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Old 05-31-2006, 07:58 AM   #21
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1989 25' Excella
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I would strongly suggest you go out before your trip and purchase a quality torque wrench (in the correct range) and the sockets needed to torque your hitch and your lug nuts, and a couple of box wrenches. As a matter of fact it is a good idea to carry an entire tool kit...
I always keep these with me when we travel. I check my hitch before every trip, and before returning home. Lug nuts are checked 2-3 times/season.
Your rig is brand new and will need more frequent checks this season (things will eventually settle in).
Go out and spend the $100, these are not items you want to skimp on...(the peace of mind is worth it)
After a couple of trips, you will be much more comfortable with the whole towing experience. Spend some time learning your hitch, torquing the proper nuts/bolts, etc.
Drive at reasonable speeds, plan your parking/gas stops so you always have an easy way to pull out, get some walkie talkies so your partner can help in backing into the site and before you know it you will be a pro! (But that doesn't mean you can start skipping the safety checks above!)
I have laminated check list that I review EVERY time before pulling out. I have written every single detail on that list and I review it several times before hitting the road. I have yet to have any towing related catastrophies and I believe it is in large part due to good preparation.m I value my family time and don't want to spend it on the side of the road or worse, in an accident.
Get the tools, get comfortable with all your equipment, make a thorough check-list, and you will have a much better time.

Bill
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:00 AM   #22
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Ouch!

Those photo's made me cringe!

Best of luck in getting things sorted out and repaired.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:11 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
The dealer installed the Equal-i-zer on my trailer and truck directly from the box. I really didn't watch, but he was referring to the instructions for measurements for deflection when the tongue was lowered onto the ball without the spring bars when I came into the shop after signing all of the paper work. When I was ready to pull out of the shop the truck looked level.

I re-examined the scratch when I got home tonight and the scratch seems high to have hit the wheels. But there are no scratches on the wheels or abrasions on the tires. The dent is so shallow I don’t think the bottom rail would have reached the wheels as far back as they are set. (See photos below.)
Well it doesn't sound like you had a problem with the load distribution within the trailer. I don't see an issue there. You said you had a truck. What brand and model is it?

One thing has me slightly puzzled. I checked the hitch weight on your trailer and Airstream rates it for 850 lbs. I'm wondering why your dealer sold you the model which supports 1,200 lbs. There is a 1,000 lb. model available. While I don't support exceeding a hitch rating, using a hitch which is too big can prevent the spring bars from doing their job.

If you browse the various threads on the Forum, you will find some consensus that in some cases you have to sometimes use lower capacity spring bars to compensate for heavily sprung tow vehicles. In the case of the Equal-i-zer, the hitch weight is an important component because the friction control portion is down by the ball below those socket bolts. Noting that you did do a successful tow earlier, albeit with a little more weight up front I have some concern regarding the hitch. Assuming the dealer did a proper installation and when hitched the tow vehicle and trailer are in a level position, I have to question as to whether the proper sized hitch was used relative to your tow vehicle. I'm wondering whether the 1,000 lbs model would have been a better fit for your situation.

Also as a note to everyone who owns an Equalizer, one of the problems with the design of that hitch is the tight clearance for the hitch ball nut that renders many sockets unusable, thus folks don't check that nut as they should. While prowling around the Equal-i-zer web site I noted that they now sell a thin walled socket that will fit. They also sell spare parts kits with extra pins and the like. Buy one of those and you never will need it. Don't buy one and you will drop and misplace a pin, on the first trip out. It never fails.

Jack
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
You said you had a truck. What brand and model is it?
I have a 2005 Ford F-250 desiel crew cab 2 wheel drive with short bed with tow/haul package and intergrated trailer brake controler (excellent performing system by the way).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
One thing has me slightly puzzled. I checked the hitch weight on your trailer and Airstream rates it for 850 lbs. I'm wondering why your dealer sold you the model which supports 1,200 lbs. There is a 1,000 lb. model available. While I don't support exceeding a hitch rating, using a hitch which is too big can prevent the spring bars from doing their job.

Jack
I requested the extra weight capacity so I could haul my toys (golf cart or ATV) in the bed of the truck. I was afraid I would exceed the capacity of the 1,000 lb bars when trying to distribute the weight of the load and tongue of the trailer. Would it be advisable to get the lighter bars for when not carrying a load? Those I can get locally.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:48 AM   #25
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The hitch is not designed to distribute load added to your truck bed.
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:03 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
Also as a note to everyone who owns an Equalizer, one of the problems with the design of that hitch is the tight clearance for the hitch ball nut that renders many sockets unusable, thus folks don't check that nut as they should. While prowling around the Equal-i-zer web site I noted that they now sell a thin walled socket that will fit. They also sell spare parts kits with extra pins and the like. Buy one of those and you never will need it. Don't buy one and you will drop and misplace a pin, on the first trip out. It never fails.

Jack
Yes the hitch ball nut is a very tight fit. When I set up my hitch, I properly torqued this nut, and then peened the thread so it cannot come loose. (A bead of weld would do it also). This allows to me to check it visually very easily, as I peend the nut also as an alignment mark...it has never moved in 4 years of use.
I do check all other nuts, as indicated in the instructions, with a torque wrench.
There has been much discussion on several message boards about the different rated spring bars. As long as you have more than you need, I wouldn't spend much time worrying about it...

Bill
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:38 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
I have a 2005 Ford F-250 desiel crew cab 2 wheel drive with short bed with tow/haul package and intergrated trailer brake controler (excellent performing system by the way).

I requested the extra weight capacity so I could haul my toys (golf cart or ATV) in the bed of the truck. I was afraid I would exceed the capacity of the 1,000 lb bars when trying to distribute the weight of the load and tongue of the trailer. Would it be advisable to get the lighter bars for when not carrying a load? Those I can get locally.
Well you might be able to get a trade from your dealer on the bars, or possibly a trial use to see if you get an improvement. Contrary to what some think, heavier is better is not always the best choice and can cause handling problems. You all ready have a substantial truck that's going to carry that weight pretty well. It's hard to diagnose this as we are doing, so quite honestly you do have some things to checked out. Were all guessing at this point.

I would think that since you bought this hitch from your dealer, he would be as concerned as you regarding the handling issues. Obviously buying the lighter bars might cure your problem, but then again it might be something else in the equation. If I were in your shoes, I'd go back to the dealer explain the problems, let them do some diagnosis and see what their suggestions are. Let them do a test tow with you and if the lighter bars are available, try them out too. This just looks too much like a situation where the bars could be the culprit. You need to make sure those bars have to exert some force to level the TV and trailer. If they don't, you are losing some of the friction necessary to minimize your sway.

Jack
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:31 AM   #28
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Well, we are back from our non-Airstream vacation and are going on a short week end trip leaving after work this Friday.

1) I will get a torque wrench this afternoon and check all the lugs on the wheels and on the hitch except the hitch ball. I will have to order the thin walled socket from Equal-i-zer today.

2) I will try adding four or five 40-lb bags of fertilizer to the bed of the truck to see if that helps soften the springs.

3) If neither of these helps, I will take the trailer and hitch to my local hitch shop that sells Equal-l-zer brand hitches and ask for their analysis and advise.

I have perused the Equal-i-zer website and according to them, the lighter spring bars are not compatible with the hitch head I have, meaning if I have to go with lighter bars, I will have to get a whole new hitch. If that is what it takes, I will ask to try one out over the 4th of July when we take our next camping trip.

We have continued to rearrange the contents of the trailer in an attempt to redistribute the load in the hopes that we can balance it more. Hopefully, some of this will solve the problems because our 4th of July trip will be 800 miles round trip.

Thanks for all of the advise and expertise that comes with towing experience. I will let you all know how it turns out.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:51 AM   #29
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I believe the Equal-i-zer uses bars of different cross section dimensions to provide the different stiffnesses... therefore you cannot just change bars. The sockets that the bars plug into are sized for the bars. Perhaps new sockets could be purchased, or a machine shop could make a pair of adapters that the lighter bars would fit into, and the adapters would fit into the larger sockets.

I recently re-torqued the bolts that hold the bar sockets onto my hitch, and found they were WAY LOOSE. Apparently the bottom of the hitch casting and the sockets themselves wear away while providing the friction effect, thus loosening the assembly. The Equalizer is a self-destructing device! Upon re-torquing to spec, the sockets turn much more stiffley now(presumably providing more friction?) I always try to keep the socket-to-casting area, and the hitch ball itself, clean and lightly greased.
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Old 06-13-2006, 08:47 AM   #30
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I believe the two lighter sets of bars are interchangeable. The heaviest bars, I believe are not.
Having said that, call Equalizer direct, their customer support awesome.

The hitch bolts, and most other bolts, should stopr stretching (loosening) after some use...
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Old 06-13-2006, 09:46 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex
...The hitch bolts, and most other bolts, should stopr stretching (loosening) after some use...
Do you think it's the bolts stretching, or is it the sockets and casting surfaces wearing? My hitch is showing wear there.
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:24 AM   #32
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Re-tightening is GOOD!

Dan & Bill -

I too found loose-ish parts after the first really long pull. ABQ to Michigan. Checked all along at every stop.

2 weeks in Michigan. Then back to ABQ via Mt. Rushmore. Checked again at every stop.

Once I got home and parked. I checked again.

Loose-ish.

What was different??? NO IDEA.

I too noticed that there was some wear on the 'saddles' where the WD bars ride on the A frame. Guess that is a normal item. That is what EQ HQ told me. I will get many more miles out of the setup before I get anywhere close to wearing the thing out.

I WILL HOWEVER be continueing to check hitch piece tightness at EVERY stop - for the life of the hitch. Torque wrenches rule!!!

Axel
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:43 AM   #33
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I agree with Silvertoy;just carry a tq wrench and keep checking(only takes a minute, and is well worth the peace of mind). I also agree that the wear you see is probably normal, although after using an Eq for 3 season now, I don't really see any wear on mine. I do put some white grease on before each tow...
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:46 AM   #34
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When it comes to tools, I have two left hands. What would be the appropriate sized torque wrench? There wasn't one available on the Equial-i-zer web site. I'll stop at Sears and get one tonight and check the lugs as well...anyone know off the top of their heads what size socket they take?

I have ordered the thin walled socket...that one socket was over $35.00! But that is the cost of doing business as was said earlier.
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:02 PM   #35
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I hope it will hold torque longer than each stop! I was thinking that checking torque once per season, or once per trip would be enough... maybe not!

I have both 3/8" drive and 1/2" drive click-type torque wrenches from Sears. I don't remember the socket sizes, but you could just buy a socket set (non-metric) and be ready for most anything. Be sure to get sockets whose drive size(s) matches the torque wrench(es). A breaker bar of 2' or longer would be handy for the hitch ball.

- Socket bolts need 45 - 60 ft/lbs
- 3/4" bolts that hold hitch to drop bar 200 ft/lbs max.
- Hitch ball ?
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:12 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmac
ball.

- Socket bolts need 45 - 60 ft/lbs
- 3/4" bolts that hold hitch to drop bar 200 ft/lbs max.
- Hitch ball ?
Hitch bal:

1" shank - 250 ft-lb
1.25" shank - 450 ft-lbs.

I scored a 3/4" drive breaker bar at Sears for $20, and just bend it as hard as I can.
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:29 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmac
I hope it will hold torque longer than each stop! I was thinking that checking torque once per season, or once per trip would be enough... maybe not!
I check with the tq wrench beginning of the season (of course) and after any long tow (more than a couple hundred miles), I haven't found it necessary to check after every single tow. A quick once-over after unhitching suffices for me after short trips (I fold the bars back with a good kick to prevent bumping into them all week-end) this is usually a good indication if anything has come loose...
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:16 PM   #38
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I needed the info on ft/lbs. I don't have a clue how they are sold. I have a socket set, but they propbably aren't deep enough to go over the lugs. So a second set for the Airstream couldn't hurt any way. Thanks guys.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:41 PM   #39
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Well, I tightened the lugs to the upper end of the recommended torques (110-120 ft-lbs.). They were probably all in the lower end of that range as they didn't move more than a couple of degrees.

The redistribution of load in the trailer seems to have really paid off. I am going to have the alignment checked on the truck to make sure it is correct before heading out for the 4th and re-torque the sockets on the hitch head.

Now the bad news. As I said earlier, a deer ran into the front curb side corner of the Airstream about a mile before the turn-off for FDR State Park just south of Warm Springs, GA a little over an hour from our home. Check out the photo below to see how much damage a running deer can do to an Airstream traveling at approximately 50 mph.

At least the Airstream survived...that's more than I can say for the deer. By the time we headed home on Sunday, the carcus was in the ditch and someone had removed the head for a trophy.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:16 PM   #40
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Holly S*#T

wheewww.. that is dent! Most important the family is safe But wow that poor deer.... What if you were towing an SOB... That deer would have been sleeping in your bed! You don't want to have to clean deer poop from the sheets………. I love the "Changes in Latitude" name but somehow. FRANK THE TANK is starting to fit...



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