Wanted Reese hitch information
I don't think that you would be disappointed by a Reese hitch for your '59 Traveler. When I first read your message, I thought that you were referring to purchasing the complete package -- receiver, drawbar, ball mount, and weight distribution bars -- upon re-reading your post I believe that you are refering to all but the receiver that you evidently already have mounted on your tow vehicle.
When looking at used equipment, condition and proper sizing is critical. I would suggest being sure about the folllowing before proceeding:
1. Drawbar - - is it the proper size for your receiver - - Reese made two different sized receivers during the late 70s through at least the early 80s - - the more familiar 2" and a smaller "light weight" receiver that was smaller than 2". The second issue with the drawbar is the drop - - will it allow the hitch head to be positioned low enough to attain proper ball height for your trailer. The last issue with the drawbar would be physical condition - - are there any welds that look sloppy or otherwise non-factory - - if there are any such welds, I would suggest passing and purchasing a new drawbar for safety sake.
2. Adjustable Ball Mount - - Are all of the bolts present as well as the adjusting washers. Again if there is evidence of welded repairs that are sloppy I would suggest passing in favor of a new ball mount or hitch head for safety sake. Also, I would hesitate to consider a welded ball mount unless both height and angle are appropriate for your coach as there is some question to the advisability of rewelding one to fit a new setup according to my fabricator who welded up the new Reese custom receiver for my Cadillac.
3. Weight Distribution Bars - - Are they properly sized for your coach. These bars come in a variety of sizes and at least two lengths in each weight rating. My suspicion is that your coach will likely require at least 500 pound weight distribution bars but not more than 700 pound - - go too light and the bars will bend loosing their effectiveness; and too heavy will result in difficulty getting the system to work properly. A rule of thumb that I was taught was to take the expected gross weight of the trailer and multiply that by twenty-percent to get a good approximation of the necessary weight rating for your weight distribution bars. When inspecting used bars, it is critical to determine that the ends that fit into the hitch head are firmly attached to the spring bars, and that the fingers (bumps on the top and bottom that fit into the hitch head) show minimal wear - - these parts can be replaced, but the cost may approach that of new spring bars. The weight distribution bars themselves should not have a noticeable bend or belly - - if they do it is an indication that they have been used on a trailer that was beyond their rating.
4. Sway Control - - If included, it may or may not be compatible with your trailer. I suspect that your trailer's tongue weight may be a bit below 400 pounds which is the minimum recommended weight for the Reese Dual Cam System. If the system is friction, then it would be applicable, but wether it is still servicable would depend upon its age and amount of use as the fricition surfaces do wear and may need periodic replacement or maintenance. I have used both friction and Dual Cam; and given the choice for a trailer with at 400 pounds on the tongue my choice would be Dual Cam for its ease of use (no need to adjust for changes in weather or road conditions as each of my fricition sway controls have required).
5. If what you are considering also includes the tow vehicle receiver, it is another area where condition is critical. Check for obvious sloppy welds, or damage. Check the bolt holes where the hitch attaches to the frame for any evidence of unusual wear (elongated or oval holes might indicate lack of maintenance).
I am not aware of any site that gives an objective comparison of the various hitch systems. Each manufacturer has a site, but their sites are designed to sell their product. Trailer Life periodically evaluates such systems, so a trip to a public library may produce a recent issue with such information.
Good luck with your decision!
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)