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Old 01-01-2015, 03:11 AM   #1
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The "surge"

A friend of mine is offering me his 2001 Alpinelite 29RK, packaged with a 2005 F250 diesel (75k miles) for roughly 28k. The hitch is a slider.

Here is my question. The primary reason he is selling and buying a motorhome is that his wife cannot tolerate what she calls, "the surge." My friend says he cannot feel it when he is driving. Does anybody know what this means and more importantly, what the solution is?
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:58 AM   #2
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Its likely the yanking around of the truck by the tow. As undetectable as it can be, once you focus on it its hard to miss.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Schoenberg View Post
A friend of mine is offering me his 2001 Alpinelite 29RK, packaged with a 2005 F250 diesel (75k miles) for roughly 28k. The hitch is a slider.

Here is my question. The primary reason he is selling and buying a motorhome is that his wife cannot tolerate what she calls, "the surge." My friend says he cannot feel it when he is driving. Does anybody know what this means and more importantly, what the solution is?
I think she is referring to the chucking/bucking of the 5th wheel in the hitch pin when you are towing. This occurs when you are traveling on uneven surfaces and the truck and camper are out of phase with each other.
We had it so bad once that my wife and I both had headaches from the uneven road surface when we towed through West Virginia going down to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
What I did and this has help about 90 percent of the time; was installed a Travel Air Hitch Pin box on my 5er. This has a shock absorber and air bag to help even out the chucking and bucking that occurs as you tow over uneven surface such as bridge expansion joints or poor road surfaces. As the trailer pitches and moves in the up and down plane the tow vehicle will feel the effect less with this style of Pin Box. I could not install an air bag hitch since I needed the slider feature of my current hitch because I have a short box truck.
Jim W.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:57 PM   #4
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I think she is referring to the chucking/bucking of the 5th wheel in the hitch pin when you are towing. This occurs when you are traveling on uneven surfaces and the truck and camper are out of phase with each other.
We had it so bad once that my wife and I both had headaches from the uneven road surface when we towed through West Virginia going down to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
What I did and this has help about 90 percent of the time; was installed a Travel Air Hitch Pin box on my 5er. This has a shock absorber and air bag to help even out the chucking and bucking that occurs as you tow over uneven surface such as bridge expansion joints or poor road surfaces. As the trailer pitches and moves in the up and down plane the tow vehicle will feel the effect less with this style of Pin Box. I could not install an air bag hitch since I needed the slider feature of my current hitch because I have a short box truck.
Jim W.

I think you nailed it Jim. He has a short box with a slider. I think his pin is the gooseneck type. Will this travel air hitch pin box work with that?
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:21 AM   #5
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I think you nailed it Jim. He has a short box with a slider. I think his pin is the gooseneck type. Will this travel air hitch pin box work with that?
If the truck you are buying has a slider hitch in the truck I doubt that the pin box is a Goose Neck style. Usually the Goose Neck style hitch has a ball mounted in the center of the pick-up truck bed with two U-bolts mounted to the capture plate under the bed; this is for the safety chains that are hooked to the U-bolts. Most 5th wheels trailers have a pin box with a kin-pin hanging down and the hitch jaws clamp around the recess on the king-pin.

Now most pin boxes are fasten to the trailer frame with bolts and nuts usually grade SAE 5 or higher. This pin box can be replaced and a new aftermarket pin box can be installed. I choose the Trail Air pin style pin box now called AIR Ride; but there are others such as Mor/ryde pin box or a Demco Glide style.

Here is a link to the Trailer Life review of aftermarket pin boxes.
Pin Box Comparison

Do a search on the internet and find the pin box that works for you.

Jim W.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:21 PM   #6
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My coupler got slop in it at 70,000 miles. Made a clunk sound at start and stop. Built up the jaw only 1/8 inch with weld.( this is done all the time in HD truck fifth wheel plates) Problem solved. There is an Alpenlite travel club on Facebook. Is the ford a 6.0?
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:43 PM   #7
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If its an 2005 HD F250 its a 6 litre. Do some reading on the problems with that engine. We had an 06 6 litre and had about 10k worth of warranty work done to it. Two failed turbos, 1 intercooler, 1 high pressure oil pump and front bearings. Some folks had no problems with the engine but many have had issues. We have a 2011 6.7 which pulls like a beast. My 2006 couldn't pull like the new truck. Hope the info helps...Good luck.
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:51 PM   #8
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And you will still feel it in a motorhome although it's different as there is no "give" in the chassis like there is between a TV and trailer so you don't get the same push/pull feeling. It's more like the movement you get from a car only further apart due to the longer wheelbase.
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:23 AM   #9
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I have a 6.0 programer to 410 HP for the past 7 years pulling a 15k Heartland 5th wheel. It's our last one for a long time. I have 150 k miles on the truck and it's all mine, I have owned diesels since 92 and I just don't feel the need for any of the newer diesels. They are a time bomb waiting for repair cost. My son can afford a new truck because he gets paid for the use. I recommended to him to trade half way in the warranty so he can get a decent trade. I can get his Ram 3500 cheap but will not. I can't even afford to buy a used high mileage 2007 6.0 because they still sell for almost the same price I paid for my 2005 over 7 years ago.
I stayed away from the dealer for 3 years of warranty coverage as I did with my previous GM diesels and all diesels have served me well. Much cheaper to operate then any gas truck.
That's my story and the future to me is to stick with what I believe is right.

Also in all my years of towing heavy load trailers with my 3/4 ton trucks I have not experienced any chucking or rough ride, even on our northern roads. I do have a 2 way 5th wheel hitch that is over 20 years old. I rebuild the slop once. To me it's solid to the truck and trailer smooths the drive with the solid pinbox. I was at the Tampa show and checked all the available 5th wheel hitches and they all have sloppy pin fits some have up to 3 pins while mine don't have any. This sloppy hitch setup has been discussed for the 20 years since the invention of the 4 way hitch. Transports have 2 way hitch and they have drivers that tow for years.
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:24 AM   #10
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And you will still feel it in a motorhome although it's different as there is no "give" in the chassis like there is between a TV and trailer so you don't get the same push/pull feeling. It's more like the movement you get from a car only further apart due to the longer wheelbase.
I don't know which "motorhomes" you're referring to, but our previous Class A diesel pusher exhibited NONE of this phenomenon - ever. The ride was night and day different from our current F350 diesel/38' fiver rig. It was always smooth and comfortable.

The initial ride home with the fiver was so shockingly rough, I was wondering if I'd ever be able to tolerate pulling the trailer. I put an air bag equipped hitch in the truck and it's much improved, but the ride is still rough and unpleasant at times.
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:40 AM   #11
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A friend of mine is offering me his 2001 Alpinelite 29RK, packaged with a 2005 F250 diesel (75k miles) for roughly 28k. The hitch is a slider.
There have been many responses to your "surge" question. But I'm thinking about a different potential issue. If TV is at all important, you might give a little thought to the vintage of the electronics in the Alpenlite.

I believe widescreen TVs came on the scene several years after that trailer was built, and it may still have the old 4:3 aspect ratio TV(s) in it. HD TV today is at 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, and the old square screens don't display it properly. Some standard definition broadcasts are still around, but who knows for how long? If those TV(s) are in there, it would be an issue, for me, at least, since watching any HD TV would be problematic.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:23 AM   #12
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There have been many responses to your "surge" question. But I'm thinking about a different potential issue.

HD TV today is at 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, and the old square screens don't display it properly. Some standard definition broadcasts are still around, but who knows for how long? If those TV(s) are in there, it would be an issue, for me, at least, since watching any HD TV would be problematic.
If you do have an analog television, you can either replace it with a new digital TV or get a convertor box for the old one and you will be good to go. There are no longer analog TV signals...

Back on topic to the 'surge' - when I got my first fiver and went on my first trip, it chucked badly! Stiff neck after a 2 hour ride. I then bought a new slider (Demco Hitchhiker Autoslide 18k) and replaced the Reese manual slider. I wasn't expecting it, but no more chucking with the new hitch! Makes for a WAY more comfy ride.

To the OP, as you no doubt can see, the chucking can be readily overcome and needn't be a deal breaker.

Tim
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:19 PM   #13
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Great advice. I will definitely be replacing the pin and perhaps the hitch if necessary. The comments about the 6.0 on warranted. However, the owner is taken steps to prevent the problems. Also, my son-in-law's is a Ford mechanic. He believes the owner's steps were the right ones. Also, he states that the bigger problems were in the 2003 and 2004 models. It's a crapshoot but women, boats, RV's, and cars always are.

The Alpine light has updated flat screen TVs.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:40 PM   #14
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Did the previous owner install the (Bulletproof Diesel) aftermarket options. Oil cooler ect? That solves all the 6.0 problems except stiction of the injectors. Run rough and stumble when cold. There is a product called Archoil 9100 that clears this up immediately. There is a dealer in Seattle that has a 6.0 and can fill in all the details. Sorry for hi jacking the chucking post.
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