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Old 09-16-2020, 10:05 AM   #1
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WD recommendation

I am pulling a 2019 Bambi 16 with a 2017 Toyota Highlander, V6, and find the unit performs well. There is a slight settlement of the Toyota bumper (maybe 1 to 1-1/2 inches) from the trailer tongue weight. This rig is little affected by cross winds (maybe experienced up to 20 -30 mph) or semis.
After reading many of the forum issues, I am contemplating a weight transfer and sway hitch, mostly to take out the "flexing" experienced going through a dip at speed and as a safety precaution.
Will the hitch be worth it?
Thanks
Rosehill

my first post
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:17 AM   #2
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Are you towing today without a WD hitch?

If that's true and you're relatively satisfied, I would opt for a minimalist WD hitch solution. Something like an Anderson No-Sway hitch would easily do the deed with some added weight transfer and sway resistance. All while being lightweight and easy to use.

I enjoyed using the Anderson hitch with a lighter 23D that I previously towed. With my larger 27FB today, I needed a more robust solution that could apply more weight distribution.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:47 AM   #3
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The Andersen is a very good choice as mentioned, particularly if you don't have a Marvel type Atwood 88xxx series hitch. If you do then a couple things will need to be done to address manufacturing variances to be sure the Andersen obtains sufficient ball tension so it works properly. The Hensley Cub is an expensive but excellent choice. There are other good choices, if you don't like these.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:51 AM   #4
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Welcome to the Forums!

I took a few trips pulling my '73 Globetrotter towing on the ball. My first tow vehicle was a 2001 Infiniti QX4 (same as a Nissan Pathfinder), and that told me that I definitely needed weight distribution, and/or a heftier tow vehicle.

I upgraded to a Mercedes GL320. Towing on the ball seemed fine, but I did get some "dolphining" going over the right kind of bump/dip, and some sway when big trucks passed.

So I got an Equalizer hitch, which provides weight distribution and dampens sway from side to side, and the up-down dolphining. Towing is now noticeably more stable and in control. Surely, there are "better" hitches, heavier hitches, and definitely more expensive hitches, but the Equalizer does the job just fine for me with my TV and trailer combination. The key to all of these hitches is getting them set up correctly.

good luck!
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:53 AM   #5
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I am picking up my 2014 Flying Cloud 20FB on Monday. TV is 2014 GL350. I had a LOT of Q’s because GL350 is rated at 600 lb tongue weight, 20FB is 630.lb dry. My 20FB came with an Equilizer WD Hitch.

The kind folks on these forums pointed me to the folks at Can-Am, who were incredibly patient and helpful. Here is what they said about my WD hitch:

“We don't recommend the Equal-i-zer because it uses untapered WD bars with little flex and almost zero range of motion. Very hard on receivers and the A-frame of the Airstream.

We use the Eaz-Lift Elite with friction sway. The tapered bars absorb much more of the forces exerted when the bars unload and reload, such as when you're traversing uneven pavement“

I just ordered the Eaz-Lift Elite and will sell my Equalizer on FB Marketplace.

Just wanted to share, this stuff is hard to figure out. And it’s harder to find recommendations from trusted sources.

Best,
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Old 09-19-2020, 05:07 AM   #6
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:55 AM   #7
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The Eaz Lift Elite and Reese share the same basic design. They are both good hitches. The sway damping is not as effective as with other choices but if you are close to 15% tongue you don't need as much sway control. The Equalizer has stronger sway control but as was mentioned the bars are stiff. The consensus on this forum would have taken you to the same conclusion, Roger, and you would have been encouraged to purchase a more forgiving hitch than the Equalizer.
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:11 PM   #8
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBart View Post
“We don't recommend the Equal-i-zer because it uses untapered WD bars with little flex and almost zero range of motion. Very hard on receivers and the A-frame of the Airstream."
Equalizers are probably the most used hitch for Airstreams. People have towed Airstreams all over the country and not encountered problems.
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:34 PM   #10
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Stiff tension bars increase strain on structural components. If there isn't a specific purpose to choosing a stiff design, it is easier on the trailer to avoid them so that a greater more gentle range of motion is possible without undue stress and strain. Can you offer an advantage to having stiff bars with more limited range of motion? I can't.
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Old 09-19-2020, 07:09 PM   #11
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As evidenced by the wide use of the Equalizer WD system, it's proven itself, over decades. The square WD bars with steeper progressive spring rates does have the effect of increasing stability while reducing porpoising. Also easy lash up as it doesn't generally require potentially dangerous large levers to load up tapered springs (using tongue jack is usually enough).

It would be worthwhile to know, that for whatever front axle weight restoration (FALR) target, every one of the WD bars regardless of taper, is creating the same amount of tension and force. It is when the hitch is asked to flex more, that tapered bars will have spring rates that increase more progressively.

That said, it's the off-nominal application that one needs the more gentle progressive tapered bars. Three cases -
1) What Can-AM specializes in - using atypical or lighter weight vehicles that don't have the hitch or unibody structure to support WD forces to begin with
2) Opposite of that, HD trucks that have so much structure and stiff suspensions, that when combined with some variant of #3, unreasonable forces are channeled into the weaker link that is the Airstream tongue
3) End users that abuse setup and dial in greater than 50% FALR (100% eek!) as recommended by most vehicle manufacturers. Or those with large HD trucks that then size up the hitch to 12k or 14k units believing more is better.
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:32 PM   #12
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50% FALR or under is the typical recommendation for vehicles towing at the maximum weight limit. It is recommended because more tension exacerbates the approaching oversteer instability responsible for them setting that limit. It's a trade off the manufacturers team makes to maximize towing limit. "Hey we can get 500 lbs more on the limit if we back off on WD tension even though we know full well the vehicle will handle poorer and feel less comfortable". "Okay let's do it, after all, when you're at max nobody is expecting a nice ride." If you are towing near the weight limit, it is wise to heed the 50% or less guidance. If you are towing less than 75% of the limit, set WD to a setting that produces the best suspension, steering and handling response. If you have a smaller trailer, consider a design with tapered bars which are more forgiving.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:32 PM   #13
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Agreed. It is somewhat at odds however.

If towing much less than the limit, generally the setup will require less WD compensation to begin with. As by definition, towing less than capacity, tongue weights and trailer influences will be less, and the rig as a whole will feel better to begin with.

It's setups needing to overcompensate with more WD tension, to cover for some other shortcoming - either capacity, trailer weight balance, too long of an overhang with some overprojected drop hitch, etc.

Back to topic, the Equalizer is an excellent hitch when used and setup appropriately. Easy to setup, dial-in, hitch up, and is durable. It's common and in the off chance you'll need support, it can be found just about anywhere on the road.

If the OP were to use one, they would dial in relatively light to appropriate WD tension. Just as it was meant to be used. I use one and find it very effective. But so are many other hitches on the market.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:09 AM   #14
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WD on

Thanks for the informative, if not consistent, responses.
I now better understand the idea of a "softer" transfer to reduce dolphining. Makes sense.
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:52 PM   #15
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Part of the reason there is conflicting advice about weight distribution is due to the differing purposes it is applied. Originally it was developed to address axle and suspension limitations in 1960 vintage sedans and station wagons. Then controls engineering got involved to help explain why though suspension components were no longer breaking the vehicles were now more frequently careening out of control.

today WD tension is still improperly used to address axle limits when towing over the safe capability of the native vehicle. In this case adding tension just makes oversteer instability worse.

The second purpose is to improve steering, handling and suspension response on vehicle combinations that are not near the towing capability limits. In this situation the warnings about excessive front axle load return (FALR) is generally unwarranted, and the combination should be set to provide the best and most comfortable experience as oversteer instability is not an issue. For most setups, the best experience is achieved near 100% FALR.
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:11 PM   #16
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As with most any technical problem, it's a confluence of factors. To overly focus on any one factor is to potentially miss other important considerations.

The primary reason for any WD at all, is because significant weight is being carried at an extreme end of the vehicle, outside of it's stable wheelbase. This creates a moment reducing front axle traction, greatly increases rear axle load, and creates leverage for the trailer to impose yaw and attitude forces upon the tow vehicle.

100% FALR should not be used as a crutch, particularly in long trucks or weaker unibody vehicles. Your Airstream tongue won't appreciate the forces either. Articulated vehicles need to be able to articulate to travers dips and uneven pavement. WD should be applied sufficiently, yet still allow for reasonable flexibility without undue forces to either tow vehicle or trailer.

If more stability is needed, there are other variables at play that may be overlooked. There are other knobs that can and should be turned to dial in the setup including tire pressure, better loading of weight in the trailer, reduced weight behind the trailer axles, bringing the ball closer and tighter to the TVs rear bumper, etc.

To overly focus and rely on any single variable, is to miss other setup issues, and compromise other potentially important considerations.
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Old 09-20-2020, 02:12 PM   #17
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pteck, that was a very reasoned, thoughtful and thorough challenge. You are of course right that these other simple measures should be encouraged first before the more severe brute force method is used. I think I am going to put some of this to use and see if I can maintain a good experience without so much tension. Thanks for the pushback!
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