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Old 06-27-2016, 06:59 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelGoddard View Post
Hi there Featherbedder;
Re: Using the power jack; it goes up until the drive balls start clicking, and that's where I stop. The foot is on 6" of wooden block.
So I can remove the left side chain fairly easily, but.......
When I release the right hand bar, the effort required is a lot, and the handle will go down to the chain where it press's against the chain very hard.
[I cannot attach a photo here, as I have no idea how to do it, and my laptop is VERY selective about accepting photos. (Only when it feels like it.)]

NOW, I cannot remove the bar or anything else; that's where the scissor jack comes in, to release the chain. Once that is done, the bar will snap down and be free. THEN I can release cables and such to drive away.
BTW. When the rig is sitting level as for travelling, everything is level; the Ford, & the Airstream.

I only have access to a grain elevator scale, on a goodwill basis, but in weighing the thing, the Ford weighed in a 2760 KG. (6,072 #) the whole rig weighed in at 6230 Kg.or 13706 lbs. minus Ford Wt. 6072# =7634# for AS. (Empty weight was 3000Kg. or 6600 lbs.)
My tongue weight (Sherlite scale) was 995 lbs for this trip. at the ball coupler. The fresh water tank was full, and the black tank, 10%. Grey tank '0'. I have no idea of the location of the placement of the tanks, for weight and balance purposes, as The Airstream manual doesn't give the info.
The Reese cam does sit in the middle of the notch on the bar, but there seems to be a little 'play' before the cam will move up on the bar.
(Maybe the 'cam ball' should be larger to sit in the notch better?)
I suspect that's the reason for the 'wiggle' while driving, and the friction pads on the Equalizer (see below) would prevent.
Correction on the Hitch; It's an "Eze-lift" with Husky friction bars. OOPS!
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:44 AM   #30
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Wow, I really appreciate all of the responses to this thread!

I don't have much time, I'll try to address everything - bear with me...

To recap, I adjusted the hitch on smooth, level pavement. I followed the instructions and got the trailer nice and level by adjusting the head on the shank - lots of trial and error as I had to set up the bars and check the fenderwell deflection on the truck as well. So technically, without weighing the rig, I'm pretty close. Trouble is, as many have noted, the bars are pretty tight. Loosen the bars, more weight off of the front axle. Aside from the harsh ride, the rig handles beautifully.

I'll try to get a weight tomorrow or the next day. Weighing will be expensive, as the CAT scale folks here are NOT helpful and don't really understand the concept of reweighing. I plan to do the three-step method as outlined earlier - I really want to see those numbers and share them with you.

I agree completely with the comments regarding the breakaway cable. I'm going to rig a fitting on the rear frame crossmember so I can connect the cable without crawling under the truck, just need one of them round tuits. Also plan to trim and re-swage as suggested for proper length.

I raised the ball one notch to get the trailer level when fully hitched. I need to take a better picture to show this - the picture was taken out in the yard on uneven pavement and the truck normally sits lower in the front.

I'll also get a tongue weight. I replaced the stock batteries with four 6V AGM golf cart batteries which now live under the bed. I'm sure that may have something to do with this.

Thanks for all of the suggestions - keep 'em coming!
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:09 AM   #31
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by MelGoddard View Post
Hi there Featherbedder;
Re: Using the power jack; it goes up until the drive balls start clicking, and that's where I stop. The foot is on 6" of wooden block.
So I can remove the left side chain fairly easily, but.......
When I release the right hand bar, the effort required is a lot, and the handle will go down to the chain where it press's against the chain very hard.
[I cannot attach a photo here, as I have no idea how to do it, and my laptop is VERY selective about accepting photos. (Only when it feels like it.)]

NOW, I cannot remove the bar or anything else; that's where the scissor jack comes in, to release the chain. Once that is done, the bar will snap down and be free. THEN I can release cables and such to drive away.
BTW. When the rig is sitting level as for travelling, everything is level; the Ford, & the Airstream.

I only have access to a grain elevator scale, on a goodwill basis, but in weighing the thing, the Ford weighed in a 2760 KG. (6,072 #) the whole rig weighed in at 6230 Kg.or 13706 lbs. minus Ford Wt. 6072# =7634# for AS. (Empty weight was 3000Kg. or 6600 lbs.)
My tongue weight (Sherlite scale) was 995 lbs for this trip. at the ball coupler. The fresh water tank was full, and the black tank, 10%. Grey tank '0'. I have no idea of the location of the placement of the tanks, for weight and balance purposes, as The Airstream manual doesn't give the info.
The Reese cam does sit in the middle of the notch on the bar, but there seems to be a little 'play' before the cam will move up on the bar.
(Maybe the 'cam ball' should be larger to sit in the notch better?)
I suspect that's the reason for the 'wiggle' while driving, and the friction pads on the Equalizer would prevent.
If still cannot release second chain with out jack are you trying to drop snap ups by hand? I use motor cycle fork tube to drop snap ups instead of piece of pipe, some times second bar has pressure but pipe easily releases pressure. Are all components of hitch Reese? As some thing does not sound rite there should not be wiggle.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:26 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerarrangr View Post
Wow, I really appreciate all of the responses to this thread!

I don't have much time, I'll try to address everything - bear with me...

To recap, I adjusted the hitch on smooth, level pavement. I followed the instructions and got the trailer nice and level by adjusting the head on the shank - lots of trial and error as I had to set up the bars and check the fenderwell deflection on the truck as well. So technically, without weighing the rig, I'm pretty close. Trouble is, as many have noted, the bars are pretty tight. Loosen the bars, more weight off of the front axle. Aside from the harsh ride, the rig handles beautifully.

I'll try to get a weight tomorrow or the next day. Weighing will be expensive, as the CAT scale folks here are NOT helpful and don't really understand the concept of reweighing. I plan to do the three-step method as outlined earlier - I really want to see those numbers and share them with you.

I agree completely with the comments regarding the breakaway cable. I'm going to rig a fitting on the rear frame crossmember so I can connect the cable without crawling under the truck, just need one of them round tuits. Also plan to trim and re-swage as suggested for proper length.

I raised the ball one notch to get the trailer level when fully hitched. I need to take a better picture to show this - the picture was taken out in the yard on uneven pavement and the truck normally sits lower in the front.

I'll also get a tongue weight. I replaced the stock batteries with four 6V AGM golf cart batteries which now live under the bed. I'm sure that may have something to do with this.

Thanks for all of the suggestions - keep 'em coming!
You might want to route your umbilical and breakaway cables as shown. This puts them at the pivot point of the hitch and keeps them from possibility getting caught when turning. The clip holds them in place.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:28 AM   #33
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If you were closer to me in Mississippi I would help you dial your hitch setup in.
It took 2 years to get it where I wanted it the first time.
I can probably get it done in a day the next time.


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Old 06-28-2016, 10:26 AM   #34
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I have switched to the 16" LTX tires. I also experimented with 1000# bars on my WDH. Towing with a 3/4 ton Chevy Suburban the 1000# bars seemed much to stiff. So, went back to the 750# bars. Much more comfortable ride, and seemingly easier on the trailer. I am now experimenting with tire pressures for best towing, but also sway control. LTX tires need the right pressure for ride and sidewall stiffness needed for sway control.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:17 AM   #35
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I set mine up when I had the original 15" wheels.
I did not change or adjust anything when I switched to 16" wheels and LT tires.
In theory, the trailer should have raised 1/2", but I can't tell that it sits any higher.
1/2" higher 20' or more back didn't really effect much.
The sway control and weight distribution are still there.
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:24 AM   #36
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Well, I found the problem...

...my tongue weight is 1350 lbs!!

The rig was weighed with both propane tanks full, fresh tank full, grey and black tanks empty. Full tank of fuel in the truck, not much else in the bed. Subtracting the truck from the total rig weight, the trailer weighs in about 6800. Max weight for this trailer is 7200 according to the placard, although it has two 3800 lb axles. I don't like to run too heavy if I can avoid it.

After visiting the CAT scales I was thinking the tongue was heavy with a 1K difference on the drive axle (see pics). I went to the local RV place and we checked the tongue with a load cell.

So the solar upgrade with four golf cart batteries under the bed is probably not helping. I need to figure out how to push some weight aft and lose a few pounds. I haven't even started loading for full timing yet.

I dropped the L-brackets one notch and the rig tows fine. Haven't gotten a weigh with this latest change, though.

Thoughts? (Flame suit ON)
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:53 PM   #37
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Your weights on the third photo are very close to mine. But im using an Anderson wd hitch and towing with a half ton.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:52 PM   #38
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I'm quite surprised at that tongue weight. Maybe you can figure out a way to get some weight moved back to the axles. 12% of your total trailer weight is enough on the tongue, like 850 lbs. You don't suppose the RV place tongue load was out of calibration?

You are making progress now that you have the data.

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Old 07-03-2016, 08:41 AM   #39
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I'm confused. Trust me, this happens a lot. I am quite sure the feeling I have is confusion.

Am I correct that the three new CAT weights you posted are the same method as before and have the same configuration as your RV shop weighed to get the 1,350 tongue weight?

The first weight ticket shows the truck alone at 7,280 lbs. I'm assuming this is full fuel, with passengers, camping gear in the bed, etc..

The second ticket (wth the trailer axles at 5,700 lbs.) should be the truck and trailer without the weight bars doing their WD thing. In that pass, the two axles of the truck weigh 8,380 lbs (that's 3,560 + 4,820).

Tongue weight imposed by the trailer is customarily measured as the difference between the total truck weight between those two passes. That is 8,380 - 7,280 which is 1,100 lbs.. My truck manufacturer (Toyota) wants me to add the weight of cargo in the truck bed behind the rear axle to determine "tongue weight" versus their maximum, but that's a refinement and Ram may use a different method to include cargo weight.

So... at what point did your RV guy measure? If it was under the trailer tongue jack? That's an interesting data point, but generally irrelevant to actual WD hitch set up.

You have id'd some potential causes and solutions. The batteries are a huge hit to total weight and tongue weight. Faced with a similar challenge, I stuck with the Interstate 12V SRM24 which are way lighter. I carry a third battery (an SRM27) in a plastic battery box and installed Anderson Power 12v quick disconnects to the trailer, the battery and my solar controller (I put 2x100 watt panels on the ground when I want solar). That arrangement lets me keep the additional battery weight where I want it when not needed (e.g. In the front of the truck bed or the back of the trailer) and still have the capacity when I need it (like dry camping below freezing as we did in Utah in May).

Anyway, I'm not sure you have a problem. I would trust your scale data way above a measurement at the tongue jack. I did not run your other numbers through my spreadsheet, but they eyeball well (your FALR is just under 100% for example. That's precisely what I shoot for).

I think you can put your flame suit in the closet while you digest this. Fire away with questions.
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:22 PM   #40
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Thanks so much to all of you for your sage advice! I'm open to all ideas.

Here's a breakdown of the weights taken:

1st pic: truck alone
Steer - 4000
Drive - 3280
Trailer - N/A

2nd pic no WD
Steer - 3560
Drive - 4820
Trailer - 5700

3rd pic with WD
Steer - 3980
Drive - 4200
Trailer - 5880


The steer axle has about a 420 lb difference between with and without the spring bars.

The drive axle has a 1540 lb difference between the truck alone and hitched to the trailer with no WD.

The RV guy used one of those little Sherline scales. I don't think it was grossly inaccurate because the difference in the drive axle weight with and without the trailer hitched.

Yes, I did weigh the tongue using the jack and not the hitch, so that may have made the reading meaningless. The guy didn't use a hitch adapter, so I figured this was good enough. Either way, I'm certain that I need to get at least 400 lbs off of that tongue!

There's that little cubby about a foot farther aft under the bed and I'm going to attempt to move the batteries back there. Not sure how much that will help but there's really no place else for the batteries to go without a complete redesign of the system.

Other than moving batteries, I'm not sure what I can do here. I'm installing a recliner in the curbside dinette position and moving storage towards the rear. All of this extra tongue weight is going to overload the front axle, right?

I don't want to remove any batteries if I can help it - I'll be mostly boondocking and I like the extra electrical headroom that four batteries provide.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow to give you a better idea of what's going on.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:23 AM   #41
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I hear your concern, but I'm not sure what's fueling it.

The only things that really matter are whether your rig is set up to operate within the manufacturers specs (truck, trailer, hitch, tires) and whether it is safe and comfortable for you as the driver.

The specs and limits on your specific truck will be on a sticker that should be on the post of the driver's door. Dodge does publish general specs which can be found here: http://www.dodge.com/bodybuilder/2007/docs/dr/mlup.pdf A typical 2500, quad cab, short bed, diesel (top of page 9) has a gross weight rating of 9,000 lbs, a rear axle rating of 6,000 and a front axle rating of 4,600. You are under those weights even without your WD bars. You might want to read the tire limits on the sidewalls of your specific tires, but if the truck has proper tires those should not be an issue. I did not see any published tongue weight ratings in the Dodge specs, so that should be researched, too.

Coming full circle to your original post, you could step up to a stronger weight bar, but given the FALR of nearly 100% and the capabilities of the 2500 TV I'm not sure I would do that.

So.... what is it about your current setup that you think should be improved? Lots of folks (including me) pull more trailer with less truck. Our 25 Eddie Bauer is heavier than your FC by a bit. The Tundra has lower limits all around than your 2500. We've towed 20,000 miles including four passes over the Rockies in total confidence that truck, trailer and hitch are near, but not over, their design limits. I'd set aside the RV guy's weight taken at your tongue jack since you have more precise, specific and detailed measurements from the CAT scales and those seem to say you are not exceeding any manufacture's limits.
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:15 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerarrangr View Post
...my tongue weight is 1350 lbs!!

The rig was weighed with both propane tanks full, fresh tank full, grey and black tanks empty. Full tank of fuel in the truck, not much else in the bed. Subtracting the truck from the total rig weight, the trailer weighs in about 6800. Max weight for this trailer is 7200 according to the placard, although it has two 3800 lb axles. I don't like to run too heavy if I can avoid it.

After visiting the CAT scales I was thinking the tongue was heavy with a 1K difference on the drive axle (see pics). I went to the local RV place and we checked the tongue with a load cell.

So the solar upgrade with four golf cart batteries under the bed is probably not helping. I need to figure out how to push some weight aft and lose a few pounds. I haven't even started loading for full timing yet.

I dropped the L-brackets one notch and the rig tows fine. Haven't gotten a weigh with this latest change, though.

Thoughts? (Flame suit ON)
Our 28' International has a tongue weight if 1280, and we have four Lifeline AGM's--two in the battery box and two under the short leg of the L gaucho forward on the port side.

We have done a temp fix to the left front tire separating twice by switching to 16" Michelins from GYM's and shifting moveable ballast aft. The latter starts with the 10-12 gallons of spring water we used to carry forward shifted to under the front if our rear bed (about 90 lbs off the front moved to the back.) we've also done the same with the 1/2-while case of wine with which we travel.

Our next step will be to switch the four AGM's which weigh almost 300 lbs for their 440 amps of storage (220 usable) for a lithium 300 bank with about 250 usable) that weighs 84 lbs, thereby removing another 200 lbs forward..

We've recently increased the WD on our Equalizr/Sprinter 3500 combo by one L bracket bolt hole and find it an even better towing rig. The Mercedes rear end is so solid that it didn't need the WD, but increasing it had brought the anti-sway feature back into a good range. (The Sprinter is rated at 11,000 GVW and weighs in fully loade with all our gear at 6000 lbs, so plenty of payload left!)

Good luck!
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