April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 33 32 • RV PRo • April 2014 rv-pro.com Trailer Solutions Even the trailer side of the hitch, the coupler, has seen substan- tial product improvement and expansion. Today's upgraded pin box couplers feature airbag and gas shock suspension, improved maneuvering capabilities, and engineered ride control, as well as a broader range of choices from different manufacturers. Lippert Components, Cequent and PopUp Towing Products all offer alternative solutions to the trailer side of the towing assembly. PopUp focuses on gooseneck to fifth wheel adapters, while Cequent and Lippert take a problem-solving approach to improving the ride quality and maneuverability of fifth wheel trailers. PopUp offers an adapter that bolts in place of the kingpin coupler on a travel trailer, allowing it to be hitched to a gooseneck ball instead of a fifth wheel hitch. PopUp's product array includes models with fixed or adjustable offsets to accommodate the dif- ferences in gooseneck ball locations, truck bed sizes, and travel trailer front-overhang measurement. In addition, the gooseneck coupler socket height is also adjustable to accommodate different pickup bed heights. Lippert Components' presence in the fifth wheel towing market is focused on high-performance pin boxes for trailers, according to Jarrod Lippert, director of marketing for Lippert Components. "Lippert manufactures the majority of standard pin box equip- ment sold on 95 percent of all fifth wheels," he says. "Trailair is still the brand name most well-known by RV dealers and campers and it remains the brand name of these products. "We've been working on continuous product improvement and line expansion for the past five or six years," Lippert adds. "e result is a better product and more choices for the dealer and consumer." Two of Lippert's best-known aftermarket upgrade prod- ucts include the Rota Flex and Flex Air performance pin boxes. e Flex Air pin box is Lippert's brand-new introduction, ready for release in the second fiscal quarter. e product incorporates an inflatable rubber air bag coupled with a gas shock absorber. e coupler helps the Flex Air to con- trol the chucking, as well as the vertical push-pull loading from a fifth wheel travel trailer. Lippert says the result is an improved ride, better driving control, and less wear on the fifth wheel hitch, the truck and the travel trailer. Cequent offers its Goose Box, an adapter coupler that mounts to the travel trailer and replaces the kingpin coupler, and allows use of a gooseneck hitch instead of a fifth wheel. e company's 5 th Airborne is an upgraded fifth wheel pin box coupler that combines an air bladder with a shock absorber to dampen road vibration and shock, and reduce stress on the fifth wheel hitch and tow vehicle frame, the coupler and the trailer. Cequent also offers the Sidewinder, a unique coupler adapter system for short-bed trucks. e product allows 90-degree turns without employing a fifth wheel slider unit. is system can be combined with the 5 th Airborne pin box system to provide short- bed maneuverability with an air and shock cushioned ride. Training & Education Fifth wheel hitch manufacturers prioritize training retailers to ensure the highest consumer satisfaction possible. Curt Manu- facturing, for instance, offers its online B2B University. Retailers and installers capitalizing on initiative are able to become experts in Curt products. "e videos and materials offer everything from installation and counter sales, to how to merchandise a store properly," says Hooks. "ere are written materials available supporting each video. After each module there's actually a quiz that's taken. If they pass a quiz 100 percent, we'll send them a certificate that they passed." If a retailer cannot find the information on a particular training topic, Curt Manufacturing will create a video using its in-house studio. "If a dealer says, 'Hey, you know, I'm unclear about a point,' odds are, he is not the only one. We'll immediately script something, record it, and get it published as soon as possible," Hooks says. Cequent also is undertaking several initiatives to promote dealer education and training. Romero notes that the supplier recently opened a state-of-the-art conference and training center at its cor- porate headquarters in Plymouth, Mich., to provide dealer training, which is in addition to the onsite training hosted at dealerships. Additionally, the company recently launched the first in a series continued on page 33 continued from page 32 Steady As She Tows Cequent's Reese Sidewinder allows 90-degree turns without employing a fifth wheel slider unit. This system can be combined with the Reese 5th Airborne pin box system to provide short-bed maneuverability with an air and shock cushioned ride. RVPApr.indd 32 3/19/14 3:17 PM

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