Pull 5.0 TA with a 2005/06 Tundra? - Page 4 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-19-2016, 03:15 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
You will love this hitch! It's lighter, making it easier to remove from the bed and uses less of the truck's payload. It uses less room in the bed, leaving more for other things. And you don't have to worry about the trailer being on a different plane than the truck. I'm not very familiar with traditional hitches, but all rotate when viewed from the side (pitch). The better (more $$$?) also rotate when viewed from the front/back (yaw). The PO once stopped a place where the trailer was on a different plane than the truck and could not unhitch. I never have this issue.

Some states require hitches with balls to have chains, I use the optional chains sold by Anderson.

I have a simple hitch mod that makes it MUCH easier to hook up. As you know, you must position the socket over the ball. I usually hook up alone and can't see the ball from the driver's seat. This, plus a view offset from the centerline, makes this a maddening task! Thus my mod. I glued a small piece of brass tubing to the front of the shaft the ball sits in. I put an 18" (approx) piece of spring wire in the shaft with a piece of red electrician's tape at the top (just for visibility). I put more red tape on the front of the trailer's hitch adapter. I back up until the wire is aligned with the tape on the trailer and the wire just starts to spring forward. Everything is now close to perfect alignment. When the hitch is new, exact alignment is more critical; as you use it, things become more become more polished (or something) and the trailer will adjust to slight differences as you lower it.

Here are some photos:



One final note... On my Bigfoot, there wasn't enough vertical clearance between the bottom of the trailer's "nose" frame and the side of the truck. I kept having troubles with the remote pin release hitting the truck and getting bent. I finally moved it to the front of the frame; this solved that problem.





Rich

1987 Bigfoot 5er (starter wheels)
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (dream wheels: Sept 2017)
Hi Rich - I don't know anything about this type of hitch, but it does look like it would save some weight and give short bed trucks a bit more clearance. Wouldn't it make it more difficult, though, to hook up versus a "standard" 5th wheel hitch? We used to tow a tent trailer camper and it was always a challenge to align the hitch so it would drop perfectly onto the ball.
We did find a product to help that works in the same way as your above described wire system. I think it was called "Hitch Aligner" (a magnetic alignment kit for trailers) using telescoping rod with a magnetic base and topped with a tennis ball.
Anyhow, despite its usefulness, I was looking forward to not having to suffer through this type of hookup when we get our 5th wheel 5.0 TA.
Am I off base, or is the Anderson hitch something I should really consider if I end up getting a "first generation" Tundra as my tow vehicle?
Thanks!
John
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Old 08-19-2016, 03:43 PM   #32
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The Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection has three appealing features which are specifically applicable to the early Tundra + 5.0TA combination
  • light weight
  • ability to offset the hitch point rearward (5" or 5.5" depending on model) from the standard hitch mounting location
  • effective extension (by 4") of the pin box
It is a ball hitch, rather than a normal pin-and-plate fifth-wheel, which has consequences. For lots of discussion of this system, try a search of EscapeForum for "Andersen Ultimate".

There are other ways to offset the hitch rearward, including
  • non-standard frame brackets, or
  • B&W Companion or Patriot fifth-wheel hitch.
There are also other ways to extend the pin box.

Aligning the ball and coupler is a common concern. Andersen recently added a funnel to the system to help. It does not appear on their website, because apparently you are supposed to make "friends" with them in Facebook to get product information.
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Old 08-19-2016, 04:24 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LatLongJohn View Post
Am I off base, or is the Anderson hitch something I should really consider if I end up getting a "first generation" Tundra as my tow vehicle?
Thanks!
John
A couple well placed remote cameras will do wonders.
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Old 08-19-2016, 05:43 PM   #34
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John, I can't compare the Ultimate to a traditional fifth wheel hitch because I've only used the Ultimate. That said, I really like what I've got and would not consider changing.

I insist on a removable hitch! My understanding is that the traditional hitches are much harder to remove if only because they are so much heavier. Some apparently come out in more than piece making it somewhat easier, but even then I've heard the pieces could weigh 75 pounds or more! I have only one piece thats less than 50 pounds!

Yes, getting everything aligned is in two axes (sp?) can be a challenge. But I can see better than with a rear mounted ball and I can often get it done in one try. As BCnomad suggests, my next step will be a camera mounted inside my back window of my truck right on the centerline. This will make it dead easy.

As for the chains, they are much easier to attach than on a bumper. Click, click, and they're done! You don't have to lean down and you don't have to worry about them dragging. The biggest nuisance I've had is the trailer plug connection. Thanks to a suggestion from my nephew, I installed a jack inside my bed. No more problems. Duhh!

Technically, I should have a separate connection point for my brake breakaway switch. I don't have one handy so I clip on to the same bar as the chains.

If I have one reservation, it's about the size on the bar for the clipping on the chains. I think they are undersized. I don't believe chains are needed with the Ultimate, but if they were, I'm not convinced these would hold. Everything else about the chains is robust, but not the attachment bar. Of course, if the trailer ever comes loose, by the time the chains come into play, the hitch adapter would already have torn off the tail gate.


Rich

1987 Bigfoot 5er (starter wheels)
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (dream wheels: Sept 2017)
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:42 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
John, I can't compare the Ultimate to a traditional fifth wheel hitch because I've only used the Ultimate. That said, I really like what I've got and would not consider changing.

I insist on a removable hitch! My understanding is that the traditional hitches are much harder to remove if only because they are so much heavier. Some apparently come out in more than piece making it somewhat easier, but even then I've heard the pieces could weigh 75 pounds or more! I have only one piece thats less than 50 pounds!

Rich

1987 Bigfoot 5er (starter wheels)
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (dream wheels: Sept 2017)
Thanks for the input, Rich. I can see that having the hitch easy to remove can be an important consideration. I'll keep researching and see what seems like the best solution for my situation.
John
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:02 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
Yes, getting everything aligned is in two axes (sp?) can be a challenge. But I can see better than with a rear mounted ball and I can often get it done in one try. As BCnomad suggests, my next step will be a camera mounted inside my back window of my truck right on the centerline. This will make it dead easy.
I think where to put a camera depends on what you have difficulty seeing.
  • If the challenge is lining up left-right, then the camera should be on centreline at the front of the box (such as inside at the bottom of the window)... but in many cases the inside rearview mirror has a clear view of the hitch so no camera is needed for this.
  • If the challenge is front-to-back, then a camera mounted on the side of the box, facing directly across the box at the hitch, will clearly show the relative position of hitch and trailer.
  • If the challenge is height, you don't need a camera (although any camera mounted near coupling height will show this) - you just need a tape measure or a piece of string the right length) to use when you raise the front of the trailer before hitching.
The first two are the axes that you need to think about while backing in to hitch up. And yes, the plural of "axis" is "axes".

The only thing Tundra-specific about this is how well you can see the hitch from the driver's seat.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:05 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
Technically, I should have a separate connection point for my brake breakaway switch. I don't have one handy so I clip on to the same bar as the chains.
If the purpose of the chains and breakaway switch is to handle the separation of removable hitch components from the truck, then anywhere on the Andersen frame is not suitable (for the breakaway switch or the chains). If the purpose is only to handle the consequences of forgetting to close the coupler, then I don't see why it matters if the switch cable and chains go to the same location.

Doesn't the truck have cargo tie-downs, to which you could clip the breakaway switch cable?
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:15 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
If the purpose of the chains and breakaway switch is to handle the separation of removable hitch components from the truck, then anywhere on the Andersen frame is not suitable (for the breakaway switch or the chains). If the purpose is only to handle the consequences of forgetting to close the coupler, then I don't see why it matters if the switch cable and chains go to the same location.

Doesn't the truck have cargo tie-downs, to which you could clip the breakaway switch cable?
The cargo tie-downs on my F 150 are too flimsy. How about the back rail which is bolted to the frame brackets?
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:43 PM   #39
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Brian, my biggest challenge is the left-right alignment. The rear view mirror does help, but a camera in the back window will be much clearer. The flag handles the front to back... as soon as it starts to deflect, it's in the right position (the camera will help detect deflection). A side cam would be even better, but then I'd need a split screen, etc. Seems like overkill. Height issues are already easy to see, but a camera in the window would be a great double check. To tell the truth, it will even more valuable for a senior moment when I leave the tail gate up!

I hadn't thought to connect the breakaway to the tie down in the side of the bed. I'll see if there is enough slack when turning. If so, I'll do that. If not, I'll try to attach a ring or some thing to the front rail. That's not completely independent of the hitch, but much more so than the chain bar. As SF says, the tie down is not robust enough for the chains, but it can easily handle the breakaway switch cable.

Thanks for your insight!


Rich

1987 Bigfoot 5er (starter wheels)
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (dream wheels: Sept 2017)
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:01 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
As for the chains, they are much easier to attach than on a bumper. Click, click, and they're done! You don't have to lean down...
You don't have to lean so far down, but you do need to reach a suitable point for the chains. Normally that is at the box floor, which can be difficult to reach; even the little bars on sides of the rail-mount Andersen frame are about three feet in from the box side. Shorter people or those with taller box sides might find the location of safety chains of a hitch at the rear bumper easier to reach than the safety chains they would need to use with an Andersen or other in-box ball hitch.

The first-generation Tundra box is not as tall or wide as many current trucks, but is both wider than the compact and mid-size trucks (e.g. Tacoma, Frontier) and higher than older light pickups (e.g. first-generation Tacoma, almost any pickup from a couple of decades ago).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
If I have one reservation, it's about the size on the bar for the clipping on the chains. I think they are undersized. I don't believe chains are needed with the Ultimate, but if they were, I'm not convinced these would hold. Everything else about the chains is robust, but not the attachment bar.
This has been discussed before, and I don't recall what the conclusion was about those bars - I don't know if they are actually for the safety chains, or are braces in the structure. In the installation document which Andersen provides for the safety chain kit, the chains are shown attached to proper safety chain loops in the floor of the bed (which anchor in the permanently installed under-floor structure), but that's the version of the Andersen Ultimate which is anchored by a bed-mounted ball, not the version which mounts on rails.

Again, if the purpose of the chains is to handle the separation of removable hitch components from the truck, then anywhere on the Andersen frame is not suitable, even if it is strong. If the purpose is only to handle the consequences of forgetting to close the coupler, then I agree that this location looks structurally marginal. I would ask what Andersen thinks of this, but I'm pretty sure that they don't believe that chains have any purpose other than as a token concession to a legal requirement (and chains are legally required in many jurisdictions with any hitch other than a pin-and-plate fifth-wheel). I suspect that those little loops on Andersen's special coupler bolts for safety chains will pop off about as easily as the bars on the hitch frame.
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