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Old 10-26-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
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2008 22' Sport
Green Mountains , Vermont
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Hitch advice - Safari Sport 22

I made a few mistakes. Got off in the wrong direction. Need help getting back on the right track, please.

We purchased a new 2008 Safari Sport 22' ... leftover inventory from a dealer no longer selling trailers (they focus on boats and Vespa scooters).
At the time of the purchase, I asked about hitches. Sales guy said they did not sell them. Several weeks later and much too late, the service guy told me that they do sell Equalizer hitches.

So, I went to another local RV place. The sales woman told me they sold Equalizer hitches. Told her what I had for a trailer and tow vehicle.
The TV is a 2010 Jeep Commander, factory installed tow package rated at 7200#, 5.7L Hemi.
The trailer GVWR is 4000#. Hitch height is only 16 1/2".
She mentioned a 6000# and 10000# hitch. Said they were about the same price, and recommended the 10000# set up. It was around $750 and would take an hour or so to install at $90/hr. I did not have that kind of money.

Went home. Searched the internet. Found the same hitch for $300 less. Ordered it. The standard shank was too short. Order a longer shank. Shank was too long. With the heavy weight of the hitch set up, the low trailer hitch height, I was just about touching the ground. My wife is beyond ready to kill me. Could not afford the original hitch at the dealer's. Now I have two shanks and thinking about ordering another "in-between" size.

Help. Now that I am reading more, it sounds like this set up may be overkill. I want to be safe.... for the people in the vehicle, around me, and I want to protect the trailer. Short on cash.

Have been pulling the trailer with a regular ball hitch. Not sure if I should try the medium length shank, or something else, or just let my wife take a swing at me.

Suggestions?

-Norm
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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Is the shank too long because of the hole placement? Can you drill a hole (or have a machine shop do it) in the too-long shank to make it, well, effectively less long? I did that with an Eaz-lift shank and it worked well.

Tom
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:38 PM   #3
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Equal-I-zer sells a variety of hitches for many applications in a variety of heights. Also, you should use 4000# bars (lightest they make), as the 10K# bars will beat your trailer to death!
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:05 PM   #4
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mutcth, not sure if it can be cut. The welded triangle for support covers the full length. I can scrape up anther $100+ and get a better sized shank, but I'm not sure if the rest of the setup is correct. After reading here the last few days, it seems like 10000# could damage the trailer.

lewster, that's what I'm afraid of after reading this forum. Can I just replace the bars? I checked their website and all of the replacement bars state "This arm is only compatible with the matching weight rating hitch head.".
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:19 PM   #5
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That's to prevent using heavy bars with under-rated heads. You have the reverse situation.

I would call their tech support team and discuss your problem and follow their recommendations.
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:57 PM   #6
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Lewster and others, my 1,000# Equal-i-zer bars were too heavy for my 20' Safari SE. The Equal-i-zer site lists the thickness of the different weight bars. I was thinking of machining down my bars, except where they fit into the head, to the size of the 600# bars. Much less than cost of buying a new one and they would still fit the head.

What do you think? Would this be a solution for nesvt?

doug k
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:23 PM   #7
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Ooops. Just realized Equal-i-zer makes two different hitches, the original Equal-i-zer with square bars and 4-point swat control, and the Equal-i-zer E2 (less costly version) with round bars and 2-point sway control.

I don't know anything about the E2 and my above post would not apply.

nesvt, which one do you have?

doug k
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
nesvt, which one do you have?
I think it's the 4-point sway control.

Equal-i-zer Hitch 1000/10000lbs Trailer Weight
Manufacturer Part # 90-00-1000

then I added -
Manufacturer Part # 90-02-4400
9" drop / 13" rise

Not sure if lewster's suggestion was real or meant as sarcasm. The threw me off. I know nothing about these things. Got sent away at the dealership. Was directed to the 10000# hitch by the another sales person. Concerned about safety and the trailer.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:28 AM   #9
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I know you've made the investment in the Equal-i-zer already. And everyone online (generally) likes the hitch that they bought. But here's my $0.01:

I'm towing a similar-sized trailer with similar tongue weight. With this trailer and tow rig, you'd be plenty safe with a Eaz-lift tapered bar weight distributing hitch and a friction anti-sway. Bought online, that would probably cost around $250 overall.

Tom
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nesvt View Post

Not sure if lewster's suggestion was real or meant as sarcasm. The threw me off. I know nothing about these things. Got sent away at the dealership. Was directed to the 10000# hitch by the another sales person. Concerned about safety and the trailer.
No sarcasm here..........just trying to get you out from under bad advice from another know-nothing dealer who obviously either didn't have a clue as to what you really needed in hitch capabilities or had your hitch in stock and wanted to get rid of it fast.

I would definitely call Equal-I-Zer !!
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:50 AM   #11
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What Lewster said. These manufacturers all have technical people who can talk you through a problem such as this and tell you what THEIR equipment will and won't do. But for a trailer that light, you SURE don't need 10k# bars; they will prove to be way too stiff and will give you and the trailer a bad ride. Equalizer has been around long enough that they likely can tell you in just a few seconds what of their equipment will match your two vehicle and trailer.

And after talking to the tech reps, assuming that they bear out the advice you've been getting here - I'd think seriously about going back to the folks who sold you this rig and demand a refund - seems to me that they sold you something not suitable for your needs - maybe just to get rid of it.

Good luck.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:06 AM   #12
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Equal-i-zer has good phone service for help installing the hitch. But they said it is okay to have an Equal-i-zer rated way over the weight of your tongue or trailer.

Experienced Airstream repair people here will tell you they are wrong, it will do major damage over time. Flexible bars are needed for Airstreams, and Equal-i-zer's bars are the least flexible of the bunch, the higher rated the more damage.

Nesvt, can't you exchange it for the lighter hitch? And the correct shank?

doug k
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:15 AM   #13
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Pulled a few quotes from online:

The TV is a 2010 Jeep Commander, factory installed tow package 5.7L Hemi w/545RFE 3 + 2 automatic; w/ 3.73 gears. • Electronic Roll Mitigation • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and an All-Speed Traction Control System (TCS). Wheelbase 109.5; Power rack-and-pinion steering

TRAILER TOW GROUP IV
7 AND 4 PIN WIRING HARNESS
CLASS IV RECEIVER HITCH
TRAILER SWAY DAMPING
MAXIMUM LOADED TRAILER WEIGHT - 6,500 # WITH EVE, 7,200 # WITH 4WD EZB, 7,400 # WITH 2WD EZB.

JEEP Towing Calculator

Generic Calculator

What we need is published shipping weight, and:

FAWR:
RAWR:
GVWR:

Published payload appears to be 1,200-lbs, but this is subject to actual weight measurement. Plus which of the ratings above fits your vehicle is in question.

In order to best help you set up the combined rig according to formula, which is dependent on certified weight scale readings; from a three pad truck scale. (Plus, should you choose to increase trailer size/weight, you'll have an accurate baseline to work from).

The CAT Scale Locator is an easy way to find truck stop scales. Or, any two or three pad scale can be made to work; a one-pad will be more time-consuming meaning I would make the drive to a location with certified numbers (which, IMO, scrap yards, etc, do not adhere to.)

Ideally, we want the TV weighed solo ("empty" weight, which is driver + full fuel and no other load), and the TT weighed solo, ("empty" which is full fresh water, propane filled, and the only items onboard those which never leave it) as well as a separate TW. Published weights, curb weights, are not ever accurate enough to work from.

(We would also like the loaded weights, individually, and that is covered in the link formula a ways down).

DIY TW

At .85 of capacity on a 4k TT we would expect a TW weight range of about 12-15% TW, or, 410 - 510-lbs. (At TT GVWR of 4k, 480 - 600-lbs, but this is unlikely to be reached, overall).

As in above posts, it won't take a lot of WDH to work for this rig.

As per this chart your combination can be dialled in for best performance.

Tire pressure can also be adjusted accordingly for the TV. (Maximum sidewall pressure on TT tires, cold, is the general recommendation, where shy of A/S guidelines).

This all looks worse than it is. It's "mainly" a matter of restoring FA weight to the loaded, solo value for best handling & braking.

This is behind the insistence on correct WDH componentry, not just ride quality for either vehicle (and potential attending problems).

If it helps, you can tell the old lady that I went out and paid cash for truck and trailer and high end hitch over about a week . . and then screwed up by purchasing really cheap tires. Had to bite the bullet and get good ones. Needed four, but bought eight (duh) and I've been doing this in one form or another for close to 40-years. You'd have thought I'd have known better, but . . . .

.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:48 AM   #14
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Thanks REDNAX, and thanks to all that replied. I appreciate the advice and comments.
I have this one - 7,200 # WITH 4WD EZB

I need to re-read the replies. I'm packing up right now and getting ready to leave the campground. I usually travel one week per month for work. After fourteen years in the hotel, I decided to try a trailer this year. It snowed last night. Going to be a nice ride home.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:04 AM   #15
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I usually travel one week per month for work. After fourteen years in the hotel, I decided to try a trailer this year

IMO, this choice is going to work out very well for you. Some tax advantages exist and the neighbors, the privacy and the comfort can't be beat.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:42 PM   #16
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Just to follow up...
I contacted Equal-i-zer support. They told me the 10,000# hitch and 1000# bars were fine for the 4000# trailer. Was told to be sure to adjust the WD properly. That was all.

I went ahead and ordered two 600# bars. They are smaller than the 1000# bars and leave a little more space for movement where they connect to the hitch. Hope this won't cause issues.

Took a 250 mile trip with the new setup. Seemed fine. Stiffer ride. More of the movement was transferred to the TV than before. Used to see the trailer sway a little in some situations. Now if it starts to sway, it stops almost instantly. Mileage dropped 2mpg.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nesvt View Post
Just to follow up...
I contacted Equal-i-zer support. They told me the 10,000# hitch and 1000# bars were fine for the 4000# trailer. Was told to be sure to adjust the WD properly. That was all.

I went ahead and ordered two 600# bars. They are smaller than the 1000# bars and leave a little more space for movement where they connect to the hitch. Hope this won't cause issues.

Took a 250 mile trip with the new setup. Seemed fine. Stiffer ride. More of the movement was transferred to the TV than before. Used to see the trailer sway a little in some situations. Now if it starts to sway, it stops almost instantly. Mileage dropped 2mpg.
I believe you will have to have sleeves made to fit the 600# bars in the 10,000# head. Actually, that would be great, we were talking about someone doing this on another thread. I am sure any good metal fab guy could make you sleeves for not much money.

We WILL of course expect pics and full feedback on how this works out. 600# bars in a 10,000# head is, IMHO, the only way to make an EQ work for me.
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:50 PM   #18
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More of the movement was transferred to the TV than before.

I am assuming that this is felt by the driver through the steering. My first step is TV tire pressures. Maintaining factory FF/RR balance and playing with a range. As before, no substitute for certified scale weights. Several reasons for "stiffer ride" come to mind.

Second is any slop in TV steering. R&P doesn't have much room for play, but the system should be examined while on the rack for play, loose mounts, etc.


Reduced mpg is possibly: colder weather, more start & stop, higher travel speed (with quartering headwinds the worst); brake drag, alignment and gasoline with higher ethanol content (winter gas). More steering corrections per 10-miles is cited by big truck makers as worthy of correction.

.
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