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Hello Forum, I'm new here - taking delivery of an LE II in April 2019.  I've sent this question to Andersen (and Oliver) and have never received an answer from either.  I'd welcome your comments.

 

It is my understanding that when the Andersen WD hitch is properly adjusted (TV and trailer in-line on a flat surface) the chains and will be in reasonable tension, and the neoprene bushings will be compressed a bit. That would distribute some weight from the rear axle to the front axle of the TV, and some weight onto the trailer axle. Perfect.

 

My question has to do with whether there is a limitation on the departure angle between the TV and trailer. In other words, what happens when the road conditions require the TV or the trailer to begin a significant incline (say 10-15 degrees) ahead of the other. For example, I will need to back the trailer up into my driveway (which is at about a 6 degree incline from the road), and with the crown of the road, the worst case position may be more like 10 degrees. This could also happen at a campsite, or even pulling into a gas station, etc. In my mind, a departure angle of 10 degrees or more would not be taken up by the compression of the neoprene bushings of the Andersen hitch because they just wouldn't have enough elasticity.

 

I'm wondering whether there is a limit on the departure angel (between TV and trailer) that if exceeded would result in too much stress on the components of the Andersen hitch, the TV hitch, and/or the frame of the trailer.  Should I be ready to loosen/remove the chains of the Andersen hitch at some maximum departure angle? If so, what is that angle?


Looking forward to years of exploring in our 2019 LE II, pulling with an F150, V8, 3.73 rear, 4x4 Off Road, tow package . . . All I need to do is retire first!  Matthew   <><

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Should I be ready to loosen/remove the chains of the Andersen hitch at some maximum departure angle? If so, what is that angle?

 

Welcome to the Forum!

 

I don’t think anyone can really answer that question. I used to worry about over stressing the hitch parts, but in reality after 6000 miles with the Anderson, I don’t think you will hurt anything while driving straight on a smooth surface. I have gone up a very short steep approach to a parking lot from the street that scared me, afterwards. The back of the trailer frame smashed hard into the pavement, but nothing else happened. When you do this, the hitch tries to lift the back wheels of the tow vehicle off the ground. If your TV has limited rear wheel travel and is not full time AWD, you may get tire spin or get stuck. (This is why a guy with a boat and an equalizing hitch takes the bars off before retrieving his boat, so he doesn’t get stuck on a slick steep ramp.)

 

I don’t worry about normal driving with the Andersen...But I do worry about going onto really uneven ground where the trailer will twist east and the TV will go west at the same time. Because the ball wears so weirdly due to the heavy forward load of the chains, you end up with a small canyon worn into the otherwise smooth ball. When you get crossed up in an unplowed field, the coupler will snap out of that groove with a bang and do the same when it pops back in.

 

This is disconcerting and I don’t think it is at all good for the coupler. With the chains loosened up the coupler can move around on the top part of the ball with minimal stress.

 

My policy is to loosen the nuts so that there is zero compression on the bushings when venturing into this sort of situation. The trailer and hitch seem much happier.

 

Ultimately I hope to get rid of the Andersen entirely by shifting my cargo tray to the back of the trailer to lighten the tongue enough to just use a dead weight offroad hitch like member “overland” has..... Carrying a ton of weight up front just makes the Andersen situation worse since the chains have to be much tighter.

 

To those who must use an Andersen, I don’t recomment buying the tongue cargo tray for this reason. I think it is not a good combination....

 

Did this help?

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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mdernier, welcome to the forum. From your post, it’s apparent you’ve been doing a lot of prospective and intelligent thinking about your future Oliver, particularly the aspect of towing. That is wise and fun to do. You are going to have the time of your life come April and it will be here before you know it.

 

Your profile does not have any information listed about you or any potential tow vehicle you plan to use. Do you actually need the Andersen system? If your tow vehicle is big enough, it is unnecessary. Personally, I’ve never seen the need for it in ten years of towing two different Oliver’s with four different vehicles.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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"My policy is to loosen the nuts so that there is zero compression on the bushings when venturing into this sort of situation. The trailer and hitch seem much happier."

 

Yes, your post is very helpful.  Thank you.  Everything that you say makes perfect sense.  I believe that my policy will be the same as yours - its the only one available with the Andersen Hitch that I can think of.

 

Thanks again . . .

 

Matthew  <><


Looking forward to years of exploring in our 2019 LE II, pulling with an F150, V8, 3.73 rear, 4x4 Off Road, tow package . . . All I need to do is retire first!  Matthew   <><

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You are going to have the time of your life come April and it will be here before you know it.

 

I'm sure looking forward to it!

 

My TV is an F150, V8 with a 3.73 rear.  If I go by the vehicle and hitch ratings, I can tow 11,300 lb with a weight distributing hitch (such as the Andersen), but only 5000 lb with a weight bearing hitch.  I'm figuring my 2019 LE II will be at most 6000 lb WET.  Well, those are the theoretical vehicle and hitch ratings.  If the boys and girls over at Ford did their jobs properly, there should be plenty of engineering margin in the numbers - enough so that in real life I could probably tow the LE II without the Andersen.  Nevertheless, I'll roll with the WDH for the added safety.

 

Thanks for your post.


Looking forward to years of exploring in our 2019 LE II, pulling with an F150, V8, 3.73 rear, 4x4 Off Road, tow package . . . All I need to do is retire first!  Matthew   <><

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My plan is the same as yours.  I have a Ford Expedition EL and the towing limit and tongue weight limit without a weight distribution hitch are right at the limit for a loaded Elite II trailer, so I'm going to get the Andersen hitch just to be safe.   I will probably loosen up the nuts in certain situations as mentioned if I get to a big departure angle point.

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2019 Elite II - Hull #461


Tow Vehicle: 2019 Nissan Armada. 

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Hmm... a small 12v dc motor running through a worm gear reduction system to drive a hex socket on the nut on the chain tensioning of the Andersen hitch....  worm gear system used since it can't be back-driven, no chance of the nuts loosening on their own.....one system on each chain....Being able to adjust the tension of the weight distribution chains from inside the tow vehicle....  sounds like a project for one of the forum members here....

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2019 Elite II - Hull #461


Tow Vehicle: 2019 Nissan Armada. 

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Isn't there a rule that states that the person who first has the idea is the person that gets to design and install the idea?  Sounds like a busy winter for FrankC to me.

 

Bill

 

p.s.  While I understand the problem, there hasn't been a single instance in the last four years where I've felt I was anywhere near an angle that would require me to do anything with the Andersen.  Once I got the "new" Andersen it has performed without any issues at all and is quiet too.

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

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The Andersen Hitch is an interesting piece of kit. Some hate it, some don’t. I got it because I towed with a 2012 Tacoma for the first six months. When I got my Ram 1500 I continued using it. I got it set up and never change the tension when putting it on or taking it off, I just check to ensure the same number of threads are always showing at the bushings. I check the connection links on the chains, they can loosen. Other than that, I keep it clean and lubed and it works like a charm. We’ve had a few instances of steep grade where there was a difference between the truck and trailer but the Andersen handled it fine. NOTE: I don’t do any extreme off-roading. Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Thank you for the reply.  I'm hopeful to have the same experience, although I'll bet loosening the Andersen before pulling up my driveway will be on my standard operating procedures list.  : )   "New" Andersen?

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Looking forward to years of exploring in our 2019 LE II, pulling with an F150, V8, 3.73 rear, 4x4 Off Road, tow package . . . All I need to do is retire first!  Matthew   <><

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"New" Andersen would only be understood by those of us that have had it for over two or three years.  The "old" Andersen looked to be not much different, but, the angle of the "cone" on the hitch ball was different and (for some) would cause the assembly to make a bunch of noise.  Andersen redesigned this and now only sells this "new" design.  I've not heard any complaints about it since the redesign.

 

Bill

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

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I still have the old design. It’s working fine, but Bill says the new hitch is better and it’s only $100 to upgrade so I might make the change. I’m on my second cone, was getting a lot of groaning on the first. It’s been about 18 months with the second cone and no noise. I do use a couple drops of lube periodically as recommended by Andersen. Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Welcome! You said that you think your Oliver will weigh 6,000 pounds, I think that is a fair average fully loaded weight. That equals a tongue weight of 600 pounds (this should be weighed to verify). What does your owners manual say? Most half ton pickups require a weight distribution hitch for a tongue weight of 500 pounds and over. Be sure that you don’t exceed the rear axle weight rating or your tire weight rating. That weight would be the tongue weight plus everything loaded in your truck, everything. With a half ton truck you will more than likely be required by the manufacturer to use the weight distribution hitch. I used the Anderson hitch with my previous truck and would loosen the chains when pulling or backing up a steep hill. Just like John, I also feel like the system would be over stressed.


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I do use a couple drops of lube periodically as recommended by Andersen.

This is the first I have heard of this. I was under the impression you should not lube since most lubricants attract (even more) dust. Mine groans loudly for a couple of days after a wash or rainfall, otherwise it is quiet.

 

Can you elaborate please?

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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What does your owners manual say?

 

The vehicle and hitch ratings say that I can tow 11,300 lb with a weight distributing hitch (such as the Andersen), but only 5000 lb with a weight bearing hitch.  No doubt the axle limits are driving the difference in towing capacity with and without the WDH.  I've also got my eye on the payload rating, GVWRs, and GCVWR.  With a WDH, the payload is the limiting factor in my set up.


Looking forward to years of exploring in our 2019 LE II, pulling with an F150, V8, 3.73 rear, 4x4 Off Road, tow package . . . All I need to do is retire first!  Matthew   <><

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I suspect that the 5000lb is a reverse calculation from the tongue weight limit; i.e., they don't want people doing what John D is by loading up the rear of their trailers just to get the tongue weight down.

 

As for departure angle, there's no limit other than the elastic limits of aluminum and steel.  To find your limit, just try different inclines until you bend your frame, then back off slightly.  ;)

 

(actually I think you'd bust a few welds before bending the frame - a worthy experiment either way)

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Speaking of the non-WD tongue weight limit, it seems to be an industry standard for ½ ton trucks rather than anything that's been calculated for specific models.  That is, if it were calculated individually, you'd expect to see differences between brands, wheelbases, etc.  Class IV hitches are supposed to be able to handle at least 1,000lbs tongue weight, so that's not the limiting factor either.

 

I'd love to know where that number came from.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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John - Like Mike, I too was advised to put a couple of drops of light oil around the "cone".  In fact, Andersen even sent me a sample bottle of Boeshield "T-9" to try before I finally gave up and got the "new" Andersen.  I was told by Andersen's Oliver rep that they use the "T-9" during assembly and it wouldn't have any noticeable effect on the anti-sway properties of the hitch.  That doesn't calculate well in my brain, but, with anti-sway on my truck plus the "new" Andersen I simply don't worry about it anymore.

 

Bill

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

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There are differences between brands and even between different same brand models depending on what options you have. My last truck had a little yellow sticker in the door jamb stating that the weight rating had been reduced by seven pounds due to some option that I had ordered. All this is included in the fine print and is legally covered in the term “properly equipped “ as noted in the sales literature. If your tow vehicle is overloaded in some way and there’s an accident I’m guessing that there could be additional legal consequences. Not the least of which, one or all involved insurance companies denying compensation. GVWR is important but you need to still keep an eye on all the other ratings as well. Someone once explained to me that if you are getting close to any one of the weight ratings, you’re probably over on at least one other one. Good rule of thumb. On my last truck (Tundra) the trailer weight was within specs, the GVWR was within specs, front axle weight rating was within specs as well. The trailer tongue weight was high (675 lbs) and I had the weight distribution part of my hitch cranked down (maybe not to its max) and I was over the rear axle weight rating by about 200 lbs. and close to the tire weight rating as well. Of course that was not only the tongue weight but also the stuff in the truck bed that contributed to the total weight. Could I have gotten 200-300 pounds additional weight distribution effectiveness out of the Andersen equipment, I don’t know? The whole setup felt overly stressed to me and too close to maximum numbers for my comfort level. Maybe not a problem on nice smooth and flat highway surfaces but we like to boondock a lot in areas not considered RV resorts. As a result, I need to take certain extra things just in case. General observations about the Andersen hitch. It is advertised as a two in one hitch, weight distribution and anti sway. It is interesting to note the design. The tapered ball shank being forced into a matching tapered housing (plastic liner between them) due to tongue weight, creates the “anti sway” feature. The chains pulling on the ball shank through the urethane “springs” creates the weight distribution feature. Note that as you pull on the ball shank by way of the urethane springs, chain and, whale tail the ball shank tends to tilt in the housing. The top moving forward and bottom being pulled rearward. The harder you crank down on the adjusting nuts and compress the urethane springs to create a better weight distribution effect the more the ball shank tries to tilt. By the very definition of a weight distribution hitch, it lifts the rear of the tow vehicle thus moving weight from the rear axle and transferring it to the front axle. This basically eliminates the anti sway feature and vice versa. The more tongue force on the ball shank in order to gain maximum anti sway effectiveness the less weight distribution will be achieved. You can either achieve good anti sway effectiveness or good weight distribution effectiveness or a mediocre combination of both. If you can achieve good anti sway effectiveness you may not be able to achieve the advertised maximum weight distribution rating. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t completely eliminate my rear axle over load situation? I don’t know this as fact because I haven’t measured any of the forces in the assembly. Comments?


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I do use a couple drops of lube periodically as recommended by Andersen.

 

This is the first I have heard of this. I was under the impression you should not lube since most lubricants attract (even more) dust. Mine groans loudly for a couple of days after a wash or rainfall, otherwise it is quiet.

 

Can you elaborate please?

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

When my original hitch started groaning loudly Andersen sent me a new sleeve. I couldn’t separate the hitch to get the old sleeve out, so they sent me a whole new assembly along with a small bottle of Boeshield T-9. I was told to put a couple of drops of the lube on the top of the sleeve periodically. I have been doing this for a couple of years and don’t have any groan. BTW, everything Andersen sent me was at no cost to me. I did have to return my old hitch when they sent me a new one, but it was their expense. Good customer service. Mike

 


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpg

 

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Moutainoliver -

 

I suspect that you have not received any replies to your last post because virtually any comments would be only a matter of opinion since I doubt that most of us have any testing equipment for these types of things.  I would think that in theory you are correct, however, given the tolerances involved and the forces involved, at what point does the "tilt" you describe actually make a real world difference let alone actually sacrifice weight distribution versus anti-sway in any meaningful way?  It is obvious (to me) that the Andersen does do what it is supposed to do with regards to weight distribution (and there is less noticeable "bounce" or "porpoiseing" as compared to previous weight distribution systems that I've used) since it is easy to measure the effect of the distribution.  But  since I've never been able to get the Oliver to sway (with or without the Andersen) I really can't tell how well the anti-sway part of the system works or even if it works at all.

 

When I had the "old" Andersen I replaced the friction cone three times trying to get it to stop making noise.  Each time I inspected the old friction cone I removed and while there was some dirt (as has been reported by others) there were no signs of wear or distortion in either the cone or the ball sleeve or housing.  Maybe I simply had not used it long enough for this type of distortion to be noticeable or maybe my eye just didn't see it (certainly I didn't measure for it).

 

Bottom line is that I suspect that Overland is correct in his comments about finding the limits of the departure angle - the frame would bend or the welds (either on the Oliver or the brackets that hold the Andersen to the frame to the Oliver) would break/bend before the ball cone or Andersen housing would give way.  Again, as Overland comments, a worthy experiment - as long it is with someone else's Oliver and not mine.

 

Bill


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

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John D:

 

About 98% of the time I am in lockstep with you.  However, I don't agree with your 2015 recommendation not to purchase the front storage box if using the Anderson.  Like you, I pull with a SUV and don't want fuel for the generator inside either Oliver or my TV.  For this, and carrying dunage and other items that seem to attract mud, the box is very useful.  I do agree with you on the two other major points.

 

A.  First that front box owners should not put a ton of weight in it.  I typically carry about 60 pounds there.  I would not be concerned with up to say a hundred or so pounds or so.

 

B.  Secondly backing off the Anderson tension nuts before traversing really radical terrain is a sound and prudent idea.

 

On this second point, I wonder if any Ollie owner has ever destroyed/damaged their trailer or Anderson by high angle of approach/departure?  If so, any idea which component of the system proved to be the "Weak Link"?  I going to guess the mounting hardware on the tongue under the propane tanks would fail first.  Your thoughts?

 

Geronimo John

 

 


Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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I realize that my original post should have been entered in the “Towing” topic category of the forum.  Is it possible for one of the Administrators of this forum move this string over to “Towing”?  I received a detailed response to my original post from Sage at Andersen, and I’ll share it with the forum (here) or just after the string moves to the more relevant topic area


Looking forward to years of exploring in our 2019 LE II, pulling with an F150, V8, 3.73 rear, 4x4 Off Road, tow package . . . All I need to do is retire first!  Matthew   <><

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mdernier  -

 

Got you moved!

 

Bill

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

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Well, after reading through some other posts here on the "Towing an Oliver" category, I found Sage's email (he works for Andersen I believe) and submitted my original post to him.  I was happy to receive his reply, which I'll paste here . . .

 

Hi Matthew,

 

Your line of thought is correct for any WD hitch. There's a point when the TV rear wheels can be lifted off the ground or something damaging can happen. Most WD manufacturers recommend releaving the tension or removing bars before towing in rough terrain or unusual inclines.

 

We actually changed the design of our triangle plate a couple years ago to allow for it to pivot up and down on uneven surfaces. Our old style didn't pivot and driveways like yours or a steep hill over some railroad tracks would cause our triangle plate to bend. I have seen a couple of our new style bend but it is a much smaller percentage and usually on very large trailers. I do not know of any published departure angle for our hitch, but logic says when you back into your driveway and the rear of your trailer is dragging on the ground that would be a great time to loosen the chains to prevent unnecessary dammage to the other end. If you are crossing a small steep hill and the tongue jack is going to drag  probably loosen the chains. We do have a lifetime warranty on this product so let us know if you ever do have an issue.

 

Hope this helps a little bit. Congratulations on your Oliver, they are a fantastic trailer.

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Looking forward to years of exploring in our 2019 LE II, pulling with an F150, V8, 3.73 rear, 4x4 Off Road, tow package . . . All I need to do is retire first!  Matthew   <><

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