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Old 11-30-2019, 07:30 AM   #1
Maineiacs
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Question Equalizer hitch - sway bar torque question

Have a new equalizer hitch. The sway bars need to swing out 3 to 4 inches to allow for disconnection to the trailer. They are incredibly hard to move! I'm just under 300 pounds and it took my entire body weight yesterday to disconnect. This morning I loosened the bolts that hold the square fittings that hold the sway bars. Backed them off a good quarter inch. Still stiff. Applied white lithium grease to the rubbing surfaces, very slightly better, still extremely stiff. The square fittings are firmly captured between the top plate and the bottom plate. Is there some trick to making them a little easier to work with? If it wasn't Saturday, I'd call their tech support but thought I'd try the wizards and veterans here first.


Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:50 AM   #2
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If you stay hitched to the tow vehicle, lift the tongue as high as it will go. That should remove the pressure and allow the bars to come off with very little effort. Then just lower the tongue, unlock the hitch and lift off the ball.

Hooking up, lock onto the ball, lift as high as it will go, install bars and then lower the tongue.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:58 AM   #3
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When new the Equalizer bars can be hard to pull/push back and forth. The most important key is having the tongue up enough to remove the weight on the bars from the L brackets. Next, when new I had the bolts tightened to 65 lb. ft. of torque as a minimum. Coat the sliding surfaces of the square bar receiver with grease; I used Reese hitch grease, you used white lithium which in my experience doesn't do much or last long. When new, at times it was almost impossible to get the bars in/out and I was pretty stout back then and could do it but figured something was going to "pop" one day while yanking on the things. To eliminate that I found a 5' length of 1" steel pipe that I just threw in the pass through for a cheater bar....made the world SO much better and eliminated the problem. After thousands of miles of use the hitch loosened up and I now run it at 75 lb. ft. and they work without the bar and it does an excellent job.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckster57 View Post
If you stay hitched to the tow vehicle, lift the tongue as high as it will go. That should remove the pressure and allow the bars to come off with very little effort. Then just lower the tongue, unlock the hitch and lift off the ball.

Hooking up, lock onto the ball, lift as high as it will go, install bars and then lower the tongue.

That's exactly the process I followed. Now unhooked, hitch is in the truck upside down for access to the bolts for lube. Put bars in and can just barely move them. Doesn't seem quite right. I know that friction is an integral part of the design but this seems extreme.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Maineiacs View Post
That's exactly the process I followed. Now unhooked, hitch is in the truck upside down for access to the bolts for lube. Put bars in and can just barely move them. Doesn't seem quite right. I know that friction is an integral part of the design but this seems extreme.
As Danny said above, the bars can be VERY stiff when new. They will get easier
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:36 AM   #6
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I forgot to mention a couple of things. Read that you had your hitch upside down in the receiver...this would be right. When new I backed off the torque on the hitch bolts and used the sway bars to pull the square heads out about 80 degrees to lube them; pushed them back and retorqued. DO NOT forget to tighten the set bolt for the hitch head angle every time you pull the hitch and retorque the bolts...it WILL loosen up and you will lose the angle for your ball. Over time I just used the cheater bar and now just pull the bars out by hand when unhitching before I pull the pin and clip.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:51 AM   #7
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Thanks to you both! We have a long trip coming up after Christmas and hopefully that will help wear off the newness.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by chuckster57 View Post

Hooking up, lock onto the ball, lift as high as it will go, install bars and then lower the tongue.
Don't forget to raise the stabilizer jacks before messing around with raising/lowering the tongue. It is obvious but can be forgotten...
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:47 AM   #9
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Don't forget to raise the stabilizer jacks before messing around with raising/lowering the tongue. It is obvious but can be forgotten...

^^^^^x2x2! Very important, very obvious....but, can be forgotten!! Just ask me. And, dropping the tongue will absolutely fold the stabilizers, BUT, the good thing is they can be replaced.....for $700.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:05 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=sourdough Coat the sliding surfaces of the square bar receiver with grease; I used Reese hitch grease, you used white lithium which in my experience doesn't do much or last long.[/QUOTE]

If Reese hitch grease is unavailable (which is my issue) I use a good quality synthetic grease such as Valvoline, Mobil1, Lucas. It sticks better than Lithium as sourdough suggested.
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Old 11-30-2019, 06:15 PM   #11
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Without having the book at hand as I recall those bolts should be torqued to 40-60 ft.lbs.
I set mine at 50 ft. lbs. and can move them with a hefty pull. The friction on the L-bracket is what gives the sway control more than the hitch head bar connection. Loosen the bolt torque to where you want it. Remember to grease those rub points on the hitch head every time too.
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Old 11-30-2019, 06:54 PM   #12
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Without having the book at hand as I recall those bolts should be torqued to 40-60 ft.lbs.
I set mine at 50 ft. lbs. and can move them with a hefty pull. The friction on the L-bracket is what gives the sway control more than the hitch head bar connection. Loosen the bolt torque to where you want it. Remember to grease those rub points on the hitch head every time too.

This is a link to the current guidelines as best I can find for the 4 point:

https://www.equalizerhitch.com/manua...ring-arm-setup

This says 60 but I've never seen anything previously less than 65. 40 psi on the 4 point would be useless in my experience. 60 would be useless as well with a trailer over maybe 6k.. Loosening the head bolt torque to "where you want it" is just bad advice. It needs to do its job and you have to set it to specs then do what is required to keep it there....not "make it easy" because "it's hard". JMO
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:58 AM   #13
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You did not say what brand of hitch you have but it sounds like a weird hitch. I think that any hitch that you have to lift the back of the truck to hitch up is a very strange hitch.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:03 AM   #14
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You did not say what brand of hitch you have but it sounds like a weird hitch. I think that any hitch that you have to lift the back of the truck to hitch up is a very strange hitch.
Most weight distributing hitches are much easier to "load" when the tension is off. There is a degree of tilt to the hitch head and when you put the bars on they will point in a downward direction. unless you lift the truck and trailer up to change the angle, putting the bars on takes a lot of effort.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:26 AM   #15
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You did not say what brand of hitch you have but it sounds like a weird hitch. I think that any hitch that you have to lift the back of the truck to hitch up is a very strange hitch.
Every weight distribution hitch that uses "spring bars" to shift weight employs the concept of lifting the rear of the tow vehicle to unload the bars to make connecting/disconnecting safer and easier. In fact, Equalizer, in their owner's manual has a CAUTION about always lifting the trailer connection before setting or releasing the WD bars.

It's on page 7 of the owner's manual and reads:

"Do not loosen or remove any part of the hitch while the hitch is under load. Use the tongue jack to take the tension off the spring arms before removing L‑pins."
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Old 12-08-2019, 03:59 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
Every weight distribution hitch that uses "spring bars" to shift weight employs the concept of lifting the rear of the tow vehicle to unload the bars to make connecting/disconnecting safer and easier. In fact, Equalizer, in their owner's manual has a CAUTION about always lifting the trailer connection before setting or releasing the WD bars.

It's on page 7 of the owner's manual and reads:

"Do not loosen or remove any part of the hitch while the hitch is under load. Use the tongue jack to take the tension off the spring arms before removing L‑pins."
Did any of you notice he said SWAY bar, not SPRING bar!
When I had an equalizer the spring bars moved easily as in with my pinky finger. I didn't have an anti-sway bar on that hitch.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:06 PM   #17
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Did any of you notice he said SWAY bar, not SPRING bar!
When I had an equalizer the spring bars moved easily as in with my pinky finger. I didn't have an anti-sway bar on that hitch.


Which Equalizer did you have that didn't have sway control?
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:43 PM   #18
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Danny: I think he means the separate sway control that uses a ball on the head, another ball 24” back on the frame and a bar that gets squeezed between brake pads.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:43 PM   #19
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No idea, that was 7 years ago and I have trouble remembering what I had for breakfast. It was a round bar equalizer with no sway bar at all. If I was going to guess I would say Husky. The lack of sway bar was not an issue for me as my truck had electronic sway control and the one time I needed it in the Rockies it worked perfectly. The only reason I got some sway was the loose nut behind the wheel and the truck saved his *** (me). There was no issue taking off and putting on the round bars when I was a young 70 years old.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:54 PM   #20
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Got it! I was thinking the brand Equalizer when equalizer was mentioned in the post and I'm not aware of any of them without sway control.
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