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Old 12-28-2011, 04:53 PM   #1
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1966 22' Safari
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What type of Sway Bar is this? Newbie needs your advice!

Hello all -

We are hoping to pick up a 1966 Airstream Safari on Friday, and are stymied by the current sway bar / weight distribution hitch. Can you recognize the type of hitch from the pictures, and direct us to information to correctly assemble the mechanism?

Our tow vehicle is a trusty 2002 Ford Explorer V8 with optional towing package. We need to move the airstream 90 freeway miles - flat as the California Central Valley!

Thanks for your advice!

Corinne & David
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:55 PM   #2
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Another picture from the other side...
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corinnedavid View Post
Another picture from the other side...
It looks like a Reese.

The snap up brackets however, are super old.

What is the width of the square bar as it enters the trunnion (the heavy end) ?

It's either 1", 1 1/8" or 1 1/4".

Lastly, what tow vehicle do you have?

Andy
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:09 PM   #4
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As Andy says it's a Reece.
No idea if newer Reece parts such as spring bars would fit your hitch.
You have choices to get your new Airstream 90 miles home.
Best choice is to get a good rv repairman very familiar with trailers to examine your purchase in place. With a new to you, old trailer, you have issues other than the hitch such as wheel bearings, brakes, signal lights and axles. You want these in good repair before you get on the freeway. Assuming everything checks out or is repaired, if the trailer is small enough to be within the tow rating of your Explorer, the repairman would supply spring bars, fit the hitch to your vehicle, install a brake controller on your Explorer and you would be on your way.
Choice two would be to get lights, axles, bearings and brakes checked out or repaired and have a friend with a 3/4 ton pickup tow your trailer home if it is too big for your Explorer or if spring bars are unavailable.
I would not under any circumstances put a hitch in your receiver, dump the trailer on the hitch ball and head home. You are likely to get a ticket or worse.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:39 PM   #5
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Smile Thanks

Hi -
The current owner has repacked the bearings, I'm bringing a tow light kit as we know that the turn signals / brake lights don't work.

My tow vehicle is 2002 Ford Explorer V8 with towing capacity. It's pulled our boat for years without problems.

I am not aware of any mechanics who could show up and assist.
Do you recommend any Airstream / RV experts in the Sacramento / Davis area?

Thanks for identifying the sway control as a Reese. That helps with tonight's research greatly.

Best, C
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:33 AM   #6
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You do need functioning trailer brakes, a brake controller and spring bars. The 22 foot trailer you are buying is likely close to the maximum tow rating of your Explorer. Airstreams have heavy hitch weights. Without spring bars your lights will be pointed at the sky and the vehicle handling will be degraded. Without trailer brakes and reduced weight on the front end of your tow vehicle, your vehicle braking will be significantly impaired.
There are likely hundreds of hitch and rv mechanics in your metro area. You will need one sometime but your most urgent need is now.
Good luck on your purchase
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:10 PM   #7
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If you want to postpone the hitch bars, a 3/4 ton pickup will pull a 22 foot 1960s Safari without any need for such; this way you can get her home first. While not strictly road legal, such a pickup would also easily cope with malfunctioning trailer brakes as well, from personal experience with heavier trailers with erratic brakes.

The Safari has a dry weight of 3360 lbs (http://www.airstreamguy.com/lengthswidths_and_weights) so it's barely inside the 3500 lbs at which Ford requires a weight distributing hitch on this vehicle. Since most of us trailer with at least several hundred pounds of water, food, clothes, propane, etc, you'll definitely want a weight distributing hitch for normal use to stay within the safe ratings for your SUV. If you HAD to, you could trailer the unit empty home with the Explorer after making sure the brakes were OK, but it's marginal at best. For optimum results, avoid marginal situations.

- Bart
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:14 PM   #8
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Smile Made it home - thanks everyone!

Made it home safe and sound. Figured out the sway bar / weight distribution hitch hook up, and it pulled easily behind our 2002 Ford Explorer. Here's a few photos - thanks again!
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:43 PM   #9
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Wow, looks like you weren't able to hook-up the 7-pin connector at all? You put on add-on lights, but went the whole 90 miles with no brakes?
3360lbs for this old trailer seems like heavy to me. 1st thing I'd do is get it weighed at a truck scale to be sure. If the Explorer towed it ok now, it may not once you get it restored and have installed a few heavier items (ie, new fridge, new hot water heater, new furnace, new cabinets, etc.)
One question though, you've stated that your Explorer had the two package, does that package limit you at 3500lb tow rating, or even higher? If higher, you should easily tow what you've just towed home, no problem.
And, CONGRATS on your new to you Airstream!
Thanks, Derek
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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We towed our 1965 22' Safari home with a '96 Jeep Cherokee,
No Sway Bars, No trailer brakes, and taped on lights..

Driving that home at 55 mph max from Mississippi to Texas was nerve wracking..

We also found out our Jeep's tires were dry rotted the hard way...

Totally feel we were lucky to make it home to Austin alive..

Since then, upgraded to a larger Jeep (5.7 hemi), had trailer bearings/brakes replaced, and invested in a dual cam hitch.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:51 PM   #11
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1966 22' Safari
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Smile Ford Explorer Towing Capacity per spec

Hello again -
Apparently the towing capacity of the 2002 Ford Explorer with the enhanced towing package is 7300 pounds. My Explorer also has a V8 which is helpful. We've used it for years to tow / launch our ski boat. Oh and we have a Chevy Z-71 too, which has a stronger engine, but the Explorer is easier to drive, I think.

2002 Ford Explorer review, specs, price quote

Thanks for the congratulations! I'm kind of excited now that she's home. I have several months before we'll be hitting the road again!

Next step is to figure out why the trailer brake lights didn't work when connected directly to the Explorer, the status of the brake controller connections, and a few other cosmetic fixes.

The trailer was fully restored in 2006 by the prior, prior owners; new plywood, flooring, fridge, plumbing, electrical, and so on.

Thanks for everyone's help! Best, C
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:02 AM   #12
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This thread is a good example of the "there is more than one way to skin the cat" approach. Don't take the "doom and gloom" too seriously, although they might just be right. "Damn the torpedos full speed ahead" is the other approach frequently inculcated. What the hell, the world is scheduled to end in 2012 anyway. I prefer the Buddhist approach of "the middle way" to the science and art of Airstreaming.
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