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Old 04-17-2018, 09:44 AM   #1
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Question First time purchase tow hitch questions

We are about to buy our first Airstream (2019 Sport 16) and want to be sure we get the best towing setup. Feedback on the questions below and any other guidance would be appreciated:
1. I know the trailer has electric brakes. Is an electronic brake controller a separate component or part of the system?
2. I saw mention of a manual trailer brake controller being used from the tow vehicle. Is this a common installation? Does it need to be done by the dealerbor is it DIY?
3. The Airstream towing guide recommends a friction sway damper or a hitch with built-in sway control. Does the trailer come with this? If not, is this something that should be installed by the dealer?
4. Stabilizer bars are also recommended. The dealer is suggesting the Equal-I-zer brand E-2 600# setup. Is this a quality brand?

Thanks,
Mark and Beth
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkandBeth View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream (2019 Sport 16) and want to be sure we get the best towing setup. Feedback on the questions below and any other guidance would be appreciated:
1. I know the trailer has electric brakes. Is an electronic brake controller a separate component or part of the system?
2. I saw mention of a manual trailer brake controller being used from the tow vehicle. Is this a common installation? Does it need to be done by the dealerbor is it DIY?
3. The Airstream towing guide recommends a friction sway damper or a hitch with built-in sway control. Does the trailer come with this? If not, is this something that should be installed by the dealer?
4. Stabilizer bars are also recommended. The dealer is suggesting the Equal-I-zer brand E-2 600# setup. Is this a quality brand?

Thanks,
Mark and Beth
1. Separate. I recommend the Tekonsha P-3. Seems to be the gold standard. (Some late model trucks have a brake controller built in with varying results.) It's not a part of the trailer. When you step on the brakes, it takes the signal from the brake lights and applies a certain amount to the trailer brakes.
https://www.amazon.com/Tekonsha-9019...70_&dpSrc=srch

2. Mine was plug and play. My 2015 Tundra was prewired at the factory for a brake controller. All I had to do was watch the YouTube video, buy the correct adaptor, and plug in the P-3. It should have been a 15 minute job, but I stretched it to an hour because I took off the dash panel to mount the bracket.
At worst, the controller has 4 wires. A. Brake light. B. Ground. C. 12 v.battery D. wire to trailer brakes.

3. No. It's part of the hitch. I'm happy with the Equalizer brand hitch. Anti-Sway is built in.

4. Yes.
But what are you using as a tow vehicle? It needs a 2" receiver (or larger) and a 7 way RV plug to utilize the trailer wiring. Tow package is a plus but with a 16' not critical.
Also, you could buy the hitch yourself on Amazon. It's not rocket surgery and knowing how it works is good. The dealer will charge you about $300 extra, but mount and adjust everything. If you don't have large wrenches, then it's not a bad idea to have an expert do it once.
https://www.amazon.com/Tekonsha-9019...70_&dpSrc=srch
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:50 AM   #3
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MollysDad answered your questions nicely. I am a big fan of the Prodigy as well. It is important to know that the P2 and P3 controllers are proportional controllers. This means that as you apply the brakes the degree of application is proportional to the inertia of your vehicle. If you slowly approach a stop sign the brakes will be applied in a smooth and even way. If you have to slam on the brakes the inertia of the vehicle is felt as you are thrown into your seatbelts. The controller will apply the brakes in a matching fashion. A timed controller, or sometimes called a solid state controller, will apply more pressure proportional to the time that has passed. So, a slow application of brakes as you approach a stop sign can, and often will, lock up your brakes. In the case of an emergency where little time will pass before you collide with the cause, the brakes might not ever fully engage.

I had my P2 in my old 4Runner and when I purchased my new '08 Tundra I changed it myself. It is an easy DIY project. I just purchased a new '17 Tundra that came with an integrated controller which I discovered was a timed controller! I removed it, purchased a mounting bracket and am now using my old P2. These are very good controllers. I understand that the big 3 automakers have installed good proportional controllers in their new vehicles. I love my Toyota but they really missed the boat on this thing.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkandBeth View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream (2019 Sport 16) and want to be sure we get the best towing setup. Feedback on the questions below and any other guidance would be appreciated:
1. I know the trailer has electric brakes. Is an electronic brake controller a separate component or part of the system?
2. I saw mention of a manual trailer brake controller being used from the tow vehicle. Is this a common installation? Does it need to be done by the dealerbor is it DIY?
3. The Airstream towing guide recommends a friction sway damper or a hitch with built-in sway control. Does the trailer come with this? If not, is this something that should be installed by the dealer?
4. Stabilizer bars are also recommended. The dealer is suggesting the Equal-I-zer brand E-2 600# setup. Is this a quality brand?



Thanks,
Mark and Beth
There are many good trailer towing set ups out there. Prices range from several hundreds to several thousands. You will find this forum and the people that belong to be very useful, entertaining, opinionated, and full of experience from all walks of life.

Which or what is best towing set up is good question. From what I have read and experienced the past 40 years it gets down to tow vehicle, trailer size, and what you feel/comfort for you is safe, controllable, and piece of mind. White knuckles is not fun.

I kindly suggest before you purchase, do your research, read the threads on this forum, may take a few days. It is good reading, suggest keeping an open mind. Best of luck.

We use Blue Ox Sway Pro and are very happy w/this set up, it just works for us.

Best regards and safe travels
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:28 AM   #5
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Depending on your tow vehicle, you may not need a weight distributing hitch. Just tow on the ball with a sway bar. No one can help you until you reveal what you are towing with.
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Old 04-17-2018, 01:55 PM   #6
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Hook up

I agree with the P3 controller. I installed it on my f150. My 150 has the trailer tow package and with the correct adapter plugged right in.
I had the Airstream mechanic hook up and adjust the hitch. He was great. Showed me how to hook it up and adjusted the brake controller. He stated that I would probably change the settings of the controller to my preferences. I did increase the brake settings.
If your tow vehicle is new enough then the controller is already installed if it has the trailer tow package.
Itís good to have everything set up initially by a professional.
Good luck.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:26 PM   #7
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Been running a P3 and Equalizer hitch for 8 years on my 4200 lb. 1968 Tradewind. Very happy with both. My son has an SOB (some other brand) with the same controller and an Equalizer and is equally happy. Lots of good hitches but you can't go wrong with the P3 and Equalizer.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:00 PM   #8
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Thanks to all for the quick input. I will be towing with a new Subaru Ascent. This is a new model for 2019 and is little bigger than a Toyota Highlander. It has a towing package with 5000 lb capacity so should be fine for the 16 Sport.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:29 PM   #9
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The specs on this Subaru say 2000 lbs tow weight and 200 lbs hitch weight. The 16 sport will exceed those weights, especially when the trailer and car are loaded and family (#?) members are added. You may want to look at other TV's.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
The specs on this Subaru say 2000 lbs tow weight and 200 lbs hitch weight. The 16 sport will exceed those weights, especially when the trailer and car are loaded and family (#?) members are added. You may want to look at other TV's.
You mustnít be looking at the Subaru Ascent - the spec states 2270 kg (5,000 lbs.) towing.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:34 PM   #11
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https://www.thecarconnection.com/spe...4t-8-passenger
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:00 PM   #12
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Another suggestion. I would not just tow your trailer "on the ball". I would get a hitch with built in sway control. I towed a 21 ft white box with my '03 Totota 4Runner a long time ago. It had a V8 and towed the trailer well. But, because it was not a PU it sat down considerably when we hooked up the trailer. I think your TV will react much the same. A WD hitch will help level the trailer and level the TV as well. With built in sway control there will be no need to attach a separate sway bar. The sway prevention will already be there.

Good advice above. There are many discussions about all the various options. Read through them and don't hesitate to send a PM to anyone who has a similar set up to yours. What works for a 30 footer being towed by a one ton diesel might not be the best combination for a smaller and lighter set up .

I have always used an Equalizer and a Prodigy brake controller. When I got a larger trailer I also got a larger Equalizer. Over 40K miles on my current trailer and I remain happy with the setup . But, there are more options out there today than I had in '09.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkandBeth View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream (2019 Sport 16) and want to be sure we get the best towing setup. Feedback on the questions below and any other guidance would be appreciated:
1. I know the trailer has electric brakes. Is an electronic brake controller a separate component or part of the system?
2. I saw mention of a manual trailer brake controller being used from the tow vehicle. Is this a common installation? Does it need to be done by the dealerbor is it DIY?
3. The Airstream towing guide recommends a friction sway damper or a hitch with built-in sway control. Does the trailer come with this? If not, is this something that should be installed by the dealer?
4. Stabilizer bars are also recommended. The dealer is suggesting the Equal-I-zer brand E-2 600# setup. Is this a quality brand?

Thanks,
Mark and Beth
I think you have received some very good towing advice here. There are no doubts that you will need to choose an appropriate Weight Distribution (WD)Hitch. The Blue Ox, Equalizer or Reese StediFlex are all fantastic antisway WD hitchs. Order online or through a dealer.....but let the trailer dealer install for first time use....and he will need your tow vehicle during the install and make all necessary adjustments.

Once the dealer installs the WD hitch, and everything is towing great, take a dozen photos of your hitch hookup to document the positions and placement of all brackets and this is just in case something slips during towing....you can always move them back to the original setup according to your photos.

I use the P3 brake controller...purchased on Amazon and installed by my local Toyota dealer. The P3 is best in the world.

Your 2019 Subaru Accent has a towing capacity of 5000lbs. Thats a 3000lb increase compared to the model year 2018 towing capacity of 2000lbs. But It looks like a perfect fit for your Airsteam 16' Sport. Good Luck on your new Airstream.
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:49 AM   #14
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Maybe you should look at the Subaru site not a third party (or maybe the Canadian Subaru has more towing capacity.)

https://www.subaru.ca/WebPage.aspx?W...SAAEgK0NPD_BwE
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:15 AM   #15
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A lot depends on your tow vehicle. I have an F150 with Towing package and have pulled a 27 foot without brake controller. It was not recommended but since I was going to get a new truck I was not going to add a controller early. My new truck also an F150 has a brake controller and I really do not recognize any difference.

The E2 recommendation is perfect hitch and you will be pleased.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:33 AM   #16
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Congrats on your new Bambi! I just traded in my 22fb Sport for a larger model but can share my experience with the Sport. Firstly it towed like a dream. I used the Podigy break controller system which is a great system. As far as the hitch and weight distribution system I used the equalizer system your dealer suggested. It is a very hearty system. If you are interested I am selling my hitch and equalizer system since I needed a different set up for my new Airstream.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:35 AM   #17
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Ps when you buy a break controller system, which I believe is ESSENTIAL, you can reinstall it on a new rig if you ever decide to change Airstream models.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:39 AM   #18
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We have an equal I zer E4. It works great however, when turning slowly, like pulling into your site at a campground, it is VERY creaky and noisy. I looked online and this sounds common.
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:01 AM   #19
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We have an equal I zer E4. It works great however, when turning slowly, like pulling into your site at a campground, it is VERY creaky and noisy. I looked online and this sounds common.
Won't cure %100 but for us it cured about %99.999 with the use of:

High Performance Lubricant and Sway Bracket Jacket (pair)
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:20 AM   #20
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Weíll give that a try. Thank you.
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