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Old 11-03-2015, 02:38 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by thebrakeman View Post
Sounds as if you knew there would be failures of the Equal-I-zer brand hitch, before you purchased your Blue Ox. Or perhaps you had heard of many Equalizer failures years ago before you bought your Blue Ox.

"This" appears to be a manufacturing problem with the welding and/or the particular lot of steel. So it certainly was not that you recognized some design defect, since that's not the problem here.

So, I'm just curious what it is about "This" that caused you to purchase the Blue Ox.
I have seen a few failures (none on my end) from hitches, and I have spoken to fellow travelers that have lost trailers due to poor quality steel and manufacturing. The most spoken about was the Equal-I-zer hitch breaking in some manner. So when I needed a W/D hitch with sway control I went with Blue Ox. Works great, no adjustments, quiet...just hook up and go. But I guess if any hitch is not correctly set up it does not matter what you have!
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:56 PM   #42
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Blue Ox SwayPro's can break too!

I decided to jump in to inform that the Swaypro isn't bullet proof either. I was returning home from a 4,000 mile round trip to Utah when the one of the welds on my SwayPro broke. I didn't even notice it until I stopped for fuel and saw that the truck was sitting a little lower than usual, and then I noticed the right side bar didn't have the normal bend in it. That's when I found that the weld had broken where the bar tube section is welded to the swivel section. I contacted Blue Ox and they offered to overnight a new hitch head to whatever RV park I was going to be at, so I told them I would let them know when I figured that out. I decided to see how it would tow with just the left bar under tension and surprisingly, it towed pretty good; only slightly more sensitive to wind. I did remove the right bar fearing that it might break all the way and start flying all over the place. My tongue weight is right at a thousand pounds, but I'm using 1500 lb. bars. I was still worried about about the additional force on that left bar, so I stopped often to inspect it. Since it was towing okay, I decided to just keep going and have Blue Ox send the new hitch head to my house; which they did. They paid to have me send the old hitch head back to them for failure analysis, but I haven't followed up with them on that. That was my first trip with the SwayPro and it was a new hitch. Blue Ox is a great company to deal with, and I'm hoping this was just a bad weld and not a design issue. Here are a couple of photos to show what happened.......


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Old 11-03-2015, 04:21 PM   #43
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As others have already stated, glad everyone is safe and no one was injured. Secondly, When you stop and think about the forces that are applied on a bar type WD hitch just going down the road....I am amazed that there are not more failures like this. Solid engineering only gets you so far, skilled tradesmen and women, MTR's on everything coming through the door, 100% QC on Raw materials all play a part. Sadly a great design is only as good as the execution.

This kind of thing scares the He!! out of me and forced me to go with the equalizer due to lack of confidence and Quality issues i had with Husky. Better Believe I will be looking for any cracks on my hitch head before we roll out next season. I am confident I have seen some similar failures on the Internets.....Ill see what i can dig up.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:25 PM   #44
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Didn't take too long...

Equalizer Hitch Head Weld Failure? - General RV Discussion - Outback RV Owners Forum

My Hitch Head Cracked Open - Airstream Forums
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:15 AM   #45
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To me that looks like a cold weld fusion failure. I suspect that they had someone without a lot of experience who had the gun angled wrong and got good fusion on one piece but not the other. The "fracture" failure came from the weld cooling and pulling away from the cold side and allowing water to get in leading to the corrosion. The "crack" grew over the years from mechanical stress and corrosion and the part hit the failure point. This should have been detected during inspection (the part would have a duller sound when tapped with a hammer) and probably even visible by eye before it was painted. The bigger issue is the design, they should sacrifice a little range of adjustment for a 360 degree contact area instead of the 270 that they have.


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Originally Posted by IronCobra View Post
Ok, so my mechanical engineering brain (Aerospace Engineering to be exact) points this issue to be a direct result of not only improper maintenance, but also metal fatigue and possibly a defect during the manufacturing process.

It appears that the rust permiated very deep throughout the entire weld assembly. It also appears that the set screw was torqued consitantly causing outward pressure from the adjustment washer retaining bolt. (the wear point on the shank in the picture). What probably happened was once the rust started creeping into the weld, it caused a hair line fracture. As you consistanly torque the set screw to keep it tight, you were inadvertently causing the crack to become larger and larger. This eventually fatigued the metal causing a catastrophic failure. Think of it like you were slowly wedging the plates apart each time you torqued the set screw to tighten it.

The indications that this occured is due to the more widespread rust on the lower outer corners while the upper edges appear to be what failed last. This would be consistant with a slow uppward pressure tear originating from the mid-bottom.

I've rotated the picture to give a better view of how the damage looks.
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:06 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasT View Post
I decided to jump in to inform that the Swaypro isn't bullet proof either. I was returning home from a 4,000 mile round trip to Utah when the one of the welds on my SwayPro broke. I didn't even notice it until I stopped for fuel and saw that the truck was sitting a little lower than usual, and then I noticed the right side bar didn't have the normal bend in it. That's when I found that the weld had broken where the bar tube section is welded to the swivel section. I contacted Blue Ox and they offered to overnight a new hitch head to whatever RV park I was going to be at, so I told them I would let them know when I figured that out. I decided to see how it would tow with just the left bar under tension and surprisingly, it towed pretty good; only slightly more sensitive to wind. I did remove the right bar fearing that it might break all the way and start flying all over the place. My tongue weight is right at a thousand pounds, but I'm using 1500 lb. bars. I was still worried about about the additional force on that left bar, so I stopped often to inspect it. Since it was towing okay, I decided to just keep going and have Blue Ox send the new hitch head to my house; which they did. They paid to have me send the old hitch head back to them for failure analysis, but I haven't followed up with them on that. That was my first trip with the SwayPro and it was a new hitch. Blue Ox is a great company to deal with, and I'm hoping this was just a bad weld and not a design issue. Here are a couple of photos to show what happened.......


that looks weak IMO. I believe you will see a design change here soon or a discontinuation.
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:15 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski View Post
The pictures are both sides of the break. One side shows the shank, and other is the ball mount. The ball mount is cast steel and it is welded to the bracket that attaches to the shank. It is a 10,000 lb Equalizer brand hitch installed by RV Wholesalers when I bought the trailer. It has never been jackknifed or in an accident of any type.

The 3/4" bolts go down thru the ball mount and then thru the bar sockets. When the weld failed, the ball mount dropped down and back and sheared off the bolts. They were laying on the street beneath the trailer.

Equalizer wanted the hitch back from the dealer that replaced it, so I don't have it anymore. Had the accident been worse I would have held on to it. They offer to do anything but replace the head. This picture shows the ball mount with the broken weld on the back.
the way the weld yielded at the top last makes me think the bolts sheared first, then the upper part of the ball mount rifted off with the bar leverage.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:48 PM   #48
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Most weld failures I saw in 35 years as a field construction boilermaker and welding teacher in my local's apprentice school were caused by lack of penetration or cold lap and undercut. Turn the machine up and force the arc. This is assuming the weld wasn't stressed more than intended.

A couple of times when I went out from the hall for a job I had to take break tests; you welded two pieces of plate together with a single horizontal bead on one side to form a T then beat the bejesus out of it with a beater until the weld tore loose. They were looking for the weld to tear out complete from the parent metal. Pretty easy test, not like a heavy wall pipe test in the Arkansas bell hole with a heli arc root and stick out that's gonna be X-rayed or worse yet, bent. Make the test you get the job, bust out and you go back to the hall.
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:46 AM   #49
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Some thoughts on the Equal-i-zer:

1st off, I have never owned an Equal-i-zer, but my daughter and SIL do. The bars seem super heavy duty, and I don't see any bend in them when hooked up. With my Reese, you can visibly see a bend when hooked up.

Click image for larger version

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Along with Reese, I think SwayPro, Husky, and others have bars made of spring steel. I am not so sure if Equal-i-zer uses spring steel......to me, it appears not.

So, here is my thinking: If there is little or no give to the Equal-i-zer bars, that puts tremendous stress on the trailer frame and hitch components, before bumps are transferred to the trailer and TV suspensions. With Reese and others, there is some give with the bars, so some of the bumps are absorbed by the spring bars before being transferred to the trailer and TV suspensions.

Does that make sense ??
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:11 PM   #50
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Some thoughts on the Equal-i-zer:

It makes sense to me. Just a little thing about the photo, however- do you not cross your safety chains? I've always believed that is the better way to go.

Cheers
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