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Old 04-17-2021, 04:47 AM   #1
4 Rivet Member
2018 30' Classic
Lake Charles , SW Louisiana
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 252
Images: 9
The weakest link - knowing & maintaining your towing gear!

If you happen to be one of those who purchased a pre-owned Airstream with a Anti-Sway/Weight Distribution (AS/WD) hitch already installed by a previous owner, I would say it's a good practice to duly inspect the hitch in detail even if your not experiencing any symptoms of abnormal performance or wear.

Proper maintenance can extend beyond periodic lubrication particularly with use and age.

Like many "pre-owned unit" buyers, we've been through just about every aspect of our new-to-us Airstream, doing "this and that" in terms of servicing it, (i.e. inspecting all running gear such as replacing the tires, inspecting the brakes & hubs, holding tank maintenance, body seam sealants, etc). The usual stuff.

But one area we did not pay too much attention to was the WD/AS hitch that came installed on it - other than to do some routine cosmetic touch up painting and general lubrication as recommended.

Our hitch is the ProPride 3P w/1,400# spring bars and while it has been doing its excellent job of mitigating any sway or loss of control when towing and giving us no indication whatsoever of needing to be serviced, (i.e. no "squeaks" or "rattles" etc,) we realized we had no real and prior "history" of how old our 3P is nor how many miles of towing or use it has undergone.

The previous owner of our '18 Classic owned other Airstreams before it such that it could be very likely that the hitch may have been moved from one previous unit to the unit we purchased.

We just don't know!

So giving this some thought, we ordered the Main Hitch Head Bearing & Seal servicing kit from the great folks at ProPride (ie, Sean, Brent and the team) and went about "tearing down" our main hitch head assy. and changing out all 8-bearings and seals that support it main element in the form of its hitch steering links and their pivoting action, (left to right motion).

What we found during the course of such - was indeed some abnormal wear on some of the bearings, (i.e. evidence of wear, scarring, and loosening rollers all of which was likely due to some degree of water encroachment (i.e. condensation) over time as we found the grease in the lower/bottom bearing caps to be "milky colored" as well as wear from possible overstress by the hitch not having been properly set-up and adjusted on occasions or over time but certainly enough to justify the need for servicing and replacement of the bearings, races & seals.

So, with the help of ProPride's tech support (Brent) and the main hitch head servicing kit they offer, this became both a easy to do and rewarding project - which now has us in like new condition in terms of performance of the 3P hitch together with the knowledge and confidence that what could have been the "weakest link" in our TV to TT set-up is now nothing short of being the "best" it can be in terms of our towing safety.

I'd say we're good for another "million miles"!

I think many will agree that the "ProPride 3P' is likely the best AS/WD hitch on the market (or certainly among the top 2) yet like any piece of moving equipment, does need periodic inspection and maintenance.

"Be smart", learn and be aware of the condition of your towing gear while remaining mindful that like anything mechanical, they can wear and need service beyond routine lubrication over time.

I'll end this message with "kudos" to Sean and Brent at ProPride Inc. for offering what is clearly some of (if not the) best customer support in the RV industry and something we all know that is lacking elsewhere in many forms among many manufacturers of RV related components.

Shown below, we elected to take our main hitch head to a local machine shop and have them bead blast it then press out/in the old and new bearing races. Primed, repainted and the reassembled using the supplied kit from ProPride.

All in a small investment in the form of a DIY project and it's a great feeling knowing we are 100% ready for the many miles ahead.

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