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Old 02-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #1
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Recommend hitch and sway bar for me, please

Just sold my Class C and in the process of purchasing a truck and travel trailer set up. Have purchased a used 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab with 5.9L HO Turbo Diesel (142,000 miles on it) and looking for a used travel trailer somewhere between 22'-28'. This will be my first time towing a trailer and I will plan many hours in our church parking lot learning how to backup. My question is what type/brand of hitch with sway bars would anyone recommend with positive experience.

Thanks,

Patsy
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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I haven't had a travel trailer in many years, but when I did you could not beat the Reese Dual Cam. It was easy to setup/connect, and once adjusted you never had to touch it, even when backing up. It served me well through two travel trailers and many miles of traveling.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YodaRules View Post
My question is what type/brand of hitch with sway bars would anyone recommend with positive experience.
Hi, Patsy -

Some folks call the receiver a hitch, but it's not. It's a receiver. The shank of your weight-distributing (WD) hitch fits into the receiver, and the ball mount bolts onto the shank. Your Ram probably already has the receiver installed, and it is probably robust enough to handle the hitch weight of your target size travel trailer (TT). But maybe not, so that's the first thing to check.

Receivers are rated for both max trailer weight and max hitch weight. When matching truck to trailer and specifying the hitch, ignore the max trailer weight and go by the max hitch weight with a WD hitch.

Crawl under the back of the truck and look on the frame of the receiver for a sticker or embossed or stamped area that has the weight limits of the receiver. It will probably say something like
5,000/500 WC, 10,000/1,000 WD.
In the above string, the 1,000 is the one you care about. That's the max hitch weight (a.k.a tongue weight) you can have with a WD hitch. And with a normal tandem axle TT, that's the number that will be your limiter. You will bump into the hitch weight limit before you have the trailer loaded to anywhere near 10,000 pounds gross trailer weight.

There are cheap weight-distributing hitches, medium-priced weight-distributing hitches, and expensive "no sway" weight distributing hitches. I would skip the cheap WD hitches and go for at least the Reese Strait-Line WD hitch with dual cam sway control. I've towed my TT thousands of miles with one of those, with nary a bobble.

Here's the one I'd recommend for any TT with a GVWR between 6500 and 8,000 pounds.
Strait-Line Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion Bar - 12,000 lbs GTW, 1,200 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66084

Note that there are various levels of hitch weight that hitch can handle - 800, 1,000, 1,200, 1,500. When you order yours, you want one with more than enough weight capacity to handle 15% of the GVWR of your TT. So if your TT has a GVWR of 8,000 pounds, then you want the trunnion bars on that hitch rated for a minimum of 1,200 pounds hitch weight (tongue weight or TW without the WD trunnion bars hooked up).

Red flag! If your receiver is rated for 1,000 pounds max hitch weight, but your TT has a GVWR over 8,500 pounds, then you probably need to replace the receiver with one that has more WD hitch weight capacity. At least use a tongue weight scale to be certain you don't overload your receiver when wet and loaded for the road.
etrailer.com - Products sherline tongue scale

Also note that the above hitch kit (Reese part number 66084) includes the adjustable shank, but not the ball for the ball mount. Some (but not all) Reese Dual-Cam WD hitch kits include the shank, but probably none will include the ball. You need both. What size ball? One that fits both the ball mount and the coupler on your TT. Probably 2 5/8" ball on a 1" thick bolt.

Reese/Drawtite makes cheap WD hitches, and decent WD hitches, as well as the better Strait-Line hitches. So just because it's a Reese hitch doesn't mean it's one of the better hitches. Read the specs carefully and insist on a Strait-Line hitch.

But I'm saving my sheckles so I can replace my Strait-Line with a no-sway ProPride hitch, which costs over $2,000. My Reese Strait-Line will do the job under almost all conditions, but under rare conditions it could allow an uncontrollable sway. If you've ever been in an uncontrollable sway, you'll pay a lot of money to be certain that never happens again.
Trailer Sway Control Hitch Guaranteed to Eliminate Trailer Sway - ProPride 3P
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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When we towed a travel trailer, the Reese Dual Cam Straight line was the best fro the money. You can spend a lot more and get Propride or more for a Hensley.

Never had an issue with the Dual Cam.

Ken
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