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Old 05-18-2021, 12:58 PM   #1
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1998 25' Safari
2017 16' Sport
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To Sway or not to Sway

Good Day Airstreamers!

I purchased a 16ft Sport/Bambi 2017.
I will be towing it with a 2014 FJ Toyota Cruiser.
I purchased the Equal-I-zer Weight Distribution kit-
Model # 90-00-1000 4 Point Sway Control
Max Tongue Weight 1000 lbs
Max Trailer Weight 10,000 lbs

My question is that I have heard that the Equal-I-zer kit can actually do more damage to my FJ rear axel? Anyone hauling a 16ft Sport/Bambi have any experience if this kit damaged the rear axel?
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Old 05-18-2021, 01:35 PM   #2
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I'm not sure how a weight-distributing hitch anywhere near a correct setup could damage the rear axle of your tow vehicle. Depending on the strength of the receiver, you might take some damage there in an extreme condition, but what the Equal-I-Zer does is reduce the amount of downward force on the tow vehicle's rear axle by leveraging that force onto the steer axle and the trailer axle(s).
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Old 05-18-2021, 01:36 PM   #3
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Never heard about an Equalizer hitch damaging axles. I have heard the opinion that because the bars aren't tapered, they create a very stiff connection, which could damage a relatively light trailer (in terms of transmitting too much of the vehicle movement/shock to the tongue of the trailer).

I tow a light trailer with the same setup and have not seen any issues. There are several variables involved in the way that the spring bars are designed and manufactured, and I suppose at some point you either trust the manufacturer to not sell you something that is going to cause damage, or you don't. I generally feel like if my towing is done within the limits set out by the vehicle manufacturer and the hitch manufacturer, and I have the hitch set up properly, then I ought to be in pretty good shape. Tow with an under-rated or over-rated hitch or tow vehicle, and you are likely to have problems.

good luck!
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Old 05-18-2021, 01:50 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the great information. I know this Equalizer may be overkill for my Bambi/FJ Cruiser set up- but rather have the added insurance of the Equalizer since I have no clue what I am doing.
Sorry for the stupid question: Do you feel the Equalizer helps when backing up the trailer? -- yes, I am new to towing and I have tried backing up the trailer without the Equalizer and for me it is difficult (with more practice) wondering when I add on the Equalizer would it get easier to back in the FJ better? Right now it is so Swirly and awkward.
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Old 05-18-2021, 02:03 PM   #5
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The Equalizer isn't a problem. It's the FJ that's got you.

https://www.cars.com/research/toyota-fj_cruiser/specs/
FJ is rated for towing 4700lbs (I had a 2015 4Runner, was rated at 5000lbs).
Allowable tongue weight is 10% of the towing capacity, so it was 500lbs for my 4Runner, would be 470lbs for your FJ.

You have a Curt receiver, I see (whereas I only had the factory hitch); however, even though the after-market Curt receiver may be rated for more, that doesn't mean that your FJ gets to change towing numbers: you're still limited to 470lbs of tongue.

https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2017-...lan-16-tr30733

Going by these numbers: this calls it 'hitch weight', but it's listed as 350lbs. (It's not, it'll be more than that, especially once loaded, but, we're going to go w/ the book spec for the moment.) That 350lb number is less that your possible 470lbs (we should add in the weight of the equalizer, but I don't know that off the top of my head, but, it's not more than 120lbs, right?). (You *should* have 12% to 15% of your trailer's total weight on the tongue.)

Your payload on your FJ says 1131lbs by your photo, but then has a reduction sticker too. Book value less the tongue weight of 350 (or more), leaves 781lbs of possible payload (or, less). How many passengers? Weight of each? Any other gear in the vehicle? If it's just you, you're probably okay, but if its a family of four, you might not have capacity for gear aside from the passengers.

FWIW, I traded my 4Runner in on a Sierra to tow my 20FC. 'Technically', the T4R would have been 'within limits', but I prefer to have a factor of safety, not towing at the margin....

Good luck...
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Old 05-18-2021, 02:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamaway View Post
I know this Equalizer may be overkill for my Bambi/FJ Cruiser set up- but rather have the added insurance of the Equalizer since I have no clue what I am doing.
Equalizer has a smaller brother called Fastway E-2. They even make some with tapered bars. Airstream says the hitch weight of the Bambi is 430 pounds. Look into the hitch with 600 pound bars.

Quote:
Do you feel the Equalizer helps when backing up the trailer? -- yes, I am new to towing and I have tried backing up the trailer without the Equalizer and for me it is difficult (with more practice) wondering when I add on the Equalizer would it get easier to back in the FJ better? Right now it is so Swirly and awkward.
No. Practice, practice, practice.
backing a short trailer is much harder than a long one, just because it get away faster. My advice is always "Go slow".
Very slow. If it gets off track, pull forward and realign rather than trying to overcorrect and 'save it'.
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Old 05-18-2021, 03:28 PM   #7
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Thank you for all the wisdom and hands on experience.
@LNBright- thank heavens you are great with the weight configuration- I came up with the exact # 700-750 lbs to still play with--- but indeed, I am about maxed out on weight and that scares the bee-jesus out of me.
I'm a solo gal with a pup so no passengers- and if I pick up a hitch-hiker I will have to ask him or her there weight-- ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
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Old 05-18-2021, 03:36 PM   #8
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No passengers, no luggage for extra folks: if carry more of your gear in the camper instead of the vehicle, you should be safe.

Since you (as I am) are running a single-axle camper, my suggestion is to NOT let your tires get old, keep them changed out so they're fresh. Keep them covered when parked. It'll help with their longevity. Use a TPMS system of some sort, so you can keep an eye on the trailer's tire pressures.

Suggestion is, once you get everything loaded, swing by a CAT scale, it'll help give you piece of mind to *know* that your numbers actually are where you think they are.

Have fun!
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Old 05-18-2021, 09:08 PM   #9
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Short, single axle trailers are always way more responsive (squirrely) when backing up. The hitch really shouldn't make any difference, in fact some weight distribution hitches recommend releasing the bars when backing (seems like Equalizers do not though).

As mentioned above, practice is the key, but what I have found for a good practice is to throw your right arm around the passenger seat, turn your head to the rear, and turn the wheel very subtly.

Good luck!
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Old 05-19-2021, 09:36 AM   #10
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It says under your name that you have both a one-axle 16-footer and a two-axle 25-footer, right? Having owned a single axle 19-foot AS, I know for a fact that your 16' AS will always back in, in a most squirrelly fashion. I now travel in a 25' AS and backing it up is a comparative breeze. I use an Equalizer hitch with sway control bar. I always remove the sway control bar before backing in because that's what I've read you're supposed to do.
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Old 05-19-2021, 10:20 AM   #11
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Hi

Pretty much all of the WD hitches are "sized" to match the trailer. You don't have to be a perfect match, but being off by 2 to 1 is *not* a good idea. In this case, the bars are *way* to stiff for the application. You should try to find something that better matches the weight of your trailer.

Once you get to a campground, it's a good idea to take the bars off your hitch. You will be doing some tight turns and back and forth maneuvers. There also may be some very non-level ground to deal with. None of this is good for your hitch (or your ears ). You are *not* going to have a sway problem at 5 MPH. If indeed you have a significant weight issue with the bars off .... maybe you need a different TV ....just saying ...

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Old 05-19-2021, 10:22 AM   #12
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I towed a 2011 Heartland MPG 19' travel trailer with my '07 FJ Cruiser for about four years and probably 20k miles. My FJ was a six-speed manual, 4WD. I towed it with an Andersen weight-distributing, anti-sway hitch. My experience with the Andersen, after thirty years with Reese Dual-Cam sway control was amazing. The Andersen hitch itself was half the weight, quiet, and clean. The control it provided with the FJ was amazing... it was like it was on rails, and never once in any of that time, even in reduced traction situations, give me a moment's pause. I traded the FJ five years ago for a Jeep Rubicon simply because I'd changed from towing a trailer with it to it being towed with a motorhome, and Toyota's insistence on using a center differential made using it as a towed vehicle, well, problematic. Had they used a conventional 4WD setup, I'd likely still have the FJ.

The Equalizer will be more like the Reese in many ways, but will certainly not hurt your FJ. Nor will being near your weight limits be an issue if the hitch is properly set up and installed. The discussion regarding the strength of the weight equalization bars is valid. Too heavy of bars will stress your trailer's axle and frame.

Don't be in a hurry, never drive over 65 mph (the rated top speed for ST rated trailer tires,) check your tire pressures and your hitch setup regularly, make sure your brake controller is working and properly adjusted, and you should have many many miles of trouble-free towing.

DSCF3340 by Roger H, on Flickr
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