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Old 11-09-2009, 09:24 PM   #1
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Uneven (rutted) road surface

We just completed our first long trip, Minnesota to Arizona, with the new trailer and Equal-I-Zer hitch set up according to mfg instructions. No problems, all went great (the Airstreams certainly do tow nicely). However, as we proceeded into southern states (OK, TX) we came upon small but noticeable ruts in the pavement of the two-lane highways at different locations, probably caused by heavy truck traffic and hot temperatures. We have traveled this route many times and never noticed it with our camper van or car. But with the trailer in tow, and at a wider track than the truck, it was very unnerving. Felt like it wanted to wander constantly, but I did not see any sway of the trailer. I felt I had to slow considerably to feel safe. On the other hand, the trailer was rock solid on smooth roads, crosswinds, or trucks passing.

I am wondering if this is a typical trailer towing situation? Would the HaHa/PP hitches eliminate this sensation of wandering (not swaying) in these uneven, somewhat rutted road surfaces. If so, I would install one.

Doug and Cheryl

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Old 11-09-2009, 10:08 PM   #2
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Uneven (rutted) road surface

Greetings Doug and Cheryl!

You are describing a problem that I encounter frequently when traveling between Marion, IL and Champaign, IL on Interstate 57. There are a number of blacktop segments that have heavy truck traffic ruts, and my Overlander and Suburban tend to be very squeamish on these segments.

I have the Reese Stratight Line Hitch, and it doesn't cope with the problem any better than your Equal-I-zer. I know from examining the polished section on the Cams, that the hitch was making constant adjustments to keep the rig lined up. Slowing to 50 MPH solved much of the uneasy feeling for me, and wasn't a huge compromise since the Illinois speed limit for trailerists is 55 MPH.

I hope that someone with a Hensley replies, because, I too, am curious whether it might solve the problem.


Kevin D. Allen
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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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Old 11-09-2009, 10:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
...There are a number of blacktop segments that have heavy truck traffic ruts, and my Overlander and Suburban tend to be very squeamish on these segments.

I have the Reese Stratight Line Hitch, and it doesn't cope with the problem any better than your Equal-I-zer...I hope that someone with a Hensley replies, because, I too, am curious whether it might solve the problem.

i'll interpret this description as a TENDENCY

for the trailer tires/wheels to TRACK in longitudinal roadway grooves.

in automotive parlance this is tramlining.

blame it on the tram ruts of daze past...

many factors can contribute to this, search and find the online references.

IF tramlining by the trailer happens and the trailer moves even a small amount LATERALLY this may be felt...

since the conventional BALL/hitches/friction control aren't capable of translation (moving laterally),

either the TV moves with the trailer laterally, OR the trailer moves alone.

IF the trailer moves alone, this movement EXERTS a steering/lateral force on the REAR of the tow vehicle...

THAT condition is a form of sway.

YAW is a better term and has been discussed here.

"seeing fishtailing" in the rear view mirror isn't the ideal way that one determines YAW or sway forces are in play.

but the NEED to provide corrective steering input IS a clue to the dynamic forces in play.

the 4 link hitches (pp/haha) prevent the trailer from exerting YAW at the tv rear axle.

because the trailer connected with a 4 bar hitch cannot normally exert YAW forces.

this is partly because the pivot point is projected FORWARD (sometimes in front of the rear axle)

and partly because the hitch head ALLOWS for the trailer nose to translate 4-6 inches laterally.

so without going into a LOT greater detail the answer is YES these fancy hitches eliminate the effect of tramlining.

it's really no different than strong side winds, bow waves or other lateral forces on the trailer...

they ALL cause yaw and prompt the driver to corrective steering with conventional hitches.

experienced/veteran folks who tow with conventional hitches accept this and have practiced SUBTLE corrective steering,

while keeping the tires properly inflated (this reduces SLOPPY lateral movement) and so on...

newer towing folks include this tramline effect in the general description of "white knuckle driving".

pp/haha users are largely UNaware of this UNLESS the tramlining is happening to the TOW VEHICLE tires/wheels..

ya gotta experience it (the lack of yaw) with a pp/haha 2 really understand it.

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Old 11-10-2009, 04:14 AM   #4
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There are a couple of variables to consider. Actually more than a couple. Is the hitch adjusted correctly? If the dealer did it, the dealer may not have taken the time to do it right—labor costs come into effect there. I went over the entire procedure with our Equalizer and it took hours to properly adjust it, but it works better now. Call Equalizer and go through it with them; they are very helpful and will help you develop expertise. It is complicated.

Are your tires inflated properly? Do the TV and the trailer match up well? Every bad road is different. Some interact differently with the rig although you may not see any difference. Sometimes roads are bumpy in ways that really affect things much more—speeding up or slowing down can change the dynamics dramatically. Is your TV front end out of alignment or your tires needing rebalancing? As temps increase, tires get harder (more air pressure) and can transmit bumps more.

There are many, many threads on all of this.

There are also many, many bumpy roads everywhere and on this trip the WVa Turnpike was the worst.

Never had any sway with our Equalizer and our Tundra may help with that, but plenty of bumps. Bad joints and badly settled roads cause lots of the bumps; usually it's concrete deteriorating and badly repaired joints.

Without a trailer, the dynamic of driving is wholly different. Add 3 or so tons attached by a little ball and everything changes.

You have to go through each possibility and make sure it is corrected—tire pressure and balance, alignment, hitch adjustment, right TV, etc., etc. Once you're sure it's all correct, you are at the mercy of the highway dep't.

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Old 11-10-2009, 04:38 AM   #5
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We too have been on many uneven (rutted) road surfaces, especially in Northern Ontario.

Using a Reese Dual Cam and not having the issues as described by the PO.

It is appropriate for us to use P (XL) rated tires on the 23 and P(V) rated performance tires on the tow car. With 36 lbs of air in all tires front to rear, I feel there is a much better tire contact patch on the road surface. This conforms to the pavement irregularities which may account for our A1 stability/stable ride.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:12 AM   #6

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Our 63 Safari gave me the same thrill, great towing trailer, sooper on good roads, but tended to track the grooves badly. I gave it up to the experience of towing single and dual axle trailers.

A single boat trlr we had did the same thing, when the same boat was put on a a dual, the problem improved considerably.

Cloudsplitter was much better, (still using the same Reese), but it still took you by surprise once in awhile. After two Seasons along came haha, knuckles normal, DW normal, all is good with the World


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Old 11-11-2009, 08:18 PM   #7
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Anyone needing a like new Equal-I-Zer hitch (2k miles towing) send PM.

Doug and Cheryl

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