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Old 05-27-2021, 11:34 AM   #1
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Trailer: 17 ft Casita
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Tow questions, WDH, etc.

Hello, hope i can get some assistance. I have a 2012 17'Casita Liberty Delux. I change tow vehicle, now have 2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, AWD, tow cap 5000#.
I camp alone so not hauling a lot of gear, but fill water about 3/4 full. My questions are regarding my Curt WDH and swaybar. Some of my camping friends think I may be over doing it with this setup. I'm a 70+ lady, lugging and on/off of hitch is doable but its heavy. Do I need it all the time? If my trip is only couple hundred mile max, fairly flat, is the whole thing necessary? Is just the sway bar enough? I would appreciate input. Maureen Law
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Old 05-27-2021, 01:07 PM   #2
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We have used WDH with swaybar for over 10 years. We tow with a car but it works great for us keeps things level and swaybar keeps things steady. They make them for different weights of trailers.
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Old 05-27-2021, 03:36 PM   #3
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Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Law View Post
Hello, hope i can get some assistance. I have a 2012 17'Casita Liberty Delux. I change tow vehicle, now have 2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, AWD, tow cap 5000#.
I camp alone so not hauling a lot of gear, but fill water about 3/4 full. My questions are regarding my Curt WDH and swaybar. Some of my camping friends think I may be over doing it with this setup. I'm a 70+ lady, lugging and on/off of hitch is doable but its heavy. Do I need it all the time? If my trip is only couple hundred mile max, fairly flat, is the whole thing necessary? Is just the sway bar enough? I would appreciate input. Maureen Law
Hi Maureen,
I bought a Fiberglass trailer when I was in my early 50ís and am now 70+ as well. Up until the last couple of years, I soloed exclusively in my trailer. I agree the WDS bars are heavy and can be a real pain to mount & take down.

Question: do you have an electric tongue hitch? This definitely helps with the physical aspects of mounting & taking down the WDH.


The short answer to your question: you should always use your WDH towing on the highway. It prevents the trailer from overwhelming your TV. Even though you are traveling on a flat highway, there are potential situations which will force you to make sudden turns or break: debris in your lane, another car cutting in front of you, autos suddenly breaking in front of you because of an accident. This is what the WDS is designed to protect you from.

However, once your off the highway, close to your destination, you can safely remove your WDH.

Plan to be off the highway, close to your destination during work day. These opens up a list of opportunities:
  • arrange for someone to meet you & help you remove the WDS.
  • arrange for a local business (gas station, tire store, auto dealership service center) to help
  • find someone at the camping park to help

Obviously, you need to access your physical abilities to deal with your trailer not just this season, but into the future. Assuming you donít have serious problems with your back, consider getting into an age appropriate weight lifting and/or yoga program.

Another possibility is moving to a small RV - seniors decide to make that switch in order to avoid hitching up their tow vehicles.

I love taking off in my trailer, but have problems squatting. Itís hard for me to bend over or get off the ground, which seriously complicates emptying my black & grey water tanks. My husband, recently retired, has joined me in my adventures. He complains that it hurts his back, but, thankfully, is still able to get down on his knees. Iím hoping I can continue to go solo several more years, but realize that my trailer towing days are limited. In the interim, Iíll try to take care of myself & ignore the naysayers.

BEST OF LUCK
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Old 05-30-2021, 09:52 PM   #4
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Name: Charles
Trailer: Bigfoot
Georgia
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Use the tongue jack to raise the tongue and rear of the tow vehicle to make connecting or disconnecting the WDH bars easier. The bars on an Equalizer hitch are stupid heavy. The bars on a Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch are very reasonable to handle and easy to install and remove in their sockets on the hitch head. If you use a 2 ft long breaker bar from Harbor Freight and a 12 point one inch socket on it, rotating the chain bracket is fairly easy also.

https://youtu.be/5lKK7YZZvEE

This video is a good one to show you how they hook up their trailer with a Blue Ox Sway Pro. This is a retired school teacher and her sister, also a retired teacher.

Charles
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Old 05-31-2021, 10:02 AM   #5
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I'm a firm believer in WDH.. it makes towing so much safer and smoother..
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Old 05-31-2021, 09:40 PM   #6
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I'd say try towing on a relatively short trip without the WDH, and if the ride in the cab is too 'pitchy', bouncing up and down when the trailer goes over bumps, then use the WDH next time.

if this is a WDH from a previous tow vehicle, it will need to be setup all over again for the new tug, as its adjustments are as sensitive to the vehicle springs as they are to the tongue weight.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:22 AM   #7
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Name: Gary
Trailer: Alto by Safari Condo
Illinois
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I have towed our Alto (2,450 lbs., loaded) with our 2017 Ridgeline RTLE for over 40,000 miles. I've towed from Illinois to Florida to Louisiana to Colorado, over Monarch Pass (both directions) to the east coast, etc. I've never seen the need for a WDH or sway bar. If your tongue weight is correct (10 to 15 percent of the total trailer weight) you'll be fine.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:45 AM   #8
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Trailer: casita Independence
Texas
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I have the reese hitch. Put it on and forget. Just 2 chains and a connector to put on. Learning curve. Back roads are ok until you pass a semi.

Best to have one.
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:00 AM   #9
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Name: Dan
Trailer: Casita 17 SD
Florida
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WDH? Yea or Nay?

I tow with the Curt sway control only. So far in over 10,000 miles with a Casita 17 SD I have never had a problem. The WDH is a necessary piece of equipment for sagging rear of a tow vehicle or a front wheel drive tow. My feeling is I would not want to tow with a vehicle that requires a WDH. I am using a 2018 Dodge Durango GT with all wheel drive which should be similar to the Ridgeline. The difference is the Durango is AWD on a rear drive platform and the Ridgeline is AWD on what is a front drive.


In your case I would hook up without the WDH and drive over several roads and conditions taking note of how steering and braking feel. If there is a big change in those aspects then the WDH may be needed for your rig. If you can hardly tell the difference then the WDH may be extra weight.


There are folks who see a WDH necessary everywhere, I am not among them.
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Old 06-05-2021, 12:10 PM   #10
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Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe
Washington
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We use WDH with our 2018 Ridgeline RTLE

Interesting! We too have a 2018 Ridgeline RTLE and tow our 2010 Casita 17SD. We used to tow with a Tacoma and back then used a WDH because its rear suspension was bottoming out. Really made for a rough ride, especially on long trips. Once we got the Ridgeline, I found the ride much improved without the bottoming out, but the WDH still helps smooth out the ride, especially on long trips. It also adds safety. I'm not endorsing brands, but we use the Eaz Lift Elite two bar 6,000/600 setup just to give you an idea what I am talking about.

A standard WDH can be heavy. Ours is. The Anderson was the new kid on the block 10 years ago, so we stayed with the tried and true.

To save our backs, we use a floor jack to hold our WDH and wheel it out of the garage over to the truck and jack it up to height, then insert the stinger. Works really slick. We can lift the thing, but would rather not so as to save what is left of our backs.

On what someone else mentioned about an Electric Tongue Jack. For 10 years we stayed with the manual crank tongue jack and flip down stabilizers, which worked fine, but just recently switched to an electric tongue jack and crank down BAL Stabilizers to keep us off our knees and make hookups go easier. The electric tongue jack helps because before when I was hand cranking, I tended to skip raising the rig up with the jack and just muscle up the bars on our WDH, which is hard on our backs. Now I take most of the stress off of the bars and chains with the electric jack and hooking up is very easy.

The only time we do not use a WDH is when taking the Casita in for service locally, otherwise for any trips that require freeway driving it gets the WDH. It is just safer. And when I drive local streets without WDH I find myself wishing I had done a full hookup. If you were going to skip the WDH or Sway bar, I would skip using the sway bar because the WDH dampens the sway to some degree all by itself imo. We are currently experimenting without sway bar and going ok so far.

We have never experienced sway with our Casita despite once making an emergency swerve onto the shoulder to avoid an object in the road.

What I suggest works for us, it may not work for you. I hope this hels. If you want to talk further, PM me.
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Old 06-05-2021, 12:19 PM   #11
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Name: Nancy
Trailer: In the Market
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Hi Maureen -
I am almost 70, have a 2018 Casita SD and my TV is an F-150 with 5K max tow. Keep in mind that the WDH is to help compensate for the heavy tongue weight of the Casita, which starts above that 350# mark.
I have the Curt WDH (solid bar), which doubles as the sway bar. Although it can be a challenge to attach/detach those bars, I've learned just how high or low I need to raise or lower the tongue of the trailer to make it easy, also that the TV and trailer must be inline, or one side will be much harder to attach or remove.
I definitely need the power tongue jack to accomplish the attach/detach. After towing one time with only the Curt anti-sway, I purchased the WDH, as it keeps my truck and trailer level and easy to handle in all instances.
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Old 06-05-2021, 01:18 PM   #12
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Some WDH designs control sway; others do not.
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Old 06-05-2021, 02:09 PM   #13
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Casita and Hemisphere
Kentucky
Posts: 14
Check out an RAS instead of a WDH

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Law View Post
Hello, hope i can get some assistance. I have a 2012 17'Casita Liberty Delux. I change tow vehicle, now have 2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, AWD, tow cap 5000#.
I camp alone so not hauling a lot of gear, but fill water about 3/4 full. My questions are regarding my Curt WDH and swaybar. Some of my camping friends think I may be over doing it with this setup. I'm a 70+ lady, lugging and on/off of hitch is doable but its heavy. Do I need it all the time? If my trip is only couple hundred mile max, fairly flat, is the whole thing necessary? Is just the sway bar enough? I would appreciate input. Maureen Law
I’ve used a WDH for 35 years, but now I’m 68 and decided I didn’t want to lug the thing anymore. We sold the last two TT, one a Casita, and ordered an Oliver Legacy II. So the debate became an Anderson WDH…half the weight, or not, towing with a GMC 1500. I talked with my hitch guy and he suggested using a Roadmaster Active Suspension system, all you need are leaf springs. They are vehicle specific, and bolt on with a single U-bolt. Took me an hour to install them. Check their website.

Picked up the trailer June first, and drove 300 miles. (My hitch guy sent an Anderson along if I wasn’t happy with the RAS.) The Oliver has around 460 lb. tongue weight and the truck dropped 1.25 inches when I hooked it up, which was level as the RAS had raised it one inch when installed. I think the truck towed better than before, and no noise. I’m using a simple aluminum receiver and a 2 in. Stainless ball. Oliver has no history of sway like some other FG. You can always add a sway bar to the receiver. I had one on the Casita that fit under the hitch ball. I towed it with my Outback and needed a sway bar. Got it at E-trailer.
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Old 06-05-2021, 04:41 PM   #14
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Name: Mr Robin
Trailer: Casita
Florida
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Law View Post
"Do I need it all the time?"
Since laws are frequently rooted in the life experiences of others... what you need to do is be legal.

What you want to do is be safe, self sufficient, and cost effective.
As long as you are sharing a roadway with other people, risk cannot be completely eliminated... it can only be accepted or reduced at some price.
I would weigh the risk of heavy lifting injury against the benefits of better or lessor sway control. In my neighborhood the police are quick to assist anyone who needs sway control "all the time".
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:52 PM   #15
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So, I think we are all in agreement that you need a WDH on the highway.

Now I am interested in exploring a list of the best WDHs for aging Fiberglass trailer owners who no longer wish to lift heavy WHD bars and (even more important) bend over to pop the bars into the hitch receivers.

Is it worth the money and hassle to switch systems? Is there are real difference in the weight of the bars as well as the physical strength needed to connect and disconnect the system?

Second, some of us occasionally go "off road" to access a nice campsite-one of the advantages of owning a Fiberglass. How much clearance do you loose with say a Blue Ox system? I understand that the sway bars tend to dip down low.

Finally, safety. It's vital to lift/lower the tongue to reduce tension when setting up the sway bars. But, I've heard some horror stories about the Blue Ox, with the chain snapping out. I also heard that the chains freeze up when your TV is at an angle to the trailer after backing up into a camp site. Are the other systems also problematic?

The Senior Friendly WDH systems I'm seeing in this thread alone is:
  • Anderson
  • Roadmaster
  • Blue OX

Any other additions?

Please share experience with these systems. Pros/cons compared with more conventional WDH. Why you selected them? Weight of your trailer/tow vehicle.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:45 PM   #16
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I remove ( and install ) the bars with both the tow and trailer on the level. Then I back it up the sloped driveway.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Law View Post
Hello, hope i can get some assistance. I have a 2012 17'Casita Liberty Delux. I change tow vehicle, now have 2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, AWD, tow cap 5000#.
I camp alone so not hauling a lot of gear, but fill water about 3/4 full. My questions are regarding my Curt WDH and swaybar. Some of my camping friends think I may be over doing it with this setup. I'm a 70+ lady, lugging and on/off of hitch is doable but its heavy. Do I need it all the time? If my trip is only couple hundred mile max, fairly flat, is the whole thing necessary? Is just the sway bar enough? I would appreciate input. Maureen Law
Maureen,

The Anderson system would be the lightest and I think it might the easiest to manage overall. It does not have the traditional heavy assembly which needs to be lifted and inserted into the receiver tube.

I don't have any personal experience with the Ridgeline. You might want to explore Ridgeline forums and see if you pick up some information there.

We did have a Casita FD 17. We towed it with an Audi Q5 rated at 440 / 4,400 lbs. This combination worked so well under very challenging and windy conditions that I never used a WDH or a sway bar.

We packed quite a bit of gear and food, much of it in the front bathroom. The tongue weight tended to range up toward 440 lbs., so I started adjusting and managing the weight distribution by locating a canopy and some other heavy items over the axle to reduce the tongue weight a bit. Carrying fresh water also reduces the tongue weight.

Personally, I would explore towing the loaded trailer without a WDH if the Honda manual supports operating this way. If you try this out and it does not work out, then you might want to explore the Anderson option as it is the lightest by far.

Keep us posted and let us know how things work out for you.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
Personally, I would explore towing the loaded trailer without a WDH if the Honda manual supports operating this way. If you try this out and it does not work out, then you might want to explore the Anderson option as it is the lightest by far.

How much is "by far"? I don't have numbers, but I think they are within a few pounds, or even ounces. I know that the Andersen would lighten my wallet quite a bit compared to my Pro Series ( cheapest WDH that Escape sold ).
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
How much is "by far"?
Well, I could be mistaken. Do you know the numbers?
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:13 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
Well, I could be mistaken. Do you know the numbers?


I have an Escape19 which I tow with a Honda Pilot. Mechanically the same as a Ridgeline. I donít have nor would I use/need a wdh. In addition I do not have nor would I use a sway bar. Iíve towed all sorts of trailers with many different tow vehicles. Iíve never ever had any sway. My Pilot drops about two inches in the rear with the trailer hitched. Try without either before you spend money on something you may not need.
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