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Old 08-08-2012, 09:24 PM   #1
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2010 28' Flying Cloud
Lower Alabama , USA
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 643
Installing a 12,000 lb. Equalizer hitch

I wanted to share what I have learned from the installation of an Equalizer 12,000 lb. hitch on an Airstream here for others who might need the information. I searched for insights in advance of buying the hitch and installing it and found much conflicting information on the installation of an Equalizer. Much of the information I found wasn’t correct because it was likely applicable to 10,000 lb. hitches or smaller.

1. First, be certain to buy a ball with a 1 3/8” long stud or less. Any longer will interfere with the swing of the bar sockets and could lead to a serious interference problem. I ended up buying the ball directly from Equalizer and was very happy with the quality. I couldn’t find one locally, they all were 1 5/8” or 1 1/2” long and would have interfered as mentioned. The Equalizer manual is quite clear about this maximum dimension. I was a bit surprised that this length needed doesn’t appear to be the standard available. A big distributor of Equalizer hitches didn’t have it and I am betting they install the wrong ones often. The interference issue wouldn't show up unless you had an extreme angle turning. I checked my friend’s Equalizer setup and he would have clipped the stud from the looks of the rub wear from the bar sockets but his is the correct length installed by a first class dealer! So be really careful with this.

2. Depending how your gas line is routed, the L-Pad mounts could cause you to have to reroute or deflect your gas line to run a mounting bolt between it and the frame. My gas line, like often is the case, is run and clamped underneath the A-frame. I didn’t want to reroute or deflect it so I fabricated a spacer/clip to straddle the gas line and to prevent the mount from possibly rotating and crushing it. In other words, I left the gas line in place and put a heavy shield around it sized to fit the mount. Here's photo of the clip and its installation are attached.


3. Contrary to what some folks believe, a standard 1 7/8” socket will not fit the 12k hitch to facilitate tightening the ball. The weight distribution bar sockets are bigger on this model than the smaller capacity models and a standard wall thickness socket simply doesn’t fit. If you want to use a socket, you must have or have access to the Equalizer thin wall socket. I have attached a photo here with the Equalizer socket in place and you can see the lack of clearance. It barely fits in place. Based on incorrect information I got searching here and other sites, I bought a standard socket and have now proved that it doesn’t work! I ended up giving that socket to a friend who has 10,000 lb. hitch that it does fit and I bought the thin wall socket directly from Equalizer. I used a very large adjustable wrench with cheater to provide torque advantage to tighten the ball onto the hitch. The Equalizer socket was used to keep the nut from rotating while the ball was tightened using the flats on the ball.

After much searching, experimenting, ordering, and waiting, I got this done and all is good. I hope this helps the next person who buys a 12,000 lb. Equalizer and wants to be a “do it your-selfer”.

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Old 08-08-2012, 10:34 PM   #2
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1971 27' Overlander
Central , Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Glad you posted this. I have a new Blue Ox that I'm in the process of setting up. It has a similar head. Had to order the 1 7/8 deep well socket. It came today and luckily the hole will accept the thick impact socket. It fits just as snugly as your thin wall socket. Still waiting on the 1/2 to 3/4 breaker bar adapter as it had to be ordered too.

I would have never thought of the ball shaft sticking down and interfering with bar sockets. We already have the new ball from etrailer. I'll have to check the length issue now. Thanks again for posting this...

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Old 08-09-2012, 06:40 AM   #3
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2010 28' Flying Cloud
Lower Alabama , USA
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 643
I am going to buy a 3/4" driver breaker bar for the tool chest simply because I want something rigorous enough to handle the 450 ft-lbs of torque. When I get it I will be using the adjustable wrench as backup and the socket to tighten vs. the opposite at the moment.

I am in Houston often and will stop by a Northern Tool store and buy one. They are reasonably priced and adequate for this service. I never pass up the opportunity to buy some more tools anyway.
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