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Slider hitch to help with length issues?


skp51443

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I have been looking at a lot of posts here with length issues and questions and one solution I didn't see mentioned was using a slider hitch to help cut down on the length of the rig.

 

How much could you save in total length by snugging up closer to the truck when straight and letting the trailer drop back to make corner clearance when turning?

 

Either a manual slider (shades of the original commercial hitches) or a fancy automatic slider might help.

 

Maybe an ET Slider version?

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Anything can be done in things "mechanical". The question and the "compromises" usually boil down to utility vs. complexity vs. cost.

The sliders buscrusher shows are usually "utilized" in pickup applications and we are not talking just "girlie trucks", but double girlie-girlie trucks, pickups with 6 foot beds.

I think mechanically these things are cute and serve the intended purpose, small pickups pulling small trailers giving an opportunity for lots of RVers "getting into the RVing" to enjoy it. But when I see 24,000 pound splashed all over the advertizing pictures, then I get disgusted again because that statement is pure BS and has nothing in common with reality.

 

The problem the folks on this forum have with overlength typically isn't close, foot or foot and half. The rigs are overlength by several feet and I can't see clearly how anything can be done to alleviate this to make these things "legal". Lot's of "illegal" rigs running around waiting for 50 state legislatures to "see the light and change the length rules", good luck with that.

 

Later I will take a picture to share with the forum pertaining to this subject, which will shed some light on why I am reluctant to design anything for an ET that is different than solidly mounting this hitch to the frame rails.

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RVIA is in the process of trying to lengthen trailers to 45' That requires legislative action in virtually all the states.

 

If and when the approval for 45' trailers comes to pass, that does not mean that the overall acceptable rig length will increase. You just cannot expect the states to pass co-ordinated things together. In Maryland they increased RV trailers from 38' to 40'. It took almost 10 years for the rig length to be increased from 55' to 65'

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There are a couple of other limiting factors when you're talking about a "sliding" hitch on an HDT RV hauler.

 

Remember that air-ride RV hitches are often designed to ride between the frame rails, primarily due to hitch height considerations. In theory, a hitch could be designed to be more narrow, and be mounted in a way that its "carrier" was riding on the rails of a commercial air-slider hitch that had been installed on many of our trucks prior to their retirement from commercial service. Such an arrangement could, theoretically allow something like an ET Hitch to travel fore and aft for several feet and accomplish just what you propose, if not for the reality of "life between the frame rails". Using my truck as an example, which is probably typical of most, if my ET could move forward from its fixed position, in less than a foot, there's a crossmember. Were that crossmember relocated to behind the hitch to allow more travel, in another foot at most, is the next obstruction, the torque arm (if the lowest forward point on the hitch didn't encounter some point on the differential housing first), which cannot be relocated. The theoretical distance that could be travelled in the best case would be no more than probably a foot and a half, at most, and would involve a great deal of complexity to achieve.

 

Finally, should all of that somehow be magically overcome, you have to allow for the swing radius of the truck's chassis or body, which would strike the front of the 5er's basement before you moved the hitch too terribly far forward.

 

Air-sliders work in commercial service, only because the hitches ride entirely above the frame rails, and the trailers, with the exception of moving/electronics vans and drop-deck flatbeds, have no basement-like obstructions like RVs do.

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When length was a issue........we had a couple of cab-overs.........not many RV-HDT consider the COE option but it likely makes more sense than a Auto-Slider-Hitch.

 

Jeff and a couple of other Cab-Overs seem pretty content and it sure helps with the length issues..........

 

"Grumps" would say........"truckers don't like COE because if you had a few too many beers you could miss the side-step down and land-on-your-kister"..........now that I am a old geezer....... I can land-on-my-kister WITHOUT any beer..........

 

Drive on.........( short-n-sweet........)

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I have been looking at a lot of posts here with length issues and questions and one solution I didn't see mentioned was using a slider hitch to help cut down on the length of the rig.

 

How much could you save in total length by snugging up closer to the truck when straight and letting the trailer drop back to make corner clearance when turning?

 

Either a manual slider (shades of the original commercial hitches) or a fancy automatic slider might help.

 

Maybe an ET Slider version?

Slow down a second here. I've read this a couple times, and the hairs on my neck went up each time. When you say "snugging up closer to the truck when straight and letting the trailer drop back to make corner clearance when turning", are you really referring to unlocking the slider while in motion? I really don't think you want that hitch moving around while in motion.

 

You'd also have to really think through your hitch positioning and slider range. I think the commercial hitches come in slider lengths of 12-60" in 12" increments. You'd need to ensure that the full-forward position wasn't so far forward that your front axle becomes overweight. Not that I'm endorsing it whatsoever, but the corrolary of your theory needs to be considered: when you turn out of the RV park onto the highway, you'll need to get the trailer snugged up so that you're under-length (if that's even possible). Are you going to put the truck in neutral, unlock the hitch, put the Jake Brake on max so the truck slows but the trailer doesn't, then lock the hitch and somehow slightly tug on the trailer brakes to make sure the locking pins had at least one microsecond to wiggle into position? Would you REALLY want your 25,000 pound trailer sliding towards you and your cab?

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Nice Scrap! I'd say thats what would be needed for the HDT app too. Two thoughts about that system. I have my doubts is it could move the trailer rearward fast enough in some real sudden brakes all locked emergency with that pump and accumulator...but well, I havent seen it work. Second, if they are relying on a internal cylinder position sensor....the ones of those I've run into are very failure prone--and EXPENSIVE to replace. JME. Great concept though. I really like the airflow/speed diagrams!

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Net Proceeds has a ET Hitch mounted in a sliding 'box'. Although full travel is over 30" the usual pinned location from fully forward, to aid in approach angle loading our Ford Focus in the garage, is 27" extended. This allows for approx. 105* of turn. Towing in the fully forward position is possible but quite limiting for turning.

Also shortening 27" O/A would not be of much help... :rolleyes:

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No build thread per-say, lots photos while the rear 'moat gate' door/ramps were being built. The ramps fold in half as the rear door is winched up/down. They are captured in a guide of angle brackets. There's a number of photos included in the link under my signature, none on the ramps though. If you kinda know what you want to see maybe a email could work.

 

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J&V not trying to hijack the thread but do you have a seperate thread on the ramps for your Ford? I am going to be doing a similar setup for my wifes 4Runner to fit on the back of my truck.

Take a "gander" at this album https://picasaweb.google.com/101586473487712642142/JaySWonderbed

It also shows the ET sliding mechanism that Jay "modified" to suit his purposes. I'm still blown away by the four beer barrels utilized as "engineering fixtures".

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Take a "gander" at this album https://picasaweb.google.com/101586473487712642142/JaySWonderbed

It also shows the ET sliding mechanism that Jay "modified" to suit his purposes. I'm still blown away by the four beer barrels utilize as "engineering fixtures".

Henry,

 

Regarding the "Fixture"..........do you drink the beer before.....or .......after?

 

Drive on.........(before the beer.....)

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I guess the ramp doesnt incline on the inside of the box, like in your model. I am having a hard time getting some good ideas on how to put our 4runner on a ramp, and elevate it while moving the vehicle forward to gain the extra deck space we need (24"). I saw your original model and thought it may have some components that would work.

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Without the engineering and CAD's expertise Henry certainly has I reverted to a very old and tried method of 'proofing' a concept. The 1/24 scale model aided me in determining a final approach to the build. As it worked out the 'rocket launcher' approach to the build just didn't afford much length savings and was a quite complicated build. The idea of a weatherproof, secure 'garage' won out. The drive in/out loading is very easy with ramp truck tie downs load/unload is about 10 minutes each way.

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