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Old 11-12-2010, 06:05 PM   #1
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Bending of the bar: Reese sway control

On our last trip in Colorado, I backed into a flat site on National Forest. I have done this many times (49,000 miles worth).
I had to back in at an angle, and the trailer went in fine. I did notice the trailer dipped a bit, when my front truck wheel went off the pavement (about 2 inches).
The wife was outside and did not hear or see anything unusual.
However, the next day, I did notice something unusual. Both the cam and the cam arm were bent! Of course the trunnion was then off
the cam bottom, and I could feel the trailer sway down the road.
We had it replaced in Colorado Springs, at a Camping World where they did it
quick and right. They also had never seen this before.
I emailed Reese about it, but no coherent answer so far.
Anyone else seen this?
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:19 PM   #2
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Not sure I can account for that much bending in the cam bolt but I can say the bars contact the outside of the outer yoke body on a sharp turn. The picture shows the scrap mark at the point of contact. I knew this was a problem so after the first trip I ground about 3/16 of material off the face of the yoke to give clearance. That has so far proven to be enough as no new marks have appeared.

Your setup had a much longer reach on the bolt. That sets a more shallow angle and would cause the bar to hit the yoke sooner in a turn forcing the cam outward but should not result in that much displacement of the bolt.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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Ah, I see.

Speaking of which, the picture is upside down.

The way yours is turned, I would expect the bar not to bend the bolt the way mine was bent. Note the contact on my vertical bracket. It looks like the bar hit the bracket and forced the bend in the bolt.

The way I was turning would have been opposite to the way yours is turned.
The one that bent was on the inside of the backing turn.
And it looks like it would have pushed the end of the bar into the bracket, just opposite
of the way yours looks. So why did this happen? Reese says it must have been some
kind of interference with the hitch. Poss out of adjustment?

I will grind off a bit of the yoke like your example, as I also contact on turns.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:40 PM   #4
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I'm not sure if the following potential problem played a part in your bent cam:

When I installed the ball with a 1 1/4" shank on the ball mount, I noticed that the nut was 1" thick. Since the installation instructions clearly say that a thin jam nut (0.72" thick) must be used, I contacted Reese to find out why. I was told that the 1" thick jam nut would interfer with the trunnion during a sharp turn such as backing the trailer into a parking spot. Since Reese does not have a "thin" jam nut available, I was told the solution was to disconnect the trunnions before backing into a parking spot where there was a possibility of a sharp turn.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:34 PM   #5
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I measured mine, and it was 0.72". So that doesn't fit. I will call Reese, but I don't expect much. I will just move on down the road. Thanks for the info!
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hshovic View Post
I measured mine, and it was 0.72". So that doesn't fit. I will call Reese, but I don't expect much. I will just move on down the road. Thanks for the info!
You measured What?
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hshovic View Post
On our last trip in Colorado, I backed into a flat site on National Forest. I have done this many times (49,000 miles worth).
I had to back in at an angle, and the trailer went in fine. I did notice the trailer dipped a bit, when my front truck wheel went off the pavement (about 2 inches).
The wife was outside and did not hear or see anything unusual.
However, the next day, I did notice something unusual. Both the cam and the cam arm were bent! Of course the trunnion was then off
the cam bottom, and I could feel the trailer sway down the road.
We had it replaced in Colorado Springs, at a Camping World where they did it
quick and right. They also had never seen this before.
I emailed Reese about it, but no coherent answer so far.
Anyone else seen this?
I was helping a friend today adjust his Reese Dual Cam hitch, and looked at it to determine what could have caused your cam bolt to bend.

It appears to me the only way this could happen is if you have the hitch head adjusted with the ball too far foward, causing the chains to be too short, which would allow the bar to wedge between the part that the cam bolt screws into and the part that the chain attaches to. And then, only when you turned too short while backing up.

To eliminate this from happening again, I would suggest you tilt the hitch head back at least a couple of notches, then release the chains by the same number of links, and then readjust the cams.

If the bars can possibly hit the part that the cam bolts screw into then, tilt the head back more, and do the above procedure again.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:09 AM   #8
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From the way it is bent, it appears that the trunnion bar jamed against the ball jam nut in a tight turn. On the other hand, Hank "measured" his jam nut and said that it was within specification. I sure would like to know how Hank measured the jam nut (he did state that it was 0.72" thick); did he take it off and use a micrometer (the 1.25" shank is supposed to be torqued to 450 ft-lbs) or does he have a tape measure that measures in hundreths of an inch.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PJohnson View Post
From the way it is bent, it appears that the trunnion bar jamed against the ball jam nut in a tight turn. On the other hand, Hank "measured" his jam nut and said that it was within specification. I sure would like to know how Hank measured the jam nut (he did state that it was 0.72" thick); did he take it off and use a micrometer (the 1.25" shank is supposed to be torqued to 450 ft-lbs) or does he have a tape measure that measures in hundreths of an inch.
The handy way to measure that sort of thing is with the depth rod on dial or digital calipers....

- Bart
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:58 PM   #10
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The handy way to measure that sort of thing is with the depth rod on dial or digital calipers....

- Bart
I know how to measure -- I've been rebuilding engines since 1961. On the other hand, forgive me if I seem a bit skeptical about Hank having a jam nut that is exactly 0.72" thick. Cequent (Reese, Draw Tite, BullDog, Pro Serries, Bargman, Hidden Hitch, Tow Ready, etc.) does not make a thin jam nut, a jam nut that is 0.72" or less thick for the 1.25" shank. In fact I was not able to locate a jam nut 0.72" or less thick and neither the folks at ETrailer nor Cequent were able to locate a jam nut that was 0.72" or less thick.

As for the bending of the sway control cam, there are only a couple of things that could bend the cam in that direction. Either the trunnion bar or cam hit something (a curb, rock, tree stump, etc.), or, the trunnion bar was prevented from remaining parallel to the frame by the jam nut while the vehile was executing a sharp turn. Furthermore, I know that the jam nut will bind the trunnion bar in a sharp turn because I bound up mine before I got the sway control installed (Since the chains allowed some flexibility, I did not incurr any damage.). If anyone knows where I can find a thin jam nut for the 1.25" shank please let me know. It is a pain in the a** to have to remove the trunnionn bars before backing in to a parking space.
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Old 11-25-2010, 03:09 PM   #11
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...I backed into a flat site on National Forest. I have done this many times (49,000 miles worth)..
Sorry, I just can't get over the fact that you've been going backwards for 49,000 miles.

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Old 11-25-2010, 03:12 PM   #12
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It appears to me the only way this could happen is if you have the hitch head adjusted with the ball too far foward, causing the chains to be too short, which would allow the bar to wedge between the part that the cam bolt screws into and the part that the chain attaches to. And then, only when you turned too short while backing up.
This is also a plausible cause. I assumed that there were the required five links (assuming a 5" frame) between the hanger bracket and the snap up bracket.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:40 AM   #13
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If anyone knows where I can find a thin jam nut for the 1.25" shank please let me know. It is a pain in the a** to have to remove the trunnionn bars before backing in to a parking space.
How about fastenal?
Or mcmaster-carr

I've done business w/ both... mcmaster-carr is really fast and doesn't mind small orders...

=- Bart
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:29 AM   #14
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It happened to me although not that bad. I called Reese and they sent me new ones no charge. Every time I'm backing into a site with any kind of sharp turn I just stop and drop the bars off. Not a great design.
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