Chinook RV Forum

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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2017, 5:37 am 
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Joined: December 31st, 2016, 5:57 am
Posts: 127
I’m a newbie to towing with the Chinook but need to haul a rental trailer to bring home a new motorcycle. Maybe I have a knack of complicating things but it took some time and effort just to get hitch ready.

First was locating the receiver buried back there under the low rear overhang. Next was finding a ball hitch mount with the proper length, rise and clearance. Finally I needed a wiring harness from the existing 6-pin socket to a standard flat 4-pin connector.

So the standard trailer hitch height is 17” but I am concerned more may be needed for ground clearance having already dragged the back end over bumps and dips. Then the standard ball coupler length of 8” complicates things as it provides insufficient clearance for my rear step. The RV dealer suggested adding an extension (longer one-piece couplers are hard to find) but that reduces the load rating and ground clearance over bumps even more.

My draconian solution was simple - unbolt and remove the rear step! Now the 2” ball is accessible and has 15” ground clearance with a 2” drop mount; sturdy and close enough. I don’t plan on reinstalling the bottom folding step as it just adds weight and rattling noise with little functional benefit.

As for the wiring harness, I had to splice an adapter for the existing round port. That necessitated matching wire color to brake, L/R turn, stop and ground. No need for the electric brake or auxiliary +12V connections.

I'm sure this is all routine stuff for Chinook veterans and hopefully next time my hookup should be a simple ‘plug and play’ operation.

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Ted C. / SW Arizona
"The Blue Chook" 2002 Concourse Dinette on 2001 E-350 chassis w V10


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2017, 10:31 am 
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Joined: August 5th, 2016, 6:21 am
Posts: 62
Location: Front Range, Colorado
I guess I got lucky. I tow a motorcycle trailer regularly. My Chinook came with the 4 flat plug already wired and no fold down step. I only had to find a hitch long enough to make into the receiver since the hole for the pin was further in than on my car's receiver. A trip to walmart with a tape measure was all it took.

I do regularly hit the bottom of the ball mount on the end of my driveway. If I remember, I usually just load the bikes and trailer with the RV parallel parked out in the street.

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"Harvey" - 1994 Chinook Premier, 7.5L V8


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2017, 5:23 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
Posts: 248
Location: Marysville, WA
My Chinook (bought from the original owner) has the receiver extension that goes beyond the power step. It does cut the tongue weight in half but for myself is not an issue. I figure if I can lift the tongue of the trailer (or towed vehicle) then I am good to go. I have towed my Jeep Wrangler with previous motorhomes but haven't found the need to do that with the Chinook as it is so easy to drive and park. I did "test" hook up to my utility trailer to make sure I could use it if need be. I have an extension pigtail as well for the 4 pin flat connector that is stock on my 04 Premier.

No point to my post just sharing. ;)

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Steve aka SMan
2004 Premier V10


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2017, 9:03 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1909
Location: 1999 Concourse
It can be a bit of a challenge with the rear door/steps (builds character, I say :lol: ).

A couple of random notes:

1) The manual steps, from what I can deduce, need a shorter "stinger" to clear the step than the power steps do --- but they both need one longer than typical.

2) Extensions from what I have seen reduce ratings by 50%, but the longer drawbars (aka stingers) don't (although you don't have to be Einstein to figure out that obviously the longer the drawbar is the more leverage forces there will be).

3) One time I went up north thinking "Oh I won't need to tow" and so left my drawbar behind and then of course..... a towing situation came up. I went all around a medium sized town but nope. On the other hand, e-trailer has a great selection in both long (fits manual step) and extra long (fits power step). Or maybe it's extra long and extra extra long; but you get the idea. e-trailer will measure the critical distance from pin hole to first projection at ball end if you contact them (and some of them already have sketches in the comments). It's the best place I've found for getting things like this.

4) I have thought about having the hitch custom welded to extend to the edge of the step, but haven't gone any further than musing as I now have a good collection of drawbars that suit multiple tow setups. Edit: Now that I think of it I realize that would make departure angle even worse, and it's already the bottom of the receiver that typically contacts. So I don't think I'll be wanting to make it worse by extending it further aft. Never mind.

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PostPosted: May 6th, 2017, 3:33 am 
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Joined: December 31st, 2016, 5:57 am
Posts: 127
Towed my new motorcycle home yesterday and it was a breeze :D Now I’ll be sure to have my proven towing hookup on board, just in case… As they say, the only thing to fear is fear itself.

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Ted C. / SW Arizona
"The Blue Chook" 2002 Concourse Dinette on 2001 E-350 chassis w V10


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PostPosted: May 6th, 2017, 11:34 am 
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Joined: August 8th, 2015, 11:54 am
Posts: 206
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
My 2003 Premier came with power steps so I ordered a 16" hitch bar to clear them. When I went to test fit the bar I found that the steps were actually in the way when the steps were in "up" position. Then I noticed a small push-pull switch that someone had installed so that the steps could be stopped in any position between opened and closed. I still had major problems getting a pin through the receiver and drawbar and had to widen the holes to get it to fit. Also, its not possible to get most safety chain hooks through the small slots on the original receiver so I'm still trying to find a solution to that problem.

I will say that when towing our boat, which is probably right around the 5,000 limit for these rigs, I find that the V-10 has to work pretty hard but its doable. Another advantage is when launching I can go out the back door of my rig to climb up over the bow and into the boat so I can drive it off the trailer while my wife pulls the rig forward. NOTE: Before launching a boat or hooking up a trailer with your wife's assistance please consider the cost and tribulations associated with divorce.

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Paul Demarest
2003 Premier V-10


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PostPosted: May 6th, 2017, 12:27 pm 
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Joined: August 5th, 2016, 6:21 am
Posts: 62
Location: Front Range, Colorado
As far as the safety chain loops go, I went to Ace hardware and bought some screw-type carabiners that were rated stronger than the weight of my trailer. I just leave them dangling on the hitch and hook the chains to them when I tow. They serve two purposes. First, it's easier to connect to the biners than the original hitch and second, it extends the chains when connected which was an issue for my trailer since those loops are tucked so far under the rig.

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"Harvey" - 1994 Chinook Premier, 7.5L V8


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PostPosted: May 9th, 2017, 12:09 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2017, 1:45 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Lake Havasu City AZ
We have a 2004 Chinook XL. Previous owner removed the receiver hitch to install different steps. Now, we want to tow our 4-place Polaris Ranger side-by-side on an aluminum trailer. We have the original long receiver. Can anyone assist with a drawing or a source for the receiver hitch -- the original bolt-on? Thanks. AL and Lauren in Lake Havasu City, Arizona


Last edited by wakefield907 on May 15th, 2017, 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 3:20 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2015, 11:54 am
Posts: 206
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Thanks, Colorider - I have an ACE hardware store a few blocks from home so I'm off to check it out.

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2003 Premier V-10


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PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 4:02 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 572
Location: Northern NJ
Wow, I actually feel "lucky" in some ways that my Concourse came with no extra step at all.

I ended up putting a less wide 20" single pull-out step to the right of the hitch ... with just enough room to insert the cotter pin for the hitch bolt.
Attachment:
rear-step-hitch.jpg
rear-step-hitch.jpg [ 61.9 KiB | Viewed 335 times ]

Open, it gives a nice sturdy halfway up extra step. When closed, the step doesn't interfere at all.
Attachment:
rear-step-down.jpg
rear-step-down.jpg [ 77.61 KiB | Viewed 335 times ]

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on May 10th, 2017, 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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