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Old 01-16-2012, 06:58 AM   #1
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Default Weight distributing hitch with sway control......which one



There are so many brands, styles, options it's difficult to know which one would be ranked best.

Pulling an XT 276 w/a Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 .... probably 1,000 Lb rated WD hitch would fit the bill.

What are your experiences regarding brand, ease of installation, performance, etc. The Hensley sounds like the best but price is outragous at $3,000.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:08 AM   #2
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The "Best"? Yes, without a doubt Hensley or Pro Pride (a spin off from the inventor of the Hensley). Hands down the the absolutely best hitch on the market. Needed by most of us? Not hardly.

The Hensley type hitch changes the geometry of the ball mount such that it behaves more like the mount of a 5th wheel. Transfers the tongue weight, by mounting points, leverage, and linkage, to make the rig appear to have the weight over the rear axle and appear to have the pivot point also located over the rear axle (changes the handling of the tongue weight and maneuverability of the trailer).

IMHO, vast overkill for the majority of us RV owners. If my trailer were at the maximum limits of my TV and or the trailer was very long and my wheel base very short, I might consider it. However, for the vast majority of us, the additional cost (nearly 3x) of it, and the doubtful need for the changes in handling leads us to choose one of the other weight distribution with built in anti-sway control "top of the line" hitch assemblies. The biggest sellers would be Equal-i-zer, Reese and Blue Ox.

I, personally, preferred the Equal-i-zer brand due to the way the bars attached to their mounting plates (rigid "L" brackets that the bars lifted onto) vs. the chain attachment type that require a special wrench to "snap" them up to their WD position (stories on the internet (anecdotal) of a lady that slipped with the chain on one of the "snap up" styles and had her foot broken by the bar as it "snapped" back down...may be Urban Legend, but, it can't happen with the Equal-i-zer bars). All of the above are excellent standard WD with anti-sway assemblies. Your RAM 1500 outfitted with any of the standard "high end" WD hitches should be quite adequate with what you intend to tow. They are easier to install, easier to hitch (IMHO)(go to the web and search for some of the You-Tube videos showing the "ballet" required for getting a Hensley type hitch's stinger re-inserted and then mentally visualize the hook up on a typical far from level RV site where you've leveled your TT, but, your TV is far from level and at a cant to the Hensley stinger such that you can't "back straight and level" into the stinger...) and will do everything that you need; i.e., transfer weight and help control sway. If you load your trailer properly (proper tongue weight), and you re-distribute some of the added weight back to the front axle for proper steering load, you shouldn't, in your case, need the features and geometry changing ability of the Hensley type hitch. The "savings" would, conceivably, cover the cost of a typical 2 month's worth of campsites for us



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Old 01-16-2012, 10:48 AM   #3
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I agree with Don, but will ad that to get the bars onto the L bracket you have to raise the tongue quite a way up which requires hand cranking the trailer up and then back down. After doing that a few times I went out and bought an electric jack. Best $250 ever spent.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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Ditto on the power jack... I installed that as my first "mod" when I had my FunFinder. DW was skeptical...she said "what's the big deal turning the crank?" I had her do it one time...I installed the power jack (UltraFab 3500) the next weekend.



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Old 01-16-2012, 08:11 PM   #5
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Has anybody used the Husky Center Line hitch. I thought about that one for close to the same money as the equlizer. I liked the looks of the compressiom cylinders on the anti sway but couldn 't find enough info from users plus it seemed like a lot of this forum used the equlizer so I played it safe and followed the crowd.Or as I like to think the more experanced users.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:38 AM   #6
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Haven't ever used the Centerline, but, operationally, it is very similar to the Equal-i-zer. The difference lies in how it implements the anti-sway control. Both utilize the flex component of the bars being placed on the tongue brackets for the weight distribution component of the hitch. The difference lies in the anti-sway component being controlled by the "pinch" of the bar sockets in the main head on the Equal-i-zer, while the Centerline has a spring loaded cylinder on each side (one for each bar) and uses a detent to urge the bars back into a straight line following position. Both, additionally, use the friction of the bars pressing down on the "L" brackets to help control sway.

The difference, and this is only to my engineering eye and not experience, is that I feel the Centerline unit would be most beneficial in a straight line, following, orientation and would be less beneficial in the off-center following orientation (like in a turn or a lane change) since both cylinders would be off their detent and be relying purely on the friction of the WD bars on the "L" brackets with less detent aid (the detents are already off center and the pistons compressed). The Equal-i-zer, utilizing the "pinch" of the bar sockets in the head is always "active", no matter the orientation...the pinching action, even off center, acts to reduce oscillation (sway) of the bars in the head along with the pressure on the "L" brackets and is a "constant" force in any orientation...no detents to be out of or into.

IMHO, I think both would be quite adequate, but, I gave the slight edge to the Equal-i-zer, which I used for quite a number of years, for weight distribution and all situational positioning of the anti-sway component. I'm sure that the detent system also is "full time", Husky is a top notch manufacturer, it just seemed, to me, that mechanical implementation was much simpler in the Equal-i-zer design (fewer moving/mechanical complications).



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Old 01-17-2012, 10:33 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the comments.
I'm leaning toward the Equalizer hitch but still considering the Blue Ox. I'm not very excited about the dangling chains - just looks sloppy. As for the electric tongue jack - the XT276 comes with an electric hitch standard equipment.

Good comments about the Hensley as felt hookup anyplace other on a flat level surface would be near impossible. Also, the simpler something is, the less problems evolve. Also didn't like the high price.

As for weight - I'm thinking the 1000 LB rating would work or would the 1200 LB be better? Read if the bars are two heavy, it's self defeating. Since I haven't bought the unit yet and will be picking it up several hundred miles away, getting the correct bars first would be a plus. The dealer also sells the hitch but can save some $350 acquiring one elsewhere.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:27 AM   #8
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Way too much value on the bars (overkill), say a 2,000# unit in your case, is self-defeating to a point. However, the "empty dry weight" of your trailer is a stated 870# tongue weight with a gross empty weight of 5110#. That's for a dead empty, pull it off the lot weight, and that, really, is a "myth". That 5110 lbs doesn't account for the battery, LP in the tanks and "options", whether ordered or mandatory (did you know that your microwave is considered an option and not figured into the "dry weight"?). Your empty rolling weight is more likely going to be closer to 5500 lbs and considering that you are buying a toy hauler, I'd think that your true "traveling" weight would be closer to 6500 lbs. Let's use that weight and that will be if you travel light. As the years go by and you start carrying more "stuff", your weight will creep up and your toys may grow in size or weight and your total weight may easily go over 7,000 lbs (your GVWR is 7870).

Using 6500 to 6800 lbs as a rough beginning weight, you'll need 12-18% of that on your tongue. Using 15% as a middle ground for estimation purposes your real tongue weight will be in the 975 to 1020 lb range and if you allow for any expansion or growth in your travel style, say in two years a real travel weight of 7500 lbs (remember; your true gross can be 7870), you could have a tongue weight of 1125 to 1350 lbs. and 7500 lbs for a toy hauler isn't hard to get to.

With those figures, you'd be real close to exceeding a 1,000# bar limit on your first trip and in a year or two, you'd be exceeding it. I'd go with the 1200 bars, at least, and IMHO, I'd personally get 1500 bars. One advantage (or disadvantage depending on you look at it), toy haulers tend to be tail heavy and it is far too easy to actually be too light on the tongue weight and that leads to other problems. Most manufacturers, though, tend to design toy haulers to be nose heavy (heavier than normal) when empty and that is offset as you add your toys to the garage area. You aren't going grossly overboard, but, you would be allowing for growth (and believe me weight creeps up as easily on your travel trailer as it does your bathroom scale ). Always allow a cushion and room for growth.

Most WD systems have adjustments that can be made to change the actual amount of bar tension so that the pressure exerted can be varied from 0 % transfer up to the maximum weight rating for the bars. You can't, however, get more out of a bar than what it was designed for. A 1000# set of bars will only be able to give you 1000# no matter what the adjustment is set for.



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Old 01-18-2012, 09:17 AM   #9
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Webslave thank you for the detailed analysis.

The weight specs have changed on the 2012 models to: UVW 5485, GVW 7870; CCC 2385 and hitch weight of 870.

I will have a full dress Harley (apx 860 lbs) in the garage of the toyhauler plus other personal gear in the unit for just two adults; therefore I agree that going with 1,200 lb bars would be wise.

Some claim to haul two full dress Harleys in the garage (1720 lbs) plus personal gear for a couple plus kids with no problems but think that would be far over the load limit for the XT276.

Thank you.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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I like your reasoning...

While you could probably could get two full dressed Harleys in the garage, I would shudder to think what that kind of weight aft of the axles would do to your tongue weight.

I'm suitably jealous...am a "retired" biker. Have RA now and the wife won't let me get another bike and "persuaded" me to get rid of my old one several years ago. Sometimes, in the spring particularly, the urge is almost unbearable. I content myself now with a couple of ATVs here on the property (106 acres) and I do have a "vroom-vroom" model (800 cc), but, it isn't quite the same...

Hope you enjoy the 276 and the opportunities taking the Harley along will afford you!



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Old 01-19-2012, 11:22 PM   #11
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Well, I don't believe I can afford TWO full dress Harleys in the garage anyway!

Sad to heard of your RA ..... hint: check out the Harley Tri-Glide; way to for a 3 wheeler. Heck, even the Russian Putin has one. I've seen pic of him riding one on the net.

I'm gonna see how the numbers shake out on the 276 w/options and take it from there. I can't take it with me so I'm gonna spend it while I can.

Thanks for your advise. Let you know how the TH pans out.
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:45 AM   #12
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Default Blue Ox

I'm using the Blue Ox and so far I've only towed with it about 1500 miles. I'm pleased with how it works, and as luck would have it, each time I've been out with the camper ( 189FDS ), it's been very windy, so at least I got to try the rig in a stiff breeze !
Very well made from what I can tell so far. The anti sway is built in, and is effectively adjustable by changing the torque of two bolts.
You'll spend a little bit of time getting the fine tune of the hitch right, but it just takes patience and maybe I'm just overly perfectionist.
Have fun with the toy hauler, and post back and let us know how it all works out.

george
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