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Old 06-23-2006, 11:33 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by toastie
So I need to buy new one at 500 pounds, if I run with the 1000 untill I get the 500 pounds should I set it using three links, that is what to old owner used.

What the other owner used, has nothing to do with you.

If you reduce the number of links under stress, all you do is progressively reduce the effectiveness of the hitch.

How to properly use a load equalizing hitch, is no big secret. But the principles must not be viloated by he did, she did, they did, previous owner did, etc.

It's what you do, that is the real issue.

The same trailer, with different tow vehicles, usually requires a different setup.

What your neighbor does, has nothing to do with your rig.

Over hitching, is just as bad as under hitching.

Adding overload springs years ago, got many owners in accidents and trouble.

Today, almost the same thing is happening, because most owners insist on a heavy duty tow vehicle, plus using a 1000 or 1200 pound hitch. End result, is usually beating the trailer to death, as well as having, in the case of the Reese dual cam sway control, very little sway control because the bars are not bending adequately.

This has been posted a number of times, and is a proven formula for selecting a hitch rating, in order to pull most Airstream trailers.

Truck scales were also used to assist in this simple, but effective formula.

1000 pound rated bars should be used when using an older long wheel base car from years ago.

750 pound rated bars when the tow vehicle is 1/2 ton rated truck.

550 pound rated bars when the tow vehilcle is 3/4 ton rated. It is also wise to remove the overload leaf on the rear springs.

550 pound rated bars when the tow vehicle is 1 ton rated. Absolutely necessary to remove the overload leaf on the rear springs, and still "hope for the best".

The "huge" difference is caused by basic laws of Physics.

A flat fronted travel trailer, offers considerable wind resistance, therefore it is more difficult to tow at a high speed, but because of the wind resistance it has, you have a "built in" sway control.

In the case of an Airstream trailer, they offer very little wind resistance, because of their design. Therefore you "DO NOT" have the "built in" sway control. Accordingly, how you select the rigging, becomes extremely important. I have, on film, a record of towing a loaded 31 foot Airsteam trailer, at 115 miles per hour.

Using the above formula, developed over 35 years ago, will get you "on the money" or very close to it.

However, there are those that will argue against the above formula. They have been invited many times, to go do the homework, using different tow vehicles, different length Airstream trailers AND, using a truck scale.

Then, and only then, will they have "facts".

Opinions have little to do with the proper selection of the correct rated hitch.

Facts, proven facts, determined by research studies, tells it all.

The old insurance division of Airstream, Caravanner Insurance Company, and I, did that research in 1970.

In spite of being done 36 years ago, the formulas have yet, to be disproven. Argued yes, disproven, no.

But, again, to each his own. Some people go by the book, and some people have no use for a book. Education is great. It teaches us why we made the mistakes we did.

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Old 06-23-2006, 11:43 AM   #16
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If your tow vehicle is a GMC Envoy you might need the 750 lb (1-1/8")bars. That vehicle is not even rated as much as a 1/2 ton Suburban truck. Like Andy said, see how the bars deflect when under load.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62 Overlander
If your tow vehicle is a GMC Envoy you might need the 750 lb (1-1/8")bars. That vehicle is not even rated as much as a 1/2 ton Suburban truck. Like Andy said, see how the bars deflect when under load.
Thanks Overlander and also Andy, so with my system, if I get some deflection it is doing some good?, what would happen if I don't use the system at all, you must understand I'm new to this.....thanks again
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:02 PM   #18
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Andy set me straight and I'm happy!

With my previous Airstream (87 29' Soverign) I had 1000# bars pulling it with my 3/4 Dodge Diesel....I couldn't figure out why I was popping interior rivets and then I read about Andy's work with hitches and that I was way OVER hitched.

I've got an 05 30' Classic now with a new Reese Dual Cam with 550# bars and man what a difference! It's HUGE....Everything rides better, steers sweet and handles nicer than any trailer I've towed in 30 + years of trailering.

Thanks again Andy, I really appreciate your help and advice.

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Old 06-23-2006, 12:06 PM   #19
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The Envoy is trying to have an almost car like ride, so it has a lower spring rate in the back than a truck. Therefore, it will sink in the back if you put too much weight on the hitch. This means you are likely to need the 750 pound bars as mentioned above but can get by with the 1000 pound bars for a considerable period of time, as long as you have adequete force and deflection on the bars to keep the cams in contact. Should be no problem. Follow Reese's instructions and have the Envoy settle evenly in the front and the back (as measured on the bumpers) as they instruct. If you have established the proper ball height first and then set the ball lean back properly, you should have the proper setup. If you find you have the bars down too far (too many link under stress and few hanging free), then you will have to change the lean back setting of the ball. A competent dealer can do all this for you in less than an hour and it may be worth your peace of mine if you are not comfortable with the answers given here. Most people use the links hanging free way of looking at their hitches because it is easier to see and count. What really matters is whether the load on the bars properly transfer part of the trailer tongue weight to the front wheels of the tow vehicle and they are sufficiently off the ground so they will not drag when you go over a bump.
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toastie
Thanks Overlander and also Andy, so with my system, if I get some deflection it is doing some good?, what would happen if I don't use the system at all, you must understand I'm new to this.....thanks again
The deflection is what is making the system work. That's a visual indication that your w/d bars are doing their job.

Contrary to what others may say about how small and light the Caravel is, I've got one and I towed it home (about 400miles ) with no w/d hitch and I'd never do it again. I had a F250 (3/4 ton) truck and though I felt nothing in the truck, when I looked in my rear view mirror, with the curtains in the Airstream open so I could see traffic behind, I could tell it was swaying all over the place. My opinion - don't do it. You may travel 20 years and 100,000 miles with no incident, but it only takes that one special circumstance to ruin your day or worse.
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toastie
Thanks Overlander and also Andy, so with my system, if I get some deflection it is doing some good?, what would happen if I don't use the system at all, you must understand I'm new to this.....thanks again
If you don't use a load equalizing hitch, there are two things that you can do.

1. Have at least a ten million dollar liability ploicy.

2. Have an unabridged Bible, so you can have and say all the prayers ever printed, FOR THE INNOCENT PEOPLE YOU HURT, OR KILLED, including your own family.

Improper hitching is not something to mess around with.

You are either OK, or not OK. It's like being pregnant, you is or you ain't !!!!

If your not OK, by facts, not opinions, including your own opinions, do something before it's too late. Ask, inquire, read, learn, do something, but don't assume.

It is easily proven, by todays standards, in any court of law, if you were improperly rigged. If proven guilty, you may regret it and pay for it dearly, for the rest of your life.

Don't be foolish for the sake of a few bucks. If you want to save money, great, but don't go there, when it comes to proper rigging.

Then there is the personal injury, or death, to who?????

I have had to settle insurance claims with the estate's of people who wouldn't listen, or ignored, "proper rigging".

You can be one of two statistics.

1. A happy Airstreamer. OR,

2. A very sorry, and regretful, FORMER AIRSTREAMER.

Be the former. Everyone will love you for it.

Being the later, for the sake of a few bucks, is the wrong kind of "claim to fame", or "shame".

Be as safe as you can be, when towing. Then you only need to carry a pocket bible.

It's not for me, it's for you, your families and friends, and perhaps, someone you never met.

Now I will put my soap box away, again.

Andy
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:41 PM   #22
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Thanks very much Andy, my 65 Caravel has new axle and electric brakes and
a Tekonsha Prodigy controller that is working great, I will fine tune my sway to perfection, again thanks very much to all...........
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:59 PM   #23
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The length of the rear overhang has everything to do with the load on the TV. The Envoy is relatively short which is generally a good thing for handling. It means the trailer has less leverage to push you around. It also means the tounge weight has less effect on the weight distribution. If the trailer ball were directly over the rear axle the tongue weight would equal the load on the rear axle. The farther you move it back the greater the load on the rear axle and the more weight that is removed from the front. My experience is that this unloading of the front is the major player in bad handling (different than sway).

Some back of the napkin calculations (300# tongue weight, 5' (SWAG, probably less) for overhang and 2'6"' for ball to bar mounts shows only 300 pounds load per bar to even out the load on your TV. Of course the proofs in the pudding and if you hitch it up and get adaquate deflection with the suspension of the TV level then all is good. However, I suspect there is a set of light duty bars in your future and even then I don't know if you can make it work. You may be better off going to the old style trunion bars and forget the Dual Cam. Going to a dealer that will set it up on the lot would be a lot more productive than arguing theory and a lot cheaper than buying more equipment that doesn't work. The other variable is load distribution. I suspect you're going to be one of the people that finds added tounge weight helps the towing characteristics. Even if you have the V6 in the Envoy you've got a big margin to play with before you reach the rated towing capacity.

Sway is a condition that is separate from the weight distribution. However, people commonly refer to the torsion bars as "sway bars". Technically not correct but WD hitches, properly set-up usually eliminate the need for added sway control. Sway is something that's hard to predict. While some trailers are more prone to sway than others (like single axle boat trailers with a huge outboard engine hanging off the back) it's really the whole combination of TV, trailer and hitch set-up. The good news is that unless it's a defective trailer design or seriously worn out TV it shouldn't take a big adjustment to eliminate the harmonic that's causing sway. Sometimes it's road conditions that cause sway; things like grooved pavement, washboard, side winds. That's when the sway control on the hitch is going to shine.

Some of the Envoys are equiped with a load leveling system. While that doesn't actual change the WD it might be very effective in fine tuning, especially adjusting for different loads. You really don't want to be mucking with the hitch angle once it's properly set and changing a link in the bars is a huge adjustment. It wouldn't be my first guess but you might just find the whole set-up tows better without the WD bars. You can use sway control that's separate from WD bars if it's needed. I think there's also a system that uses a single bar that was designed for boat & utility trailers that have a straight tongue. Of course that means all new gear on both the TV and trailer, not an inviting proposition.
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Old 06-23-2006, 03:55 PM   #24
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Load leveling.

Any, repeat, any automatic leveling system "MUST" be defeated so that it does not interfer with the load equalizing hitch.

Data obtained by Caravanner Insurance clearly showed the marked increase in the percentage of "loss of control" accidents when automative leveling was used in conjuction with an equalizing hitch.

The length of the hitch bars used in our testing ranged from 8 inches to 18 inches.

We found no significant difference it any handling, or loss of control, between the 8 inch to 18 inch hitch bars.

Conclusion to that suggests, that "IF" properly rigged "AND" adjusted, hitch bar length, as stated above, made zero statistical change to our data.

The paramount statistic showed two out of three (2 out of 3) 68 percent, loss of control accidents involving an Airstream trailer being towed, was caused by one or more of the following; addiing overload springs, having air shocks or air bags inflated to more than minimum pressure, no sway control, improper rated hitch bars, and improper torsion bar adjustments. The unknown reason was less than two (2) percent. The other 30 percent was for reasons other than "loss of control".

This data was based on the investigation and examination whenever possible, of more than one thousand (1,000) loss of control accidents, that were in the files of Caravanner Insurance Company, who only insured Airstream and Argosy trailers.

These are facts, not opinions, or guesses.

Andy
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Old 06-23-2006, 03:58 PM   #25
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This man has a Reese dual cam system. The twin cams work with the W/D bars to provide a self centering moment to eliminate sway. That works of course only if the W/D bars are handling a load. With the smaller trailer the load of course will be less but the TV to Trailer weight is in the ratio that says some sway control will be beneficial. The Envoy's small overhand is a definite benefit and you should keep the ball as close as possible to the rear bumper for best performance

Toaster,You are getting some conflicting information on this thread indicating there some people with more engineering knowledge and trailer experience and some with just alot of years towing. Either find a good dealer you can trust and have him do it or, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer who originally engineered the hitch.
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Old 06-23-2006, 04:12 PM   #26
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Thanks very much, my Envoy does have an auto ajust for leveling, I do know that with my setup going to 3 links on the chain, traveling down the e-way at 65 to 70 mph, you don't even know the trailer is behind you.......
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Old 06-23-2006, 04:56 PM   #27
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That Proves It

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
The paramount statistic showed two out of three (2 out of 3) 68 percent, loss of control accidents involving an Airstream trailer being towed, was caused by one or more of the following; addiing overload springs, having air shocks or air bags inflated to more than minimum pressure, no sway control, improper rated hitch bars, and improper torsion bar adjustments. The unknown reason was less than two (2) percent. The other 30 percent was for reasons other than "loss of control"... These are facts, not opinions, or guesses.
Did the accident investigation prove these devices caused the accident or is it just that these conditions were present when investigating the accident? I find it very hard to believe "excessive speed", (road conditions, ice, wind, etc.), driver error (quick lane change, drifting off on the shoulder), or mechanical failure (tire blowout, worn steering components..) were never found to be the cause. Who'd 'ave thuk it

-Bernie
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Old 06-23-2006, 05:17 PM   #28
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Thanks very much, my Envoy does have an auto ajust for leveling, I do know that with my setup going to 3 links on the chain, traveling down the e-way at 65 to 70 mph, you don't even know the trailer is behind you.......
In the end that's what you're looking for. You should stay within the guidelines provided by the equipment manufacturer but the optimal setting is going to depend on your individual set-up. Reese can only do so much with their generic instructions. You may in fact be getting little or no benifit from the Dual Cam sway control. It sounds like lighter bars would help. Just driving down the highway you don't have a sway condition but if you get passed by a convoy of semi's and find the trailer oscillating back and forth it's a little late to get out and adjust the hitch. You have such a low WD requirement it might not be possible to get the Dual Cam system to work regardless of which bars you buy (shorter bars will result in more tension for the same WD effect). The oldfashion friction dampener doesn't rely on the load in the bars. Generally it's not considered as good because it works to dampen sway rather than prevent it from occuring in the first place. But if you can't put enough load on the bars without moving too much weight to the front axle then it's probalby not doing it's job anyway.

You've got a light trailer and a decent margin on towing capacity. OTOH, it is a single axle trailer and the lighter the trailer the more it's affected by wind and to some extend road conditions. I'd want to do everything to get it close to optimum. Some of that is just going to involve driving. If you can drive down the road and not feel the trailer (and you can see it's not waving around like a kite in the wind) then you're pretty darn close.
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