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Old 08-13-2015, 06:08 AM   #1
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2007 28' Classic
Ivanhoe , Virginia
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Setting up Dodge Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 diesel

I hijacked another thread and everyone was nice enough not to call me on it. A few responses cause me concern. We are awaiting delivery on a Flying Cloud 28 and our concern is that our truck is too big. I have been told we will be fine with an E2 with 1000# bars. Reading between the lines on other posts, it seems we might need something lighter like 600# bars. Then there is Reese dual cam (?) with stableizers, and 600# bars. Understand you can't back up without loosening stableizers on Reese. Then there's matching bars with hitch weight.

Very confused. This is a 2006 truck that we purchased new to haul big fifth wheels and horse trailers and we would like to go smaller but not right now due to expense. This is a big truck with stiff (stock) suspension, air bags with on-board compressor, jake brake, etc. apparently the dual rear wheels might cause problems i.e. damage to Airstream frame eventually.

Who makes the frame? Airstream, Lippert....?

We really need input to make an informed decision--the right decision.

Thanks,
Pam
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:23 AM   #2
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Some forum members use a Airsafe hitch to soften the connection.

Class V | Air Hitch by AirSafe Hitch Technology

It is designed to fit between your truck's recover and a conventional weight distribution hitch with sway control, thereby absorbing most of the road shock from the heavy duty truck.

The frame of the Airstream is not the concern, it is the shell, floor and their attachments to the frame, as well as cabinets and partitions that eventually show damage from excessive road shock. Things shake loose, tear, and break.
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:44 AM   #3
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If I were in your shoes and could not make a truck change here is what I would consider:
1. Air down the rear tires of the truck as a consideration. Dodge may have a chart on the door pillar showing the psi for heavy and light loads. Also consult the psi chart for the particular brand tire you are running and between the two you should find a good number. Probably no more than 65 lbs would be needed as a guess. You may need to take the truck and trailer to the scale to see how much weight is being carried on the rear axle to get a good number.
2.) Skip the Equalizer and look at the Blue Ox hitch. It has anti-sway capabilities along with light load bars such as 350, 550, 750 etc...
SwayProŽ | Blue Ox
The more tongue weight on the rear springs of the heavy duty truck the better it should ride for both you and the trailer.
3.) Consider using the Air Safe hitch as Doug suggested.
4.)Make sure you are running mud flaps on the truck and preferably some mud flaps between the truck and trailer. Look at the Rock Tamers for protection of the trailer.
5.) Take the air out of the air bags - they are not needed.

Take a few precautions and don't sweat it.
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Old 08-13-2015, 08:27 AM   #4
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Correct tire pressure for the load. Manufacturers chart, yes, but with respect to door placard, neither over nor under. This is with both vehicles loaded, with WD applied, and on a certified scale that shows axles separately.

If the truck is only for short term use, then consider its replacement. A Hensley or ProPride is the best WD hitch choice, overall. No reason you can't get one now and adjust it to reflect your current truck and another TV in the future.

Unlike other WD hitches with integrated antisway, these two do not need the hitch bars any more tight than nominal. Antisway is fully engaged , whereas the others need maximum bar bend to be at their most effective.

It would be best to get a trailer tongue weight with full propane, fresh water and the trailer loaded for a trip. This will help choose the right spring bars no matter the tow vehicle.
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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Doug, why would Airstream be any more susceptible to damage from road shock than any other towables? We have been towing with this truck for nine years with little to no damage although we did have Lippert inspect the frame because so many people were complaining of cracks in welds, etc., and they did reinforce the frame on our current fifth wheel. We also added a Mor-ryde system to the trailer and it made a tremendous difference in the ride in the truck.

This may be short term with this truck but we need to try it before we dive in and spend more money.

Air bags are kept at minimum, about 10#.

I worry about having low tire pressure because of potential for blowouts. I have seen posts about what seems like an unusual number of blowouts on this forum. Towing for about 35 years (9 years with this truck) and we've had one blowout and that was driver (me) letting someone else check my tire pressures for me.

Thanks for inputs and I hope others will join in. We need all the help we can get. My husband is leaning towards new truck, after our fifth wheel is sold or traded, but we have been retired for 10 years so need to keep in mind we are not still earning money!
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:26 AM   #6
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You have a pre-smog 5.9 Cummins truck that you bought new and it’s paid for. I wouldn't trade that for a new one if I were you. What you’re going to find is that the dually's really ad to sway control. We averaged 13 mpg (while towing) on our trip back east with over 13k towing miles. Our rig weighs in at over 17k lbs and I never felt it was under powered or uncomfortable to drive. You will find that it is so comfortable to control that you end up going faster than you really intended to.

As Slowmover states you want to run your tire pressures at recommended door pressures (truck and trailer). We run a standard WD hitch that we find easy to hook up and set (it came with the trailer). It does not have sway control. As long as your tire pressures are correct the rig is a dream to drive. Truck bow wakes do not move us around at all and the flat nosed box trucks that pass you have very little effect (if any). In windy conditions our rig is stable and it’s tough sometimes to know that you’re fighting the winds.

The top end sway control WD hitches are nice to have and you may wish to spend the money on one, but from our perspective the money can be spent somewhere else. If I felt that our rig was even slightly unruly I would buy one in a heartbeat, but that has not been the case.

Your trucks rear suspension is progressive meaning that in normal situations it is not on the overload springs (if your weight distribution is correct). Rough roads will exercise them as indicated by wear patterns on the contact pads. This may cause stress on the trailer, but we have not seen any separation issues. Again as stated above an Air Ride system might give you some comfort in this area, but remember that it ads length to your rig and you need an air compressor to inflate the system every time you hook up.

All of the advice from others above will add to your safety margin, but it may not be necessary. Drive responsibly, watch your downhill speed (the exhaust brake is your best friend) and most of all enjoy your new Airstream! Whatever you decide IMHO you can’t go wrong with your current truck!
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:38 AM   #7
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2006 31' Classic
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What's this about not being able to back up with a Reese Dual Cam? What are stableizers? I have a Reese Dual Cam with 600 lb bars pulling a 31 Classic and I have backed into every configuration of camp sites there are. Not a problem. The hitches action in reverse is no different than pulling forward.

Clyde H.
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Old 08-13-2015, 12:08 PM   #8
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2007 28' Classic
Ivanhoe , Virginia
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Dave & MJ, you are the first I have heard from, or been able to find, that is towing an Airstream with a dually comparable to our's! I am so glad to hear from you. Yes, we paid cash for that truck in 2006 and it has 95,000 miles mostly towing big rigs. We have had two previous diesel trucks, SRW, and sure felt the difference with the DRW. Thank you, thank you.

Clyde, that's just what we read or were told--find backing straight but not otherwise. We had something on one of our tag along horse trailers and I don't remember having to disconnect anything. The chains were a bit of a pain but I had no trouble hooking it up myself. Thanks for your info, too!
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezairstream View Post
What's this about not being able to back up with a Reese Dual Cam? What are stableizers? I have a Reese Dual Cam with 600 lb bars pulling a 31 Classic and I have backed into every configuration of camp sites there are. Not a problem. The hitches action in reverse is no different than pulling forward.

Clyde H.
Right on, my dodge backs up just fine whither the Reese duel cam, it works very well.
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Old 08-13-2015, 05:31 PM   #10
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Terra Alta , West Virginia
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What you have will do great! You will do some tweaking with hitch and tire pressure. That era truck will be fine for years. Mess with adjustments and go camping. My experience with the dually I had was good. It's. Kinda like...you don't need it but it works.
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:00 PM   #11
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1994 28' Excella
Burkburnett , Texas
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I have a 2003 Dodge 3500 DRW and a 1994 28 Excella. I also have two sets of WD bars that I have never used. When I bought this rig two years ago the PO said just drop it on the ball and go. I drove from AZ to TX and TX to SD and back with no problems. I now use a B&W Tow & Stow hitch and have had had no problems.
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horseylady View Post
Dave & MJ, you are the first I have heard from, or been able to find, that is towing an Airstream with a dually comparable to our's! I am so glad to hear from you. Yes, we paid cash for that truck in 2006 and it has 95,000 miles mostly towing big rigs. We have had two previous diesel trucks, SRW, and sure felt the difference with the DRW. Thank you, thank you.

Clyde, that's just what we read or were told--find backing straight but not otherwise. We had something on one of our tag along horse trailers and I don't remember having to disconnect anything. The chains were a bit of a pain but I had no trouble hooking it up myself. Thanks for your info, too!
Unless you just "want" a new truck, at only 95,000 miles I would not even think about selling that truck. Low mileage for that age, and certainly low mileage for as sturdy of a truck as that is. I'm with the others who say, "tweak the hitch" to match this truck, hook up and hit the road. Even if you have to drop the "so called big bucks" for a hensley or a propride to make this an optimal combination, either of those hitches is a whole lot cheaper than buying a new truck. A LOT cheaper.

EDIT: If you decide to buy a new truck, for sure do NOT trade that truck in. Sell it yourself, and ask stupid high price money for it. There are people who will line up to buy that vintage of that truck with that low mileage. You'll have a bidding war in your driveway.
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:45 PM   #13
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Good advice from those posted above. You have a great truck, run the tires at proper pressure. I bought a Class VI AirSafe hitch when we traded up to a Ram 3500, just to be safe (and protect our investment) and it is used in conjunction with an E-quil-izer WD hitch. The towing is effortless and smooth for both TV and TT. It's around $1300 for an AirSafe and $60k to replace your truck with like - I know which way I'd go... ;-)
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:52 AM   #14
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I have a 2014 Ram 3500 single rear wheel, added air bags just because. Tow just on the ball, no WD or sway control. I am well aware of other's opinions on this subject. This is our 3rd Airstream, 2015 Classic. Tows great and have been in various hairy situations.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:29 AM   #15
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I towed our new 2014 Classic to the storage unit from the selling dealership (about 20 miles non highway) using just a properly rated ball hitch on the back of the 2012 Dodge 2500HD. The trailer had full propane tanks (two 40# tanks) and supposedly full water.

It did not track well and was causing steering issues at 45 mph speeds. After installing the 16" tries and wheels and the ProPride hitch with help from Sean over the phone, I went out for a test drive. There was a dramatic change in the rig for the better.

We have a Kelderman all air bag suspension system with air expansion tanks on each rear air bag that keeps the truck level at all times. That system cushions the trailer's ride from the tow vehicle. We reduced the 16" Michelin tire pressure to 75 psi from 80, and the temperatures are most constant even in hot weather.

When the hotshots tow the trailers from the factory with their dually trucks, I have yet to see a fancy hitch and they drive "quickly" as time is money.
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Old 08-22-2015, 05:07 AM   #16
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Interesting thread. I have been towing my 31' 1994 Excella Classic for the past three years with a '09 Silverado 3500HD duallie using a Reese dual cam. It is a great TV but does result in a lot of carnage inside the AS after even a short run. I just installed an AirSafe VI so will see if it helps. Also changing the Reese setup to minimum tension. I agree with the above comment about stability. I think that you likely could "free ball" with a big duallie with no issues, but since I have it I will continue to use the Reese. And just FYI I didn't need a longer pigtail or chains 😎
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Old 08-22-2015, 05:48 AM   #17
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I tow on the ball with two friction ASway devices. I carry my WD hitch with me but can tell no difference using it over the ball mount, so I just tow on the ball. If the suspension were any softer I would use the WD hitch. My truck is high and light on the rear and needs weight to ride and handle properly. The trailer hooked up greatly increases the smoothness of the ride and the handling of the truck. Of course I have a work truck, not a modified car. Every set up is different. If you find one you are comfortable with, stick with it. Good luck.
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