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Old 11-03-2011, 11:37 PM   #1
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What hitch for a T-1661>

I just bought a 1985 T-1661. This is my first RV (although I have towed boats for years) and the first of many questions I have.

I'm trying to figure out what hitch would be best for towing my TT.

My TV is a 2006 Dodge Durango with a 5.7L Hemi and a DrawTite Class III receiver (max 600/6000 lbs with ball mount hitch/max 900/9000 lbs with weight distributing hitch). I towed the T-1661 home (60 miles) with a ball mount hitch and had no problems. But the TT was empty and I was traveling on flat back roads and never got above 55 mph. Once, a semi passed me and didn’t cause any sway.

Is a ball mount hitch adequate? The T-1661 is so low slung I had to drop the (adjustable) ball mount quite a ways to get the trailer level.

Is sway control necessary/advisable? I could easily have a sway control tab welded on to my ball mount.

Is a weight distributing hitch necessary/advisable? I'm not sure my current adjustable ball mount shank would work and finding a shank with enough drop that would work might be a challenge.

What hitch do you owners of other small Sunline TTs use? Your experiences?

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:03 AM   #2
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The '85 T-1661 is rated at 195# hitch weight and a GVWR of 2,000#. That is way lighter than a lot of boats.

Tongue weight should be up around 12% of the traveling weight of the trailer so even if you take it up to 250# or a bit more, you are still well within the ratings for your receiver.

I am presuming that your shank, ball platform, and ball all have similar ratings to your receiver. If one of them is really low, consider replacing it with something more in line with the other parts.

As for sway control, you might consider adding a single friction unit. They are fairly inexpensive, and the needed tab and ball can be welded onto most existing ball platforms. Even if you didn't experience sway on your first tow, it can show itself later on. It's one of those things that you may not need all the time but when you do, if it isn't there, then it is a real problem. You are already thinking about how to add it so...

I've towed a lot of different trailers over the years, and I don't see the need for a weight distribution system given the size of your tow vehicle as long as the rig sits fairly level when fully loaded and ready to travel. If 200 plus pounds of tongue weight causes the rear of the truck to sag, then weight distribution is advisable, but I don't think you'll see that with the Durango.

You've actually got a real strong tow vehicle there. Presuming it has the HD cooling and such, it could well tow a much larger trailer.

One other thing you'll want to be sure to have is a decent brake controller in the truck and properly adjusted for the rig. There are a number of threads already here about fine tuning brake controllers.

Our good friend Norm Millard and his wife Ginny towed a 1550 all over North America with a Honda CRV with no issues. He didn't have a WD setup but carefully loaded the trailer and car. Got pretty good gas mileage, too as I recall.

Oh yeah, if you decide to go for a WD system somewhere down the road, I have a deep drop 2" shank sitting here waiting for a good home... :^)
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for a very helpful reply, Steve.

I think I'll try the ball mount first. The components of my adjustable ball mount have a rating of at least 5,000 lbs, so that should be more than adequate. I'll add a friction sway control unit. I figure it's cheap insurance.

One thing I've noticed is that single sway controls seemed to be mounted on the right side of the hitch. Just out of curiosity, is there any advantage of a right side mount over a left side mount?

A brake controller is the next thing on my list. All my boat trailers have had surge brakes so I need to get an electric controller installed and learn how to use it. But first, I need to take the wheels apart and check everything out.

Dave
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:46 PM   #4
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Dave,

I think the right side mount is just a standard thing so parts can be made standard. While the sway control can be assembled to work for a left mount, most won't come this way automatically. Most WD hitch heads only have a choice for the mount on the right. You are in a unique position to not be constrained to a particular side. So if there's any plan to possibly need WD with a smaller vehicle in the future, you might want to bolt the plate to the trailer on right side to accommodate that.

There are a few hitch heads that are made with dual sway ball mounts, and those are only in the really heavy duty models. This is because back in the day, it would be almost necessary to have dual sway controls. Now, since the invention of the HD dual cam system, that has eliminated most needs for dual friction sway controls.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:16 AM   #5
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Sunline Fan,

Good points about why a right hand mount would be better. I also imagine it would probably be more compatible with someone else's rig (a subsequent owner, for example). So a right hand mount it is.

One more question. The dimensions of A-frame on the T-1661 seem pretty small -- only 2"W x 3"D. Will bolting the sway control ball plate to the frame weaken the frame? Would a clamp-on ball mount work as well (or be better or worse)?

Dave
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not-a-tent View Post
Sunline Fan,

Good points about why a right hand mount would be better. I also imagine it would probably be more compatible with someone else's rig (a subsequent owner, for example). So a right hand mount it is.

One more question. The dimensions of A-frame on the T-1661 seem pretty small -- only 2"W x 3"D. Will bolting the sway control ball plate to the frame weaken the frame? Would a clamp-on ball mount work as well (or be better or worse)?

Dave
Compromise = weld it.. The little ball mount thingy for the A-frame is not particularly costly, and if you sell the trailer, you have the option to keep the sway control and just purchase a new ball for the next rig.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice Steve and Sunline Fan. I've now figured out how to do my first project. Only 62 to go.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:07 PM   #8
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I personally wouldn't weld it though. I've never seen any issues with it being bolted, as long as all the bolts are in there. If for some reason you were to turn too tight or something and the ball got bent on that plate, it would be a real PIA to change it. With the six bolts, it's plenty strong and it would be a ten minute job to change it.

Just my .02...
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