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Old 08-06-2014, 11:40 AM   #351
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2007 23' Safari SE
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Andy, I respect your experience and knowledge, however this vehicle does not have bags, it has self leveling suspension via air shocks. There is no way to set at a minimum except to disable completely (disconnecting the battery and removing the fuse). I have no intention of doing that.

What I am looking for is any insight as to whether an inverted shank is a proper installation and if righting it may help.

As someone else pointed out, the self leveling is like having additional leaf springs or any other suspension lift. There must be a way to get a proper adjustment given this additional wrinkle in the adjustments. It annoys me that it has not been addressed by the manufacturers of the hitches (other than GM which recommends NOT disabling the air suspension).
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:16 PM   #352
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If your trailer is basically level front to back when loaded and hitched, the your hitch head is probably set up on the correct spot on the shank. If I understand your question, I don't think it matters if the shank points down or up, that just affects range of adjustment of the ball drop (or raise).

You could also try adding more washers. I put a couple of blocks under my jack base so it can lift the car/trailer a bit higher thus making it easier to slide the bars on and off the L brackets.

Also, 600 lb bars may be too light and flexible for your situation. The further the trailer coupler drops after the bars connect to the L brackets the more torque can be applied to the hitch thus shifting weight. When hitching and lowering, and after the hitch bars set firmly with the L brackets, my trailer lowers about a foot before the jack foot lifts off the ground. I can actually see the front wheel wells settle a bit just before the jack foot raises off the ground. I suspect your air suspension is lifting the rear back up thus negating some of the weight shifting effect caused by loading up the bars. Try getting stiffer bars that load up faster or add more washers to max out your existing bars.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:52 PM   #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
If your trailer is basically level front to back when loaded and hitched, the your hitch head is probably set up on the correct spot on the shank. If I understand your question, I don't think it matters if the shank points down or up, that just affects range of adjustment of the ball drop (or raise).

You could also try adding more washers. I put a couple of blocks under my jack base so it can lift the car/trailer a bit higher thus making it easier to slide the bars on and off the L brackets.

Also, 600 lb bars may be too light and flexible for your situation. The further the trailer coupler drops after the bars connect to the L brackets the more torque can be applied to the hitch thus shifting weight. When hitching and lowering, and after the hitch bars set firmly with the L brackets, my trailer lowers about a foot before the jack foot lifts off the ground. I can actually see the front wheel wells settle a bit just before the jack foot raises off the ground. I suspect your air suspension is lifting the rear back up thus negating some of the weight shifting effect caused by loading up the bars. Try getting stiffer bars that load up faster or add more washers to max out your existing bars.
I will likely try raising the L brackets another notch, rather than messing with the hitch head or swapping bars. At some point, I think I need to have the whole assembly looked at, but since we are in the middle of a cross country jaunt, with our final destination within shouting distance of your locale (Fair Oaks), was wondering if you could suggest a good dealer out Sacramento way?

In the meantime, we will deal with the axle weight another way... moving stuff from the truck to the trailer. We aren't camping on this trip so we can lighten up the truck quite a bit. I even thought about moving the Truck Spare to the trailer or forward of the rear axle as well. I am also adjusting the air pressure up on the rear tires a bit (we have 22 inch rims and new Bridgestones set now for 39 lbs up from 35). We are well within the tire load ratings and while Caddy recommends 35, the tire specs allow up to 45 lbs.

Seems that all the air leveling suspension really does to the WD dynamics is shift the pivot point a bit upward and depending on how much weight shifts to the front, it compensates a bit more or less. Shutting it down is not an option as I am sure it plays into a whole variety of other systems on this vehicle related to handling. I tend to favor this platform as a whole as it no doubt provides a superior ride to both the occupants and to the trailer over a conventional truck. I really have no complaint other than the weight issue. Perhaps I just have the wrong TRAILER! LOL!
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:56 PM   #354
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Just weighed my rig last weekend. We also use EQ but with 1000# bars. Everything looks good visually, but the scales tell a different story.

We have a net increase of 1,000# on the truck. The front axle is 80 pounds lighter and the rear axle is 1,080 pounds heavier.

Clearly not optimal. I need to see more weight on the front axle, more weight on the trailer, and less on the rear axle. We'll likely shorten the L-bracket one notch, add a washer or two, and then re-weigh.

I probably should also mention: TV = 2014 Ram1500, TT = 2014 International Signature 27FB.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:08 PM   #355
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Not sure my trailer is level, and its currently off site from where I am so a day or two before I can hitch up and check. It may be a bit high in the front which I would believe is a result of the Shank setup. If it were reversed and mounted per the EQ setup spec, It would be lower no doubt. Also good to note that the hitch ball height per the AS spec can vary based on age of the trailer and axles settling. One other factor I did not mention was I did swap tires from GYMs to another brand, so they may ride a bit lower (same size theoretically though and same pressure). Will try to check trailer level somewhere down the road... Waylaid at my mother in law's for the duration of the week, but that's anther story.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:43 PM   #356
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One other factor that could have affected my initial setup is the fact that I have added a memory foam topper to the rear bed and am carrying a nearly full tank of fresh water over the axles, all of which could compress the trailer axle suspension and lower the trailer a tad. The initial setup was for an empty trailer.

Don't need the water (had thought we might boondock a bit, but opted for motel stops instead so will dump the water.) Might be best to shift weight forward to the cab of the truck rather than back in the trailer?



Time constraints have us opting to drive 750+ miles so no camping. Once she's hitched up again, it will stay that way until we get to California.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:54 PM   #357
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Wow...I'm not planning to re-adjust the hitch for whether the trailer is loaded. Having to do so would be a shame, since EQ doesn't have jack screws like PP. EQ adjustments appear to be considerably more inconvenient. So, I'll be looking for a configuration that works reasonably well across the range of normal loads.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:32 PM   #358
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I am just brainstorming about what might have changed since my initial setup several years ago. I am sure once you get it dialed in its pretty accommodating, but I am also doubting mine was ever setup correctly to begin with! I am permanently moving this trailer to California and am about halfway (in Des Moines at present), and want to get a proper setup once I am there so I can verify and return to dealer if not right. Otherwise I would have it worked on here.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:24 PM   #359
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Good point. The WD adjustments for my EQ setup clearly weren't configured correctly by my dealer. My hitch seems properly installed, and now it needs to be properly adjusted. I hope your situation proves easy to diagnose and resolve!
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:39 PM   #360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvery Moon View Post
Just weighed my rig last weekend. We also use EQ but with 1000# bars. Everything looks good visually, but the scales tell a different story.

We have a net increase of 1,000# on the truck. The front axle is 80 pounds lighter and the rear axle is 1,080 pounds heavier.

Clearly not optimal. I need to see more weight on the front axle, more weight on the trailer, and less on the rear axle. We'll likely shorten the L-bracket one notch, add a washer or two, and then re-weigh.

I probably should also mention: TV = 2014 Ram1500, TT = 2014 International Signature 27FB.
Actually, your weights don't look all that bad. Look at the front/rear axle load specs on the tag in the driver side door jam and compare to your scale weights. Typically, the front truck axle doesn't have much extra load capacity so just getting back to the unloaded weight is usually considered success. You only have 80 lbs to recover. I bet a washer or two should do the job.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:21 PM   #361
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Originally Posted by Silvery Moon View Post
Good point. The WD adjustments for my EQ setup clearly weren't configured correctly by my dealer. My hitch seems properly installed, and now it needs to be properly adjusted. I hope your situation proves easy to diagnose and resolve!
I moved away from the dealer I bought from a long time ago, and while everything seemed OK at the time, the CAT scales tell a different story. I suspect what happened was the tech let the truck sit awhile and it lowered to the ground at which time he took the hitch height measurement. Using that, he figured he had more leeway using the standard 6000 LB shank in an inverted position and went ahead with the install. that would have been too low for the actual air suspension ride height and it threw the whole WD dynamic off kilter with the end effect being the ball height ended up higher than he expected. The best analogy I can come up with is if someone lifted the front of a wheelbarrow up while you were trying to dump it out the front... The torsion bars (wheelbarrow handles) lose their effectiveness.

So if the shank is set back to its original intended downward direction, and the hitch height is measured with the air shocks elevated, I believe our wheelbarrow will be back on level ground. Net net the hitch ball will be lower and the bars will have more leverage. I'll take another look at the trailer level on Friday and maybe snap a few photos, but I'll bet it is tilting back because the hitch ball is riding too high and the WD is off because we lost leverage in the process.

I really don't think there is anything inherently wrong with air suspension (ride leveling), its just prone to mis-measurement by inexperienced techs.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:26 PM   #362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
Actually, your weights don't look all that bad. Look at the front/rear axle load specs on the tag in the driver side door jam and compare to your scale weights. Typically, the front truck axle doesn't have much extra load capacity so just getting back to the unloaded weight is usually considered success. You only have 80 lbs to recover. I bet a washer or two should do the job.

Thanks for the kind words. Ideally, I'd like to move at least a couple hundred pounds off the rear axle. That rear axle is right at its weight limit presently, and I want a bit more leeway. The truck is well within its overall limit, we just need to distribute the load more effectively.


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Old 08-07-2014, 09:20 AM   #363
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So I measured the height of the hitch ball this morning with the truck pretty much unloaded but in its "load leveled" position and it is 23 inches to the top of the ball. Height to the top of the receiver is 18 inches. The Ball height seems a bit too high to me. I've attached a photo of the hitch showing the inverted shank.

If the specs for an 2007 AS Safari 23 ft are correct, tongue height is more like 18 inches. I believe this shank needs to be reversed and the ball lowered.

Your thoughts?
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:15 PM   #364
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I am going to set up my equal-i-zer on my new Mercedes ML350 Bluetec. I previously towed with a Jeep GC (with the Mercedes diesel engine). My 1963 Trade Wind it 19" to the top of the coupler. The hitch (when set up on my Jeep) was 20-3/4" to the top of the ball. After hitched up with the equalizing bars it settled in to 19".

Has it been most others experience that the ball needs to be a couple on inches higher than the desired towing height? Therefore after hitching up the ball settles 1" - 2".
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