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Old 12-01-2010, 08:30 AM   #1
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Question Correct Towing bars?

I just joined this forum and I am really grateful for so much information on the ownership and upkeep of Airstream trailers. I do need some opinions on my towing equipment. I tow a 2011 23 foot Flying Cloud with a 2010 GMC Yukon Hydrid with a towing limit of 6000 lbs. The dealer in Alabama installed an Equalizer hitch with 1000 lb. bars. We towed it home, (about 300 miles), and thought it towed very well. But after reading so many threads about the torsion bars, I am wondering if we are over hitched. We did notice some missing rivets on the inside panel of the door, but I think this was a result of the dealer slamming the door several times to show us how tough these doors are. I don't believe the panel touches the frame when the door is closed so I can't see how any flexing could affect that. Unfortunately I did not notice it until we left the dealership after traveling about 150 miles. Can someone provide any guidance on this for me. Do I need to go to lighter bars?
Thanks, and we are really enjoying being first time A/S owners and this forum.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:48 AM   #2
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Be prepared for a hundred different opinions. Have you weighed your rig yet? I would suggest that you load up as if going camping, and make a trip to the local CAT scales. This will tell you several things. One, how much weight are you transfering and is it enough. Two what is your actual tongue weight when loaded (this will provide insight into how heavy of bars you want). Third, is your W/D setup correct or do you need to make adjustments.

You aren't using a heavy duty TV. From what I have read here on the Airforums that is what causes a lot of the problems when combined with heavy bars. With the lighter TV, your suspension will handle most of the vibration as opposed to the suspension on a heavy TV.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:51 AM   #3
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First, welcome to the forum.

Second, your trailer has a dry tongue weight of about 700 pounds (at least that's the data I could find), and that is without propane, batteries, etc. So, your tongue weight could be a great deal more, and 900 pounds is not out of the question. Your Equilizer hitch does have one of the harsher rides of the available WD hitches, but your tow vehicle is one that should give a relatively smooth ride.

Based on that, I personally don't think you are "overhitched", but I'm sure there are some on here that will scream to the contrary. It seems they really enjoy it.

And about the rivets in the door...I would think if the hitch is too harsh, you would first notice rivet problems in the front panels of the trailer, not the door.

Again, welcome to the forum, and please protect your ears from the "YOU ARE OVERHITCHED" screams.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:05 AM   #4
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Correct Towing Package?

Sorry, I neglected to mention the trailer weight and tongue weight. Unloaded weights are: trailer- 4750, tongue-473.
Thanks,
Rick
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rperrym View Post
Sorry, I neglected to mention the trailer weight and tongue weight. Unloaded weights are: trailer- 4750, tongue-473.
Thanks,
Rick
OK, with that tongue weight, you would probably benefit from lighter bars.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:47 AM   #6
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So there really is such as thing as "excessive rated hitch bars" for a given situation.

Many have proclaimed that in the past.

Andy
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:51 AM   #7
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it's not uncommon for a few the 'pop rivets' used on the door inner side to loosen.

this can happen from normal towing, or IF the trailer wheels/tires are OUT of balance.

so u might start by RE riveting (get a rivet gun and an assortment of rivets) and watching for more looooose 1s.

checking the tire/wheel balance may be useful too.
__________

the truth is these entry doors really aren't that tuff or solid.

for example don't hold onto the door for support while going in/out,

that will tweak it, they tweak pretty easily.

SLAMMING the door shouldn't be necessary and is not a good thing.

the door should close with just 2 fingers and 'latch' shut.

the striker may be off, the catch may need lubrication and the mechanism may need adjustment...

also understand the body/shell moves/flexes/twists and that may cause issues even with a PROPERLY adjusted door.
________

set the trailer up on smooth/flat/even ground UNhitched,

use the A frame/tongue jack to 'level' the unit front/back.

then check the door for EASE of closing,

but BEFORE using the stabilizer jacks...

it should close with 2 fingers.

now put the stab/jacks down and check it again.

IF the door gets HARDER to close after the stab/jacks go down,

there is TOO MUCH pressure on one (or more) of the jacks...

this results in TWISTING and will muck up door closing.
_________

most of the dealer/service shops are lousy at entry door adjustments,

it's a time intensive thing with NO reimbursement for their labor.

but a/s has a nice procedure for this...

http://service.airstream.com/files/l...673fe84e36.pdf

focus on the 'dead bolt alignment' steps and the catch/mechanism,

before getting out the hammer and wood blocks...



___________

lastly please ignore the over hitched nonsense,

but weighing the rig and spending a few hours DIALING in the w/d tension is time well spent.

and don't forget to check tire pressures on the trailer AND tow vehicle.

there are a bunch of really basic, really essential tweaks and adjustments for new towing.

these things tend to get passed over with too much focus on w/d bar UNDER sizing.

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:59 PM   #8
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lastly please ignore the over hitched nonsense,
cheers
2air'
And I would like to re-quote what 2air' has said as I too agree very strongly with his statement...

please ignore the over hitched nonsense....


We all have lots of opinions on this forum - digest what you learn here and from other sources and come to your own conclusions.

I would also suggest that you be respectful if someone does not agree with your final conclusions, we all have opinions and more importantly free will...

Please Do Note that some of the forum members respond with more frequency and have been around quite a while - either as forum members or as folks who have towed for many, many years while some others align themselves with folks for reasons unknown and mimic what they hear/read vice actually expressing personal experience or sharing real knowledge...

And Have Fun, some would argue the research is one of the fun parts of this new journey you have chosen to take!
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:47 PM   #9
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I also use an Equal-I-Zer brand hitch with a relatively light trailer, and am very concerned about the pressure the w.d. bars put on my trailer's A-frame when entering/exiting steep dips at gas stations, driveways, and such. I avoid this situation, but more flexible bars would give me more comfort, if they can accomplish necessary weight distribution.

To "ignore the over hitched nonsense" is an opinion of value to those who state it. Not to me.

Doug
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I also use an Equal-I-Zer brand hitch with a relatively light trailer, and am very concerned about the pressure the w.d. bars put on my trailer's A-frame when entering/exiting steep dips at gas stations, driveways, and such. I avoid this situation, but more flexible bars would give me more comfort, if they can accomplish necessary weight distribution.

To "ignore the over hitched nonsense" is an opinion of value to those who state it. Not to me.

Doug
Many people, now know that the Equalizer bars bend the least when under the same exact stress that the other brands encounter, for the same rating torsion bars.

If not, they will soon find out.

That indeed, puts considerably more pressure on the A-frame and the front of the trailer, when going up an incline, causing in time, structural failures.

Andy
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Many people, now know that the Equalizer bars bend the least when under the same exact stress that the other brands encounter, for the same rating torsion bars.
Andy
Yep, especially those that
Quote:
The dealer in Alabama installed an Equalizer hitch with 1000 lb. bars.
on a trailer with
Quote:
Unloaded weights are: trailer- 4750, tongue-473
You see Andy, that's why in my post above, I said
Quote:
OK, with that tongue weight, you would probably benefit from lighter bars.
And that's not being a smart a$$!
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:48 PM   #12
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As you can see there are many "experts" with very different opinions. Before you do anything, you need to get the loaded tongue weight for your trailer. The tongue weight you gave us is for an unloaded 2011 23' FB Flying Cloud trailer. The loaded tongue weight must the batterys, full tanks of propane, a full tank of water, and everything that you will be carrying in the trailer. There is a way to get the tongue weight using a bathroom scale and a lever but I do not have an immediate reference on how to do it. Perhaps one of the others on this thread can direct you to a reference about how to get your loaded tongue weight. Once you have your loaded tongue weight, folks that have experience with Equalizer hitches will be able to give you a better answer about which load bars you need.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:58 PM   #13
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Just a note, with the Equal-I-Zer brand hitch, you cannot swap w.d. bars from one size hitch to another. You must replace the whole hitch for a different weight rating.

Doug
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:39 PM   #14
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Hi, you are sort-of caught in the middle as for spring bars are concerned. Equal-i-zer has 600, 1,000, and 1,200 lb bars. My trailer has a GVWR of 6,300 lbs and with a tongue weight of let's say about 12 to 15% that is well over 600 lbs so it is recommended that I use the 1,000 lb rated spring bars. Now your trailer is GVWR 6,000 lbs so it is possible that, depending on how heavy you load it and actual tongue weight, you could use the 600 lb spring bars. But if you load it heavy with 12 to 15% on the tongue, then the 1,000 lb spring bars would be right. Normal flexing of the trailer could cause some rivets to fail, but I would for sure make sure that your wheels, hubs, and drums are balanced. [just balancing your wheels does not work]
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:07 AM   #15
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Smile Correct Towing Package?

Thanks for the input. I did talk with Equalizer many times and they still maintain I am safe with the 1000 lb bars. They did discuss how many washers were used in the installation as this can influence how much stress is put on the trailer and tow vehicle. My dealer only needed two washers to level the trailer and tow vehicle as the tongue load is relatively light for my Yukon hybrid.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:58 PM   #16
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Equal-I-Zer is good with phone assistance but I wonder about the advice they are putting out. No hitch expert here, but I understand the washers control the amount of tilt on the hitch head, and the head should be tilted downward when set up and ready to go.

This downward tilt causes increased tension on the bars when the trailer turns to one side or the other. The downward head tilt resists sway because it becomes progressively harder for the trailer to move sideways against the increasing bar tension, and the friction is also increased. If the head is mounted level, this feature is lost, and if tilted up, it works in reverse.

So are they suggesting the number of washers is used to level the trailer and tow vehicle? I believe the bar tension levels (restores steering axle weight) the tow vehicle and the height of the hitch levels the trailer.

Equal-I-zer suggested that when in doubt I should get the next higher rated hitch. That is true if only weight distribution is desired. But I am concerned about the stress these very stiff w.d. bars put on the trailer A-frame when the truck encounters a steep incline as well as the stress placed on the front where the trailer body is connected to the frame. For that reason I would not want a higher rated w.d. bar than I need. Even then I do not like the stiffness of the Equal-I-Zer bars.

Doug
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:43 PM   #17
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It would make sense that you get a set of bars that properly matches the tounge load of your trailer. If the bars are underrated for your tounge load then they are flexed at max capacity and have no more "travel" to absorb changes to height, etc. let alone properly disrbute the weight onto the tow vehicles suspension.

That's what's nice about the P3 and his older brother - you crank in the support of the bars till your level "dialing in the support as provdied by the bars as necessary".

The trailer has it's own suspension with articulation and travel, that's what its there for as designed by Airstream - the tow vehicle suspension is for its own use.

As an Airstream engineer told me during my tour who was on the floor last summer - the Tow Vehicle should be rock solid and any suspension that it may have is for the comfort of the occupants and its contents, the Airstream has its own suspension for its contents and does not care how much or little the Tow Vehicle is bouncing down the road.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
But I am concerned about the stress these very stiff w.d. bars put on the trailer A-frame when the truck encounters a steep incline as well as the stress placed on the front where the trailer body is connected to the frame.bars.
Doug

I understand my "Classic" frame is a little beefier than the International & Safari frames - but looking at how stout that metal is right there at the "A" where my hitch is installed....

I have to ask my fellow Airstreamers - do you really think that the "A-Frame" of the trailer can be flexed by the Tow Vehicle without damage to the ball-hitch coupler first occuring let alone some sort of "deformation" of the metal at the contact points between the hitch and the Airstreams frame when going over bumps and across ditches?

Just asking....
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:06 PM   #19
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John, that is probably true (although I wonder if that Airstream engineer has ever seen his Airstream porpoising at the hitch on some concrete highways) but I have seen bent A frames, damaged lower front panels, and broken W.D. bar attachments. The engineer's comment is not entirely reassuring.

Doug
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:33 PM   #20
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See - this is my education time here and now as I would have never imaged a bent A frame as that metal is so dam thick. Running "on the envelope" calculations (the engineer in me) I'm amazed that bolts, clamps, impressions on trailer frame rails, etc. wouldn't be present before an A-Frame would be bent. It would take a hell of alot of weight to bend that A-Frame - I would assume damage should also be present on the vehicles tow hitch mounts or frame as well...

I have an easy way out - quick call to Sean over at ProPride - tell him my tow vehicle and tounge weight - he knows the design of his system and tells me what I need. Another good P3 benifit as support is almost as important as the product itself.

Sounds like the issue of this thread actually should be confidence in the information other hitch companies support staff are dishing out - again - I would think these folks would be the "subject matter expert" at answering a "Tow Vehicle \ Trailer" configuratoin when using their hitch systems.

Of course - I also know we will all debate this till the cows come home - but isn't that part of the fun?
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