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Post Info TOPIC: Automated Safety Hitch


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Automated Safety Hitch
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Has anyone out there purchased and used the Automated Safety Hitch for towing a 5th wheel?  I've looked into it and it seems like there are a lot of positives in using it, even at the current cost.  We're getting serious about buying our first 5th wheel and considering going full timing so I'd like some input from those who've used that hitch. 

Thanks in advance. 



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Cary Andrews

Truck: 2006 Dodge RAM 3500, Cummins Diesel (60K original miles)

ATVs: CanAm Outlander 500, CanAm Outlander 650



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We looked into these at the beginning of our research but quickly dismissed the idea.

We could not find even one vetted opinion that could endorse the product. Then there is the issue of exactly what you are trying to accomplish with it. Towing a huge trailer that you otherwise could not? Remember the device itself weigh a considerable amount and you'd have to add it's weight to the total CGVW for the towing vehicle, and while it offloads the trailer pin weight onto the device from the tow vehicle itself you can't get around the physics of actually towing the extra weight. The device is not cheap either. For the extra money you could simply buy the right tow vehicle from the get go and not have to worry about all the associated issues using the device compared to more conventional towing methods.  Would it be part of your plan to use the now available PU bed space to haul more gear? That's more weight to tow, so you are kind of defeating the purpose of the device by arguing that you can haul more stuff. 

JMHO, Brian 



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Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)
2017 RAM 3500 Laramie 4x4 CCLB, CTD, Aisin, B&W hitch, dually
2020 Keystone Montana Legacy 3813MS w/FBP ,
MORryde 8k IS, Kodiak disc brakes, no solar  YET!



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This has come up here before.

The Automated Safety Hitch Review

To add to what is in that thread, Cyclone Dave did not explain how adding the hitch negated the tow vehicle's conventional tow ratings.  He seemed to want to believe the manufacturer instead of doing his own research on how the physics of adding the weight of the hitch still didn't add to the weight being towed.

Besides this review, I can't recall ever seeing anyone posting a review, let alone a positive one, on any of the RV forums where I participate.

I'm like Brian.  I'd put that extra money into a better and much safer truck.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

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I also believe it is illegal to tow any other trailer behind a bumper pull trailer in some states. The DOT recognizes the hitch as a bumper pull. You can tow a bumper pull trailer behind a fifth wheel trailer but not the other way around. I could be mistaking also, it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. Lol

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Haven't used the hitch, but the owner of the company sent a guy out to demo one for us in Wyoming in 2012.  I was completely unimpressed, and with the videos I took at the time, I believe others would be unimpressed as well.

It increases the length too much (possibly exceeding state length limits and violating double-towing laws), there were problems hitching and unhitching, it created ruts and skid marks in the ground when doing tight turns, it would be a major hassle in leveling front to back, it would NOT make parking in campgrounds easier, it creates an extra level of service and maintenance, and it adds the inconvenience of what to do with it once you are parked and need to get it out of the way.  Not to mention the extra cost to get all these extra headaches.

It's often marketed as way to tow a larger trailer without having an adequate truck.  Here is a response I sent to someone that was interested in it a few years ago.

It may make towing safer from a pure engineering standpoint (I'm not even sure about that), but my fear is it will have the opposite effect and just encourage people without enough truck to tow trailers much larger than they should be towing.  As a former attorney, I can tell you I'd be all over that in an accident lawsuit.  "Sir, what was your incentive to use Automated Safety Hitch in your trailer towing configuration?  Answer:  They told me I could tow a bigger trailer than my truck's owners manual said I could - I wouldn't have to go out and buy a bigger truck.  Thank you.  No further questions."  :)

Some people have this thing and love it, but I would NEVER own one from a practical standpoint.  Just my opinion.



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Thanks to all of you for your responses. As expected there seems to be more skepticism than optimism on the ASHS. I say expected because in my research I've seen a lot of very positive statements from actual owners of the hitch, but many more negative responses.

Pros and cons abound, as do opinions. To be frank, all of the negative reviews I've found are from folks who don't own or have never owned one. I have plenty of truck to pull a fifth wheel but I'm still wondering if the cost is worth the advantages.

What I'd really like to see is someone who is skeptical, who thinks it's a bad idea, try one out and then give a good evaluation.

Is there anyone out on this forum that actually owns one that can speak up either positively or negatively?

Thanks.

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Cary Andrews

Truck: 2006 Dodge RAM 3500, Cummins Diesel (60K original miles)

ATVs: CanAm Outlander 500, CanAm Outlander 650



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Just to add my two cents.

Over the past 30 years that I have been aware of 5th wheel travel trailers there have been a few companies offering products similar to the ASHS. Some of the product names were Tow Buddy, Hitch Buddy, Tow All Dolly.....if you read the reviews many had bad reviews.

Some of these companies are out of business or have stopped offering the dollies.

I have only seen two of these type of dollies on the road in the past 20 years.

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From an engineering perspective the design seems sound with good quality components.  The Automated Safety Hitch (ASH) is connected to the reciever and mechanically attached with two chains under tension making it an extension of the truck and not a pivoting dolly.  This is like adding a tag axle onto the truck. The ASH uses basically the front axle of a HD truck so it is steerable to some extent.  The ASH is certified as a Class V bumper pull which has a rating of 17,000 lbs so the maximum trailer weight would be somewhere around 17,000 lbs or 17,000- ASH weight depending on where you consider the hitch starts.  Fifth Wheel Towing site promotes the product

Pros

  • Tow a fifth wheel with a lifted truck
  • Additional braking system
  • Additional maneuvarability (on turns the ASH actually pivots out so the trailer tracks closer to the vehicle instead of inside hitting the curb)
  • Fixes GRAW issues by shifting the tongue weight to the 'tag' axle 
  • Short bed trucks don't require slider hitches
  • Fixes bed rail to trailer clearance issues

Cons

  • Questionable tow rating they claim the ability to pull 30,000 lbs trailers
  • Additional equipment complexity in hitching
  • No one here endorses the product
  • Scrubbing of tires during tight turns
  • Really towing with a vehicle that shouldn't be towing the trailer

If you occasionally tow a fifth wheel that is less than 17,000 lbs and you have a 3/4 ton truck this might be an option as long as you stay under the GCVW rating.  I could also see using the ASH with a lifted truck or on a ranch where driving off road with a trailer might cause bed rail to trailer clearance issues but not with a SUV or 1/2 ton truck.  

Andy



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Again, thanks for your replies. This is helpful, and even though no one can endorse the ASHS, that very fact speaks for itself.

See ya!

Cary

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Cary Andrews

Truck: 2006 Dodge RAM 3500, Cummins Diesel (60K original miles)

ATVs: CanAm Outlander 500, CanAm Outlander 650



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regarding the claims to pull a larger trailer.

I am looking at upgrading to a large 5th wheel.  This means having to sell the F250 (Diesel) I have now to get an F450. 

It seems there are three separate issues in: Power to pull, the ability to stop, and stability at highway speed.

the F250 and F450 have the same engine.  So the power to pull is the same in either case.

Logically the extra set of tires with disc brakes on the road should give you braking at  least as good as the F450 - which (compared to the F250) simply has another set of tires on the road.   In fact it should be a lot better than the 450, since the second set of tires has its own set of disk brakes to dissipate heat under heavy / repeated braking.

Next, stability - the fishtail is caused by a traditional hitch having leverage over the axle which might be several feet away from the ball/hitch.  The rear tires act like a fulcrum, so when load goes left, the front of the truck goes right -back and forth until you have a fishtail.  With this unit the load is on top of its own axle, just like a fifth wheel, so I don't see how it would fishtail or sway in cross winds any more than the 450.

based on this it seems to hit everything.

The only disadvantage to me is the additional length  which will make changing lanes in traffic a lot more difficult.

But  the benefits looks huge to me:

- tighter/better cornering

- better handling of uneven terrain and jackknifing without damaging the truck bed or cab

- able to use my truck bed (with a cap) which gives a huge amount of storage otherwise lost to the 5th wheel system.

- no dually fenders/width which makes it very difficult to find parking vs the F250

I disagree that you would not get some greater weight rating vs a hitch.  In the end, the forward load (pulling ability) is on the frame whether a 5th wheel, trailer or this thing.  But, you cannot put as much weight on a hitch because its not over the wheels and creates too much lift on the front axle when you load the hitch.  5th wheel puts the load on the rear axle, and this device takes care of that by taking most of the load off the truck altogether.  It is not a trailer because it is fixed to the truck and stays parallel to the axle, it does not pivot vs the truck (only the trailer) so it effectively becomes part of the truck, just like a tag axle on a bus/truck (tandem axle without a drive shaft).

But I wish there was some response from someone who actually uses the unit vs (including me) just trying to figure it out in theory. 

 

 

 

 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Its simple math, the ASH weighs approx 1600 lbs. That's 1600 lbs less trailer you can tow for a given CGVWR. Sure... you unload the truck by moving the pin weight to the ASH but you said you wanted to tow a larger trailer. I smell spam.



-- Edited by BiggarView on Tuesday 18th of September 2018 03:21:36 PM

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Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)
2017 RAM 3500 Laramie 4x4 CCLB, CTD, Aisin, B&W hitch, dually
2020 Keystone Montana Legacy 3813MS w/FBP ,
MORryde 8k IS, Kodiak disc brakes, no solar  YET!



RV-Dreams Community Member

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Spam? Maybe you don't know what that word means so I will forgive that inexplicable comment. The weight rating is a good point/ legit concern as all the theory in the world wont help if you exceed the legal rating and have an accident. My 250 is rated to pull around 14000 but I would never pull more than maybe 10k on the 250 with a hitch. Was hoping i could avoid the dually with this but the 5th wheel i want weighs more than 14k. Also read about some bad experiences on the BBB site. Overall seems like a good concept but it needs to be more widely accepted and proven before I would risk it. Looks like I'm getting a new truck!

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Spam? Yes it looks like Spam. Why? It was your first post and it was promoting a certain piece of equipment. This is a hallmark of a spammer. They join, they post something for sale in their first post and then disappear. Is this what you are doing? I don't know, time will tell but Biggarview was right, it sure smells like spam.

As to the piece of equipment itself the fact that the design was changed to add steering seems to validate Howard's observation that there were issues with tracking in tight turns. If you look at the video in the link below when the TV is approximately 75% of the way through the turn you can see that the right front tire of the TV is leaving a black mark on the pavement. When the turn is completed you can see this black mark all the way through the turn. This is a sure sign that the front tire is scrubbing in the turn. This is also indicative of a great deal of stress on the whole rig, not something I think one would want. Just my 2 cents.

www.automatedsafetyhitch.com/2013/05/automated-steering-control-system/

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"NO BUENO"

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2016 Mobile Suites 39TKSB3 "Highly Elited"

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Jeff,

You are wise to choose to go with the larger truck, whether it be an F450 or an F350.  Either could probably handle your RV fine.  As for the so-called safety hitch, if it is so great, why haven't we seen lots of them out and around?  I've never seen one being used.

On to another topic; this thread is over 2 years old and Howard prefers that we not post to old threads to revive them.  Too often, an old thread may have information in the early posts that are out of date or no longer valid, such as a product no longer being available.  Thus, it is better to start a new thread than to revive an old one.  With that in mind, I am closing this thread.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

Our photos on Smugmug

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