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Old 08-08-2015, 05:27 PM   #1
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1/2T vs 3/4T WDH Requirements

Typically 1/2T trucks are more softly sprung than 3/4T trucks. If you attach a 1000lb tongue weight on a 1/2T you should expect the weight to deflect more than a 3/4T truck. So does that mean when you adjust a WDH when moving to 3/4T truck you need to reduce tension via the chains or in an Equalizer hitch, like I have, you don't need as many washers in the head to reduce head angle which puts less tension on the bars. Is my assumption correct?

Thanks

Kelvin
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Old 08-08-2015, 05:50 PM   #2
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Kelvin, I don't know what you "should" do, but I'll tell you what I did.

1. The new truck had a Class V hitch with the larger receiver. So I had to buy a larger shank. I tried using a reducer insert but the fit was too sloppy for my comfort.

2. I had read a lot on here alleging that the 1000# bars with the equalizer were too stiff for a 3/4T truck and some claimed that they were even too stiff for a 1/2 T. I think Andy posted a link to a set of tests on his web site that showed that the Equalizer 1000# bars were the stiffest of all he tested. There was a thread about grinding down the bars to make them less stiff. One post even provided the math to calculate the stiffness of a rectangular bar. Using that I determined how much material to remove to get down to about 700# bars. I was lucky enough to have a friend with an NC milling machine so in a couple hours one night we converted my 1000# bars to 700# bars.

3. I guessed about how many washers to remove and did the repetitive adjust and measure wheel clearance thing. I ended up with only about 1 less washer than I had on the 1/2T truck. But remember I had significantly altered my bars so apples to apples more washers would be expected to get the same weight transfer.

4. The front end of the diesel Ram only rose up about 1/4" due to the weight of the engine. I adjusted the hitch to bring it back down to where it was, but I think that may be overkill. I have towed the trailer about 3000 miles with the new truck and I noticed some excessive tire wear on the right front TV tire. I took it in for an alignment and it was out but I still plan to weigh the truck and check the axle loads to see where I am with the WD. I think I may have my hitch adjusted a little too tight.

Al
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:11 PM   #3
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Thanks. I have the 1000lb bars with my Tundra with 5 washers. I feel I need to bump the washers up by one to put a little more weight on the front. It rides level, about 37" to the fender on all 4 wheels but that is still a little too high on the front compared to unhitched height.

I'm thinking of switch to a Blue Ox Swaypro. Because of my tongue weight is 1100-1200lbs Blue Ox recommends 1500lb bars. I'm thinking because the 3/4T doesn't squat as much I could use a 1000lb or maybe a 750lb bar.

But if the bars aren't loaded enough irrespective of the brand doesn't that affect the sway control? So for more effective sway control would a lighter bar be better so you can load it more?

Kelvin
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:28 PM   #4
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I'm an electrical engineer so take anything I say about mechanical systems with a grain of salt, but here's what I believe. Regardless of the stiffness of the bar, it will carry the same load to transfer a given amount of weight. A stiffer bar will deflect less under that load and will transfer more force to the trailer for a given movement of the TV. So less stiff bars will transmit less stress to the trailer for a given TV movement even though distributing the same amount of weight.

I don't know about the effect on sway control for all hitches. It will vary based on the hitch design, but for a given amount of weight transfer, the force exerted on the Equalizer L-bracket will be the same regardless of the bar stiffness, so in the Equalizer environment I would expect the sway control, which is dependent on the friction between the bar and the L-bracket, to be the same regardless of the bar stiffness. I can say that I have not observed any change in sway control properties between my 1000# bars on the F-150 and the 700# bars on the Ram 2500.

Al


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Old 08-08-2015, 06:29 PM   #5
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Al is correct. I might have been the guy who provided the math on reducing bars....I've done that on a few threads

It took me a while to understand this, but Inland Andy explained it quite well on his website. So when it finally sunk in, I can put it into words that I could understand. I'll try that here.

OK, so tongue weight is the big issue when deciding how much weight distribution you need. You might as well figure that you always need anti-sway control.

That being said, the bars MUST deflect a certain amount in order for them to be effective for the anti-sway to work properly. So here it is:
1. The heavier your truck, the less weight distribution you need. You must use lighter bars.
2. The lighter your truck, the more weight distribution you need. You need the heavier bars.

I would have thought it would only have mattered about the weight of the trailer's tongue weight. But, it REALLY matters what your tow vehicle is. A Chrysler 300 will need more weight distribution than a Ram 3500 dually. So the bigger and beefier your tow vehicle, the less you need weight distribution. On a one ton truck, I'd say you could get by just fine with no weight distribution. But, you always want to have the anti-sway. So you use light load bars on the big truck; you use heavier ones on the small rig.

So for a real world apples to apples comparison, let's say you have a 27' Airstream with a 700lb tongue weight. If you wish to pull this trailer with an Equal-I-Zer hitch and a 1-ton truck, you could want to use 600lb load bars. You don't really need much weight distribution, but you want the anti-sway to function. However, let's say you want to pull this same trailer with the same hitch behind an F-150 Eco-Boost. You would want to use heavier load bars, like 1000lb bars, to transfer weight because this truck will sag a lot more than the F-350 did.

Clear as mud, right?

Big Truck = Small Weight Distribution

Little Truck = Big Weight Distribution

Hope this helps,
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:37 PM   #6
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Jim - would it make a difference if you used fewer links on the WD bars? If so, why - if not, why not? Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post

2. I had read a lot on here alleging that the 1000# bars with the equalizer were too stiff for a 3/4T truck and some claimed that they were even too stiff for a 1/2 T. I think Andy posted a link to a set of tests on his web site that showed that the Equalizer 1000# bars were the stiffest of all he tested. There was a thread about grinding down the bars to make them less stiff. One post even provided the math to calculate the stiffness of a rectangular bar. Using that I determined how much material to remove to get down to about 700# bars. I was lucky enough to have a friend with an NC milling machine so in a couple hours one night we converted my 1000# bars to 700# bars.
I think Andy might be right. When I got my Airstream it came with the Reese hitch and 1200 lbs bars. We've been using those, and just recently switched to 600 lbs bars based on one of his comments in another thread.

We experienced a softer ride after the switch. But I believe that we need to move to 800 lbs for our half ton, not achieving the same FALR. Either way, the difference between those light bars and the heavy bars was night and day. I was really surprised by the experience.
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:20 PM   #8
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Weight Distribution/Sway Bars "Squeak"

Really interesting and "teachable" comments in the responses for this thread. My non engineer brain appreciates the non tech language describing the principles involved in load/weight distribution and trailer sway. Thanks to all.

We tow with a Ford 250, 6.2L TD engine. The trailer is 23' International Serenity. The truck performs as though we are pulling virtually nothing. However we do notice considerable "screeching" from the sway bars after several hours of travel. Last trip I put some grease on the bars to ease the noise.

Is it common to have such noise? If it should not exist what adjustments must be made?
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:41 PM   #9
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Equalizer, yes. Purchase Bracket Jackets to help but keep the head lubed. I found some bearing grease that is suppose to resist water. I've removed the head from the shank, disassembled it, cleaned off the grease and rust and repainted then applied the grease. Will report on the results after my 8/24 weekend trip.

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Old 08-09-2015, 04:58 PM   #10
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We ended up purchasing a 2015 Ram 6.7L Crew Cab 4x4 this weekend. After measuring the receiver I realized I'll have to drop the Equalizer head down so I moved the head to the lowest position. My current shank is 9" w 6" drop. Not enough. The ball is still 1 to 2 inches too high to our level Airstream. When I reassembled the head I just put 3 washers back in thinking the Ram won't squat as much as the Tundra.

Just for grins I hitched up the new truck to the AS. Suspension drops a couple of inches just like my Tundra. So it appears I'll have to put back a couple of washers.
The Airstream is just a tad high on the hitch.

I've ordered a 2 1/2" Equalizer 12"/ 6" drop shank. That should work. When I move the head over I'll put in 6 washers.

Here is what the truck looks like with 3 washers. The front unladen measurements where 41" from ground to fender. The ground at the storage site is coarse gravel so I could be off by 1/2". Without WD the front fenders were at 41 1/2" to 42". I later checked the tires and found the pressures unequal and all over 80lbs. So I'm thinking the front raised up 1". With WD (3 washers, 1000lb bars) the front was 40 to 41 but I really need to do this on a level smooth surface and tries all at 80lbs.

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Old 08-09-2015, 04:59 PM   #11
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Equalizer once said not to lube the bars at the L-brackets, but to lube the pivot points of the bar sockets on the head. I believe it is the friction of the bars on the L-brackets that produces the resistance to sway. They may now recommend lubing the bars at the brackets. I use "bracket jackets" and lube the bar sockets but not the L-brackets. I will hear an occasional "pop" in a sharp turn, but none of the creaking I heard before I got the bracket jackets.

Al
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:38 PM   #12
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SteveSueMac,

It sounds like you might be using a Reese hitch. They work a little bit differently than the Equal-I-Zer. But, the principles are basically the same. The Reese uses chains to draw the bars up, rather than the L brackets the EQ uses. The Dual Cam has a bracket that comes down off the A-frame of the trailer on each side. It's got a "cam" shaped hump in it. The load bars have an upside down U in them. That upside down "U" shape basically lays on top of that "cam" shape on the bracket. The bracket can move a little bit. So for going down the road, it can shift enough that you can make slight turning corrections easily enough. But it's a tight fit. But, if you make a sharp turn, like low speed into a parking lot, the bar will have to snap the upside down "U" off the "cam" and then it's just straight bar sliding over the cam.

If you are using too heavy a bar on your heavy truck, you won't deflect the bar much, and so it will snap off the cam very easily. So you won't have the anti-sway capability that you'd have with a lighter bar that was deflected enough that it could absorb a little bit of turning before snapping out of the cam bracket.

So, all in all, the theory is the same for both the Dual Cam and the Eq. You want to use the lighter rated load bars with a heavy tow vehicle, and the heavier rated bars for a lighter tow vehicle. I know I'm speaking in generalities here, and some of the newer 1/2 ton trucks may be nearly as heavy as a 3/4 ton truck. You need to look at your individual situation, and discuss it with the hitch manufacturer. They "should" be able to provide you with the proper guidance.

There is a whole 'nother argument on how much a truck should squat under the load of a trailer. The old guidance was that the front and rear should squat the same. So you would crank in the weight distribution so that if the back went down 3/4", the front also went down 3/4". Now, they are saying (and this is from a report from 1977....modern compared to the 1969 report that said the former...) that you shouldn't have the front go down as much as the back, but maybe half as much. So if the back squats an inch, you crank in enough weight distribution to make the front squat a half inch. Both seem to work OK...

On my own truck, I will bring the back down about an inch and the front down about 3/4 inch. It's worked OK for 20,000 miles.

Truth is, I think we are splitting hairs. How many trailers have you seen with zero weight distribution going down the road with the chains sparking off the ground and the front bumper of the truck pointed at the sky? Since we're all using weight distribution and antisway, and really trying to get it right, I think that puts us at the head of the pack to start with.

The pivot projection hitches are in a class by themselves. I'd like to have one, but I've gotten by with the EQ so well that I've not spent the extra money to buy one. If I were starting over, I'd look hard at a Hensely or a ProPride.

But setup properly, an EQ or a Dual Cam or I'm sure many of the others will work very well.

Best of luck,
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:54 PM   #13
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Thanks Jim. I actually use a ProPride myself and was going to translate your answer to application on the WD jacks of the PP.

Sean (owner of ProPride) recommended 1400# bars for my 27FB (with a 1080# tongue) on my Chevy 3/4 ton Diesel. I opted for the 1000# bars and am upgrading next month to the 1400# bars as he recommended. I asked about the links because it seems I can dial in whatever amount of WD I want with the jacks on the PP and assume even with the 1400s I might only dial in 1100 and not stress the trailer. But I'm not sure I fully understand your description and why Sean (the manufacturer) recommends the 1400s even with my 3/4 ton! I'll keep reading. Thanks!!
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:32 PM   #14
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Congrats Kelvin. Beautiful truck!

Dan
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