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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

RV Trailer Towing Made Easy!

I inherited an EAZ-Hitch with a used 32-foot trailer I had bought. I had always hooked up the chain links after setting the hitch on the ball and completely lowering the trailer tongue jack. Then I saw an RVer raise his hitch back up after locking the ball and receiver before he locked his chains from the EAZ-Hitch, so I started doing that too, making it a much better ride. Then this last winter I was discussing that situation with a "seasoned" RVer and he told me that I should raise the hitch as high as I could before locking the chains from the hitch. What is the proper protocol?
Lew, (Bearcreek, MT)

Lew, here’s how I recommend the procedure. I first suggest you take a couple of measurements of the tow vehicle while it is positioned on level ground. You don’t even need the trailer for this. Measure and make note of the distance between the ground and the front bumper on the tow vehicle.

Next, measure the distance between the ground and the rear bumper. Write down these two measurements. As you hitch up, with the trailer fully loaded as it will be when travelling, lower the trailer onto the ball and lock the coupler. Then raise the tongue jack again while the two are still connected.

Raise both units above the level plane so that an apex of sorts is manifested at the ball. As you’ve noticed, this makes it much easier to attach the spring bars. Insert the spring bars into the sockets of the ball mount. Make sure they are locked in place. The brackets for the chain end of the spring bars should already be attached to the A-frame. To verify the correct location of the brackets, hold the chain straight up, making sure there are no twists in the chain. The chain should be centered on the bracket and the bracket attachment screw should only be finger tight. This is important.

The next step will require a little experimentation to find which link in the chain to attach to the brackets. Pick one link and position it on the hook or in the slot. Using the assist handle, lift up on the arm of the bracket until it snaps into place, putting tension on the spring bar. Move the safety wire over the top of the arm. Repeat this procedure on the other side using the same link on that side. Now, lower the tongue jack until all the weight is on the hitch assembly. By adjusting the number of chain links up or down, the road height of both vehicles can be adjusted.

Here’s the key; the correct adjustment of the spring bars is attained, (you are on the right link), when the difference between the measurements taken before connecting the trailer, (from the ground to the bumpers), and the measurements taken after locking the spring bars in place, is within a half inch of each other.

Also, when viewed from the side, the spring bars should be parallel with the bottom of the A-frame and the chains should be straight up and down. It may take a few tries to identify the correct link to use, and once you find it, be sure to use the same link each time. Subsequent connecting of the trailer and tow vehicle will now be quite easy. So, your 'seasoned' RVer was mostly correct, the higher you raise both the trailer and the rear of the tow vehicle, the easier it is to connect the link. But remember, you'll be using the same link each time so that the trailer and tow vehicle ride as level as possible.


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If you are in doubt or do not feel comfortable about a procedure, do not continue. Simply call your local RV service facility and make an appointment with them. The advice, recommendations and procedures offered by the RV Doctor are solely those of Gary. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions, procedures and recommendations of our sponsors or advertisers.