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Old 07-16-2012, 11:19 PM   #1
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WD hitch on new F150 feels unstable

I have an Equalizer brand WD hitch setup. Been towing my Airstream with a VW Toaureg V8 and recently switched to a 2011 Ford F150 SuperCrew 4X4. The Airstream now feels a bit unstable on the freeway. By that I mean quick lane changes or maneuvering around something at high speed causes severe sway and takes several seconds to get control of the F150. Never had this issue in the Touareg. Could this be the the nature of the tow vehicle (higher center of gravity, suspension, etc) Or, is it hitch? Or...something entirely different?
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:47 PM   #2
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Different TV's will respond differently of course, but I would think the F150 would be as stable as the VW. How did you set the WD properties up? Did you weigh it to determine how much weight was being pushed forward. Did you try pulling up another link in your WD chains? Is the trailer ball height right, that is is the trailer level when stationary on a level surface? Towing high or low will not only stress one axle or the other, but will make a wiggle wagon out of any dual axle trailer. In other words, did you do a full new set up procedure on the 150?

Just some random thoughts that came to mind when I read your post.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:35 AM   #3
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Different TV's will respond differently of course, but I would think the F150 would be as stable as the VW. How did you set the WD properties up? Did you weigh it to determine how much weight was being pushed forward. Did you try pulling up another hole in your "L" bracket? Is the trailer ball height right, that is is the trailer level when stationary on a level surface? Towing high or low will not only stress one axle or the other, but will make a wiggle wagon out of any dual axle trailer. In other words, did you do a full new set up procedure on the 150?

Just some random thoughts that came to mind when I read your post.
Hi, I think iroba has covered most of what you should check for.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:44 AM   #4
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What kind of tires are you running on the F150? Trust me, tires make the difference.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:24 AM   #5
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What kind of tires are you running on the F150? Trust me, tires make the difference.
And tire pressure. I Always bump up the tire pressure when towing, it helps stiffen the sidewalls, and makes the truck feel more stable. But do not go higher than tire sidewall max pressure.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:45 AM   #6
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The F-150 will not handle as well as the VW in the maneuvers you describe.

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Old 07-17-2012, 06:46 AM   #7
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how much 'slop' do you have in your receiver? in my 2012 (2" receiver) the stinger shifts from side to side & up and down. it may not make a difference with a small trailer but in a larger unit the trailer tail will wag a lot.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:10 AM   #8
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Give the technical support folks at Progress Mfg (Equalizer) a call. I have found them to be very helpful in the past.

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Old 07-17-2012, 07:12 AM   #9
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It sounds like you have a truck that has less stiff suspension and therefore wallows when it does quick lane changes. This leads to the hitch doing a dance reflected into the trailer. If you are using boots on the Equalizer bars, take them off, to increase friction and dampening. Stiffen up the truck by increasing pressure in all tires. Crank up the torque on the retaining bolts on the Equalizer slide/bars.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Different TV's will respond differently of course, but I would think the F150 would be as stable as the VW. How did you set the WD properties up? Did you weigh it to determine how much weight was being pushed forward. Did you try pulling up another link in your WD chains? Is the trailer ball height right, that is is the trailer level when stationary on a level surface? Towing high or low will not only stress one axle or the other, but will make a wiggle wagon out of any dual axle trailer. In other words, did you do a full new set up procedure on the 150?

Just some random thoughts that came to mind when I read your post.

The only change I made to the WD hitch when I switch vehicles was to reset the hitch height to level the trailer out (and basically match the position the trailer was in with the VW).
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
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"Did you try pulling up another hole in your "L" bracket?"

Would this just create added tension on the sway bars? They are already tight. The only thing I did notice is the bars on one side slide into the "L" brackets easier than the other side. They should be even right? I don't know why they aren't as the settings at the same on both sides.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:22 PM   #12
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It sounds to me that something got bent or is not installed evenly. Switch bars from side to side and see if it changes the pull up forces. You need to have the bars pretty tight to effectively shift any weight to the front wheels and have enough force on the the bars so there is enough frictional force generated to dampen the sway.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:30 PM   #13
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"Did you try pulling up another hole in your "L" bracket?"

Would this just create added tension on the sway bars? They are already tight. The only thing I did notice is the bars on one side slide into the "L" brackets easier than the other side. They should be even right? I don't know why they aren't as the settings at the same on both sides.
Hi, you would think so, but they don't; The spring bars will equalize when you lower your tongue jack and put pressure on them.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:03 PM   #14
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Ad', there are lots of possibilities.

For example, Fords come in all sorts of combinations, with and without tow packages and with and without heavy duty suspensions, so what you have may change the towing dynamics substantially.

Every combination of tow vehicle and trailer is unique. I think it is best to start from the beginning and set up the hitch as if you just bought it and go through the entire set up procedure. I know this is a pain and takes time, but it is the safest thing to do.

Tires could be an issue. Most light trucks and SUV's now come with passenger (P) tires instead of light truck (LT) tires. Many OEM tires are cheapies that won't last long and have questionable traction. Our Tundra came with crappy P tires that wore fast and rode badly. Nevertheless, towing was fine. I can't say whether it made a difference when we bought Load Range E, LT tires as to towing, though the truck rode far better. I believe LT's have stronger sidewalls and that helps prevent truck sway. Have you increased truck tire pressure for added weight? That may help too. For that matter, do you have proper tire pressure in the trailer tires?

The dealer had set up the hitch and did a bad job, but it towed pretty well. No sway was observed. I adjusted the Equalizer about the same time as I bought new truck tires, checking every adjustment, and it did tow better.

When I was going through the instructions, I missed one thing that is buried in the instructions. The square brackets on the hitch head where the bars fit are supposed to be torqued to 55 lbs., I think. Many people torque them higher and I have them at 70 lbs. They seem to loosen pretty quickly. I haven't noticed any difference in towing though.

There are many adjustments on the Equalizer: bolts on the hitch head brackets, number of washers, position of L brackets, angle of hitch head, height of hitch head. Changing one affects everything else. I experimented with all sorts of adjustments until I got the trailer level, truck close to level, and bars not so level (although level bars would be perfect, it is hard to achieve). Those are the priorities—trailer, truck, bars. Every time I took the head off to try another adjustment, it seemed to gain 20 lbs.

No one wants to buy new tires for a new truck, so re-adjusting the hitch is the first place to look. Bob Sunrus and I have towed many, many miles with Equalizers for years with very different tow vehicles, so it can work.

It is always easier to get one bar on than the other. Securing one adds tension to the system and makes the other bar harder to fit to the L bracket. It seems the driver's side bar is easier than the other, but that may be because I do that side and my wife does the other and I'm faster than her. Because our land is not flat, when we hitch up at home, the truck is at a bad angle. The driver's side slides right on and I have to use the strange tool that comes with the Equalizer to lever it on; Barb isn't strong enough to do it. When we unhitch at home, that tool is not made to lever it off and that is even harder. I've tried every position I could think of, and it just requires brute strength to loosen it. Someday maybe I'll make a tool for delevering it, or I'll figure out how to use the tool.

Gene
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