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Old 05-08-2021, 01:17 PM   #1
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1984 31' Excella
Montara , CA
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How level does it have to be for towing?

I bought an F350 4x4 crew cab long bed that used to haul a big 5th wheel. It tows my '84 Airstream 31' very well. I am not sure of the WD hitch manufacturer. Here is a photo of it. I adjusted the hitch to the lowest setting but noticed the trailer is still not looking level from front to back (front is higher by about 5" over the length of the trailer. Is this too much? If it is, would you recommend modifying or getting a new hitch or modifying the rear TV suspension to lower it?
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Old 05-08-2021, 02:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastsider View Post
I bought an F350 4x4 crew cab long bed that used to haul a big 5th wheel. It tows my '84 Airstream 31' very well. I am not sure of the WD hitch manufacturer. Here is a photo of it. I adjusted the hitch to the lowest setting but noticed the trailer is still not looking level from front to back (front is higher by about 5" over the length of the trailer. Is this too much? If it is, would you recommend modifying or getting a new hitch or modifying the rear TV suspension to lower it?
Wow, that hitch is old. I think it might be a Reese, but I can’t tell for sure. In any event, no need for heroics as far as modifying the suspension or the hitch. What you need is a new shank that has a bigger drop—something in the 12” range. Best place to get shanks is online at eTrailer. Probably any manufacturer’s shank will work provided it has sufficient drop. But if you want to be extra careful, send a picture of your hitch to eTrailer. They might be able to identify it for you and recommend a new shank. But as I said, that thing is old. You might be better off with a whole new hitch. I’ve never been a fan of friction bars because you have to remember to remove them before you back up.

5” is a bit too much tilt for my comfort. You should drop the nose of your trailer a little and get it as level as you can. Weight is coming off of your trailer’s front axle. A shank with a larger drop will allow you to make that adjustment.
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Old 05-08-2021, 03:53 PM   #3
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I would go to good RV dealer or hitch store, get a new hitch with the proper drop height and have it set up correctly. That hitch looks like it has "vintage or antique" status. Time for a new one!! A Reese or comparable can be purchased quite reasonably. If your trailer rear end is down 5 inches, you are quite likely going to drag it if you have much of an incline to back into a driveway or campsite.
Trailer should be level as possible.
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:01 PM   #4
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I believe what you need is not a total hitch make over but a new ball mount “drop”so the top of the ball is at 18 3/4 inches above the ground. The rest loojs good.
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:23 PM   #5
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That looks like a Reese Dual Cam Hitch. (the old style)
The part you need is a #3357 Reese WD Shank with a 9" drop.

https://www.reeseprod.com/product/33...ributing-shank

The reason you need this is - with the trailer out of level, one of the axles is carrying more weight than it should. With the tongue 5" high, the rear axle might be overloaded constantly. It definitely is overloaded any time the truck moves upward when it goes over a bump, which will shift more weight onto that rear axle.
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:29 PM   #6
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a video about the old style dual cam
https://youtu.be/5EsNbmgyIeI?t=95
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:43 PM   #7
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Level....1” down in front...
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Old 05-08-2021, 06:42 PM   #8
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Yes 5” is too much. I am within 1/2” front to back on my 30. Always nose down within 0-1” delta per the previous post.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:10 PM   #9
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1984 31' Excella
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Thank you for the advice. Yes it's old...it's original. Got the rig in '94 and didn't travel with it but used it lots as a 2nd home to build custom houses way out there where you still can. Now after an interior remodel have started moving it around so need to get smart about safety & upgrades.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:15 PM   #10
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That video is classic. I bought this rig in '94 from a past WBCCI pres and he showed me how to use this "old stuff" as someone else commented. I intend to buy that 9-12" shank so I can use what it came with. I should post a you-tube vid showing how you use the old Reese WD hitch system.
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Old 05-09-2021, 07:38 AM   #11
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I don’t think it’s a dual cam. But — why is the tongue jack upside down?
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:41 AM   #12
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It is an old-style dual cam. If you ever need parts, I've got one in my shed.

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Old 05-09-2021, 12:35 PM   #13
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1984 31' Excella
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Quote:
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I don’t think it’s a dual cam. But — why is the tongue jack upside down?
That's just the jack sleeve post. I put it there when I travel.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastsider View Post
I bought an F350 4x4 crew cab long bed that used to haul a big 5th wheel. It tows my '84 Airstream 31' very well. I am not sure of the WD hitch manufacturer. Here is a photo of it. I adjusted the hitch to the lowest setting but noticed the trailer is still not looking level from front to back (front is higher by about 5" over the length of the trailer. Is this too much? If it is, would you recommend modifying or getting a new hitch or modifying the rear TV suspension to lower it?
I had to get a different shank recently and priced online etrailer, Amazon and Home Depot and was surprised to find Home Depot priced lower. About $85 for an 8" drop.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the top of the ball should be 18 3/4' high, but allow for your F-350 to squat about 1 1/2" when the WD hitch is properly adjusted. Nose high towing unloads the front axel and can overload the rear axel. It also adds aerodynamic resistance increasing fuel consumption.

Good luck!
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:54 AM   #15
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Measure the distance from the frame to ground at the front and at the back, assuming the frame is straight like my 2017 AS. Don’t rely on a level or eyeballing it.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:24 AM   #16
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Neat. The old Reese stuff works fine. Don’t have to burn your money on the new stuff.

Have an old Reese setup that’s decades old. Works great.

Just like wasting your money on Michelin’s.
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Old 05-10-2021, 12:10 PM   #17
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I agree with all the above and I’m still using an older Reese setup. I did buy newer 600lb bars as needed for my 63 Ambassador setup, not sure why yours has the friction sway bar attachment because the Reese setup takes care of sway and weight for me.Click image for larger version

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Old 05-10-2021, 12:52 PM   #18
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As others have noted level is best and 1" is acceptable. You need to understand that when the trailer is not level you put more weight on one of the axles (the wheels on the lower end). That means that one set of tires is possibly running way over the capacity rating. 5 inches could be the same as running the front (or back) wheels up on a 2 inch plank. That much drop if you loaded the trailer to do cause the suspension to drop 2 inches would be a serious overload (IMO)

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Old 05-10-2021, 01:07 PM   #19
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IMHI, stay within +/- 1" for best results.

anymore and your are asking for trouble

go to a reputable RV dealer and talk to them
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:35 PM   #20
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The old "rule of thumb" for setting hitches is to allow for one inch of drop when the hitch is adjusted level. Before connecting, the ball should be one inch higher than the top of the inside of the coupler.
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