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Old 09-04-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
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1975 23' Safari
Uxbridge , Ontario
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 11
Shank length

I just bought a new shank for my weight distribution hitch. It is about 6 inches longer than my old one. It seems like a long distance from the receiver to the ball. The old shank is 6 inches from the center of the ball to the hitch pin hole. The new one is 13 inches from the center of the ball to the itch pin hole. Is this OK? I will go to the local trailer service center but I would like to hear from anyone that may know if its fine.

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Old 09-04-2011, 06:32 PM   #2

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Contrary to popular belief...shorter IS better.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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1999 23' Safari
Perrysburg , Ann Arbor
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Like a lot of things, "it depends" - on a lot of factors. I have a 16" shank, and it works fine for my vehicle combination (a 23' Safari and a GMC 2500 diesel) - the truck has the suspension to handle it o.k., and I never have to worry about having a corner of the trailer and a corner of the truck meet when backing, even in full-lock turns. And I can open the truck's tailgate without it hiitting anything on the trailer.

BUT - the longer the shank, the more load on the truck's receiver, and the more opportunity for sway. Also, since it "sticks way out back there" it is more exposed when there's no trailer attached back there, and is easier to run into, both for vehicles and pedestrians. Never had it happen, but I'm just sayin'

So - it's surely not for everyone, but it works fine for me with my relatively small trailer and relatively stout tow vehicle.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:51 PM   #4
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Common Sense , Texas
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Robert is right, if there is no interference from things like a truck tailgate, the shorter the better. The closer you can get the hitch ball to the rear axle of the tow vehicle, the better.

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."-- Thomas Jefferson
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:03 PM   #5
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1975 23' Safari
Uxbridge , Ontario
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Tt looks like there has been a couple of inches added to the shank. I may cut this off which will move it closer. With the old shank I could not open my tailgate
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:16 PM   #6
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Shank length

Greetings kentlundy!

What you have sounds like a drawbar designed for a conversion van with a door-mounted spare tire. I had one of those when I first bought my Overlander as I had used it with my 1983 GMC G20 Conversion Van tow vehicle . . . when teamed with my K1500 Chevrolet Z71 it created just enough extra length that sway could be induced much easier . . . switching to a normal length drawbar solved the problem entirely. If you are lucky, it will work without issue . . . but the extra length can pose problems with some tow vehicle combinations.

Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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