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jmtandem 02-11-2010 09:20 AM

Road Ruler and W7,

I had no idea Equalizer has been in business that long. That must be a testimony to a quality product. Now, they do need to update and modify the hitch to allow the hitch head to take various spring bars without needing a separate hitch head for each spring bar rating. What if you have different trailers with a need for different spring bars? Also, the short shank ball and the close space within the shank nut area should be modified. Is it really necessary to need a special ball and a special thin wall socket to tighten the nut? I am glad they modified the L brackets, addressing a common issue. Now fix the head to use interchangable spring bars.

I have only been RVing since about 1985, prior was tent camping out of a vehicle or from a motorcycle. Since 1985 and three cabover campers later I am now a travel trailer owner and learning all I can about towing.

I did watch the movie 'Long Long Trailer' and was surprised to see the tow dolly for tongue support. I never thought about that working and wonder why it is largely not used today. Pretty impressive trailer for a car with about 125 horse power especially the scenes at the Whitney Portal access road, a short distance south of where I live. I have been on that road, it is steep, narrow and with tight curves.

Road Ruler 02-11-2010 02:19 PM


Originally Posted by REDNAX (Post 807488)
Or, in this quote off of

I worked at Ford's Arizona Proving Ground in Yucca, Az till they closed it last year. (2007 or 8). It was a truck/desert/durability-proving ground. When we did tow testing -- which was 10,000 miles -- we loaded a trailer to maximum GVW for that vehicle. Anything from a F450 to an Escape. The tongue weight was set at 10-12%. We had a stop and go course, and a high-speed 5-mile oval that we did on-site trailer towing upon, but about 80-90% of the 10K mile towing was on public highways.

On the public roads we drove to Bullhead City on Highway 68. BHC is at the bottom of a 12-mile-long, 6% grade. The driver left the proving grounds at the start of the 8-hour shift and drove the 60 miles to BHC, and for the next 5 hours he drove up & down the 12-mile 6% grade. We did that 24/7, 365-days per year. In the summer 125-degrees Farenheit is a routine temp along the Colorado River in this area. We did these tests with all our trucks, and all the competitor's trucks. We always tested at 100% GVW. Never 80%."

One really wonders how much truth there is to the above account. If Ford does all this testing wouldn't they have realized how bad the Ford Explorers (pre 2003) were for towing and adjusted the trailer pkg equipment on them to make them acceptable.

I saw an Explorer here abouts that had the Can Am mods. LT tires, Monroe gas shocks, reinforced factory receiver etc. The owner commented that the mods made a night and day difference when towing. Why was Ford so lame that they couldn't figure this stuff out??:angry::blush::angry:

pmclemore 02-11-2010 06:08 PM

I'd guess there is a difference between just testing and using the results of testing to improve the product.

Good observation. Pat

Ganaraska 02-11-2010 06:20 PM

To answer the original question. Here is what they are driving at.

You DO NOT need super heavy duty springs or heavy duty spring bars on your hitch. In fact, too stiff springs and too stiff spring bars are worse than too light.

There have been MANY cases of Airstream trailers damaged, the fronts bent, and shaken to pieces by too stiff springs, too stiff spring bars, and too heavy duty tow vehicles.

There have been some very long, in depth, informative threads on this subject. But the consensus is most car dealers, trailer dealers and owners tend to go too heavy duty thinking if some is good, more is better so too much should be just right. This is not true.

So go easy and you will be fine.

Airstreamer67 02-12-2010 06:53 AM

REDNAX, at your suggestion, I just re-read the owner's manual for my 3/4 ton truck. The "towing" section comprises 33 pages of the 420-page manual, or about 7.9% of the total.

My manual goes through all the weight limitations and provides a lot of good towing advice including load balancing, etc.

As I noted in my answer above, my truck's cast-iron diesel engine puts a lot of weight on the front axle, so much so that I must be careful not to overload it. In fact, my owner's manual has a warning:

"NOTE: Diesel-equipped vehicles not recommended for snow plowing."

This is put in there because the weight of a snow plow can overload the front axle. Taking a bit of weight off the front axle with a load in the rear can do some good for my truck. It rides better with a load than without.

The owner's manual has only one reference to weight-transfer hitches. It reads:

"Load-equalizing hitches on large rigs may transfer weight to each of the vehicle's axles. This weight must be included in capacity calculations when determining if the vehicle is loaded within safe limits."

In reference to your warnings and the attached article's warnings about various legal implications of towing, it appears my owner's manual does not contradict my techniques in any way. Each rig must be judged by its own distinctive characteristics, and too much generalizing may be misleading.

As far as legal liabilities, anyone who tows is already at great risk if your own statement is to be believed regarding the assertion that "trailer towing doubles the risk of loss-of-control accidents." A trial lawyer could make all of us look like reckless fools in court with that assertion if we have an accident while daring to tow a trailer on public roads.

As in all situations, we must all use good common sense when following all the dogma.

Regarding the original poster's topic, my answer is using a heavy-sprung vehicle for its load-carrying characteristics, and softening the ride with an Air Safe hitch that uses Firestone airbags.

The best of both worlds: a truck that can handle the heavy loads I carry, along with a way to isolate the shock with an air-ride-soft cushion to protect my trailer's delicate limbs.

Ganaraska 02-12-2010 07:28 AM

"I did watch the movie 'Long Long Trailer' and was surprised to see the tow dolly for tongue support. I never thought about that working and wonder why it is largely not used today. Pretty impressive trailer for a car with about 125 horse power especially the scenes at the Whitney Portal access road, a short distance south of where I live. I have been on that road, it is steep, narrow and with tight curves."

Do you remember Nicky freaking out because Tacy was burning up the road at 35 MPH? Lol

The tow dolly was a workaround to allow an ordinary car to tow a heavy trailer with high tongue weight. Did you notice how small those wheels are? About 8 inch diameter, like a wheelbarrow wheel.

I don't think those wheels bearings and tires would stand up to today's speeds. Besides we have better hitches. Once the load equalizing hitches came in, we had a better and cheaper way of dealing with the tongue weight problem.

The 125HP Mercury did well, but did you notice they substituted a Lincoln in the mountain driving scenes? You have to look close to catch it.But it's definitely a Lincoln.

I like the movie and watch it regularly.

jmtandem 02-12-2010 09:46 AM


Yes, the tow dolly almost looks like more work than benefit. Yes, the cars were substituted for certain scenes. My opinion is that the trailer was towed by a truck to the filming scenes, then hitched to the car. If you are familar with the Whitney Portal access road it becomes pretty apparent that the car was working very hard to pull the trailer up any grade, and probably did not on the Whitney Portal road. This is the road to the beginning of the Mt. Whitney trail from the Lone Pine (east side) and ends at about 8000 feet in a parking lot, store, trailhead, etc. Since many motorcycles today have more than 125 hp box stock, it is pretty amazing what the previous generation towed with back then. It is an interesting movie and you can see in some places the camera was tilted to make the hill appear even steeper than it is, and it is steep.

hhendrix 03-15-2010 01:07 PM

Wow, I thought this would be easy, but now I have a headache. The reference to the owner's manual caused me to take a look at mine. I have a 2001 F350 7.3 Diesel 4WD automatic towing a 2009 Flying Cloud 27FB. The AS has a GVWR of 7600 lbs. and hitch weight of 790 lbs. according to the specs. I was a little surprised when I first hitched the AS to my 1 ton Ford as to how much the rear of the truck dropped and that was without a WD hitch. I've put loads heavier than that in the bed with little or no drop. But I understand the leverage principle involved when the load is further from the rear axle. I bought a Reese type WD hitch because my receiver required one for over 5000 lbs. GVWR or 500 lbs. tongue weight. The bars are rated at 1200 lbs. The arguments here regarding the cargo loads of 3/4 and 1 ton diesel truck seem to ring true to me. But here is what my owner's manual says:

When hooking up a trailer using a load equalizing hitch, always use the following procedure:

1. Park the unloaded vehicle of a level surface. With the ignition on and all doors closed, allow the vehicle to stand for several minutes so that it can level.
2. Measure the height or a reference point on the front and rear bumpers at the center of the vehicle.
3. Attach the trailer to the vehicle and adjust the hitch equalizers so that the front bumper height is within 0-13 mm (0.5 inch) of the reference point. After proper adjustment, the rear bumper should be no higher than in step 3.

I'm guessing that when I first hitch the AS, my rear bumper drop is a least 3" and and the front raised maybe an inch. I have also gone to an local and reputable RV dealer here and reviewed the proper procedure with their hitch specialist. His procedure was basically the same as recommended by Ford. However looking back and at the manual, I'm confused and wondering if there is a typo in the owner's manual regarding: After proper adjustment, the rear bumper should be no higher than in step 3. Should it read Step 2?

Anyone have a newer Ford manual that says differently? Second question: If the WD hitch bars are rated at 1200 lbs or whatever, what effect does the amount of tension you apply with the adjustment to the number of chain links have on the trailer/TV combination?

OK time for lunch. I might have 2 beers today instead of one. Thanks, Hal.

2airishuman 03-15-2010 01:17 PM


Originally Posted by hhendrix (Post 824222)
...OK time for lunch. I might have 2 beers today instead of one. Thanks, Hal.

good plan

yeah, it reads like a typo and should be 'step 2'

i'll look in the newer ford book later, but u might wanna read a few posts in THIS thread...

and this one which actually measured the forces...

read them before AND after the beverage lunch...:D


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