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Old 06-29-2008, 08:20 PM   #15
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Should I just start from scratch and buy a new hitch?
No, don't do anything until you figure out what's going on. I have towed a 25' A/S with that hitch set-up to Yellowstone and back with a Tahoe. No problems. There seems to be something else happening, the comments above are good, and point you in the right direction.
A plus is that you seem to recognize that you don't know anything about towing, good for you! We all start out at the same level - novices.
Too many folks try to bluff their way through. There is too much at stake safety wise to not take all of the precautions you can.
Keep us updated.
Dave
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:09 PM   #16
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Wow! many responses, and I am going to have to claim ignorant on most. I just bought the trailer and it came with a hitch which I have no clue what rating or anything else other than it has Reese on it. My TV is a 1999 Suburban 1500, and I did find that the links on the leveler bars did matter as to how tight or loose I kept them. The vehicle does not "v" in the middle all that noticeably, but I do not have a picture of the two together and for now I keep it (the AS) 120 miles away because we have not made a place for the trailer at our house, a coming project. Should I just start from scratch and buy a new hitch?
If you have a Reese hitch, then the following will help you to find out what rating bars you have.

Measure the top of the square bar as it enters the trunnion.
1" = 500#
1 1/8 " = 750#
1 1/4" = 1000#

Post a picture of the bars and of your sway control.

Several owners here can also help you.

With your tow vehicle, you should not use more than a 550 to 600 pound Reese hitch with the dual cam sway control.

Andy
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:10 PM   #17
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Ever since I picked up my latest trailer last summer with new Reese DC I was experiencing horrible sway problems and especially once I got over 60mph. A passenger car passing me would send me on the shoulder. I was driving white knuckled and would look for the semi's half mile behind waiting in fear as they approached. Going downhill was even worse as the trailer was pushing the TV and magnifying the sway. I had grabbed the brake controller on several occassions. Mind you, my truck weighs in at 8000#. Everyone had advice - it's a Ford, it will tow badly, you need a new hitch (the really expensive kind), suspension.... I replaced the OEM shocks with something a little more respectable. Installed a Hellwig heavy duty rear sway bar. No change. Add more links, raise ball height - still no better. When I arrived home from a recent trip, I pulled very straight in front of the house, got down to take a close inspection of the hitch. I noticed that the detents in the spring bars were not fully engaging the cams and were actually uneven side to side. It appears the trailer was continuously trying to align itself into the cams which was causing the sway. It also appears the frame plate which holds the cam arm assembly is installed on the wrong sides (curbside should be on street side and vice versa). They are now adjusted to the maximum limit and could use a very minor tweek, but I need to reverse them and drill new holes in the A frame. A week later I towed for 300 miles and you know the saying that's hard to believe, "I don't even know it's behind me"; well that was my experience. I felt no movement from semi's, busses and dump trucks (I think big offenders to the getting sucked in feeling). No sway whatsoever. At my destination, a fellow forums member took a once over, did some basic wheel well measurements and determined I had zero weight distribution. A couple notches tilting the hitch head back made a huge difference. Didn't notice much difference towing, but on the ride home I was minus 50 gallons fresh water. I'm not saying this is your problem, but there is hope that your problem will be found and corrected. Your towing experience should be a pleasurable and enjoyable. Start with a close inspection of your hitch setup.
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Old 06-29-2008, 11:52 PM   #18
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One caution - if you do happen to experience sway make sure you actually physically check the tightness of your wheel lug nuts on the trailer and the rear wheels of the TV with a wrench. Just feeling the lug nuts or pulling/pushing on the wheel will not give you an accurate reading on whether it is starting to loosen off or not. I speak from experience on this having had a wheel come loose after a load shifted in our trailer and we experienced a bout of severe sway coming out of a curve on a winding mountain pass road.

We also learned from the tire dealer located in a close by small mountain community that torque specs need to be reconsidered when you are towing and then again towing in mountains where there are a lot of curves. The tire dealer sees this all the time - wheels (typically mag wheels but also steel) torqued to manufacturers specs and coming loose while driving and also while towing in the mountains.

So our travel groups new rule:

If your vehicle sways for any reason thou shalt pull out the torque wrench and check all wheels all the way around ASAP.

Barry
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:07 AM   #19
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I check all tire pressures (cold, early morning), tighten lug nuts to spec with a dedicated torque wrench kept in a case along with other parking items (pads, chocks, etc), and make a visual inspection of TV and TT suspension BEFORE every trip.

The addition of a rear anti-roll bar to a TV suspension (live axle) is an excellent addition for safety. I would also re-mount the front bar with polyurethane bushings if the bars are meant to match for size. The addition of high quality shock absorbers is an excellent change as well.

The basics of the hitch rigging rightly starts with an inspection of the components themselves, and a used hitch is probably best disassembled, cleaned, painted and lubed (if called for) as the best beginning.

The same is true for the TT suspension and brakes. A long, careful inspection (disassembly/clean/paint/lube/) is in order where it is possible to do so. New fasteners of the exact manufacturer specification. Careful before and after measurements. Alignment, plus tire balance.

Same with TV. An alignment can be off a little, and towing aggravates the problem. Steering gear should be replaced sooner (when wear has begun, not waiting until it is full out of spec; preventative maintenance only SEEMS expensive), bushings on body/frame, springs, etc, all add up to aggravating poor control (even though each may be "okay") when ignored.

In other words, the TT and TV should be gone through separately, and the hitch rigging should be inspected. Then, only then, can the rig combination start to be accurately analyzed.

Owners manuals, with maintenance schedules, are set to provide good life and economical operation. But, for towing, IMO, the miles/hours should be reduced.

As to hitch rigging, there are some excellent threads on this site. If the owner will provide information:

TV weight, solo, with pax/equipment/full fuel
Tongue weight
TT weight, axles

as well as some basic measurements, a good idea of where the combination needs attention can be verified.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:22 PM   #20
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I have not seen any mention of tires and tire inflation. I had the wrong trailer tires (they were truck tires) on my SOB. In addition to the wrong tires on the trailer, I had the wrong inflation on the tow vehicle. Check your TV owners manual, and make sure that you have the properly inflated tires for towing. Also make sure the Aistream Tires are inflated to their maximum allowable. make sure that they are trailer rates tires, such as Goodyear Marathons. You would be amazed that tires will also have an impact on sway. I also agree with getting pictures of your set-up, but do check those tires and inflation levels.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:47 PM   #21
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Be careful (and vigilant) out there folks!

Another reason to do a daily check on tire pressure and lug nut torque (when travelling) is that today, there are people who take pleasure in creating dangerous situations.

Once years ago, while towing our boat on a four-lane highway, I noticed a severe vibration coming from the back. As I was slowing down to pull over and inspect, I heard a heck of a noise and saw one of the trailer tires sail past me, carrying on down the road!

While walking along the side of the road to collect the rim and tire, then turning around and re-tracing the previous half a kilometre to find two of the lug-nuts, I remembered that just that morning, I had re-checked the torque on both tires.

What other conclusion would you come to? It was Vandalism, pure and simple.

Now when we travel with the rig, whenever I am away from it for a while, say while eating, at the least I do a quick walk-around and caste a close eye on the lug-nuts. I can tell by looking at them if they have loosenednow.

Better safe than sorry, as I've heard...

cheers,
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:27 PM   #22
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I think I have uploaded pictures of the hitch, it turns out it is a drawTite. I will check tires, and buy a torque wrench, but I need some explanation of "Measure the top of the square bar as it enters the trunnion. " The top of the square bar to what should I measure? Also "It also appears the frame plate which holds the cam arm assembly" What is the frame plate and what is the cam arm?

Again, I apologize for being such a newby, but I can be taught!

Thanks
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Hitch Info.pdf (786.7 KB, 62 views)
File Type: pdf Hitch Top.pdf (841.2 KB, 53 views)
File Type: pdf Side Hitch.pdf (902.8 KB, 59 views)
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:58 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by frscott View Post
I think I have uploaded pictures of the hitch, it turns out it is a drawTite. I will check tires, and buy a torque wrench, but I need some explanation of "Measure the top of the square bar as it enters the trunnion. " The top of the square bar to what should I measure? Also "It also appears the frame plate which holds the cam arm assembly" What is the frame plate and what is the cam arm?

Again, I apologize for being such a newby, but I can be taught!

Thanks
The trunnion is the part that goes into the ball mount.

However the procedure that I outlined is for a Reese hitch.

Andy
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Old 07-01-2008, 05:21 PM   #24
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The WD bars for the Draw-Tite should have the WD rating on them, on a printed sticker. The small trailer ball on one side of the big one is for a friction type sway control. There should be another ball just like it on the right side of the A-frame on the trailer tongue, with what looks like a flat bar going into a slot. There should be a crank to tighten the sway bar up, so it will tend to restrict movement.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:01 PM   #25
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Just because a hitch has "bars" doesn't mean it has sway control.

The bars are primarily for weight distribution.

A REESE Dual Cam setup also uses the bars for sway control as well. I do not know if Draw Tite has the same setup.

A lot of people have bars for weight distribution and a friction sway control attached to one side of the hitch.
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