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Old 10-30-2006, 03:03 PM   #1
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Adjusting Weight Distribution - Equalizer

I measured the wheel well heights on our Yukon before and after hooking up our Bambi and here is where I am at...

Before/After Vehicle Height Measurements

Before Hooking Up Hitch #1
  • Rear Wheel Well: 37.5"
  • Front Wheel Well: 36"
After Hookup Up Hitch With Equalizer #1
  • Rear Wheel Well: 37" (down 1/2")
  • Front Wheel Well: 35 3/4" (down 1/4")
Before Hooking Up Hitch #2
  • Rear Wheel Well: 37 3/8"
  • Front Wheel Well: 35 3/4"
After Hookup With Equalizer #2
  • Rear Wheel Well: 36 7/8" (down 1/2")
  • Front Wheel Well: 35 5/8"/4" (down 1/8")
So it appears that my equalizer isn't setup to distribute enough of the weight onto the front axel. At least it has increased the weight on the front, but not in proportion to the back.

Of course the dealer just followed the guidlines provided by the equalizer documentation and didn't do any checks afterwards. In fact they didn't even setup the hitch with the tv and trailer on a flat surface

Is the difference enough to both with? or do I need to add one or two washers to increase the head angle and 'prop up' the rear of the tv. Looking closely on the horizontal, it does look like the hitch is angled up at the back instead of being perfectly level which might explain things.




Thanks
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:18 PM   #2
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I'm no expert with weight distribution hitches, or any other type for that matter. I have the same brand hitch that you have. I have towed my Airstream for more than 4,500 miles this summer and swore my dealer installed it correctly. However, I inadvertanly placed my safety chains on the outside of my spring bars the last time I towed and apparently when manuvering in a truck stop to get to the diesel island got both in a bind and snapped them in sharp turns so I took the trailer to my local toy-box trailer dealer this past Saturday to get replacements and the young manager (and I do mean young, at least compared to my 45 years) looked at my hitch sans spring bars and told me that the hitch head wasn't installed properly because it was tilted back too far and that the gap between the head of the post with the washers and the hitch head should not be present. He said this meant that the spring bars were having to take up too much slack before the load was being applied to them and that they would adjust them for me. They took the hitch out and removed one of the washers and replaced the set screw thingie (sorry to be so technical, but you know how it is when you're an expert) and reassemble the head, re-torqued the two large bolts on the side and put the shank back in the receiver for me. I don't know if they did it right or not to be honest, but they seemed to know what they were doing and their explanation seemed to make sense. I live less than 10 minutes away (and that's on the other side of our little bedroom community) so I didn't tow enough to see if it made a difference.

The point of my story is this, take it to a hitch shop that you do trust that has plenty of experience with the Equal-i-zer hitch installation and have them check it out for you...just don't forget your Airstream. They can tell you for sure if it needs more or less washers, etc.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:24 PM   #3
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Dallas (WBCCI/VAC #8481) puts it this way:
Adjust the hitch ball height to 'level' the trailer
Adjust the weight distributing bars to 'level' the tow vehicle
Adjust the hitch head angle to 'level' the bars.

One way to tell if the spring bars are properly loaded is that they should slide on the L brackets by hand after you lift the coupled ball 6 or 8 inches.

In your case, add a washer or two and see what happens. The ball angle should be about 5 degrees or so to the rear. This picture makes it look like your receiver has a bit of an angle offsetting a proper ball angle that might be a factor.

Also keep in mind that adjusting these hitches can creat some sort of obsessive compulsive behavior disorder. I have seen some folks forget their wife and even their dog in experimenting with the Equal-i-zer hitch. This is strange because it is the same process with other load leveling hitches but there is something about this one ...

If I were you, I'd also tighten up the chains a bit, too. I don't like them any lower than I need them to keep them binding so they don't drag or catch on things.

The key is how it drives. If the steering is solid and the handling comfortable at speed you are probably close enough.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:33 PM   #4
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When we picked up our 25'FB last Feb, everything look level and towed great. After loading the trailer with the normal complement of stuff, and loading the back of th Pickup with same, it was apparent we weren't level. Initially dropped another link in the equalizer chains...helped, but not as level as it should be. I finally adjusted the hitch by raising it up one hole, and maintained the extra dropped chain link. looks level, is on the bubble and tows great...bottom line, load both the tow vehicle and the trailer with normal complement of stuff before you do too much to the hitch rigging.
Scott.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:36 PM   #5
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Thanks Minnie, Leipper,

I think it is 2air that is the most obsessed in this department if I remember correctly

I thought the chains looked long too... figure the guys installing it didn't want to bother cutting out a link since it isn't actually dragging.. but will certainly do so on some terrain.

Like most things in life, I have found... you still have to take care of things yourself and can't just rely on the some who is supposedly a professionals.

My wife is still worried that they may have not bothered to torque the wheels after haulling our Bambi up from JC. Guess I better ask Santa for a torque wrench for Christmas!
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCOTTW
When we picked up our 25'FB last Feb, everything look level and towed great. After loading the trailer with the normal complement of stuff, and loading the back of th Pickup with same, it was apparent we weren't level. Initially dropped another link in the equalizer chains...helped, but not as level as it should be. I finally adjusted the hitch by raising it up one hole, and maintained the extra dropped chain link. looks level, is on the bubble and tows great...bottom line, load both the tow vehicle and the trailer with normal complement of stuff before you do too much to the hitch rigging.
Scott.
True.. my measurements were without any gear in the tv or trailer... so I can imagine the weight distributed to the rear vs the front axel will increase even more... oh well has to wait till spring now... but I'm making notes and a spring to-do list.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:58 PM   #7
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I would add to what the others said that its not necessarily a bad thing that the front doesn't deflect as much as the rear. The advice to make sure that front and rear axle drop the same amount I don't think can possibly apply to all tow vehicles. many have different springs in front vs. the rear, with different amounts of give to them. an equal amount of weight applied to each axle will therefore, not yield an equal amount of deflection.

I can't remember the actual numbers, but I couldn't get the front of my truck to come down much at all. compared to the rear, it moves very little. But ya know, if I jump up and down on the rear bumper, its like a swimming pool spring board. But if I do the same on the front bumper...hardly at all. same weight; different result.

The only way to "really" tell how much weight is being transferred to the front is to put the rig on a scale, and measure the difference.

Plus, pickup trucks are built to stand a little bit tail-high, to accept a load in the bed, without making the headlights point toward the sky. Also, you don't necessarily want the tongue weight distributed "50/50"...60/40 may be perfectly adequate. As long as the front axle isn't "unloaded", and the vehicle is reasonably level, you're probably ok. Take it to a scale for confirmation. then level the trailer w/ the hitch head height.
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:05 PM   #8
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The process of adding a washer can be involved: those bolts take large wrenches...one for the bolt and one for the nut. You can try raising your L-brackets one hole first and see how it handles. If it improves, then add a washer and lower the brackets back a hole. If it gets worse, lower the brackets two and try it. Changing the brackets is very easy and only requires an adjustable wrench (only one required) and about two minutes per side, if that long. Adding washers, about 20 minutes total with the right tools (including the large sockets and torque wrench that Santa has on your list). This is where the hitch shop is more efficient and cheaper than the torque wrench and triple-X sockets. I think they were somewhere around $25 each at Sears. More from Equal-i-zer. I bought one of the thin walled ones to fit the ball nut and when it arrived I discovered it wouldn't fit any of my socket drivers or the said expensive torque wrench I bought from Sears.

I view the L-bracket adjustments as temporary adjustments for changes in load conditions or trial and error adjustments. I consider washer additions or removal to be long term or permanent adjustments.
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:28 PM   #9
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your breakaway...

Dave,

Your photo shows your break away switch a little skewed to the side. In the unlikely event you need this feature, with this angle, the wire or plastic pin may break, rendering it useless.

I made sure the switch was pointing mostly forward by grabbing the switch and twisting into position. If it is too tight, just loosen the bolt and reposition.

As far as Equal-i-zer, yup, it can become an obsession...

Marc
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:53 PM   #10
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Minnie Mate...

I'd think moving up the L bracket wouldn't help out... if anything I'd have to move it down so that the bars would have more leverage to pull the back end of the tv up.. or add a washer or two to increase the head angle and thus increase leverage as well.

Thanks Marc... I hadn't though about that.. thats the way they did it at the dealer.. but makes a lot of sense that the pin has to be able to quickly pull straight out vs swinging the switch in line first which might snap the plastic pin.. noted!
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:10 PM   #11
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can you stand back...

and show a photo of the whole setup? I think you look tail low / hitch high. Can you go down a notch? I've seen some scary looking setups (tandems high, an older safari that almost scraped it's rear just going down the road), and your set up doesn't look too far off, but I don't think it's perfect.

I agree, a scale will tell you alot. Search CAT scales for some real world measurements. My 500#'s or so of tongue weight is distributed 200/300 ish. My trailer is level, and pulls very smoothly.

I remember Bradk posted some pics of his 19ft CCD that was orginally setup hitch high by the dealer. I believe he also had an Equalizer. You may want to check out his pics.
Marc
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:14 PM   #12
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here's the thread...

http://www.airforums.com/forum...?highlight=ccd
pics too!
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campadk
Minnie Mate...

I'd think moving up the L bracket wouldn't help out... if anything I'd have to move it down so that the bars would have more leverage to pull the back end of the tv up.. or add a washer or two to increase the head angle and thus increase leverage as well.
My dealer set my Equal-i-zer up for me so I didn't have any idea about adjustments so I called the number on Equal-i-zer's website and spoke with one of their customer reps regarding what adjustments to make when adding significant loads to the bed of my F-250 (1,000# golf cart) and I was told that moving the brackets UP would be a temporary adjustment to shift load to the front axle IF the load was just for one trip and the next wouldn't have the load. If the load would be a permanent addition to each trip, then adding washers was the permanent adjustment to make to shift more of the load to the front axle: one washer per bracket hole moved upward.

I am certainly no expert on the Equal-i-zer hitch nor am I an engineer, but I would think if you lower the brackets you would loose leaverage because the bars would have to take up the slack as the weight of the tongue is lowered before the weight of the tongue is applied to the bars and shifted to the front axle. In other words, as the tongue lowers, the sooner the bars meet the resistance of the brackets, the sooner they have leaverage to shift weight to the front axle. It is kind of like the pivot point is the hitch and the brackets are the resistance force of the spring bars that push up on the bars to transfer the weight through the hitch to the front axle.

From the thread you reference "the difference..." by bradk
Quote:
Equal-i-zer hitch
Changes: moved the hitch ball down one bolt hole, moved the L-brackets up one to increase front axle load.
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:16 AM   #14
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It is a balance between adding/removing washers, adjusting the L-brackets, and raising/lowering the head. In general:

- Raising the L-brackets will put more pressure on the bars thus increase the weight transferred to the front of the TV.
- Adding washers will increase the head angle, put more pressure on the bars, thus increase the weight transferred to the front of the TV.
- Raising/lowering the head will adjust the height, although the height is also affected my the other two adjustments.

For authoritative instructions go here: http://www.equalizerhitch.com/pdf/eq...structions.pdf

Don't forget to torque the pivit bolts to 45-60 ft-lbs per the instructions, and re-torque them occasionally. They loosen up over time as the parts wear, and this torque appears to be critical for proper operation of the anti-sway friction.
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