Hitch install questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-14-2006, 11:47 AM   #1
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I am going to have a hitch installed on my minivan (3500 lb. tow capacity) for when I am ready to buy a small 13ft. fiberglass travel trailer. I have a few questions please.

1. Should I get a 2" hitch receiver class III or is a 1 1/4" class II ok?

2. Is 7 pin wiring standard for trailers if not what wiring scheme should I tell them to do?

3. How many inches off the ground should the ball be (the installation place says they will put it at 18" is this right?)

Any other suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance, Quint.
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Old 01-14-2006, 12:21 PM   #2
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A Class II hitch is rated for 3500 lbs., and so is your tug.

The Class III hitch is rated for 5000 lbs., but your tug is not, so the only advantage to going to a Class III is that there is a greater variety of tow bars and accessories available. There is a possible downside - a Class III hitch is generally larger and heavier, and may give you a bit less ground clearance.

In any case, your minivan's manufacturer should have a recommendation for hitch class and ball height. It's usually worth following it. I had the dealer install the recommended hitch when I bought my Mazda minivan - it is a Class II, and perfectly satisfactory.
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Old 01-14-2006, 12:35 PM   #3
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A Class II hitch is rated for 3500 lbs., and so is your tug.

The Class III hitch is rated for 5000 lbs.,
Our Ford Escape came with a factory Class II hitch and wiring and has been just fine for towing our 13' Burro. The biggest issue is that it seems like everything is designed around a 2" stinger instead of a 1 1/4. I had to look extensively to find a 1 1/4" stinger with a 6" drop (which gives me a very level tow with the Burro) and ended up ordering on-line. 2" products I can get at the local Pep-Boys or Wally World. On the plus side I like the fact that our hitch is factory designed and tested and is tucked completely out of the way when not being used.

Personally if I were going to have an after-market hitch installed, I'd go for the Class III just to make life easier when it comes to accessories. Just keep in mind that because your hitch is rated for 5,000lbs, your vehicle still is not.

- Michael
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Old 01-14-2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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I actually tow with a class I. It does fine and I am well within it's 2k lb tow/200 tongue rating.

What I did NOT think about when installing it was sway and weight distribution devices. I cannot get those for a I. I am thinking of swapping to a 2.

Now, if I can find such devices that are safe to use on an aluminium framed trailer...

Get the 7 pin wiring and adapt down if you need to. Better to have more than not enough. (See above!!)
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:00 PM   #5
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ps...

If you want it, and it's made.. these folks got it, and are a pleasure to deal with.

Etrailer
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:37 PM   #6
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What I did NOT think about when installing it was sway and weight distribution devices. I cannot get those for a I. I am thinking of swapping to a 2.
Why? Does your rig really have a sway/weight distribution problem? My take on those devices is that unless you actually have a problem, they're too much hassle (expense, adjusting, disconnecting for reversing, etc.). And besides, they're usually designed for longer, heavier tows, and Class III hitches and larger - do they even make anything for Class II?

If it ain't broke...
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:49 PM   #7
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Weight Distribution:

1. Preservation of my rear end (We all know how important THAT is to all of us!)
2. FWD car, some spots I could get into with my pop ups that I could lift with my left arm are now inaccessible to the Burro because there is just an ilk of traction loss in slightly sandy surfaces. A tad more oomph on my drive wheels would help. Maybe I should get more overweight friends to sit on my hood.

Sway Control:

1. Like brakes, ya don't need 'em til you really need em, but if they are not there, it will be broke!

2. I had minor sway issues on interstates involving large trucks doing 147 in the fast lane when I was in the slow doing 55. I can't control the trucks, but I can minimized the potential.

Safety first.. camping later.

All safety items combined are still cheaper than a new rig, rigs or medical bills. To each his own, but I see no problem with adding them.
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Old 01-14-2006, 03:41 PM   #8
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2. Is 7 pin wiring standard for trailers if not what wiring scheme should I tell them to do?

3. How many inches off the ground should the ball be (the installation place says they will put it at 18" is this right?)

Any other suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance, Quint.
Seven pin, if you are using trailer brakes. I'd go with seven pin at any rate, then if necessary purchase an adaptor to take it down to four pin.

Hitch height is determined by the trailer. 18" could be a start. You can purchase a drop for the receiver in various amounts.
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Old 01-14-2006, 04:49 PM   #9
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I would recommend the class III hitch and the 7-pin receiver. The class III may actually be less expensive than the class II and certainly offers many more options at more places. The 7-pin Bargman is pretty much a standard and, as mentioned previously, can be adapted (as I do for my boat towing) to a 4-pin for about $4 for the adapter. Hitch height depends on the trailer...it should be approx. level when hitched to the tow.
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Old 01-14-2006, 08:34 PM   #10
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I'm in the Class III option group, if you can get it for your minivan. I had a Class III installed on a Toyota pickup with a 3500 lb tow rating, not for the capacity, but for the easy availability of options for the 2" reciever hitches. I'd also vote for the 7 pole Bargman connector for the same reasons.

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Old 01-14-2006, 11:46 PM   #11
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Gina, a WDH by itsownself doesn't add sway control (but it helps prevent sway by properly distributing the weight). WDH like EqualIZer and Reese Dual Cam do have sway control built in.

Problem is, the two inch receiver and WDH are going to add a significant amount of dead weight right out there on the TV bumper (presuming you can find a WDH small enuf for the job).
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Old 01-15-2006, 07:40 AM   #12
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Sometimes I think we get carried away festooning our eggs with every gadget imaginable. Folks, the beauty of our FGRVs is their simplicity. A 13 foot egg should tow easily behind almost any vehicle. Reasonable loading, good tires and a properly functioning suspension on both tug and tow should make a WDH unnecessary, and as Pete points out, perhaps even detrimental.
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Old 01-15-2006, 08:12 AM   #13
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A 13 foot egg should tow easily behind almost any vehicle.
Could be Jack...but there are over 4,000 different combinations of tug and tow on this forum alone. I'm assuming no two trailers are [b]exactly alike in weight and tug combination. Add in the "where," as in "where" the member will likely tow the trailer...across windy plains or up/down a curvy high mountain roads. Based on that, what works for one member may NOT work for another.

Sway control is relatively inexpensive, easy to mount, easy to hookup/unhook and use. The downside, is you wouldn't know if sway makes a difference until you try it...and I don't think there's a rental available. In all the time I've been on the forums, I've only heard of one member who bought/mounted sway control and took it off, saying it didn't help. Everyone else mentioned it's made a (big) difference.

WDH is a different animal. I don't need WDH when tugging with my Ford F-150. However, my new (old) tug will benefit from WDH and I intend to make the purchase prior to first hooking up.
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Old 01-15-2006, 09:37 AM   #14
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Problem is, the two inch receiver and WDH are going to add a significant amount of dead weight right out there on the TV bumper ([b]presuming you can find a WDH small enuf for the job).
With Honda being front-wheel drive, I believe Gina would get some benefit from WDH.

When I bought my Fiber Stream, it came equipped with the trailer components of WDH, but was missing the WDH ball mount. I bought the only model ball mount in Camping World's catalog, but it is rated for [b]1,200 pounds hitch weight! It's massive! But Southern California has a huge market for big "Toy Box" trailers.

However, when I visited [b]Roger H last July, he commented that I have the lightest capacity WDH spring arms he has ever seen.
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