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Old 06-28-2020, 08:46 PM   #1
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Equalizer 4 WDT on an Touareg V6 gas

I had the Airstream dealer install an Equalizer WD hitch on my VW Touareg 2916 V6 gas. Towing a 25 FC RB. Hooked up, it seemed good with the two vehicles level at the get go. After a few thousand miles, I am having the following concerns:

1) is it mounted correctly to distribute the weight for my vehicle?
2) when I turn, this sounds like it is shaving steel of the bars. It is a real show stopper when I stop for gas, or pull into a campground.

Need advice quick! Do I lubricate the grinding parts? Does this reduce the function of the hitch? Do I need to make the Can AM modifications to the hitch on the car? Do I just let it break in and it will quiet down?

Last week my dealer recommended I install the hard plastic pads on both arm contact points. Jez does that scream.

Maybe just need to tweak the install and put the forces in balance.

I am new at this, and a biological scientist by training. I know many of you have expert mechanical engineering experience.

Lay it on me.

Ed in The loud Cloud.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:26 AM   #2
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It all comes down to “how does it tow”? Does the trailer move significantly when you are passed by an eighteen wheeler or a box truck? Does it wallow back and forth? Does it track well? Is there any porpoising, especially on segmented concrete roads?

The noise is the frictional element of your anti-sway doing its thing. On my previous trailer, with a straight line hitch, at low speed it sounded like someone torturing a cat. Don’t grease anything — it will defeat the purpose of anti sway. The hard plastic pads may be quieter but probably won’t last very long.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:48 AM   #3
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Flathead, Equalizer says to spray lube the friction points on the head, where the square bars are pinned. There are plastic pieces you can buy that go on the "L" brackets the do not reduce function but will quiet down the squeaking/grinding you hear.

I made my own plastic pieces and it helped greatly and used wheel bearing grease to lube the head itself. At over 400 ft lb of torque on those two bolts, it will not effect the workings of the hitch. Like I said from the beginning this is from Equalizer themselves on maintenance of their hitch. In their installation/maintenance paper work it even says to just lube the "L"/square bar mating surfaces but the plastic pieces make it less messy and quiet it down a whole lot more than just putting grease on them. Did the greasing thing before I made the plastic pieces. As for the plastic pieces, I just used an old 5 gal bucket the had a crack it the bottom and a heat gun. I cut a couple of strips out of the bucket just wide enough to fit and about 6 inches long. Then I used the heat gun to heat the plastic so I could form it around the bracket and let it cool in place. Now there is no more annoying grind/squeak/squeal when going down the road or making turns. I do have to agree before doing this it was a head turner when pulling in somewhere.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:03 AM   #4
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In the 1st pic I am pointing at the plastic piece I made from the 5 gal bucket. In the other 2 pics I am pointing the places they say to live the head at. Sorry for the white specks on the L brackets, been polishing the trailer and just haven't washed the polish off yet. This is for the Equalizer 4 Way Weight Distribution Hitch per manufacturer's paper work on the lube points
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:15 AM   #5
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Noisy Equalizer

Equalizer makes a product called "Bracket Jackets". They clip right on to the L brackets. Costs about $20.00 for a pack of 2. That will quiet your noise down about 80%. Every once in a while if your doing a bunch of back and forth movements at tight angles you may get a grunt or two. Do not put any kind of lubricant on the L Brackets.

From reading you post it sounds like you need to read the Installation and instruction booklet that came with your hitch. Good info in there. Additionally, there are several instructional videos on YouTube posted by Equalizer that explains the proper install and set up techniques. Give them a look.

I tow a FC 25 RBT with an Equalizer and it does a great job. Like anything else it has to be properly sized, installed, adjusted, and maintained to provide the best result. Time for some homework to make sure you understand how it works and how to set yours up.

A visit to a CAT Scale and a three pass weigh in will be required to get your rig properly set up. There are videos about how to do this also.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flathead1984 View Post
when I turn, this sounds like it is shaving steel of the bars. It is a real show stopper when I stop for gas, or pull into a campground.

Need advice quick! Do I lubricate the grinding parts?
NO!
Remember, the friction is the sway control working. Equalizer sells "Bracket Jackets" that are hard pads to go on the "L" brackets. They quiet the noise a little but save wear on the metal parts. Do not lubricate the "L" pads.
You do grease the sockets on the side of the head where the bars plug in.
Mine and I assume all of them make creaking noises at walking speeds. Once while returning to my storage bay, someone yelled, "Put some grease on that!". Once, pulling away I heard a "snap" so loud even the office manager came out to see if I'd hit the building.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:22 PM   #7
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Also, check with your VW service department. When we were looking to buy a Tourareg, the service manager told us towing our 25 EB with equalizer would void the new vehicle warranty.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:53 PM   #8
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Sway Bracket Jackets

Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
It all comes down to “how does it tow”? Does the trailer move significantly when you are passed by an eighteen wheeler or a box truck? Does it wallow back and forth? Does it track well? Is there any porpoising, especially on segmented concrete roads?

The noise is the frictional element of your anti-sway doing its thing. On my previous trailer, with a straight line hitch, at low speed it sounded like someone torturing a cat. Don’t grease anything — it will defeat the purpose of anti sway. The hard plastic pads may be quieter but probably won’t last very long.
The Equalizer "Sway Bracket Jackets" last a long time. I have over 25k miles of towing and they still look almost like new. I purchased 2 sets when I bought my Equalizer in May,2017 and the second set is still in the wrapper in my tool box. Well worth the $20.00 price.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:17 PM   #9
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In my first photo is the "jackets" I made from an old 5 gal HD bucket, the other 2 photos are showing where to lube the head itself according to the Equalizer information/installation sheet.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:01 PM   #10
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Flathead, we also had a 2016 VW Touareg (TDI) so I’m familiar with the vehicle. You mentioned you’re a biological scientist and new at this.

You need to know that you’re over the Touareg’s payload limit. Check the yellow door sticker; ours was 1180 lbs. The “good news” is the 25RB has a lower tongue weight than the FB. That said, your tongue is likely 900 lbs or more with the trailer loaded. The factory VW hitch has a rated tongue weight of 770 lbs. The payload figure includes everything inside the Touareg plus the weight of the hitch and tongue weight of the trailer.

We bought a FC25RB then changed our minds and went with a FC23FB due to the Touareg’s limitations. That lasted one season before we traded for a 27’ Globetrotter and a 3/4 ton pickup with 2940 lbs. payload.

If you’re serious about keeping the Touareg (it’s a great tow vehicle), check out Andy at Can-Am who strengthens hitches on VW, Audi and Mercedes SUVs. He’s done hundreds in not thousands over the years.

All that said, just be aware you’re at the vehicle limits for rear axle max and payload. Take your rig to a CAT scale to see where you’re at now.

Good luck and enjoy you’re new AS!
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:31 PM   #11
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We put over 60,000 miles on an Equalizer before parts started breaking and the company replaced them at no charge. It is a good, though noisy hitch. I always figured the noise said "I'm working". We never used any plastic parts and it didn't bother us.

The dealer did not set it up properly, but it still did a good job. After several thousand miles, I decided to adjust it. It can be complicated and I called the manufacturer a couple of times to make sure I was doing it right. I finally figured it out and it towed even better. If you don't want to do the adjustments yourself, take it to a suspension shop, not an RV dealer. I am certainly not a engineer, but I did figure it out. Anything you learn to do yourself on a trailer will pay off down the road because you'll know how to fix things on the road or at lest if a shop is ripping you off.

If the dealer told you a Toureg would tow your trailer with sufficient payload, I wouldn't go back there. Dealers have a habit of telling people anything they are driving will tow a trailer. Look up some threads on payload and see what you learn. The 25' Airstreams have a lot of tongue weight and Airstream sometimes understates it. Note that a weight distributing hitch transfers about 1/3 of tongue weight to the trailer axles, but in checking cargo (payload) weight that the Toureg can handle, check the door sticker for your vehicle on the frame of the driver's door. That will be the actual cargo capacity. If you added anything else to the Toureg after that sticker was applied, that will reduce cargo capacity. You have to consider you and any passenger's weight plus anything you carry in the Toureg. Make sure the Toureg's tires are rated for the weight the axles are carrying. You may have to increase their air pressure when towing.

We towed a 25' FB with a Tundra. The payload for a 1/2 ton was tight, but it worked fine for us. It sounds like you have to think about a different tow vehicle or get yours adapted. You should not be over stressing the Toureg's suspension and need to think this though. If you were told there was no problem by the dealer, you may have claim against them. Good luck. I am sure you didn't want to read what we are saying here.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:34 PM   #12
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Yep small works really well...without any payload, and after paying out 3k on TV mods.😖
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:49 PM   #13
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Disassemble the hitch head by remove the bar sockets. Check the metal surfaces were the sockets rotate, if there’s gouging use a heavy file smooth out and flatten any high spots. Do the same to the socket surfaces. After doing both sides clean and apply a light amount of heavy grease. Assemble the head and torque the socket bolts as indicated in the instructions. Check the torque on socket bolts regularly as in before every trip.
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:13 AM   #14
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I appreciate all good advice. We have been thinking about a travel trailer for over 5 years, and looked at a pretty wide range, all from 23-27 feet long. We chose the TV and TT based on our needs. In the end, liked the towing and style of the Airstream. We had 2 vehicles. We spend 6 months or longer in FLorida. I was paying for storage, maintenance, and insurance on a car that was in storage. Decision to live with one. My wife did not want a diesel PU as our only vehicle since for most of the time, we are NOT towing. I lost that argument.

I want to tweak our set up. The Airstream dealer Service Manager was very helpful and gave us his advice. We went with his recommendation on set up. So far, the Touareg towed very well. I am concerned about keeping tongue weight in the zone and making sure the hitch is correctly set up. Before we hit the road in October, I would like to tune everything best I can.

I decided to have the Can Am modification to add some measure capability. When I put my portable scale under the tongue, it measures 800 lb on the nose. But I have read that this may not be the actual tongue weight. I have read great amount of technical discussion on other sites, but like most things, there is a wide range of opinions and recommendations.

The border with CA is closed and not likely to open anything soon. Since the Touareg/Porche Cayane/Audi Q7 (same vehicle) are all used for towing. There are a number of owners who tow 30' Airstreams with the Touareg diesel and gas version. I averaged 12 mpg over 1200 miles a few weeks ago. Given I get 18 mpg without the trailer, that is good.

I spoke with a tech at CanAm. They have modified almost 50 Touaregs and say the vehicle tows well when set up properly. They have a great deal of experience in towing airstream trailers.

I have to think there are others who do this modification and very skilled in how to set up a TV. Has anyone used another dealer on the East Coast that does the modification, or can do a evaluation? I know there is one in California, but I am not going to be near CA for another year.

I head south in October, so anyplace from Boston to Orlando works for me.

Again, thanks. A tremendous amount of experience on this Forum.
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:33 AM   #15
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From a technical perspective, you could stiffen up the receiver hitch mount to reduce flex and for that vehicle it would make some very minor difference assuming you have the factory mount. If you were towing a 27-28 I'd consider it, but for a 25 it is plenty stiff and the modifications, technically are not worth it. If you value piece of mind and overkill and you want everything just perfect, do the upgrade, but honestly if perfect towing for a 25' trailer were your goal you wouldn't start with that vehicle in the first place (facts can be harsh sometimes). Beyond the minor flex of the receiver mount you will want to avoid any other unnecessary slop so ensure the ball fits tight in the coupler when latched and the hitch shank does not shift side to side or up to down in the receiver. If they do take measures to eliminate it. Online there are lots of inexpensive ideas.

If you're not happy with the noise from the Equalizer (I'm surly not so I don't own one) you can tweak it all you want and you will reduce the noise and the snapping but I doubt you've ever be perfectly satisfied. It is a very competent hitch so I'm not badmouthing it, but its design fundamentally leads to noise (so don't bother trying to tell me otherwise, I have too much experience with mechanical systems to buy what you're selling).

The vehicle is quite competent towing this weight and is both stable and sure. they hold the tongue wight guideline down for comfort and perceived ride quality and to reduce a slight tendency to over steer. So when you tow, try to put some of the heavy stuff in the vehicle, increase rear tire pressure a bit over what is recommended and don't apply excessive WD tension. If you decide to get a new hitch, the Reese hitches or similar will do nicely.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:19 PM   #16
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The Equalizer is not noisy by design, if it is very noisy then something is wrong. Follow the manufacturers instructions for greasing and maintenance.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:29 PM   #17
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Lol
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Old 07-11-2020, 04:15 AM   #18
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Thanks. That helps. I did try the greasing even with their recommended grease. It only cracks and snaps on slow turns, not highway turns, so not really too bad, but when I backed into the drive early on, the neighbor kept yelling "stop, STOP. I think your frame is breaking!!!" Funny in hindsight.

I will have someone with experience tune it up when I get a chance. The information on the CanAm web site makes the case for having everything set up for your tow vehicle and trailer. It will perform much better.
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Old 07-11-2020, 05:36 AM   #19
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It is true that proper set-up can make a significant difference. There are tweaks and compromises that can be made to slightly improve stability and ride quality. For example, a minimally short shank improves performance 3-7% by the numbers but then you can't open the hatch. The Can Am site does provide excellent guidance on proper set up.
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Old 07-11-2020, 10:01 AM   #20
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I tow an Oliver Elite II with an Audi Q7. I researched the WDH question (I am also a biological scientist, and I over-research everything). The Audi Q7 is built on the same chassis as the Toureg, and my owners manual says “Never install a “weight distributing” or “load equalizing” trailer hitch on your vehicle. The vehicle was not designed for these kinds of trailer hitches. The hitch attachment can fail, causing the trailer to tear loose from the vehicle.”
I have a neighbor who pulls a 23-foot Airstream with an Audi Q7, and he had his Q7 modified by CanAm. I did not like the look of it, as it significantly decreases the ground clearance. My neighbor suggested that with pictures, any competent welder could install such a brace.
I decided against the WDH with our trailer, and we have not had any problems towing with our trailer.



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