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Old 08-26-2004, 10:40 AM   #43
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well, I think the conclusions are correct, but I'm not sure I agree with the explanation entirely.

I don't think the goal of "weight distribution" is to "level the tow vehicle". its to distribute the weight. the visible effects of transferring weight are going to vary from vehicle to vehicle. If I stand on my truck's (1/2 ton) rear bumper, its going to drop visibly. If I stand on the bumper of a 1-ton truck, it won't. that does not mean that I have not transferred 200+ lbs to the rear of that truck. If I walk toward the front of the truck, again, you won't see the truck move. but the weight is still there, whether you can see it or not.

the only way to really tell if and/or how much weight is being transferred is to use a scale. Most of us dont' have one , so the only indication we have is to look for movement in the truck's body. That can be deceiving, though. back to my 1/2 truck...I think its got really stiff front springs for its size, because it hardly moves at all when I hook it up. If I apply a known weight to the front bumper, (me), it hardly moves. not nearly as much as the back bumper. and my weight is probably more than should be transferred from my hitch to the front axle.

But as for the rest of it...yeah, what YOU said.

another thing I'm thinking...regarding sway: this force is pushing along the wd bar's length. if it does not "flex" against this force, and therefore act as "front to back" spring, it'll pop out of the cam...and there goes your anti-sway. The tounge weight against the tension in the chains is part of what keeps the cam in the saddle, but flexing of the bar in an arc is also contributing.

ok...this wasn't meant to reply to andy's post; I meant to reply to "toaster'" comments back on the last page. you guy's compose and post faster than I can!!
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Old 08-26-2004, 11:01 AM   #44
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Well yes the cams do play a part.

Remember the cams are on the end of the bars. The point they ride on is somewhat fixed because it's bolted to the A frame of the hitch. As the tow vehicle and the coach come out of line the Bars move foward and back in relation to the fixed point on he A/Frame. The loss of tension makes it easier for the cams to override. So yes the cams are very important as well. They increase tension as the coach and tow vehcile make turns as well as more control over the swing side to side..

The trunnion angle alone does provide sway control. Thats why some folks get away with no apparent sway control in the form of Dual cams or friction sway. They actually have it if the Hitch has enough trunnion angle. In actuallity the trunnion angle on the Dual came may not be as critical as the actual tension on the cam. The tension does lessen on the inside of the turn and then you start adding in grade changes it can get really confusing.

The high end hitches all work becaue they basicly use the trunnion angle to fight the sway. They just use different ways to take advantage of it. They have a firm connection at the end of the torsion Bar to give more leverage off the trunnion angle.
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Old 08-26-2004, 11:03 AM   #45
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Chuck.

The Reese bars cannot pop out of the cam.

Also the force is vertical not horizontal, that provides the "sway control."

Andy
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Old 08-26-2004, 11:12 AM   #46
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Wondering - is it possible to bend the frame if your bars are too heavy - on my 58, I was going to buy the lightest possible more because of the frame than anything else - I've learned alot on this post, I now know that I getting lighter bars for another reason - I have a 3/4 on truck and it hardly drops at all with the 58, quit a bit with the 75. So do I need to worry about bending a relatively lite C channel frame on the 58?

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Old 08-26-2004, 11:17 AM   #47
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Over hitching not only can bend the A-frame, but it can also snap it off. It can do it to the old trailers, as well as the new.

We recently had the "Snapple" trailer delivered to us, because it had "no" A-frame.

When the A-frame becomes bent, it takes away from a load equalizing hitches ability to properly perform.

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Old 08-26-2004, 11:27 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
well, I think the conclusions are correct, but I'm not sure I agree with the explanation entirely.

I don't think the goal of "weight distribution" is to "level the tow vehicle". its to distribute the weight. the visible effects of transferring weight are going to vary from vehicle to vehicle. If I stand on my truck's (1/2 ton) rear bumper, its going to drop visibly. If I stand on the bumper of a 1-ton truck, it won't. that does not mean that I have not transferred 200+ lbs to the rear of that truck. If I walk toward the front of the truck, again, you won't see the truck move. but the weight is still there, whether you can see it or not.

the only way to really tell if and/or how much weight is being transferred is to use a scale. Most of us dont' have one , so the only indication we have is to look for movement in the truck's body. That can be deceiving, though. back to my 1/2 truck...I think its got really stiff front springs for its size, because it hardly moves at all when I hook it up. If I apply a known weight to the front bumper, (me), it hardly moves. not nearly as much as the back bumper. and my weight is probably more than should be transferred from my hitch to the front axle.

But as for the rest of it...yeah, what YOU said.

another thing I'm thinking...regarding sway: this force is pushing along the wd bar's length. if it does not "flex" against this force, and therefore act as "front to back" spring, it'll pop out of the cam...and there goes your anti-sway. The tounge weight against the tension in the chains is part of what keeps the cam in the saddle, but flexing of the bar in an arc is also contributing.

ok...this wasn't meant to reply to andy's post; I meant to reply to "toaster'" comments back on the last page. you guy's compose and post faster than I can!!
I agree. "Level" is misleading term. It's the weight shift that is critical. You want to move the tongue load from the bumper to the center of the vehicle is the ultimate goal. Measuring height is just a way that we all have access too. It would be better to weigh the vehicle and get the "Weight Distribution" even across both axles.

Now don't forget the cams are ramped. They will allow a significant amount of turn before they overcome the ramp and stop providing sway control. Now you exceed that at highway speeds you better have you business in order with the particular deity you worship because it is not going to be a pretty outcome.

The poor folks who started this post are the example. Just glad they were not injured.

I think this has opened a lot of eyes. I have learned a LOT from this post.
Thanks for a very thought provoking Thread.
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Old 08-26-2004, 11:42 AM   #49
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Chuck.

The Reese bars cannot pop out of the cam.

Also the force is vertical not horizontal, that provides the "sway control."

Andy

DOH!! I meant "the spring bar cam could pop off the cam arm"...terms double-checked on the reese website. same movement that happens when you turn...has to be able to slide out of the cam arm, or somethin' is gonna break!

(oh, and I'm gonna need more than a 2-foot straight edge to measure mine, because my bars are 28" long... )

the "sway" is a horizontal force, no? to dampen it, there must be an equal and opposite force applied. to achieve that, we apply a vertical force on this complicated mechanism, but the resulatant force is horizontal.
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Old 08-26-2004, 12:26 PM   #50
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David P:

I am sorry about your accident. I too have the same 1977 Excella 500 and yours was in really good shape. I think you ought to get the insurance money and find another coach. It is probably just like a wrecked car, despite wherever you take it to get fixed, typically when you get them back, they are never 100% again...at least that is the experience I have had.

I have a 2001 2500 HD that I tow the exact same trailer you had. I do not currently use any weight distribution hitch. I find that I don't need to. I have towed the trailer thousands of miles with no problems. When it is hitched up, the back end of my 3/4 truck, (really a one ton truck) comes down a little bit, but everything is level. I never really exceed over the speed limit and I had the hydraulic brakes updated as well. Occassionally, I will have a small amount of sway if a big tractor trailer comes blazing past me, but I would say 9/10ths of the time, this isn't a problem.

The receiver hitch on my truck is probably rated the same one as yours. I bought a bar that the 2/516ths ball goes on that is rated for more than my receiver hitch, it is solid and I have never had any problems. I may start using a weight distributing hitch now that I have read this, though, I don't know.

I am sorry it happened to you and am happy no one was hurt. I say get on down the road and try to get yourself a different coach.
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Old 08-26-2004, 12:45 PM   #51
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Diesel Pusher.

Based on my 38 years experience, "you are a very lucky person."

There is nothing magical about your tow vehicle, where you can tow, without a load equalizing hitch.

Invitation. Ride in the very back of your trailer at 60 mph, and then report back about a "little sway." I think you will have far more sway than you realize.

Additionally, a truck scale does not show a "little bit."

How much does your truck front axle and rear axle weigh, by itself, and then with the trailer hooked up.

When you find that out, you probably will request a police escort so that you can say your blessings at the nearest church, post haste.

Very seriously, should you lose control, and you will, you have absolutely zero defense if you hurt someone, or their property.

State of the art says, "your dead wrong," and so will a jury. Statistics also say "your dead wrong."

Hopefully your neighbors and relatives won't read in the newspapers, the above three word quotes by leaving out the word "wrong."

Spend the bucks and get rigged properly. Your life, and your family, "depend on that."

Gauranteed.

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Old 08-26-2004, 01:01 PM   #52
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Quote:
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Diesel Pusher.

Based on my 38 years experience, "you are a very lucky person."

.................................................. .

Spend the bucks and get rigged properly. Your life, and your family, "depend on that."

Gauranteed.

Andy

My truck weighs around 6,600 pounds total. The front end is obviously heavier than the back end. When the truck is empty, the back end sits up much higher than the front. When the trailer is loaded onto the ball, the truck sits about level. The bottom leaf spring is a little higher than level and not touching the next one above it. I have hauled bricks, sand etc. in it and have seen where the leaf springs have touched, but I have never overloaded it.

What kind of set up would you recommend for me and where do I purchase it?

Also, is it something I can install myself, or do I need to have it professionally done. Thank you for your comments.

Rob.
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Old 08-26-2004, 01:05 PM   #53
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Quote:
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David P:


I have a 2001 2500 HD that I tow the exact same trailer you had. I do not currently use any weight distribution hitch. I find that I don't need to. I have towed the trailer thousands of miles with no problems. When it is hitched up, the back end of my 3/4 truck, (really a one ton truck) comes down a little bit, but everything is level. I never really exceed over the speed limit and I had the hydraulic brakes updated as well. Occassionally, I will have a small amount of sway if a big tractor trailer comes blazing past me, but I would say 9/10ths of the time, this isn't a problem.

The receiver hitch on my truck is probably rated the same one as yours. I bought a bar that the 2/516ths ball goes on that is rated for more than my receiver hitch, it is solid and I have never had any problems. I may start using a weight distributing hitch now that I have read this, though, I don't know.
Run it across a scale and see what the weight is on the front axle with no coach and then see what it is hitched with no WD set up. Your going to find you probably will loose something close to the tongue weight on the front axle. It really depends on the available leverage. If your truck has a lot of overhang behind the rear axle the 600-700 lb at the bumper is going remove weight from the front suspension. The fulcrum point is the rear axle...

That loss of weight is going to increase under steer. Under steer is where you turn the wheels but the truck will continue to go straight and not be able to change the direction. Certain amount of under steer is built in because the alternative is over steer and over steer means spin out. For most drivers, under steer is much better characteristic to deal with and easier to recover from. When it happens they slam on the brakes and once they get down to a low enough speed the under steer will go away. Well that speed on your truck is going to be MUCH lower when you have 600 lb on your back bumper.

What that all means is if you get in an emergency situation and you could change lanes to avoid something you may not be able to. The speed is in excess of where the front wheels have enough traction to do so. The truck alone may be able to handle that at 55mph and be controllable.

Now we won't even talk about what the trailer is doing we will just say you now have 600lb on your back bumper. The speed where the front tires and suspension can change the direction of the truck may now be 40mph (this is the ice thing Andy was speaking of). Now you cant get the truck to change lanes before the point of contact.

Now the 600lb is a big counter balance. Once you do get the truck down to the point where you can change it's direction all that weight is going to start to swing like a pendulum and it could well cause the rear of the truck to come around overcoming the lateral traction of the rear wheels and spin you.

Add the trailer back in and you just jackknifed.

The WD hitch and sway control effectively moves the "center of gravity" of that additional weight forward of the rear axle of the tow vehcile. That allows both the front and real axles to get back closer to the Neutral characteristic that the vehicle has without the trailer behind it and restores it to a more normal control characteristic.
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Old 08-26-2004, 01:08 PM   #54
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andy...this kind of reminds me of a similar situation. wondering what your thoughts are:

I used to work for a landscaping company that towed tractors on flat-bed trailers, with 1-ton trucks. the trailers weighed in the vicinity of 10K lbs loaded with a tractor. the hitches were "pintle hook" type. the front of the a-frame was just a big donut-looking ring. there was no anti-sway, or weight distribution.

I wasn't involved in the work for which these rigs were used very often, so I didn't ride in them much. I did a few times...drove a few times, too. never noticed a tiny bit of "sway"...at least what has always been described here as sway. I did feel "movement"...felt more like the trailer was nudging us forward on the highway, at times, as it floated around back there. The trucks always seemed to ride perfectly level, though, and I personally didn't notice any loss of handling.

I don't think its typical for these types of rigs to use wd equipment. (I don't know if its even possible with that type of hitch. ) why not? should they? I know that a flatbed with a tractor is not as suseptible to side forces like wind from passing trucks, etc, but that's not the only thing that causes sway.
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Old 08-26-2004, 02:26 PM   #55
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Well yes the cams do play a part.

Remember the cams are on the end of the bars. The point they ride on is somewhat fixed because it's bolted to the A frame of the hitch. As the tow vehicle and the coach come out of line the Bars move foward and back in relation to the fixed point on he A/Frame. The loss of tension makes it easier for the cams to override. So yes the cams are very important as well. They increase tension as the coach and tow vehcile make turns as well as more control over the swing side to side..
When towing in a straight line, the cams on either side of the trailer A-frame are locked in position. This essentially creates a "rigid" connection between tow vehicle and trailer and minimizes the effects of induced sway caused by high cross-winds or passing vehicles.

Usually, the cams ride in a detent locked-in position, even on fairly sharp curves. However, when cornering maneuvers are required, the cams automatically slide out of their detent to permit full radius turns. Yet when the maneuver is short and abrupt, like that encountered in the event of a sudden swerve or a wheel dropping off the road, the cams seek a straight-line towing angle that helps the tow vehicle retain control.
-from Reese website

That's the only point I was trying to make.
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Old 08-26-2004, 02:27 PM   #56
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Chuck.

I don't know anything about pintle hook towing, nor do I want to. I have enough gray hair from Airstream stuff.

Diesel Pusher. Rob

Unfortunately, in your case, all you can do is compromise, in that your truck is the problem, because of it being super heavy duty.

You can install a Reese 550 hitch, and hope for the best.

You can improve the performance of that rating, "if" you remove the overload leaf that's at the bottom of your leaf spring setup.

Installing a hitch Is something you can do, "if" you are mechanically inclined, you read the directions very carefully, and follow them to a "T," along with having the correct tools.

Brut force towing is what you have been doing. That's an absolute no no, as you can see from these posts.

However, again, in your case, you can only do the best that you can do, which will be far from the ideal, but certainly far superior to what you had been doing.

Load equalizing hitches are available from many sources. Selling you one, and shipping it many miles, is not cost effective, for your.

Andy
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