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Author Topic:   25' Revenge,Keel Roller Trailer,2500 Suburban with Equalizer Hitch?
Eagleman posted 03-14-2002 08:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for Eagleman   Send Email to Eagleman  
All the components are coming together for our new ride this summer. Would a equalizer hitch be recommended for a 3/4 Ton Suburban with a Class 3 Reese hitch that is limited to 400# tongue weight on hitch or 1000# on equalizer hitch? Thank you, Eagleman
dfmcintyre posted 03-14-2002 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
I've pulled 25' Revenges with both a 1/2 ton pickup and 1500 series Surburban. My Revenge's trailer was combo (roller&bunk) without a equalizer. I've pulled Walt Steffens 25' Revenge (that's a bit heavier then mine. Mine was a 25 Revenge Cuddy I/O...Walt's is a 25 W/T w/twin 150's) both using the tension bars (for lack of a better description...WALT jump in here...) and without the bars installed.

BIG DIFFERENCE!!, both from what I remember in towing my rig, and the times that I've towed Walts.

I'd go for a equalizer if/when I ever bump up from my 21 Outrage. I might even consider it if I was doing long distance tows, like Larry does. The current Outrage weighs about 2100lbs.


jimh posted 03-14-2002 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Having seen Walt's trailer, what Don is describing is a load equalizing hitch. Walt has designed a mount for the rear (trailer) end of the equalizer bars to spread them horizontally a bit wider than can be normally achieved on just the trailer's center tongue tube.

If you use a load equalizing hitch you have to follow the installation recommendations carefully if you want it to work with a surge brake actuator.

I am towing about 4500# with a K1500 Suburban and no load equalizing hitch. I have the tongue weight set about 5-6% and that is only about 225-250# on the tongue.

When we go on longer trips the cabin accumulates more gear and the tongue weight goes up a bit. The back of the Suburban gets loaded more heavily, too, but so far it is not a problem.

Of course, your rig will probably be 7000#, and that is a horse of a different color!


kingfish posted 03-15-2002 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I bought an equalizing hitch when I went to pick up our 25' Parker Sportcabin (boat, motor, trailer etc.= 5500# to 6000# +/-) in NC with my Yukon which had the full trailering package. The WD hitch not only kept the front of the Yukon down and the rear up so I wasn't shining headlights in the eyes of the guy in front of me, it also provided a much smoother ride with out *any* tongue weight "bounce", and never gave a hint of any sway condition.

I liked the effect so well, that when I got home I rigged the trailer for my Outrage 22' to accomodate the WD hitch, and I won't go much more than a few blocks without it now. With a 25' Revenge, even though you've a longer wheelbase than I have, I'd recommend a WD hitch highly, especially with any distance travelling.

I think the gizmo Jim and Don are talking about is a bracket that I understand is available for sale somewhere, though I've not seen one first hand. I also fabricated my own. The notion is that the weight distributing spring bar arrangement is designed for trailers with a "wishbone" tonge; that is, the coupler is placed right at the point of the triangle where the two main frame rails converge, with no straight tongue at all. So in order for the spring bars to be spread as though they were connecting to two seperate frame rails about 2' apart from each other, a cross-piece bracket has to be secured across the straight tongue of a boat trailer. I welded a couple short pieces of 3"x3" tubing on the ends of the cross-piece that angled in towards the front to mimic the wishbone of that type of trailer.

The point jimh made about considerations for a surge brake trailer is very important. The way my hitch accomodates surge brakes is that rather than have a solid bar connecting the loaded spring bars to the wishbone yoke or the cross-piece ends on a boat trailer, the tension is held with a chain between the end of the spring bar and the bracket. That allows forward and rearward movement if you mount the chain receiver clamps directly above the ends of the spring bars.

If you do decide to go with a WD hitch, I'd be glad to send you sketches of the bracket I put together.

Good luck-


WSTEFFENS posted 03-15-2002 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     
You now have more than sufficient truck capacity for the job, congratulations.

I have towed a rig similar to yours with 1/2 & 3/4 ton std PU's, 1500 series suburban, K1500 extended cab full box PU and 2 door K1500 Youkon. As you can guess many many miles.

Yes you will still need a load equlizer hitch (IMOHO) so as not to exceed the dead load hitch capacity of the vehicle and still be able to put anything in the truck larger than a 6 pack. Your ball weight will be around 700#+ depending on what you put in the boat plus the fuel load (we have talked about that!).

The load equlizer need is two fold. One is the hitch weight, and the other is sway control. Hitch weight is obvious on one hand but it does have a anti-sway component. The heavier the ball wt the more natural sway control you get. You will need to be at 10% gross trailer wt. As a boat trailer isn't easily adaptable to travel trailer sway devices, cam or hydraulic!.

The load equlizer makes the trailer pole tongue ball hitch and truck frame a stressed member. This is the same as drawing a string tight. Its minimal but still valuable. You will, as I have experienced sway problems beyond anyone towing an Outrage can fathom. This is due to the added sail area of the cabin and windshield area. I have literally seen and felt the boat/trailer being sucked 2' sideways by the air bow wave of an 18 wheeler passing me on the interstate (going the same direction). When this happens (each season) for the first time your knuckles will be white and you [will experience undesirable abdominal muscle contractions].

Weight is second, as I have experienced the unloading of my Dodge (77 5/8 ton 6300 GVW) front axle while towing my 25' Revenge. This happened when I didn't use the load equlizer and hit a roller coaster bridge appoach on I275 here in the city. I could feel the front axle get light and almost loose steering control. It scared the S- out of me. This is the result of the long lever arm between the ball and the center line of the vechicle axle, and the weight of the trailer bounce on the ball.

I am not a fan of pole tongue adaptors sold by Reese & Eaz Lift. I broke two of them. They didn't fit the tongue tube of my trailer well and were always a hassle to hook up.

I designed and built a floating snap up bracket, spring bar system for my trailer and have used it since '88. It mimics the trailer frame geometry of a travel trailer. (a "Y" vs an"I"). It eliminates the problem of making certain the spring bar chains are swept forward to allow the surge brake actuator can function.



jimh posted 03-16-2002 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Applied gentle editorial corrections--jimh]
lhg posted 03-18-2002 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Russ: As you may have noticed, towing a load like yours with a passenger car, I had no choice but to use a Weight Distributing hitch on my rig, and it works really well. Whether you need one on a three quarter ton suspension I don't know, but it certainly won't hurt. But, to be honest with you, I would try it without first. I've seen hundreds of HD trucks and Suburbans towing large boats without the spring bars.

But if you use one, I STRONGLY recommend you use the Draw Tite system rather than Reese. It is much heavier duty from what I can tell. That is what I use, with great success.

IMPORTANT - Be sure your Continental trailer is manufactured with a 3" x 5" tongue. Mine originally came with a 3" x 4" tongue, and I had it replaced because of deflection resulting from the spring bars.

Your pole tongue adapter must sit directly behind the brake actuator, and may require some changes in the brake line exiting the actuator. If holes have to be drilled in the tongue to mount the spring bar adaptor, be sure they are dead center vertically, in the "neutral axis" of the beam. With surge brakes, there is a limit as to how much "lift" pressure you can put on the actuator without impeding its operation and not releasing the brakes after a stop. You will get the feel of what's correct here with a little experimentation.

WSTEFFENS posted 03-19-2002 04:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

Larry brings up a good point about how much lift you can get from the spring bars without binding the brake actuator, and the size of the trailer pole tounge. That is why I told you about the air shocks that I tried on the 1500 series suburban.

When towing with the load equlizer hitch and dico actuator you will get use to and look for the slight "bump" of the telescopic tounge extending from applied position to run position.


dfmcintyre posted 03-20-2002 08:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Russ -

If needed, I could take some .jpg's of Walts setup (trailer only, not attached to anything) and post them to you...


kingfish posted 03-20-2002 09:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I've got a couple of questions regarding your post that, given information I've already shared with Russ via e-mail, probably need some further comment or clarification.

What is the basis of your strong recommendation favoring Draw-Tite over Reese? I did a lot of research before I picked up my Reese equipment, with which I've been very pleased, and I was unable to discern any significant difference between the two manufacturer's products. In fact, they almost have the same models in their respective line ups, with the same specs. What did I miss?

Secondly, your comment about the need for placing the Pole Tongue Adapter directly behind the brake actuator confused me. Reading your comment at face value, that would indicate to me that the PTA would be placed as close as possible to the rear of the actuator, independent of all other considerations. I have understood (and so far have successfully acted on the understanding) that the placement of the PTA was dictated by the need for the PTA to be vertically aligned with (directly above)the ends of the spring bars when the trailer is attached to the hitch, the brake actuator is not compressed, and the spring bars are loaded. Or in the alternative, the PTA could be just a scoche behind the ends of the loaded spring bars, which location would theoretically make things a little easier for the surge brakes to activate (but might make it a little more difficult for them to release).

Am I on a different sheet of music?



WSTEFFENS posted 03-20-2002 10:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     
For all posts:

John, no your not on a different page of the score. I believe the PTA of Larry's experience might be better built as it (I think may be bolted not clamped to the trailer tounge). I broke 2 of the clamped type & designed my own.

As for the location of the PTA & actuator,it is due to the length of the spring bars, and Dico hitch coupler, I also had to re-route the brake line. This is a physical not a structural problelm. Actually the PTA should be located so that the chains to the snap up brackets are at a slight angle forward ( 8:00 oclock at the end of the spring bar, and the snap up bracket at the center of the hands of the clock, 8:00 oclock being toward the the tow vehicle). This allows the surge brake mechanism to function properly without the chains restricting its (the surge brake)telescopic movment due to brake application. Attwod actuators have a similar problem, however they use a rocking movement rather than a st line movement in the "X" axis.

Don thanks for the offer to send Russ a Jpig of the set up I built. I have Talked to him by E-mail and will send him a sketch for a reference.

John, I use an Eaz lift hitch head with Reese spring bars & snap up brackets. I prefer the Reese spring bars as I thought that the quality control was better. IMOHO I feel most of the components are pretty equal all things considered. I simply got tired of screwing around with wimpy PTA's that required constant fussy brake adjustments to keep them in working range.



kingfish posted 03-20-2002 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Thanks, Walt-

I'm sending you a copy of the sketch I sent Russ illustrating the PTA I designed and built; I'd be mighty beholdin' to you if you'd send me a copy of the sketch of yours (great minds?).


lhg posted 03-20-2002 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
John: I'll try to answer your questions also.

As Walt said, with the Dico Model 10 (max trailer load of 10,000#) actuator that I have, it's long length dictates that my Pole Tongue Adaptor be directly behind the actuator. As it is, the chains are barely vertical.

Regarding brands, when I bought my system in 1989, the Reese was really a wimpy looking little system with shorter, straight, thin spring bars, and a strange way of attaching them to the hitch. The Draw-Tite system, however, had longer HD "L" shaped bars, either in 500, 750 or 1000 lb capacity (tongue dead load) and easily snapped up into the bottom holes in the hitch. The Reese spring bars were not long enough for the chains to locate behind the actuator, and was literally not useable for me. It could be that Reese has now re-designed their system to be like Draw-Tite's. Or maybe the two companies have merged?

lhg posted 03-20-2002 06:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Walt: Further to the above, believe it or not, my PTA is by Reese, and is quite a HD device. It is bolted through the trailer's 5" tongue (dead center) and also has another through bolt directly above the tongue, resting across the top of the tongue. This puts the cross beam (structural steel channel section) above the brake line exiting the actuator and the reverse loop backup solenoid for the 4 wheel disc brakes. It is still the original one I bought, and has not failed me, yet! I can easily stand on just one side of it, (like when I varnished my bow pulpit) with no deflection at all.
WSTEFFENS posted 03-20-2002 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

I frankly can't remember what brand of PTA's I bought. They were installed by a very good and well thought of RV dealer. I started with the load equilzer with my Revenge 22, back in the mid 80's. Both were clamp on type and from my perspective very wimpy! The original actuator and the one I use today on the 25' Revenge,is the Dico model #10.

As I told Russ I built a floating snap up spring bar adapter to overcome the short commings. I have been using it for 15 years. It mimic's the frame of a travel trailer (airstream). I also had to move the brake line to get the geometry for the PTA correct. It is a rather simple job.


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