Experienced RVers please advise!

Hi All,

My husband and I are new to RVing and just bought an 1986 Prowler that is '19. We have never towed before, and are going to pick it up in NY next weekend (a six hour drive from us). We have an 88 Suburban with a big block engine, but aren't sure what we need for towing as far as hitches, sway bars, etc. Any advice about tire pressure or anything else to keep us in one piece on the drive home would be very much appreciated. We can't wait to hit the road, but we want to do it safely. Thanks in advance! :) :) :)

Gary B

Senior Member
Experienced RVers please advise!

Hi CamperM, welcome to the forum and to rving, congrats on the new to you trailer. If the trailer isn't equipped with a weight distrubing hitch and a sway control, ( I'll probaly get flamed) but with your tow vehicle and that size TT you should be able to get home without, and then if you find you need them have them installed locally. As for tire pressures if it has good trailer tires then about 60 PSI is whats normal, if it has car tires then about 35/40 PSI. Do you have a brake controller installed, this is important, and take your time, 55/60 mph to get use to towing. Since its a six hour drive I'd recomend resting over night and traveling in the day for the first time, soo much easier to see whats going on, then at night. Just take it easy and enjoy and have fun ;)
:) :laugh: :cool: :bleh: :approve:
Experienced RVers please advise!

Hi Gary,

Thanks very much for your advice and experience. I was thinking my husband and I could stop by an RV center in the Buffalo area to get set up with a hitch if we can. The trailer needs a 2 5/16 ball to pull. Any suggestions about a hitch/sway bar system? Can the Reese Dual Cam work with a trailer this size? I think dry it's under 3000.

Many thanks, Gary,

Megan and Peter
Experienced RVers please advise!


I just called Fleetwood and got these specs:

Dry weight: 2910
GVW: 4200

Hitch weight: 310

Gary B

Senior Member
Experienced RVers please advise!

Hi CamperM, You have good imformation, on the Trailer wts & hitch wts, so yes a dealer will be able to help you with that imformation, and yes the Reese dual cam would be excellent in my opinon. Good luck, sounds like your on the way to a great start. :) :laugh: :cool: :bleh: :approve:
Experienced RVers please advise!

I think you are doing the right thing to get the weight distributing hitch anyway. You didn't say whether your Suburban was a half ton or three quarter ton model. The half ton will come up in the front with the trailer and no weight distribution hitch. Before you hook up the trailer put the Suburban on level ground. Measure the distance from the bottom of the front bumper to the ground. Then measure the distance from the bottom of the back bumper to the ground. Now hook up the trailer and see how much the front end of the vehicle raises and the back end drops. With the trailer still attached to the vehicle jack it back up until the Suburban is level again. Now hook up your torsion chains or whatever your hitch uses to distribute the weight.

Let the trailer back down on the hitch and measure the front bumper distance again. If it is hooked up properly you should be within about an inch of unhitched level. The hitch should have instructions on how to do this.

I would also purchase the sway control. A simple friction type control will work just fine. You will be amazed at how much semi-trucks can push you when they pass or you pass them. The sway control will reduce some of that push.

Since your trailer is not new I would suggest taking it to a dealer or rv service and having the brakes checked. When trailers sit in one spot for long periods of time the inside of the brake drums rust and turn into sand paper. They can wear the brake shoes out rather quickly and build up enough heat to cause the brake shoes to deteriate. Better safe than sorry on this one. I had a one ton crew cab and a 32 ft travel trailer. The brake manufacturer had put out some defective brake shoes and my trailer got some of them. I was going down a short incline when they quit working. I got it stopped but it scared the crap out of me.

Has your husband ever backed a trailer of this size. A little trick I learned from an old trucker. Take the trailer to an empty parking lot on a weekend, set up some empty milk bottles (or whatever) in the approximate size of an rv lot. Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and try to back it. If the back of the trailer goes right steer to the left, and vise versa. The backend of the trailer will go in whatever direction you move your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. Then you can learn to do it with your hands in the normal position on the steering wheel.

My wife and I also purchased two of the little "family" radios so that we could communicate while I was backing in. She would get out of the truck and watch for me while I backed in to make sure I didn't go back to far, get to close to the hook ups or block the slide out by being to close to a tree, etc. Worked really good.

Good luck and welcome to the wonderful world of RVing.


Senior Member
Experienced RVers please advise!

the two way radios work great....wife and I have the headset type so we can give directions via hand signals also......great idea. ;)

Ed H.

New Member
Experienced RVers please advise!

One bit of advice noone else has mentioned is mirrors! If the Suburban doesn't have big extendable mirrors, get a set of extension mirrors. Your field of vision should sweep the sides of the trailer when the rig is lined up straight. Seeing only the next lane over just isn't good enough. You need to have a clue if there's someone behind you whether it's just some joker tailgating or a cop or ambulance running a full light show.
Good rear vision is also priceless when you're backing up.
Experienced RVers please advise!

If your aren't sure of the trailer's maintenance history, I would be tempted to throw a jack under it and give the wheel bearings a quick check. Make sure they roll freely but dont allow the wheel/hub assembly to wobble on the axle. When you get it home have the bearings cleaned and packed and do a tune up on the breaks.
Experienced RVers please advise!

I think you have received some really great advice. I am going to remember the one about the mirrors myself. I pulled my last tt with a 92 Suburban 1/2 ton. I bought extension mirrors for it and then put one of those little stick on mirrors in corner of the Suburban mirrors so there wouldn't be any chance of a blind spot.

Another thing I did, and this is strictly personal preference, I put an electric jack on the trailer tongue. I got tired of cranking up and down on a manual jack. The electric jack work so much easier and it was well worth the investment.

Then, because I camped in the mountains occasionally, I bought the wheel chocks that fit between the tires and cranked out against the tires much like a scissors jack. It seemed to stop some of the swaying of the trailer when we were walking around inside. Made the trailer very secure on an incline.

Good Luck.