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Old 06-22-2019, 09:27 AM   #1
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Equal-I-zer losing WD contribution over time?

Getting ready for a trip. Took the loaded trailer over the CAT scales yesterday to confirm all is well. Aside from food and clothing, the setup is identical to the last time I weighed the rig. Same truck, same exact cargo , same loads within the trailer and zero changes to the Equal-I-zer setup.

Naturally, I was expecting the same result. Not so.

I measured 1/3 of the weight distribution I measured the last time I weighed in. The difference is enough to put the drive axle of the Tundra over its limit. I'm not traveling that way. So... what to do?

I've already got 6 washers in. I could add two more. I've already got the "L" brackets above the point where the WD bars are flat on the seat surfaces. I have compensated with a slight rotation of the brackets and that's worked well but I don't want the brackets higher.

Investigating further led me to two discoveries: 1. The weight bar receivers were slightly loose in the hitch head despite being torqued properly. I suspect wear which allowed play in the WD bars similar to the effect of removing washers. 2. Setting a masons level across the bars shows slight bending in the direction that would have resulted from use. The centers are below the ends by 1/16 to 1/8" based on eyeball.

I wrote to Equal-I-zer tech support this morning but I'm not expecting a reply before I leave tomorrow.

I torqued up the weight bar receiver bolts to take up the slack. That didn't require much torque, so I'm not thinking that's an issue with stress on the head casting. Now I have to decide whether to add washers or simply invert the bent bars to have the slight bend work in my favor rather than against me.

Any of you 'streamers with Equal-I-zers have experience with the effects of age and wear (on your hitch... I know we all have stories about the effects of age and wear)? I have never, never put my bars in "upside down" but I'm wondering if there is an ironclad reason not to (e.g. are they deliberately tempered differently on the tops versus the bottoms).

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:03 AM   #2
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One of my bars is bent about 1/4" starting about 4" from the hitch head. Put them abutted next to each other first one way then the other and you can see. I suspect it's the result of a violent porpoising event which the hitch is prone to do. I would flip the bars upside down. I doubt they have any kind of sophisticated temper to them.
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:17 AM   #3
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Maybe time for a new hitch.

Are the bars marked up and down? Are they symmetrical? Are there friction surfaces to consider?
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:53 AM   #4
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Hi

Unless your hitch is very different from mine, the bars can be rotated 180 degrees into the hitch. If they are bent one way then "flip" them over.

The bolts on the hitch all have torque specs on them. They *do* need to be checked every so often. If they are loose then indeed you have a problem that the torque wrench needs to solve.

Another possibility is a cracked weld in the body of the hitch. There have been cases reported of this happening. It's worth taking a look to see if that is the case with your hitch.

A final though - do you have the right bars in the first place? From your description of all you have gone through, it very much sounds like your bars are to light weight for what you are trying to do ....

Bob
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Old 06-22-2019, 11:23 AM   #5
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Not uncommon. Everything in the system will take a set over time. The more load and stress applied, the more things will tend to loosen up. All spring systems will ultimately relax over time.

Note that WD bars effectively attempt to make a vertically rigid connection between the tow vehicle and trailer. Any particular "event" that greatly stresses this connection, aka big dip approaching gas station, approaching steep incline, may exceed the elastic limit of a spring causing permanent bends. This is why it's never recommended to have 100% front axle load restoration (FALR) that some of these HD trucks on the boards are attempting to do (poor WD hitch, AS, and TV!!!). Hitches need to articulate after all.

That said, I think you likely found the crux of your problem, which is loose torque on the WD receivers. Any deflection here will dramatically impact WD tension. 60 ft-lbs is the recommended torque. I've heard that new from the factory, these are torqued to 100 ft-lbs and get to about the right torque upon breaking in. It's a maintenance item that I check annually, including the hitch ball to 430 ft-lbs.
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Old 06-22-2019, 12:10 PM   #6
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Also, check the sockets the bars set into. I've got one that's cracked. Eventually I'll replace it but I've got a very long list of other things first.
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Old 06-22-2019, 12:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
I suspect it's the result of a violent porpoising event which the hitch is prone to do. I would flip the bars upside down. I doubt they have any kind of sophisticated temper to them.
I disagree. The Equalizer is not prone to porpoising. I practically experience little to none. Partly because it has a very stiff and non-tapered WD bars, it actually attempts to lesson porpoising relative to other similar type hitches.

Porpoising is more a function of large rear overhangs. That is the distance of the rear axle to hitch ball. The larger that distance, the more leverage the trailer has to play seesaw with the nose of the tow vehicle. That seesaw motion is porpoising.

The best way to minimize porpoising is to keep the tow ball close and tight in to the rear bumper. Avoid any extra horizontal projection past the bumper. Then the tongue weight of the trailer has less authority to cause seesaw motions.

This has been a challenge with many newer trucks that have tall tailgates. Requiring extensions putting the ball further out to have clearance for tailgates against the tongue jack, yet giving the trailer more influence to porpoise, sway, and in general not be as stable as things could be. This is why you see outfits like Andy at Can-Am RV put such emphasis at modifying hitches to bring things close and tight as it has benefits to proposing, sway control, and handling.
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Old 06-22-2019, 01:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pteck View Post
I disagree. The Equalizer is not prone to porpoising. I practically experience little to none. Partly because it has a very stiff and non-tapered WD bars, it actually attempts to lesson porpoising relative to other similar type hitches.

Porpoising is more a function of large rear overhangs. That is the distance of the rear axle to hitch ball. The larger that distance, the more leverage the trailer has to play seesaw with the nose of the tow vehicle. That seesaw motion is porpoising.

The best way to minimize porpoising is to keep the tow ball close and tight in to the rear bumper. Avoid any extra horizontal projection past the bumper. Then the tongue weight of the trailer has less authority to cause seesaw motions.

This has been a challenge with many newer trucks that have tall tailgates. Requiring extensions putting the ball further out to have clearance for tailgates against the tongue jack, yet giving the trailer more influence to porpoise, sway, and in general not be as stable as things could be. This is why you see outfits like Andy at Can-Am RV put such emphasis at modifying hitches to bring things close and tight as it has benefits to proposing, sway control, and handling.
I would have to disagree. When I towed with an Equalizer I had a lot of porpoising, and I have an SUV with a very short axle to ball distance. At one point I re-balanced my loading and started towing on the ball. No more porpoising after that. I attribute the porpoising to the hitch springs. If you have a freely articulating joint at the trailer connection point you won't build up so much of a harmonic in the rig.
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Old 06-22-2019, 01:45 PM   #9
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Equal-I-zer losing WD contribution over time?

Porpoising is usually a symptom of insufficient weight on the front axle. It indicates that the front end is not firmly ‘planted’ and giving sufficient steering control as a side effect. Any WD hitch, or excessive tongue weight can cause this condition.

Adjusting WD bar loading is part of the cure, a three-pass run across a CAT scale to see what is actually going on is essential. Note that changes in trailer or pickup bed loading will change WD loading needs. Look up ‘three pass CAT scale’ on the forums for details.

On my rig a very small adjustment to WD tension has a big effect on porpoising. A mere 1/4 to 1/2 inch more tension from my initial loading number can stop it entirely on a given loading situation.

I’m working on a system to automagically adjust initial loading by sensing tow vehicle front and rear axle loading and adjusting my power WD jacks at rest. I can also manually adjust on the road whilst in motion...once I get this bit of ‘Overkill Engineering ‘ sorted out.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:00 PM   #10
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Wow!
That's a new one I haven't heard.
I always put the bars in the same way because I have the logos outside and right side up. But I don't see any reason they can't be flipped over. Springs are springs.
I store my bars in tubes and I haven't noticed any rocking or bend.
I don't think you should try 8 washers. As I recall, Equalizer mentions 6 or 7 as the max.
I'd make sure the sockets are not worn around the bolt holes. I might try flipping the sockets over also.
I'd call tech support at Equalizer, they're on Eastern time.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:04 PM   #11
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Porpoising results from a harmonic building up in the rig's suspension. When you hit a wavy road with a certain distance between the waves at just the right speed the oscillations can coincide with the rig suspension's natural frequency. No two rigs will have the same natural frequency. The natural frequency depends on the rig's weights and their locations and on the springs' spring rates and their locations, among other things (tires and tire pressures, for example). What works for one rig may not work for another.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
I would have to disagree. When I towed with an Equalizer I had a lot of porpoising, and I have an SUV with a very short axle to ball distance. At one point I re-balanced my loading and started towing on the ball. No more porpoising after that. I attribute the porpoising to the hitch springs. If you have a freely articulating joint at the trailer connection point you won't build up so much of a harmonic in the rig.
Quote:
Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
Porpoising results from a harmonic building up in the rig's suspension. When you hit a wavy road with a certain distance between the waves at just the right speed the oscillations can coincide with the rig suspension's natural frequency. No two rigs will have the same natural frequency. The natural frequency depends on the rig's weights and their locations and on the springs' spring rates and their locations, among other things (tires and tire pressures, for example). What works for one rig may not work for another.
That's all true. Your point however does not negate mine.

Put two relatively equal weights, equidistant from a fulcrum as on a seesaw. Excite the system with some energy. Lots of seesawing motion.

Give a weight much less leverage by moving that weight towards the fulcrum on that seesaw. Said another way move that tongue weight towards the rear axle. Now put energy into the system, there is much less excitement.

Now apply WD to project weight onto the front axle to give it more authority again. Should be less porpoising again, barring harmonics of the setup.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
I would have to disagree. When I towed with an Equalizer I had a lot of porpoising, and I have an SUV with a very short axle to ball distance. At one point I re-balanced my loading and started towing on the ball. No more porpoising after that. I attribute the porpoising to the hitch springs. If you have a freely articulating joint at the trailer connection point you won't build up so much of a harmonic in the rig.
Quote:
Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
Porpoising results from a harmonic building up in the rig's suspension. When you hit a wavy road with a certain distance between the waves at just the right speed the oscillations can coincide with the rig suspension's natural frequency. No two rigs will have the same natural frequency. The natural frequency depends on the rig's weights and their locations and on the springs' spring rates and their locations, among other things (tires and tire pressures, for example). What works for one rig may not work for another.
That's all true. Your point however does not negate mine.

Put two relatively equal weights, equidistant from a fulcrum as on a seesaw. Excite the system with some energy. Lots of seesawing motion.

Give a weight much less leverage by moving that weight towards the fulcrum on that seesaw. Said another way move that tongue weight towards the rear axle. Now put energy into the system, there is much less excitement.

Now apply WD to project weight onto the front axle to give it more authority again. Should be less porpoising again, barring harmonics (to your point) of the setup if there's play in other parts of the "system" (suspension springs without sufficient damping).
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:06 PM   #14
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But the 0P’s problem is weight transfer and changing hitch characteristics, not how it rides.

Do other users of the Equalizer have to re adjust often? The OP needs to get his rig fixed or to be sure it is functional now.
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