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Old 04-08-2003, 09:56 PM   #1
1959 18' "Footer"
Powell River , British Columbia
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 46
Question Wanted Reese hitch information

I just found a Reese hitch and equalizer bars. I pull a 59 Traveler with a 2000 Ranger XLT. It came with a hitch, but it's tongue weight capacity may be questionable.

I'm using an older equalizer unit with that hitch and I'd like to replace the old unit, but don't know much about the Reese and don't want to spend unnecessary money.
Is it overkill for my combination?
Is there anything to watch out for on a used one?
Is there a site that compares hitch systems?

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Old 04-09-2003, 06:59 AM   #2
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Wanted Reese hitch information

Greetings Cindy!

I don't think that you would be disappointed by a Reese hitch for your '59 Traveler. When I first read your message, I thought that you were referring to purchasing the complete package -- receiver, drawbar, ball mount, and weight distribution bars -- upon re-reading your post I believe that you are refering to all but the receiver that you evidently already have mounted on your tow vehicle.

When looking at used equipment, condition and proper sizing is critical. I would suggest being sure about the folllowing before proceeding:

1. Drawbar - - is it the proper size for your receiver - - Reese made two different sized receivers during the late 70s through at least the early 80s - - the more familiar 2" and a smaller "light weight" receiver that was smaller than 2". The second issue with the drawbar is the drop - - will it allow the hitch head to be positioned low enough to attain proper ball height for your trailer. The last issue with the drawbar would be physical condition - - are there any welds that look sloppy or otherwise non-factory - - if there are any such welds, I would suggest passing and purchasing a new drawbar for safety sake.

2. Adjustable Ball Mount - - Are all of the bolts present as well as the adjusting washers. Again if there is evidence of welded repairs that are sloppy I would suggest passing in favor of a new ball mount or hitch head for safety sake. Also, I would hesitate to consider a welded ball mount unless both height and angle are appropriate for your coach as there is some question to the advisability of rewelding one to fit a new setup according to my fabricator who welded up the new Reese custom receiver for my Cadillac.

3. Weight Distribution Bars - - Are they properly sized for your coach. These bars come in a variety of sizes and at least two lengths in each weight rating. My suspicion is that your coach will likely require at least 500 pound weight distribution bars but not more than 700 pound - - go too light and the bars will bend loosing their effectiveness; and too heavy will result in difficulty getting the system to work properly. A rule of thumb that I was taught was to take the expected gross weight of the trailer and multiply that by twenty-percent to get a good approximation of the necessary weight rating for your weight distribution bars. When inspecting used bars, it is critical to determine that the ends that fit into the hitch head are firmly attached to the spring bars, and that the fingers (bumps on the top and bottom that fit into the hitch head) show minimal wear - - these parts can be replaced, but the cost may approach that of new spring bars. The weight distribution bars themselves should not have a noticeable bend or belly - - if they do it is an indication that they have been used on a trailer that was beyond their rating.

4. Sway Control - - If included, it may or may not be compatible with your trailer. I suspect that your trailer's tongue weight may be a bit below 400 pounds which is the minimum recommended weight for the Reese Dual Cam System. If the system is friction, then it would be applicable, but wether it is still servicable would depend upon its age and amount of use as the fricition surfaces do wear and may need periodic replacement or maintenance. I have used both friction and Dual Cam; and given the choice for a trailer with at 400 pounds on the tongue my choice would be Dual Cam for its ease of use (no need to adjust for changes in weather or road conditions as each of my fricition sway controls have required).

5. If what you are considering also includes the tow vehicle receiver, it is another area where condition is critical. Check for obvious sloppy welds, or damage. Check the bolt holes where the hitch attaches to the frame for any evidence of unusual wear (elongated or oval holes might indicate lack of maintenance).

I am not aware of any site that gives an objective comparison of the various hitch systems. Each manufacturer has a site, but their sites are designed to sell their product. Trailer Life periodically evaluates such systems, so a trip to a public library may produce a recent issue with such information.

Good luck with your decision!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 04-09-2003, 07:20 AM   #3
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1962 19' Globetrotter
2001 31' Excella
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I wish I had you here to go purchase my hitch equipment with me!!

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Old 04-09-2003, 07:46 AM   #4
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1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
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I read the Ford Ranger part and was in shock then I went to and looked up your trailer and saw it's dry weight only 2100lb. Looks like a reasonable match if your ranger has the V6.

The 59 traveler pictured on the site also has a picture of the original sales brocure and it list the tounge weight as 220lb. Thats way less then the 400lb Reese recomends for the Dual cam. Now that is probably dry weight. If you have a front water tank and then add the gear your probably closer to 325lb. That might be enough weight to make a dual cam work.

As light as the pull vehicle is you really need to get a good sway control. Even though your trailer is light it's a single axle and it has plenty of surface area and can easily push the light tow vehicle around in cross winds and when trucks pass you.

You might check with some of the local trailer service places and see if they have a way to measure the tounge weight. Pack the camper as you expect to be when you travel I'd leave the tank dry to start with. When your loading that camper be sure to load the heavy stuff foward. as light as it is the more toung weight the better.

overlander64 is the man and I have alreadly learned plenty from him and a few others. His and others posts are what lead me to the purches I made for our 59 Carravanner. Not a bit of regret and I know I have the right set up for my needs. Now I just need to get the tow Vehicle! LOL I am probably buying that tomorrow.

This is a area not to skimp on the equipment. Get the right stuff and listen to the recomendations of people like Kevin (overlander64).
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
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Old 04-09-2003, 10:52 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Though pretty basic, the following could be useful for people new to towing. U-Haul

You can click on various links, like "Select a hitch guide". Simple basics facts about towing. They have a glossary too, which can always be useful.

I especially like the statement :Turn any vehicle into an SUV
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Old 04-09-2003, 12:05 PM   #6
1959 18' "Footer"
Powell River , British Columbia
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 46
Wanted Reese hitch information

Thanks for the site. I'll take a look.
My existing hitch is without equalizer is 3500/350 TW and
with equalizer is 6000 and 650 TW.
Sounds like I'm ok. My older equalizer system is the only question.

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