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Old 06-06-2015, 09:03 AM   #1
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Need to remove Reese Straight-Line (Dual Cam) Hitch when Towing Light

Rather than re-phrase, I am reproducing a message I just sent to Reese Tech Support, but I am interested in hearing opinions of those who have used the Reese Trunion WDH and Dual Cam set-ups. The reproduced message below that I sent to Reese will hopefully explain my question/concern.

How do you all handle towing empty or "light" with the Dual Cam set-up? I realize that many use the hitch for Travel Trailers, so you never really tow "light" (unlike my 3500 pound cargo trailer (empty) that weighs 10,000 loaded, so for many the concern simply doesn't exist. My 1200 pound spring bars won't be flexed much w/ the empty 350 pound hitch weight, but will be well-flexed (and locked into their slots) by the 1000 pound hitch weight when loaded.

Dear Sirs,

I recently purchased a Reese trunion style WDH (1200 hitch weight) to use with my Reese Dual Cam Sway Control to use while transporting my 10,000 GW enclosed car-hauler trailer.

I spoke with someone at Reese by phone to request a shim (for use w/ your hitch and my present tow shank) and then spoke with Tech Support asking if the trunion spring bars COULD fall out of their holder when towing empty (since they are not held in by a positive method), or light (since towing light they are not very flexed, or applying much force to hold them in position when properly adjusted to equalize the minimal tongue weight).

Id previously used a lighter (600) round-bar Reese hitch where the spring bars were retained by spring-loaded pins, but the trunion springs are not likewise retained positively. I sold that hitch with a travel trailer I sold, and bought the trunion hitch with heavier spring bars I am asking about.

The Tech Support person said on the phone that when towing light I should ALWAYS remove the trunion spring bars and unbolt/remove the Dual Cam units, and use the hitch as a strictly weight bearing hitch, and not a WDH, because there is a real danger that on certain road conditions (convex road surface, or bumpy) the bar tension for an empty trailer will unload and then the spring bars simply fall off my vehicle in-motion (since with the Dual Cam setup, there is no chain even holding them onto the trailer).

The only trouble with that is that by removing the bars, I lose any sway control advantage of the dual cam setup. While its true my trailer only weighs about 4000 empty, its 10ft height and length give lots of surface area that can be affected (pushed or pulled by suction) in strong winds or passing 18-wheelers. This is the reason I BOUGHT your hitch in the first place, of course. I bought the Dual Cam set-up to get sway control, yet I am told that unless my trailer is fully loaded, I can't safely use Dual Cam sway control!

He suggested possibly mounting two friction sway control units to my hitch for towing in weight carrying hitch mode, and then removing them, and bolting the Dual Cams on, and using the spring bars ONLY when fully loaded.

Over the next few months I plan to make 5 round-trips of 2500mi each, with the trailer fully loaded one way, and empty on the return trips. I am not pleased at having to buy two EXTRA friction sway devices, attach the fittings, and bolt/unbolt the Dual Cams and tow 10,000mi (5 one-way trips) empty with only friction sway control. I recently sold my Hensley Arrow (worked flawlessly) on Ebay and went with the Reese because post-back-surgery the Hensley component weights were a problem, while I CAN manage the Reese component weights, but I want to make sure I have no alternative after buying the Straight-Line System but to use more primitive friction control except when towing fully loaded to keep the hitch components from falling onto the highway enroute, probably damaging MY trailer, and maybe killing someone in a car or truck following behind.

I shudder to think the damage one or two trunion spring-bars could do if they went through the windshield of a following vehicle.Your considered opinion is solicited.


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Old 06-06-2015, 09:27 AM   #2
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I have that same hitch on my cargo trailer. I have hauled the trailer fully loaded and I have hauled it empty for thousands of miles. The difference is how tight you make the spring bars.

When loaded, the spring bars are tight enough I have to use a long cheater pipe to hook them up. But when unloaded, I add one chain length to the lift-up bracket and can use a very short cheater pipe (jack handle?) to hook up the chains to the lift brackets without using the trailer tongue jack to take the pressure off the spring bars.

So I think you're worried about nothing. If you can hook up the lift brackets without a cheater pipe, then you need to shorten the chain by one length.

I'm surprised you apparently drew the village idiot at Reese that told you to remove the spring bars when towing empty. Notice the way the trunnion bars connect to the head and to the cams of the hitch. You must rotate the spring bars sideways to get them into the head, then insert the ends of the spring bars into the cams before you tighten the lift-up brackets. The cams prevent the spring bars from rotating enough to come out of the head. The spring bars cannot come out of the cams when properly connected, no matter how much the trailer bounces around, so they cannot turn sideways far enough to come out of the head.

Even when empty, you probably have over 200 pounds of tongue weight, and that's more than enough to keep the spring bars firmly connected to the head and cams of the hitch.

Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:57 AM   #3
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Yes, the guy on the phone at Reese said that the 1200 pound spring bars would not be sufficiently bent to keep enough pressure on the trunion springs under all road conditions with only the tongue weight of the empty trailer.

Naturally, when he said NEVER us the set-up empty, I took him somewhat seriously because they make the hitch, but sought the wisdom of those here who have had actual experience, like yourself, to see what they would say.

The thing that make me even ask him was because once when towing the same trailer with my Hensley Arrow empty, I had just enough spring pressure on its round bars to equalize the 350# empty tongue weight, and the Hensley used a different method to retain the bars (than a spring clip). They used a threaded grease-able "wet-bolt" that was supposed to engage the slot in the spring, thereby retaining it. Turning into a Flying J for fuel on day, one of my spring bars actually fell out onto the asphalt and dragged a few feet (I heard the sound cuz I had my window open at slow speed).

The Hensley didn't use a chain at the back end, of course, but a threaded rod, to tension the springs, which with reduced tongue weight evidently unscrewed enough w/ vibration to unload the spring, allowing it to fall off because the wet-bolt wasn't threaded in enough to retain the TV end of the spring. That made me think! Now w/ the Dual Cam, the back of the spring bar is not held by anything mechanical, if the same happened, it would just flat fall off.

I used to participate on the Powerstroke Forum (I had an E-350 7.3 Powerstroke van back in 2000), and you were very active there as I remember. I see you have gone over to the dark side (gasser V-6).

I went "gray" and am towing w/ a 24v Cummins 5.9 Quad-Cab that I'm happy with. 28mpg highway and 23 around town (empty) w/ a 6spd manual (which I LOVE because I can pick my own gear). The best I ever did with the 7.3 was about 19.5mpg, and I always felt I had to accommodate the limited gear ratios of the Ford 4spd auto, leaving huge gaps in my speed choices.

I am going to set up the Dual Cam set-up today on my cargo trailer. How do you like it compared to a Hensley, or a PullRite (if you had either). I had a PullRite on my van, and it was the BEST (better than the Hensley), but it wouldn't fit my Ram 3500 dually pickup, so became worthless. Hence the Hensley until I could no longer lift it (and leaving it on invited theft when unhitched). At least I got my money out of the Hensley, rather than the 6 cents/pound for the PullRite as scrap steel. :(

It will be interesting to see what whomever at Reese gets my WRITTEN question comes back with in response.

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Old 06-06-2015, 03:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bobinyelm View Post
I am going to set up the Dual Cam set-up today on my cargo trailer. How do you like it compared to a Hensley, or a PullRite (if you had either).
I have a ProGuard on my TT, and love it. The ProGuard is the successor of the Hensley Arrow. But it's better than the Strait-Line only under extreme conditions such as wet highway combined with strong cross winds and a bump in the middle of a curve while meeting an 18-wheeler freight van that's sucking lots of air at high speed. Under those rare conditions, a trailer towed by a Strait-Line cango into a sway, whereas the ProGuard will never sway under the most severe conditions.

I'm an old man that's slow to do things like move a WD hitch from one trailer to the other. It took me two days to replace the strait-Line with the ProGuard on my travel trailer. So I use the expensive ProGuard on my TT but continue to use the Strait-Line on my cargo trailer. With thousands of miles on the Strait-Line, towing both TTs and cargo trailers, I've never had any sway, but then I've never been in extreme conditions either.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:17 PM   #5
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I'm also 15 years older than I was when we were on the old Powerstroke Forum, so I suspect we BOTH move a tad slower these days, I suspect. Hell, I KNOW it's true.

The Hensley/ProPride type unit is so darned heavy that moving it from trailer to trailer is a young man's maneuver unless you have a ceiling-mounted crane! I don't blame you for leaving it in-place. As far as it being the successor to the Hensley, my understanding (for academic purposes only-I have no dog in that fight) is that when Hensley left the company with his name on the door, the new company had to change enough to not violate any applicable patents, or get sued by Hensley Manufacturing.

Glad to hear the Dual Cam has served you well. I know the PullRite was absolutely perfect, and under no condition could I perceive even a little sway. One trip I got a little too close to a tornado in Eastern Colorado, and there was no place to hide. Trailers were swerving all over the road, yet until I opened my side window (and heard/sensed the side guests) I didn't even notice them (sitting over the 7.3 PS was pretty noisy). I remember many times on long trips (16 hour driving days) zoning out a tad and being surprised when the cab of an 18 wheeler would suddenly be visible abreast my side window with absolutely no effect upon my rig. The Hensley was almost as good, but I never didn't know I was being passed.

I'll be happy with the Dual Cam if I don't need to make steering corrections that cause my rig to wiggle uncomfortably, so my standards are "looser," so hopefully I'll be happy.

I'll be putting 20,000 towing miles on the rig is about 3 months, so just don't want to end up hating the drive, or feeling unsafe.

I'll be towing with a 12" towing extension (I'll have a 9.5ft, 2000 pound BigFoot truck camper on my truck bed) as my home-away-from-home on the road, so and any induced sway will have a longer arm to try to move my truck around.

I know that extensions are not the greatest idea, but have the rear of towing extension braced laterally with diagonal chains and turnbuckles to the truck's rear frame corners, and I reinforced the back of the truck bed, and designed a solid connection between the center of the bed down at a 45 degree angle to the towing extension to brace it vertically as well, so I can (hopefully) use the WDH successfully. I wouldn't even attempt that without it being a dually with a set of "SturdyLoads," and my Firestone air bags.

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