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Hello,

 

My tow vehicle is a 2016 VW Touareg TDI (diesel). 7700 GVWR and a maximum of 660 lb. tongue weight. The owner's manual says not to use a weight equalization hitch. I had originally planned to buy a new Airstream that would have been under the 7700 lb. limit, but I would have exceeded the maximum tongue weight by over 200 lbs. I spent a lot of time talking to Can Am, an Airstream dealer in Canada, and the head of the service department at my local VW dealer, and decided I would go ahead and tow the Airstream and use a weight equalization hitch.

 

Then I found the Oliver. No Airstream for me! So, a couple of questions. First, who's towing the Elite II with the standard Bulldog hitch? I'm nervous about the lack of sway control. What have your experiences been? Second, I've read about some issues with Oliver's adjustment/setup of the optional Anderson No Sway hitch. Are you using this hitch? Any problems getting it set up properly? How has it performed? Would you recommend an alternative hitch for sway control and weight equalization?

 

Thanks in advance--it's really great to have access to this knowledge base.

Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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Don. I tow my Elite II with a Chevy Avalanche and use the Anderson hitch. At first I hated the Anderson, but now that I have discovered a trick to attach it I am very pleased with it. The initial installation is key, and Oliver has some experiences now that they did not have when I bought mine.

 

Bring this up again when you get close to purchase and I will give you my method for easy deployment of the hitch.

Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Don, like you, my first question when looking into getting an Oliver, was what about a WD hitch. We were almost Airstream buyers also, and over on the Airstream forum, there are endless threads on the best WD hitches. The answers here were, why would we need a WD hitch, these trailers pull so good. We have pulled about 6,000 miles so far, and it does pull great, although we have not made any sudden moves or lane changes yet.

 

Stan

Stan and Carol


Blacksburg, VA


2014 Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi


2014 Legacy Elite II Standard  Hull 63

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Don allow me to throw my two cents worth in though my tow vehicle is a considerably different than yours. We use an F150 with Eco Boost engine and do not use a WDH nor do we feel we need it. As others have stated these TT's tow extremely well. Perhaps just as important we have had a few emergency maneuvers where the Elite II performed very well.

 

Coming back from Glacier Nat Park a couple of weeks ago traveling down highway 287 in MT an older style jeep decided to do a u turn right in front of us from the opposite side of the road. This is a two lane yet major highway in MT. There was a string of traffic behind me perhaps half a dozen or more that did not allow for hard braking IMO. At the time I felt my only course of action was to literally veer left into the opposing lane of traffic which thankfully was empty while apply as much brake as possible without creating an accident. It worked and I did not rear end or slam into the the jeep. Drunk drivers on the 4th of July. Most importantly the Oliver did not sway or get out of control during the quick maneuvers.

 

On our way back from TN with our new Oliver traveling up I-15 and near Pocatello, ID an 18 wheeler decided to move over into our lane as we were passing on a large uphill climb. The semi was going quite slow for some unknown reason. This time I hit the brakes hard, moved over into the shoulder of the interstate as far as I could go while laying down on the horn. Driver finally figured out he was screwing up and got back into his lane. But I'm literally going down I-15 driving on the hash marks and beyond wondering if the next move was to ditch the entire affair to avoid colliding with the semi truck. The Oliver stayed put just where it was supposed to. My wife nearly had a coronary that day. For a brief period we were both thinking our entire affair was about to implode, tow vehicle and camper.

 

And finally a few days before the previous episode traveling up I-27 from Lubbock to Amarillo we got into some headwinds the likes of which neither of us have ever seen on road trips. We'll probably never know the force of these winds but my guess is they were from 50-80 mph. Felt like we were in the dust bowl days, with a couple of hours of white knuckle driving, yet once again the Oliver did very well. I would be lying if I didn't say there was not some motion behind us while towing but it was never ever swaying out of control. Not even close. We were amazed and could not have hoped for better performance.

 

At the end of the day only you can determine what you feel comfortable with towing. In the meantime hopefully these experiences will provide at least a modicum of knowledge to help evaluate your needs. More importantly I hope the heck no one else here goes through them. Trial by fire?

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Good input Rob. My Avalanche must have weaker springs than your F150 because it drops about two inches when I hitch up. The WDH corrects this and that is the main reason I continue using it. I am going to look into some helper springs because I sure would rather not go through the extra step of hooking up the Anderson.

Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Thank you all for the prompt and helpful responses to my questions. Lots of great information plus some descriptions of frightening but reassuring experiences!

Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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Good input Rob. My Avalanche must have weaker springs than your F150 because it drops about two inches when I hitch up. The WDH corrects this and that is the main reason I continue using it. I am going to look into some helper springs because I sure would rather not go through the extra step of hooking up the Anderson.

 

Perhaps, but it is worth noting my F150 also drops. Never measured it but once I am hitched up the truck sits visually level and without hitching the F150 has a noticeable rear end rise as do all trucks. This is most likely from the design figuring the vast majority of trucks do get used for some towing. However this may or may not apply to your Avalanche.

 

We've all seen trailers that either point noise down or up due to incorrect hitching setups. We did make some changes however at delivery day in order to accomplish this by simply reversing my existing hitch upside down and flipping the ball at the hitch, otherwise the Oliver would have been very nose down.

 

Don you might also want to check in with the Fiberglass RV forums if you haven't already. Lately there has been a lively discussion regarding tow vehicles WDH hitches and as you might guess opinions are all over the place. I suspect your Taureg will do well and w/o a WDH.

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Trumpetguy, you mentioned some tricks hitching up the Anderson and some things learned by Oliver after more set ups. Care to elaborate?

 

I am picking up my Elitte II in Dec and have opted for the Andrrson hitch. My TV will be a 2015 Tundra with an 8' bed to carry a motorcycle ( about 400 lbs) and ramps (another 150).

 

Would love to hear your experience with the hitch, I read about some difficulties when dropping trailer and the plate being out of alignment with trailer.

Grayson and Ann Cook


Northwest CT and Mid Coast Maine


2016 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed FP


Toyota Tundra, Extra Cab, Long bed, 5.7 V8


Yippee-i-o-ki-yah

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I have another question maybe you could help with.

 

Wondering if anyone has used a hitch on the front of your TV?

To use with a bike rack and also use to hitch up the trailer for more maneuverability into tight sites?

Was also thinking it might solve the problem of dropping trailer when Anderson hitch is not in perfect linement the with trailer. Could drop trailer on straight camp road, turn TV around and then hook to front hitch and push trailer into site.

 

Sorry if I am over thinking this, this will be my first trailer. I have no experience pulling, or parking a trailer.

A little nervous about the hook up and set up of Andrrson Hitch.

 

 

Thanks for the help.

Grayson and Ann Cook


Northwest CT and Mid Coast Maine


2016 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed FP


Toyota Tundra, Extra Cab, Long bed, 5.7 V8


Yippee-i-o-ki-yah

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OK. Here is a two fold reply. I installed a front hitch on my Avalanche for a bike rack and love it. Once you get used to the bikes hanging out there it is no big deal. I did buy an anti rattle pin because there is a lot of movement in the bike rack. The pin fixed that and the bikes stay nice and still.

 

Anderson hitch. I have abandoned mine due to the aggravation of connecting it. Towed home from Grayton Beach Wednesday without it and I could not tell any difference other than a drop in the rear of my truck. I am having air bags installed next week that will compensate for an additional 1000 pounds of tongue weight so that will correct the level issue.

 

If you do go with the Anderson know that when hooking up you MUST align your truck with the trailer exactly as it was when you unhitched. This is because you cannot manually adjust the tension plate and it will stay in the same attitude as it was when you backed it. If you are off a little one chain will be too short and you will need to make adjustments.

 

Assuming you are able to align the truck and trailer perfectly the technique I found most helpful is to attach the bulldog hitch to your hitch ball and use the electric winch to raise the back end of your truck. Yes. Raise it several inches. This shortens the distance between the truck and trailer and creates some slack in the chains. I have been able to leave my chain adjuster nuts in place and achieve the correct tension for towing just by raising the truck.

 

But let me restate that I am abandoning the Anderson and will sell it for a good price but you have to come get it in Gulf Breeze Florida, or meet me when I am on the road. The Ollie does not need a sway bar...unless you drive like a mad man.

Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Thank you for the reply. My concerns exactly. Perfect alignment when hooking up to trailer. Will have to consider the option of the Anderson some more.

 

Thank you for your honest feedback.

 

Have purchased the hitch for the front and already have the rack.

 

Thanks again.

Grayson and Ann Cook


Northwest CT and Mid Coast Maine


2016 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed FP


Toyota Tundra, Extra Cab, Long bed, 5.7 V8


Yippee-i-o-ki-yah

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With a Tundra I seriously doubt you will need the WDH, I certainly don't feel the need for it with out F150 but like you was a bit concerned early on before taking delivery. If nothing else perhaps on delivery day you could hook up with out the Anderson and take the Oliver for a spin in the area to see how comfortable it feels to you then make your final decision based upon that. Regardless good luck with your decision and travels.

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Once I looked at my trailer, Elite II, it was obvious that the other brands of weight distributing hitches would not work due to the fiberglass cowling forward of the propane tanks. Brands other than Andersen would have to cut the cowling to mount to the frame. With Andersen they just lengthened the chain and attach to the frame further to the rear.

 

Also there are two Andersen videos about their hitch. One deals with installation and the other shows what to do if the triangle plate is way off.

 

 

How to straighten you triangle plate.

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  • 2 months later...
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Don,

 

Any idea of why VW says in the owners manual to NOT use a WD hitch?

 

Even though I did not NEED a WDH for my last RV and I'm told that I would not need it for the Elite II I'm getting in Feb, 2016, I decided to use one anyway. Basically there are two reasons for this decision - the first is safety. In the event of needing to make sudden moves I feel that the WDH will keep the TV more in line with the RV. Second, it seems to me that our interstate highways in the US are not in the best repair. It seems that there are a lot of bridges that have a fairly large "bump" on both sides and this produces a pronounced "bounce" between the TV and the RV. A WDH really reduces this "bounce".

 

I've also investigated the Andersen versus the Equalizer brand. While I've not personally used the Andersen, yet, I think that the discussions regarding the PITA of hitching it up when not directly aligned are a bit over done. With the Equalizer there were also times when getting the spring bars into place were a real pain. But given the benefits I do not think that spending another 2 to 5 minutes hitching up are a big deal.

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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  • 2 years later...

Hi,

 

I am very interested in buying an Oliver. I have made 2 trips to Hohenwald conducting research on the Oliver Elite II. If I buy one, my tow vehicle (TV) will be either a Tundra or a 2500 Chevrolet or GMC Truck.  My concern is the Anderson Weight Distribution Hitch that some use. My research tells me that some people use a WDH and some do not depending on their TV. I like the idea of using one but am not overly excited about the Anderson. If one uses an Anderson, there seem to be difficulty in alignment issues when hooking up with some people. After watching countless videos, I could see where this could be a problem early on until experience kicks in. My question is can another Weight Distribution Hitch besides an Anderson be used ? Such as an Equal-i-Zer? Your comments are appreciated and will help in my decision process.

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I don't know of any other WD hitch that will bolt right on without modifying the fiberglass in the frame rail area, but the Equal-I-Zer might.  Although a convertional WD hitch puts a download on the frame where it is attached and the Anderson puts a forward load on the frame.  In that way, the Anderson seems kinder to the frame.

 

The Anderson isn't just a WD hitch, it's a sway control hitch too, and this is also where they have problems.  The cone clutch system has had a lot of replacements made because of excessive noise.  The sway friction is not adjustable.   When people wonder if they need sway control, they are buying weight distribution, or if they need weight distribution, they are buying sway control.   Seems to me, a lot of folks buy the Anderson out of fear or as insurance because they have no idea if they need it or not.  And what they get brings a second function they may not need, and the hassle of using it.

 

The leverage system to achieve weight distribution puts an extreme forward load on the ball with an Anderson whereas a conventional WD hitch acieves this with a down load on the ball. There has been some concern that the Bulldog hitch wears the ball too much because it is dealing with a load it's not really designed for.

 

It's not up to me to recommend for or against these hitches.  However, one came with my trailer and I've never used it.  It doesn't provide enough value that I'll put it on even though I already have it and it's sitting right there in the garage.   I know of nobody that has had stability problems, but an electroic sway control is a good way to manage that too.   Only 450 to 490 lbs sitting on the ball of a 3/4 ton truck is just enough to make it ride better, not overload it, but the Anderson would help level it out a bit.   The new Rams have a load leveling air suspension option that will level out without having to use a WD hitch.  It doesn't move weight forward, but  3/4 ton truck is not overloaded with an Elite 2 on the back.

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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We're towing with the 2016 5.7L 4X4 Tundra double cab and it works well as a TV for the E2.  The Tundra's operators manual requires a sway device when towing any trailer over 2000 pounds. The manual also requires a WDH when towing trailers 5000 pounds or more.

 

We keep Ollie's weight under 5000 pounds, ready to camp weight of 4920 pounds, with empty water tanks. Our Ollie is not equipped with solar panels and only has two 12V AGM batteries.   We transport gear in the TV keeping Ollie's weight low and Tundra's weight under 7100 GVW with Ollie connected.  When Ollie is connected to the Tundra there is still more weight on the front axle compared to the rear axle. All weights verified by CAT scales. Many E2s here probably weigh in over 5000 or 6000 pounds at ready to camp weights.

 

We use an electronic sway control without WDH. The Hayes Sway Control detected and applied trailer brakes in two sway event situations (that I'm aware of) when I was towing down a mountain too fast in both cases and the Sway Control applied trailer brakes half way through the curves, I had not detected the sway. It's an interesting sensation towing when the trailer brakes are automatically applied, but thankful I had the sway control installed.

 

 

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Bill

LE2 #75 Tundra

 

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We use an electronic sway control without WDH. The Hayes Sway Control detected and applied trailer brakes in two sway event situations (that I’m aware of) when I was towing down a mountain too fast in both cases and the Sway Control applied trailer brakes half way through the curves, I had not detected the sway. It’s an interesting sensation towing when the trailer brakes are automatically applied, but thankful I had the sway control installed.

 

I like getting a report on the electronic sway control unit. Thanks.  This seems like a great safety feature to me.  It should have a much greater ability to control sway than a simple friction device.  It's invisble to the operator and it doesn't require any special hookup once installed.

 

Does it have the ability to apply the trailer brakes independently on the right or left side?  Not that I think it's necessary, or even useful, but just wondering.

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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We just upgraded from a Tundra to a GMC 2500 for increased payload capacity. I wanted to get rid of our tonneau cover and get a topper for the bed (so we can haul more stuff we will probably never use ?). We were already slightly over the GVWR of the Tundra when loaded for long trips.

 

I have used the Anderdson on both trucks and well as our previous camper (Escape that had a heavier tongue weight). I use it more to smooth out the ride then for weight distribution. I feel it is a more comfortable ride with less bounce/bobbing between the truck and trailer.

 

There is a little learning curve to the Anderson but its really no big deal once you understand how it works. If your not straight backing up to it you can just loosen the chains then retighten after you get straighten out. There is also a trick of backing up a little past the hitch without hooking up then connecting the whale tail then pulling forward and hitching.

 

I dont believe any other WD will work with the Oliver because of the length of the chains and where they attach to the frame.

 

Be careful with add on electric sway devices if your truck has electric sway control built in. Our truck warns not to use them.

 

Just my 2 cents and everyone has there own comfort level of how they perfer to tow.

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ABNBNSPEALARCOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMSMOMTNENHNMNYNCOHOKPARISCSDTNTXUTVTVAWVWYmed.jpg

 

Tom & Cheryl 

LE II #305

2018 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax

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We use the Andersen hitch on our Elite II and like it.  We tow with a GMC Yukon, so the springs are soft and the ride comfortable.   I tried and continue to use  a center mount method for installing the chain anchors onto the center spar of the trailer, which I think is better than the factory install.  Easier to adjust the chains, mounted to the strongest piece of aluminum in the frame, and with a fair lead angle.  My install is buried somewhere in an old thread.  John Davies has also used this mounting method, and done and posted a much better description and set of pictures.

 

We picked up our Ollie before installing the Andersen hitch.  So, we had the experience of a comparison (albeit a statistically invalid sample of one).  The trailer imparts less “bounce” and side-to-side tug to the back end of the Yukon with the hitch installed.  We never experienced sway with or without the hitch, but take comfort that the friction cone is bleeding energy out of any developing sway situation.  I fully load up the chains and believe that the extra weight on the front wheels of the Yukon ensures solid steering in bouncy situations where they might otherwise unweight.

 

Like anything that requires care and attention, there is a learning curve in hooking up with the Andersen hitch.  But after a few times you get the hang of it and the hookup is easy.

 

I think the folks who tow with heavy full size pickups are right (for them) when they say the Anderson hitch isn’t really necessary.  And the Ollie Elite II certainly has a reputation for being well mannered when being towed.  But for we lesser mortals, with vehicles closer to the limit, it is a nice bit of comfort.

 

Best regards, John Shkor, SailorsAshore

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wondering (wandering off topic again) :)  if other compact and 1/2 ton pickup truck operator's manuals also state when towing anything over 2000 pounds, a sway device is required?  The 2016 5.7L Tundra and our 2003 2.4L Tacoma operator's manuals both state this. This can impact towing many trailers under 5000 pounds, too.

 

Be careful with add on electric sway devices if your truck has electric sway control built in. Our truck warns not to use them.

 

Tom,

 

Agree,  always check with manufacturer to learn if the electronic Sway Control is compatible with tow vehicle being used.

 

 

Does it have the ability to apply the trailer brakes independently on the right or left side? Not that I think it’s necessary, or even useful, but just wondering.

 

John,

 

Here's what Hayes website states:

 

"Upon detection of sway, unit provides simultaneous braking to all trailer brakes on 1 to 4 axle trailers"

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Bill

LE2 #75 Tundra

 

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Brakes for 7 pin connectors use a common wire (blue) for left and right brakes (returned through ground). It would be interesting to see if an 8th wire for independent control of the brakes to staighten the trailer out in a sway situation would be much better than simultaneously applying brakes on both sides.

2018 LE2 STD #365


2018 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax 4x4

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I appreciate the input that I received on my question on concerning WDH. It caused me to do some additional research on GMC 2500 trucks.  It appears that they have a system called Stabilitrak with Trailer Sway Control. I Again, thanks very much on the input! It is appreciated!

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Brakes for 7 pin connectors use a common wire (blue) for left and right brakes (returned through ground). It would be interesting to see if an 8th wire for independent control of the brakes to staighten the trailer out in a sway situation would be much better than simultaneously applying brakes on both sides.

 

Tuson Sway Control

 

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Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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