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Hitching Up

by James 0 Comments
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With the purchase of our new fifth wheel, I decided to reconsider my options for hitching up. For the last RV, I used a PullRite 2900 auto-slider that is designed to make it impossible to hit the truck with the trailer when turning sharply. It’s a valid concern with shortbed trucks, especially with older trailers that have flat fronts, but in the end I probably never needed it with our last trailer and probably won’t with this one. After speaking with many people who have fixed hitches or manual sliders and modern trailers on short bed trucks, it just doesn’t seem to be the issue I believed it to be when I made the purchase. One of the major downsides to PullRite is that it does not allow you to store anything around the hitch in the bed of the truck, because the hitch itself pivots rather than the trailer pivoting on the hitch. If you have anything laying around the hitch, it’ll either jam it up or the hitch will take it out for you.

My initial plans were to look at the Andersen hitches, but they don’t slide at all if you ever need them to, and despite rave reviews online, I’ve spoken to two people who have had failures or seen them first hand. The hitch is very interesting at around forty pounds, but I was able to rule it out based on those two concerns. I then considered various conventional hitches, including the B&W Patriot, which has rave reviews, but found that a few people that had traded those up for air hitches and couldn’t have been happier with their decisions to upgrade.

One of the most popular air hitches is the Trailer Saver series made by Hensley. I had a Propride 3P hitch when pulling a bumper pull trailer, and it made all the difference in the world over the Blue Ox SwayPro and EAZ-Lift hitches it replaced. The Propride is a slightly tweaked clone of the Hensley Arrow. The Hensley designs are very well engineered and I consider them a very trustworthy company: you very, very rarely find anyone with anything bad to say about them except for perhaps the cost. All of their products are absurdly expensive, but I do believe you get what you pay for. When you have over $60K tied up into a tow vehicle and have tons of gear loaded up in a trailer that’s well north of that, the expense of a premium hitch is only a small percent of your investment. While you can get away with some of the conventional options just fine, especially with a fifth wheel, I think the premium options deserve a close look.

The Trailer Saver is named that because it reduces stress on the trailer by allowing it to move independently of the vehicle it is towed with. It does this by suspending the hitch head on airbags, and allowing left to right articulation that is controlled by gas shocks. The hitch head itself is a Binkley-style head that is much closer to what you might find on a commercial tractor on the highway than on a consumer pickup. The jaws are much thicker and have much tighter tolerances than on most consumer hitches, and the reduced slop, combined with air suspension and controlled left-to right articulation, should theoretically provide a much smoother, better ride. A better ride should result in less stress on the passengers, tow vehicle, and trailer, and should ultimately result in more enjoyable trips, with safer travels over rough terrain, and longer lifespans for both truck and trailer.

The Trailer Saver mounts on industry standard rails just like my PullRite did, but does not slide by itself. They have an optional manual slider, called the Simple Slide, that you can drop into the rails instead, and then mount the Trailer Saver into. I opted for the Simple Slide in case I ever need it, and the BD3 model hitch. With this setup, I will be able to pack equipment around the hitch of the truck and regain space in the bed that was previously off limits due to the PullRite, and benefit from all of the above. I’ll post a review once I’ve received it and have a few miles on it, but am anticipating great results.

[amazonjs asin=”B007HROJQA” locale=”US” title=”PullRite 2900 SuperGlide Industrial Standard Fifth Wheel Hitch – 18K Load Capacity”] [amazonjs asin=”B00BSD9PVI” locale=”US” title=”3200 – Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection -Rail version”] [amazonjs asin=”B00T366ILM” locale=”US” title=”B&W Patriot 18K SliderTM Fifth Wheel Hitch – Fits Industry Standard Rails”] [amazonjs asin=”B000GAO0A0″ locale=”US” title=”Blue Ox BXW1000 SWAYPRO Weight Distributing Hitch 1000lb Tongue Weight for Standard Coupler with Clamp-On Latches”] [amazonjs asin=”B005SB6S3Y” locale=”US” title=”Eaz-Lift 48058 Elite Weight Distributing Hitch Kit – 1,000 lbs Capacity”]

 

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