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Andersen hitch help


Blum-Anderson
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Hi, I have a hard time getting the pin lined up to the hole when hooking up the whale tail.  Does anyone have a trick to simply get the ring holes lined up with the post hole so the pin slips in easily?  I use a rubber mallet to tap it, but even then, if it’s not lined up, it sometimes gets to be a struggle.

 

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So far, the best solution I've found is to create as much slack as possible in the tension chains. Easiest way for me to do that is to loosen the tension chain nuts. Then retighten once connected. Raising the rear of the TV with the jack when connected to the trailer will also create slack.

Ed and Nancy Burgin


2019 Ford F-150 Lariat, 3.5 EB w/max tow package

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When I was using the Andersen system I also loosened and tightened the chains to hitch and unhitch. I carried a 1/2 inch drive ratchet with a real 1-1/4 inch deep socket on it in the truck. Using the front jack to raise the rear of the tow vehicle puts a lot of wear and tear on that jack. 

Bill and Martha

2018 LEII Hull 313

2019 Chevrolet 2500HD Duramax

 

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I drew a nice dark line on the socket,just before unhitching, I loosen 4 turns (ie start with line facing me, loosen to see the line return to the same spot 4 times).  After getting the ball back on and whale tale in place, I tighten to see the line return 4 times to the same spot.  I can always verify with threadcount as well.

The Jack should never be used to raise the tow vehicle, but it is fine to raise the trailer until just before the gap on top of the receiver disappears.  That is when the most slack (ie 0 weight on ball) in the chains is.

 

 

 

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2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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I use a "Die Bar" that I keep in my tow vehicle to align the pin holes. A 3/8th in. rod (20-24 inches long) would likely work and make sure you take some of the load off of the ball so the cone clutch slips.

This will work from any angle the TV has to the Trailer's hitch.

 

 

Legacy Elite I

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Yep - all that stuff above.  Plus, I've recently given the whaletail pin a very light coating of grease/lube which always makes insertion easier 😁.

Bill

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

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51 minutes ago, WhatDa said:

The Jack should never be used to raise the tow vehicle, but it is fine to raise the trailer until just before the gap on top of the receiver disappears.  That is when the most slack (ie 0 weight on ball) in the chains is.

Is there a reason for this? The jack is rated for 3500 pounds. My tongue weight is less than 500. I routinely lift the back of my TV up QUITE a way, until I hear the jack start to slow down, to get a little extra chain slack (or ocassionally to level the trailer without having to disconnect it). It has never been a problem, the only thing I can imagine being a danger is if the coupler should somehow disconnect, but the forged Bulldog is extremely robust and quite capable of lifting some serious weight. I would never try this with a $20 stamped steel unit....

The static loads experienced by the coupler and hitch in this situation are really, really low compared to the normal dynamic shock loads of towing down a bumpy road. If you ever tow up a sudden "transition" grade, like onto a very steep driveway, the Andersen chains will actually lift the back of the truck way up. It is not really desirable, but it won't bust anything. For this reason a 4wd tow vehicle provides some security if the back tires break traction. (I was stuck completely on a slick main road for this very reason in a RWD Suburban with an 8500 pound trailer in tow, with an equalizer hitch. How very embarrassing!)

If I am playing Russian roulette, I would like to know the reason.... Thanks.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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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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34 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

Is there a reason for this? The jack is rated for 3500 pounds.

If I am playing Russian roulette, I would like to know the reason.... Thanks.

John Davies

Spokane WA

I agree with John on this.  I routinely lift the back of my truck with the trailer jack.  Not far, maybe an inch at most after the truck goes to normal level.  Usually, just until the chains have some slack.  It can’t be much weight.

I’ve found the key to easy hook up is to get the truck and trailer aligned.  Mike

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Maybe never wasn't the right word, but I was told to stop at gap closure when I picked up at the factory. I am able to get whaletale and pin aligned fine with the four spins and stopping the jack as the gap closes.

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2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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I think we need to understand that what the factory tells brand new owners is tempered by their extreme caution and liability concerns. Just like the sudden change from saying these three heavy duty jacks could be used to level the trailer, or raise a tire clear off the ground to change a flat, vs the new theory that all they can do is stabilize... Nothing about how the jacks are constructed or how they are mounted to the frame have changed, only the wording in the manuals. 

Use common sense, watch closely what your are doing, stop if something doesn’t look right, and think about consequences. 

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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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I've done it both ways, jacking up the trailer tongue to get enough slack in the chains and loosing the chain adjusting nuts for slack. I pretty much quit doing the tongue jack thing as I feel it puts a lot of pressure on the tongue jack, trailer, and pickup, so when I go to hookup I get my big b- - - on the ground and re-adjust the chains, I'm glade I have strong arms to get me off the ground, someday my wife is going to have to do it, that will be the day. 

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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When I first got the Ollie, I used to raise the RV, when attached to the TV, with the trailer jack to put some slack in the chains as others have said above. This did not work all the time and I usually had to loosen the chains connected to the whale tale and then retighten the chains after hooking up.

Now before hooking up to the trailer, I raise the trailer bull dog up high enough so I can back up (the 2" ball) past the bull connector of the trailer. This gives plenty of slack in the chains so I can hook up the whale tale with no problem. I then slowly drive the TV forward enough to when the chains are tight and I can then lower the trailer onto the 2" ball. 

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2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

It's amazing to me the shear variety of ways to do something like hook up the whale tail.  I've never used the jack to raise the TV and create slack (though I will in the future) but I have stood on the sway chains before I disconnect so I have as much slack on both sides as possible.  That works well for me.  And then I just make sure to line up the TV the same way when I go to hook back up.  Angle doesn't matter then because I got slack before I unhooked.

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  • 4 weeks later...

After almost a year of having our Ollie II we have done the different ways to hook up the whale tail.  It's always been a little difficult every time with a few times no problem.  Mostly backing up under the ball hook up and then pulling forward to get on the ball.  Tried the raising the jack but sometimes that doesn't work either and don't like the stress on the jack either.  WELL we camped this past weekend and unhooked being totally straight for the pin no problem, and it was a good level site.  WHEN we went to leave there was no method going to give us the slack to hook up the whale tail.  It was like we were inch or so short and there was no way it was going to go on.  Visually you could see we were too short to hook up.  So we hooked to the hitch and pulled out of the campsite and tried 3 locations where it was level to try and hook up the whale tail.  Nothing was working...needless to say it was raining all this time.  I love the security of the hitch and we don't overpack our truck or camper, but this time it was about all we could take with the frustration.  We did make it home using the hitch but was glad we had a bungie cord to secure the whale tail.  Luckily we were not too far from home.

So in desperation my question is does the chains tighten over time?  What is the best way to fix this?  I have read many posts but wanted  to get a fresh idea on what we need to do to fix this.  Thank you in advance. 

 

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In my 5 years of Andersen use I never had the situation you are describing.  The chains don’t tighten over time.  Was there a kink in the chain?  Sometimes a link will twist a bit and then not line up right.  I’ll have to give this some thought.  Mike

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Hello Pilots Lounge,

We picked up Ollie LE2 last May. I have an Anderson hitch and a F150 TV. We've camped alot so far and I've tried a number of methods to deal with the whale tail. I've settled in on backing the chain tension adjustment nuts out until about one or two threads are exposed. When already hooked up I raise the tongue which reduces the chain tension enough that I can back the nuts off by hand. When hooking up I keep the Oliver supplied socket with a ratchet handy to tighten the nuts. For my set up, I tighten the nuts until I have eight exposed threads. Now that I have been doing this process for a while it has become easy and takes just a minute or so.

Other methods worked ok but I encountered variences in difficulty also. Using the tension nuts

Steve

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I hate to say this but on the very rare occasion that I've run into problems with my Andersen it has also been raining.  Perhaps those chains shrink?😁

Seriously - If I'm having trouble I simply loosen the nuts several turns, attach the whaletail and then re-adjust those nuts my "standard" number of threads showing.

Bil

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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 don't nor have I ever owned an Andersen. The only way I can see that the chains could have "tightened" was for the whale tail to have made a 360 degree 'flip' while it was unhooked, thus drawing the chains tighter.

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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 #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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Another "possible" but VERY UNLIKELY explanation is that the frame brackets somehow shifted to the rear.

Bill

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

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I have resorted to just taking the Andersen chains off and putting the whale tale on once I've driven to a nice level DRY straight section of asphalt.  Sometimes slack and raising the front doesn't seem to help and I don't love the stress on the hitch or jack..  Removing the chains is easy and I don't mind it.  Better than the frustration and subsequent swearing at the campsite.

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2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Hull #184 ~ "ILOVHER"

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22 hours ago, Pilots Lounge said:

After almost a year of having our Ollie II we have done the different ways to hook up the whale tail.  It's always been a little difficult every time with a few times no problem.  Mostly backing up under the ball hook up and then pulling forward to get on the ball.  Tried the raising the jack but sometimes that doesn't work either and don't like the stress on the jack either.  WELL we camped this past weekend and unhooked being totally straight for the pin no problem, and it was a good level site.  WHEN we went to leave there was no method going to give us the slack to hook up the whale tail.  It was like we were inch or so short and there was no way it was going to go on.  Visually you could see we were too short to hook up.  So we hooked to the hitch and pulled out of the campsite and tried 3 locations where it was level to try and hook up the whale tail.  Nothing was working...needless to say it was raining all this time.  I love the security of the hitch and we don't overpack our truck or camper, but this time it was about all we could take with the frustration.  We did make it home using the hitch but was glad we had a bungie cord to secure the whale tail.  Luckily we were not too far from home.

So in desperation my question is does the chains tighten over time?  What is the best way to fix this?  I have read many posts but wanted  to get a fresh idea on what we need to do to fix this.  Thank you in advance. 

 

I had that issue when I went to pickup trailer at RV shop.  I tried everything and of course it was pouring down rain but nothing created enough slack.  I eventually had to just remove chains completely from the frame.  I think over time the chains got twisted so by removing I was able to ensure they had same slack at install and links completely straight.    I also have found it is easier for me to get hitch under ball but attach whale tail first and then lower trailer onto ball.   For me it has made hitching faster and with less  F bombs. 
 

I’ve had days where I was ready to upgrade to 3/4 ton just to get rid of Andersen.  It works great once attached though.  Lol

2021 Legacy Elite II Hull #807 - 2021 F150 w/ 3.5L EB and max tow package 

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On 8/10/2021 at 7:01 PM, dewdev said:

When I first got the Ollie, I used to raise the RV, when attached to the TV, with the trailer jack to put some slack in the chains as others have said above. This did not work all the time and I usually had to loosen the chains connected to the whale tale and then retighten the chains after hooking up.

Now before hooking up to the trailer, I raise the trailer bull dog up high enough so I can back up (the 2" ball) past the bull connector of the trailer. This gives plenty of slack in the chains so I can hook up the whale tale with no problem. I then slowly drive the TV forward enough to when the chains are tight and I can then lower the trailer onto the 2" ball. 

That makes a lot of sense to me.   Do you do the same in reverse when disconnecting the trailer? 

John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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Yes, I do the reverse when disconnecting.

(By the way, I used to have a couple of Coleman pop-up trailers over the years. I really loved them but got sick of cranking up the roof and having all that canvass to dry out. Love my Ollie, as we can go camping and do not need to depend on CG facilities during the COVID times.) 

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2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi

 

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A couple of thoughts:

  • I always take the weight fully off the two rear jacks before using the front jack to bring the Bulldog over the Anderson ball.  Doing so reduces the lever arm fulcrum from the rear jack points to the center of the two axles.  This significantly lightens the load on the front jack.  
  • To unhitch, I loosen the chains until their nuts have no threads showing. Much better than having to fish the chains back to the Ollie frame......
  • If I am just overnighting at a less level site, I leave at least one safety cable attached to my truck.  If I need to use the TV, I re-hook it before retiring.  But remember the cable status the next morning! 
  • Finally, my 2019 F-150 receiver chain "eyes" and the Ollie safety cable hooks are always angry with each other.  Basically a PITA to connect the curly cables up to the truck.  I added one of these on each F-150 eyes and this problem is resolved.   NOTE:  If I were to do this again, I would check on a 5/8" size for added strength.  Just test fit it to the TV and Ollie before buying.  

GJ

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