusting the ball mount, it works like it's supposed to, even towing the 25' Bigfoot behind the 6 cyl Tundra!

Oh, and BTW, the 800 lbs in the back of the Sub isn't tongue weight, it's just weight on the rear axle of the Sub. It'll cause handling issues, and along with the 800 lbs of tongue weight from the loaded trailer may come close to overloading the GAWR of the Sub, especially with a full tank of gas. I'd certainly check it closely!

Roger
Roger,
I totalled the Suburban, unfortunately. Without the trailer in tow.
The combination of my 97 leaf sprung Suburban, the Reese Dual Cam HP, and the 63 Overlander was not a good one. It towed poorly, no matter what.
I bought a new Suburban, which requires a new hitch setup, or a shank at least.
I am tempted to ditch the hitch and buy an Equalizer, or a Hensley. I am tired of sway and all the associated axtra work and headaches.
On a recent 3000 mile trip, I brought all my hitch related tools, and tried sevral different setups, all to no avail.
The Reese Dual Cam HP simply does not work well for me. I know that others are very happy with it, but for me it has been a headache since day one. I can't wait to get rid of this thing.
I tilted the ballmount, and tried all different combinations of chain links, even fine tuned the cam position. None, or only very little improvement.
btw., weight in the back of the vehicle is still weight that needs to be equalized, tongue weight or luggage weight. It will put more friction on the cams. The Suburban is rated to tow 6500lbs? The fully loaded trailer is 5500lbs. I forget the GCWR of the 97 Suburban, but am hoping that I wasn't overloaded. In any event, the tow stinks, even with the truck empty.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:33 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
...I am tempted to ditch the hitch and buy an Equalizer, or a Hensley. I am tired of sway and all the associated axtra work and headaches.
don't wanna intrude on other hitch threads but...

hensley now offers 750lb w/d bars which should be plenty for the overlander...

i think there is a thread around somewhere on the orange hitch

cheers
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:59 AM   #68
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Uwe, I think the problem is that your tongue weight is too light. You linked to another post that gave the trailer's weights, and TW was only ~10% of trailer gvw. that's too low, and will cause instability, regardless of what hitch you use. Tongue weight should be 12-15% of the trailer weight, and while that doesn't seem like a huge difference, it can have a huge effect on stability.

You could solve that by buying a HA-HA, and putting it inside the trailer on the floor up front. OR...an amount of gold bullion of equivalent value, which would give the same result, while being less mechanically complicated.

ok...I tease the Hensley owners. my bad. Its not that ha-ha isn't a wonderful product...its just that one shouldn't have to go to such lengths to manage a mid-sized, vintage trailer with such a tow vehicle.

I would try to find 150 or 200 lbs of ballast to pile up in the front end of the trailer, and take it for a drive.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:50 AM   #69
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I have an Equalizer for my 2005 Safari 25SS. My TV is a 2005 GM 1500 crew cab. I have towed this setup about 3000 miles since April and I could not be happier with the Equalizer. It was a little noisey at first but now it's fine. I really could not imagine using anything else.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:56 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
Uwe, I think the problem is that your tongue weight is too light. You linked to another post that gave the trailer's weights, and TW was only ~10% of trailer gvw. that's too low, and will cause instability, regardless of what hitch you use. Tongue weight should be 12-15% of the trailer weight, and while that doesn't seem like a huge difference, it can have a huge effect on stability.

You could solve that by buying a HA-HA, and putting it inside the trailer on the floor up front. OR...an amount of gold bullion of equivalent value, which would give the same result, while being less mechanically complicated.

ok...I tease the Hensley owners. my bad. Its not that ha-ha isn't a wonderful product...its just that one shouldn't have to go to such lengths to manage a mid-sized, vintage trailer with such a tow vehicle.

I would try to find 150 or 200 lbs of ballast to pile up in the front end of the trailer, and take it for a drive.
You're right, my tongue weight is low. I am considering relocating the batteries up front, and adding a spare tire as well. That should add enough tongue weight to improve things.
What gets me is the fact that even with a 9.9hp outboard and Zodiac type boat in the front of the trailer, it still has sway and feels squirly when trucks pass.
It tows excellent when just going down the road, even if it is a bit windy. It's the semis and even large suv's that make this thing go all over the place.
I do think that it is a combination of factors. The 15" tires on the Suburban are soft. The leaf springs allow several inches of side-to-side play, and the long overhang in the rear can't be ideal either. Add to that a low tongue weight and perhaps the wrong load bars, and it's a bad tow, I guess.
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