Andersen WD Hitch - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-16-2019, 03:36 PM   #1
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Name: Eva and Kirk
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Virginia
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Andersen WD Hitch

Hi folks-
We have a new to us (2018) Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe. Towing with a 2007 Dodge Dakota 4WD. New Curt Class 3 hitch. Got some significant sag. So looking at WD hitches. The Andersen that Casita sells is a bit pricy and is quite different from other WD hitches for sale. Looking for some opinions about this design vs more traditional WD hitches. Also wondering about the anti-sway claims. They make a convincing argument in the video presentation. But Iíve been led astray by good marketing in the past so Iím shall we say skeptical? Is it worth the extra money?
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Old 11-16-2019, 04:10 PM   #2
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I tow my 17B Escape ( usually 3200 lbs ) with a RAV4 V6 and the least expensive WDH that ETI sells. It's Pro Series. No sway control.

It does the job. Makes the combo feel like a single unit. I've had to take evasive action at speed more than once and experienced no sway.
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:45 PM   #3
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The Anderson hitch is popular on Oliver trailers because they can be installed without cutting any fiberglass in the frame area, and because Oliver offers them as an option.

One came with my Oliver and I never installed it. I didn't need it, but I also never liked the design, the problems people were having with them, or Anderson's sophomoric public relations.

They have some design issues that I don't care for. The weight distibuting is done by pushing forward on the ball, instead of down on the ball as with conventional systems. This is not a good continuous load for many coupler designes and works best with a Bulldog hitch, which is what Oliver uses, but a design that also wears the ball unevenly. I know you have a Casita, so you might want to study the coupler design and make sure it will work safely with a heavy forward load against the ball. The only compensation for going through dips or into steep driveway entrances, is a urethane block that gets compressed by chains. It cannot have as much flex as the traditional spring bar design. The anti-sway feature is a cone clutch that has been revised repeatedly by Anderson and finally seems to be working OK, but the amount of friction it provides is dependent on to download of the tongue and is not adjustable. Many of them become very noisy when turning and develop problems from water intrusion. To Anderson's credit, they seem to have been good about replacing them under warrrantee.

My conclusion, right or wrong, is that many who buy them as an option on Oliver trailers, and again, I know you have a Casita, are just doing it because they haven't realized they don't need it. Or, just as insurance. Oliver's are very stable when towing. I have never heard of anyone buying one because there was a problem they needed to fix, other than having more than the recommended tongue weight, and not wanting to cut fiberglass for a hitch. So buying one for sway control, without ever experiencing sway, and on a trailer that does not sway, and then dealing with the hookup each time, seems like a bad idea.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:13 AM   #4
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Name: Eva and Kirk
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Virginia
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Thanks Raspy, appreciate the input. Part of me wants to just skip the WD hitch all together and just add airbags but I know that doesn't help get the weight back on the front wheels. Probably need both but I'm going to end up with more money in the hitches and air bags than I have in the truck itself!
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:15 AM   #5
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Name: Eva and Kirk
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Virginia
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Thanks Glenn-
Your comments on evasive action make me feel better. Most anti-sway stuff means I can't back-up and if that's the case it isn't a question of IF but only WHEN I break something when I forget that restriction.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:28 AM   #6
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You can also install air springs on your truck, I have them on my Ram 1500
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:54 AM   #7
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Curt Manufacturing WD Hitch

Hello Kirk,

I tow my 2007 17’ Casita Spirit Deluxe with a Chevy Colorado WT (gas 4 cyl) using a Curt 17500 weight distribution hitch which has built in sway control. My Casita weight (sans water) comes in at 2870 lbs with a tongue weight of 385 lbs (with fresh/hot water).

Although the Curt 17500 hitch is a bit overkill for the Casita, I happened across it before I acquired my Casita last year. The installation/setup process includes an adjustable shank bar and head assembly to provide for the appropriate ball height and tilt. The link (above) not only includes the usual/customary marketing “infomercial” youtube videos but also a video for the complete installation and adjustment process.

I did have to tweak the Casita’s propane tank bracket a bit so that the hitch’s A-frame brackets could be attached to the frame. In essence, I shaved the bottom of the Casita’s propane tank bracket so that the propane tanks sit a bit closer together and they don’t overlap the top/side of the Casita’s A-frame where the hitch’s brackets needed to be installed. I also had to replace the hitch’s out of the box 2 5/16” ball with a 2” ball to fit the Casita.

The hitch with built in sway control does its job well. With just over 10,000 towing miles, I have experienced no sway with the trailer and the TT and TV function pretty much as one unit.

One feature that I like about this particular hitch is that the length of the adjustable shank bar and the depth of the hitch head allow me to fully open my truck’s tailgate when the Casita is hitched up. That added length also provides for more turning radius on some pretty sharp/tight turns.
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:24 PM   #8
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Peanut comes in at 2800 totally loaded for nearly a month's trip, tongue weight about 280. Well-balanced or well-packed, whatever. We load heavy over the wheels. Our TV takes 3600/360 and we don't use a WDH. We do use a sway-bar (stabilizer) attachment that came with Peanut...our 1973 Amerigo FG-16.

We've never had a moment of sway with Peanut. Our last trailer, an Aloha, swayed badly. I think we used to load rear-heavy.

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Old 11-17-2019, 01:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryB. View Post


One feature that I like about this particular hitch is that the length of the adjustable shank bar and the depth of the hitch head allow me to fully open my truckís tailgate when the Casita is hitched up. That added length also provides for more turning radius on some pretty sharp/tight turns.
This is a very important feature for anyone towing with a pickup. So many trailers have very short tongues or tongue jacks that are placed at the front of the tongue, and block access to the rear of the truck while connected. Plus, when turning too sharp while backing, a short tongue can allow the truck to hit the trailer body.

Extending the hitch insert rearward to help with this also increases the leverage on the rear of the truck, and if you are already near the max tongue weight, it doesn't help the situation. But then the WDH compensates. Everything is a compromise.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:29 PM   #10
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I am towing a Casita 17 with an Anderson hitch and a Tacoma X Runner pickup. It's working quite well for me. It's quiet and the trailer/rig is stable. My rig handles well and gives me assurance on our long road trips.

After 6,000 miles, the plastic friction ring in the hitch did start coming out, and when I asked for a new ring (it was to be free, according to their web site), they sent me a completely new hitch, instead, with a new design that looks like it will prevent the friction ring creep of the previous design.

All that said, to my mind, the real advantage of the Anderson hitch is that the hitch head is only 35 pounds. That's compared to 70+ pounds for the hitch head for an easy lift. I can lift the Anderson hitch without worrying about my back. I can even lift it with one hand if I need to.

I have ran into a few issues with dips in the road (steep driveways, etc) where I have experienced poor traction because the hitch was keeping my rig level. If I really needed to, I could loosen the lower chains and regain traction. (My truck is two wheel drive.) For a 35 pound hitch head, I will live with that.

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Old 11-18-2019, 08:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomE11 View Post
a few issues ...
Ah, yes. That reminds me:

When backing a TT, it's best to remove the sway bar (if any). Also, depending on conditions, you should consider the possibility of removing the WDH weight distribution bars.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:46 PM   #12
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Name: Gerry
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Been over 12000 miles on the cross country trip this past summer with my 4 Runner towing the Casita Freedom Deluxe and do not have WD or anti-sway and SUV and trailer did wonderful up to speeds of 65 MPH. Over that it would sway a bit when trucks passed in other lanes.
Just saying.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:45 AM   #13
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Trailer: 2019 Oliver Elite II
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evirk View Post
Hi folks-
We have a new to us (2018) Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe. Towing with a 2007 Dodge Dakota 4WD. New Curt Class 3 hitch. Got some significant sag. So looking at WD hitches. The Andersen that Casita sells is a bit pricy and is quite different from other WD hitches for sale. Looking for some opinions about this design vs more traditional WD hitches. Also wondering about the anti-sway claims. They make a convincing argument in the video presentation. But Iíve been led astray by good marketing in the past so Iím shall we say skeptical? Is it worth the extra money?
If your you have sag then it needs to be corrected, sag can be dangerous under most driving conditions, causing sway and other conditions not good when towing. I did not use a WDH with our Casita, but we were towing with a 1500 Ram pickup which handled the Casita with no problem. We now have an Oliver and use the Anderson which I consider easy to use, no WDH is fun to deal with, just needed with some towing setups. I purchased my Anderson on Amazon for $479.00 and free shipping, installed it myself in 30 minuets. I had to add more chain due to the Oliver's tongue length, not sure how it fits the Casita with the factory chain length, but I'm sure the Casita Forum can advise you on that. There are many WDH's out there, just make sure you get one with the correct length torsion bars and spring weight for that trailer.

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Old 11-23-2019, 11:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evirk View Post
Most anti-sway stuff means I can't back-up and if that's the case it isn't a question of IF but only WHEN I break something when I forget that restriction.
You might not need to remove the sway bar if it passes the visual test outlined below that came with our Curt sway bar. We do have the Airlift brand air bags on our two wheel drive Dakota and they do help level the load.

"Turning the On/Off handle clockwise, tighten firmly until the
handle is parallel with the main body. With a second person
watching the sway control and trailer, slowly back the trailer
in both directions into a jackknife position. Check that the
sway control does not hit the bumper or trailer frame and
that it does not become fully compressed or come apart. If
any of these occur when jackknifed, the sway control must
be removed while backing."
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Old 11-23-2019, 11:39 AM   #15
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Name: Henry
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I have an Andersen hitch on my Casita, about 3500lbs loaded, 350 lb tongue weight. Do not really need it. I noticed a very slight increase in handling. I bought the hitch because everyone on the forums said it was best to have a WDH. I would not have an Andersen on the Casita if I were to do it over again. I foolishly I welded it on.

I currently tow a much larger Big Foot, about 27' long, about 7000K loaded, 950 lbs tongue weight. It tows better than the Casita with the Andersen attached. However, just to be safe, I use a Blue Ox Sway Pro. It is OK to back up, as per the company. I have towed about 8K miles, about 100 nights, and it does well: No sway, no porposing. I wonder how the Blue Ox would do on the Casita. It is easy to use and have no problem putting it on and off. I am 71 y/o.

I will never have another Andersen, the Blue Ox is better and easier. One big issue with the Andersen is to not unhitch when you are at a severe angle. Always try to straighten out first.
It is very difficult to get that triangular piece back in position.

I tow with a 2011 Tundra 5.7L 4x4 with tow package.
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Old 11-23-2019, 02:23 PM   #16
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From a post I made in 2016:

Bigfoot Information
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Old 11-23-2019, 02:42 PM   #17
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Name: Jeff
Trailer: Oliver Elite II
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Might Want to Consider Hayes Sway Master

I tow an Oliver Elite II with a Tundra 5.7 liter with a tow package. Decided to forego the Andersen and am glad I did. Never had a problem with sway, but was concerned with encountering a situation in which I might--rounding a corner, hitting a pothole in a high wind, for instance. So I bought and installed a Hayes Sway Master.

Glad I did. It has engaged only once when a young female driver texting on her phone swerved into my lane on a busy freeway. I had to swerve to avoid her, and the Sway Master engaged by automatically applying the trailer brakes.

If avoiding dangerous sway is important to anyone, I recommend the Sway Master.
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Old 11-23-2019, 02:59 PM   #18
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IMHO having used both a conventional wdh and an Anderson if you need real weight distribution go conventional. The Anderson is a great anti sway hitch but not so good at weight distribution. I towed a properly setup 22’ Airstream with a conventional wdh no problem with my Grand Caravan. But when we switched to 14’ Livinlite with the Anderson wdh we had way too little front wheel weight.
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Old 11-23-2019, 03:48 PM   #19
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Andy Thompson of Can Am RV is the only person I know who track tests tow vehicle + trailer setups using a wide variety of weight distributing hitches.

Andy has written articles about many of his findings. A number of them can be found here

https://www.canamrv.ca/blog/category/hitch-hints/


His recommendation after testing many different types is to use a WDH with tapered round load bars and chains to adjust the tension such as this Eaz Lift Elite

https://www.eaz-lift.com/product-pag...00lb-elite-wdh

Make sure you set it up properly to get maximum performance. I'm very happy with mine on a trailer that weighs 3,000 lbs. with a 300 lb. tongue weight.

A WDH can compensate for some vehicle sag problems. The WDH properly set up should move some of that weight to the front wheels of the tow vehicle. How much it compensates is measurable at each corner of the TV when you set the hitch up.
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Old 11-23-2019, 04:24 PM   #20
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Have the Andersen without Casita 17 SD. Tow with 4Runner. I also added Air-Lift bags on the rear. Remember, while lift bags can help with sag they do nothing for weight distribution this video helps explain. Anyhow, we like the Andersen setup. Have used conventional spring bar style WDH with other larger stick trailers. I like the Andersen and think it’s good for smaller lighter trailers with lighter tongue weights. If I had a larger trailer I’d probably be using the spring bar anti-sway bar combination. For the Casita I like the ease of the Andersen. My only complaint would be the cost. Might not be for everyone but works well for us.
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