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Old 05-22-2018, 04:32 PM   #1
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Unhappy Weight Distribution Bar Mystery

Please help smart Airstreamers! This one is driving me crazy.

We are newbies. Bought our 22FB last summer and only had the chance to get two quick weekend practice camps in before this year. Plus we towed it around for inspection, winterizing, de-winterizing, etc. So maybe 8 total tows.

In every case, attaching the weight redistribution bars was a snap, including at least twice when both trailer and truck bed (Tundra '16) were fully loaded with gear.

Until, this weekend that is. All of a sudden, the hitch on the truck is much lower to the ground after you put the hitch on the ball. So low that we can't even get the redistribution bars in at all without taking everything out of the bed of the truck, attaching them, and then re-loading. There is essentially nothing in the trailer. No lead weights under the bed, etc.

I can't think of anything that has changed since last season except...we just put on new tires. Same size as was on before ST225/75/R15 but they are Goodyear Endurance which is a new type than before. Could the tires be taller and tipping the trailer forward more? That seems unlikely...

Nothing else has changed, but suddenly getting the bars on is super difficult and requires us to do all our loading after the trailer is hitched. What am I missing???

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Old 05-22-2018, 04:45 PM   #2
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After fastening the coupler to the ball use you electric tongue jack to raise the trailer and truck up high enough to make connection of the WD bars easier.

Ray B.
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:34 PM   #3
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^ ^ ^ ^
What he said!
Use the jack to lift both the trailer and truck a few inches, before trying to connect the bars.

Do you have the top of hitch ball the correct height? This dimension is given in the trailer Owners Manual, for the hitch ball height after everything is hooked up. Usually the unconnected height is ~1" higher, as the rear of the truck should settle ~1" when the trailer is added.
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:38 PM   #4
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Good practical solution. Thanks!

But I'm still perplexed... what changed that I never had to do this before?
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:50 PM   #5
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Is the trailer sitting at the same angle (level) since the tire replacement?


Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TomPiper View Post
Good practical solution. Thanks!

But I'm still perplexed... what changed that I never had to do this before?
Most Weight distribution hitches with bars, do require the trailer to be first coupled to the hitch ball and then raised 6 to 8 inchs using power jack prior to swinging the bars into position. If i don't tow for 6 months.....sometimes i forget the procedure. Also, have sufficient wood blocks under the power jack to assist in raising the trailer and your Tow vehicle. Always carry xtra wood blocks.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:44 AM   #7
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Yes trailer was in same spot (and level) where we store it when we first ran into the issue.

We never had to jack up the trailer + ball before and I guess I would have assumed this puts too much stress on that connection. But I can see how it would do the trick.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:15 AM   #8
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Could the rear wheels of your truck have settled into a dip, hole, or rut, making the rear of the truck lower than it was the last time? Just trying to figure out what might have changed.

I use the technique of raising the trailer tongue and truck with the jack just to make it easier to lever the weight distribution bars into their saddles on the trailer. Old ladies have to find ways to make things easier, and that works well.
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Old 05-23-2018, 06:11 AM   #9
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Are the wd bars reversible?
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:31 AM   #10
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It’s easy to have brain fade. We arrived at a park in CO last summer and I disconnected the hitch ball before removing the bars. I worked and worked and the frustration continued to build. Then I had that AHHA moment. Connected the hitch ball and all was OK. It had only been 12 hours since I had done the drill. I blame it on the altitude, or was it age? Whatever!
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:06 AM   #11
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What type of rear suspension do you have? If air, that might be the problem. Besides the front jack on trailer, we also carry a small bottle jack to raise the hitch up when we can not get the trailer jack foot pad connected.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RLS View Post
Besides the front jack on trailer, we also carry a small bottle jack to raise the hitch up when we can not get the trailer jack foot pad connected.
I'm a believer too.
Only in my case, I had raised the truck/trailer to attach the bars, and then the e-jack refused to come down. Impossible to crank, can't drive the truck, can't disconnect the hitch. No one to help.
All the time I had an old bottle jack at home in storage.
(I resolved the problem by finding the truck's dinky jack, and cranking it up on several boards while it was under the receiver.
Once the weight was off the tongue jack, it retracted, and I was on my way.)
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:32 AM   #13
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Tom: Good advice above. There's are threads here on the best procedures to use for connecting and disconnecting various WD hitches. You don't mention what brand of hitch you are using. Each brand has its own procedure. You mention "bars" which means you may be using an Equal-I-zer which is what I use. In my experience, if you can get Equal-I-zer bars on and off without hitching then lifting the joined truck/trailer then they probably are distributing little or no weight.

Feel free to provide more info about your setup. I think you'll find that the feedback will get more specific. Some bright person might even figure out what changed (especially if some critical bolt on your type of hitch turns out to have been under-torqued)
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:03 AM   #14
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We always have the leveling blocks under the hitch pad. It makes for less work on the electric hitch to raise high enough to get the bars off and on. Also if really on a slope to enhance trailer leveling
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:45 AM   #15
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We use Equalizer WD bars and had a devil of a time early on. The airbag suspension on our TV added to the confusion.

The tips provided here definitely are relevant. I would add:
1) carry at least one spare “slow blow” fuse for your jack. Hand cranking works well, but I have blown the fuse lifting the AS and TV. Slow blow fuses are sometimes difficult to find. Airstream and NAPA auto can get them.
2) Usually the problem is worse when the front of the TV is angled up from the rear. I learned to park level, or with front of tv lower than rear.
3) it sometimes helps to connect and/or disconnect the WD bars before (or after) parking in your space. This allows you to be sure you are on level ground. It also makes for a quieter and easier backing up and turning the AS.
4) always put fresh grease on the ball before every tow
5) putting tension on the ball by pulling an inch forward after placing the coupler on may help with releasing it or connecting it because the latch moves forward from the rear of the hitch.
6) be nice to other people because some days it just goes easier than others for no obvious reason. I suspect it is due to that karma thing.

Overall, I have had great towing for over 40,000 miles in all terrains, traffic, and weather conditions with the Equalizer. It is very stable with no sway whatsoever. And the weight distribution is excellent as confirmed by numerous CAT scale checks.

I wish you some great trips this season!
"Having differences makes a difference"
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:47 AM   #16
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I unhitched in a campground and a week later torrential rain had let the trailer sink so far I could NOT get rehitched. After many tries a large man walked up and solved the problem, by getting two large friends and all three sitting on the tonneau cover. Posted the story here, and another simple solution was offered - partially deflate the truck's rear tires, hitch and reinflate.

Creative problem solving - now why couldn't I have thought of that?

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