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Old 06-30-2009, 05:35 PM   #15
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thanks, i will check out the links, I just do not think the 20 year old at bates who spent a total of 25 minutes installing it was as anal as I am when it comes to my safety
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:45 AM   #16
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Bob, for the bolts on the hitch head you will need a 1 1/8" open end or combination wrench and a 1 1/8" deep socket, somethings not in most tool kits. A monster torque wrench is handy too since these bolts have to be torqued something around 200 lbs. Mine goes to 150 lbs and then I just guessed, probably limited by my strength.

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Old 07-01-2009, 09:09 AM   #17
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I have an email into equalizer asking them some questions regarding the installation, waiting to hear back.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:42 PM   #18
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I got my answer from progress today, my ball height is too high, they were surprised that one of their volume dealers did not know the proper height to set the ball. If the inside of the socket is 18" than the top of the ball should be as close to that height as possible. I also noticed that the installer did not put any slack in the gas line and it is snug up against the bottom bolt of the L bracket, not good. After contacting Bates RV, they say they will correct these problems if I want to drive 150 miles, or I could just pay one of the local dealers to install it correctly. I know, I could just do it myself but I do not have the proper tools such as torque wrench or sockets large enough. I guess I will weigh the costs of buying tools as opposed to paying a dealer and see which is better.
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Old 07-01-2009, 02:48 PM   #19
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not a bad idea, I could find some unique places to put it. actually it seems the people who forgot about the use of a door always seemed to be teenage girls, i say that because thats the side we faced. My wife probably would have preferred the other side of the building.
We keep a spare set of camper keys in the truck. If the unthinkable occurs and we are locked out of our AS AND truck, we have onstar to unlock our TV. Just another thought although I like the cap of the sewer hose holder idea!
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:34 PM   #20
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The gas line on ours is riveted to the bottom of the tongue. Some models have it screwed to the tongue. Not willing to drill out the rivets, I reinstalled the two link plates on that side (not the L bracket which is screwed to the plates) with the bottom screw below the gas line. This can cause the link plates to bow if you torque them too tight. Equalizer is now recommending torquing them to 50 lbs. The link plates will bow out with more torque. You can reinforce the link plates with another plate and they will never bow, but you'll have to get longer bolts.

The top of ball is now recommended to be equal to the height of the inside of the "socket" as you call it. Their instructions are different and so is Airstream's. I tried it with them equal and it didn't work well. The height of the ball largely determines whether the trailer is level. The height of the bars and the amount of washers affect weight distribution. But these three variables work together, so there's a lot of tinkering. So I raised the height of the ball (raised the bolts on the shank from the bottom to the next ones up) which added an inch to the ball height. This came out about the same, but a little lower, than recommended in the instructions and the Airstream manual. As you tinker with it, the front and back of the truck go up and down until you get them as close to equal compression as possible. It is recommended to have the bars as closes to parallel to the tongue frame as possible also, but that can be very difficult to do.

It's good to have a torque wrench to check the torque on the wheel lug nuts (120 lbs on most trailers), so having one of those is a good idea anyway. I found a pretty cheap one on sale, though I don't remember the price—maybe $25. If I were using a torque wrench all the time, I would have bought a better one. Then I got a deep socket for the lug nuts—about $15. The combination wrench and the deep socket cost about $45. This is just part of owning a trailer. If you do it yourself, you'll be able to adjust it when necessary and tighten bolts if they loosen, and they do. Jacking up the trailer while hitched to the truck can loosen the top bolt on the shank (the 1 1/8" ones), so it pays to check them. The top one is an adjustment, so it has to be correct.

It took me hours to get it right. It's a real pain. I'm sure someone experienced could do it quicker. Getting it right means proper weight distribution and a level trailer. If you don't have both, it puts extra wear on the truck, possibly too much weight on the rear truck axle, too much weight on one trailer axle, and possibly not very good sway control. When I bought the trailer, I had no idea I would have to deal with this, or a lot of other things either. I'd rather spend my time doing something else, but it is part of the trailer life.

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Old 07-01-2009, 03:34 PM   #21
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thanks for the input, ford does not have onstar though. however its cheaper and easier to break into my truck than the AS
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:38 PM   #22
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The gas line on ours is riveted to the bottom of the tongue. Some models have it screwed to the tongue. Not willing to drill out the rivets, I reinstalled the two link plates on that side (not the L bracket which is screwed to the plates) with the bottom screw below the gas line. This can cause the link plates to bow if you torque them too tight. Equalizer is now recommending torquing them to 50 lbs. The link plates will bow out with more torque. You can reinforce the link plates with another plate and they will never bow, but you'll have to get longer bolts.

The top of ball is now recommended to be equal to the height of the inside of the "socket" as you call it. Their instructions are different and so is Airstream's. I tried it with them equal and it didn't work well. The height of the ball largely determines whether the trailer is level. The height of the bars and the amount of washers affect weight distribution. But these three variables work together, so there's a lot of tinkering. So I raised the height of the ball (raised the bolts on the shank from the bottom to the next ones up) which added an inch to the ball height. This came out about the same, but a little lower, than recommended in the instructions and the Airstream manual. As you tinker with it, the front and back of the truck go up and down until you get them as close to equal compression as possible. It is recommended to have the bars as closes to parallel to the tongue frame as possible also, but that can be very difficult to do.

It's good to have a torque wrench to check the torque on the wheel lug nuts (120 lbs on most trailers), so having one of those is a good idea anyway. I found a pretty cheap one on sale, though I don't remember the price—maybe $25. If I were using a torque wrench all the time, I would have bought a better one. Then I got a deep socket for the lug nuts—about $15. The combination wrench and the deep socket cost about $45. This is just part of owning a trailer. If you do it yourself, you'll be able to adjust it when necessary and tighten bolts if they loosen, and they do. Jacking up the trailer while hitched to the truck can loosen the top bolt on the shank (the 1 1/8" ones), so it pays to check them. The top one is an adjustment, so it has to be correct.

It took me hours to get it right. It's a real pain. I'm sure someone experienced could do it quicker. Getting it right means proper weight distribution and a level trailer. If you don't have both, it puts extra wear on the truck, possibly too much weight on the rear truck axle, too much weight on one trailer axle, and possibly not very good sway control. When I bought the trailer, I had no idea I would have to deal with this, or a lot of other things either. I'd rather spend my time doing something else, but it is part of the trailer life.

Gene
I have read many articles about installing the hitch and think I will delegate this to the local shop as I broke my cervical and lumbar spine a few years ago and can't really get around as I used to.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:38 PM   #23
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One reason to be married is each of us has a key—unless of course we both leave them inside. That's togetherness.

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Old 07-01-2009, 03:41 PM   #24
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I have read many articles about installing the hitch and think I will delegate this to the local shop as I broke my cervical and lumbar spine a few years ago and can't really get around as I used to.
Good idea. I injured my lower back years ago and lifting all those very heavy parts over and over was painful and when I finished I was stooped over until I got to the ibuprofen. Having made yourself an expert, you'll be able to make sure they do it right.

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Old 07-01-2009, 03:46 PM   #25
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I have left the ibuprofen behind, now I must rely on hydrocodone every 4 hours and my powerchair for longer "walks"
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:55 PM   #26
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Bob, I admire you for not giving up with pain that serious and still wanting to get out and do stuff. When I first injured my back the pain was the worst I ever experienced, I was "walking" with a cane, and bedridden at times. A long period of physical therapy and an exercise regime since have made me able to set up WD hitches, but it's not fun (except the pleasure of figuring it out and making it work). My wife is amazed at what I can do because she remembers how it was years ago, but I know what I can't do. It's frustrating when our bodies fail us for whatever reason. Good luck with the hitch and enjoy camping at places without berries, sap and dumpsters.

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:37 PM   #27
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thanks Gene.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:31 AM   #28
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Sorry it took so long to get back to this thread. I'm glad Gene brought up the issue of torquing the lug nuts. I bought a torque wrench just for that purpose and use it for nothing else. I have the bearings re-packed every spring and have the shop that does my work re-torque the hitch bolts/nuts when they do the work. I also have them adjust the brakes at that time, too. Just regular maintenance. But, I always verify the torque on the lug nuts and verify air pressure in the tires before hitting the road every time. If it is a long trip, I will check these items before each leg of the trip. If it is a short one, I generally don't bother after we leave home until the next trip. I have never had to tighten a lug nut yet. I also spray my sidewalls with "303" preservative available at Camping World and other places to help prolong the life of the sidewalls. I have just purchased tire covers (black) to shield the tires from UV while it is parked. I park the Airstream in my driveway, BTW.

My F-250 is a 2X4 not a 4X4. I didn't care if it was a 4X4 but preferred that it wasn't. I have a super crew with all the options including leather, the nav system, sunroof and a PTO. I don't even know how to access it, nor what I'd ever use if for, but it came on the model I chose. It looks like we are among common ailments here as I, too have a 20+ year old back injury and traded for 2008 F-250 to get more comfortable seats and softer ride. Ford did a ground up re-design and really improved the ride.

I also have the Equal-i-zer hitch and really like it. It is easy to use once it is set up correctly. Our Airstream dealer's shop foreman was the one that installed ours and he did a great job. He knew to remove the rivets from the gas line strap and lower the gas line below the bracket screws and he included a dense foam spacer between the gas line and the threads of the screw. One thing to keep in mind: you need to monitor your front tire pressures. Mine were low and it caused some handling problems I thought were a result of the hitch, but it was the truck instead. Once I put the max air pressure in the tow vehicle's tires all around and kept them at all at the same pressure, I could easily steer the truck with my thumb and fore finger. That was my first truck (2005 F-250 PSD). The new one is the same.

It took little tweaking to get the new hitch set up just right, but the local shop I use did it in no time for about $20 while packing the bearings and adjusting the brakes. One adjustment to the L-brackets after that and it was super smooth handling from there on out. Do yourself a favor and take your complete rig to a horse trailer shop that sells Equal-i-zer brand hitches and invest in having them adjust it for you. Those guys are used to dealing with dynamic loads and precious cargo. If you can't find one in the immediate area, I'm sure there are plenty around Ocala.

From the description of the handling issues you have I'd say your L-brackets are too high. Lower them one hole and that should improve the ride. But, it is still a good idea to take the entire rig to a hitch shop to have the hitch set up tweaked. You may need one fewer or one more washer in the hitch head or may need to move it up or down one or more holes in the shank. I'm not that good with them, I just know that the first leg of our first trip after the set up for this truck, we had a lot of bouncing in the truck. When we got to the campground, I lowered the bracket one hole and the bouncing went away.

Hope my experiences have helped. Yours will vary, but I'm sure you will enjoy your Airstream as much as the rest of us do.

One day we will become neighbors, but it will be a while. First the economy has to improve. I'm a construction project manager and those positions have pretty much dried up in Orlando and I'm a long way from retirement so we will have to wait a while before we can transfer or move. But thanks for the info. Independence was one of the areas we were considering.
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