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Top 10 Installation Tips

Each Equal-i-zer® Sway Control Hitch comes with a set of detailed installation instructions. These instructions are valuable to the dealer, installer, and the hitch owner. Please see that these instructions are used and followed by both people. Below is a list of 10 installation tips. These tips are important to proper installation. Please note that these tips are not to replace instruction use, but to supplement them. Each tip will be referenced to its place in the installation instructions, so you can read more about each step if desired. You can download or view the Equal-i-zer® hitch installation instructions or illustrated Parts Breakdown at https://www.equalizerhitch.com/manuals.

  1. Sway Control Brackets must be set between 27-32 inches from the center of the trailer coupler to the center of the trailer bracket.
    • Never set the brackets farther back than 32”. If objects on the trailer frame obstruct installation within the recommended range, please call your Equal-i-zer hitch manufacturer rep at 800-478-5578 to discuss alternatives. See step 4 of the installation instructions.
  2. The top and bottom Sway Bracket Bolts must be flush with the top and bottom surfaces of the trailer frame.
    • If bolts are not placed flush to the frame as recommended, the link plates are not maximizing their grip to the frame. This oversight can also result in bowing or pinching of the brackets which can minimize how well the brackets grip the frame. See step 4 of the installation instructions.
    • If there is not a hole that will allow you to get the bottom bolt flush with the frame, insert a piece of metal or hardwood between the bottom bolt and the frame to eliminate the gap.
  3. Do not use a hitch ball with a shank longer than 2-3/8”.
    • If a ball with a longer shank is used, the shank will protrude into the cavity below the tri-wing head and can limit movement of the sockets or cause damage to the rotational sockets in the head. We have Equal-i-zer brand hitch balls available through standard distribution channels if you are having difficulty with hitch ball shank specification variance. See Step 2 entitled “Install the Hitch Ball” at the beginning of the installation instructions.
  4. Do not fully tighten the Shank bolts or Angle Set bolt until the final step of installation.
    • Only hand tighten the shank bolts when first attaching the head to the hitch shank. This will help in accomplishing correct weight distribution by not limiting washer compression or the angle setting procedure. See step 3 of installation instructions.
    • After you have loaded the spring arms onto the trailer brackets and verified that your compression is within the recommended specifications (See step 6), re-tighten the angle set bolt and torque down the shank bolts to the recommended specifications. See step 8 of the installation instructions.
  5. Properly tighten the Link Plate bolts.
    • Pinch the link plates to the frame of the trailer so that they sit flat against the side and there is no gap at the top or bottom.
    • Hand tighten the nuts to hold the link plates in the correct position around the frame.
    • Using a wrench, tighten each nut one-half turn, alternating back and forth between the top and bottom bolt until the nuts are tight.
    • At the final tightening step, these should be torqued to 65 ft-lbs.
  6. Make sure you are using the right hitch model for the trailer.
    • Each of the Equal-i-zer hitch models come with a maximum loaded trailer weight (GVWR) and maximum loaded tongue weight rating. If the weight of the trailer exceeds either of these ratings, you need to upgrade the customer to the correct hitch model.
    • Most trailers will exceed hitch weight ratings through the tongue weight. Become familiar with your travel trailers and where customers are going to add cargo weight. Also, keep in mind that many travel trailers with a dry tongue weight of 920 lbs will exceed the 1000 lbs tongue weight rating by adding two LP tanks and two batteries to the tongue. Pay attention to where water tanks and storage compartments are located with respect to the axles as well, because both of these items can significantly change tongue weight.
  7. Use Thin Walled Socket when installing the hitch ball
    • To install the hitch ball, you will need a 1-7/8” thin wall socket. Experience has taught us that different tool manufactures have different definitions of “thin wall”. We have our own thin wall socket that will fit perfectly into the ball cavity of the Equal-i-zer hitch. Clamp the top of the hitch ball in place so it can’t move, then use the thin walled socket and a torque wrench to torque the hitch ball up to its required torque specification.
  8. The following tools are needed to install the Equal-i-zer® hitch.
    • (1) 1-1/8" Box-end wrench (Shank Bolts)
    • (1) 1-1/8” Socket wrench (Shank Bolts)
    • (1) 3/4” wrench (Sway Control Bracket Bolts)
    • (1) 5/8” wrench (Angle Set Bolt)
    • Measuring tape
    • Pencil / pen
    • Torque wrench capable of 320 ft-lbs of torque. (Shank Bolts)
    • Torque wrench capable of 75 ft-lbs of torque. (Sway Bracket Assembly, Socket Bolts)
    • (1) 15/16” wrench (not required, may be needed for Socket Bolts)
  9. Recommended tools for installing the hitch ball:
    • (1) 1-7/8” thin walled socket (available from Equal-i-zer hitch, has 3/4" drive)
    • (1) Torque wrench capable of 430 ft-lbs of torque.
    • (1) 1-3/4” open end wrench (to hold ball)
  10. Check compression on the tow vehicle to make sure that you have achieved proper weight distribution.
    • Make sure that you are on a level surface when taking initial measurements. Take baseline measurements by measuring from the front wheel well to the ground. Record this distance.
    • Couple the trailer and drop all of the tongue weight onto the ball. Do not engage weight distribution. Take a second wheel well measurement. Record this distance.
    • Calculate the halfway point between the two measurements. For example: if the first is 30", and the second 32", the halfway point would be 31".
    • Engage the weight distribution. After loading the spring arms onto the trailer brackets, take a third measurement, and compare it to the first two. If the measurement is at or between the first measurement and the halfway point you calculated, you should have a good weight distribution setup.
    • If the third is higher than the halfway point you calculated, you need to add more weight distribution by adding a spacer washer(s), or raising the L-bracket.
    • If the third is lower than the first measurement, you need to remove weight distribution by removing a spacer washer(s), or lowering the L-bracket.
  11. Non-traditional trailer tongues:
    • If you are installing an Equal-i-zer hitch on a trailer frame with an inverted coupler, rotate the link plates one-half turn, so the studs for the L-bracket are at the bottom half of the frame.
    • If you are installing an Equal-i-zer hitch on a trailer with a spare tire storage in the tongue of the trailer, then you may need to cut off the ends of the bracket bolts.
    • If you are installing an Equal-i-zer hitch on a trailer that is taller than 6”, we make specialty link plates that you can order through distribution channels that will accommodate up to 10” frames.