With no weight on the pin, the plate hangs down to its furthest travel limit. When you hook up, the pin rides up the hitch plate and compresses the air bladder while leveling out. I've found my "best ride" to be about 1/4" below the arrow's tip, however, 1/2" to right on the tip is satisfactory and as long as I'm in that range, I don't make any adjustments to it. Never measure the psi of the air in the bladder, I just go by the arrow position (that's what it is there for) as everyone's pin weight is going to be different and that affects the psi in the bladder needed to keep the unit in the middle of its travel range (the tip of the arrow). I suspect 90-100 psi in mine, with a pin weight under 1800 lbs. would put the arrow about 1 1/2" below the shield and it would ride like a solid attachment as opposed to "floating air support".
I have the TrailAir Tri-Glide, and to be honest, I've never measured the air pressure. They aren't like tires...the bladder requires a different amount of air for each trailer and no two trailers weigh the same on the pin. Even the same trailer will require different air pressures depending on the altitude. Not ever having had a 5th Airborne, I don't know how they set up theirs, but, TrailAir units have an arrow on the shock body and you add or remove air to keep the shock's dust shield at the point of the arrow. I've found the best ride to actually be about 1/4" lower, but, I use the arrow as a reference and not a set psi in the bladder.
Are you sure yours isn't broke?
I have a B&W Companion... Pull the arm towards the cab and pull away; never had the jaws not open unless I was parked really downhill to the pin. To hitch, back under the pin until the truck stops; with the trailer's height set right (you have to do that with the big rigs, too) the trailer rides up the head, smacks the back of the jaws, they close and I'm done. I do use a padlock in the safety pin hole to keep someone from pulling the lever while I'm stopped someplace, but, I don't go through all the gyrations you're describing. Never had it not latch, and only maybe one in 50, unlatch because I'm resting downhill on the pin.
Whenever I grill meat it makes smoke which carries grease. I had a Flagstaff trailer that came with a wall mounted grill that I used for awhile. I did notice some buildup of grease on the awning. The bigger pain in the butt was the smoke from the fire would blow through the window or door and set off the smoke alarm in the galley. I ended up making an extension hose for the gas line so I could still use the trailer gas but move the grill to a table. Worked much better.
BTW, in my younger days I had a 59 Pan.
I've always been of the opinion (mine) that flames of any sort don't belong next to Filon and under an awning. That's just me though, many folks use them with no problems and I suspect that if there was a large issue with them, the trailer manufacturers wouldn't use them. They could still provide the grill, but, make the user use a table.
I bought and converted a Weber Q120 to use the low pressure port and I have an assortment of hoses that if connected end to end would let me move the grill 48' away (I use some of the hoses for my Campfire-in-a-Can, that's why so many). I can move the grill out from under the awning and away from windows no matter which way the wind is blowing. Sometimes I put the grill on the picnic table if it isn't under the awning or I have a compact aluminum folding table that fits the Q120 perfectly.
If you want to use the grill under the awning and hanging on the trailer, I'd go ahead and do it, but, grills smoke (smoke contains grease) and they get hot (heat is not good for Filon) and I can't convince myself that no grease gets on the side of the trailer or the underside of the awning (I have a grill on my covered deck and there is grease on the underside of the roof and on the heat shield behind it and the heatshield gets quite warm), so, I don't do either.
Ultra Fab 3502 is the way to go. Best Mod ever, IMHO.
When I had a TT, I put one of these on it. Agree, one of the best Mods (bang for the buck) that I ever did. While it was easy enough to use the manual, with a WD hitch, that was an awful lot of cranking up and down and up and down when hitching or unhitching. When it is hot outside I could work up quite a sweat just cranking. Much easier to just hit the switch and the motor didn't care how heavy the tongue weight was or the fact that I was lifting the tongue and the rear of the TV to get the bars on...it just runs up and down.
I had the Ultr Fab and never had any issues with it, however, I did replace the fuse holder immediately with a blade type holder (I don't like the glass fuses regardless of if there was an issue with corrosion) and when I installed the jack, I mades sure that I had a good ground at the base and even used copper contact grease at the base plate to make sure.
As for the 18 vs 24" lift? A 24" is nice, but, if you can get the 18" with a 6" or better adjustable foot, you will do just fine. I put a 6" Flip Foot on mine so that as soon as it started down, the Flip Foot dropped and instantly gave me a 6" extension on the jack leg and then when you draw the leg up, the Flip Foot folds up and out of the way for ground clearance. Would be nice if they made something similar for my 5er...
Our '11 Cougar 318SAB came with one. Didn't use it much at first because we weren't used to having a remote. Over time we found ourselves using it more often, but, would become annoyed, when like most remotes, it wasn't in its holding spot when one of us went to use it; either I had it and she wanted it or vice versa or one of us laid it down instead of putting it back in its spot on the control panel. Solution? We bought a second one off eBay and keep it in the truck and the other in the trailer; problem solved for us.
Have a short bed (6'6") RAM. I can't see the hitch in the bed when hooking up, but, then again, I couldn't see the hitch when I had a bumper pull or the curb when I'm trying to parallel park. Like anything else concerning the vehicles "spatial relationship" to things around it, you learn where things are. The hitch pin is in the middle of the nose, on mine protruding about 10", the hitch itself, is in the middle of the bed and to make it a bit easier, the hitch plate even has an angled opening allowing for a certain amount of "off center". As others have mentioned, it becomes easier the longer you do it, and the height will give you more problems than alignment. I finally broke down and bought a "hitching level" and even hitch height has gotten easier with it. The DW enjoys "helping", so, I let her "guide" me with the two way radio, but, I'm usually already making "course corrections" before she says anything. After almost 43 years, I still enjoy her company and her voice and she feels she's contributing to the RV "work". We both pitch in and help each other with our "primary" responsibilities, so, it is all good.
Fuel tank? Can't speak to the GM and Fords, but, the SB RAMs have a 34 gallon tank. More than adequate for my short days, but, I carry two 5 gallon cans of diesel for "just in case" or when we are off roading after unhooking and we are out in those areas where the GPS just goes blank...
As already mentioned. Get what will work for you, not what works for me. I prefer working on my truck in the garage, a LB won't fit. My DW won't touch a LB, she will drive the SB if it is the only horse left in the stable. I sometimes prefer parking closer to the store (I have RA and walking some days is a chore) and the SB will fit, barely, in a regular space. I can haul 8' with the tailgate down and I don't need the additional hauling room while towing because I don't have the additional load rating to make it worthwhile and I have unused storage space in the 5er for extra "stuff" if I need it.
That's why I have a SB...not, necessarily, why you should have one :)
This is what I use. I actually have two of them, one for water and another for the two 5 gallon spare diesel fuel cans I carry for emergencies in the back of the truck...
Three power option submersible pump
Has several 12v power options (self contained battery, 12 volt plug and 12 volt clip on cables), submersible pump head, fast pumping, carry case. Lots of different options out there, but, I chose this one.
I am in my 60's, have rheumatoid and osteoarthritis along with a slipped disk at L2-L3, and I take my Companion out "solo". So, yes, it can be a "one many job". I do have a hoist (for other things) and I have an electric winch mounted to the ceiling in another workshop area, but, I just back the truck to the garage door, seperate the head, place it on the tailgate, disconnect the base and put it on the tailgate, get out of the bed of the truck and put the base on the floor next to the door (up on blocks) and then replace the head on it. It sits there that way until I need it again and then I reverse the procedure. Would be too much if it were all one piece, and even seperated, the base is heavy, but, still manageable. If I'm having a "bad day", the DW helps get the base up onto the tailgate, but, she is only 5' and has a hard time lifting things that high, so I tend to do it myself. So, yes, one person can get one out and back in; help with almost anything, though, is always appreciated if available, but, if help isn't available, you aren't stuck. If you do need a lift or hoist, even for a B&W, you'd still need one for virtually any other hitch made...most don't come apart so you're stuck with the deadweight of a single piece. A B&W is probably your best bet for not needing a lifting device to remove it.
Before anyone chimes in; I am retired and have no desire to work for or involve myself with any company, but, like Cummins12V98, I think they (B&W) are probably, dollar for dollar, the best hitch out there and I don't mind saying so, either. While the B&W is "just a hitch", like anything else, you have various stages of "quality" in that category and like many other B&W owners, we think the B&W stands at the top of that stack based on form, build quality, features, ease of use and company support of the product.
I used one on my power jack when I had a TT. Start the jack leg down and, presto!, instantly 6 inches closer to the ground without waiting for the jack's motor to slowly cover that distance. I loved mine and never had any problems with terrain affecting how it worked. You'll like it :C. Now if the jack legs on my 5er were only "automatic" like the Flip Foot...
Towed for many years a 21' FunFinder at roughly 6,000 lbs. with my Hemi Jeep Commander rated at 7800 lbs. A friend towed a 28' FunFinder at 6900 lbs. with his Hemi Jeep Commander. Both rigs have been cross country many times, I've since moved to a 5er, but, he's still towing his FunFinder. The Hemi is a towing engine and the GC and Commander's outfitted with it, from at least '08, were rated at 7800 lbs. A good WD hitch to keep the Jeep level was all that either of us needed (loved my Equal-i-zer). Heavy duty engine, axles, suspension, brakes and frame made the towing a breeze and very stable even with a borderline wheelbase; never had a "white knuckle" tow with ours. I wouldn't go over 26'-28' with a GC, but, IMHO, if outfitted correctly, they make fine towing platforms.
Perhaps the folks the OP saw needed a WD hitch, or if they had one, maybe they needed to set it up correctly, but, nothing wrong with the package (Jeep and 28' TT) as long as all the numbers fall in the right range and with fiberglass ultralights, that is easy to do.
That setup works fine if you have an external tank to connect to, then you're good to go. If you carry an extra 20 gal tank (or smaller) for bbq, it's fine.
Won't work with the quick disconnect fitting on trailers.
Yes, it will Ron. You have to take the regulator off the Q and get the adaptor, and hose. The RV tanks are already regulated, and can't run two regulators. The only down side of this is that if you use it elsewhere, you can't use the small portable tanks, you would have to have a re-fillable tank W/regulator, at home for instance. Not really a big deal.
I wanted to take my converted Q-120 off-site on a picnic one time, but, couldn't because there wasn't a regulator... Light bulb came on:
Take the regulator you took off (I had a bunch of regulators laying around) and put the female quick connect on it. Viola, a regulator that removes for use with the 5er's quick connect, and a regulator that I can use for both 1 lb. disposable bottles, and one that I can use with a 20 lb. tank on my deck for parties when I need to augment the big grill. The other regulator (1 lb.) is for my Campfire-in-a-Can for using it away from the 5er.
I've always looked at air bags as a suspension aid; supports load and levels truck, doesn't do a whole lot for ride and can sometimes be detrimental (why I use Timbrens). You can use an air pin box for the up/down movement, or a MorRyde, Glide Ride for the fore/aft motion. I found that I could get rid of all the motion with the TrailAir Tri-Glide:
Air support to control the up/down motion and a glide plate to control the fore/aft motion.
You'll have to figure out exactly what "problem" you are trying to cure to have a better idea of what device you should look at adding first. If you are trying to eliminate squat and handling issues, the air bags may be the way to go, but, if it is "ride" issues, you should look into devices designed to work on those problems as the bags aren't designed as "ride improvement" fix, they are a more of a "support fix".
Very Very carefully clean your MAF/MAS grid. It is possibly contaminated with oil from the K&N filter.
All the above is true... The computer will negate all the "benefits" of a CAI or a CAT back unless you change the algorithms controlling air/fuel mixture, valve timing and engine timing. I used to use K&N systems (the last one was on my Hemi Jeep and I took it off after a few thousand miles; OBD II live data capture showed absolutely no change in performance, despite the "seat of the pants" impression) and you can, indeed, get into trouble with the oil type filters. In the old days (pre MAP/MAF/MAS sensors) it wasn't an issue, but, in today's engines, there is a very fine line that seperates just the right amount of oil and too little or too much...both of which can have serious reliability issues. The CAI / K&N systems do sound sweet though...
The batwing worked fine (I tried it first), but, it actually made the antenna even more "directional" in its reception. The Jack had the same reception qualities (signal strength) as the Sensar with the Bat Wing, but, had much better "off-axis" signal acceptance. That off-axis betterment meant more stations when they weren't all coming from the same point on the compass. If they all came from the same point, there wasn't any change, better or worse. Most of the places we camp, the stations will come from several different towns and I found with the Jack, I could get more of those stations without having to re-aim the antenna. The Jack won't give you any "extra boost", but, it will appear as if it does because of its better off-axis reception.
I air down when not towing (the rears)... Dodge has a dash button that alters the "low air setting" on the TPMS to allow for two different air pressures in the rear tires...45 psi when unloaded and the TPMS button set to "on". 75 when loaded and the TPMS button set to "off". Makes for one heck of a change in ride when unloaded.
Yes it is a direct replacement for the Sensar head. Here's a couple of pictures from the one I had on my bumper pull (don't have any photos of the one on the 5er):
In response to another poster that noted that the Jack, when installed, leaves the posts "naked" to rest on the roof, I didn't like that either. I got a a rubber "foot" from the hardware store and put it on the post so that it cushioned the post against the roof.
The best price I've seen on the Jack is here:
Current "best price" that I've found
I've bought a lot of stuff from them. Good prices, fast shipping, but, I wouldn't know about problem resolving since I've never had a problem with them...
I've been using my converted Q-120 for years on two different trailers...no issues.
You can get all the supplies and the hoses you might need here:
The low pressure quick connects are the 250 model (Usually Sturgis). There are many quick connects out there; LP high pressure, NG low, NG high, air, etc., and while they all look the same, in order to flow the proper amount of LP and not leak you need to use the 250 version. Also, be aware that you need to use a thread sealant approved for gas; tape will be yellow, paste will specify on the can. Any other type will eventually fail. Most of us have the white teflon water type laying around and the temptation is to use that...don't.
Here's what the final mod will look like:
Yours can be neater...I had a bunch of adapters and stuff laying around, so, I just used them up, but, basically, you remove the regulator (don't throw it away) and put the male quick connect adapter in its place. You'll need a hose:
I carry several; a 4', 2 x 10', and 2 x 12'. I also have a Campfire-in-a-Can and with a "T" I made, I can use both at the same time, that's why I have so many hoses.
Now, remember I told you not to throw away the regulator? I've found a couple of instances where I wanted to use the grill away from the trailer...but, I converted it for use on the trailer. Dilemma. Take your regulator and put a female quick connect on it (1/8" size for that) and you get this:
I have one that will fit the 1 lb. cans (that's the one that came off the grill). Turns out that I had a spare fitting for the 5-up lb. tanks just laying around, so, I adapted it also. Now I can put any of those regulators on the grill or my Campfire-in-a-Can, using the 4' hose, and put the tank anywhere that is convenient to use the grill away from the trailer. Take it on a picnic while traveling, use it on the deck along with my big grill for parties. Best of both worlds and just one dynamite little grill.
You should be OK with that rig; length is OK, height not much different from some of the taller 5ers. I've stayed at several CGs that were near race tracks and it was not unusual to see some of the custom car haulers (living space in the front, dual elevated car carriers in the rear) pull in for the night or the week, depending on the race venue. I spent the week once at a CG, near Phoenix if I remember correctly, and that fella had a flight simulator (actually three) in a live-in trailer; a regular 53' pull and he went from air show to air show on the road with his rig spending the downtime at CG's on the road from show to show and downtime in between shows. Was really a nice rig and we spent many hours visiting with him while he "prepped" and "overhauled" the simulators prior to an upcoming air show. He actually offered to sell it to us as he was looking to "retire" soon and he could tell that I knew the electronics (retired CT/MRI research), but, I quickly informed him that I was retired and wanted to stay that way! Moral of the story...there are a lot of different rigs out there and most campgrounds can handle the size of what you are talking about. The issue with "customs" is whether they look well done, or a "back yard special" and the design of yours should garner a lot of "gee whiz" and not "oh, no(s)!"
Please, I'm with others here...pictures would be greatly appreciated when you get the rig assembled. I always appreciate the "out there" monster customs, the huge dedicated "assault campers", etc. The imagination of man is a wonderful thing (most of the time!).
When we bought our 318SAB, we looked at an awful lot of 5ers. Some had the front living room and at first blush, we really like the design and the rear bedroom was huge (well it looked that way with the tall ceiling).
Then we got to thinking about how we use the rig. We spend most of our "inside time" in the living room and kitchen. We aren't getting any younger and the thought of "up the stairs" "down the stairs" and then repeat, ad nauseum, every time that we wanted a munchie or a drink, etc. while in the living room turned it into a not so good design.
Then we got to thinking about the view. If there is a view, it most likely will be out the back. Not much to look at when you are asleep, and that's all we use the bedroom for; sleep (well a few other things, but, we keep the blinds closed for those:o) No need for all that "space", we go in once and go to bed. Get out of bed and come out; 2 times in and out and that's about it. All that space isn't apparent with our eyes closed.
Didn't like the bathrooms with a hall down the middle, the 318SAB has a separate bathroom, a huge rear living area with a computer "office", and a big enough dining room that we took out the dining room table and chairs and I put in one of the DW's looms. She can sit and weave and watch television; an arrangement that wouldn't be possible in a front living area rig.
They have their purposes and they fit a need; just not ours and I'm glad we kept looking and didn't go with our first "gee whiz" moment.
Going from a MH to a 5er will be big change; the first you'll notice is the huge selection of floor plans. Just take a really good look at how you travel and what your true needs are and then buy the floorplan that fits those needs the best, be it front living or the more conventional rear living or rear kitchen models. Even a bunkhouse; we actually would have gotten a bunkhouse before a front living room for how we use our 5er as it would have given us more "customizable" space.