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Old 05-10-2010, 01:01 AM   #15
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Swaying towards the Reese Dual Cam HP (pun intended)

Okay, so after several more hours on the internet and your words of wisdom, I'm now leaning towards the Reese Dual Cam HP.

I'm picking up the trailer from a gentleman in Covington, IN on our drive out from Scottsdale to Grand Rapids. Covington is about 250 miles or so from the campsite in Grand Rapids.

So obviously I won't have the trailer and truck together until I get there. I'm not sure if there is a dealer any where close to where he lives. He has offered to help me install the hitch, he stated he has everything we need to get the job done.

I watched the install video, and it looks a little complex. I think I could handle the Equal-i-zer, but this looks a little more involved with the drilling and what not. Not that I don't think I could do it, but it looks like a lot of chances to mess up, and this is not an area I want to make mistakes on. I guess my question is, would you install this yourself or would you have it done? Would it be safe to tow the trailer a short distance to have the hitch installed if I could find a dealer repetitively close? What if there is no dealer close?
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:50 AM   #16
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It is not just an issue of sway control. I would probably not want to tow the trailer without some type of weight distribution installed either. If you are interested in having some shop set up the hitch, you might have the person you are buying from tow the trailer to the shop and meet him there with your truck.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:05 AM   #17
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It is not just an issue of sway control. I would probably not want to tow the trailer without some type of weight distribution installed either. If you are interested in having some shop set up the hitch, you might have the person you are buying from tow the trailer to the shop and meet him there with your truck.
Actually, that's what I was more concerned with, the weight distribution, even for a short tow on the way to the shop. Even totally empty the trailer is 7900#s. I will run that idea by him.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:22 AM   #18
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Do you have any opinion on the ProPride or Hensley as to the benefits of one over the other?
They are basically the same hitch...both designed by Jim Hensley (who, for reasons unknown by me, left Hensley Mfg. and started up the ProPride company).

We have never pulled a travel trailer, but we did seriously consider one in the past. There are only two hitches I would have personally considered: The Hensley Arrow (and, now, the ProPride) or the Pullrite.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:31 AM   #19
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They are basically the same hitch...both designed by Jim Hensley (who, for reasons unknown by me, left Hensley Mfg. and started up the ProPride company).

We have never pulled a travel trailer, but we did seriously consider one in the past. There are only two hitches I would have personally considered: The Hensley Arrow (and, now, the ProPride) or the Pullrite.
Thanks for the info. I looked at both that you mentioned and have decided on the Reese DC system for the time being. As this is our first foray into RVing and we want to make sure this something we are going to be doing for a long time before we invest too much money, the Reese system appears to have the best cost to benefit ratio for now.

If we decided we love it and are going to stick with it, I will consider a bigger truck and both of those systems you mentioned.

Thanks again for your time.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:15 PM   #20
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Finally Made a Choice

I ordered the Reese Straight Line System (WDH/Sway Control).

I'm picking up the trailer next Wednesday and installing the hitch at that time.

I'll then make the final 250 miles of the trek out from Phoenix up to Grand Rapids pulling the trailer.

Thanks to everyone for all their help. I will make sure and let you know how it goes, on all counts (hitch install, hitch performance, and the Tundra towing the big fat TT).

Ryan
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:56 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by iflyskyhigh View Post
I ordered the Reese Straight Line System (WDH/Sway Control).

I'm picking up the trailer next Wednesday and installing the hitch at that time.

I'll then make the final 250 miles of the trek out from Phoenix up to Grand Rapids pulling the trailer.

Thanks to everyone for all their help. I will make sure and let you know how it goes, on all counts (hitch install, hitch performance, and the Tundra towing the big fat TT).

Ryan

Looking forward to your evaluation.. I have a 5.7 crewmax and am hunting for a family travel trailer. The Tundra often gets an automatic label of a 1/2 ton and advice on its capabilities vary greatly. Leaning toward a Tekonsha P3 BC for it, no idea on which WDH. Do you have airbags on the truck, load range E tires, sway bar?
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:15 PM   #22
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The first salvo in the coming flame war....

The Tundra is not a 1/2 ton truck. There I said it.

I don't believe it is a true 3/4 ton truck, but it is definitely more than your typical 1/2 ton. As I said before, the only real weakness (and the term weakness is relative) of the Tundra is its stated payload. More on why I say this later.

I picked up my new TT on Tuesday morning and the whole experience was a hoot.

I arrived at the sellers house around 10 in the morning. I had had the hitch I ordered shipped straight to the sellers house to make sure it was there when I got there, and to save me from hauling the extra weight all the way across the country. We started installing the Reese Straight Line DC WDH/Sway control hitch after he gave me a quick tour of the trailer to make sure it was as describe. Well...Okay... the guy I was buying the trailer from started to install the hitch and I just helped hold stuff. This guy was a pro. It was obvious he possessed this skill set and knew exactly what he was doing. A few disclaimers. This guy was a machinist, a mechanic, and a carpenter. He was completely set up and ready to go when I got there. And he had had the hitch to look at over the weekend, so he had already read the instructions and formulated a plan of action. Not to mention he had every type of professional tool you could think of. He had the whole hitch installed and perfectly set up in about an hour and a half, it may have even been a little less than that. Would I have been able to install the hitch by myself? Yes, but it would have taken MUCH longer and I would have had to buy some new tools. If you plan on doing this yourself, figure out exactly what you need before you start or this could turn into a really expensive hitch by the time you factor in all the new tools you need to buy to install it. Not to mention the time involved running back and forth between the hardware store. Spend some time reading about the mechanics of the hitch and how it works. It will make it seem much more intuitive when you go to install it.

If anyone is interested, I ordered the hitch from rvwholesalers.com. The whole set up (1200/12,000 pound version) cost me $615 to my door. They weren't very helpful, but the price was right and the shipping was quick. If you get the Reese, make sure you order a shank and ball, as neither is included in the kit.

With the hitch installed the front of the truck stayed perfectly level and the rear squatted about a 1/2 inch. There was nothing in the trailer except for some water in the holding tanks, maybe about 60-65 gallons total in the various respective tanks (500 to 600 pounds). The tongue weight of the empty trailer is stated as 715. Logic would dictate that as the trailer weight is increased so does the tongue weight. Using the same ratio, at 8500 pounds, the tongue would be around 800 (realistically probably somewhere between 1000-1100, maybe a little less). The truck, however, was evenly loaded down with all my crap (probably 200-300 pounds) for my extended stay in the trailer. There is also a hard tonneau cover on the bed which I'm guessing weighs 100 to 150 pounds, and the Toyota rubber bed mat (it's a heavy SOB), and a spray in bed liner. What I'm trying to say is I have no idea exactly how much payload I had in the truck. I'm probably estimating on the high side for everything, but again who know for now.

I said I had no intention of violating any of the weights, but I'm guessing I was pretty close on payload if not over a little. I probably would have been better served to move all the crap from the truck into the trailer before I took off, but I didn't. I know I also said I was going to get weighed, but in the short trip up to MI from IN I just didn't get it done. I figured the truck and trailer would probably never be loaded this way again so it wasn't going to do me much good to know the weight in this configuration. What I really want to do is get the truck and trailer weighed when both are empty (except for full fuel in the truck) so I have a jumping off point. It's much easier to determine the exact weight of things you are putting into the truck and trailer so I surmise if I have a jumping off point it will make it much easier to know what I can and can not bring. I also have way more crap with me now than I'm ever likely to haul around for general camping because I'm going to be part timing it on a seasonal lot for the foreseeable near future as opposed to driving from site to site.

On the road, the Tundra, the hitch, and the TT performed perfectly. If I didn't say it already, I'm using the Prodigy brake controller set at 7.5 (it may need a little more as the trailer weight increases) and the boost setting at number 1. The Tundra pulled the trailer effortlessly. It was solid, smooth, and never once did it feel overwhelmed. The braking was superb as well. At one point some idiot talking on her cell phone cut me off as she tried to merge from an on ramp forcing me to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting her. Not even a hint of upset. The Tundra's brakes combined with the brake controller bled off the speed flawlessly, and more importantly, in a straight line. This can also be attributed to the Reese hitch. The Reese is one beefy setup. Yes it adds weight, and yes it's a little more than the Equal-i-zer, but man am I glad I ponied up and got it. After 250 short miles I will tell everyone who will listen to use this hitch. I know I have nothing to compare it too, but I can't imagine anything else would do any better, especially for the price. I drove on paved and unpaved roads yesterday. I drove on highways, city streets, and rural two lane highways and back roads. It was wet, dry, and even muddy at some points. It rained for a little while, and there were moderate wind gusts. I kept watching my mirrors, waiting for this white knuckle trailer sway phenomenon I kept hearing about for the past couple weeks, but it never came. The Tundra, hitch, and trailer just tracked straight as an arrow the whole way no matter what. I do not think I could have artificially created a better test run environment than I had yesterday.

As far as the Tundra goes...what an awesome truck. Great ride, great engine, great brakes. And all combined with the features and options that I want in a vehicle. I think the Tundra is a perfect compromise between the everyday drivability of a 1/2 ton and the function of a 3/4 ton. Like I said before, I'm not telling you the Tundra is a true 3/4 ton truck, but I am telling it is more than a 1/2 ton truck. I can't say enough how impressed I was with power and towing ability of the Tundra, and all in such a refined package. I am still going to make every effort to stay within the limitations of the truck, but I would not hesitate to tow right up to the stated limits of the truck. I would have no probably driving this truck and trailer combination all over the country on a regular basis, even in the mountains of AZ where I live. Without the trailer I was averaging 65.5 MPH in all conditions and on all roads, or what amounted to between 70-75 on the highway most of the time. Once the trailer was hooked up, my average dropped to about 62.5 for the entirety trip. I drove between 55 and 65 MPH on the highway depending upon road grade to try and save a little on fuel. Up to the point I picked up the trailer, I averaged about 17.5 MPG. Once the trailer was behind me, and with the truck in tow mode, my average MPG plummeted to 8.5. But I expected this so it wasn't really a surprise. All this info came from the on board travel computer built into the Tundra.

I will say that if I do plan on getting closer to the max weights, and do start to haul this thing around on a regular basis, I will most certainly invest in some type of suspension upgrade. I haven't really started to investigate that yet, but I'm intrigued by the airbags. I learned so much from people here I would love to hear what they have to say on this issue of suspension upgrades. I will also add the "E" rated tires next time I swap out, which should be another 7000 miles or so.

As for the Keystone, I feel like a kid at Christmas. I kept looking at it in the mirror thinking how cool it was that I was pulling around a little....okay a big piece of freedom. I can't wait to take this thing out west. When I got to the campsite, the nice people at Woodchip took the time to help me get set up since it was my first attempt and I was alone. It was pretty easy, and fun to boot. Having only spent a few hours in it I can't really comment on it yet, but so far so good. It appears to be a very nice well built trailer, and family friendly, but only time will tell. It's helps that it's basically brand new with all the latest features. I'm 6-04 and 270 pounds, but it doesn't feel tight at all. I took a shower last night, and while it was a different experience, I had plenty of room. I'm sure once the rest of the family and all their stuff shows up it will feel a little smaller. Remember I do spend a good deal of my life in a small sealed cockpit, so this make has some effect on my perspective. I am happy I went with the Cougar over the other brands I looked at. I will update on the good and bad as I spend more time in the trailer. I will say right off the bat that the queen mattress sucks. It was like sleeping on a bed of bare coils. I had to leave on a trip this morning, but when I get back on Friday I plan to out and find a more comfortable one to replace it with since I'm going to be spending so much time on it. The trick is to find one that is comfortable and doesn't way a ton. Costco here I come. One other thing that comes to mind is that storage, especially hanging space, is tight. And again, I'm big, which means big cloths. It will be a challenge to find space for everything once everyone gets here. I'm a neat freak, and a little OCD, so I hate clutter. In such a small space everything will have to be put away one way or another.

I have to go to bed now. I'm really tired and all my words are starting to blur together. I think I covered the nuts and bolts of it all. Anything I left out just let me know. I'm not claiming to be an expert because I towed a trailer 250 miles, I just wanted to relate what I have learned over the past few months and my towing experience, especially as it relates to other Tundra owners with similar questions.

Thanks again for all the help. I don't think I would have made it without it.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:23 AM   #23
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I pull a 29' 2010 Wildcat 5th wheel with my '08 Tundra Double cab. No problem. Dry weight is 8600. Loaded around 9300. I feel safe with this set up.
Before, I pulled a 26' Jayfeather TT with WDH. Weight was under 5000 loaded but I pulled with '02 Tundra 4.7L. No problem. I used a basic weikght distribution hitch with the chains. Don't recall the brand but they worked fine and had the anti sway bar on the side.
I checked on the Hensley Arrow setup before buying the 5th wheel but couldn't find it for my Tundra. Went 5th wheel instead. And I get about 9-10 MPG with the Wildcat towing behind the 5.7L.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:40 AM   #24
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Man, your excitement and excellent writing skills are bringing me back to the early days (just a few years ago) when I got my first one. I rememebr the worries, the fear of the unknown and fear of forgetting something. But what a great feeling. Enjoy it. I saw you mentioned suspension upgrades. I put the Airlift 5000 on my 08 Tundra DC with the Wireless Controller. Works GREAT! I can go from 5lbs of pressure unloaded to 55lbs with the touch of a button on the wireless remote in the console. Really controlls the sag, which was the only reason I got them. If you decide to upgrade suspension, shop around. Lots of dealers have same items with huge price differences. I got mine from JEGS.com. Best price with shipping and all.
Love my Tundra, more than the first one.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:50 AM   #25
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Man, your excitement and excellent writing skills are bringing me back to the early days (just a few years ago) when I got my first one. I rememebr the worries, the fear of the unknown and fear of forgetting something. But what a great feeling. Enjoy it. I saw you mentioned suspension upgrades. I put the Airlift 5000 on my 08 Tundra DC with the Wireless Controller. Works GREAT! I can go from 5lbs of pressure unloaded to 55lbs with the touch of a button on the wireless remote in the console. Really controlls the sag, which was the only reason I got them. If you decide to upgrade suspension, shop around. Lots of dealers have same items with huge price differences. I got mine from JEGS.com. Best price with shipping and all.
Love my Tundra, more than the first one.
Thanks for the nice words.

In reference to the airbags, do they actually "increase" the payload, or is it merely a leveling and ride quality issue? Or is leveling the rear load synonymous with increasing payload? Did you install them yourself or did you have them installed? Also, how is air added? You said it was with a wireless controller, but what is actually pumping the air into the bladders? Can I ask what a set up like that cost?

Thanks for the help.

Ryan
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:51 PM   #26
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Truly enjoyed your posting and others' comments. It's obvious you did your homework. Glad all worked out as you planned. I totally agree with your evaluation of the Tundra. I have a 2007 duel cab, 5.7L 2WD w/tow package.
Bought a Keystone Springdale 226RLSSL in 2008. First trailer owned (had 2 previous pop-ups). Bought in Indiana pulled to SW Florida home one week and headed for Yellowstone. Worked/lived there for 4 months and then traveled Utah, New Mexico, touched Arizona then Texas. Pulled the trailer for 2+ months. Put 17000 on a new truck... probably 6000+ on the trailer.
Had the Reese Duel Cam w/d sway set up. Never a problem, sway. Trucks would nudge a bit but using the mirrors I could anticipate when they passed.
Gas Milage w/o is 20-22 on hiway, 17-18 city pulling the trailer probably average 10. Best milage was coming home across La, Ala and Florida - I was able to get about 11-12 mpg. I seldom got above 60mph most often 50-55. Just my comfort zone pulling the trailer. Can't compare pulling ability of Ford and Chevy because I never pulled trailers with them however the Tundra is a far better truck IMO compared to the others (2fords, 1 chevy) I owned for everyday common use. Ride, handling, comfort and gas milage. I get compliments all the time and people are shocked when they ride in it, front seat or back. I too am vertically challenged 6'4" and 230.
Again, interesting read, glad all is well.
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:00 AM   #27
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Skyhigh.....
Great posts and congrats on your success. Finding a competent seller like you had was a stroke of good luck.
You can never 'increase the payload' on these trucks, it is set by the factory. But upgrades to the suspension will make your towing life easier. But if all is good as it is set up, why mess with success? AirLift/Firestone are good sources for the air bags, but you might consider Timbrens or SAS for easier/less expensive ways to decrease rear-end sag and rebound.
Again, thanks for the recount of your experience, I am sure it will help others.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:45 AM   #28
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Time to say goodby...for now.

My adventure came to a close as quickly as it begun.

My family and I lived in the trailer for the summer...and what a learning experience it was. We had a great time, but it was also very challenging. Two adults, two kids, and two dogs were just a little much for a 30' TT to handle on a full time basis. Additional, we liked that Keystone, but the build quality in these things (and I think that goes for any brand) is questionable. I just don't feel that these are up to the task of full time living (at least to my standards). You also learn quickly what you like and don't like in a camper. We didn't like the master bedroom. There is absolutely no room what so ever to move around the bed. They should have put another slide out in the master bedroom to make more room to move around the bed.

We decided that we enjoyed camping, but if we planned on doing it for long periods of time we definitely needed something bigger. We spent a month looking at diesel pusher Class A's and luxury 5th wheels. The problem with the 5th wheels was that I would have to buy another truck, obviously, and they were $60-$70K. The problem with a nice Class A was that it was $100,000+!

With the current the economy we just didn't feel comfortable taking on that kind of debt. Plus, the experience turned out to be much more expensive over all than I thought it would be. So, all in all this just wasn't the right time for the camping thing. But again, we had a blast while it lasted.

I sold the camper for what I paid for it, and the same for the Tundra. I pulled the camper back from MI with the Tundra, and again it performed flawlessly. I wish I could have justified keep the Tundra, but I just couldn't.

Thanks again to everyone for all their help.
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