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Trainman

Hooking up and Unhooking the Anderson

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We pickup up our new Oliver on July 8th, we camped all the way back to FT. Worth, Texas and got home just before the storm hit in Louisiana yesterday. I installed the Anderson at Davy Crockett State Park the next morning, had done all my homework, including getting the extra chain and quick chain links, thanks again to the forum members for all there help in advance.  The install was very easy and took about 1 hour to do the job, including all adjustments, got it right the first time. My question is, I found that raising the trailer wile hooked to the hitch was the easiest way to hook up and unhook the triangle plate, thus not having to adjust the nuts every time, is this way of hooking up and unhooking acceptable.

 

trainman


Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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My question is, I found that raising the trailer wile hooked to the hitch was the easiest way to hook up and unhook the triangle plate, thus not having to adjust the nuts every time, is this way of hooking up and unhooking acceptable.

 

trainman

 

Yes, that is how most folks do it. It’s how the service guys at Oliver do it, too.  Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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You have to watch that you don't raise the trailer too high.  If you do, the ball shaft will come loose from the bushing and pop up enough to jam the attachment point of the triangle against ball housing and make it impossible to remove the pin.

 

I have been able to get it just right about 50% of the time.


Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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You just raise it enough to have a little slack in the chains. I haven’t had an issue with the ball popping out. Maybe the new ones need some time to seat?


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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You just raise it enough to have a little slack in the chains. I haven’t had an issue with the ball popping out. Maybe the new ones need some time to seat?


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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My new Anderson hitch has a collar around the ball at the top with screws to hold the collar on, I was thinking that this collar stops the ball from coming out of its base. Is this the new design of the Anderson, or is it something else.

 

 

 

trainman


Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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Trainman,

 

It is the new design.  I contacted Archie at Andersen and questioned him.  He stated it was normal and I should only raise the tongue enough to take the weight off of the hitch and no more.

 

For me, that is not enough to be able to remove the triangle and I have to loosen the chains .  As you know that is not the most convenient.

 

Andrew


Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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Well with 40 links of chain it does become heavy and makes it harder to stretch the chains. I have found that getting my wife to lift the chains in the middle can really help and gives me the extra length I need to get the wale tale off, or on the hitch ball when unhooking, or hooking up.  Since I using a 1500 Ram I'm assuming that the lift weight on the back of the truck and the way it's sprung from the factory the lifting weight would be less then say a 2500 Ram or equal size truck.  I would sure like to know how much weight is being lifted when doing it this way on the trailer tongue jack.

 

 

 

trainman


Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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How tight you have the chains determines if lifting the ball will give you enough slack. If they are tight as a steel bar you probably will have to reduce the tension. It’s simple geometry .... the slack has to be available. I am now setting the nuts to just remove slack when level, and I don’t usually need to fuss with the nuts.

 

Keep a little grease between the washers and nuts. That makes adjusting easier.

 

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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Well with 40 links of chain it does become heavy and makes it harder to stretch the chains. I have found that getting my wife to lift the chains in the middle can really help and gives me the extra length I need to get the wale tale off, or on the hitch ball when unhooking, or hooking up.

 

Hang a large 12” bungee cord over the tongue behind the coupler to support the chain weight. It can stay there all the time, either towing or parked.

 

Lighten the tension. With your full sized pickup truck it does’t have to be super tight like for a shorter SUV. Experiment!

 

Get a tongue weight scale and use it. If your Ollie tongue is 500 pounds you may be able to use zero tension. If it is 700 or more you need to reef down hard on the chains.

 

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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To my fellow Andersen users:

 

I am a fan of the Andersen WD hitch, and believes it provides both safety and ease of towing to a number of us.   But I also believe there is a design defect in the new model, one with a simple fix, and can't understand why Andersen hasn't yet taken care of it.  I too like to raise the hitch assembly with the trailer tongue jack to put slack in the tension chains and enable easy installation or removal of the whale tail.  And occasionally the ball shaft will "pop up" in its cone, pinching the pin if the whale tale is installed, or preventing the pin from going in if not.  Then I have a real problem.  I regard Andersen's semi-obvious advice to "don't lift the tow vehicle too much" as a bit silly, as none of us can tell beforehand when the ball shaft is going to lift up.  We are engaging in what has become an operationally accepted practice, and the design should be such that the pop up/pinching problem should not occur.

 

As I understand the hitch instructions it is the "cir-clip" on the underside of the ball shaft that is supposed to keep the ball shaft from coming out.  The cir-clip in its groove is strong enough to keep the hitch from coming out even when we use the tongue jack to lift up the hitch assembly to generate slack in the chains.  However, when the ball shaft does pop up, the cir-clip is forced to the bottom of its groove, and then the top of the whale tail collar (or retaining lugs on one variant) is pinched against the cir-clip with real force.  The groove on the shaft of my unit is about twice as wide as the thickness of the cir-clip, allowing it to be pushed down when the ball shaft pops up.

 

The problem as I see it is that Andersen is manufacturing the new model system with too little clearance between the top of the whale tail and the groove for the cir-clip.  The fix as I see it would be to have an additional 1-2 mm clearance between the groove for the cir-clip and the top of the whale tail when mounted.  Either relocate the hole for the mounting pin a bit lower on the shaft, or reduce the height of the whale tail collar slightly to provide more clearance.  Then it wouldn't pinch even when the ball shaft has popped up in its cone.  Andersen should recognize the problem for what it is, and fix it.

 

I have admired Andersen's efforts over time to perfect their design, and would like to see them fix this current problem some users are experiencing.   Hopefully they will.

 

John Shkor,  SailorsAshore

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John, have you shared your analysis with Andersen?  It would be interesting to see if they do anything with it. I think I’ll hold off upgrading my old setup to see if this issue develops any further. Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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John,

 

Very well put and I agree 100%!

 

I would take this on myself but, I have been so unimpressed with Andersen's customer service, I can't stomach attempting to get through to them again.

 

Please push your point a view on to Anderson and let them know a number of Oliver owners feel the same way.

 

You may try Spencer at Andersen, he seems like he cares.

 

Thank you,

 

Andrew


Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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As a non Anderson user, I have to say that I’ve been totally bewildered by the number of Anderson related topics lately.  Is there anyone who actually likes these things?

 

Anyone want to get together to design a WD hitch that not only works with Ollies but also, well, works?

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Mike:

 

I will definitely contact Anderson about this issue, once we get home.  On the road now and comms sometimes difficult.  I have always gotten great customer support from Andersen and expect a satisfactory outcome.

 

Best regards,

John Shkor,  SailorsAshore

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As a non Anderson user, I have to say that I’ve been totally bewildered by the number of Anderson related topics lately. Is there anyone who actually likes these things?

 

Anyone want to get together to design a WD hitch that not only works with Ollies but also, well, works?

 

 

Just to clarify my position, a little background.  Our Toyota Land Cruiser requires a weight distributing hitch for the load of a LEII.  The Oliver is our first RV, Trailer or camper we have owned.  We have rented a class C before and that helped with the decision of what I wanted to own.

 

I started out wanting an Airstream after seeing a vintage 16 footer that was probably a Bambi, in a camp ground in Northern California in 2001.  It was as shiny as a mirror and was pulled by a red 1954 Ford F-100 and that set the hook.  I watched Airstream's both vintage and newer and never found anything I could afford without getting divorced, as my wife wanted absolutely nothing to do with camping after about 1980.  She was quite comfortable staying in cabins in National Parks or hotels nearby.  We visited about 70 of the properties within the National Park System in that fashion and she was quite comfortable with that arrangement.  So I faced an uphill battle in my desire to purchase my own motel room.

 

I saw my first Casita in 2005 while visiting my mother in Ottawa, IL.  After talking with the owner, I set off in a different direction, fiberglass.  And although the price point was within reach, I still struggled getting approval from the WAR department.  So I kept looking and dreaming and stumbled onto Oliver's shortly before Chris and Cherie of technomadia fame were upgrading from a TAB Trailer to an Oliver Elite and that really lit my ?.  I started following Oliver’s from afar and remember the red and black Elite's being offered for sale in Quartzite and then production stopped and Oliver's were very, very scarce.

 

Fast forward to 2014 and Oliver's were back in production and then Krunch and I met Mountianborn at a rest area north of Tampa in 2015.  Larry gave me a great tour of the EliteII and Krunch showed her displeasure by staying in the car.  Then in 2016, we stopped by Hohenwald on our way back from buying the Land Cruiser in Kentucky and Krunch and I visited the sales office and the factory.  We had turned the corner, my persistence was beginning to pay off and my plans were coming together.

 

I volunteered for early retirement in November 2017, leaving 5 months earlier than planned and immediately found a 2017 LEII for sale.  I ignored it for a month as my dream was to order my own and I was waiting until the first of the year.  In December I talked Krunch into going to Georgia just to look.  Of course we bought it and went back in January to pick it up.

 

Now that I have made a long story longer, let's talk about the Andersen.  I knew I needed a weight distributing hitch prior to buying the Land Cruiser as a tow vehicle.  I ordered an Andersen from Amazon, saw a couple of postings about the center frame connection and also saw it in Andersen's installation guide.  Using information from JD's center frame how-to, I picked up the additional truckers chain and miscellaneous hardware needed.  We put the hitch together in a parking lot after picking up the Ollie and headed home.  We stopped  about 50 miles down the road and tightened things up and it’s been all good ever since.  Sure, it is sometimes difficult to connect or disconnect.  Andersen's YouTube videos have helped with that aspect.  Sometimes I have to throw a tarp down and loosen or tighten up the nuts, no big deal.  And I am sure that sometime in the future, I will have change a tire on my TV or the Ollie while parked on the side of the road and it won’t be fun.  But when we get to the next camping spot, it will be forgotten.  Then the first cone made some noise and Andersen sent me a new and improved one, no questions asked and no charge.  I have purchased other Andersen products and always felt like they have value.  I gave the Andersen rep's that attended the 2019 OTT rally a locking drawbar pin that I could not unlock anymore and a month later a new one was at the house.

 

One thing I have discovered in my limited RVing experience is that it is a participation sport.  Sure we could all go to a lodge somewhere and have someone else light the campfire fire, but who, here on this forum does that?

 

There may be better options than the Andersen weight distributing hitch, but I’m not looking for it.  I have to have one and I am quite happy with mine.

 

Sorry to take up so much of your time, but you asked.

 

Mike

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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As a non Anderson user, I have to say that I’ve been totally bewildered by the number of Anderson related topics lately. Is there anyone who actually likes these things?

 

I like my Andersen. We were towing our Elite II with a 2012 Tacoma in the beginning so I got the factory installed Andersen. There was a learning curve, but once I got the hang of it it’s been pretty smooth sailing. When I got the 1500 I decided to just keep using it.  We’re just shy of 45K miles with it and unless I get a bigger truck I’ll keep using it. I’ve also been impressed with their customer service. Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpg

 

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Our Toyota Land Cruiser requires a weight distributing hitch for the load of a LEII. .

 

Mike, have you ever seen that in writing? The Owners Manual for my ‘13 does not say this but it does specify a max TW of 850 pounds, and requires a sway control for a heavier trailer. OTH the 200 needs the jounce control of the Andersen, definitely.  But if your tongue weight is low, around 500 pounds AND you have airbags so you can level the back (and adjust for cargo weight) you don’t need the WD feature of the Andersen, and you can just snug up the chains to remove slack. They will still do their job but not bind up the connection to your truck or wear the ball as badly.

 

With a heavy tongue you need to crank down on the nuts.

 

This is with my new bigger 2 5/16” coupler and ball, lowered one hole in the mount, 10 psi in the bags, 500 pounds TW, and NO tension on the chains...it tows great and IMHO looks terrific. I do have 33 inch LT tires on the 200 so a stock truck will be an inch lower.

 

565BB721-A88B-4853-A8EB-0C650FEA26C8.thumb.jpeg.f779d73db1e5970dbc3682100a98f7b8.jpeg

 

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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JD,

 

This picture is from my 2014 Land Cruiser manual.

 

[attachment file=291D2362-F26Aattachment-file181974]

 

Now as I explained, I do not have as much RVING experience as most people on this forum, but as a young man, I was a member of IUOE Local 925.  As an apprentice and journeyman Operating Engineer I had the opportunity to lift, haul and drive some very heavy loads.  Does this apply to towing an Oliver?  A little bit in my opinion, because I did learn quite a bit about safe working loads.  It's always safer to error on the side of caution.

 

I believe the circled statement means my LEII, which has a factory sticker weight of 5180 lbs would exceed Toyota's requirement even when empty and with Krunch's traveling wardrobe, ? it's definitely a need.

 

Mike

 

 

968C35CD-1641-408A-8DFE-0DB639FECCAA.thumb.jpeg.47f132383c8d615c89c00be4b9262928.jpeg

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Mike, thanks, that info is definitely missing from my ‘13 manual, and they also revised the max tow limit down a little from the 8300 listed for the ‘13. Mine says a sway control is required if the trailer is over 4409 lbs, yours says 2000. I wonder what changed, or if the lawyers got involved .... ?

 

BTW the 200 is a brute tank, the frame is fully boxed high tensile steel and 20% stronger than the Tundra’s. The body panels are thick high tensile steel too. The only concern with cargo and rear axle loading is the soft factory springs and the P rated squooshy tires. These trucks get really loaded down with overlanding gear and offroad armor and bumpers, and as long as the springs and tires are beefed up, no worries Mate.....

 

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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I have the same problem!  Recently the ball shaft has started to move slightly up out of the ball housing when I take weight off the ball with the trailer's support leg jack. This is when I am unhooking the trailer or hooking it up and want to put slack in the weight distribution chains. This movement of the ball pinches the pin against the ball housing so that it cannot be removed to take off the tension plate. As a work-around I am removing the shackle pins instead. Then I put force back on the ball with the trailer jack down, the ball moves back down slightly in the housing and the pin can be removed. I am concerned that this is not normal, the spring clip seems to pop out when the ball is lifted and snaps back in when downward force is applied. There is a load popping noise when this happens. Overall, I think the Anderson design makes it quite fussy to hitch and unhitch, especially if you are in a tight camping space. Now this ball movement issue makes it even more fussy.

 

Carl Agee

 

Elite-1

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I have the same problem! Recently the ball shaft has started to move slightly up out of the ball housing when I take weight off the ball with the trailer’s support leg jack. This is when I am unhooking the trailer or hooking it up and want to put slack in the weight distribution chains. This movement of the ball pinches the pin against the ball housing so that it cannot be removed to take off the tension plate. As a work-around I am removing the shackle pins instead.

 

Carl Agee

 

Elite-1

 

 

I can understand the coupler pulling up the ball and cone a little bit if the locking collar was not released and you were actually lifting the TV with the trailer while trying to create slack in the chains while unhooking.  I don’t understand how that could happen while hooking up unless you have actually connected the the coupler and ball and are again lifting the TV with the trailer to create slack in the chains.

 

There is a good video on YouTube showing how to connect a shackle to the Whale Tail plate if one of the chains is long enough to connect and the other is too short.  It allows the trailer to pull the Whale Tail straight enough to allow the short chain to be connected.

 

The method best for me is as follows:

 

1.  Chock the wheels on both sides of the trailer

 

2.  Unlatch the coupler

 

3.  Use the front jack to raise the coupler off of the ball and if the chains are still too tight, keep raising the coupler enough to allow the TV to be backed up a couple of inches.

 

4.  The chains should now have enough slack for easy removal of the Whale Tail or the shackles.

 

5.  Level the trailer as you normally do.

 

If you use this procedure to hook up, be sure to leave the chocks in place and raise the rear jacks before lifting the trailer on the front jack.

 

Good luck,

 

Mike

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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That seems like a good way to go for unhitching, but I don't think it will work well with hitching unless everything is perfectly aligned. Yes, when I do it the TV comes up a few inches, otherwise you will not have enough slack to put the pin in. I saw a video where that was done, so I assumed it was fine to do so. It was fine for a while but now the ball moves up out of the collar very slightly, enough to pinch the pin so that it is unmovable. Hitching is definitely more fussy than unhitching!  I did see the video for hitching that you mention. Thanks!

 

Carl

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Carl - two things:

 

1.  There is a "snap ring" on the bottom of the ball assembly which is what stops it from pulling out of the housing when you lift the trailer/TV in order to get slack in the chains for removal/installation of the whaletail.  If that nap ring has bent or broken then the ball assembly could lift too far out of the housing causing the problem you describe.  Check that snap ring!

 

2.  You can use the "lug wrench" that Oliver gave you with the camper (or a breaker bar or virtually anything with a 5/8 inch end on it) to move the bottom end of the ball housing into the position you need for the whaletail.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Bill


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

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I line up the ball with the coupler when I am hitching up and back up to the point where the coupler would drop onto the ball if I lower the trailer.  If I cannot connect the whale tail or the shackles at that point, I raise the coupler enough for me to backup a couple more inches and try again. Generally, if the ball is under the sliding collar with the coupler open, there is enough slack to connect.  If my wife is helping, she stops me before I back into my TV, which wouldn’t be cool.  If I am by myself, I place a piece of wood on my bumper to protect the TV.

 

When you raise the coupler while connected to the ball, you are effectively reducing the distance between the whale tail and the chain mounting point on the trailer, resulting in the chains having more slack and allowing an easier connection.  Doing it without connecting to the ball has the same effect.

 

I would suggest you try it while hitching up, you might be surprised.

 

Mike


Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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