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Old 03-16-2010, 07:07 AM   #1
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Ball mount adjustment

The dealer we purchased our TT sent up our hitching/towing gear. We have a 33' TT and Dodge 1500. What I just recently noticed is that once the stabilizer bars are on (set on the second link from the end point) that the receiver is being pulled upward. If we went to putting the bars at the very first link to take some of the pull off of the receiver I'm sure that's going to be too loose. So, I'm assuming I have to adjust the adjustable ball mount by having that raised to keep the receiver parallel to the ground and not pulled up. Are there any concerns in a somewhat layperson like me doing this or should I take this into a dealer because there may be other concerns as far as maybe pitch and sway that will happen once the ball mount is adjusted? Or can I just adjust the ball mount to the right position and ensure that the receiver is parallel to the ground and no strain being put on the receiver?

Thanks very much in advance!

F Moore
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:10 PM   #2
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fmoore, I am having a bit of a problem understanding what you are doing and want to do with your hitch.

First tell us what brand and type of hitch you have. The bars are weight distribution bars. Basically you need to have the whole rig on level ground and have the trailer level and unhitched.
Now measure the height to the top of the trailer hitch.
Now measure the height to the top of the ball (unhitched).
Set the hitch height on the truck so that it is 1/2" to 1" higher than the trailer hitch frame.
Now measure and record the height at a easily referenced point at both from wheels and both rear wheels.
Set the hitch head so that it tilts back toward the trailer about 10 or 15 degrees.

Now lift the trailer using the trailer jack and back the truck under it and let the trailer down on to the ball and latch it.

Now, again lift the trailer frame and the rear of the truck, about 3 or 4 inches.

Install the WD bars and latch the chains in a easy to latch link.
Let the weight off the jack and see how it sets.
The trailer should be level, the WD bars nearly parallel tot he ground and the truck level.
Check the height at the wheel wells that were previously recorded. The truck should drop pretty equally front and rear. If the rear dropped 1/2" the front should be 1/4" to 1/2" lower than the original numbers. If it drops in the rear and not the front, you need more tension on the chains, so take up a link. You can also tilt the head more toward the trailer if needed.

If the front drops and rear does not, you have too much tension on the chains, so let themout a link.

If the trailer is not level (slight nose down is OK), you will need to adjust the height if the hitch head.

Use the WD bars to level and load the truck. Use the head tilt to get the bars close to parallel to the ground. It is a bit of trial and error until you get the feel of what changes what.

The instructions on the hitch should have a pretty easy follow section on setting up the trailer hitch. Only set it up when you have the truck and trailer loaded for normal travel.

Hope this helps.

Ken
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:07 PM   #3
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"... the receiver is being pulled upward."

That's an excellent stepwise procedure that Ken just provided!

If you mean that when you tension the weight distributing bars, the rear of your towing vehicle (and the front of your TT) lifts, that's normal -- in fact, that's the point of the weight distributing hitch. You'll notice that when you drop the hitch on the ball, the rear of the towing vehicle settles. Tensioning the weight distributing bars counteracts this effect so that when set correctly, the front and rear of the towing vehicle will squat equally relative to their unloaded heights.

I hope this makes sense to you.

Good luck!
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:09 PM   #4
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Bill/Ken,

Thank you very much for the replies and very detailed info! We're going to follow your instructions.

I'm sorry I wasn't too clear, but here is what is happening. It's the actual adjustable ball mount (and I suppose the receiver too) that is bending up once the WD bars are put on and locked in. We're using the Reese Trunnion style bars. Everything with the truck and TT seem perfect and level but the ball mount looks like it's being pulled up by the TT once hitched up. When I step back and look at the hitch area, the ball mount is definitely bending up and not parallel to the ground. I'm afraid this may be causing stress on the frame of the truck and on the lower portion of the receiver where I did notice that the two bolts underneath did come loose.

So, my first thought was to change to a different chain link on the WD bars thinking that there was too much tension. But we have it now on the second link which leaves only the first link which I'm sure there wouldn't be enough tension. So my next thought was is that the adjustable ball mount may be set too low hence why the TT is pulling it up once hitched up. I'm going to follow Ken's instructions and see what happens and see if indeed the ball mount needs to be raised a notch or so.

I hope that makes sense and thank you again for the replies! I'll let you know what happens! If you have any other helpful info I'd be glad to hear it!

Fayne
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:41 PM   #5
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If the actual hitch frame is bending, you ne3ed to get that checked out. A 33' trailer is a lot to hang on the back of a 1/2 ton truck. You need to check your hitch weight and see what the hitch and truck are rated for.

Ken
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
If the actual hitch frame is bending, you ne3ed to get that checked out. A 33' trailer is a lot to hang on the back of a 1/2 ton truck. You need to check your hitch weight and see what the hitch and truck are rated for.

Ken
That was my thought exactly. If your hitch is moving/bending in any manner(in relation to truck), you don't want to hang any trailer on it let alone one that big.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:24 AM   #7
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CD and TXiceman are correct in what they say. For my thoughts--no underframe hitch would 'bend' or move unless it is where it is bolted to the frame. I think we are not quite understanding what part is 'bending'--there are 3 pieces to the truck 1/2 of the system--frame-mounted hitch, draw bar and the ball mount. I have never seen any 2" draw bar that could be bent; I have never seen a frame hitch that could be bent. If the ball mount is not secured correctly to the draw bar, maybe there is movement there and that is what you see. Also, most WD hitches require a 10-15 degree rearward 'lean' to the hitch head/ball mount for the bars to do their work correctly--that is done by loosening the bolts holding the head to the bar and tilting it rearward, then tightening the mounting bolts--maybe this is where the movement is? Over the years when I had TTs, I came across a couple ball mounts in which the width of the slot for the bar was wide enough that it could not be tightened enough to stop movement--welding was the only answer-- both times this was with a Husky brand hitch. Find a good aftermarket hitch shop and get them to look at it and see what they say.
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:27 PM   #8
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If I'm understanding what you're saying, I wonder if you have an aftermarket hitch. Many of those are just bolted to the frame. I guess if the forward bolts got loose or fell out the whole hitch could tilt under the frame when you tension the WD bars. I've never heard of such a case, but it's possible.
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Old 04-04-2010, 07:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmoore View Post
Bill/Ken,

Thank you very much for the replies and very detailed info! We're going to follow your instructions.

I'm sorry I wasn't too clear, but here is what is happening. It's the actual adjustable ball mount (and I suppose the receiver too) that is bending up once the WD bars are put on and locked in. We're using the Reese Trunnion style bars. Everything with the truck and TT seem perfect and level but the ball mount looks like it's being pulled up by the TT once hitched up. When I step back and look at the hitch area, the ball mount is definitely bending up and not parallel to the ground. I'm afraid this may be causing stress on the frame of the truck and on the lower portion of the receiver where I did notice that the two bolts underneath did come loose.

So, my first thought was to change to a different chain link on the WD bars thinking that there was too much tension. But we have it now on the second link which leaves only the first link which I'm sure there wouldn't be enough tension. Fayne

If the hitch you are using is the Reese Dual Cam tightening on the first or
second chain link is WAY out of correct adjustment. When this style hitch is adjusted properly four chain links should be under tension and the square weight distribution bars should be deflected at least one inch. These specs are for the original Dual Cam heavy duty hitch not the newer round bar type.
Visit the Reese website and you can download the adjustment procedure
to get things right, I would not trust a trailer salesman.

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Old 04-22-2010, 10:29 AM   #10
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It sounds like the truck frame is bending where the hitch is bolted on. Most non-factory frame mount receivers come with plates that back up the frame where the bolts go through. In some cases these are very difficult to install and may have been left off. Consequently, the truck frame is bending downward where the bolts holding the hitch on are located. I would also be concerned about hitch weight. I am guessing that most 1/2 ton trucks are probably limited to maybe 500-600 pounds of hitch weight when used with a weight distribution hitch. A 33 foot trailer probably has close to 1000 lbs of hitch weight. Possibly more than the trucks frame can handle when you tighten the springs bars up.
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