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Old 06-28-2016, 09:50 AM   #1
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Hitch problem

I'm a newbie. never had an RV. when we arrive at the dealer to pick up our new FC 26U they were mounting the Equilizer hitch we had ordered to the trailer. We received our walk thru and check list, hooked it up to our 2016 F150 TV and drove 120 mi. to our storage site. I realized about a week later that when hitched I couldn't lower the tailgate. The dealer told me to go to Camping World to get an extension or call the manufacturer of Equilizer. I found I can buy a 18" extension for $134.00. When we were buying the unit they asked what our TV was. My real question is who should pay for this?
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Silver Pony View Post
I'm a newbie. never had an RV. when we arrive at the dealer to pick up our new FC 26U they were mounting the Equilizer hitch we had ordered to the trailer. We received our walk thru and check list, hooked it up to our 2016 F150 TV and drove 120 mi. to our storage site. I realized about a week later that when hitched I couldn't lower the tailgate. The dealer told me to go to Camping World to get an extension or call the manufacturer of Equilizer. I found I can buy a 18" extension for $134.00. When we were buying the unit they asked what our TV was. My real question is who should pay for this?
Being able to open the tailgate while the trailer is connected is not a prerequisite of setting up the hitch.
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:12 AM   #3
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On our trailer the problem was the tail gate hitting the motor head but would clear the post. On the Barker jack you can loosen the allen head screws and rotate the head 90 degrees. It might be worth a try

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Old 06-28-2016, 11:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Being able to open the tailgate while the trailer is connected is not a prerequisite of setting up the hitch.
Correct. An extension can cause poor hitch performance. As mentioned, try rotating the power jack, that's what is usually a cure.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:07 AM   #5
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There are shorter extensions than 18 inches if you go that way. The shorter the better.
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Old 06-28-2016, 01:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by avionstream View Post
Correct. An extension can cause poor hitch performance. As mentioned, try rotating the power jack, that's what is usually a cure.

I've seen one photo where the owner moved the jack rearward, almost between the propane tanks. IMHO, a very good solution.
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Old 06-28-2016, 01:48 PM   #7
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I had the same problem and could not rotate the head of my Atwood power jack. I had a the 12 inch shank that came with my Equalizer hitch but was able to find a 14 inch shank online that provided just enough clearance for my tail gate and had no noticeable effect on towing performance.--Frank
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Old 06-28-2016, 01:57 PM   #8
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I had an Equalizer hitch on my FC25 and bought and used an extension. I didn't like the way it towed with it. Loosened the head of the jack and turned and the tailgate came down fine. Simple and cheaper. (That was on my 2011 F150) Since changed trailers and to a ProPride with a 2015 F150. No issue there.

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Old 06-28-2016, 03:15 PM   #9
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A hitch extension reduces the tongue rating by 50%. Don't do it. Live with the tailgate issue.
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:57 PM   #10
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So I cannot live without being able to open my tailgate because I need to be able to let my dogs out without unhitching my trailer. Unlike the Barker jack, the Atwood jack cannot be rotated. The shank length that comes with common brands of weight distribution hitches range from 10 to 15 inches, and thats not even considering Hensley and Propride, so maybe just picking the right hitch to start is the best choice to solving tailgate issues. But can you really generalize that any extension reduces allowable tongue weight by 50% and results in poor towing performance, given the range of lengths that standard hitches come with to start?
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:44 PM   #11
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A hitch extender severely diminishes the effectiveness of a weight distribution hitch. It will place monumental amounts of torque on your factory hitch. The 50% cut in capacity I took from their literature. It's probably generalized. Still, just thinking about the physics of an extender I'm reminded of a pry bar.

I pull with an Expedition. I purposely drilled an extra hole in my hitch receiver in order to snug the trailer as close as possible to the tow vehicle for sway and load minimization. I cannot lift the tailgate to free my dog. He must crawl through a side door, of which he does happily.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:59 PM   #12
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Hmm, with my Blue Ox I can lower my tailgate, Chev Silverado/FC 27. Tows nice too. I could also lower it with my old SOB 25 white box and Reese hitch.

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Old 06-28-2016, 10:44 PM   #13
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A Hensley/ProPride style hitch will give you all the clearance you will ever need, and the safest most comfortable towing experience possible.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:06 PM   #14
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Hi, put your dogs in the back seat; Problem solved.
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Old 06-29-2016, 04:28 AM   #15
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We had the same issue with our F150. Switched to an F250 and now F350 problem solved, by accident. The bed sides and thus the tailgate are shorter (lower) than the F150 just enough to let the tailgate just open, but I also turned our electric motor head on our jack.

Bud like Robertsunrus said. Both our Labs ride in the back seat of our F350.

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Old 06-29-2016, 06:18 AM   #16
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If you only need a couple inches, a good welding shop should be able to fabricate a mod for you. Get the shortest extension and have them shorten it to the length you need if it's onl a couple of inches it should be okay.
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:40 PM   #17
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If the only reason you can't lower your tailgait is the jack. And all it needs is to be rotated. Can you not take the bolts out rotate the whole assy and revolt. Try.
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:51 AM   #18
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A couple additional points to inform this discussion. You don't need to use and extension, or fabricate something to extend your hitch, you can buy actual shanks that work with common weight distribution hitches in 2 inch increments, you you can just get the size shank you need. I think its also established you can easily rotate the head of the Barker jack motor and often gain clearance. The Atwood motor on my jack on my 2016 FC doesn't rotate, however. If you rotate the whole jack you would need to slightly modify the base plate that bolts to the a-frame, and you don't gain much because the of the shape of the motor compared to the Barker jack. If you want to investigate lengthening your shank to get clearance be aware the often repeated statement that hitch extensions reduce your hitch capacity by 50% is not quite true. If you find websites with actual engineering based calculators or graphs youíll see the force on your hitch increases proportionate to the increase in the length of the hitch. So if you double the length of your hitch you double the force on your hitch. This may or may not be a problem depending on your weights and the hitch capacity. The extensions being talked about here of 1-2 inches to get a tailgate open therefore may only have a 5-20% increase in the force on the hitch, so you'd need to know you tongue weight and hitch rating to know if this is a problem, in my case it is not. So should you keep your shank as short as possible, I would. Can you extend it safely 1 or 2 inches, well maybe, that will depend on your set up. What is interesting is I canít find any information of what shank or drawbar length is assumed when hitches are rated, because if lengthening your shank keeps you under this and well within the rating of your hitch you should be just fine. I also found no consensus on where to measure an increase in length from. All agree from the center of the ball but disagree in terms of whats the fulcrum or pivot point to measure toóIíve seen suggested itís the hitch pin, the front edge of the receiver, or the rear axle, which could make a difference in the percent increase calculation.--Frank
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:11 PM   #19
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Quote: "I also found no consensus on where to measure an increase in length from. All agree from the center of the ball but disagree in terms of whats the fulcrum or pivot point to measure to—I’ve seen suggested it’s the hitch pin, the front edge of the receiver, or the rear axle, which could make a difference in the percent increase calculation."

I would "guess" it should be measured from the rear axle. No?
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