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Old 10-02-2005, 07:51 PM   #1
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Unhappy Help! Diesel Excursion + 28' Safari + Equal-i-zer hitch = rear sag?

OK, I got my "new to me" 05 Ford Excursion 4x4 with the 6.0 PS Diesel. Check. Got my 28' Safari. Check. Got my Equal-i-zer hitch, Check.

My previous Tow Vehcile was a 2004 Nissan Armada with the auto leveling rear end, but even when that was not engaged, the hitch on the Nissan was 2' higher.

So, I run out to storage today with the Excursion to see what modifcations to my Equal-i-zer hitch that I would need to do for the new Tow Vehicle setup.

I raised the hitch ball hight up almost 2' by going "one up" on the hitch shank. This was to compensate for my "lower" receiver as compared to the previous Nissan.

Hooked it up to the Excursion, (leaving the "L brackets" where they already set to) and attached the spring arms to the "L brackets" on the trailer.

Checked to see if the trailer was level, and sure enough, dead on level at all 3 points I checked, including the frame.

BUT... the rear of my Excursion droped from almost 39' to approx 36 1/2'...

According to the Equal-i-zer instructions, the tow vehicle should have only settled wtih a half an inch, evenly.

The rear of the excursion is sagging a bit... just ever so slightly by a few inches.

Equal-i-zer instructions tell me to raise the "L bracket" if the rear settles more than the front, so I raised it one notch (and almost gave myself a hernia getting the spring arms up on the "higher" notch.) Saw only 1/2' improvemen in the rear...

I'm using 5 washers in spacer bold on the head, and I do have the 4-6 deg angle on the head as the instructions stated.

What am I doing wrong? Is the Excursion supposed to sag like that with an Equal-i-zer hitch? Tounge weight on the Safari is supposed to me 890 lbs, so with the hitch, I should be a 900 lbs, which is with the specs of the hitch from ford (when using a WD hitch)

Any other Excursion owners have a smilar setup that can give me their "settings" on hitch height / # of washers / L bracket height, etc?

Do I need to get some airbags in the rear to compensate?

Help me out!!!
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:39 PM   #2
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hi bandit

hope you are enjoying that new tube.

i don't have the equalizer or an excursion....but i did sleep in a holiday inn express last night!

no doubt you did this.....but what were your baseline measurements on the tv.....i'm a bit overboard on this, and take measurements at each wheel well and the hitch and the center front.....to determine the tv posture when fully loaded with fuel and 100s of lbs of gear.....and after airing the tires to max inflation (even if planning to drive at a softer inflation) and of course on a level surface. not surprisingly the truck isn't perfectly level front to back or side/side.....but these are the starting refernce figures.

then when the hitch bar is added and the trailer connected, i repeat each measurement....this gives me the other set of baseline figures.....with zero weight distribution.....

now i adjust the wd bars to bring the rear up to with in 1/2-1 inch of the front.....yes the entire truck settles and no the front is not exactly level with the rear.... but if the front to rear relationship was say 1 inches before hook up i try for 1.5-2 after hookup and wd adjustments....

in other words the rear is still .5 to 1 inch lower than the front and .5-1 inches within the unloaded relationship.

i confirmed my dialing with a cat scale visit and even with perfect weight distribution (front axle/rear axle exactly the same loads) the rear of the truck was slightly lower (.5-1inch) than the front.

i suspect that the spring compression rates are different fr/rr and the diesel is the major load on the front....during braking/cornering even more weight moves forward so the front springs surely compress differently than the rears....

looks like the equalizer installation instructions on line suggest that an extra 1 inch lower at the rear is within proper adjustment after fully adjusted.

so you may be trying for perfectly level on the tv to no avail....

also there is a recent theard here on the excursion with focus on rear end issues....

and while airsteam does give you a tongue weight.....it's only a estimate.....go to a cat scale and find out your exact weight numbers....it's really easy......i'm sure you saw my thread on visiting the cat scales......


best of luck

2air'
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:57 PM   #3
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Greetings, Bandit! I use a Reese Dual-Cam with my Excursion and 34', so I'm afraid I can't give you any specifics regarding your hitch, but 2air's advice is right on. The Ex's do have some rear axle/spring issues towing that you wouldn't expect, and don't see on the Superduty trucks because of the difference in spring stacks. There are some things you can do to help that out.

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Old 10-02-2005, 09:46 PM   #4
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Quite frankly, I had a somewhat similar experience. I drive a 2004 Excursion with the 6.0 liter diesel. I towed a 1999 34' Classic, and changed to a 2005 34' with slide out - obviously heavier. I found that my Excursion sagged a bit with the new load. I did have airbags installed, and it has solved the problem. The airbags make for a stiffer ride if left inflated when not towing.

The Excursion with the 6.0l diesel and the towing package makes for a great towing vehicle, particularly with kids and pets. I just hope they resume making them - last I knew there were no 2006 Excursions being produced.

The airbags were fairly reasonable - perhaps $200 or $250 installed.
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Old 10-02-2005, 10:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilesrob
The Excursion with the 6.0l diesel and the towing package makes for a great towing vehicle, particularly with kids and pets. I just hope they resume making them - last I knew there were no 2006 Excursions being produced.
Last I read Ford has no plans to continue the Excursion into '06. Originally there were no plans for an '05 model, but they decided that they could do a facelift on the front end and get one more year out of the existing body for virtually free.

The F-250/350 will get a ground-up re-design in '07 with the '05 model being a transition model. There were some upgrades to transmission and suspension with the addition of the factory brake controler option in '05. There are no changes for the '06 model that I am aware of.

There is rumor that when the Expedition gets its next overhaul in a couple of years there will be what is being called an "Expedition Max" by Ford's vendors. This will share continuity in aesthetics with the Explorer and Expedition models. I personally believe Ford wanted a gap between this new incarnation of extra large SUV and the Excursion because of the poor sales record of the Excursion but wanting a competitor for the Suburban. This would allow buyers to forget such issues as suspension problems, handeling issues, and early PSD 6.0 concerns. However, given the current record price of fuel, who knows if this will come to fruition. We may see a diesel version of the Expedition return instead.
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Old 10-02-2005, 11:03 PM   #6
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Okay, so you have some rear end drop....so what is your front end doing? Is it going up or down. Equal-i-zer says when hitched you should sink the front end almost as much as you do the rearend, if you are set up correctly. Measure the height of the wheel well above the centerline of the tires when your Excursion is unhooked from the Safari, then measure the same things when you are all hooked up. Do the Front and Rear sink about the same? If the front is not sinking as much as the rear, add another washer and try it again. You may also want to start with the trailer slightly low at the nose when setting up your hitch on the shank. My dealer put my hitch together, and only used 3 washers, which produced more sink rate than the proper setting, but they told me that this was not a problem, that it was normal. After pulling out my instructions at home, I took the hitch apart, added two washers and another notch higher on the L brackets, and now my rear end sinks about 3/4 to an 1 inch more than the front. The way the dealer had it set, I had 3 inches of sink at the rear and 1/2 inch of RISE at the front. The TV and trailer still handled well like this, but after the changes, it handles much better.
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Old 10-03-2005, 08:29 AM   #7
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This sounds like the same sequence of events that took place after I added a 50gal diesel tank to my F-250. Call the manufacturer at (800) 478-5578. You have all the data you need. The manufacturer had a name change from Lindon to Progress Mfg, but the support people deliver the same level of competent service. Don't be put off if you call during working hours and get the message to call back during working hours. Just call again.

With mine I ended up at a compromise. Your tongue jack should lift the trailer to the point where the arms slide over rather than having to use the lever bar.

Jim
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Old 10-03-2005, 08:59 AM   #8
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Bandit,
When the bars are adjusted correctly you should have a noticeable bend in them (up to 1"). My Tundra has a soft ride and the tail drops 3" with out the bars. When the bars are set the truck drops around 1" front and rear. Do you jack up the hitch with the truck attached to set the bars?
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Old 10-03-2005, 10:30 AM   #9
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The weight distributing bars are there to transfer some of the tongue weight from the rear axle of the TV to the front. If the rear is sagging but the front is not (measure before and after with a tape measure), then you must change the angle of the hitch head to increase the pressure on the spring bars. This involves adding/removing washers from the hitch head stop bolt. The Equal-i-zer instructions document this. As stated earlier, verify your work by weighing each axle.

Do not get a hernia trying to lift the bars in place! They will slip onto the L brackets easily when the tongue jack is extended, then retract the tongue jack before driving off. The bars will have significant force applied.
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Old 10-03-2005, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Bandit,
When the bars are adjusted correctly you should have a noticeable bend in them (up to 1"). My Tundra has a soft ride and the tail drops 3" with out the bars. When the bars are set the truck drops around 1" front and rear. Do you jack up the hitch with the truck attached to set the bars?
Do you have an Equal-i-zer brand hitch, as I am not seeing any bend in my bars.

But like the others, I either use the tongue jack to raise high enough for easy install the of the bars, or I use the tool that came with the hitch, it snaps them in pretty easily, if the tongue jack is up high enough.
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