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Old 04-02-2011, 11:21 PM   #1
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My first TT and I have a few hitch setup questions.

Over the winter we picked up a new to us TT and a new to us TV. Well, I recently purchased a used 10,000 pound Equal-i-zer hitch off Craigslist and finally got around to installing it this weekend. (I went ahead and sold my other WD hitch which was a Husky WD round bar and friction sway slide bar on Craigslist as I was never really fully satisfied with it's performance but more importantly, my family's saftey!). I have been doing a lot of reading and researching (I am that kind of person) and got it all hooked up correctly (I believe).

I have a 2004 Dodge Ram QC 1500, factory tow package, 17 inch wheels, 3.92 rear end, Tekonsha P3 brake controller. My camper is a 2007 Sunset Trail ST30BH. I have ran all the numbers and taken it to the scales a few times. The TT weighs in at 6520 pounds loaded. I was VERY surprised at the tongue weight. It was 1160 pounds! I freaked out as soon as I saw that since I have a Class 4 hitch, AND considering that I had already taken it out once, but only a 45 minute drive to our local favorite site.

I immediately moved as much stuff out of the front storage compartment, and into the back storage compartment. Their wasn't much there, but I knew every pound helped. I also took some stuff out and got the tongue down to 1030 pounds, which I know is a little bit over the 1000 pound rating, but then I remembered that once hooked up, the applied tongue weight is less than that 'raw' weight when I have the weight distributing hitch hooked up and actually distributing the weight. So I believe that I am ok. I also plan to do more 'creative packing' and doing a re-weigh very soon.

I should note that I weighed the tongue at a CAT scale and had it positioned so it was JUST barely on the beginning portion of one of the plates. So I don't know if the weight rating would of been different if I had dropped the tongue in the middle of the plate or not, but I plan to find out.
Just curious if anyone here knows if their is any deviation on the CAT scales as far as placement of weight goes, so feel free to chime in!

See pics below.

On my equal-i-zer hitch, after following the instructions to a T, I have it configured with the maximum number of washers (8), and moved the L brackets up so that the bolt is in the 7th hole from the top. It is cinched up TIGHT! However, with that configuration, the front of the truck only drops a fourth of an inch, and the rear drops only one and a quarter inches (as measured in the same spots on each wheel well. The TT itself is almost perfectly level (with only one half of an inch rise in the front).

I drove it up on the highway for about 10 minutes and pulled into the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot (where I took the pictures) and noticed how much the weight bars were flexing/deflecting. I measured at the front of the bar and at the back, and their was up to one inch difference between the too! This being my first equal-i-zer hitch, I am not familiar with what is within normal operating parameters :-)

I do have a few questions though.
I plan to try to lessen the tongue weight, will I need to re-adjust the hitch?
Is that cinched up too tight?
Are those 'drops' acceptable?
Did the weight from the tongue get distributed to both TV axles and back to both TT axles, or did the tongue weight get transferred to JUST the TV axles?
Are the bars supposed to bend?
If so, is that much bend TOO much (or not enough)?

I have read that the bend is what allows the friction to work it's magic and counter any swaying (basically, that is how it works)

BTW, thanks for all everyone's postings. My DW and I love to read through the forums as it helps us learn so much. I think we are information addicts!




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Old 04-03-2011, 12:53 AM   #2
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Looking close at your pictures - it appears the angle that your receiver comes out of you truck is inclined - which worries me because if your on level ground it should be parallel with the ground, yours definitely is not, at least from what I can see from your photos.
This is why you have had to add so many washers to level out the sway bars and most likely why you cannot acheive much equalization from the rear of your truck to the front.
Granted you have a bunch of weight on the hitch caused by the distance of your hitch from the front axle of the trailer - which makes it really hard to lighted to tongue weight, remember your only pulling with a half ton pickup.
You should take a closer look at your truck hitch and see why it is so inclined - might be a safety issue as well
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:16 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info. It doesn't come out at an angle by itself. The receiver is straight, but from the picture it does look odd. I think that it appears to occur only after completing the hitch setup and applying the load. Thier is a little gap in the shank-hitch setup (normal amount) which may be why the shank looks tilted. I will go back and double check that to be sure.
Or the fact that my picture is a little off due to my picture taking abilities :-)
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:33 AM   #4
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It looks good from the pictures you have included. We have an Equalizer hitch assembly, and have had no problems with it. One note you have the pins that attach the bars to the heads with the cotter key on the inside, they should be reversed so they are easier to remove. If you need it I have a copy of the complete installation instructions. If you need them PM me and I will send them to you, be sure to include your e-mail address. We had to readjust our hitch head when I purchased another truck, also be sure to tighten the nut holding the washers.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:11 PM   #5
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We had some people get some hay from us this morning. We loaded 1500lbs on their 3/4T PU. It showed the load on the tires (wide/heavy looking tires that I donít know how much pressure they had). I suspect you are dealing with the same problem that you had with the other hitch (not enough truck). How does your truck handle with 2000lbs in the bed? I think it would handle about the same as having 1100lbs on the hitch (the leverage effect). Do you have LT or P rated tires? Do you have them at max pressure?
We have a 28í TT that weighs about 1500lbs more than yours. When we towed it with a 3/4T truck, the big trucks etc. would push us around although not bad. When we got the 1T dually there is no more trouble with that.
Iím not suggesting that you need a 1T dually, but you will be much better off with something bigger and heavier.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:41 PM   #6
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Thanks. After doing more reading and researching, I thought that I HAD to have the front lower coupled than when it was coupled. I now know that it is ok to have it the same or even (ever so) slightly higher. I had taken multiple measurements and with the L bracket in the 6th hole from the top (one down from its' current position),the front stays the same and the rear is about 1 3/4 inches down. I will change it and then see how it handles. If I recall correctly, that provided a little less flex in the bars. I will have to get out there this week and change/check it to be sure.

I would love to move up, but am stuck with this TV for now. We will move up one day :-)
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:15 PM   #7
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Equalizing hitch setup-FWIW,

Park the TT and truck on level ground... Level the TT (using the tongue jack) by measuring the frame front and back with reference to ground level... Measure from ground level to inside top of trailer ball coupler... Record this measurement... Set unloaded ball height on truck hitch head about 1/2' to 1" lower than this measurement... The exact amount will depend on the stiffness of your truck suspension...
Measure all four truck wheel wells with trailer unhooked... Record this measurement...
Hook up trailer and snap up w/d bars so TT appears to be level... Measure truck wheel well distance again... If truck is lower and squatting the same amount front and rear, and the trailer is level and the w/d bars are level to the TT frame, your done (not likely on the first try!!)...
If truck squat is not the same front and rear, adjust w/d bars as necessary so that truck is squatting the same amount front and rear (using wheel well measurements)... You may have to increase w/d bar tilt and/or increase/decrease chain link count to achieve enough w/d bar tension to do this... The amount of tension required will depend on TT tongue weight and stiffness of truck suspension...
W/D bars should be level with trailer frame when these adjustments are complete... If W/D bars are not level with TT frame using a given number of chain links (5 minimum), tilt w/d bars up or down with adjustment screw, washers, etc., (whatever method is employed on your hitch) and readjust as required, dropping or picking up chain links as needed for necessary tension while maintaining a level condition to the TT frame... Check wheel well dimensions on truck again after these adjustments...
Most hitch manufacturers want to see at least 5 chain links between the snap up plates and w/d bars... This is too avoid binding of the w/d bars in turns and when backing...
Once you have achieved the proper truck squat check TT for levelness again... If TT is not level, adjust ball height on hitch head as necessary to level TT... If you can't achieve perfectly level, opt for a bit nose down... This will increase TT rear end clearance on sloping driveways and add a bit more hitch weight as the TT center of gravity shifts forward a bit with the nose down...
All these adjustments will interact with one another to some degree so a few readjustments will most likely be required...
When you are done, the w/d bars should be level, the TT should be level and the truck should be squatting down the same amount on all 4 wheels...
It's pretty tough to get everything EXACTLY perfect, but get the TT as close to level as you can and the truck as close to equal squat as you can... My truck is almost equal squat, maybe a 1/4" lower in the back... Avoid the front end of the truck squatting greater than the rear... This indicates too much weight is being transferred to the front axle and could cause handling problems and excessive front tire wear...
My TT is level within 1/4" front to rear, being a bit nose down... My w/d bars have an upward set to them, but the Pullrite hitch adjustment is a bit different than others as it's w/d bars do not flex like a normal w/d hitch... So that part is pretty normal for my Pullrite hitch...
The procedure sounds difficult but really is not... It can be a bit tedious trying to achieve a perfect condition, but is not difficult... You should be pretty near perfect after a few readjustments and you'll probably find your TT tows and handles much better...
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:59 PM   #8
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Hi jzyg, Welcome. I think you might be pushing your gcwt rating. I would at least double check and be aware that your stopping distances are being pushed as well! Just a thought.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:01 AM   #9
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I think I stated that incorrectly, it should be GVWR that your pushing. I towed a 32' trailer into Wisconsin, the trailer brakes failed at a stop light on a rainy day, it pushed my suburban right into the intersection. Very exciting!!! Anyway good luck!
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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Well, here is where I am. Back to report.
I corrected (flipped) the L brackets as Daniel at Progess Mfg (producers of the Equal-i-zer hitch) looked at my pictures and mentioned that they were upside down. I then proceeded to re-measuring and re-adjusting the hitch (adding/removing washers, raising and lowering L bracket heights, re-measuring and repeating the process as defined by their instructions with every combination, including adjusting hitch ball height. I finally got to a very good adjustment according to the instructions. I have 1/2 inch drop in front and 1 and 3/4 inch drop in back of my TV. The TT is nose down by 1/2 inch and it drives great. Except, I seem to have quite a bit of waggle, even, dare I say, sway (not bow waves) once I get up over 45 mph on the highway. I will say it was quite windy and the waggle was not the whole time, just more noticeable for sure, and definitely not comfortable.
I took the whole rig to the CAT scales to see what the weights are on the TV and TT. The results got me to thinking about my weight distribution, and my tongue weight is still high. I should say that we weighed with all people and cargo (fully loaded for the road) except I only had 1/2 tank of gas instead of a full tank. My weights are (all in pounds) and hitched up with WD in effect:
front axle of my TV is 3260
Rear axle of TV is 3400
TT weight is 5720
So I am definitely below the 3900 pound rating of each of my TV axels (which is great) and my TT has about 750 pounds removed from its overall weight ( as compared to its weight when measured all by itself).
My question is: Am I getting much more waggle because with WD in effect, my tongue weight of my TT is too light?
I mean, just bare tongue weight of the TT is around 1050 pounds (which is a little over my comfort zone), but since the WD distributed that across my TV axles (as per my weights) I THINK I need to add more weight to the front of my TT since its NET is light?
I strongly believe that my hitch adjustment is complete as that was the best weight distributing I could get according to the allowed adjustments and following the manufacturer instructions to a T.
BTW, my CAT scale reading was 12380 Gross weight for everything, which I am comfortable with since my GCVW for my TT is 14000. Even with adding 1/2 tank of gas (I have a 25 gallon tank so it would only be around 12-14 gallons which at 6.15 pounds per gallon is around 73-86 pounds)






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Old 04-17-2011, 07:31 PM   #11
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Do you have "P" type tires or LT? What tire pressure are you using?
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:39 PM   #12
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While towing keep your truck tires inflated to sidewall maximum to reduce sway. All ST trailer tires must be inflated to sidewall maximum per tire mfgr. warranty mandate. Both of these should greatly reduce any trailer sway and body roll of the truck. Your description of your 2nd hitch adjustment sounds great, and your pictures re-enforce your description. That appears to be a perfect setup of your truck and trailer. Most travel trailer pull better level or slightly low in front like yours.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:53 AM   #13
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Sadly no. I do not have LT tires, only P rated tires (all-though I told Costco what vehicle they were for and they are for 'light truck'). But that was all before I learned about them. I definitely know about them now and know that is what I will go with next time. Hindsight is 20/20. Their sidewall maximum is 44 psi and I had 40 in them (even though the door jamb on the truck said something like 33 or 35 psi). I do know to keep my TT tires up to their max (50 lbs). I thought you should leave a few pounds free for expansion on the TV? If not, then I will air the TV tires up to the sidewall maximum and add a few pounds to the front of the TT to see how he handles and then report back next week.
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzyg View Post
Sadly no. I do not have LT tires, only P rated tires (all-though I told Costco what vehicle they were for and they are for 'light truck'). But that was all before I learned about them. I definitely know about them now and know that is what I will go with next time. Hindsight is 20/20. Their sidewall maximum is 44 psi and I had 40 in them (even though the door jamb on the truck said something like 33 or 35 psi). I do know to keep my TT tires up to their max (50 lbs). I thought you should leave a few pounds free for expansion on the TV? If not, then I will air the TV tires up to the sidewall maximum and add a few pounds to the front of the TT to see how he handles and then report back next week.
I am sure you need different wheels for LT tires. "P" rated tires just don't have stiff enough sidewall for what you want to do. Springs are probably too soft also. IMHO 1/2t PUs just don't make a good TV except for very small trailers.
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