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Old 04-24-2014, 12:39 PM   #1
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2009 23' International
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Secrets of Lifting Trunnion Bars

I would greatly appreciate any secrets you may have to raising trunnion bars of weight distribution hitches into place. I am still a newbie at this and do all my hitching, etc., solo. I still find the tension trunnion bars a bit intimidating. Perhaps, I'm overlooking the obvious. Should I lift the trailer as high as possible? Coupled or uncoupled to the tow vehicle?

Thanks for any sharing from the "Book of Secrets" of all you Airstreamers!

Susanne and the red kids
2009 23' Ocean Breeze
2008 Yukon XL
Drawtite Hitch 800 lb bars
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:45 PM   #2
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With the TT connected to the TV, the trailer chocked, the TV brake on and the hitch coupler locked, lift the combination with the tongue jack until you can lift and slide them into place. Then lower the combination until the jack is fully retracted. Reverse to remove bars.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgintyrch View Post
I would greatly appreciate any secrets you may have to raising trunnion bars of weight distribution hitches into place. I am still a newbie at this and do all my hitching, etc., solo. I still find the tension trunnion bars a bit intimidating. Perhaps, I'm overlooking the obvious. Should I lift the trailer as high as possible? Coupled or uncoupled to the tow vehicle?

Thanks for any sharing from the "Book of Secrets" of all you Airstreamers!

Susanne and the red kids
2009 23' Ocean Breeze
2008 Yukon XL
Drawtite Hitch 800 lb bars
Susanne.

You lift trunnion bars with your bare hands or gloves if you wish.

Lock the coupler to the ball.

Then with the jack, raise the front of the trailer as high as you can. It helps if there is about a 6 inch block under the jack.

Then simply place the bars into position and lock the lift brackets.

Finally, lower the jack, and your done.

Disconnecting the bars, is the exact opposite operation.

Andy
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:51 PM   #4
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I usually don't have to raise the trailer with the jack but I do take one step at a time. Tighten one side a little then go to the other side till you get the desired preload. If the jack is down you don't get a feel for how much load the bars are taking up and how that affects the degree of sag on your tow vehicle. A good idea is to mark the link that gives you the best load distribution and then you can use the jack to help with the load bars.

Perry
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:07 PM   #5
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I agree with Al. I was told it could be very dangerous to not use the jack because of all the tension on the bars. Thats what the tech told me at JC when they installed a Resse Dual Cam hitch on my trailer. He had stories about getting badly hurt if it springs back on your body, just what I was told, be careful! Marking the link you want is a great idea
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:54 PM   #6
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I had to be towed once, TV and trailer. The tow guy picked up the front of the TV with his rig. Put way too much tension on the spring bars and trailer frame, so I insisted they be removed. He would not let the front back down but said he would take the bars off with the lever bar (Reese hitch). I told him it was dangerous. He went ahead and did it. The lever bar ripped out of his hand and struck his foot, breaking all the bones in the top of it. Well, I had warned him. Idiot.

Yes, dangerous to hitch up without raising the jack.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:04 PM   #7
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Hi mcgintyrich:

I guess I have been doing it incorrectly for many years. I have always carried an iron pipe about two feet long which gives me leverage to apply or release the tension on the bars. I have felt that it was easier for me to feel how much tension I was putting on the bars.

I have always preferred hitching solo because when I have had help sometimes it doesn't get done correctly!

You are right, it's better to be safe so you can keep on camping. Enjoy!
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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I use tube from motorcycle front forks to lift snap ups into place after using jack to raise trailer, trying to snap up bars with out raising front with jack is extremly dangerus the tubes can be obtained from shops or some one that has changed front forks. Old style smaller dia. not new style large dia. One end has insert size of snap up will not slip off, using 2 big dia. will slip and cause serious injuries or not raising front as stated by idroba. The tubes are chrome plated sharp looking. I have done it this way since 1967 with no slips. I use Reese old style dual cam set up.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:09 PM   #9
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Equalizer WD Hitch

I just bought my trailer and they sold me an Equalizer WD hitch. To get the bars onto the trailer, he had me, both, use the trailer tongue connected to the TV to raise both vehicles then use the curved 'Snap Up Hook' lever to finish placing the bars on the trailer. The following is from the owner's manual found here:
http://www.equalizerhitch.com/pdf/EQOwnersManual.pdf

"With the tow vehicle still coupled to the trailer, use the tongue jack to lift both vehicles until you can swing the spring arms into place over the l- brackets. If you reach the top of the jack before the spring arms will swing into position, you can use the Snap-up lever to lift the spring arms up and onto the l-brackets. Use the l-pins to secure the spring arms on the l-brackets."

Hope this helps....
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:06 PM   #10
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Once you do it a couple of times it is not a big deal. I carry a short piece of tubing (about 1 foot) to slip over the chain lift lever. I use the electric jack to off load a lot of the tension. I always hitch into the same link so there is no "adjusting". If I am pulling into or out of a campsite that has a lot of level change I will drop the weight bars and back in without them and wait until I get it out and level and straight to put them on. One additional advantage to lifting the trailer with the jack when hitching is that it sorta checks that the coupler is latched onto the ball.
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:50 AM   #11
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Thanks, very much, for all of your suggestions. Attaching the TV and then lifting the jack so high looked strange and concerned me, so I had been avoiding do that. And yes, it was very difficult to lift. It was much easier to lift the bars with the jack raised this weekend. I do have the links marked.
Thanks again for everything!
Susanne
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:40 AM   #12
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Wear leather work gloves at all times while messing with the bars. Really, wear leather work gloves at all times. Really.
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:04 PM   #13
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X2 really!
Hang onto the bar on the snap up brackets. Can become a nasty projectile.
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:48 PM   #14
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I had an incident where we weren't able to lift the tongue far enough to get much tension off those bars, so there was still quite a bit of tension left when I had the jack up all the way (picture a site where the truck is facing up a fairly steep hill relative to the trailer). It pretty much yanked me to the ground and nearly gave me a case of whiplash. My wife (who was inside the trailer at the time) thought major something had broken. I don't think I ever did explain to her what happened.

Then I did it again...had to get the other side off, too! But this time I was ready for it and better able to control it. To get out, we dropped it on the ball, then did the bars on a more level spot.

So, be careful with them. Think about how heavy they are, then notice that they bend when you load them up... there is a LOT of force there.
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