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Originally Posted by Stan Z
A question of hitch weight, my Toyota 4runner, v6, 1994, seems to sag a bit much when hitched to my "new" 1965 Caravel
. According to the airstream manual for hitch weight and trailer weight I am within limits when dry, probably closer to limits when loaded. Would a weight distributing hitch help? or should I beef up the rear suspension on the truck?
My suggestion would be to approach this issue from two directions. First, I would suggest a thorough inspection of your truck's suspesion, especially the shock absorbers in the rear - - a high quality set of gas charged shocks would likely be of some help if your truck has more than 50,000 miles. Second, I would suggest obtaining a good quality weight distributing hitch that can be adjusted for the correct hitch height - - something that is critical for stability as well as the overall "health" of an Airstream (most small single axle coaches if not towed level or near level will have a tendency to drag one end or the other (depends on whether hitch-high or hitch-low) - - either one of which can result in expensive damage.
With a 4-Runner, you shouldn't need overloads if the general condition of the suspension is within the manufacturers' design parameters. A good set of rear shocks and a quality weight distributing hitch with properly adjusted hitch height should solve your current problem with rear-squat on the tow vehicle. My recommendation would be for the hitch system that I utilize with both my '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre (3,100 pounds Gross Weight/525 pounds Gross Hitch Weight), and my '64 Overlander International (6,100 pounds Gross Weight/750 pounds Gross Hitch Weight) - - the Reese Strait-Line hitch that includes Dual Cam Sway Control. You can obtain more information about the Strait-Line Hitch at:
I suspect that either the 550 pound or 600 pound capacity hitch would be ideal for your Caravel
- - for greatest effectiveness of the Dual Cam system, the goal is to closely match the weight distribution bar ratings to the actual hitch weight of your coach.
Installation instructions for the "classic" style Dual Cam system that mounts with large U-Bolts that don't require drilling on the coach's frame can be found at:
Installation instructions for the recently introduced High Performance Dual Cam system can be found at:
Installation and adjustment instructions for the Trunion style Reese weight distributing hitch head can be found at:
The general idea is to set the ball height on the tow vehicle to the height of the top of the coach's coupler when the trailer is sittin level on a level surface. The starting point would be the hitch heigh specification from the Airstream weights and measures page at:
For the '65 Caravel, the factory hitch height was specified as 19.5", but in reality, the actual height for your coach may be lower due to settling of the DuraTorque axle - - I know that my Minuet 6.0 Metre lost nearly 1.25" of height due to axle settling - - a new axle returned it to factory height.
I know that the instruction sheets may seem complicated, but by taking your time and carefully following the steps, it is possible to set-up the equipment. I am not a do-it-yourselfer, but managed to set-up the hitch for my Minuet with minimal trouble - - it took about four hours between installing the "classic" style Dual Cam system and adjusting the hitch height on the ball mount.
Good luck with your hitch selection!