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Old 02-27-2012, 09:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exthemius View Post
We upgraded from a set of normal round bars to one of those "fancy hitches" for many reasons:

-- we think of the "fancy" hitches as an insurance policy of sorts.
8. In our situation, it allowed us to open the tailgate of our truck while still being hitched up (we couldn't before).
9. With myself, my wife and my 2 kids in the truck, you can't (at least in my mind) put a price on that cargo, so spending the extra money was/is a no-brainer.
Agreed !!! Even if fancy is an EQ less expensive model ...
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:16 AM   #16
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Towing when it's windy

Anti-sway is especially important because RV trailers are an unusually reactive load for a towing vehicle. They are relatively light weight but can present a huge side load to the TV because of their large side surface areas presenting essentially a large sail to side winds. These two factors coupled together (a large side displacement force at the hitch when a side gust hits plus low mass inertia to resist the displacement) and that can present the driver with a large sideways displacement and subsequent oscillation of the combination that is difficult to bring under control when the vehicle speed is relatively high. The oscillation can be resonant which means that it gets worse with each successive swing. An anti-sway hitch can be a life saver in these situations, but another effective strategy without one is to DRIVE SLOWER!

I once was towing a 16'x80', 6 axle mobile home behind a 10 wheel, 3 axle Peterbilt tractor in North Texas at about 65 mph when I ran into an oncoming cold-front that wasn't marked by any sort of clouds or other clues that it was coming, and as soon as it hit it smacked me to 20-25º divergence between tractor and trailer and as I tried to correct for it the oscillations got worse instead of better in spite of my careful attention to timing my corrections to damp the oscillations. I grabbed the trailer brakes (only) hard and that pulled the rig straighter and killed speed enough that I was able to get it back under control. I was still trembling 30 minutes afterwards.

The NM DOT routinely shuts down truckers pulling mobile homes in heavy wind conditions because there have been so many of them wadded up into wreckage balls in the past due to that sort of load in those sorts of conditions. They unwisely allow RV combinations to keep driving.

I'll repeat because I think it's so important. SLOW DOWN (maybe a lot) when it's windy. Bad things which happen due to environmental factors are not as quick and are less severe in effect when your driving speed is slower. An anti-sway hitch is icing on that cake and also a good defense for big truck wind blasts in normal conditions.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:30 AM   #17
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Thumbs up

In our case..

"fancy hitch"= safety and peace-of-mind. Nothing more.

The rationalization needed to purchase is strictly a personal decision.

You can't appreciate the benefit's until you've toad "fancy".

Bob
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie
You've opened a can of worms now.
You said it-- 17 long posts in 10.5 hours, overlapping the window where 90% of users should be sleeping...

But I'm guilty too, just spent 10 minutes reading it all...
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:31 AM   #19
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There is a great article in the Spring 2012 issue of Airstream Life, where they go into the details on the purpose of the Hensley hitch. Worth the read and another reason to subscribe.

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Old 02-27-2012, 10:51 AM   #20
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Because travel trailers and their tow vehicles generally move quite fast, stability is very important, and not just for the trailer. Employing a weight distribution system (properly set up, of course) will spread the trailer's tongue weight load more evenly over the tow vehicle by passing some of it towards the front axle; a better distributed load will make for a more stable tow vehicle. Even big tucks can benefit from a more evenly distributed load, especially at speed, so a "fancy hitch" can work for everyone.

A sway eliminating or inhibiting system is also something that will offer a more stable towing experience, even with big trucks; there will always be a time when the trailer wants to go faster than the towing vehicle, or the wind (however generated) wants to push that trailer sideways.

As others have said, you may not necessarily "need" that fancy hitch, but it'll improve your tow immeasurably if you do use one, regardless of your tow vehicle.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:34 AM   #21
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As people have pointed out, there's a wide range of opinions on this topic. Clearly, weight distributing hitches are required for the new/bigger trailers, as tongue weights do exceed the tow vehicle manufacturer's limits without them. Also, regardless of hitch technology, proper loading is critical to maintain safety. If carrying heavy loads, they should be well secured and as much as possible concentrated slightly in front of the axles. Carrying weight at the ends of the trailer increases the polar moment of inertia, which increases the likelihood of trailer oscillations. Controlling towing speed is also a critical part of safety. Towing speeds make a huge difference as well; towing at high speeds makes trailer oscillations more likely. Lastly, hitches such as the propride and hensley decrease (but do NOT eliminate) the possibility of trailer sway by changing effective tongue lengths and hitch connection points, in addition to performing their weight distribution function.

We personally tow our 1971 Tradewind on the ball w/o weight distribution or antisway, but our F250 crewcab is close to twice the weight of our trailer and has a very long wheel base. I did fit Firestone RideRite air suspension to allow trimming the truck's rear ride height as the load in the truck varies. Both Barbie and I have towed trailers for many years, and find the Tin Pickle an easy, well-behaved tow with our truck.. Others might not agree. Such choices are personal, and reflect one's own experience and tolerance of perceived risk.

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Old 02-27-2012, 11:51 AM   #22
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I am eating my popcorn reading on!

I wondered the same thing about WD hitches. Never been problem with boats but from what I understand trailers are high mines 9.5ft and wide 8ft so it's like pulling sail boat with mast. I towed without WD 25 miles the comfort in my seat of pants feeling was hold on. Air pressures only 30 on TV and have not checked AS yet. Hope WD is improvement because driving 2000 miles would be trying. I see lot's people confident towing those are ones that have accidents. I have experienced sway one time. Had 5000 pounds loaded totally wrong in Uhaul dual axle trailer, tossed cabinet material and stuff from basement demo. All weight in back made for light hitch and 45MPH is swayed! Diesel yanked the crap out of it but kind scary.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:10 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starcraft View Post
...I have experienced sway one time. Had 5000 pounds loaded totally wrong in Uhaul dual axle trailer, tossed cabinet material and stuff from basement demo. All weight in back made for light hitch and 45MPH is swayed! Diesel yanked the crap out of it but kind scary.
Note that none of the hitches advertised as sway reducing or eliminating will or can compensate for incorrect loading.

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Old 02-29-2012, 09:14 AM   #24
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Pro Pride

I just skimmed the threads here, but I'm replying because this very subject was just on my mind. I think the Hensley and the Pro Pride are awesome. I have the Pro Pride. I have had three different Airstreams over the years, the current one being a 25' footer and it does make towing great. The family was just up to Lake Cachuma, CA and the winding roads really test the set up. Great trailering, I was just thinking!

I however, do think that if I had an HD pick-up (2500 Diesel or whatever) that a regular EZ Lift or something in that range would work just as well. I have a Ram 1500 and it does the job really well with the Pro Pride and we get to use the truck for the family the rest of the time and not have a dedicated TV that is a pain to park in parking garages, etc. for my wife. With an Ez Lift I would have had to beef up the rear shocks at least just to stop the squat. The Pro Pride fixes it.

At 2k plus these hitches are pricey, but once you are done, you are done!
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:04 AM   #25
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What's the word on the street for the new Andersen hitch? Concept seems sound to my none engineering mind but have yet to read any reviews from actual users.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:13 AM   #26
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I started a separate thread on the Anderson Equalizer hitch. Not much response other than the concern of excessive pressure on the hitch pawl.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:32 AM   #27
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There are several threads here and on other boards discussing the new hitch, but little to no information from actual users. I have been swapping e-mails with Dave Andersen, he told me that they are selling several hundred a month and have not had one returned. Feedback he is getting from installers and sellers has all been positive with no issues being reported back to him. He also said that all current units being sent out have a survey form enclosed and he hopes that customers will fill them out and send them back. I asked him about buying from Ebay sellers as they seem to have the best prices and he said no problem, his guarantee is 100% no matter where it is purchased. He did recommend buying from Ebay sellers that were offering return period 30-60 days vs. the 7 days as it gives them an easier time making sure their customers are happy.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:49 PM   #28
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I realize that it has been a while since anyone posted, but I thought I would add my two cents.

In 2010 my wife and I pulled our AS 5,500 miles over a five week period and I felt the Hensely "fancy" hitch worked great. At no time did I experience any sway. And upon leaving Cody, Wyoming heading to Casper we had a terrible cross wind and I felt quite comfortable towing the AS. Although I have to admit I did slow down, as was noted in a earlier post.

My wife feels I "over think" things and make things too complicated. That may be true, but on the other hand my adventures usually don't have any unpleasant events or experiences.

I don't have a lot to add, since I think most of the issues have been already addressed, I just wanted to share my experience.
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