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Old 08-20-2010, 01:31 PM   #1
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Smile Trailer sway bar and leveler

I am adding pictures of my trailer hitched to my truck. I am not sure how to adjust or how tight to tighten the swaybar.

l also have the two bars that level the truck back to the original height also attached. When I move the trailer to the house I noticed the front of my truck was bouncing quite a bit up and down. Is that because I have it set to low?

And last but not least, the brackets that the chains attach to on the tounge on each side seemed to slide when I connected the bars and swiveled them bac into the op position. Is taht normal or should I tighten them down. I bought all of this used so there are no instructions.

Everyone has been so helpful so far and I want to thank each one thet has responded so far.
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File Type: jpg Hitch 2.jpg (51.6 KB, 3 views)
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_wilson475 View Post
I am adding pictures of my trailer hitched to my truck. I am not sure how to adjust or how tight to tighten the swaybar.

l also have the two bars that level the truck back to the original height also attached. When I move the trailer to the house I noticed the front of my truck was bouncing quite a bit up and down. Is that because I have it set to low?

And last but not least, the brackets that the chains attach to on the tounge on each side seemed to slide when I connected the bars and swiveled them bac into the op position. Is taht normal or should I tighten them down. I bought all of this used so there are no instructions.

Everyone has been so helpful so far and I want to thank each one thet has responded so far.
Do you have the truck & the TT set so they are LEVEL ? If not you may need a diff. amount of drop or rise on the hitch bar.
The bouncing sounds like you have TOO much weight on the rear of your truck. You may need to make WDH adjustments to move some weight to the front of your truck IMO.
As for the adjustments of the WDH I'll let someone else address that, I have not used a WDH in 30 yrs... Where does the time go ?
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:47 PM   #3
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Hi Ed,

I believe the real experts on the dynamics of hitch setup will need to know exactly which model number 01 sunline your trying to tow...a photo showing the entire rig taken from the side view including the truck will aid in the further discussions. You will get great info, but it may take a little time for those folks to see this and comment.

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Old 08-20-2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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Hi Ed, here are a couple of simple answers, I'll let the hitch expert (aka JohnB) go into detail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_wilson475 View Post
I am not sure how to adjust or how tight to tighten the swaybar.
A long time ago, I was told a good simple rule for tightening the brake. I was told to turn the lever until two fingers couldn't tighten it any more. If you know you are going into windier conditions, go a little tighter than the two-finger rule. It's worked very well for me over the years. Make sure to also never lube that slide bar, the friction is what makes it work. If rust develops on the bar over time, I think it would be OK to lightly sand some of it off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_wilson475 View Post
l also have the two bars that level the truck back to the original height also attached. When I move the trailer to the house I noticed the front of my truck was bouncing quite a bit up and down. Is that because I have it set to low?
Based on what you describe, it does sound like you don't have enough tension on the bars. John will go into detail further about how to set it up properly, but in short, you need to take measurements of your truck fenders from the ground. The front should be no more than 1" higher than the unhooked height, and the rear should be no lower than 1-2" than stock height, and the trailer should be level at the same time too. The tension on the bars make those measurements of your fenders possible. As Joe mentioned, I too suspect your front end is higher and your rear end is lower, so you experience a lot more of the bucking effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_wilson475 View Post
And last but not least, the brackets that the chains attach to on the tounge on each side seemed to slide when I connected the bars and swiveled them bac into the op position. Is taht normal or should I tighten them down. I bought all of this used so there are no instructions.
This certainly isn't good. Those brackets should be tight. When you get the hitch set up properly, you slide the bracket so the chain is hanging straight up and down from the end of the bar. Then tighten down the adjustment screw as tight as you can. When you turn, the chains will flex to compensate.

As Bob pointed out, certainly some side view pictures of the truck/trailer hooked up on somewhat flat ground would be a big help to get you set up properly, as well as the model of your '01 Sunline so we can get some weight specs to make sure you have the proper hitch gear.

Jon
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:17 PM   #5
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Picture

Here is a view from the front side
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:22 PM   #6
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One little detail, if you have automatic leveling suspension/ air bags like I do, when measuring height of the fenders hooked/unhooked make sure the tow vehicle height compensation is off.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:36 PM   #7
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Is that a T-2753 that you are wanting to tow with your 1/2 ton dodge ? I'm sure some of the guys will be along to offer you some advise, but mine is that you need a "bigger" truck.

Kitty
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:55 PM   #8
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Kitty may well be right. In fact the Dodge Dakota is not quite rated as a 1/2 ton and as such will probably stuggle to tow a trailer of the 2753 size even with the towing package and V8 motor. But I know those who are more experienced in such matters will steer you right.

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Old 08-20-2010, 09:50 PM   #9
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Hi Ed

What you are describing sounds like your WD hitch is not setup correct.

If you can take some side pics of the hitch it will help show us what vintage and brand you have. If there is any brand sticker on the hitch itself please pass that along. And any stickers on ratings of the WD bar.

The friction sway control bar is an EAZ lft brand. That may or may not mean your WD hitch is an EAZ lift. Reese, Drawtite, Husky, EAZ lift and a bunch more friction sway bars can be interchanged on other barnd hitches by the prior owner.

If it is an EAZ lift hitch, se here Pro Star Ultra & Elite Hitches - eazlift | Towing into the 21st century.

They have on line instructions for there hitches both the trunnion style and the round bar head. If I could of seen just a bit more of your hitch head I might have been able to figure out the brand. There are on line instructions on about any brand hitch out there. We can help point you where to look.

To set the WD hitch up correctly, you will need to load the camper the way you go camping and the truck bed. These hitches distribute weight that is imposed on the truck rear axle by the long frame overhang to the tow ball. The more tongue weight or bed weight changes the setup. Not that you cannot set the hitch with the camper unloaded, just you will need to do it again once loaded. It’s not bad practice, just heads up, weigth changes the setup.

The goal of the WD hitch is to remove a good qty of weight off the rear axle and transfer weight back to the front axle that was lost when you hooked up the TT. And in this process some weigth gets transfered to the TT axles. The front end of the truck is key and what this is all about. As Gene said, if you have air shocks, dump the air before setting up.

The pic you posted does not show exactly what we need but it is a good pic to see the truck and TT. Ideally a shot looking straight on the side of the truck with the camera held level to the ground and can include the TT and the truck if possible. Pictures are good but they can deceive too.

The best is to weigh the truck and TT once all loaded up and hitched up but to get you started a tape measure will get you in the ball park. Weighing also will tell you if the truck is over it's alxe ratings and tow ratings.

Find a level hard surface spot to work. Measure the front and rear fender wells on the truck unhitched. Write them down and do all 4. They may not be the same as the truck is not 100% loaded even. See here. Measure thru the center of the axle and come back to the same spot each time you measure


And using the TT tongue jack level the TT. Use a level on the siding or under part of the TT frame or inside on the camper floor. Then measure the distance from ground to top of frame in a spot you know to come back to what level is. You need to get a happy medium on what level is. The frames have a bow in them and there can be sag in the A frame and between the axle and tow ball. Check front, middle and rear and gain an average.

See here










And once you have declared what a level TT is, then measure the tongue and write it down and remember that same spot to come back to.


OK now hitch up the TT and engage the WD hitch. Need to figure out where the front end and rear are in relation to the unhitched number. The goal is the front end comes back to unhitched. 1/8” up or down in this 1st attempt is close enough. The rear of the truck will be what it will be but must not be equal to or higher then unhitched. If it is, then you removed too much weight and something is mixed up as your light truck should respond easy to WD adjustment. It will most likely come out in the 1” down maybe 1 ” down pending tongue weights and truck weights. If you are 2 to 3” down something is not right.

If the TV front needs to drop more, then you have 2 adjustments to gain more WD transfer. A chain link at the snap ups or tilting the hitch head. In your case with your hitch the WD bars should be close to parallel to the ground and ideally the TT frame when you get all done. This allows the chains to swing fore and aft and not get jammed up in a turn in the snap up bracket. See here


You also need at least 5 chain links under tension to allow the correct angle of the chain to not crash the snap up in a turn. Going to 3 or less can for sure bind up.

Now if the WD bar is parallel to the ground and ideally the frame, then you need to tilt the WD head backwards toward the TT. Again I’m handicapped here as I cannot see you hitch head. But it looks like the standard WD head that uses a pin with washers on it to change the head tilt.

Here is a conventional hitch head with washer tilt


To get more WD to transfer up front, add more washers on that pin. Take the large bolts holding the head to the shank, loosen up the large set screw on the bottom and then add a washer or 2. This is trial and error on the 1st go around. As a rule of thumb, it takes about 2 washers to equal 1 chain link at the snap ups.. So if you can snap up 1 link higher for a test and if the WD comes out dead on but the WD bars are too high, then add 2 washers and put the chain back down 1 link.

OK that is the big picture on setting the WD on the truck. Now we need to level out the TT. Here you go back to the TT level measurement. Is the TT nose up, level or nose down?? The best is level, then next is slight nose down. If you’re a lot nose high, like ” or more high, then an adjustment should be made. You pull out those large bolts in the hitch head and drop or raise the hitch head on the shank by enough holes to end up level on the TT or slight down. Some times you need to flip the shank up or down to get the right setup. If your ” high, that is good enough as you can only adjust in 1 hole increments. And being 1 to 1 ” down is not great either as the TT front axle takes more load then the rear on the TT.

By moving the hitch head up and down to level out the TT it will interact some on the TV WD. So you may need one more tweak on the WD to get the truck front end back to where it is suppose to be.

This should get you started.

Take some more pics and we can tell better what hitch you have.

See here from a fellow forum Member Jim. Pic's that look like these views help tell us a lot









And here is one showing the full truck and TT on level ground.


PS. Your sliding snap up brackets, they should not slide. Like Sunline Fan said, once the WD hitch is set, slide the snap up so the chain is level vertical and tighten the snap up in place. Some have a set screw with a cup point to bite into the frame. If the cup point is now rounded it will slide. And pending brand most do not want you to over tighten the snap up as it can spring open the C shaped to part.

Once you get the WD setup, we can help with the friction sway bar. You can see here there is an upper bolt with a wing lever and a lower bolt.


Since you have an EAZ lift sway bar, here are the instructions. http://www.eaz-lift.com/eazlift/products/sway.html

http://www.eaz-lift.com/eazlift/Instructions/SwayControl_Instructions.pdf

Since yours is not new, the bottom tension screw may or may not be at the right tension. The lower screw should be adjusted out in the open to at least have the bottom brake pad just touch the bar but yet you can still push pull it out with the top lever unscrewed. That is a starting place. You may need to tighten the lower screw some more yet.

The instructions tell the basic procedure. The upper lever is for on and off and the lower is for more braking power. EAZ lift declares the top on off lever should bottom out. I do not know if they mean that literally. The Husky I have if I physically bottom it out I’m bending the heck out of the entire bracket and it physically will not bottom out. The EAZ lift may or may not have a stop in the top. I doubt it does but it may. Sunline Fans two finger method I have heard before and pending setup it may work. Each combo is different. It is a trail and error thing and you need to get the lever to point towards the TT or at least not pointing forward or it will get caught up in the hitch. More tension = more sway control. If you clamp it tight to death, it can bend so that is the extreme.

Since backing up into a campsite allows sharper turns then most times driving forward, it is recommend to take the sway bar off when backing up in tight places. Don’t worry you can bend it going forward in a hard 180 left turn too, but odds are that does not happene as much as when backing up.

Good luck and report back

John


PS What model Sunline do you have? and check your truck reciever that it is rated for a weight distrubtuing hitch and what tonuge weight can it handle in WD mode.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanyonkitty View Post
Is that a T-2753 that you are wanting to tow with your 1/2 ton dodge ? I'm sure some of the guys will be along to offer you some advise, but mine is that you need a "bigger" truck.

Kitty
Kitty, you're on the mark. The '01 T-2753 is GVWR'd at 7,000#. The '05 Dakota Quad Cab with the V8 4WD is rated at exactly 7,000# tow weight. If it is 2WD, the rating drops to 6,850#.

I have long been a fan of the "safety margin" school of thought in the basic numbers. The general rule is the difference between the GVWR of the trailer and the max tow rating of the tow vehicle should minimally be at least 12% and as high as 33% of the max tow rating. It's an easy calculation to do in your head standing in front of a pushy RV salesman and while there are more refined and detailed ways of determining if a TT/TV combination is appropriate, they almost always end up at least with a 12% safety margin. In this case, it is 0%.

Reading back through many of the towing discussions in the Towing and Tow Vehicles forum, it is the same over and over again, regardless of combination.

It has been offered in the past that a single friction sway controller is useful on trailers up to 20' in length. Dual friction controllers would alter that somewhat. But experienced folks point to the Reese DC, Pull-Rite, and Hensley systems as much more effective and reliable.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:57 PM   #11
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Hi Ed

How goes it with your hitch? If you need more help let us know or PM me.

Thanks

John
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