The question is, what sort of "improvement" are you looking for?
I'm not really dissatisfied with my current set-up. An associate just mentioned this hitch and said that he had heard them to be a good system. I had never heard of them before (new to this somewhat) so I thought I'd pick the brains of you folks.
I'm pulling a 38' 10K lb TT with a stock 2WD excursion, with a Reese hitch. This puts me at the upper end of this trucks capabilities. Hopefully this Arrow hitch will make a difference.
Any other suggestions as to shocks, springs, sway bars on the truck are welcomed.
In fact, think I'll re-post this as a new question too.
RV Roamer said:A former forum member (now deceased) got a Hensley Arrow hitch after having control problems towing a 36 foot travel trailer with a short wheelbase van. He said it worked wonders! For him, it was money well spent, since he had a lot invested in his custom van and did not want to change either van or trailer.
The question is, what sort of "improvement" are you looking for? If your present hitch is working fine, why change? There would have to be a darn good reason to spend $3000 or so.
Have you also considered the Pull Rite hitch? It is also an improved design versus the traditional style. I believe it is somewhat less expensive than the Hensley.
Carl, I don't have exact weights yet, but does this line of thinking make sense?
-- Dry weight (according to manu) is 9500
-- Say I added 1000 lbs of non-water stuff in the trailer
-- That puts us somewhere around 10,000 give or take a few hundred.
RV Roamer said:I'm curious why you have concluded you need a Hensley? Do you already have a weight distributing hitch? Any handling problems when using it?
Ditto for the performance chips - is there a performance problem? Or are you simply looking for the ultimate? Engineers often do...
Koni shocks would probably be an good investment. I'd try the shocks before I invested further in the air bags. Just about every enhancement you make diminishes the return on future enhancements, as you get closer to the ultimate goal. Asymptotic curve and all that.
Carl Lundquist said:Sounds like a swag to me. But then being an engineer you understand swag, no? ;D
Since you have the trailer you have a better number available to you. Look for the DOT plate on the drivers-side forward edge of the trailer. On that plate you will see the number for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). That is the maximum weight + loading recommended for your trailer. Use that for your trailer weight as a first order approximation. Add 10% to it to give you a safety factor. The resulting number should be less than your truck's tow rating of 11,000 lbs. If you tow in the mountain or Pacific west, make that 10% into 20% to allow for high altitudes and long steep grades. Remember that tow ratings evaluate engine, rear end ratio, transmission capacities, drive train and suspension strength, and brakes. Shaving them is not a really great idea.
Remember this is a first approximation to trailer weight. Even so it is a better approach to the issue than a swag. The most rigorous approach is to load up your trailer for travel, and then haul the bloody thing down to a public scale and get it weighed. Now you have a real number to compare to your tow rating, not a swag or an approximation.
Now if those numbers indicate that you are hauling an overweight trailer, you have a real problem that is solvable only by a bigger truck or a lighter trailer. Remember those brakes, there is little that shocks or airbags are going to do for them.
Carl Lundquist said:For the sake of further discussion, let's assume you have crept under the limits and talk about anti-sway rigs. With your weight of trailer, your tongue weight will be at least 1000-1100 lbs and could well be 1500 lbs. If it is less that 1000 lbs that will destabilize your trailer and could be at least part of your problem. When you weigh your trailer, determine that tongue (hitch) weight. If it is less than 10% of trailer weight, it is a problem. Correct that by adding weight forward of the wheels and removing it aft. Weight nearest the hitch will have the most effect -- your trailer is a 2nd class lever.
Now lets discuss your anti-sway rig. You say you have a Reese unit. That describes a range of products. The big questions to answer here are:
1. What is the rating of your spring bars? They come in 600, 800, 1200, and 1700 lb tensile strength ratings. You should have no less than 1200 lbs. Replace them if you do not. They are cheap enough.
2. Are you using friction sway controls or Dual Cam controls? (To see click HERE.) If you are using friction controls, you need two for your weight of trailer. If you have the Dual Cam rig, be sure you have 1200 or, better yet, 1700 lbs spring bars.
A note: Your receiver should be no less than a Class IV receiver with a capacity of 12,000 lbs trailer GVWR and 1200 lbs trailer tongue weight for a weight distributed load. If it is not upgrade to a Class IV or even V.
I use a Reese Dual Cam on my 5000 lb trailer with a Class IV receiver, trunion spring bars rated at 1200 lbs to handle my scaled 750 lb tongue weight. Unit is rock steady. As you can see, I like safety factors.
The Hensley unit has an excellent reputation. My rocket scientist buddy (Raytheon, Phd in electronics) has one for his liddle 25 footer and swears it is the best thing since sliced bread. Its ease of hitching I can testify to. If a cheap modification to your Reese unit does not suffice, you might well consider it.
Even so, maker sure that receiver is at least Class IV.