Reese WD system with AT35 coupling

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 16:25
ThreadID: 121715 Views:5175 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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This week we are having the new 450kg Hayman-Reese tow pack fitted to the F250 and plan to move to the (American) Reese WDH. We have also purchased the current AT35 coupling so as to be using the larger bolt in the light of Paul's experience. The AT35 unit we purchased has "no ears" on the vehicle unit so as to fit the Reese tow bar.

Yesterday I borrowed a Reese system from a mate who uses a ball coupling. On this unit the ball mount sits proud and the AT35 will not really bolt on flat and secure.

I know some BT owners are using the Reese system. How do I get around this problem?

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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 19:24

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 19:24
G'day Andy,

My recollection is that there are (or were) two different types - a cast frame and a Mild Steel frame. I turned up for pick-up with a brand new cast model, only to find that the AT35 could not be fitted (there was no room for the positioning bolt).
I went around to the local HR people to see if I could trade it for a MS, I had to purchase a whole new one! At the time BTI were unaware of the problem and I assume that later purchasers were advised accordingly.

Maybe your friend's system was the Cast unit.

AnswerID: 565646

Reply By: Oldperc - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 21:34

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 21:34
Andy and Rob
Yea I had the same problem 12 months ago when I purchased the American Reese WDH distributed here by Trailboss and they don't fit the AT35 without some engineering of the WDH and I wasn't prepared to that given who would cover the warranty should something go wrong.
I was fortunate to be able to take it back and swap for the Hayman Reese WDH which in my opinion is not as 'good looking'!! but to date appears to do a good job.
I had put out a call on the old BOG site and there were heaps of replies so you might like to do a search for same.
Threads would be around March 2004 I think on the MSN site.
Trailboss can be contacted on 07 33904055
You can also talk to Vehicle Compontents as they advised me on the issue with the ears which can be ground off with out ill effects.
David and Ann
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AnswerID: 565647

Reply By: Luvntravln - Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005 at 06:16

Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005 at 06:16

We had the Reese WDH with the AT35, and yes a little bit of grinding was necessary - no big deal!

Now we have the ring/pintle and it sits on top of the Reese WDH and works beautifully.

We will next change the tow bar from 3500kg to 4500kg in as much as 1) our BT weighs more than 3500kg and 2) the capacity of the AT35 is only 3500 whereas the ring/pintle is 5000kg.

In my opinion the significant difference in the two WDHs justify the minor grinding in order to have the Reese.

AnswerID: 565648

Follow Up By: Motley - Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005 at 06:32

Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005 at 06:32

When you have been off-road, including the training course, did you find that the ring/pintle provided the necessary articulation to go over humps, through dips etc?

If anyone else has experience here, I'd welcome it. I'm thinking of changing over from the AT35 but I know where I've been with the AT35 and am not sure how restrictive the ring/pintle might be

Thanks in advance

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005 at 21:42

Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005 at 21:42
Hello Friends,
Bushtracker here,

Andy, the hitch you have is being discontinued, if it is the new forged one.... There is a new one on the water, to be released in the next couple of weeks... If you want, send us a digital picture to Bushtracker to make sure, or stop by; but that is why we have not done the engineering to make a new head unit for that one, as it is on the way out... (According to our inside information)... I might just change it out to either the older style one or the new one coming....

Cheers, stg

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AnswerID: 565649

Follow Up By: Andy1 - Thursday, Jan 13, 2005 at 02:01

Thursday, Jan 13, 2005 at 02:01

I am having a hell of a problem getting info. I have been trying to get an answer out of Trailboss, who are the Australian Agents for American Reese WD gear, but now that Hayman-Reese and Trailboss, which are both owned by the same company out of the US, seem to be run centrally from Melbourne info re the Reese gear is sparse. Trailboss seems to be a bit like the Poofla Bird.

I phoned HR who have little knowledge of, or interest in Reese. They have suggested that I take my worn HR WD hitch with me to Rockhampton where we are going tomorrow to have the HR 450kg tow bar fitted to the F250, with a view to replacement under warranty.

I guess this is now the next step although my preference is still for the Reese as the pivot point appears to be a much better design.

Rob Buchanan supplied me with a new AT35 "without ears" to fit the Reese but I am pretty reluctant now to buy a Reese sight unseen not knowing if the AT35 will fit. Do you know of a Reese stockist who could give me reliable information?

As an aside HR also advised that once the hitch beds in a dry lubricant must be used at the pivot points.

How difficult would it be for me to move to the cone coupling? Do Vehicle Components make same?

FollowupID: 844215

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Jan 13, 2005 at 22:47

Thursday, Jan 13, 2005 at 22:47
I had Vehicle Components fit the pinel ring hitch set up to our van on our way down to the Rally at Copeton. After having just travelled about 5000 km with it down to Victoria and back I have to say that in my opinion you should take the new AT35 back to Vehicle Components and change it to the pintel ring set up. I think it must be the fact that the double pivot points of the AT35 have been removed and the pintel ring is more of a solid fixture, but I have found that the whole towing set up is far better with the pintel ring. There is very little difference when going through corners at speed with or without the van on now, it just handles similar to a vehicle by itself.

Hitching and un-hitching is also far easier with the pintel ring than AT35 and I believe that before long everyone will want a pintel ring as their tow hitch.
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FollowupID: 844216

Reply By: Andy1 - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 16:41

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 16:41

Are you using a WDH? If so what type & how is it setup?

Also Brian I recall from a posting quite some time ago that you changed to 285 tyres vs the standard 265. Do you have the extended warranty & if so does this change have warranty implicitations?

AnswerID: 565650

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 05:59

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 05:59
We are just using the standard Hayman Reese WDH and the pintel ring fitted without any problems.

Tyres, we do have Bridgestone 285 tyres that have a higher rating than the 265, and found that at 100kph the speedo error is 4% as per the GPS. Also to fit them to the front I had to cut away some of the inside of the front mudflaps to prevent the tyres rubbing on sharp turns.

As far as warranty is concerned, I asked the Ford dealer (Service manager) when I fitted them at about 85,000km and he said that there was no problem. I didn't think that the cost of the extended warranty was worth the money when you consider that I have had no problems with the vehicle. It just seemed too much money for the benefit that you got, so mine ran out of warranty 13,000km ago.
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Reply By: Andy1 - Saturday, Jan 29, 2005 at 17:13

Saturday, Jan 29, 2005 at 17:13
Just to finish off this thread.

We approached HR about the elongated wear in the bottom WDH bar support hole and they replaced the head unit under warranty. However given that the wear pattern clearly indicated that the bar did not sit up in the top support cavity we felt that the problem would re-occur. It is not an unusual problem with BT owners and at least one has had a bar "jump" out! We try to transfer about 100kg to the front wheels with the WDH & perhaps some use less tension so do not have the problem. HR also advise that the moving joints on the bars should be lubricated at each use. This was news to us.

We decided to move to the Reese but as mentioned earlier in this thread, the point at which the ball is mounted is proud which creates a problem in mounting an AT35. As one does with a coupling query we approached Rob Buchanan at Vehicle Components. Rob, as always, came up trumps and is currently fitting the AT35 onto the Reese. If anyone is thinking of fitting the Reese WDH they may be well advised to contact Rob to do the job.

We looked at retrofitting the Conical Ball coupling but ran into the issue of the location of the Jockey Wheel, which we have already have moved once, as the critical distance on the Conical Ball setup is 3-4cms less than the AT35 so the WDH bars would not quite fit. Anyone purcasing a new BT should ensure the Jockey Wheel is back far enough for the Conical Ball & Reese hitch.

As an aside:

-in my hunting about it came up that bainbridge Technologies are in the process of importing a hitch from the US which is apparently very similar to the Reese. I spoke to them and the unit is a month or so away.

-Rob Buchanan tells me that VC are developing a modification to the AT35 which will make coupling/uncoupling much easier. Release is planned about mid year.

AnswerID: 565651

Reply By: Andy1 - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 15:21

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 15:21
The finale to this thread is rather a let-down.

Vehicle Components advised me yesterday that the AT35 coupling is not compatable with the (American) Reese Hitch.

This advice is based on the fact that to fit the AT35 the Reese Hitch has to be ground flat and this MAY cause some loss of strength.

As an aside Vehicle Components also advise that the bush which fits into the coupling pin hole on the Reese does not meet Australian Design Standards.

AnswerID: 565652

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