Well, all in all I'd say the "test Drive" went good. I'll admit I was a bit nervous, since the last time I towed the Airstream I've completely disassembled and rebuilt the Hensley, and the same for each hub and brake assy. There seemed to be a lot of room for error.
I was a bit disappointed to find out there are no CAT scales in Wichita. I DID find a truck stop on the North side with some basic weight scales and they weren't busy at all so I was able to make 4 individual passes. Because of the way their scales were set up I wasn't able to see the true effect on the weight dist. being applied to the different axles, but was able to separate the different weights between truck and Airstream.
The truck itself is a 2013 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew cab, short bed, Auto 6 speed tranny, 4.56 Axle gears, and weighs in at 7180 lbs. (this is without driver/passenger or any real cargo in the bed.
The Airstream weight was something I really expected to be the biggest issue. According to the tag the GVWR is 9800 lbs. and being that we fulltime in it. ( 2001 '34 Limited) I really expected it to be way overloaded. But, not the case. It weighed in at 9720 lbs. (thats road ready weight. Tanks all mostly empty) So, we're close!
Total combined weight of the Rig being 16,900 lbs.
The 2 different weight set-ups I ran through the scales look virtually identical. I think I did it wrong. Looking back, I had the truck set with all 4 wheels on one plate and the AS. on another plate. I think I should have backed up till each truck axle was on a separate plate and then the AS axles on their own plate also. (live & learn!)
So, the the weight distributed numbers put the truck at 8360 lbs. and the Airstream at 8540 lbs. Roughly taking 1200 lbs. from the AS and throwing it at the truck. I just dont know EXACTLY where the weight is going to. I DID have intentions of also posting my measurements in the 4 corners of the truck, but looking at my notes I see that I took the measurements in different places
I promise I'll do a better job next time.
I did get one measurement right. The truck receiver height. Unloaded measured from level ground to the bottom of receiver 22.5" and 24.5 to the top.
Loaded same measurement were 20" and 22", so it squats aprox. 2.5" under weight.
The biggest thing (as I'm sure you'll see in the pics) was the one thing I was really afraid of.... The biggest drop stinger Hensley has is an 8" drop. and I think I need more like 10"
The AS sits a tad high in front. It handled fine going down the road, but knowing that it SHOULD be riding level drives me nuts. I might have to see if I cant convince Hensley to accommodate my need. Otherwise I'll find a good welder and have him chop it up and make the drop 10-11" and make the truck receiver 2.5" to correctly fit in the class V receiver on the Ram.
The 5.7 Hemi did a lot better than I expected with this amount of weight as far as MPG goes. Granted it wasn't a very long trip and I'm very lightfooted with the accelerator, but our short 60 mile trip averaged 9.5 mpg. ( this may speak a lot to the lack of elevation here in Kansas! ) We're moving to Tucson in a week, that's about 1100 miles from Wichita, I'll have more accurate numbers by then. Performance wise, i'd say it did great. It didn't seem to balk at the weight, accelerated fine, no issues with the Ram factory brake controller. Had it set to Heavy Electric and the gain set to 9.
I seem to remember reading that new brakes take a while to "set-in"?
While in a parking lot we were testing the AS brakes only using the controller. Accelerating to about 25mph and then applying full trailer brake only resulted in a gradual slowing of the rig. I understand the set-up is heavy, but should'nt I get full lock up of tires when we're dealing with 6 brake assemblies? Or at least much "harsher" braking?
I also wanted to post a pic of the Hensley hooked up. Maybe it's been too long, but is that "downward angle" of the main head right? I guess it has to follow the angle on the stinger, but I just thought with my other 4" drop stinger it was more on the "level" side?
Another question about the Hensley.... It still makes some loud clunking noises when turning corners. My kid rode in the bed and observed it for a while and says it's just the "jacks" pivoting on the frame mounted supports. Is this normal? I keep wanting to find some urethane bushings to fit in there to keep the harsh noise at bay...
Opinions & advice are as always... Greatly appreciated!