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Old 07-29-2016, 09:12 AM   #1
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New Equalizer 10 Lb. model break in period?

I recently went from a 19 to a 25 ft trailer and had to upgrade my Equalizer hitch. The dealer didn't follow the install directions, so I had to reinstall it according to the manual, but it works like a charm. The measurements come out perfectly and I have less sway than I did with my smaller trailer. This model has a different set up for the sway bars. On the lighter model, the sway bars simply rested in cradles so you just rested them in and put some oil on them, this model has sockets that require heavy duty grease each time, and the sway bars insert into the sockets and are secured by pins. It requires a lot more effort to set up and take down, as I have to loosen the socket bolts each time so the sockets can swing out to grease, and move the sway bars to place and remove them from the brackets. I contacted Equalizer, they recommended decreasing the torque on the sockets to 40, and said the hitch will break in eventually. I have now towed about 1500 miles, but still have to loosen the socket bolts to get the sway bars in and out way below 40 then readjust them for towing. Does any one out there have experience with this? I am wondering if eventually it will get to the appoint where I can swing the bars without loosening the socket bolts, or if I should resign myself to a more complex set up?
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:24 AM   #2
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Question

Have you tried raising the tongue with the jack while still hooked up?...that will loosen tension on the bars.

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Old 07-29-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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Yes, that is necessary to place and disengage the bars from the brackets, the issue isn't the tension on the brackets, but the immobility of the sockets the bars insert to on the hitch.
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:29 AM   #4
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Mine used to be very difficult to swing in and out, but they've loosened up now and I can easily move them. You may need to give it a bit more time.
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:35 AM   #5
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That's great news, thanks. I am willing to be patient for the break in, it is just nice to know that at some point I will be able to avoid all that extra hassle with the wrench beyond just checking the torque!
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:47 AM   #6
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Our experience was different: We never loosened the bolts at the pivot points in the hitch head. In fact, we mostly have to make sure they are properly torqued. As suggested above, when we unhitch we raise the trailer until it's relatively easy to pull the bars off the brackets, remove them, and then level the trailer front-to-back. When we hitch up, same thing in reverse. Sorry your experience has been more difficult. Here's hoping a break-in period will do the trick!
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:54 AM   #7
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Interesting you are having a lot of issue swinging the sockets out with the bars attached. The bars should give you plenty of leverage to swing them out to the sides. On my second Equal-i-zer hitch setup, they were very stiff. I quickly realized that the previous owner/dealer, had not greased the sockets. I do that once or twice per season. I removed the socket bolts and cleaned them with brake cleaner to start fresh, then put a thin layer of bearing grease on the sockets and head unit where they contact. Reinstalled and torqued to factory spec. They swing out fine now.

To make things a little easier for putting the bars in the sockets, I swapped out the pins that came with the hitch with farming locking pins. They are hardened and I have put 1000's of miles on with them and no issues. I've forgotten the exact size so you might need to take one of your pins to the hardware store if you plan on changing them out as well.

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Old 07-29-2016, 10:57 AM   #8
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I carry a dead-blow hammer. They do need greasing every now and then, but easier to move them with the hammer and removes the temptation to kick them... I'm usually wearing flipflops. I have an extra sewer pipe holder on the tongue that kinda gets in the way, so after raising the hitch I lever them up with the Mel Gibson and bang them on with the dead blow
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Old 07-29-2016, 12:38 PM   #9
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One of mine is a little stiff, but if I grab the "loose" end, there is plenty of leverage to put it where it needs to be. Like most of the people, I grease them occasionally.
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Old 07-29-2016, 01:34 PM   #10
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I have not experienced that issue. Like, Rocinante, I have had issues where the bolts needed torquing since they loosened.

You comment that you have to loosen the bolts so "the sockets can swing out to grease" implies,that there is no grease under or over the sockets at the point where they are positioned during normal operation. On my Equalizer I make sure that the top and bottom bearing surfaces for those sockets are greased throughout their entire range of motion. I grease those points, the hitch ball and the "L" brackets about every other week when we are traveling. Among other benefits, it makes the hitch quieter in campgrounds.

If there is not grease all over both the top and bottom plates on both sides of the hitch I'd consider removing the swing mounts to grease them. That should fix your problem. It seems unreasonable that part of your daily routine must include a torque wrench.
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Old 07-29-2016, 04:59 PM   #11
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Seems obvious, but when you swing them, you're doing so from the very end of the bar so you have the most leverage, right? With 70 ft lb if torque on ours, it has not been an issue, but if we hold the bar even a couple of inches from the end, it's not do-able.
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:25 PM   #12
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We have had ours now for 5 years and with the bolts at normal torque, the bars can be easily moved. We are pulling a 28' with a 2500 GMC. Ours took about a full season of towing to loosen up.
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:51 PM   #13
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Oil? Grease? Lubricants just defeat the friction that is designed to minimize sway in Equal-I-zer hitches. So do those pads that some folks buy to reduce noise. I have never used a lubricant during 15 years of towing with an Equal-I-zer hitch. I also keep the sockets just loose enough to move turn them with the bar.

I've found that towing a 25" trailer with a 2500 HD pickup takes a less weight sway bar than a 1500 pickup or SUV. I have towed with 600 lb bars on my DMAX for 7 years.
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Old 07-29-2016, 06:06 PM   #14
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We bought a new airstream in early spring. My equalize sockets got so tight over time I couldn't budge 'em. I too had to loosen the bolts to move them. A week or two ago I took the socket bolts out, removed the sockets, and cleaned everything real good. Then I put a little grease on the surfaces and used a rubber mallet to hammer the sockets back in place. I torqued the bolts to 45 lbs. The bars swing freely now. I ran about 35 miles to a local state park, then torqued the socket bolts to 50 lbs. The bars still swing freely.

I think road grime, paint, some shavings, all from new, all ground up, make for a real nice, thick, near solid, paste.....and that was what was causing my bars to be so tight. After cleaning, they're real nice and easy to move.

To clarify, I convinced that one is to grease the sockets, both inside a bit, and where they pivot. I put no grease or any other lube on the L-bracket at the rear. My equalizer hitch makes absolutely no noise after this latest hitch head cleaning......nice!
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Old 07-29-2016, 07:15 PM   #15
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Peddler, Interesting. Sort of contrary to the owner's manual. The hitches are based on basic concepts of physics and the interplay of a lot of different dynamics. Some parts should be lubed, some not. No mystery, the manual tells you which parts should be handled in which direction. Third trailer, third hitch, multiple tow vehicles, hundreds of thousand of miles. I am amazed you were able to pull that off.
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Old 07-29-2016, 07:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antique Pedaler View Post
I have never used a lubricant during 15 years of towing with an Equal-I-zer hitch. I also keep the sockets just loose enough to move turn them with the bar.
Well then, when we hear a horde of zombies groaning and clunking their way into our campground, we'll know it's you.
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Old 07-30-2016, 04:34 PM   #17
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Thanks to you and Redepas, it worked!

Quote:
Originally Posted by majorairhead View Post
We bought a new airstream in early spring. My equalize sockets got so tight over time I couldn't budge 'em. I too had to loosen the bolts to move them. A week or two ago I took the socket bolts out, removed the sockets, and cleaned everything real good. Then I put a little grease on the surfaces and used a rubber mallet to hammer the sockets back in place. I torqued the bolts to 45 lbs. The bars swing freely now. I ran about 35 miles to a local state park, then torqued the socket bolts to 50 lbs. The bars still swing freely.

I think road grime, paint, some shavings, all from new, all ground up, make for a real nice, thick, near solid, paste.....and that was what was causing my bars to be so tight. After cleaning, they're real nice and easy to move.

To clarify, I convinced that one is to grease the sockets, both inside a bit, and where they pivot. I put no grease or any other lube on the L-bracket at the rear. My equalizer hitch makes absolutely no noise after this latest hitch head cleaning......nice!
All that stuff you mentioned was in there, and also caked solid in the bolt threads. Had to use a wire brush and solvent to get it off. I cleaned all of the parts thoroughly and put a much more generous coating of grease on all parts of the sockets and pivot points. They now swing with a little effort at 50 lbs, one less chore with a wrench per departure and arrival. Thank you!
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:59 PM   #18
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My 'sockets' were too loose, now at 45 pounds torque.

Robi... thank you for your post and questions. Your situation and comments afterwards caught my attention.

My Equalizer hitch was new with the purchase of a 25 foot International. The bars would swing in and out very easily. No effort at all. Never gave it another thought until reading YOUR thread. I could not imagine why yours would be so difficult to swing in and out.

I inserted my hitch into my receiver... upside down to get a look. Where the two 'sockets' swing it has left a light groove in the flat surface of the hitch. The two sockets swung in and out with no effort. They also had 'up and down' play.

I would call it a real 'sloppy fit'.

I adjusted my torque wrench to 45 pounds and... both were loose, and torgued both nuts to the recommended 45 pounds. Maybe originally at 30 pounds, yet the lock washer was totally flat. Torqued both bolts to 45 pounds and they have no up and down play, and can be swung in and out with the bars, inserted... with some effort. No comparison from the original adjustments from the Airstream Dealer.

We all learn something every day. This Thread was worth the read.

Thank you... ALL!
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Old 07-30-2016, 07:44 PM   #19
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So glad it helped. Just an fyi, I talked to equalizer and they said the bars should move, but not easily so I think we are both finally in spec. Also, I found it tedious to go through the manual to determine which bolts required specific torque settings. If you go to their website under support you will find a chart that just has things that require torque and settings. I am gonna e mail them and suggest they make that an addendum to the manual, as well as address the break in period and need for cleaning and removing debris. They really do seem to go above and beyond with support if you contact them. Happy trails!
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