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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All:

Because I know that my dealer didn't do any kind of adjustments other than ball height, I pulled the rig onto level ground today and had at it with what I've learned since bringing it home. I have the Reese dual cam set up and a Reese hitch head as well. My challenge was that after pulling up as high as the 4th chain link there still wasn't much tension on the bars. So the rear of my Burb was carrying all of the weight.

To fix this you need to tilt the hitch-head backwards which will of course tilt the ball back, and also point your WD bars more towards the ground. This makes the bars start to resist at a lower point, and allow you to drop a link or two while still applying sufficient pressure to balance the load on your tow vehicle. My goal was to get onto the 5th link while also applying enough pressure.

Well...I found a limitation in the Reese hitch-head. In order to tilt it back you need to flip this multisided washer around for different adjustments. There are actually numbers stamped on it to guide you, 1-6, with #1 being as far back as it will go.

Well I have it on 1 and it's still not far enough back
The good news is that while having to stay on the 4th link, my load is now perfectly balanced. To check this I measured from the ground to the top of each fenderwell without the rig hooked up for a baseline. I then hitched-up and measured again. If adjusted correctly your weight-D bars will make your truck squat close to an equal amount on all 4 wheels. I was able to get it to sit down 1/2" on all 4 and was very pleased.

The remaining problem is that since I can't get it to do this on the 5th link or lower, my dual cam heads (those big gold things) are higher than I want them and hitting the protruding "L" channel that the propane bottles sit on.

So my final solution when I got home was to notch out a 1x4" section from the bottom of that channel on each side. I used my Dremmel tool loaded with a cut-off wheel which worked pretty well and didn't take long. After cutting I loaded it up with a fine grinder wheel and de-burred the sharp edges off. Then finished up by spraying some semi-gloss black paint.

Pheww! What a day
But it was worth the effort as the whole set-up already tows way better than it did before.
 

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CJ,

Here is what I was told on the walk through. Let me know if it makes sense to you.

First, when you are hitched up, you want the trailer to be level. Nearly perfectly level. Second, the w/d bars should appear parallel to the trailer frame. When you look at the bars in place, you should have about the same gap between the bars and the trailer frame in the front (where the bars attach to the hitch) and the rear (where the bars chain to the trailer) .

Does that all make sense? So that is what I strive for when hitched. There is a picture of my Reese hitch in the gallery...can't remember what number I am on. I suppose it all depends on the vehicle and ball height as to where the dealer puts you. When I engage the bars, I have 4 links hanging.

Let me know if that sounds OK.

Randy
 

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Oh yeah, also in the gallery I have a side view photo of the Yukon and the Outback 26 RS. The dealer said, when hitched up, drive to level ground and check it again. Check the w/d bars in relation to the trailer, and check the trailer itself for...uh...levelness.

Randy
 

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Randy,

You're right that the bars should be about parallel to the ground.

I looked at your hitch head in the photo gallery and the one thing that jumps out at me is it is not angled back at all. Mine is angled back maybe 10 degrees. When you have your bars cinched up, are they very tight and a little bent? There should be a lot of tension on them. When I cinch mine up, the back of the truck lifts up.

The problem I have trying to set up the bars is our truck has the full autoride suspension, so it automatically levels itself and I can't measure the four corners to check if it drops evenly. I wound up getting the truck weighed to see how much weight each axle was carrying. I've got it set up pretty well now, I did have the bars too tight for a bit and was all over the road because the tongue was too light, if they aren't tight enough, the back feels "heavy" if that makes sense. I kind of go by how the truck feels when driving, when the bars are set right, it feels pretty much like it does when driving empty.

Mike
 

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Randy - Thanks for the info. My bars are almost level except they are just a little higher than level on the cam end. I can't help this now because I am not able to tilt the hitch head back any further. If I drop a link on the chain they will be level, but then I will have too much weight on the rear of the Burb. I need to apply the amount of pressure that I am at right now at 4 links. And the only way to get that same pressure down at 5 links is to....well you guessed it, tilt the head back. Catch 22.

I put a 6" level on the trailer frame in several places and it is riding dead level. So I am good there. And of course I now know that my weight is balanced on the tow vehicle.

Mike - Bummer about the autoride. I never thought about that. But now that you took the time to actually weigh it, you are in the money big time with the autoride helping out with differing tongue weights as you load each time.

So all in all I'm happy with the results. But I could be happier if I didn't have to notch the trailer to keep the cams from rubbing. It was a real good learning experience though and I understand what is happening back there alot better now.
 

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CJ and 479,

I am not sure how much tension is on the bars when I am hitched up. Before I engage (or disengage) the bars, I raise the hitch (thus, the rear of the truck) up using the crank. Let me explain, is this how you do it?

After backing the truck up under the hitch, I lower the hitch onto the ball until it locks. The I spin the crank the other way, raising the hitch (and rear of the truck) up a few inches. No off the ground of course, but up a couple inches from where it was when the trailer was lowered onto the ball. Then I install the w/d bars, and they are easy to engage (since the rear end of the truck is being lifted up). After locking the bars in place, I lower the truck all the way down and crank all the "hitch foot" all the way up into traveling position.

So, I do not know how tight the w/d bars are when hitched up since they are engaged when the rear of the truck is raised up to put them in place. This is the process I was taught during the walk-thru.

Randy
 

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Randy, that is also the way the dealer told me how to do it so I have been using that method as well. I do need to make some adjustments because I changed the tires and there is a heigth difference. I have been watching and trying to learn how to adjust this correctly. If I understand I am suppose to measure from two different spots, front and back and try to get them equal when hooked up. Is this the way you understand how to do this setup? Should I use the wheel well or bumper or does it make a difference? How much presure should there be on the cams and how do you measure it? kirk
 

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Kirk,

If you have the autoride on your tahoe you will have a tricky time setting up the wd bars (see my post above) by trying to measure at each corner. Mine have a slight bend in them when they are cinched up and if you push on the bar with your foot by the chain, they are very tight and don't move much.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Randy - The procedure you outlined is correct and an easy way to put the bars up, once you know that your set-up is right. But that begs the question, is it right?

I initially trusted my dealer but soon realized they did essentially nothing. Vitrually everything that COULD be adjusted, needed to be adjusted. I had to change:

1. The position of the chain pullers. They were not directly over the cam as needed, and were instead pulling the chains at an angle.
2. The cam location. When the bars were pulled up they did not sit properly on the cam and were out of the "socket".
3. Hitch head angle. (there was none).

So yes you are OK so long as you are certain that your tow vehicle load is being shared equally between the front and back. You can either measure as I listed above or take it to a scale and weigh each axle both loaded and unloaded.

aplvlykat - So long as you don't have an autoride adjuster on your vehicle, the easiest way is to measure on level ground the distance between the ground and the inside of EACH fenderwell. I measured right in the middle and was careful to measure from the same spot each time. You can put a piece of masking tape with a mark on the fender to help you if needed.

Once you record all the numbers, hitch-up your trailer and measure again. Ideally your truck should drop a close to equal amount at all 4 fender wells. If not keep adjusting the tension on your bars and get it as close as you can to equal. You will typically see your fronts go UP the first time you check it if it's not right. This is a dead giveaway that you are not sending the load up front.

At the same time you need to be concerned about keeping your WD bars close to parrallel to the ground. To do this you will need to tilt the hitch head backwards for more tension on the bars...or more upright for less tension. The Reese instructions reccomend you to be hooked on the 5th chain link when this is all done.

And finally once you get the weight worked out, check your trailer to see that it is level (thus the need to be on level ground while doing this) or just a little lower in the front. If not you will need to adjust the ball height accordingly. After doing this check your weight one last time as it could change from the different ball height.

So in summary, perfect scenario if you have a Reese system, but same for most:

1. truck dropping equally at all 4 wheels
2. WD bars nice and flat or parallel to ground & trailer
3. trailer nice and level or down just a little in the front.

I'm willing to bet that many here could use a little tune up. I sure did
 

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ok jim, I am still a little confused. Let me see if I got this. I understand about the ball height and leveling. To get the weight to transfer forward and keep the truck level you adjust the links in the chain- the more links the more goes forward and more tension on the bars-, but the bars will not be level to the ground so I have to tilt the ball accordingly- back to lower bars & forward to raise bars. Continue doing this untill the TV and trailer are level. While doing this I try to keep 5 links in the chain. Am I close to understanding how this works, maybe I should just go out and see want happens with the adjustment. Kirk
 

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Oh i forgot to mention I do not have autoride.
 

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Sounds like you got it Kirk.

One little change though - The LESS links between your chain lever and the cam - the more pressure that will be applied to the bars. You should count which link you are hooked to by counting away from the cam and going up. The U-bolt that connects the chain to the plate doesn't count either.

So if you were on the 3rd link the end of your bars would be way up high, and if you were on the 6th link you might be down too low.

Some folks count the number of links hanging free which could vary by manufacturer, so this is the only sure way to make the adjustment, and how Reese describes it in their literature.

Anyway, do this adjustment first, then level the trailer. You'll be rollin' smooth and level in no time
 

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One last note on this. Those two bolts holding the Reese hitch head in place are tighter than you can imagine! You will need a 1 1/8" socket and a large breaker bar or wratchet & cheater bar. You'll also need a 1 1/8" wrench or a large adjustable wrench to hold the other side. This is serious business.

The specs call for re-torquing those bad boys to 300#
The way I figure it you've got 3 options to put them back. 1. Buy a 300# torque wrench and do it. 2. Reese says if using their bolts you can torque them to 150# then turn an additional 1/4 turn. Once again you will need a torque wrench. 3. Get them as tight as you can then take the head into any local dealer for final torque.

I'm opting for #3.

Good Luck!
 

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Great info Jim!


It's amazing the difference in ride quality there is when the hitch is set up properly, not to mention safer. Definitely worth the time and effort.

You're right about tightening those bolts on the hitch head being serious business. I bought an old international harvester 1 1/8 wrench on ebay,I think I payed 5 bucks for it. It's a box wrench on one end only so I could put a long piece of pipe on there and we cranked on that thing so it was reeeeeally tight. It was easily as tight as when we broke it free to adjust the head. Don't want that loosening up going down the road
.
 

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I think I'll just take it done to the firehouse, and see if the department mechanic could put the torque on. He has some REALLY BIG wrenches, and a REALLY BIG torque wrench, as firetrucks have some REALLY BIG nuts and bolts on them.


Tim
 

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Harbor Freight is a good place to get some inexpensive equipment for this. I picked up a torque wrench and socket for under $20. Makes it easy to tighten my lug nuts during our trips too.
 

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Ok Jim, Just finished the adjustments to the hitch. Quite a job but I finally got it. I ended up with the receiver set at 1. Thinking back the only time the dealer hooked up the TT to the my TV was when I pulled out after the walk thru. He never adjusted it just set it to the default setting of 3. Other may want to check, if you did not drop off your truck and trailer for a least 2-3 hours chances are you are not set up correctly with the daul cam system. Kirk
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Congrats Kirk:

That's the number I ended up on as well, and still not really much ball tilt at all. But just enough in my case.

So what chain link did you end up on? And how much did your truck drop?
 

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Jim, I ended up with 5 links, in my case there are ten so five hang loose and five are tight. The front slightly lifted from 36" to 36 1/2" and the back dropped from37 1/2" to 36 1/2" but now when i go to engage the chain there is resistance before I could almost do it by hand without the bar. Seems to ride much better my wife thinks I'm nuts for driving it around with the price of gas like it is now days. Will be using it next monday for a week up at Big Sur State Beach, counting the days. Kirk

Oh yea I took it over to the local RV shop they torqued the head nuts for free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well........Sounds like you have the same problem as I did then. The front of your Tahoe should not lift up at all. It should in fact sit down, even a little. My Suburban did the exact same thing. Up 1/2" in the front, down 1" in the rear when I first started. As I mentioned earlier, I got it to drop 1/2" evenly on all fours.

You too will need to go to the 4th link to get it right, because as you sit on the 5th you are out of balance with too much weight on the rear. You will be surprised at how much better it tows. I put 250 miles on our rig camping over the weekend and most of the time the truck rode like no trailer was there.

I know it seems like alot of tension on those bars, but that is what they are designed for. And if the front of your truck is rising - you're still not applying enough pressure. By the way, what weight bars are you using? 750#? I'm running 1000#, but probably have more tongue weight than you.

Good Luck and let me know if you need any more help.
 
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