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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Towing setup for trailer GVWR 5500lbs


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15 replies to this topic

#1 DesertTed

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 11:20 PM

Hello all,
I'm thinking about getting a travel trailer. A Lance 1685, which weighs 3800# dry and 5500# GVWR. Should I get a weight distribution hitch? Any particular recommendations in who should install it? A lot of the questions on towing here are about trailers that are heavier.

Amy recommendations on what equipment I should buy? I have the 3500.
Thank you,
Ted

#2 andy_george

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 08:02 AM

I'm always a little minimalist when it come to towing setups. I'd say at those weights, don't overthink it. 1) buy the correct drop draw bar. 2). Hook up. 3) enjoy camping!
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#3 DesertTed

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 06:00 PM

That sounds great. But, I forgot to mention that I'm going to be in mountains in the West. Just two weeks ago, I was going down an 8% grade. Will a simple set-up like above be adequate? Thank you,
Ted

#4 ASD Dad

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 10:48 AM

They normally recommend a WD hitch over 500# in tongue weight depending on the receiver and vehicle.  You would be right at or just over that number so it is really up to you.  I also agree to keep things simple.  If you dont load it up heavy you should be just fine with just the right shank and ball mounted.  That is also a minimal investment so if you find you dont like the way things feel or the trailer is handling you can upgrade to a full WD setup.  It is pretty short too so you wont need to worry much about sway if you load it up right (dont put all the weight behind the axle).  

 

Grade and mountain driving wont really matter unless you get crazy crosswinds.  A WD hitch wont make any difference on flat or steep grades.  Antisway could make a difference if you get high crosswinds but that is a short trailer.  


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2015 NVP SL - Silver, 20% tint, Bully Dog GT, AEM filter w/ snorkel mod, Topper Rack, Luverne Grip Step running boards, Hankook AT-M tires. DRL delete, LED's
2015 XLR Hyperlite 27HFS Toy Hauler
Blue Ox Sway Pro with Tekonsha P3 controller
Me, wife, 3 kids and 2 big dogs!


#5 DesertTed

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 05:35 PM

Thanks guys. I will adhere to the KISS principle. Given that I can choose whether or not I want to drive high winds (it's nice to be retired) and that I rarely drive more than 60mph on the Interstate. I'll just see how things go.

Now, if my house under contract will close, I'll be ready to pull the trigger on my purchase of the trailer.
Ted
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#6 DesertTed

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:43 PM

I figured I would give the board a status update on what I've done.

I did buy that Lance 1685 and have been full-timing four months. I'm at about 9000# for the van and assume that I'm close to the trailer gross weight of 5500#. I'd rather overestimate as I haven't weighed the trailer yet. Probably less because I dump the tanks before traveling. I have the Tenoshka P3. The trailer dealer installed an Eaz lift wdh with sway control. I went with that because that's what the dealer customarily installed and I didn't want them to experiment with something different at my risk and expense.

The verdict? She (the trailer is female) tows like a rock. Driving with the trailer attached seems to be more stable with winds than when I dont tow anything, if that's possible. The brake controller works. The only thing bad is that it is a son of a gun to hook it up. I'm old and have a pretty broken down body. I dont know what its called, but that thing that slides into the receiver weighs a ton. If I didn't have a HitchGrip Hitch Coupling tool that I found on Amazon, I would not be able to do it. I carry the hitch thingy a foot at a time, drop it on the ground (gently), take a rest and usually reach the van by the seventh or eighth time. Hooking up the bars is a bastard, and by comparison, the swaybar is easy. Unhooking the whole shmear is about as unpleasant. As an old woman doing this alone, I wish it were easier. It takes a couple of days and lots of Tylenol to recover. But towing? Very stable.

I'm getting better at the entire process. I don't know what WDH would be better for me, but I suspect that they all are pretty heavy. I'm not going to investigate changing systems unless I become physically unable to hook up/unhook the assembly that I currently have. I wish I could drag along someone on retainer to do the job. Hub is out traveling in his own NV, so he's not here.

But, having gotten rid of the burden of the house is lovely. I've been camping in the New Mexico State park system for over a month and enjoying the heck out of it. The annual camping pass ($225) that allows unlimited free sites is wonderful.

Thought you guys would be interested in my very honest assessment.
Ted

Edited by DesertTed, 13 April 2018 - 01:48 PM.

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#7 DesertTed

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:01 PM

I went ahead with the WDH because of the windy weather out West. Today it's only blowing at 30mph, though the trailer is rocking pretty vigorously right now. Yesterday the weather apps said gusting to 65mph. I can't always control my travel days, so I figured that it wouldn't hurt to have a bit more stability. I find that if I can get out while it's early, the winds are less.Attached File  20171221_130214_Burst01-1040x585.jpg   85.5KB   0 downloads

Edited by DesertTed, 13 April 2018 - 02:11 PM.


#8 ASD Dad

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 08:15 AM

You want light weight?  Get this - https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/B006X21BH0

 

Dont have to get it there, shop around but it was an easy link.  That is super light and it works really well on light trailers like yours.  I had one a long time ago when they first came out but I didnt like it with a heavy trailer and my Tundra.  I couldnt get it to transfer enough weight forward.  It would be a non-issue with your NV and Lance.

 

Reasons to get - it is very light overall, it is easy to hook up, it is very clean (no grease), there is no noise, and it takes up a very small foot print when unhooked - no big bars and the ball out back could even stay in since it is smaller.  

 

Reason not to get - it's an extra $500 to spend when your current setup works.

 

There are videos of it which I recommend watching but the basics are the bottom of the hitch at the NV just slides on and off and is held by a pin.  Those long chains and bushings control the amount of pressure put on the hitch to adjust your weight distribution.  Those bushings are really hard rubber and dampen bumps and smooth the ride.  You crank down on the large nut behind the bushing to transfer weight.

 

Easy way to do it is get a large ratchet and socket that fits that nut (vs wrench).  You count how many threads are exposed and that way you crank down the same amount every time you hook up.  You'll have cranking to do but it should be easier than wrestling a normal WDH.  If your tongue jack on the Lance is electric you can also raise the tongue up high enough to release pressure, drop the collar on the ball and be done...  


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#9 DesertTed

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 02:48 PM

Wow, that looks really nice. The price, not. But I will give my current setup a little more time (gotta save up for it in any case). I dread hooking up the trailer, but if it doesn't get easier, I'll just have to bite the bullet and get the Anderson. My biggest problem is that the wind is so constant here in NM, that I can't get out early enough to beat it if I'm having trouble. Especially when I have to dump first. 20mph is a light wind this time of year here. 30+ sustained tomorrow. And I dont always have the luxury of waiting until the wind moderates if I've hit my 14 days at a park.

I dont see how that the eazlift monstrosity will get any easier to carry over to the receiver. The bars are very difficult for me to put on and take off. The dealer said "No problem, it's not that heavy and easy to hook up". Easy for a young male to say that. Can you tell that I'm peeved and frustrated? I don't like to have an audience watching how difficult it is for me alone. And, backing up the van requires 50 ins and outs from the cab to get the ball right, under the trailer because the monster hitch blocks the camera. And if I dont feel secure leaving the engine on and the keys in the ignition, I have to restart the engine however many times. I also have to invest in that second camera up above. That should help with that aspect.

I see why some women alone don't do trailers and do class A's B's or C's instead. I love the trailer, except the hooking it up and off. I don't have any problem driving it. Thank you,
Ted

#10 ASD Dad

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 03:24 PM

From the pic of your camper I can see that it has an electric tongue jack.  Did they tell you to raise it up AFTER locking it to the ball to put on the bars (or chains/ring on the Anderson)??  

 

I am guessing you are not doing it or not doing it enough.  It should be possible to raise up the back of the van and ball high enough on the jack to make hooking up the bars a non-issue.  You can put them up with finger pressure let alone wrestling them.  If it is not going high enough put a block under the jack to get it to go higher.

 

What you should be doing:

 

Raise camper high enough for ball to clear

Back up under the ball.

Lower coupler onto ball just enough to latch and then latch it down so it is locked on like you are towing.

Raise camper back up with tongue jack (back of NV will rise too)

Connect WD bars

Lower completely and retract tongue jack up

 

Since you have an electric jack it is minimal effort.  I have manual jacks and I get lazy but still raise it up once locked to make it easier.  On my Blue Ox it is easier since it is a rotating latch and I use a 3 foot breaker bar.  

 

You'll get a feel for how high to raise it once locked on to get it easy enough to get the bars on.  If you go high enough you can literally put them on with zero chain tension but that could stress the tongue jack and is not necessary.  

 

Try it if you are not doing it, you'll be surprised and may be a lot more enjoyable.  It does not help with the sheer weight of things which is where the Anderson helps.  It is the lightest WD hitch made.  


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Blue Ox Sway Pro with Tekonsha P3 controller
Me, wife, 3 kids and 2 big dogs!


#11 TinyStudio

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 04:08 PM

Here is Beastie all hooked up Sunday. Tekonsha P2 controller and the husky sway control system. Not too bad.

Attached Files


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#12 andy_george

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 04:59 PM

Looks nice!

Happy camping!

#13 ASD Dad

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:51 AM

Looks great.  Enjoy!  I have those same running boards.  Just beware they lower ground clearance quite a bit.  I was worried when I installed them and I did bottom out hard last week going down a rutted access road.  Bent both brackets on the driver's side but I pounded them back straight.  


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Blue Ox Sway Pro with Tekonsha P3 controller
Me, wife, 3 kids and 2 big dogs!


#14 DesertTed

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 09:12 AM

So, last week, I did my next towing trip, down the Rio Grande (I love NM!). As per your instructions and those of the campground host up in Elephant Butte, I was able to get the bars in with less than a dozen tries. I got down here and wasn't able to get one bar off at all. The campground host here eventually was able to dislodge it enough with a flathead screwdriver and showed me how to do it. Took him about 30 minutes fiddling with it. He wanted to take the entire assembly off with the bar attached, but I explained that I could barely pick it up with no bars on it and I would never be able to hook it back up without a team. He persevered. Ya gotta love these campground hosts when you're a woman on your own. He wouldn't even take a proffered beer.

I wish I could just leave that head unit (the 40 lb. monstrosity that you slide into the receiver) on the van, but it completely occludes the vision of the rear camera and beeps nonstop while in reverse. Without back windows, I can't back up without a working camera or sensor. Even with a lock, I'd be afraid to leave it on, it's heavy enough to be sold for scrap. With the Anderson hitch, can you leave the thing on?

I tow again next week. I dread each move and don't sleep well the night before, wondering what problem I'll have with towing the next day. I need to save up for another stinking hitch assembly, with no guarantee that it will be easier for me. Until I actually use it, I will not know if my $500 (of course I will have to pay someone to install it) will make towing easier. I understand why many women forgo travel trailers and stick with Class A's, B's and C's or truck campers. Hitch manufacturers assume that every user is a strong male, it seems. You would think that there would be a hitch specifically manufactured and marketed to a physically weaker demographic, instead of haVying to hopefully depend on word of mouth and theorheticals.
Ted
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#15 TinyStudio

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 10:25 AM

Strange but it happened to me on the driver side also. Not on an adventure but at the carwash. the guides that direct your tires to go down the track rubbed the brackets on the driver's side step. I got them straight again and now I know what to watch out for.

Looks great. Enjoy! I have those same running boards. Just beware they lower ground clearance quite a bit. I was worried when I installed them and I did bottom out hard last week going down a rutted access road. Bent both brackets on the driver's side but I pounded them back straight.


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#16 Simon & B

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 08:36 PM

Get an Andersen. DW, B, who is not at all strong can easily heft it into the hitch. It's about 30-40 pounds in weight. It works well with our NV/Lance combo.


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