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HOW TO: Upgrade the Bulldog coupler and Andersen Hitch to 2 5/16"


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2 hours ago, BobnBeth said:

 

Good question. I appreciate you calling me on it. I want to be safe on the road but would like to avoid a WDH if prudent. I see that others with similar TV's have chosen not to install the Andersen. Are there others out there that feel the same? The Oliver is new to us, the only road experience we have is the trip home 100 miles up I-95 and it followed like a dream. We will be leaving soon for an extended trip of 2,000 miles. That being said, if we opt out on the Andersen is it necessary to replace the 2" Bulldog hitch with the 2 5/16"?

Based on some of the design inadequacies of the Anderson hitch, I would highly recommend not using it if possible. The 2" Bulldog is more than adequate for the LE2. It's one of the strongest coupler designs on the market and many including myself have be pulling heavier trailers than an Oliver with 2" Bulldog couplers for years with no issues. 

Even thought we haven't picked our Oliver up yet, many have stated very clearly that the Oliver is one of the most stable travel trailers made. Sway control is a non-issue with these trailers. With an Anderson you are really only addressing tongue weight, which is very reasonable even for a loaded Ollie.

One additional thought. Weight distribution hitches add complexity to the hitching process, and introduce stresses and limitations to maneuverability of the trailer when pulling. Maneuvering dips and rises in the road like railroad crossings, hills and dips in less improved roads like those in state and national parks and even more so in remote areas, can put extreme amounts of strain on the hitching components and vehicle and trailer frames.

There are many vehicles that won't tow an LE2 safely without a WD hitching system, but that's a compromise to live with if one doesn't want to invest in a heavier vehicle. But if you can get by without one, and your 2500 series truck should be just fine with the standard hitch, you are much better off.  

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Chris and Stacie Neuhaus Greenfield, Indiana

2021 Ford F350 7.3L Tremor (Redzilla)

LE2 #1373 - Ordered 10/21/22 - Delivered 05/10/23

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We picked up our LE II in July 2022 and have logged over 10,000 miles across the country, through the rockies, now in the Northeast. Next week we're going from Massachusetts to Key West. Our Ford F 250 without a WD hitch has been fantastic, no need for a WD hitch at all. I have a Weigh Safe hitch and we have never reached 700 pounds on the tongue. We added a (probably too) large generator to the front basket (>150 pounds) from California to Mass since the temps over the summer were exceeding 105 degrees and our plan of boondocking through the desert suggested we would need more air conditioning than the lithium batteries were able to provide, and still never hit 700 pounds on the tongue. I recommend against the Anderson (or any other) WD hitch for your 2500 until you've tried pulling without it. I doubt you'll spend the money once you've towed your Oliver. A stock 2500 is a perfect vehicle for this trailer. (IMHO)

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albert

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Albert & Terri Sterns

Paonia, Colorado

Elite II Hull #1125 Standard Floorplan / 2017 Ford F250 gas

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21 hours ago, BobnBeth said:

That being said, if we opt out on the Andersen is it necessary to replace the 2" Bulldog hitch with the 2 5/16"?

As the owner of an Elite II with a 2-5/16" hitch towed with an Andersen WD hitch, I would not recommend it.  We paid the premium to upgrade to a 2-5/16" coupler (we found no price differential between 2" ball Andersen kits and the ones with a 2-5/16" ball) precisely because we planned to tow with a 2019 Tundra, which requires the Andersen.  I am a retired attorney, so I am sensitive to the liability and insurance coverage risks incurred when NOT following truck manufacturers' requirements.  Given the experience reported by John Davies on this thread several years ago with a 2" ball/Andersen hitch combo, and the improvement to ball wear after he upgraded to a 2-5/16" ball, we felt the 2-5/16" coupler upgrade was a sensible precaution. 

Having now towed the Elite II about 2300 miles from Hohenwald to Idaho, I found a noticeable, but not severe, wear pattern on the 2-5/16" ball from the pressure applied by the Andersen.  I believe, based on John Davies' experience, that the wear would have been much more marked with a 2" ball.  Thus, the upgrade cost was worth it to us.

BUT, based on the experience of those on this forum towing with 3/4 ton pickups, if we had a Silverado 2500 instead of a Tundra, we would not have bought an Andersen WD hitch, and would not have paid the premium for the 2-5/16" coupler upgrade.  While an Andersen hitch may be recommended when towing with a 3/4 ton pickup, it is not REQUIRED as it is with our Tundra. 

And, without the Andersen WD hitch, your coupler/ball connection will not be subjected to the weight distribution force applied by the Andersen, thus you should have no abnormal ball wear issues with a 2" ball.

 

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Hull #1291

Central Idaho

2022 Elite II

Tow Vehicle:  2019 Tundra Double Cab 4x4, 5.7L with tow package

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  • 6 months later...
On 7/26/2019 at 6:01 AM, John E Davies said:

Uh oh.... Not good - a 1/2" bolt inside a 5/8" hole:

 

FYI:  I've noticed that the Bull Dog rotates UP slightly when raising the front of the trailer while attached to the TV hitch.  I've torqued the nuts to 93ft-lbs, but it still literally "pops" up about 3/16" when raising.  Not a good sign.  I'm planning to remove the Bull Dog this afternoon to inspect the holes as you've shown here....

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Art, Diane, Magnus & Oscar (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA
  • 2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca"
  • HAM call-sign:  W0ABX

 

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1 hour ago, MAX Burner said:

FYI:  I've noticed that the Bull Dog rotates UP slightly when raising the front of the trailer while attached to the TV hitch.  I've torqued the nuts to 93ft-lbs, but it still literally "pops" up about 3/16" when raising.  Not a good sign.  I'm planning to remove the Bull Dog this afternoon to inspect the holes as you've shown here....

When you fix it, be sure to put an upwards load on the front using a jack stand or the hitch ball, to take out the slack. Then tighten.

Post pics of what you find please!.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: 

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@John E Davies - We used a black Sharpie to mark the position of the Bull Dog before removing it from the aluminum box beam tongue:

IMG_7673.thumb.jpeg.af773557d1fc9a62281494b8cc6d3ad8.jpeg

The insert sleeves were in good shape.  There was slight damage on the edge of the aluminum beam above the rear hole from the Bull Dog rotating up and down, as well as wallowing of the front hole on the Bull Dog itself:

IMG_7676.thumb.jpeg.cfd31dbf93316709e275aa9d9d5c786a.jpeg

IMG_7677.thumb.jpeg.b82694622c4afa34219fdbd54fc275db.jpeg

We clean-up all the associated parts and re-assembled following John's suggestion using the jack-stand to fix the Bull Dog correctly in position prior to applying torque to the 3/4" locknuts:

IMG_7683.thumb.jpeg.ceb9f1b1b0a03bda7df1fdb20af89d2d.jpeg

You can see the Bull Dog is now about 3/16" higher than its position before removing it - due to the wallowing out of the front holes (which may have been caused either by years of towing while under-torqued or from original drilling at the OTT factory):

IMG_7682.thumb.jpeg.52af5b2f63bb636636d71e4d4715f152.jpeg

We test-towed the rig on a short 25-mile run after completing the effort and the Bull Dog did not appear to have moved.  We're headed to Eagle Nest, NM this Friday to escape the heat for a long weekend away - just under 500 round trip; we'll see if the "fix" holds.... knock on wood!

Cheers,

A & D

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Art, Diane, Magnus & Oscar (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA
  • 2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca"
  • HAM call-sign:  W0ABX

 

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(Apologies in advance - not trying to HiJack the thread).

UPDATE:

After a wonderful short trip to the cool WX of northern NM, we returned yesterday after a 335-mile round trip.  The maintenance done on the Bull Dog last week appears to have remedied the issue of it rotating on the rear through-bolt as described earlier.  The Bull Dog position remains unchanged relative to the Sharpie mark after the trip.  We'll pay attention to this by double checking the torque values on the two attachment bolts.

Cheers, all!

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image.jpeg.d2bb1fb57cf69bbe58358f874b3bbff4.jpeg

Art, Diane, Magnus & Oscar (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA
  • 2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca"
  • HAM call-sign:  W0ABX

 

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