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Old 06-14-2010, 01:35 AM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
1950 22' Liner
Powhatan , Virginia
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Getting ready to camp but confused on WD hitches

We are trying to decide on a WD hitch and this site has so many opinions, not sure whether we are making the right choice.

Info:
TV - 2008 Ford F250 gas with tow package
AS - 1979 31' Sovereign (book says max weight is 7100# in camper - 887# on tongue)

We will not be able to take it to a weight station until after we get a weight distribution system. I won't try to tow a distance on interstate until then and nearest weight center is miles away. As we renovated the camper, we weighted many of the walls/doors and were either under the weight of the old pieces or even. A few pieces went over but were still close so I think the total weight is the same and we rebuilt with a similar layout to original. The large weight items (i.e. stove, fridge, microwave) are in the same locations as before.

We currently have a friction anti-sway bar and the camper tongue has the smaller ball already mounted to it for this sway device. We want to go with Reese and not have to drill through the trailer's tongue if possible.

Round Bar w/Hitch Bar:
Easy-to-use adjusting washer
One piece cast head
Rated up to 1,000 lbs. TW and 10,000 lbs. GTW

65509 600 lbs. Heavy Duty Round Bar WD Hitch w/#54970 Shank

In addition, we would need to buy the 2 5/16" ball and the smaller ball for the friction sway control (hitch side). I have measured the camper tongue (inside top of ball hole) to ground and truck hitch (top of receiver to ground) and this shank should work fine.

This is the first weight distribution system we have used so want to get feedback. Are we missing anything?

Thanks in advanced,
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:23 AM   #2
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We had a WD hitch with the separate anti-sway bar - came with the AS when we bought it...

It was impossible not to get some grease on your hands, arms, etc., when hitching/unhitching...messy!

I check friends WD hitches, and settled on the Equal-i-zer hitch - no separate anti-sway bar needed, the 'anti-sway' is designed into their hitch design, and it works great on our 28 ft AS...

1,000 / 10,000 lb. Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch [90-00-1000] - $750.00 : Equal-i-zer Hitch Store

We bought the model with the 1000 lbs tongue rating, and find it idea...this hitch is by far the easiest to hook/unhook, and there are no chains to deal with - you just hitch up to the ball, raise up the tongue with the jack to slip the bars onto the 'L' frame brackets, insert the keeper pins, lower the tongue and you're on the way after hooking up safety chains and brake lock tether...takes longer to type this than actually hooking up!

Check it out, this hitch has been around for many years and it's a proven design...I bought ours from a trailer supply in the midwest, as I remember, for a big savings - check the web for the best pricing...

Ray
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowmans View Post
We are trying to decide on a WD hitch and this site has so many opinions, not sure whether we are making the right choice....This is the first weight distribution system we have used so want to get feedback. Are we missing anything?
Congratulations on your rebuild - it looks great. I really like your bed retrofit and the cabinet/storage works - the really great thing about these older, larger units is that the layout is sooo versatile it makes customizing a snap. Mary and I have not as of yet found a need for under bed storage, so we did not build a lift system into our '78 - but you never know. If we start to boondock an outside shower may be called for, so a curbside storage compartment may have to be added to access plumbing for that.

I have towed with both the Equalizer and the Reese Dual Cam...both are quite adequate - and you have a great tow vehicle to start with.

Mexray is correct in that the Equalizer is a bit easier to hook up each time, but it also lacks the snug fit of a Reese dual cam to lock in the "straight ahead" mode of the tow vehicle/trailer hookup. When lifting the bars on the Reese, just like the Equalizer, if you "over lift" the jack with the Tow Vehicle attached the bars are much easier to lift into place. My personal preference between the two would be the Reese - but the Equalizer is a good choice also. Of the people we camp with - no matter which hitch system they use - there have been really no complaints, except the Hensley takes a bit of practice to get the "hitching up" phase time down to a reasonable level.

You might want to look for a couple of weeks on your local Craigslist (or other) and see what comes up. Often almost new or like new hitches (including Hensley's) can be found for less than 50% of a new price.

Again - great job on the rebuild - hope to meet up with you at a campground soon.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:28 AM   #4
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For control and ease of hitching look at the Reese Straight Line Hitch.

What ever cam system you choice once you have set up mark the bars for location because they are not manufactured to high standards as far a length and if switched side to side you will actually increase sway because the cams then become amplifiers to sway rather than suppressors. The dealer won't tell you this but you will find out the first time the bars are switched side to side.
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:46 PM   #5
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do heavy-duty trucks need a WD hitch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
if switched side to side you will actually increase sway because the cams then become amplifiers to sway rather than suppressors. The dealer won't tell you this but you will find out the first time the bars are switched side to side.
Funny. I have the Reese system (original to the TT, as far as I can tell) and when I noticed that the bars appeared to be the same, I never bothered to check which side I used them on.

And I've never noticed a difference or a moment of sway, ever. Maybe I was just lucky and got an identical, matched pair.

But here's perhaps a dumb question: with a big heavy truck like an F250, is a WD hitch really needed, necessary, or desireable?

I wouldn't have thought so, but I confess to being far from an expert on the subject. I mean, why does the weight need to be distributed, with all that rigidity and load-carrying capability in the truck's suspension?
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:30 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for all the feedback. I know my question is redundant here but something that seems to be specialized per rig. Does anyone use the friction sway control and hitch type linked above? If so, how well does it work?

Ray - I'll have to check out the equilizer hitch. I like that you don't need to drill through the tongue. Does the #1000 bars make it too rigid to where you are loosing any rivets inside or out of the AS?

Dennis - Thanks for the compliments on our AS. I did look at the Reese Dual Cam and really liked what I saw but it requires drilling through the tongue which, I can do but don't want to to try and keep the strength in tact. Also later if changing it out, more holes, etc... I will try Craigslist though for sure. May find a great deal there!

Howie - Will do on marking the bars. I will probably be back on here after I decide on a hitch with photos asking for feedback on the setup to make sure it is done correctly... HAHA!!

Aage - Good question and I know the topic has come up over and over of whether a WD system is needed on the heavier trucks. My personal reasons are that I'm not that experienced towing such a long rig and would prefer to error on the side of caution. Also, if something were to happen to my wife or dogs over a $500 hitch, I couldn't forgive myself.
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:43 PM   #7
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Does anyone use the friction sway control

Have had it. Junk. Doorstop. Trot line anchor.

The REESE Dual Cam is the best of the low priced WDH/Anti-Sway combinations, in use for more than forty years (with some changes). There are much superior hitches available.
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
But here's perhaps a dumb question: with a big heavy truck like an F250, is a WD hitch really needed, necessary, or desireable?
We don't use one w/ our 25' Tradewind and our F250 diesel 4x4 Crewcab, but I tow at semi-legal speeds (55-63 or so) and I'm well within the tow ratings on this rig as the tongue weight is only 500 lbs or so.

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Old 06-15-2010, 02:16 PM   #9
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Despite the cute "junk, doorstop, anchor" hyperbole, sway control bars are very effective and simple mechanisms to control sway. That's why they have been big sellers for the past 50 years or more. The public is not stupid. I have been using them quite effectively for the past 25 years myself from coast-to-coast without a hint of sway emergencies.

Relative to the weight-transfer hitch question, many heavy-duty pickups today can effectively handle many trailers without their use. Recent information discussed on this forum indicates some pickup models can handle quite heavy loads without weight-transfer bars. The bars were invented to help sedans from sagging in the rear when automobiles were the main towing vehicles in the 40s and 50s. Today, heavy-duty pickup trucks mitigate the need for weight-transfer bars in many applications.
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:39 AM   #10
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Tadd,

with almost 900# tongue weight, I'd think the 1K capacity bars are right in your neighborhood...

I haven't weighed our tongue, but with the additional weight of a battery I added up behind the propane bottles, I think we're pushing 850#'s or so, and the 1K bars make our AS ride like the proverbial baby buggie!

Our stuff inside the AS doesn't appear to get tossed around as a result of using the 1K bars, nor do we experience any noticeable rivet action...

I'm a believer in using a WD hitch, even with a 3/4 ton pickup - as pickups are designed to carry much of their load inside the bed and over the rear wheels, not hanging off the rear bumper...I think the WD hitch by design ties the TV and trailer together to moderate some of the harsh jounce action that would occur between the two, without the WD hitch....IMHO, as it were, I'm not a chassis engineer, but I have slept at a Holiday Inn Express....

Ray
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:54 AM   #11
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Hitch/WD/Sway Control

Sway Control: Any type of sway control is better than no sway control. The ease at which a trailer will break into oscillation when a semi or bus passes you slowly is dependant upon several factors, such as distance between the rear axle and the ball on the tow vehicle (moment arm/leverage), sidewall stiffness of the tires on the tow vehicle, distance between the front axle of the trailer and the ball (moment arm/leverage), amount surface area on the trailer or tow vehicle and probally a couple of other things I have left out.
I have used three of the four types of sway control, none, friction, dual cam and Hensley/Propride/Tow Rite.
I switched from none to friction after I almost lost a 27 foot Terry many years ago. The only drawback about the friction is that if you expect to do tight manuvering you must remove the friction unit or you will damage it (bend it up thus destroying it).
I now have a Reese Dual Cam Straight Line (older type) because it was on the trailer when I bought it. I have noticed that the trailer manuvers a little sharper in extreme backing manuvers with the WD bars removed than with them on. Once adjusted properly they seem to work better than the friction, just mark the WD bars and put them back in the same place because I found mine to be different lengths. Just 1/16 on an inch will degrade their performance.
Can't afford the Hensley/Propride/Tow Rite.
Just a note, All the roll over accidents pictured here in the forums that I have seen did not have sway control of any type.

WD: When ever you put weight on the rear bumper, the rear axle of the tow vehicle becomes a fulcrum. The weight on the bumper forces the rear of the vehicle down and removes weight from the front axle. Today, due to the tow vehicle suspensions, the WD mostly just puts weight back on the front axle, in years gone by they were necessary to lift the rear of the tow vehicle and put more weight on the front axle.

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Old 06-16-2010, 09:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
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...... with almost 900# tongue weight, I'd think the 1K capacity bars are right in your neighborhood...
1000# bars are stiff and punishing to the coach. I've read a lot that says to choose bars that are the next step down from the tongue weight. I easily hit over 900# tongue weight when stocked for camping. Maybe it's the metal SE interiors that show all the popped rivets, but I've downrated from 800# to 600# bars in the last year. I run a 3/4-ton truck, so not transferring the most weight isn't a concern. Silvertwinkie & many others have done this; Inland recommends it IIRC.

I wouldn't do without the antisway if only to help me nap while DW is at the wheel.
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:49 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the info here. I took it all in.

We am going to go with 800# or 600# bars for sure due to what I have read on these forums and the added stability of the 3/4 ton truck.

I spoke with the PO of our camper to get his take as well since the camper was in great shape when we bought it. He used 1200# bars but admits he did this due to hauling horse trailers and heavy machinery as well and didn't want multiple setups. He also used the friction swaybar (hense the ball on the tongue) and so has my parent for years.

I believe that the cam system works great but think we will be doing the friction at least to start and a reese WD that can upgrade to cam if we see the need. This also eliminates needing additional holes in the tongue which I want to avoid for strength.

Still going between 800# and 600# bars but can always switch them out if we choose incorrectly (or if it isn't optimum as we pull some).

I really appreciate all of the input. Great group you all are!!
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:35 PM   #14
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Just remember that friction types need to be disconnected while on wet roads. Move on up, ASAP.

Enjoy.
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