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Old 12-09-2016, 08:26 AM   #1
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 13
Putting Hitch Before Trailer

Hello!

We're newbies looking to purchase a pre-owned Casita Freedom Deluxe 17'. Our tow vehicle ('03 Ford E350 van) has a Draw-Tite hitch already installed. That hitch puts the equator of the ball at about 11.5 inches off the ground when level.

Previously, we looked at a small conventional trailer and found the tongue put the receiver mechanism (coupler - that goes over the ball) at 21.5 inches off the ground when level.

We realize there are adjustable ball mounts available but we are wondering if we can figure out ahead of time what height our hitch should be at to hook-up with a leveled Casita FD 17'.

We don't expect to be hauling trailers of different heights (although it could happen, I guess).

Any advice on how to setup the hitch on our E350 to mesh nicely with our yet-to-be-discovered Casita?

Thank you,

Jim

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Old 12-09-2016, 08:34 AM   #2
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Colorado
Posts: 439
In my Casita experience, the top of the ball of your hitch should be around 19 or 20 inches. It sounds like you're present setup is already in the ballpark so I wouldn't make any changes until you find your trailer. There's going to be some variation--size of the trailer tires, weight of the trailer on the hitch, how much your vehicle's rear suspension goes down with a load, etc. so I wouldn't spend much time trying to get it adjusted perfect now.
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:57 AM   #3
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 13
Isn't My Hitch too Low?

Terry:

Thanks for your response. I appreciate knowing that my future Casita is likely to sit level at 19 or 20 inches at the receiver when ready to hook-up. My problem is that my current hitch on the tow vehicle puts the top of the ball at only 12 inches or so. That's 7 or 8 inches too low, it seems.

I'm looking for a way to be able to tow the eventual egg home without necessarily having to install a widely-adjustable hitch.

Thanks,

Jim

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Old 12-09-2016, 09:54 AM   #4
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 10,114
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You didn't say what you're using as a drawbar, as in how much rise or drop, that puts the ball at 12". The usual reference point is the top of the receiver opening with the drawbar removed.

I am a little surprised that a heavy-duty van would need so much rise to mate with a Casita, but I'm guessing the receiver is an aftermarket unit that hangs down below the bumper and the Casita has the factory lift kit.
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:55 AM   #5
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Colorado
Posts: 439
Yeah, that's a problem. When I changed from a 2007 Ford Escape to the 2016 model, the after market receiver was much too low. If you head over to etrailer.com, you can find some receiver tubes of different heights and balls which extend up. They're not too expensive. The adjustable ones cost more.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:47 AM   #6
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2014 16 scamp side dinette/Rav4 V6 Tow pkg.
Pennsylvania
Posts: 578
My rav4 receiver sits at 11 1/2". You need to get a hitch with rise-drop about 5-6 " depending on your ball height. You flip it so you can use the rise. Your ball also comes in 1-2" level as well. Go to www.etrailer.com and search around, lots vids, instuctions, articles, that are very helpful. Carl
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:29 AM   #7
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
Washington
Posts: 1,693
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It all depends on whether the trailer has 14" wheels or 15" wheels, and whether it has the high-lift axle or not, (the high-lift axle will have square channel sections installed under the 3" main chassis rails just above the axle if you have the high lift,) or the older welded-on axle without the lifts. All these things will make a noticable difference on the hitch ball height required.

FWIW, my 2008 17'SD has the high-lift axle and 15" wheels. My trailer tongue hitch to the inside top of the ball housing is 21", which is also where my truck's hitchball sits. The easiest way to "check-fit" what you'll need is to measure from the ground up inside the ball cup on the tongue with the trailer level. That will tell you how high your tow ball needs to be. From what you described in your OP, you should be pretty close already if you have the 15" wheels and high lift axle. Not knowing what year the trailer, and what's under it, makes it a little harder to be more definitive.
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:01 PM   #8
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
Trailer: Parkliner
Iowa
Posts: 1,190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boblue View Post
Terry:

Thanks for your response. I appreciate knowing that my future Casita is likely to sit level at 19 or 20 inches at the receiver when ready to hook-up. My problem is that my current hitch on the tow vehicle puts the top of the ball at only 12 inches or so. That's 7 or 8 inches too low, it seems.

I'm looking for a way to be able to tow the eventual egg home without necessarily having to install a widely-adjustable hitch.

Thanks,

Jim

#
You can get a high rise drawbar that is not adjustable. Adjustable ones will be heavier and you don't want that.
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:29 PM   #9
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
Posts: 747
Your trailer should be level when towing. This helps with stability. Your tow vehicle should maintain the same stance when attached to your trailer as it does when not attached. This could be level are slightly higher in the rear end. The part of the hitch which contains the ball inserts into the receiver of the tow vehicle. These units come in different ball height configurations. Some units can be adjusted to different ball heights. You will need a unit that adjusts your ball height up sufficiently to keep your trailer level for towing. I has to do this to tow my trailer with my van.
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Old 12-09-2016, 03:52 PM   #10
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 2,163
You can buy a drawbar with offset and a ball that is 1" higher than normal.
The high rise balls are good for 3500 lbs and that is OK for most of our trailers.
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:25 PM   #11
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 54
Take a look at your local Walmart or tractor supply. They maintain an assortment. Once you've seen what's available, you will probably be comfortable buying one after you get the trailer. You could always buy two and return one. Ask around, you may have a neighbor with a five gallon bucket of old drawbars. They tend to multiply....
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:32 PM   #12
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Name: Jack
Trailer: 2015 Casita 17FD
Rapides Parish La.
Posts: 140
...my 2015 17'FD is level at 22"s(inside top of coupler...I had to get a 3" lift drawbar(plus the 2 3/4" height of the ball) from wallyworld to end up where I wanted...which I did by having two of my big butted buddies stand on the bumper(simulating tongue weight) while measured to the top inside of the receiver..I used those numbers to determine how high I needed the ball to be...it ended up at 22 3/4"s and with the trailer hooked I am near level with just a very very slight nose down attitude...perfect......
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:05 AM   #13
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 13
Thanks to All Replying to My Hitch Question

Thanks to all who posted replies to my "Putting Hitch Before Trailer" post. I will do some further research and I appreciate the information.

Boblue

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Old 12-12-2016, 06:19 PM   #14
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Originally Posted by PC Steve View Post
Take a look at your local Walmart or tractor supply. They maintain an assortment. Once you've seen what's available, you will probably be comfortable buying one after you get the trailer. You could always buy two and return one. Ask around, you may have a neighbor with a five gallon bucket of old draw bars. They tend to multiply....
Aint that the truth. 3 tow vehicles and 4 different trailers with 2 different diameter trailer balls keeps me well armed with draw bars. I have learned to peruse the local swap meets to add to my collection because some day I or a friend of mine will need it.
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Old 12-12-2016, 06:57 PM   #15
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 2013Escape 21
Iowa
Posts: 813
Be careful

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Aint that the truth. 3 tow vehicles and 4 different trailers with 2 different diameter trailer balls keeps me well armed with draw bars. I have learned to peruse the local swap meets to add to my collection because some day I or a friend of mine will need it.
And that, my friend, is the logic and the method describing how I got the germs that turned into what some term, hoarding. Can't have too many ________.
Dave
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:10 PM   #16
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Trailer: Trillium 4500
Posts: 163
When I went to pick up my Trillium I bought a cheap adjustable draw bar. This has come in handy numerous times. Well worth the price of admission. It's clunky, heavy, and it's not my favorite thing to tow with but, it allows you to experiment with various heights before buying the perfect draw bar for you rig. Since I've had my Trillium I've changed wheel sizes, replaced the axel, lifted the axel, added a leaf to the TV, ect. Each of these mods changed where I wanted the ball to be. Out came the adjustable hitch to figure out where I wanted to be. Not to mention the boat trailer, friends borrowing trailers, ect.
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:10 PM   #17
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
And that, my friend, is the logic and the method describing how I got the germs that turned into what some term, hoarding. Can't have too many ________.
Dave
Hording is not my problem. Its the problem of the people who have to clean up after you when you are gone. I didn't make the rule: You can't take it with you.

When I am gone the tax man can sell it all off for back taxes and dumpster my remains.
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:24 AM   #18
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
Posts: 747
Adjustability is the way to go. Then you have options!
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