Axle Lift Kit & Coupler Height - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-21-2016, 07:52 AM   #1
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Axle Lift Kit & Coupler Height

I would like to add a lift kit to improve the ground clearance of our Casita. It currently drags a bit at the top and bottom of our fairly steep driveway. I would also like more clearance overall.

The axle is a bolt-on #10 Dexter. I have looked at the K71-707-01 lift kit from Dexter and also the kits from Orbital Machine Works. Both look like they would do the job.

My question is this - how are folks raising the coupler height to keep the trailer level?

I expect the simple approach is to get a drawbar which raises the ball height, but my tow vehicle has a very narrow envelope for permissible ball height and position. So it appears I really need to raise the coupler. Personally, I wouldn't mind eliminating the "elevated" coupler arrangement. But then, I haven't gotten a quote for the cost yet.

I'd appreciate hearing other's experiences here.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:45 AM   #2
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Don't know... that's the first time I've heard of such a restriction. It seems to me that having a large rise or drop might put some different stresses on the receiver and frame to which it is attached, and you're likely close to the printed limit for tongue weight. Can't tell if that limit applies only to the hitch or also to the vehicle.

What vehicle is this? Is it a factory hitch? I noticed that the receiver is German. European towing set-ups are a lot more tightly regulated than in NA, so the restriction may be related to that.

Personally I doubt the sky will fall if you are a little outside the window, but I'm curious what others think. At the least, I'd want to make sure all the slop is removed from the drawbar connection.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
What vehicle is this?
Jon,

Somehow I just knew that this post was going to unveil my dirty little secret, and you had to drill right in there in the first reply. Nice goin'!

Yes, it's an OEM hitch and the labeled weight ratings match the vehicle. I bought a 2010 Audi Q5 last summer with under 30K miles. Being six years old, it was offered at an attractive price. However, I tend to be more than a bit self-conscious about the Audi logo. Enough said about that.

I haven't fully evaluated whether a higher ball might cause any rear-hatch interference etc. I've also only glanced at the tongue jack and whether I might create any issues to address there.

Also, the trailer came with an Eaz Lift WDH with 1,000 pound bars which are much-much too heavy for this combination. To date I have towed without it and am inclined to have the associated fittings that are welded onto the frame behind the coupler removed. I am also considering a different, much lighter WDH, primarily for the anti-sway component.

Should I even mention the prospects of rearranging things and getting a little space for some light storage up there on the front of the trailer's frame?

Suffice to say that I think a see a visit to the welding shop in my future.

I am not sure if it's good to post all these details or if I risk hijacking my own thread here. Having read "spirited" WDH threads up to 30-pages long on various trailer forums I genuinely fear initiating any discussion regarding WDHs.

However, I wanted to see what the more experienced have experienced in regard to adding the lift as I sometimes demonstrate an alarming capacity to make simple things difficult and difficult ones nigh-impossible.
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Old 04-21-2016, 10:53 AM   #4
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No criticisms from me about the nameplate… criticizing a man's ride is akin to criticizing his wife, and I know better than to go there!

Hear you about the WDH debate. In your situation, my thinking would go much along the lines you have said, but I have zero experience or knowledge beyond the many competing opinions expressed on this forum. I tow a Scamp 13 with a Honda Pilot, so it's a non-issue for me.

As to the original question, since it is a factory set-up, have you asked anyone at Audi about the ball placement envelope?
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
As to the original question, since it is a factory set-up, have you asked anyone at Audi about the ball placement envelope?
I have not yet identified a contact who has both Audi and towing knowledge. I was treated very well at the Audi dealership when they had failed to understand how difficult the hitch install actually was. Not to speak ill of them but the service writer, the parts person and the installation technician all demonstrated a lack of knowledge and experience concerning hitches and towing in general. Mine was apparently the first hitch install for all of them.

I went with the factory hitch install at the dealership because I read several threads concerning folks who had their local hitch installer admit defeat in regard to the car's wiring and electronics. The prospects included the car continuously alarming me that "there's something REALLY close behind you Mike!", to issues concerning the 7-pin wiring. So, I figured that was the kind of experience I did not need to acquire for myself. The dealer's OEM hitch install included factory wiring and programming the onboard computer.

On the other hand, I was able to add the brake controller myself using the factory wiring harness and connector under the dash. So, that was one nice provision.

Getting back to our regularly-scheduled subject, I think that since I am motivated to go to a welding shop in any event, I am not motivated to stretch the envelope on the drawbar configuration very much.

On the other hand, as Zig Ziglar used to say, 'I never change my mind but I do make new decisions based on new information'.
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:46 AM   #6
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Many have had that experience at dealerships. I think it has to do with the fact that many of the vehicles commonly used to tow small fiberglass trailers are not marketed primarily for towing.

What others have done is to talk to technical advisors (not sure if that is the correct title) with the US parent company, Audi of America, or whatever it is. Either your dealer or the web should be able to give you contact information.
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Old 04-21-2016, 12:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
I would like to add a lift kit to improve the ground clearance of our Casita. It currently drags a bit at the top and bottom of our fairly steep driveway. I would also like more clearance overall.

.
Have you tried going to the hitch manufactures website to see if you could order something in from Europe to change it out with?

Keep in mind that even if you raise the trailer and find a way to raise the hitch ball to level out the trailer, it is not going to change the location of the lowest point on the hitch itself if that is dragging as well.

Whats dragging on the Casita going in and out of your driveway? if its the tank drains then it may be possible to do some modifications in that area to improve that.... others have done that.
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Old 04-21-2016, 12:11 PM   #8
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Let's look at the other side of the towing connection. What does the coupler on your camper look like? You mentioned gaining space by changing the elevated coupler? Maybe it's as simple as moving the coupler under the tongue instead of over. I'd go that route before monkeying with the hitch.

Seems to me the hitch manufacturer's ball height restrictions are to keep you from adding a long enough lever to twist the crossbar. Is the bar tucked up behind a bumper or valance?




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Old 04-21-2016, 12:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Whats dragging on the Casita going in and out of your driveway?
The hitch does not drag. The trailer bumper drags a bit where the steep driveway flattens at the bottom. The front of the frame drags a bit at the top when I cross the driveway.
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Old 04-21-2016, 12:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Martins HeirCon View Post
What does the coupler on your camper look like?
Is the bar tucked up behind a bumper or valance?
Photos by others... a beautiful shot from the Casita site with someone's rig in the Tetons! I'll try to grab a close-up of the coupler as I couldn't find anything online.

The round member on the hitch is concealed by the bumper cover. The members at each end are bolted into the unibody.
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Old 04-21-2016, 12:52 PM   #11
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Yes, I'd definitely cut the coupler off and lower it the same amount as you're dropping the axle. Easy-peasy.


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Old 04-21-2016, 02:25 PM   #12
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Again, a pic from the web, but it does illustrate the Casita's "elevated" coupler.

Glenn, easy sounds good to me! Can you swing by this weekend? I'll put something on the BBQ!
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:14 PM   #13
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Umm, just bring it by here! ;-)


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