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Old 04-29-2010, 10:55 PM   #1
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Downsized my Spring Bars and what a difference in the ride!

Well after reviewing discussions on the forum, I decided to take Andy's (Inland RV) advise and downsize my 1000# spring bars to 600# bars. The 600# bars dramatically softened the ride. My 20' Flying Cloud has a tongue weight of 640# and my 1/2 ton Toyota Tundra is fairly softly sprung to begin with. My W/D package is an Eaz-Lift "Elite" round spring bars w/a single sway control.
Prior to making the change I called the tech department at Eaz-Lift to get their opinion on downsizing to 550# bars. They stated the it would be fine even with the 640# tongue weight.
My dealer who set up the tow package stated they thought it would be fine they had originally set up the package with 1000# bars so I had the option of upgrading to a larger trailer later.
When I first hooked up the rig with the 1000# bars, I jumped up and down on the back step bumper and had next to no suspension travel (read "bone jarring" ride). With the 600# bars and the bumper jump test I get the same travel (2" to 3") as I do when the truck stands alone!
I can appreciate screws coming loose and cracks showing up in the sheet metal with the stiff spring bars.
I'd like to say "thanks" to Andy and all those who participated in these forum discussions concerning spring bars and W/D hitches. This forum provides a wealth of information to all us newbies!

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Old 04-29-2010, 11:32 PM   #2
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Agreed - I don't think Andy would give out "bum advice" - rest assured all my Airstream maintenance will be with Inland RV (once I tow the Airstream back to the West Coast in two weeks)...

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Old 04-30-2010, 06:33 AM   #3
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I did the same thing and had similar results....additionally, the dual cam sway effectiveness was enhanced as a result of dumping the higher rated bars.

I went from 1200, to 800 down to 600, with progressive improvement at each step lower from the initial 1200lb bars I had.....
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:48 AM   #4
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I too when from 1200lbs Reese Dual sway to 800lbs and the ride and comfort was amazing. Now we just need to get all the Airstream dealers to understand what they are selling and how to properly hitch a Airstream.

A huge Thanks to Andy!
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:10 AM   #5
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Somewhat related to the mammoth post I put in this subforum last night, I have bars that I figure are too much for what I need as well, in addition to the other problems as I think they lock in too tight...

Question is, other than a stiffer ride with the heavier bars, is there any other downside (undo stress on trailer or TV, for example) to having heavier bars?
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:31 AM   #6
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As I stated, the ride with the 1000# bars was bone jarring! At slow speeds (25-30 MPH) going over bumps rattled my truck and then I could feel the rattles again when the trailer axle went over the bumps. I felt that this effect could knock loose/crack something in the trailer. What a difference with the 600# bars.
The suspension in these new Airstreams make the trailer carry the body and handle so well it's a shame the dealers recommend/install the stiff bars. The price one pays for being a newbie!
The other posters have confirmed my experience.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:40 PM   #7
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Thanks - I currently have 1000 lb. bars - I think now I will (at least) go to 800 lb. bars, that sould be fine (I hope) for a 71 Overlander. Or does everyone think I need to go lower?

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Old 04-30-2010, 12:45 PM   #8
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It would be a good idea to weigh your trailer's tongue before deciding which bars to use. Dealers may recommend heavy bars because they figure "bigger is better" and by going with a heavy bar they don't have to guess how heavy you'll load the trailer.

I definitely don't agree with that practice, but before you downsize, you should know for sure how low you can go.

Do a search on this forum to learn more about tongue scales and weighing your trailer's tongue.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:51 PM   #9
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Weighing the tongue sounds like a good idea, then we need a formula (%) to determine how much weight is being transferred so we get the actual tongue weight with the load (Your typical loading in the trailer and on the TV). Is that when you determine the poundage on the spring bars, and what weight/strength to get, I'm just throwing something out here and trying to learn.
Another question I wondered about before requesting lighter bars was how low can one go before, I compromise safety, handling. I got a 640# pound tongue weight, instead of 600# bars (Andy, at Inland thought 550# would be alright). When I measure the TV height prior to hitching and then bring it back to within a half/inch w/the W/D, I can visually see a bend in the 600# bars. I never discerned any flex with the 1000 pound'ers.
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:18 AM   #10
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hi terry

weighing the tongue is a good idea especially with FULL lp tanks, water and gear inside.

but the primary GOAL of w/d bars is to restore steering axle loads to the UNhitched level...

which means weighing the axles (steering/drive/trailer) is also very important.

one can get a good approximation using a measuring stick but scale readings are very very revealing.

that's the better approach to dialing IN the w/d.

if you are using a simple friction outrigger for sway dampening, bar flex is LESS critical...

but this isn't complicated a 600 lb tongue needs ~600 lb bars, and 550 may be close enough.

and 1000 lb bars for a 600 lb tongue may be too much,

especially IF sway control comes from the bars/flexing.

only a trip to the scales can ultimately determine the best setup,

but steering FEEL and a tape measure are useful too...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

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Old 05-01-2010, 06:20 AM   #11
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Here's an external link

to a page with pretty good illustrations of how the older Reese Dual Cam (some of us have those and tow just fine) can be tuned.

Tuning a Reese Hitch

He does not explain measuring ride height before and after, nor weigh scale procedures, but you'll get most of the idea from this. Inland Andy'll tell you about how much flex you need in your bars, and the photos here will illustrate the point.

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Old 05-01-2010, 08:42 AM   #12
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Very Good article Ryanh. The pictures are worth a 1000 words,because I dont think alot of readers here actually know what a Reese Dual Cam looks like,at least the old style which I think is the best. I had 1000 lb bars supplied by the PO when I purchased our Overlander. The trip home liked to scared the burr-geebers out of me and I aint afraid of nuttin when it comes to towin. The rebound of the 1000 lb bars like to throwed us out of the seat.
I already had the 550 lb bars and another Reese Dual Cam,which I now use. Ryanh knows and has seen my setup with the 1 ton.We get a great ride up front and so also the trailer as told by the position of dishes and TV/Dvd player on the credenza which is only Velcro in place,after a 250/300 mile run these items are still in place
We run 6 chainlinks under tension,this will vary with the size of the TV.
I agree with 2AIR,there is NO replacement for a trip to the CAT Scales. Knowing where the weight is,is very important and know how much tension is needed to transfer enough weight to the steering axle to compensate for tongue weight.
These old Dual cams can be found on Ebay and CraigsList and in your local paper and can be purchased for a small price compared to new and parts are still available.
This is old technology but still works and is simple and straight forward.
Good Luck
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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Just an observation on the article.
The ball mount angle seems to be too straight up, and could use a few more degrees tilt down.
This would be found in the installation instructions from reese found here:

the new dual cam instructions are here:
TAC # TX-18

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Old 05-01-2010, 10:33 AM   #14
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Hey, thanks again you guys. The article that Ryanh posted pretty much covers my findings and should be required reading (for newbies) before purchasing a W/D hitch.
2Air, you got me itchin' to go find a scale and see were I'm at.
As my better half loads our new baby I'll probably find I need a new TV!

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