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Old 04-14-2021, 10:00 AM   #1
2016 19ft flying cloud
 
Spokane , Washington
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Hitch bottoms out when backing in

When backing in our 19 ft flying cloud , due to a slight incline in our driveway the bottom of the hitch sometimes digs into the cement ,,,anyone have an idea how to solve this problem as we will soon be putting in a new driveway , it happens about 6 ft into driveway

We currently have 15 inch wheels and tires on the airstream,,,would upgrading to 16 inch wheels solve this? ($1000),,,airstream wants $1000 to put spacers to raise up trailer ,,,not sure if this will even help since itís the hitch thatís dragging,
Tow vehicle is 2007 Tundra with 18 inch wheels,
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:21 AM   #2
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If your using a hitch with a drop try using just a straight bar or at least less drop. It will make the rear of the trailer sit lower so be careful not to hit that but you might find a balance.
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:25 AM   #3
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You should be able to get the lift done for less than that....

My driveway goes down instead of up, but, I had a lift put on my 20'. The camper is ~3" higher (whereas switching wheels/tires to 16" ones will net you about a half-inch).

Here's the thing: your hitch will need to be adjusted too, for the AS to sit level, also accounting for that 3". Do you use a WD hitch? Without seeing it, I'm not sure if it's the piece that goes into your truck's receiver that is sticking down and 'plowing' into the driveway. If your AS come up 3", would you be able to flip that piece upwards, so it isn't acting like a plow? (Understand what I'm asking?)
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:29 AM   #4
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Can you post a picture of your hitch? It would be easier to offer a possible solution.
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:30 AM   #5
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Two solutions. Can you cut off the excess metal hanging down on the hitch. Raise the rear of the Tundra slightly with air bags. I installed Firestone bags in my 2007 and 2016 Tundra.
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:39 AM   #6
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Before doing some paving work I had the same issue. Weight distribution hitch off. Ball with no drop on. Problem solved. It’s worth a try without having to reconfigure your WDH or pay to lift the trailer which may necessitate the need for an extra step and so on and so on
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:46 AM   #7
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we added the 3" lift kit and went to better quality 16" wheels and tires

no issue in the last few years and no bottom out problems
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:33 AM   #8
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as azflycaster said, what's digging in is most likely the shank which extends below where your hitch attaches.
Mine does too, sometimes with no trailer, I get a 'bang' if I pull out a certain way. The solution is to get rid of that extra metal, either by cutting it off or by buying a shank with less drop. The good news is shanks from all manufacturers are 2" steel, with the 3/4" holes spaced 1.25". So your Equalizer head will fit on a Curt shank, etc.
(BTW, sawing it off may cost more than a new shank if you find a machine shop.)
The thump doesn't bother me because I think of it as early warning. If that isn't there, would the jack foot hit?
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:32 AM   #9
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Possible fixes in order of simplicity:

1. Replace your tongue jack with one that has lower height. We replaced our original 1964 Airstream tongue jack with a Bulldog one that is easier to use plus is shorter height-wise.

2. Change your slide-in receiver hitch. You can buy a drop hitch, level hitch, or (by flipping the drop hitch over) a raised hitch.

3. Cut an inch (or so) off the current jack shank. Make up for it with a snap-on/off jack foot like https://www.amazon.com/Pro-140070034...73G8Y4TBNRTAFJ
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:44 AM   #10
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If you only move the trailer occasionally, why not get some appropriately long 2x10 boards to make a lift for the rear wheels of the tow vehicle? You could even use multiple lengths, stack them and nail them together if the dip is too deep to fix with just 2” of lift. Back the trailer in, put down the lifts, back the rear wheels over them, remove them, finish backing. The hitch will only scrape while the tow vehicle’s rear wheels are in the trough.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:47 AM   #11
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Hi

The only thing that hasn't been covered so far: Is the hitch adjusted correctly for normal operation? If the trailer normally is a bit "front low" ( as many are ....), I'd take care of that first.

Bob
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

The only thing that hasn't been covered so far: Is the hitch adjusted correctly for normal operation? If the trailer normally is a bit "front low" ( as many are ....), I'd take care of that first.

Bob
^
X2

The AS needs to be as level as possible after all 'adjustments' are made.
Best dead level.
High=lower TW
Low= higher TW

Bob
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:10 AM   #13
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When I had my 19', I had to create a ramp (twice) for my driveway. The first time was with just two layers of 3/4" plywood, that did not last. The second, I created two 2x8 with 3/4 plywood on top for a smooth surface. To this day, it is still structurally sound. I don't need it anymore because I upgraded to a 25, and the dual wheels help to clear the angle. I did make markers on the concrete to help position it whenever I needed it. I also added wheels on the side to help move it to position because that thing is heavy.
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:30 AM   #14
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Options

The 16 inch wheels and tires give you the option to run a higher load capacity tire and there are more types available in the 16 inch size. The bigger diameter will raise the trailer slightly and that allows a higher lift setting on the tow vehicle receiver hitch shank.

As suggested in prior posts, optimize the hitch shank clearance by removing any extra length length or drop. If you do not have the skills and tools to modify the shank, it may be easier and less expensive to replace the shank with one that is closer to the configuration that you need for your application.

But, but, but .... the fastest solution is as suggested above - bridge the dip with inexpensive wooden planks to raise the tow vehicle as it transits the driveway approach.

Good luck with your new coach. Pat
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:30 PM   #15
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"X" hits the driveway

Solve for "X"

Increase the clearance between "X" and the driveway.

The right solution depends on what X is and whether your drive slopes up or down from the street.

If X is the shank, Can it be reversed? Can it be cut off?

If X is the tongue jack, can it be raised?

If X is some other part of the trailer, A trailer lift kit or larger tires or boards on the pavement may work.

If X is part of the truck, something to lift the truck frame higher may work.
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:56 PM   #16
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Angle it in

My hitch never scraped. My problem was the tail and the spare tire. My experience might differ from yours.

I needed 2-bys stack two deep at the deepest point and WD bars removed for the first time I backed in. I marked the driveway afterward as mentioned. No lift kit.

After that first time, I hit it at an angle and had plenty of clearance. No gap filler. I was a little more confident with accurately placing the trailer where I wanted it. No lift kit.

Leaving the bars on will raise the hitch three or four inches.

Lift is installed now so no worries...until I install the ProPride hitch. Iím a little concerned about that.
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Old 04-15-2021, 07:08 PM   #17
2016 19ft flying cloud
 
Spokane , Washington
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Does the approach angle make a difference ?
Should I be backing straight in, I’m having a new driveway installed this summer,,,wondering if one side was at a gentle slope would give me more clearance,
It’s the bottom of the shank that is hitting and it only hangs down about 1 inch,
Suppose I could grind 1/2 inch off , it’s solid
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Old 04-15-2021, 07:38 PM   #18
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Approach angle can make a big difference dependent on the situation.

Iím backing into the driveway which is on the passenger side at a ninety degree angle to the street. The right side trailer wheels cross the dip while the left side is still on the street. So the wheels sort of straddle the dip. As the left trailer wheels reach the dip the right trailer wheels lift the trailer enough for the tail to clear. Truck follows trailer a little more then cut the tow vehicle so the trailer tail swings right just a little because you want the tow vehicle to hit the dip at a slight angle too.

You might find it easier to learn the maneuver by getting the trailer into the driveway with 2-by boards. Then drive out at an angle. Note how you did it. Then back in on the same track.
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:37 PM   #19
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3" trailer lift also lifts the hitch and WD components accordingly. Never had to worry about clearance again.
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Old 04-16-2021, 04:15 AM   #20
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Big Difference

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spinonedad View Post
Does the approach angle make a difference ?
Should I be backing straight in, Iím having a new driveway installed this summer,,,wondering if one side was at a gentle slope would give me more clearance,
Itís the bottom of the shank that is hitting and it only hangs down about 1 inch,
Suppose I could grind 1/2 inch off , itís solid
I always take an angle approach when entering or leaving say a gas station with a slope. It gives you a few extra feet to make the transition.
Also as others have said, remove your weight distribution and maybe even change to a straight shank hitch just for parking purposes. Sounds like a huge PIA (and it is) but this has worked for me instead of dragging my hitch or back of the trailer.
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