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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I am a new Armada owner (see New Owner Intro) and was wondering how many of you use a w.d. hich when towing 5 - 7000 lbs. I currently tow an open trailer (w/surge brakes) with a race car that weighs 4800lbs with a '98 4Runner and haven't had the need for a w.d. hitch. The most I will probably tow is 7000lbs.

I am going to order a Prodigy brake controller so I can use electric brake trailers as well.
 

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Yes, I do, see sig and avatar. BTW the Prodigy BC is an excellent choice.
 

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ToyHauler said:
Hi, I am a new Armada owner (see New Owner Intro) and was wondering how many of you use a w.d. hich when towing 5 - 7000 lbs. I currently tow an open trailer (w/surge brakes) with a race car that weighs 4800lbs with a '98 4Runner and haven't had the need for a w.d. hitch. The most I will probably tow is 7000lbs.

I am going to order a Prodigy brake controller so I can use electric brake trailers as well.
I tow the trailer in my signature below with the Equal-i-zer brand weight distribution and sway control hitch. Another thumbs-up for the Prodigy brake controller.

Keith
 

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Here's a thought. Since the Big Tow on the Armada has self leveling air bags. Should you adjust your equalizer before airing those air bags up??

That way the load is truly equalized instead of most of the tongue weight riding on the hitch due to the air bags keeping everything level so less force on the spring arms is needed.

The manual recommends running the vehicle for a few minutes before setting up the weight distribution hitch but this is a generalized statement in the manual with no mention if this should be followed with a none big tow armada or with a big tow armada.

Adjusting the WDH before the bags are aired up makes more sense to me as the air bag leveling system can still work, it just won't need to air up as much, to carry a heavier tongue load. Seems this would improve ride as the bags won't be taking all of the weight and could help with stability also.

The air bags are a very nice idea, but most I know use them when they aren't using WDHs.

Just a little curious how you Big Tow package owners set up your rig.

BTW, the Prodigy is awesome. I've only pulled twice with it on the Pathfinder compared to pulling several times with the Draw Tite activator 2 on my old Titan.

Prodigy is very smooth with less brake wear due to it's varying voltage out as determined by rate of deceleration. The electronics sense the deceleration while having a feedback voltage from your brake pedal switch. The feedback is so that the prodigy knows that your actually braking and not going through hills.

The time based Activator 2 needed to be set according to city driving or expressway driving. Low voltage out on city driving as it ramps to full voltage within a second and a half. If the voltage is to high, the full voltage will keep your trailer brakes from letting your tow vehicle coast as needed. It also will keep the trailer jerking. So you have to set the voltage down.

When your expressway driving, you must turn you brake voltage up so that the camper will not push your tow vehicle during a high speed emergency stop. I tried a setting that worked fairly well for both, but I still got minimum jerking in city driving and less efficent braking on the expressway. Because of that, it was best to keep changing the maximum voltage between expressway and city driving.

With a max voltage of only 4 volts needed for my pop up, the ramp time was extremely quick on it's slowest setting. It would ramp up to 4 volts within 1.5 seconds. I found the ramp setting vitually useless.

The Prodigy is awesome and effortless. In fact the camper doesn't give any feedback at all when braking, it never pushes or jerks the tow vehicle. Just the way I like it. BTW, the Prodigy was the same price as the Activator 2. I had to buy the Prodigy from Southwest Wheel since no local dealer around me carried the Prodigy.

Good luck in your towing, have a good one.
 

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Mike Up said:
Here's a thought. Since the Big Tow on the Armada has self leveling air bags. Should you adjust your equalizer before airing those air bags up??

That way the load is truly equalized instead of most of the tongue weight riding on the hitch due to the air bags keeping everything level so less force on the spring arms is needed.
There has been a lot of discussion about this on another forum I visit often (www.rv.net/forums). The consensus is (once you remove the "you can't tow without a 3-ton triple axle dual-turboed diesel dually" responses) to do exactly what you say. I took mine out to a level parking lot, disconnected the trailer, drove around without the trailer for a while to allow the air bags to adjust to no trailer, then hooked up again and did my leveling. This only needs to be done once, not every hook-up, so it was only a chore the first time.

The one question I never got answered was whether the rear leveling would actually jack the rear of the truck up higher than the front when a trailer was hooked up with a w-d hitch. The w-d hitch causes both the front and rear of the truck to squat, and it seems to me that the load leveling will try to put the rear of the truck back to the unloaded position, which will then be higher than the front. I haven't observed that with my setup, but I wonder whether that happens with higher tongue weights.

Keith
 

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I'm also a member of rv.net. I mostly converse in the folding trailer section while I do have some posts in the towing and tow vehicle sections.

My rig

Have a good one.

P.S. Would you mind posting what you find to be the best setup with those airbags. Thanks
 

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I have been doing all my adjustments to my wd bars just as the ball touches the trailer hitch just before putting any load on the truck and it seems to work the best for me. This makes it safer and easier to tension the WD bars. I set the rubber preload bumpers after everything has settled out to insure the wd hitch itself is level.
 

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Mike Up said:
I'm also a member of rv.net. I mostly converse in the folding trailer section while I do have some posts in the towing and tow vehicle sections.

My rig

Have a good one.

P.S. Would you mind posting what you find to be the best setup with those airbags. Thanks
Nice setup. We used to have a Coleman pop-up, we towed that thing all over the Western US. Then, we decided we needed more room, and started looking at larger pop-ups, with more features (our's didn't have many, no water heater, fridge, or water pump). What we found was that the pop-ups we liked were nearly as much as a solid sided trailer, so we made the plunge and got what is in our signature. We miss our pop-up, though, particularly when we have to pass up that great campsite because we can't fit!

Keith
 

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Campfamily said:
Nice setup. We used to have a Coleman pop-up, we towed that thing all over the Western US. Then, we decided we needed more room, and started looking at larger pop-ups, with more features (our's didn't have many, no water heater, fridge, or water pump). What we found was that the pop-ups we liked were nearly as much as a solid sided trailer, so we made the plunge and got what is in our signature. We miss our pop-up, though, particularly when we have to pass up that great campsite because we can't fit!

Keith
Thanks! :)

I really had a hard time when finding a camper. I started out in tent camping. Since at the time I had my Titan, I was actually looking at used 24' to 26' Travel Trailers. I was a bit naive in thinking the Titan could pull them legally when loaded with people and gear. Many of these campers weren't light weight campers and really should had been pulled with 3/4 tons. Glad they didn't work out for me. Since many were abused or had serious problems, they weren't worth the $6,000 I set my 'toy' budget for. After tent camping, anything over $2,000 seemed excessive. BUT, I did want to keep all gear in the camper so I didn't spend hours loading and unloading. I also wanted a furnace for those late fall trips and a refrigerator so I didn't have to get ice daily.

Well all the campers, Travel Trailers and hybrids were just junk even being most were only about 5 to 7 years old. Wanting something in good shape in my budget, I started looking at used Pop Ups. Surprisingly, these campers hold their value the most and saving a couple thousand on a used camper didn't seem like a deal as most didn't have water pumps or built in appliances that I like. Plus a used trailer warranty was $1,000 alone.

So I ended up with the new 2005 Rockwood Pop Up I have and absolutely love it. Price was very good on the Freedom series as the Premiers and Highwalls as you stated, equalled or approached travel trailer prices. Since real estate isn't large and the showers are to small for my bigger build, I gave up the shower option to gain a trunk, more storage cabinets and seating area. Glad I did as my floorplan has a porta potty area built into the seat where the seat folds over and drawing the curtain creates your less than private bathroom. :p Since I couldn't fit to well in the showers I demoed I deemed it unnecessary as all the campgrounds I've been to have good shower areas. For those times when boondocking, I have 2 shower tents, 3 solar bags for heating the water (will get Coleman hot water heater with shower attachment soon), a battery powered shower and a water pump to pump the the grey water into a waste tank. I can actually fit comfortable in my Kmart shower tent and it has towel racks, soap and shampoo shelves and a host of niceties no Pop Up shower offers except the Coleman Highlander series with their hardwalled bathrooms.

While in the future I may go with a 19' to 21' travel trailer or hybrid, the Pop up has many advantages I like. It's easily pulled with a midsize truck (hitch weight approaches 400 lbs when loaded), allows great gas mileage as there's no wind resistance, doesn't sway from passing vehicles, and can be easily stored in a garage or private area in a backyard. Here in Indiana, there's no property tax on Pop Ups as there are travel trailers and Hybrids. Insurance is cheaper, and so is plates since it's classified as a trailer and not an RV.

I would like to have a fully enclosed bathroom with waste tanks, but right now the expense doesn't seem worth it. I also love the screen room effect the Pop Ups have when you open all the windows. It's like your outside but not bothered by bugs. My dads 17' travel trailer just wasn't comfortable to stay in because of the cramped feeling next to my PUP. Of course my PUP is bigger opening to 23 1/2' with a queen and king bed.

I do plan on going with a smaller travel trailer in the future, but at this time I'm enjoying my PUP and really don't see a reason other than better insulation for late fall, early winter camping. The lack of tarp maintance would also be a plus.

Have a good one!
 

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Cillyone said:
I have been doing all my adjustments to my wd bars just as the ball touches the trailer hitch just before putting any load on the truck and it seems to work the best for me. This makes it safer and easier to tension the WD bars. I set the rubber preload bumpers after everything has settled out to insure the wd hitch itself is level.
Thanks, that makes sense. Not allowing the tongue weight to pull down the Armada's suspension, requiring the leveling system to add air to the bags.

I have the Armada's PDF owner's manual's and IMO, this is a huge omission. They should instruct owners to do exactly as you, so that the hitch dispurses the tongue weight to the trailer's axle(s) and keeps the weight on the front end instead of allowing the air bag leveling system to carry all the hitch weight, and in effect, limiting your vehicles GVWR for gear and passengers.

Have a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
From the '06 Owner's Manual, p. 9-19

1. Park unloaded vehicle on a level surface. With the ignition on and the doors closed, allow the vehicle to stand for serveral minutes so that it can level

2. Measure the height of a reference point on the front and rear bumpers at the center of the vehicle.

3. Attach the trailer to the vehicle and adjust the hitch equalizers so that the front bumper height is within 0 - .5 inches (0 - 13 mm) of the refererence height measured in step 2. The rear bumper should be no higher than the reference height measured in step 2.
 

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ToyHauler said:
From the '06 Owner's Manual, p. 9-19

1. Park unloaded vehicle on a level surface. With the ignition on and the doors closed, allow the vehicle to stand for serveral minutes so that it can level

2. Measure the height of a reference point on the front and rear bumpers at the center of the vehicle.

3. Attach the trailer to the vehicle and adjust the hitch equalizers so that the front bumper height is within 0 - .5 inches (0 - 13 mm) of the refererence height measured in step 2. The rear bumper should be no higher than the reference height measured in step 2.
Good stuff, I will see how my approach measures up next time I hitch the toybox, which unfortunatlly won't be until spring time, it is currently performing winter cabin duties at our property in the Sierras.
 

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what I tow

Here is my set up (I'm sure to raise some eyebrows). I have a 2004 Armada SE Off road with big tow. I tow a 2005 Jayco Jayfilght 29 BHS. It is 29ft long and weights in at 5680 lbs empty. With my gear, wife and child it comes in at 6200 lbs. I have a Draw tight weight distribution with cam sway control and Prodigy brake controler. I have towed 6000 miles this year alone and have never once felt out of control (tail wagging the dog).
Just my two cents.
I think the Armada is a great set up for towing this. I wouldn't tow anything longer, but this handles it just fine. I am currently planning a trip from Wisconsin to Flordia in February.
I have also upgraded tires and brakes on the Armada for safety.
 

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ToyHauler said:
From the '06 Owner's Manual, p. 9-19

1. Park unloaded vehicle on a level surface. With the ignition on and the doors closed, allow the vehicle to stand for serveral minutes so that it can level

2. Measure the height of a reference point on the front and rear bumpers at the center of the vehicle.

3. Attach the trailer to the vehicle and adjust the hitch equalizers so that the front bumper height is within 0 - .5 inches (0 - 13 mm) of the refererence height measured in step 2. The rear bumper should be no higher than the reference height measured in step 2.
Yes, that's Nissan's generic response to setting up a WDH. This common phrase can be found in the manuals of the Xterra, Pathfinder, Titan, Frontier, and Armada. Since the Armada is the only vehicle with air bags or without, it doesn't reference the setup at all for air bags, but for a standard suspension.

Have a good one.
 
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