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Old 03-19-2003, 06:09 AM   #1
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Equal-i-zer hitch

I am about to pick up a new Bambi which I understand comes off the factory line on friday.

In preparation for picking it up at the dealer, I have been busy researching the various hitch products. I like the equal-i-zer idea because it doesn't involve chains, maybe easier to use when backing up etc., and seems to be a lot less involved than any of the others with the exception of the blue ox.

So the question is ... has anyone had experience with this unit and, if so, what is your opinion? Second, if you have one, is it easy to mount as there are no dealers for Equal-i-zer in the immediate Tampa Bay area.

I'd appreciate any and all imput.

Ed
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Old 03-19-2003, 12:50 PM   #2
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Search the site and you will find some information. I have the Equal-i-zer brand hitch and it works fine. I bought it from www.rvsupplywarehouse.com, who had it drop shipped from the factory. Things to be aware of:

- The hitch is heavy, around 100 lbs
- The trailer ball must have a longish shank, or a thinish washer - which can be hard to find. You may want to order the ball with the hitch to ensure you get the right one.
- Mounting the bar brackets to the trailer A-frame can be a minor challenge as some trailers have the battery tray in the way. See my photos for how I addressed this.

Otherwise it is easy to mount, easy to hitch-up, and works fine.

Are you buying your trailer from Bates RV in Dover?
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Old 03-19-2003, 01:50 PM   #3
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Equal-i-zer

I am buying the Bambi from Bates north of TAmpa (Dover?). Have you had any dealings with them . Do they offer good service after purchase?

If I buy the equal-i-zer, I will probably have them install it at the time that I pick up the trailer.
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:06 PM   #4
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I purchased my trailer new from Bates in December:

- It is the goofiest place I have ever done business with. If you have been to their dealership you know what I mean. They make used car dealers look professional! However, they do have a good inventory of AS trailers on-hand.
- I have no experience with their service department. Not much of a physical facility though.
- They know nothing about the Equal-i-zer hitch. They had never seen one before.

I had to temporarily mount the bar brackets ahead of the battery tray. This effectively made them stiffer than designed, or desired. Later I cut slots in the tray to allow the brackets to be mounted the proper distance from the hitch ball.

I used the guide on the Equal-i-zer web site to order the "proper" shank and bought the longest one (105BXL12). It was a bit too long - the excess length was about 3" from the ground ready to hit the ground every time I hit a bump. I had a machine shop cut it off. To determine the proper shank to purchase (short, medium, or long) park your vehicle on a level spot and measure from the top of the inside of the square hitch receiver hole to the ground. Then get the proper hitch ball height for your trailer (17.25" is listed for the new Bambi on Airstream's website). Call Equal-i-zer at (800) 478-5578 with this information and have them tell you the proper shank.

You can use the <6000 lb version of their hitch (1216B), although you might check on the 10,000 lb (1722B) capacity version so you can use it if you move to a bigger trailer someday. I think the only difference is the stiffness of the bars.

I'm guessing that you need a 2-5/16" ball(?). Note my previous caution about ball shank length/washer thickness. Also - it's tough to tighten the nut because of minimal clearance around the nut. I jammed a tool between the nut and the casting and tightened the ball itself. Recheck ball tightness after towing as it will loosen up a bit initially.
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Old 03-19-2003, 08:28 PM   #5
 
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Stumble unto that looking for "Airstream" on the web:

The Tale of the Country Coach Diesel
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Old 03-20-2003, 06:30 AM   #6
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Dan...

The sales people are nice but do not seem to know the product as well as they should know it. This may be because they sell far more of the other brands on the lot. The finance manager whom I would have thought would know something about the product couldn't dtermine which Airstream brochure was the new one for 2003. I could go on and on but...........

I am hopeful that the "pick up" of my new Bambi goes smoothly. I think that I will call over to Bates to get the size of the ball. What type of extention mirrors did you buy for you truck/car and are you satified with them. Do they vibrate at all when you are on the road?

Did Bates give you a good walk through of the Safari to explain how everything works on it . Do you winter in Florida? I see that you are from MN.

Thanks Ed
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Old 03-20-2003, 08:38 AM   #7
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Info

All current Airstreams are 2 5/16" ball.

I use the slip-on mirrors I bought at Camping World. They are specific to your tow vehicle and do not vibrate.
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:37 AM   #8
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Thanks, Pahaska , for the info on ball size and the mirrors. I have seen those mirrors at Camper World. I think that those will be the ones that I purchase.
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Old 03-20-2003, 03:58 PM   #9
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Ed,

I don't winter in FL, but wish I could! I drove down to visit relatives over Christmas, and picked up the trailer at that time. Bates was the least expensive dealer I could find - around $4,000 less than in the upper Midwest.

I bought some "universal" mirrors that strap on with rubber straps. They do the job, but vibrate. I have not found anything better for my 2002 Ford Explorer.

Bates is a REALLY hokey place. Read the article that "femuse" posted. Also look at www.batesrv.com, see the section on Frank Bates - like how he "began developing an empire" (if you call a dumpy RV lot, officed in rental trailers and service bays in shacks, an "empire").

My experience in summary:

1. I originally called Bates in November about a new left-over 2002, which they said was in-stock. I immediately drove over from Orlando to see it... but it was gone, had been "sold", and was out to be "washed". I asked for directions to the car wash so I could see the unit... they didn't know where it was. Screw-up or bait-and-switch? The latter.
2. They had a 2003 for "only a little more", which I ended up buying (still a reasonable price, just more than I planned).
3. I arranged to pick up the trailer in December (my next FL visit). I expected to be fleeced - so in advance I purchased and installed a Prodigy brake controller, the Equal-i-zer hitch, mirror extensions, and brought tools - to minimize my exposure, a strategy that mostly worked. The purchase involved a couple "mystery fees" that likely gave Bates a couple hundred extra dollars for gas in his Robinson R22 helicopter. Overall the delivery process was uneventfull.
4. When winterizing the trailer for the trip north, even though I had never used the bathroom, I found the black water tank was filled with $hit! Apparently someone at Bates was using it as their port-a-potty, or the employees were using it for weekend trips... Not a great customer experience to have it dump all over the driveway!

Overall, I'm not complaining... I got a cheap price, and got what I paid for in terms of customer experience.
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Old 03-21-2003, 07:52 AM   #10
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Dan...

Between your comments and the "Tale of the Country Coach", I am worried about my deal with Bates. Just like both of you, I got a darn good price on the Bambi...one that I could not get elsewhere but am I going to wish that I had paid more else where?

At least I am prepared based upon each of your experiences with Bates management. I also am at a little bit of an advantage because I live in the area and, therefore, do not need to get on the road to somewhere else.

Like you, Dan, I will arrive at Bates with a controller, hitch and mirrors. I will also bring my own mechanic with me to help with the setup and with the walk through. I won't take a trailer ( mine was special ordered) that somebody has made use of the toilet or like one that was on the lot that appeared to have large amounts of tub sealant around the refrigeration unit.

I will be awfully careful. Thanks for your help guys....I will give you a follow up on my experience with Bates.

Ed
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Old 03-22-2003, 07:39 PM   #11
 
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I hate to beat a dead horse.....but....

I just remembered I had saved a picture of an Airstream for sale by Bates.

This is what I will call A touch of class. I wander if they emptied the trash cans.
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Old 03-22-2003, 10:30 PM   #12
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femuse picture

Nice touch for you NASCAR fans, a wheel/tire footstool.
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Old 03-23-2003, 11:58 AM   #13
 
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NO: not
Quote:
a wheel/tire footstool.
A wheel/tire footstool, ashtray and spitoon.
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