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 > WD proper setup-bars-and level tow vehicle

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RustyMacIntosh

Fresno, Cal

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Posted: 12/15/19 06:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am using a vintage Suburban 4x4 towing a 19f Mallard around seeing the kids and sights. My Suburban is a k1500. 16" tires. The hitch is a 10k hitch installed after-the-fact when we bought it last century. I think tow capacity is 6000 on this unit. Not sure. The Vortex is built, the trans is built as is the transfer case. No powerhouse but runs 10mpg all day long at 60.

I swapped over to a Harbor Freight WD bars and connectors on the trailer tongue. But still using the old EZ Lift receiver.

Previous bars were much lighter than the HF ones, (I got a killer deal so I bought them). These bars and chains are much heavier than the previous setup, plus those bars were over 20 years old if not more.

RV guy in another high end unit approached me the other day. He said when I came in the parking lot he saw that I had my bars on the trailer way too tight. He said his experience told him to tell me to lower the links down by at least one maybe two. He said I am risking a chance of riping the chains off the trailer mounts by having the bars so tight.

I thanked him, went on. OK...previous setup the Suburban would sit a bit down in the back when connected. But the trailer was level.

The new HB setup, I have the links at #4. The Suburban is level, the trailer is slightly up end, higher in the front than back on level ground. Just a bit, but not level and not noticeable unless you look at it carefully.

I did not notice any difference between either setup.

When I was putting the new bars on, I did make the setup tighter than before.

So, what is the standard rule of thumb?

The Suburban is heavy. Probably in excess of 6500 then add all my stuff, two dogs and a computer I bet it is beyond that.

The trailer is said to be about 4k empty. I am far from empty. I am loaded heavy. Food, water, stuff I bring along, including a spare generator, I am sure I am tipping over 5k. When I get a chance I am going to weigh the whole setup just for curiosity's sake.

13k maybe a bit more.

So what is the rule for setting up the WD bars. I also have a slide brake which really does keep the sway down when a big rig comes flying up behind and passes you.

* This post was edited 12/15/19 07:35am by RustyMacIntosh *

GrandpaKip

Flat Rock

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Posted: 12/15/19 08:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Basic rule of thumb is the trailer should be level to slightly nose down and TV should be level to slightly nose up.
On my setup, the camper is about 1” nose down and the front of the truck has been returned to 1/4 “ of unloaded height.


Kip
2015 Skyline Dart 214RB
2018 Silverado Double Cab 4x4
Andersen Hitch

RustyMacIntosh

Fresno, Cal

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Posted: 12/15/19 08:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hmmmm, I'm high on the trailer by maybe 4 inches and level on the tow vehicle,

let me loosen the bars today, I am going over the Grapevine tomorrow morn, the road is rough, (ty State of Confusion for your wonderful tax money expenditure), let me play with the bars a bit.


I might have the receiver hitch a bit high too. I can bring it down one notch, maybe that will level things out a bit.

ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 12/15/19 11:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like the draw bar (recvr hitch) needs to go down at least two holes if you're really 4" high in front.


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BarneyS

S.E. Lower Michigan

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Posted: 12/15/19 11:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should not try to level the trailer with the spring bars. You level the trailer by moving the hitch head up or down on the draw bar or shank. The spring bars should be tightened just enough to return the lost weight from the front axle of the truck when you put the trailer tongue on the ball.

I suggest you take a long look at this thread, which is stuck at the top of the Towing forum, for help on setting up your hitch correctly.
Barney


2004 Sunnybrook Titan 30FKS TT
Hensley "Arrow" 1400# hitch (Sold)
Not towing now.
Former tow vehicles were 2016 Ram 2500 CTD, 2002 Ford F250, 7.3 PSD


Lynnmor

Red Lion

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Posted: 12/15/19 11:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You bought a hitch with bars that are much too heavy. Weigh the trailer at the tongue and get the appropriate hitch.





Terryallan

Foothills NC

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Posted: 12/15/19 02:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For a tow vehicle that old. the instruction on using a WDH are. Take it to a level parking lot. Unhook. just raise the tongue off the ball. Measure the front bumper to the ground. Measure the rear bumper to the ground. Write it down

Hook up. adjust the springer bars / weight bars until the front bumper is with in 1/4 inch of where it was before you hooked back up, and that the rear is no higher hooked up than it was unhooked. Yes you can raise the rear too high.

Remember the bars should be level with the tongue. Use the hitch angle to lean them back, or raise them. The more angle toward the trailer the hitch head has on it. the more weight the WDH will transfer. You can pull one link more or less to get the bars level, and pull more or less, but if that don't work. you will need to adjust the hitch head angle.

Once you get the front of the Tv back to where it should be. The rear of the TV will usually take care of itself. You should have no problems towing once this is all done. Get the hitch right, and then add sway control.

If the trailer is too high in the front or too low in the front. You will need to raise, or lower the hitch head on the shank. Getting the WDH correct is the key to ease of towing. Really not that hard.

Spend time getting the hitch right, and you will have no sway in normal driving.


Terry & Shay
Coachman Apex 288BH.
2013 F150 XLT Off Road
5.0, 3.73
Lazy Campers


lenr

Indianapolis, IN

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Posted: 12/15/19 03:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMHO--yours may vary.
SUVs and pickup trucks often sit high in the rear and are designed to come down under load. The best handling will happen with front end weight about the same as when the trailer is not hitched, and the easiest way to check that is measure the front bumper. If the chains are adjusted to return normal weight to the front but the back has come down an inch or two, the front bumper will be up 1/8" to 1/4" which has been my goal. The tow vehicle looking level has never been important to me unless the rear is hanging very low indicating too much trailer. More important to me is normal weight back on the front. If the front has come down to less than unhitched, it is too tight with danger of bending the receiver. If the trailer is not level the only way to adjust is raise or lower the ball mount on the shank. Reese says no less than 5 chain links between the bars and the pull-up bracket. Stop in a sharp turn some time to see how tight those chains can get. The ball mount head is usually designed to tilt to change the length of the chains when front axle weight is back to normal. WD bars are usually labeled with a weight rating--Reese says you can use theirs down to half of the rating.

RustyMacIntosh

Fresno, Cal

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Posted: 12/15/19 06:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Its all level now, and I dropped the link to 5 from 4. The trailer sits a bit lower in the front, but tomorrow will be the test, when I go over the Grapevine then to Santa Barbara.

Terryallan

Foothills NC

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Posted: 12/15/19 07:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RustyMacIntosh wrote:

Its all level now, and I dropped the link to 5 from 4. The trailer sits a bit lower in the front, but tomorrow will be the test, when I go over the Grapevine then to Santa Barbara.


Just be careful, you didn't unload the front / steer axle. Will cause sway.

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