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Old 05-27-2010, 07:19 PM   #1
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jasper2222's Avatar
1996 25' Excella
Tallahassee , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 59
dual cam and tire air pressure

Heading out tomorrow from Fl. to the Nebraska country. I am using a new dual cam hitch. 1996 25 ft excella. Would appreciate any comments on number of links under stress. I have it set up on 5. Truck is a 2500 series. (Really will not bounce even with the trailer off. Have new 600 lb. bars. Used to run 800. Running 56 lbs pressure on front tires and 68 on back E rated and 55 on the trailer D rated. Anything you think I should change. Leaving in the AM so no adjustments on hitch other than links.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:31 PM   #2
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2004 22' Interstate
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
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FWIW... it looks like a reasonable setup to me. Don't hesitate to pull up one more link if handling is "odd", but there's adequate bend in the bars, the hitch head angle looks good to me, and the tire pressures all sound reasonable.

Have a great trip!

havin' to fix my broken Airstreams since 1987...
AIR 2053 Current: 2004 Airstream Interstate "B-Van" T1N DODGE Sprinter
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:04 AM   #3
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1996 34' Limited
1976 31' Sovereign
1983 31' Excella
Greeneville , Tennessee
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 529
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Looking at the way it is setting in the drive it looks like the front of your truck is setting on a downhill, this will definately give you an inaccurate set up. With a 3/4 ton truck you should not need alot of tork on the bars.
I would strongly suggest you get onto a level surface, release the bars, step back and see if there is any sag in the rear, if there is adjust only enough to take out the sag, if not only adjust where there is light tension. You should run all tires at tire pressure that is on the side walls of the tires, when you run them with low pressure you are going to cause a sway in the trailer and creating a buldge in the tire on the tread center which will cause the tire to wear faster on te edge and heat up faster thus placing you in the position of a blowout and you do not want that on an AS cause it causes alot of damage. Tires should always be at the recommended pressure cold, on both TV & trailer.
I just switched my 34 from the hensley back to the hitch & bars, my excursion I just put a set of Ride Rites on it so it does not sag, set the bars with slight tension and it rides great with hardly no sway from passing vehicles.

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Old 06-04-2010, 09:13 AM   #4
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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As for the Reese Dual Cam. There is a design error that should be looked at before towing. The attached picture shows a point of contact between the bar and the yoke of the hanger when making a sharp turn. This will be on the outside bar. The bar is pulled forward during the turn and in doing so come may come in contact with the bar. This has cause the yoke to fail. I ground off about a 1/4 in of material from the yoke to re leave this conflict

The following is the setup procedure I use when setting up a Reese system on an Airstream.

As for your WC hitch. I have never found a dealer that had any idea as to how to set up a WD hitch.

I have assumed that the trailer was riding level before attempting to make these adjustment. If not set the hitch height so as to have the trailer level while making these adjustments. In some cases you may have to move the ball height so much as to have to start the WD adjustment again. Trailer level is best measured from the frame to ground front and rear. Do not use a bubble level unless you know you are on a concrete slab known to be level.

Most trailers use springs and the trailer level is not that critical however Airstreams and other trailer that use torsion bar axles it is extremely critical that the trailer be parallel to the ground. So completely disregard any suggestions as to ball height as a starting point. Once you have the trailer parallel to the ground measure the height of the ball cup on the trailer. Set you ball about ˝ in. above that as a starting point.

If you are using a Straight Line Cam, SLC, system this is how I suggest people set them up. The SLC system is the one with adjustable cam bolts. I will comment on the older Dual Cam system at the end.

With the cam bolts loose and both backed off at least an 1 in. from the last towing position tow the trailer around the block and come to a stop while towing at least 100 ft. in a straight line on level pavement. Disconnect the trailer from the hitch while everything is in place. Put a piece of masking tape on the front and rear fender well of the TV with masking tape on the center line and above the wheel. Measure the height of front and rear fenders and mark a line on marking the tape, say 39in. front and 38 in rear. Hook up the trailer and again measure the fenders. They should both come DOWN. Depending on the springs stiffness of the TV I look for about a 60/40 ration of the rear drop to the front drop on my Excursion. Heavier sprung truck will be more like a 70/30 ration.

If you do not see this result unhitch. Loosen the bolts on the hitch head and tilt the head backwards towards the trailer putting more load on the bars. Rehitch and measure again. Continue this until you see noticeable load on the front axle. Generally you should have 5 chain links between the hanger plate of the Straight Line Cam and the hanger. Do not attempt to adjust the hitch by changing the number of chain links but rather only by adjusting the hitch head angle. If you reduce the number of chain links you run a risk of having the bars and the yoke of the cams hitting on a turn and braking the bolt in the cam.

Once you think you have it go around the block again and come to a stop using the manual trailer brakes. This put everything in a straight line with the trailer in the position it would be while towing, tight on the ball. I would suggest another unloaded and loaded fender measure just to check things out and rehitch.

Now while hitched tap the Reese cams, at the point of contact with the bars, with a 2 pound hammer a couple of time. This insures the bars are set on the cam. This position is extremely important. Any offset of the cams to the bars while in a straight line WILL contribute to sway on the road as the cams are attempting to seat themselves thus moving the TV and your correction will amplify the problem. Now tighten the inner cam bolt to the adjuster body by hand. Now tighten the outer cam bolt and lock washer with a good size wrench.

There is some sloop in the machining of the slots in the cam bolt. On the drivers side bolt it is a good idea to put a pipe wrench on the bolt itself and hold down with that wrench while tightening the nut and lock washer. If not you may see excessive ware on the outer side of the cam after a few trips.

This is not a 5 min. project and now you know why no dealer ever does it right.

If you have the older dual cam set up follow the same procedures with the cam arm U bolts loose to the frame until proper load is on the axles and you have circled the block the second time. Now while parked in a straight line tap the cam mounting plate as it sits on the frame to make sure there is no strain at that point. Tap the tops of the U bolts to set then in at right angles to the frame. Any offset in the U bolts to a right angle to the frame may allow the plate to move over time. Tighten the U bolts to 75 ft lbs.

Now that you have the system properly loaded you should go to a scale and weigh each axle. Most scales will not give you the time to set up a hitch properly on site. Most Cat Scale have 3 plates and you should be able to place the rig on all 3 plates at once, shorter tow vehicles may not straddle all 3 plates. Just make sure you get a weight for the front and rear TV axle and the axle/axles of the trailer. I am assuming if the trailer in riding level that the weights on each trailer axle will be the same. If you have any reason to think differently weigh each trailer axle. Once you have the axle weights you can then determine your tire pressure as per the manufactures inflation chart. You should have the truck and trailer loaded as close to traveling weight as possible when you go to the scale. If not add a little to the truck for the kids and dog and some to the trailer for food and water.

This is a Goodyear chart but tire for tire they are all the same because of Government Standards.

Most individuals will be shocked to see what the correct pressure is. It is important if you err to do it on the high side because under inflation will cause a blow out. But gross over inflation, as all too many tires are, stiffens the ride and reduces contact with the pavement thus effecting braking and ware.
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2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 06-04-2010, 08:52 PM   #5
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1996 25' Excella
Tallahassee , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 59
Thanks to all

Appreciate the input on the set-up. I did put about 1200 miles on the trailer since leaving FL. Generally, I was happy with the set up. I did loosen the 5 links and went to 6. 5 just felt a little bit much on the front end. (have not been able to weigh trailer and truck yet). I also went with the recommended tire pressures on the trailer and front of truck, but really felt the 80 lbs. for my load was a little much for the rear tires on the truck. I am running 68 at the present. Hitch felt very good in windy conditions and trucks passing. Will grind off turnbuckles when return to Fl. and watch my turning till then.

Got around 14 to 14.5 mpg hand calcultated on mileage and that was running between 65-67mph on the interstates and 55 other.

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