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Old 04-10-2011, 10:10 PM   #1
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Equalizer vs. Reese dual cam road test

Some time ago there was a post asking for opinions on Eq vs. Reese dual cam from someone who has towed with BOTH. There were no responses to that request. I am now in a position to give an analysis of both with several thousand miles towing with each.

Rules of engagement:
1) Hensley and PP are not in this evaluation only because I have no personal experience with either and just can't see dropping the cash for that price class of hitch unless I receive a windfall. They are fine hitches, I just haven't used one. So this post only deals with us lower price class buyers. If you can afford a PP or Hensly, go for it.

2) This post is MY HUMBLE OPINION based on MY experiences only!!! I am not interested in opening up the traditional arguments...my opinions are mine....take them or leave them. OK? Fair?

Hitches used:
1) Equalizer 10,000 pound ball mount and 1000 pound bars
2) Reese dual cam 10,000 pound ball mount and 800 pound bars

My trailer is a 30' Classic, 8500 total weight, with hitch weights varying from 850# to 975#, depending on trip and "toys" etc. aboard. Verified with shurline scale before each trip start.

Various TVs used.

I am 100% confident in proper setups of both hitches, from years of experience as well as nuggets of knowledge picked up in these forum threads. I use weight slips as well as measurement of TV and AS for setups.

So, here we go:

Setup:
Eq is very simple to adjust, with only 2 possible adjustment areas; head tilt and L-bracket height. (OK, torque on the torsion bar trunnions is an adjustment, but only have to torque them down a couple times a year, at most. BTW, spec is 45#feet minimum torque. I like about 60#feet of torque.)

Reese is complicated to adjust to varying loads. There are 3 adjustment to contend with; head tilt, cam arms, and chains. (OK, really you shouldn't be moving the chains up and down, they should be at 5 links under stress and all your additional flex needs should be accomplished with head tilt. HOWEVER, virtually any relatively significant change in load or ANY change in head tilt requires the cam arms to be adjusted. More on this later.

FOR EASE OF SETUP EQUALIZER WINS.

Noisy operation:

EQ creaks and moans with some occasional pops when the bars move suddenly and "slap" the L-brackets or retainer pins. This can be reduced to an acceptable level by lubing the friction surfaces at the trunnions and the L-brackets. Bracket Jackets can be purchased for the L-Brackets. They work fine with no greasy mess and don't seem to noticeably change performance.

Reese was VERY noisy out of the box, with all the noise coming from the cam to spring bar interface. SUBSTANTIALLY louder creaks and pops than the EQ. With the trunnion lubed, there is no appreciable noise from that area. Vasoline (NOT GREASE) applied to the cams greatly diminishes the pops and creaks from that interface. I did one other thing to the spring bars which VIRTUALLY eliminated all noise. When the bars are bent to form the cam pockets (in a forge???), during manufacture, they are anything but flat in the surfaces which interface with the cams. I found tooling marks, and twists which caused a non-uniform contact with the cams. Some of the twists and "lips" left during the bending process, very quickly cause grooves to be cut in the cams. Every turn causes the bars to pop in and out of these grooves. LOUD popping resulted. I took a DREMMEL stone and lightly worked the high spots on the spring bars, and after several tows, and examining and "tooling" contact patterns after each tow, I now have pretty even contact patches on both cam/bar interfaces. It's now pretty doggone quiet until vasoline wears off. (500 - 600 miles), and then it's just a little creaky.

FOR NOISE IT"S PRETTY MUCH A PUSH, except the Reese took more fiddling to get there.

On Road Performance:

EQ is rock solid and very predictable with the same amount of RESISTANCE to motion in both directions of trunnion travel during a sway activity. This give a feeling of a very dampened or dead type of movement. When you get a truck push AND you don't induce more sway, you get the one motion toward the curb and one motion back to center...very dampened and predictable.

Reese is very solid on center and wants to stay there...MAYBE a little better than EQ, but the difference is imperceptible to the point that you think you may be trying to convince yourself that there is a difference. HOWEVER, where I find the Reese a little quirky is when you do go off center, by it's design, it wants to actively find center again. This seems to cause 3 motions: The truck push toward curb, the cam system "pulling" you back to center...AND what feels like a small "snap" off center to the streetside. I think this is because if you have the proper flex (tension) on the bars they will want to SNAP back to center and "overrun" the center point a little. I don't think this is a worse performance than the EQ, but it is an extra motion in the "wag" that I don't prefer. I prefer the deadness of the friction in the EQ. Also, I have found that it doesn't take a lot of load change, either in the truck bed or the front of the trailer to cause the cams to not be centered in the spring saddles since last adjustment. You can't just eyeball this. It can look centered but try slipping a .010 or .020 feeler gauge between the spring bar and cam face. This is enough to cause a twitchy on center feeling.

I PREFER EQ FOR ROAD FEEL although sway "control" is a push when I purposely induce a sway (where safe and appropriate to do so).

But, folks, here is the deal breaker! We have, in other threads discussed in depth the flexibility (or lack thereof) of various bars and brands, and the possible detrimental effect on your AS. (See Inland RV for article and graphic test results). Search for threads and you can read for days!
I just couldn't live with the stiffness of the 1000# EQ bars, even with a half ton TV suspension. I won't clarify any further here on that subject, as there are MANY threads and posts re. that. Unfortunately, EQ only sells lower rated bars matched with lower rated ball mounts. I think I would try a 600 pound EQ bar, but it comes with a 6000 pound ball mount. I weight in a 8500 pounds....not going to happen. Various EQ bars are not interchangeable with any given ball mount. The trunnions are different sizes. I need a 10000 pound ball mount with 600# (or less with the STIFF EQ ratings) spring bar.

SO! even though I like the performance and ease of setup of the EQ, until they wake up and provide a way for US to dial in our setups, REESE DUAL CAM is the winner.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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Thanks for this comparison.

I have an Equalizer with 600lb bars and tow a '63 Trade Wind. I agree with you assessment and am happy with my 600lb bars.

In another post, there is a discussion about tyhe worst roads in America. Having driven some of them in the last two years, I have noticed that on a bad washboard road that the trailer and tow vehicle seem to be working against each other. The car feels like it wants to go up and the trailer is pushing down. Then a second later, the opposite sensation.

Anyone else experience this? Is there a remedy other than driving slow or avoiding these washboard roads.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Some time ago there was a post asking for opinions on Eq vs. Reese dual cam from someone who has towed with BOTH. There were no responses to that request. I am now in a position to give an analysis of both with several thousand miles towing with each.

Rules of engagement:
1) Hensley and PP are not in this evaluation only because I have no personal experience with either and just can't see dropping the cash for that price class of hitch unless I receive a windfall. They are fine hitches, I just haven't used one. So this post only deals with us lower price class buyers. If you can afford a PP or Hensly, go for it.

2) This post is MY HUMBLE OPINION based on MY experiences only!!! I am not interested in opening up the traditional arguments...my opinions are mine....take them or leave them. OK? Fair?

Hitches used:
1) Equalizer 10,000 pound ball mount and 1000 pound bars
2) Reese dual cam 10,000 pound ball mount and 800 pound bars

My trailer is a 30' Classic, 8500 total weight, with hitch weights varying from 850# to 975#, depending on trip and "toys" etc. aboard. Verified with shurline scale before each trip start.

Various TVs used.

I am 100% confident in proper setups of both hitches, from years of experience as well as nuggets of knowledge picked up in these forum threads. I use weight slips as well as measurement of TV and AS for setups.

So, here we go:

Setup:
Eq is very simple to adjust, with only 2 possible adjustment areas; head tilt and L-bracket height. (OK, torque on the torsion bar trunnions is an adjustment, but only have to torque them down a couple times a year, at most. BTW, spec is 45#feet minimum torque. I like about 60#feet of torque.)

Reese is complicated to adjust to varying loads. There are 3 adjustment to contend with; head tilt, cam arms, and chains. (OK, really you shouldn't be moving the chains up and down, they should be at 5 links under stress and all your additional flex needs should be accomplished with head tilt. HOWEVER, virtually any relatively significant change in load or ANY change in head tilt requires the cam arms to be adjusted. More on this later.

FOR EASE OF SETUP EQUALIZER WINS.

Noisy operation:

EQ creaks and moans with some occasional pops when the bars move suddenly and "slap" the L-brackets or retainer pins. This can be reduced to an acceptable level by lubing the friction surfaces at the trunnions and the L-brackets. Bracket Jackets can be purchased for the L-Brackets. They work fine with no greasy mess and don't seem to noticeably change performance.

Reese was VERY noisy out of the box, with all the noise coming from the cam to spring bar interface. SUBSTANTIALLY louder creaks and pops than the EQ. With the trunnion lubed, there is no appreciable noise from that area. Vasoline (NOT GREASE) applied to the cams greatly diminishes the pops and creaks from that interface. I did one other thing to the spring bars which VIRTUALLY eliminated all noise. When the bars are bent to form the cam pockets (in a forge???), during manufacture, they are anything but flat in the surfaces which interface with the cams. I found tooling marks, and twists which caused a non-uniform contact with the cams. Some of the twists and "lips" left during the bending process, very quickly cause grooves to be cut in the cams. Every turn causes the bars to pop in and out of these grooves. LOUD popping resulted. I took a DREMMEL stone and lightly worked the high spots on the spring bars, and after several tows, and examining and "tooling" contact patterns after each tow, I now have pretty even contact patches on both cam/bar interfaces. It's now pretty doggone quiet until vasoline wears off. (500 - 600 miles), and then it's just a little creaky.

FOR NOISE IT"S PRETTY MUCH A PUSH, except the Reese took more fiddling to get there.

On Road Performance:

EQ is rock solid and very predictable with the same amount of RESISTANCE to motion in both directions of trunnion travel during a sway activity. This give a feeling of a very dampened or dead type of movement. When you get a truck push AND you don't induce more sway, you get the one motion toward the curb and one motion back to center...very dampened and predictable.

Reese is very solid on center and wants to stay there...MAYBE a little better than EQ, but the difference is imperceptible to the point that you think you may be trying to convince yourself that there is a difference. HOWEVER, where I find the Reese a little quirky is when you do go off center, by it's design, it wants to actively find center again. This seems to cause 3 motions: The truck push toward curb, the cam system "pulling" you back to center...AND what feels like a small "snap" off center to the streetside. I think this is because if you have the proper flex (tension) on the bars they will want to SNAP back to center and "overrun" the center point a little. I don't think this is a worse performance than the EQ, but it is an extra motion in the "wag" that I don't prefer. I prefer the deadness of the friction in the EQ. Also, I have found that it doesn't take a lot of load change, either in the truck bed or the front of the trailer to cause the cams to not be centered in the spring saddles since last adjustment. You can't just eyeball this. It can look centered but try slipping a .010 or .020 feeler gauge between the spring bar and cam face. This is enough to cause a twitchy on center feeling.

I PREFER EQ FOR ROAD FEEL although sway "control" is a push when I purposely induce a sway (where safe and appropriate to do so).

But, folks, here is the deal breaker! We have, in other threads discussed in depth the flexibility (or lack thereof) of various bars and brands, and the possible detrimental effect on your AS. (See Inland RV for article and graphic test results). Search for threads and you can read for days!
I just couldn't live with the stiffness of the 1000# EQ bars, even with a half ton TV suspension. I won't clarify any further here on that subject, as there are MANY threads and posts re. that. Unfortunately, EQ only sells lower rated bars matched with lower rated ball mounts. I think I would try a 600 pound EQ bar, but it comes with a 6000 pound ball mount. I weight in a 8500 pounds....not going to happen. Various EQ bars are not interchangeable with any given ball mount. The trunnions are different sizes. I need a 10000 pound ball mount with 600# (or less with the STIFF EQ ratings) spring bar.

SO! even though I like the performance and ease of setup of the EQ, until they wake up and provide a way for US to dial in our setups, REESE DUAL CAM is the winner.
Thank you for your efforts and post.

Andy
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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Hi, I fully agree with your statements on your experiences with these two hitches. I only have experience with my Equal-i-zer. I have made spacers so that my "L" bracket mounts never move or slip on my frame rails. I have recently been using the "L" bracket jackets and like them. Concerned about the stiff spring arms, I relocated my "L" brackets from 29"s where the dealer installed them to the max of 32"s to allow for better flexing of the spring bars and more leverage, with less pressure on the spring arms. I replaced my spring arm socket bolts and nuts with grade eight parts and I now torque the socket bolts to 75 lbs.

I wonder if you can change only the spring bar sockets or have some sort of sleeves made so the 600 lb spring bars can be used in the 1,000 lb sockets. [on the 10,000 lb hitch]
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:15 AM   #5
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I have both the old style Reese Twin Cam and Equalizer hitches with only the 1000 pound bars for the Equalizer. The Twin Cam 1000 bars are less stiff and lighter that the 1000 pound Equalizer bars. I agree with the analysis of the first poster.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, I fully agree with your statements on your experiences with these two hitches. I only have experience with my Equal-i-zer. I have made spacers so that my "L" bracket mounts never move or slip on my frame rails. I have recently been using the "L" bracket jackets and like them. Concerned about the stiff spring arms, I relocated my "L" brackets from 29"s where the dealer installed them to the max of 32"s to allow for better flexing of the spring bars and more leverage, with less pressure on the spring arms. I replaced my spring arm socket bolts and nuts with grade eight parts and I now torque the socket bolts to 75 lbs.

I wonder if you can change only the spring bar sockets or have some sort of sleeves made so the 600 lb spring bars can be used in the 1,000 lb sockets. [on the 10,000 lb hitch]
My understanding is the trunnions are not interchangeable between a 6000# ball mount to a 10,000 pound ball mount. The distance between the top and bottom friction surfaces for the trunnion is diffrent on each ratd ball mount. I had also though about a sleeve for a 600# bar to fit into a 10,000# ball mont, but I worry about durability.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
My understanding is the trunnions are not interchangeable between a 6000# ball mount to a 10,000 pound ball mount. The distance between the top and bottom friction surfaces for the trunnion is diffrent on each ratd ball mount. I had also though about a sleeve for a 600# bar to fit into a 10,000# ball mont, but I worry about durability.
I actually even taked to Eq tech service about them doing something to allow the customer to mix and match bars to tune their setup. They said they'd "talk to enginering" and have them call me. That was several months go.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Grand Master View Post
Thanks for this comparison.

I have an Equalizer with 600lb bars and tow a '63 Trade Wind. I agree with you assessment and am happy with my 600lb bars.

In another post, there is a discussion about tyhe worst roads in America. Having driven some of them in the last two years, I have noticed that on a bad washboard road that the trailer and tow vehicle seem to be working against each other. The car feels like it wants to go up and the trailer is pushing down. Then a second later, the opposite sensation.

Anyone else experience this? Is there a remedy other than driving slow or avoiding these washboard roads.
If the distance between the peaks nd valleys in the road are just right to match up to your distance from rear TV axle to center of trailer axles, it can set up some porpousing or jerking sensation. 5'ers talk about this all the time. Fifth wheels sem to be really sensitive to it. Other than playing with your bar tension or adjusting your speed, there's not much you can do. I assume your setup doesn't do this all the time...just certain roads and certain speeds????
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:10 AM   #9
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nice thread thanks

Two comments:
we occasionally but rarely experience that porpoising effect and find we can lower speed a bit and find we can dampen the oscillation a bit and just hang on until we're through that low-bid section of highway.

we also have the 1,000 pound Equalizer bars and have 1,100 pound tongue weight, so no concerns with the match-up on our trailer and truck.

The Equalizer hitch has done us great five years now.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:25 AM   #10
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I've had both hitches and currently have an Equal-i-zer. One thing I have found is that sometimes back in sites that leave you minimal pull forward space, you sometimes end up all twisted once you get the trailer properly positioned. With a Reese Dual Cam, if your tow vehicle is too much at an angle to the trailer, you will find it near amount impossible to remove the hitch bars since you can't get them out of the saddle. No such problem with the Equal-i-zer and you can hitch or dehitch at any tow vehicle angle.

Performance wise while I had my concerns originally (more towards my unfamiliarity of the hitch), I've grown to become a believer. My Classic just sits behind my van rock solid. I've had some folks following me in some heavy cross winds and they were surprised that the trailer just tracked, with no indication of sway.

Since my hitch weight exceeds 1,250 lbs. I'm using the 1,400 lb. Equal-i-zer hitch and bars.

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Old 04-11-2011, 09:25 AM   #11
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The only noise I have with my Reese is immediately after I hook up and make the first turn out of the shed or camp site. After that first loud noise, I almost never hear the hitch.

After a couple of years, swap the cams from side to side. You will then have brand new wearing surfaces. I am about ready to swap mine after 6 years of use. The cam looks terrible, but works just fine.
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Also, I have found that it doesn't take a lot of load change, either in the truck bed or the front of the trailer to cause the cams to not be centered in the spring saddles since last adjustment. You can't just eyeball this. It can look centered but try slipping a .010 or .020 feeler gauge between the spring bar and cam face. This is enough to cause a twitchy on center feeling.
dznf0g,

Thanks for your report, and your efforts. Your experience with the Reese Dual Cam hitch mirrors my own, and the highlighted portion of your original post is the reason I no longer use the Reese hitch.

It works good when it's right, but it rarely stays right for very long.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:28 PM   #13
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dznf0g,

Thanks for your report, and your efforts. Your experience with the Reese Dual Cam hitch mirrors my own, and the highlighted portion of your original post is the reason I no longer use the Reese hitch.

It works good when it's right, but it rarely stays right for very long.
Ya know, hearing from others who have the same "fiddling" issues with Reese, I am going to look into sleeves for some lighter bars for my 1000# EQ ballmount. When I do something and have something to report, I'll add comments and, I guess, will have some iron of one brand or another for sale!
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:37 PM   #14
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I believe if I were looking for a no frills, simple to use, anti sway weight distribution hitch today, and did not want to spend the money for a ProPride, I'd get this: Reese SC Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion - 10,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66153

Should work just like an Equalizer, but with the ride of the Reese.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:50 PM   #15
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I believe if I were looking for a no frills, simple to use, anti sway weight distribution hitch today, and did not want to spend the money for a ProPride, I'd get this: Reese SC Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion - 10,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66153

Should work just like an Equalizer, but with the ride of the Reese.
We haven't heard from anybody on this setup, have we? I think this is a relative new player in the market. I was told by EQ tech assist that brake pad friction material actually REDUCES effectiveness of the "L" bar load point. This as they sell me polymer bracket jackets???????? WHATEEEEEVER!

Anyway, if anybody can compare this Reese to the others, that'd be great. At least, it appears you have some flexibility on bar ratings?
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:37 PM   #16
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I've heard a couple of "reports" from different users, and they were both positive. However, I don't know how it would compare to the Equilizer in the sway control area.

I'm not suprized that the Equilizer people say it won't work, as their hitch gets most of it's friction where the bar bracket rides against the head piece.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:53 PM   #17
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dznf0g, thanks for your work. I have an Equilizer 2, and was wondering what other owners thought.

Drew
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:09 PM   #18
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I have had an Equal-I-Zer 1400/14,000 for over three years now and have towed thousands of miles with it. I like it very much. I have a very detailed thread that I started on here way back that elaborates on how to set one up.

I pull an Avion 34X that weighs 9600lbs (probably 11,000 the way my wife loads it ) and the hitch weight can be over 1000 lbs. Equal-I-Zer uses the same bars for the 12,000lb hitch as they do for the 14,000lb hitch; so I got the big one for added assurance. Avion's frame is quite a bit beefier than Airstream's and so bending the tongue isn't a concern for me.

However, for you guys that want to use a big beefy Eq with your older Airstreams with the 4" tongue, all you'd need to do is take your 1200/1400lb load bars to a machine shop and have them grind down the bars to a profile that gives you the same flex as a 600lb bar.

It's actually much easier than it sounds. The engineer at Eq should be able to tell you how much the 600lb bar will flex at a certain load. Or easier still, if he can just give you the cross sectional dimensions of the bar (width and height), you can very easily calculate the stiffness of the bar based on that. You then need to just equal this by reducing the thickness of your heavier rated bar. Maybe you grind a quarter inch off the height. You would want to do this somewhere in the forward half of the bar. Say the bar is 1.25" thick; you'd remove 1/8" from the top and 1/8" from the bottom, then smoothly taper that back out to the full height. Maybe do it over a space of 12" or so with the minimum thickness being in the middle. So your modified bar would have sort of an hourglass shape to it, though it'd be so subtle it'd be hard to notice. It's really no big deal at all. You could then use the Eq all you want.

I've been really happy with mine. But like the first guy said, I'd get a Hensley Arrow if I had the extra peso's lying about. But, I've pulled the big silver tube at 80mph and she tracks straight as an arrow. I don't think I could get too much better....

I have used the Reese Dual Cam also. Not on my trailer, but on my dad's. it's a good hitch too. I just found it a bit more laborious to hook up and set up. But I think they're both good. It makes me happy to see any trailer using either one of these rigs going down the highway nice and level. I hate to see the dopes who have the back bumper of the tow vehicle dragging on the ground and the back bumper of the trailer in the sky. Man if I were a cop for a day.....I'd have all those jokers in the pokey

If anybody wants any help running the numbers on modifying a set of Eq bars, just shoot me a PM. I'd be happy to help you.

see ya on the road,
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
I believe if I were looking for a no frills, simple to use, anti sway weight distribution hitch today, and did not want to spend the money for a ProPride, I'd get this: Reese SC Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion - 10,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66153

Should work just like an Equalizer, but with the ride of the Reese.
I have exactly that. 2011 F250 Lariat 4x4 FX4 + 2010 30' Flying Cloud, has worked perfect for the first 5000 miles with this truck/trailer combo. We have traveled in some pretty extreme wind conditions, highway speeds passing & being passed by trucks, never a wiggle. It doesn't make any noise.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:30 PM   #20
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2009 27' FB International
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 731
I sure would like some help on getting my Reese WD hitch dialed in. Just got our trailer a couple of weeks ago and the prior owner showed me how to get connected (based on his truck and load balance) and how many chain links should be showing where it is attached to the TT's tung. When we went on our first trip last weekend (after loading the TV and the TT) and hooked up it sure looked like a V when I stepped back and looked. I then pulled a lot of stuff out of the TV bed and put it back into the house, redistributed the load and hooked back up. Still had a slight V between the TV and TT. So.... I took up one more link on the chain at both sides of the trailer tung and things were looking better. But looking at how the bars were sitting in the saddle (don't think I am using the correct terminology) it didn't look quite right. Pulling the TT 'seemed' to be okay, but being an AS newbie what do I know? I am sure there are additional adjustments that should be made, but don't really know what those would be or how to make those adjustments since I am not quite sure which Reese WD hitch model I have and don't have any documentation. I want to get it corrected before our next trip. Any and all suggestions would be welcome.
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Scott, Becky & Heidi (our standard poodle and travel companion)
WBCCI #1215
Air #54601

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2009 27FB International Ocean Breeze
2010 Toyota Tundra CrewMax, 5.7L V8, 4x4
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