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Author Topic: Help/Advice wanted...  (Read 895 times)


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Help/Advice wanted...
« on: September 27, 2017, 12:42:25 AM »
Hi fellow RVers!

This is my very first post on this forum along with our first summer with our newly purchased Dutchmen Aerolite 174E. So far, we are quite pleased with the little guy.

My question here today is not about the unit itself but more about something that happened the day we decided to pull the trigger on the HTT, which was the same day I took it out for a test tow with my TV, a 2004 Jeep Liberty V6 (4WD). Being a complete noob to the TT scene, I felt this test pull to be the single most important part of our decision making process as we weren't very sure how well our vehicle would handle the Aerolite and did not want to push our gently used but nonetheless older Jeep past its limits.

The Liberty has a tow capacity of 5,000lbs and a max tongue weight of 500lbs. I use an Anderson WD Hitch to pull the Aerolite 174E, which has a dry weight of 3,191lbs and a max cargo capacity of 662lbs.

Now, on the day of the test tow, I get to the dealership bright and early and head over to the area I was instructed to wait at for the Aerolite to be brought around for me.

While waiting for the HTT, I was given a(nother) brief demo of the hitch I intended to buy and was told to wait by my vehicle for one of the service techs who would be showing me how to properly install and setup the hitch on my vehicle.

Coming up is the crux and where my request for help/advice comes into play.

The service tech comes out with the physical hitch and lays everything out on the ground behind the vehicle. He then notices that my vehicle has a spare tire mounted on the rear door and that because of how low it sits over the rear bumper it won't allow the hitch shank to be inserted into the receiver without the ball touching the bottom of the spare tire. He then goes back into the shop and comes back out with a hitch extender which they would charge me $100 for.

I'm like, "ok, let's get on with it!" What the heck do I know, right? We install the hitch extender along with the rest of the hitch and off we go.

The long and short of it is that the test tow with my Liberty was a surprising success. I was honestly expecting constant high revving and "tail wagging the dog" action throughout but had only some of the former (whilst driving uphill) and very very little of the latter (when being passed by larger vehicles or when it got a little windy). Needless to say, I pulled the trigger and bought the unit.

Fast forward now to the day after our first trip out with the Aerolite (about a week after I pick the trailer up from the dealership). Not sure what made me do it, but I ended up googling hitch extenders and then coming across an amazon listing for the part that I was supplied. Lo and behold, the dealership's markup on the hitch extender was a whopping $70! I was somewhat pissed off but not as livid as I got when I started reading more about hitch extenders and how they worked. Especially the fact that they cut your hitch capacity in half!! Once again, needless to say, I immediately stopped using the extender and moved my spare tire to my roof rack so that I could use the hitch by itself.

Fast forward again to today, 3 months later and a few days before I'm scheduled to take my Aerolite in for some minor warranty work. Not sure if I should use this opportunity to bring the extender issue up with the dealership or just keep quiet about it. Do I have any recourse in this matter? I mean, according to me, how does the dealership not tell me this simple but crucial fact about the hitch extender, knowing full well that I'm just a noob, what vehicle I'm using and it's towing limitations. Did they (un)knowingly put me and my family at risk here not to mention all of the other motorists that could have been endangered? Am I blowing things out of proportion here or would some sort of action on my part be perfectly justified? Was I actually put in danger by way of using that hitch extender when taking into account the towing restrictions of my vehicle? I honestly have no problem kicking up a fuss with them but just want to be sure that I'm making sense and that the fuss would be warranted.

Sorry for the super long winded post, guys. I just wanted to give you as much info as possible in order to get the best advice you can objectively give.

Thanks in advance!


Arch Hoagland

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Re: Help/Advice wanted...
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2017, 12:57:38 AM »
I think that $100 just saved your untold thousands of dollars because now you are a wiser man.

The next time someone tries to sell you something RV related the first thing that's going to pop into your brain is the $100 extender. And you will question it six ways from Sunday before you buy it.

Everybody on here has, at one time or another, bought something for their RV that they might not have knowing what they know now.

So my thought is...you got a cheap lesson.   
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
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2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
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Re: Help/Advice wanted...
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2017, 05:58:38 AM »
I agree, cheap lesson, but still a bitter taste. With the reading you've done, you probably know more about hitches and hitch extenders than the "tech" knows. Not saying it's right, but the tech probably didn't even know any better.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

2012 Redwood 36RL
2016 Leprechaun 319DS


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Re: Help/Advice wanted...
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2017, 07:07:18 AM »
I agree with the above posts, but complaining never hurts. I would ask to talk to a manager and let him know how you feel. At the very least he may offer you a coupon to use in their store as a good will gesture.  The wheel that doesn't squeak doesn't get greased. 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Help/Advice wanted...
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2017, 09:01:42 AM »
Agree with all of the above responses. However, the reduction in tow capacity is probably not as cut & dried as your internet reading may have implied. The 50% reduction is a decent rule of thumb, but not a hard & fast one. For any given set-up, the value might be more or less. Curt Industries, for example, gives their hitch extenders a max rating of 3500 lbs, regardless of what the receiver rating may be.  Also, longer extensions have a greater potential impact than shorter ones.  In most cases, though, it is left to the owner and the installation techs to assess the net effect of using an extension. As you have seen, the techs at RV dealers generally just slap them on and send you on your way.

RV dealers and accessory stores to tend to be high-priced, so you ought not to be surprised when you can buy parts & accessories online at lower prices. Or even at Walmart, Menards, etc. Next time you will know to shop around!  8)
Gary Brinck
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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Re: Help/Advice wanted...
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 09:09:08 AM »
Just ask to return it.


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Re: Help/Advice wanted...
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 09:15:32 AM »
Thanks a bunch for your super quick replies, guys!

It was a real eye opener in terms of how a dealership's sales wheel turns. Lesson definitely learned here! In future, I will not hesitate to question anything that a so-called RV expert until I am satisfied that I got enough info to make an informed decision.

Having said that, however, I am definitely going to take your advice, SargeW, and voice my concerns to the Sales Manager there. Let's see what feedback he gives me and what, if anything he is willing to do to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth!

Thanks again, guys! Your feedback and advice is greatly appreciated!!!

Rene T

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Re: Help/Advice wanted...
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 10:54:58 AM »
It was a real eye opener in terms of how a dealership's sales wheel turns. Lesson definitely learned here! In future, I will not hesitate to question anything that a so-called RV expert until I am satisfied that I got enough info to make an informed decision.

Also you've our experienced members here to fall back on.
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
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& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL