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Old 10-12-2013, 09:11 PM   #1
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Why do I need a hitch? Confused.

Well I finally have a pulling vehicle...a 1993 Dodge D250 LE Cummins diesel. I am not an overly experienced puller. I have pulled a car on a trailer with no wdh, just a ball. I have several friends that routinely pull excavators, masonry supplies etc that dont use them. They all three tell me I don't need it. They tell me my suspension is heavy duty enough. Funny thing is that everybody that pulls campers says I do. What gives? The guys don't pull campers. Also, I did buy one btw, the lady at the RV stores was trying to explain to me how they work and the need. I just don't get it. They don't increase the anchor points to the truck so how does it "distribute" the weight? My truck will be heavier then the camper. Does that matter?

I made a deal an a 29th Ambassador That is 4 hrs away. Getting it Monday. Anyway, any help is appreciated.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:32 PM   #2
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Control.

Just the thought of pulling 29' AS on the interstate with just a ball hitch is terrifying.

(shiver)
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:34 PM   #3
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If you are going to pull a 29 foot Airstream with a 3/4 ton truck, you really need some type of weight distribution/sway control hitch system. You are probably going to have at least a 700# tongue weight. You will need to transfer some of that weight to the front axle of the tow vehicle. That is the function of a weight distribution hitch system. You will also need some type of sway control so that the trailer doesn't end up driving the tow vehicle.

You will also need a trailer brake controller in your tow vehicle or you won't have any trailer brakes. Some equipment trailer have surge brakes. Airstream travel trailer do not.

I have pulled travel trailers well over 100,000 miles. Believe me, you need a proper weight distribution/sway control hitch and a trailer brake controller.

Brian
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
If you are going to pull a 29 foot Airstream with a 3/4 ton truck, you really need some type of weight distribution/sway control hitch system. You are probably going to have at least a 700# tongue weight. You will need to transfer some of that weight to the front axle of the tow vehicle. That is the function of a weight distribution hitch system. You will also need some type of sway control so that the trailer doesn't end up driving the tow vehicle.

You will also need a trailer brake controller in your tow vehicle or you won't have any trailer brakes. Some equipment trailer have surge brakes. Airstream travel trailer do not.

I have pulled travel trailers well over 100,000 miles. Believe me, you need a proper weight distribution/sway control hitch and a trailer brake controller.

Brian
I have a brake control.
People who pull campers say I need one. I just can't figure out why. I don't understand how they distribute the weight. The attachment from trailer to truck is still with the single hitch slot. You know of a source That could educate me? The lady that sold me one just got me more confused. What makes a camper need one and similar weight "non camper type" not?
Thanks
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:27 PM   #5
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I have a brake control.
People who pull campers say I need one. I just can't figure out why. I don't understand how they distribute the weight. The attachment from trailer to truck is still with the single hitch slot. You know of a source That could educate me? The lady that sold me one just got me more confused. What makes a camper need one and similar weight "non camper type" not?
Thanks
The hitch bar goes into the the receiver on the tow vehicle. The weight distribution bars on the WD hitch system are put under pressure on the trailer tongue bars. This puts a downward pressure on the front of the hitch bar in the receiver. This transfers some of the tongue weight through the receiver to the front axle of the tow vehicle.

Google "weight distribution trailer hitch systems". There is a good explanation under How Stuff Works.

As far as only campers needing WD, that is not correct. I was involved in towing very large boats (over 30' long, weighing 12,000#), and we would never consider towing without weight distribution and sway control.

Brian
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:37 PM   #6
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I just read on another site that it's kinda like a shock absorber between truck and trailer. Make sense? Is that right?
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:45 PM   #7
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There are several factors involved. I'm not sure what you mean by a "non camper type", but... A larger Airstream is going to weigh upwards of 7,000 - 10,000 lbs. There are several situations on the road where that amount of weight pushing against your tow vehicle can be quite dangerous....wet/slippery, steep downhill grade, emergency stop etc. The wd hitch and sway bar locks your trailer and tow vehicle together so they act more like 1 single unit. Otherwise, without a wd hitch and sway bar, the sheer weight of the trailer pushing against your tow vehicle on wet/slippery, steep downhill grade or emergency stop could easily cause your rig to lose control and jack-knife. The wd/sway hitch will also reduce the amount of fishtailing your trailer experiences when passing an 18 wheeler.... or several 18 wheelers (either direction) which causes a great deal of air displacement, which can cause your trailer to violently fishtail and possibly cause you to lose control. The Airstream also has quite a tall profile...and in some situations you could encounter heavy cross winds, which again would cause your trailer to fishtail and/or even tip over onto its side. This can happen quite suddenly on hilly roads...catching you off guard with not enough time to recover.

Again, the wd/anti sway setup not only evens out some of the load weight, but locks your tow vehicle and trailer together...so they act more like one single unit....rather than having 10,000 lbs of trailer wobbling back and forth on a single ball hitch.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:45 PM   #8
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I read that site.

I guess the bottom line is it can't hurt having it so I guess I will use one. I bought it but was hoping to return it. Oh well.

Thanks for the help.

I'll post pics when I get trailer... we are pretty excited.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:15 PM   #9
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I have a reese dual cam. I finally figured out how to hook it up. I found this video very helpful seeing what the objective is..
How to use a weight distribution hitch - YouTube
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:47 PM   #10
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Thanks. The guy sold me a system with 1000lb bars. That sound right? Again, I'll be towing a 29ft Ambassador. It will be empty now but can I still use this setup later too?
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ibskot View Post
I read that site.

I guess the bottom line is it can't hurt having it so I guess I will use one. I bought it but was hoping to return it. Oh well.

Thanks for the help.

I'll post pics when I get trailer... we are pretty excited.
SAFETY

That's the huge word that a load equalizing hitch not only gives you, the driver, but also for your innocent passengers.

Andy
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:59 PM   #12
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Thanks. The guy sold me a system with 1000lb bars. That sound right? Again, I'll be towing a 29ft Ambassador. It will be empty now but can I still use this setup later too?
With your SUPER HEAVY DUTY tow vehicle, you should only use 600 pound bars.

The 1000 pound bars will transfer considerable road shock to the trailer, that in time, will cause many different and expensive damages.

Airstream trailers, MUST have a soft ride, or else.

That includes having torsion axles that still have good rubber rods in them.

Andy
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:02 AM   #13
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Danieb, that was a good video. I can see the difference. I still don't really the "how" part but oh well, hopefully they won't be hard to hook up.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:10 AM   #14
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Danieb, that was a good video. I can see the difference. I still don't really the "how" part but oh well, hopefully they won't be hard to hook up.
The bars act as levers, with the ball as the pivot point. As you lift up on the lever against the ball, you are pulling the front axle of your truck back down.
Remember Archimedes and his comment about having a lever long enough and a place to stand, and he could move the earth? Same thing, on a smaller scale.
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