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Old 02-07-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
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Pro pride hitch/weight distribution question

I have talked to an Airstream and a long fifth wheel traveler who have lost control and wrecked their equipment due to sudden, strong cross-wind induced sway here in the Southwest. They were all very experienced, had 3/4 ton trucks, but said it happened so quickly there was nothing they could do. For this reason, and our present hitch only dampens sway, we are going to replace the Equalizer with a Pro Pride hitch. There are no handling problems now, but it is the extreme condition I am concerned with.

In spite of much argument to the contrary, I have seen evidence that the recommended 1000# weight distribution bars, when tightened to fully restore front axle load, rough up the contents of our little trailer on some road surfaces. Loosening the bars smooths things out, but not enough (recommended) weight transfer.

So, if the Pro Pride completely eliminates sway, is there another way without w.d. bars to restore weight to the front truck axle, such as an Air Lift system between the frame and the rear leaf springs of the truck? It is apparent that this will level the truck, but will it restore the load to the front axle? Our trailer is a 5000# max load single axle Safari, with gray, black, and fresh tanks behind the axle, and 600# dry tongue weight. Our truck is a 2006 Tundra crew cab 4x4. We carry only two bicycles (50#) in the truck bed on a 6 month trip, and keep the trailer light.

Doug K
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:35 PM   #2
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Tie sand bags to the front bumper...

Use your 1000 bars and be done with it...the cat scales may show they do not have to be tensioned all the way anywho..
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:50 PM   #3
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Propride page

This is where you will get all your answers from.
Unofficial Propride Users Guide
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
......................................
So, if the Pro Pride completely eliminates sway, is there another way without w.d. bars to restore weight to the front truck axle, such as an Air Lift system between the frame and the rear leaf springs of the truck? It is apparent that this will level the truck, but will it restore the load to the front axle? ......................................

Doug K
The Air lift will not transfer any weight at all.
(Actually due to the fact that it changes the angle between the truck and the axles slightly, it might transfer a pound or two.)

I recommend if you go with the ProPride, that you use whatever bars Sean recommends.
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Ken
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:16 PM   #5
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ProPride does sell 800 lb bars also, but don't forget the hitch itself will add about 200 pounds to the tongue weight.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:06 PM   #6
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a/s estimates the 20 tongue at ~630 lbs?

have u weighed the tongue?

adding lp gas and some bed room stuff could bump this to 700 lbs.

options and fluids depending on WHERE they are will also + or - this figure.

the bars are SHAPED differently on the 4 bar/projected pivot point hitches vs the EQZR...

so FLEX will be different also the trailer is moved BACK another foot or so from the truck, which affects ride.

while these hitches DO add mass depending or orange or pp/black...

THAT weight (200-250) is NOT used in calculating w/d bar rating.

which means 800s can work fine for THIS trailer.

but 1000s are OK to, because TENSION isn't required on the w/d bars for sway control to function...

as devo has suggested there is a long supportive thread on the pp which is good place to try posting...

or not.

but THAT collective is using the gizmo everyday and many subscribed to THAT thread may not SEE your questions in other places...

here's a tundra guy using the haha, with a BIGGER trailer, he eventually added the timbrens too (we exchanged a BUNCH of pms)

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...xle-46578.html

he did post into the haha thread after starting the one above so not ALL of his info is in one place...

basically he had the WRONG drop length, which isn't an issue with the adjustable stinger (see the pp thread)

i assume you have READ this thread too, it's relevant for the tv too...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...cle-46700.html
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bags MIGHT transfer a tad but they'd need to be HIGH to do that, and the ride would suffer with large TALL bags...

yes IRON/ballast could be added to the front of the truck (think tractor pulls) but the tundra wouldn't LIKE it...

the 'dra has pretty soft leaf springs at the rear (relative to other 1/2 trucks) and THOSE could be uprated/replaced.

-i added ONE extra leaf to my truck, in spite of the old/routine advice to REMOVE leafs...

-the extra leaf made a HUGE difference in dialing IN the w/d with LESS tension and greatly improved the towing ride.

the "bump stops" on the 'dra could be replaced with timbren bump stops which are LONGER and more functional...

that's probably the easiest and MOST useful tweak.
________

but ALL those changes are somewhat questionable and just ADD to the cost without guaranteed/predictable results.

just get the hitch and 600 or 800 or 1000 lb bars and discover how much better things WILL be.

800s apear pretty close to PERFECT for this trayla,

UNLESS the battery bank is expanded OR a larger trailer is out there on the horizon...

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:59 PM   #7
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My concern with the w.d. bars is not only stiffness at the trailer connection, but their inconsistent tension as the angle of the trailer in relation to the tv changes with movement. That is, when the trailer angle is low (such as when you raise the tongue jack to release the bars) the bars exert little to no tension. But when the trailer angle is high (such as when you back onto a high driveway, or travel over deep depressions in the roadway, or in hard braking) much greater tension is applied. It is this inconsistent tension of w.d. bars that make me question their performance as friction sway control during emergency conditions, and perhaps a contributor to the separation of body from frame on larger trailers.

2air', thanks for the good advice. We will move to the ProPride and 800# bars. I am interested in adding a rear suspension "supplement", air bags or taller bump stops, if there is a chance they can allow forward weight transfer with less tension on the w.d. bars.

As for the 20' Safari, we would have to go so much larger to gain as nice a kitchen and meaningful space, it is not likely to happen. The pint-sized '06 Tundra is also a nice soft ride and easy to get about when unhitched, but gets the job done without great effort.

Thanks to all, Doug and Cheryl
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:23 PM   #8
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I am not clear why a fifth wheel would experience sway or the driver lose control. Fifth wheels have the pin hitch over the truck axle, ideal for minimizing sway. If the driver lost control it was not a hitch issue.

As to the travel trailer losing control, there are many threads here and on RV/Net that discuss hitches. Only on this forum, however, is there considerable discussion about damage to the tongue or frame/body integirty of the trailer with too much tension on the spring bars. Even the hitch manufacturers will agree that the hitch can only go so far in alleviating an accident, it also takes good driving skills.

Also, regardless of the hitch used, it needs to be properly adjusted and set up. Most delivery guys that take the trailers from the factory to the dealers use MDT's or one ton duallys. The tow vehicle you use is important. Those larger trucks are more resistant to WD issues and it takes quite a bit of sway for the tail to wag the bigger more stable dogs. Most spend lots on their tow vehicles, lots on their trailer and skimp on the hitch. $2500 or more for a good hitch is little compared to the investment in the trailer and tow vehicle. Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:12 PM   #9
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It doesn't really matter to me about why a fifth wheel might wreck, or that I may not have the driving skills, or that we don't have the big dog truck, or that other trailer brands don't have integrity issues. I would imagine anything can loose control if a wind gust is strong enough, or many other unexpected conditions.

This post is to seek help on setting up our smaller truck/trailer rig with a ProPride hitch in the safest configuration possible, with consideration towards an easy ride for us and the trailer. We are thankful to those who help.

Doug and Cheryl
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:44 PM   #10
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dkottum,

My point exactly! The hitch bars for tension are in relation to the tow trailer tongue and vehicle's spring pack and capacity. Don't you have the PP instructions for assembly? You either fall into one of two camps-- those that say go light on the bars to refrain from damage to the tongue and trailer frame or go with the manufacturer of the hitch for bars that are consistent with conventional thinking for that amount of trailer tongue weight. All manufacturer's factor in the spring rate for dips and uneven road surfaces once in awhile. What HA and some other hitches caution about is using WD on 'off highway' uses that brings up another huge issue about the receiver capacity for the trailer tongue weight w/o WD.

I would start with Sean and work from there especially for the light duty truck you have. In my reading lighter spring bars are for heavier duty trucks, like one tons. That is certainly not what you have. Sean makes the hitch and should have a good idea of a ball park spring rate for you. Nowhere have I read anything Andy or anybody else said that concludes that light duty tow vehicles also need to use light duty spring bars to prevent damage. Good luck!
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:17 PM   #11
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Actually jm', I've been in both camps. First with the bars at factory spec, and loosened slightly when things started falling inside. After 3 1/2 months of travel, and sharing experiences with others, the Equalizer is history. I don't trust friction sway dampening in the extreme weather, road, or traffic condition.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:24 PM   #12
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dk,

I have a 1200/12000 Equalizer. I think I know where you are coming from. The hitch does everything the company said it would but my frustrations with it are more in the usage factors. Cannot change spring bars without changing hitch head; cannot use a regular ball, must use their short shank ball; tight tolerances between the ball and the hitch head requiring a special socket; and the fact that you allude to that the hitch simply is not a sway hitch unless WD is also employed. While the hitch does everything it is supposed to, I would not purchase another one.

As far as tension on the bars, start with Sean's counsel. What I do is to find that 'sweet spot' where the truck handles just right and the trailer sits level, the truck sits level, and the truck/trailer combination works well together. It should tow with total confidence, the ride should be such that it is almost effortless to travel with the combination and the trailer responds well to road irregulariteis, braking, and curves. You sort of feel for it and know when you are correctly hitched. Stuff on the counters will still fall off, but stuff on the bed should not. Stuff should not fall out of cabinets, come out of the refrigerator, etc. There is a feel to the correct tension.

My apologies for missing the mark in my earlier response. I was under the impression from your first sentence that you were looking for a remedy for strong winds and that if something can blow over a fifth wheel, there is no trailer hitch that will prevent it from also blowing over a trailer. I guess I missed your intent. As 2Air indicated, you may need to add a leaf to the rear spring pack of the truck before you feel confident you have everything dialed in. I have a lot of experience with airbags and they are great for airing up and down when needed. But, airbags are not what you probably need. I would ask a spring shop for advise on adding a spring to the pack. Another option I have used extensively is to purchase and install the very inexpensive suspension spring overload bumpers that cause the springs to contact the overloads sooner. I like the way they work and they work well for part time heavy towing. You may never get the hitch dialed in without looking at the spring pack of the truck.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post

while these hitches DO add mass depending or orange or pp/black...

THAT weight (200-250) is NOT used in calculating w/d bar rating.

which means 800s can work fine for THIS trailer.

but 1000s are OK to, because TENSION isn't required on the w/d bars for sway control to function...
2air, Please explain to me why the weight of the hitch (mine had a shipping weight of 230 pounds), basically on the ball area, is any different than, oh I don't know, let's say 200 pounds of propane, bottles, and batteries.

I simply don't see where 200 pounds of steel hitch is any different than the other things on the tongue of the trailer mentioned above.

This is what I know.....my hitch weight was 760 pounds before I added the hitch. I know this because I weighed it. My hitch weighs 230 pounds, minus the packing/shipping material. I use 1000 pound bars, and feel they are the perfect weight range for my rig. When hitched up with the proper weight distribution, my bars are bent significantly, and my ride is good.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:37 PM   #14
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Steve,

I am not comfortable with 2Air's reasoning about not adding the considerable added hitch weight to the overall tongue weight. While he may be correct in part he did not address the issue completely. Usually, he addresses his comments better. If you use the hitch only for sway and not for WD that weght will be added to the tongue weight. HA and others caution against using their hitches off road. That means all the hitch weight and all the tongue weight is added to the receiver. As you bring on WD spring bar tension, some of the added hitch weight is redistributed back to the TT axles and mostly to the front tow vehicle axle.
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