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dmac 10-22-2003 02:30 PM

Shorten Draw Bar?
The draw bar on my Equal-i-zer hitch is a bit long horizontally. I could reduce the distance between the rear axle and the hitch by a couple inches if I were to drill another hole in the draw bar for the pin. Is there any value in this?

A 44" rear overhang, plus another 12" or so for the hitch, totals 56". A 2" reduction would be 2/56, or 3.5%. I'm thinking this is insignificant, your thoughts?

drboyd 10-22-2003 03:14 PM

You know, I had that exact same thing on my Reese Dual Cam. I went out to one of the real hitch experts here, planning to pay him to shorten and re-drill the bar.

He told me that since I was using the weight distribution bars, it wouldn't make any difference, and would just make it tougher to get into the back of the Tahoe.

So, I didn't bother, and haven't had any problems as a result.



dmac 10-22-2003 03:35 PM

I understand why a length change would not have a material effect on the vertical load due to the weight distribution bars. I am wondering if it would help for side loads - ie: sway.

Kistler 10-22-2003 03:53 PM

Have a Reese here also and could stand about 2-3" taken off and redrilling of the pin hole.

I wondered about the heating of the bar when it is "cut". Is it with a torch or metal saw? and the drilling is bound to produce some also.....

It just seems to me that closer to the axle of the tow vehicle is better....I could still get my rear lid up (I think)....this could really turn into a "black cloud affair" if I didn't measure accurately. :)

By the way I think the bar flexes??? I haven't been back there since I am the sole driver but just hitching up and watching it makes me think it is too long.

85MH325 10-22-2003 06:47 PM

Drawbar flex
Kistler, you hit it right on the head. The first draw bar I used with my 34' was about 14" long or so, designed to clear the rear-door mounted spare tire of a van. I could hook my WD bars up and make the bar flex up a good 3/8" at the hitch head. Not cinching the WD bars up properly allowed for the bar to remain straight, but didn't properly distribute the load. No matter which way I used it, I know it was doing the up, down and sideways boogie while I was going down the road. It contributed substantially to trailer sway. The dual cam setup couldn't work because the draw bar wasn't rigid enough. Of course, underinflated tires didn't help much either. Together it was an "E" ticket ride. (Anybody remember "E" tickets?)

Anyway, I don't think that excessive draw bar length is a good thing at all.


thenewkid64 10-22-2003 07:18 PM

Re: Drawbar flex

Originally posted by 85MH325
Together it was an "E" ticket ride. (Anybody remember "E" tickets?)

You are dating yourself! E-ticket ride is a term we use around our house regularly. :)

I wish they would go back to the ticket books, it would cut down on the lines!

uwe 10-22-2003 10:41 PM

I think the shorter the better. Both vertical and horizontal forces would cause a lever type action on the receiver hitch, and with all the weight and stress alredy, it can't hurt to make it as short as it is practical.
Mine could and will be shortened almost 3 inches soon. I will have it cut by a machine shop with wet sawing and drilling equipment, to keep the heat down, and make a nice, clean cut and new hole.
If you compare it to a breaker bar, then it makes more sense. Just grab the bar 3 inches in from the handle, and see how much less force you can suddenly exert on the subject. Now multiply this by the force of the trailer tongue while towing!
It's a low percentage when you measure from the rear axle, but quite a bit when you only consider the distance of the receiver to trailer ball, and consider the forces on the square tubing and the receiver parts. The factory hitch on my Suburban flexes visibly while hitching up. I wonder if this will decrease once the draw bar is shortened.

markjoandall 10-23-2003 06:04 AM

draw bar length
Read the information at this link.

This is from Andy in Canada. The information he provides is very informative.

85MH325 10-23-2003 06:52 AM


Originally posted by uwe
The factory hitch on my Suburban flexes visibly while hitching up. I wonder if this will decrease once the draw bar is shortened.
Uwe... something tells me that your hitch flexing is NOT a good thing! Somebody please correct me here if I'm wrong, but I don't think they're supposed to flex. I think that the entire hitch system is supposed to be rigid, as that's how the weight transfers to the two vehicle in a predictible fashion. The flex in my long draw bar was causing my WD system not to function properly. My hitch however, remained rigid.

I'd think that if your hitch is flexing when you hook up, that it will also oscillate as you travel down the road. That could translate to broken welds, or failed hitch parts. At the very least, if it is a bolt-on, it would be wearing the bolts and enlarging the bolt holes.

Hmmm.... is my thought process flawed here?


uwe 10-23-2003 10:07 AM

Not flawed
It's not like it flexes 3 inches up and down, but I can see the distance from the reveiver tube to the bumper bottom increase and decrease slightly when dropping the trailer on the ball.
The first time i noticed this I immediately unhitched and checked all the bolts ad welds that I could get to, with a very bright flashlight and a long handle wrench. Everything tight and no cracks visible.
Mind you, this receiver hitch had never been used by the previous owner.
i also had it checked later at a hitch installation place, but they said that the hitch is a-ok.
Go figure.....

85MH325 10-23-2003 12:35 PM

I guess that bridges and tall buildings flex and sway, so it follows that there might be some ineherent flex in the steel of a hitch. I would think that shortening your draw bar would lessen the leverage that the trailer puts on the hitch from the end.

It'll be interesting to see how this turns out. Let us know if you see a difference.


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