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Old 09-10-2013, 05:16 AM   #1
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Drop Receiver for "Toad"

I have just purchased an 8" drop receiver for towing my Honda Fit. I have an Itasca Navion Class C. It seems that a lot of folks with my MH tow with a 6" drop receiver and yet when I tried the 6" receiver there was a noticeable uphill pitch from the towed vehicle to the MH. So I tried an 8" drop receiver and the whole towing assembly was much more linear and level. It is my understanding that they should be as straight and level as possible, correct? Am I okay using an 8" drop receiver which, from all apparent observations is a lot more inline than the uphill slope that the 6" drop receiver had.
And I suppose I wonder why so many MH's similar to mine us a 6" and not the 8" when clearly the 8" is more level.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:38 AM   #2
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Yes the set-up should be as level as possible. One reason for the difference in drop receivers is that the hitch point on other vehicles may be higher than on the one that your towing. As an example my hitch point is 14-1/2" on the pt versus a 17" hitch point on a Jeep Liberty.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:42 AM   #3
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Steve's correct, that's why they make different drop hitches, for different RV and towed setups.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:43 AM   #4
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Level is optimal no doubt about it.

Here may be some other reasons:

Drop receivers apply more stress to your hitch, lower the drop greater the stress.

My Blue Ox allows 4 inches of rise to the receiver for the tow bar.

Lower the drop the more likely it will drag coming out of some service stations etc.
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horizonchase View Post
I have just purchased an 8" drop receiver for towing my Honda Fit. I have an Itasca Navion Class C. It seems that a lot of folks with my MH tow with a 6" drop receiver and yet when I tried the 6" receiver there was a noticeable uphill pitch from the towed vehicle to the MH. So I tried an 8" drop receiver and the whole towing assembly was much more linear and level. It is my understanding that they should be as straight and level as possible, correct? Am I okay using an 8" drop receiver which, from all apparent observations is a lot more inline than the uphill slope that the 6" drop receiver had.
And I suppose I wonder why so many MH's similar to mine us a 6" and not the 8" when clearly the 8" is more level.
You might want to consult your owners manual before using such a long drop hitch. You didn't mention what year your Navion is, but every operators manual I looked at on the Winnebago Industries site says the maximum drop should be 4". Towing is covered on page 12-4.

http://www.winnebagoind.com/resource...1/11Navion.pdf

We just went through a similar situation with our Adventurer. The maximum 4" drop hitch still left over a 4" difference between the motorhome and the Jeep. I had an extended conversation with a Winnebago rep explaining that they were all but putting themselves out of the towing arena because of the height difference remaining between the towed vehicle and the motorhome when using the recommended drop hitch.

Near the end of our conversation he conceded that while a 4" drop was recommended they have been doing some serious research on the subject. They now manufacture their own hitches and will probably change their recommendation to a maximum 6" drop later this year.

If there is less than a 4" difference between the motorhome and the towed vehicle when using a 6" drop receiver I would stick with that. The longer the drop the more leverage there is against the hitch, and the more likely you are to have problems bending and cracking hitch components. Winnebago also recommends using NON- Surge style brakes in towed vehicles/trailers weighing over 1,500 lbs. The surge style braking system places additional pressure on the hitch and related components.

As a side note we just finished a 10,000 mile trip towing our 04 Jeep Wrangler using a 6" drop receiver without any problems. The height difference between the coach and the Jeep was 3". We used a 10,000 lb rated 6" drop receiver and a Roadmaster Brakemaster braking system.

While the closer to level the better stay within the manufacturers recommendations. Your more likely to cause damage to both the motorhome and the towed vehicle by having an excessivly long drop hitch than a few inches difference between them.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:14 AM   #6
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Common sense would seem to indicate a drop hitch would create more stress and possibly reduce the load limits of a hitch system. I even read somewhere on this Forum a post that every inch was a % reduction of capacity. I am getting set-up to tow and have searched several company's sites looking for reference to drop hitches reducing capacity. Found zero references so far other than personal type cautions on this forum.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:27 AM   #7
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I am setting up my first toad and find myself perhaps one inch beyond the recommended 3" difference. Seems crazy to add in a drop hitch to the system for an inch. Need to hook up the the tow and really eyeball the situation.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by avid_dk View Post
I am setting up my first toad and find myself perhaps one inch beyond the recommended 3" difference. Seems crazy to add in a drop hitch to the system for an inch. Need to hook up the the tow and really eyeball the situation.
Having the hitch as close to level as possible , is particularly important, when the weight of the toad, is a high percentage of the coaches weight.
If the hitch is sloped upwards, the momentum of the toad will start to push up on the rear of the coach ( even before the toad braking system activates) as the rear of the coach lifts, more weight goes onto the coach's front axle; and more strain on the coach's front brakes.
JMHO; If your set up is 1" above the 3" max. recommended , get a 4" drop to set everything up level .
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by avid_dk View Post
I am setting up my first toad and find myself perhaps one inch beyond the recommended 3" difference. Seems crazy to add in a drop hitch to the system for an inch. Need to hook up the the tow and really eyeball the situation.

I did find in my search many comments on having a hitch height that allows for level tow being important. One item that was mentioned frequently was the tow vehicle "nose dive" under hard or emergency braking.

That really comes into play if you have long overhang from the rear wheels to the hitch. Gas motor homes inherently have a much longer overhang than Diesel pushers, the long overhang multiplies the hitch rise on gassers.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:40 AM   #10
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Skip,

Thanks and no doubt your are right. I know this Sprinter can tow as it pulled a delivery driver's Jeep Cherokee to Henderson, NV from LA when we purchased it. We have been thinking of upgrading to a Class A or Class C Sprinter. No time like the present to see how comfortable I am towing with a MB chassis motorhome before making another purchase. Headed to the county fairgrounds parking lot for first test next week. It's not like I am a newbie to towing as I have towed horses over mountain passes in both Montana and Oregon and loaded four wheel hay wagons while working on dairies in the mid-west.

This time I own the equipment.
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brockx View Post
Common sense would seem to indicate a drop hitch would create more stress and possibly reduce the load limits of a hitch system. I even read somewhere on this Forum a post that every inch was a % reduction of capacity. I am getting set-up to tow and have searched several company's sites looking for reference to drop hitches reducing capacity. Found zero references so far other than personal type cautions on this forum.
I, also remember the reduction reference , and seem to remember that it may actually have been, with the hitch installation instructions.
It would be interesting to have in print for a reference .
I notice , Reese , limits their drops ( 7" ) to 5,000lbs.
But can't find any kind of reduction chart. I'll keep looking.
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:35 PM   #12
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I have drop hitches from four to 13 inches here.

One thing to remember big time.. The drop hitch SERIOUSLY reduces the towing capacity of the hitch and puts tremendous stress on the cross rail brackets where they join the frame rail.


So inspect the entire hitch often, Drop, Receiver, the welds where the receiver joins the cross rail and the welds and brackets where the cross rail joins the main frame rail.

Thankfully.. When mine broke.. Other systems worked very well (US-Gear Unified brake decelerator,,,,, that's what stopped the towed from rear ending the motor home..again..)
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:40 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
I, also remember the reduction reference , and seem to remember that it may actually have been, with the hitch installation instructions.
It would be interesting to have in print for a reference .
I notice , Reese , limits their drops ( 7" ) to 5,000lbs.
But can't find any kind of reduction chart. I'll keep looking.
I just bought a Reese 8" drop they rated it @5000# also. While searching I found from 5K to 12K. Lot of different mouse traps out there, I won't be pulling more than 3200# so I went with the Reese (for brand, hoping it is USA) and the price was right.

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Old 09-27-2013, 02:31 PM   #14
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Horizonchase -- I too own a Navion - 2011 J and will be towing a Honda Fit. I am struggling with how to get the tow bar level with a difference between the height of the hitch and the base plate of about 6 inches. There is some discussion of this on the Yahoo forum and seems like other owners use 4 inch and 6 inch drops and supposedly obtain a near level tow bar. Not sure how that is possible and given the virtual impossibility of accessing that board I don't know how they do it. One solution seems to be the Demco tow bar which can be flipped over and has a built in drop angle so that you can "gain" a couple of inches and therefore hopefully be level with a four inch drop receiver.

I had a chat with a Winnebago tech and while the company line is no more than four inches he indicated that with a small toad like a Fit that a 6 inch drop should not be a problem.

What base plate are you considering. Based on look and functionality seems like Blue Ox is the best, with Demco a close second. Roadmaster seems to have a lot more parts to deal with, and interestingly, involve total replacement of the Fit metal bumper with the RM unit. Don't know what this does to the Fit's safety in a head-on crash situation??

And I am fussing over brake systems and might end up with something like the Roadmaster Invisibrake as I want a simple system to operate.
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