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Old 10-28-2015, 06:06 PM   #1
Ski
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Catastrophic Equalizer hitch failure

While returning from the FROG rally in Kerrville, TX, I had the head of my hitch separate completely from the shank. The weld failed and the trailer crashed to the road. The weld was cracked for a long time as the weld was almost completely rust, only a small portion was still connected. The 3/4 " bolts sheared off when the weld failed. The hitch was 3.5 yrs old.

We couldn't move as the electric jack and front stabilizer were bent and there was no way to raise the trailer. The police arrived and blocked off the road as we were taking up both lanes. Coach Net got us towed to a safe location for the night.

Fortunately we were barely moving, we were making a left turn out of a parking lot when it happened. We had just driven 350 miles on the interstate. Had this happened at 65 we may have not survived an 8,000 lb trailer swinging us around in traffic.

The next morning Equalizer customer service found a replacement head 100 miles away and a dealer that would swap it out.

The morale of the story is to inspect your Equalizer brand hitch very carefully. Even the dealer that remounted this one didn't use anything but an air gun, nothing was torqued. Equalizer makes you responsible, but the dealers are the ones that are doing the setups.
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Old 10-28-2015, 06:13 PM   #2
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Wow, that's scary. I have an Equalizer hitch that's brand new. Will keep an eye on it from now on. Was there any other warning signs missed or just the failure? Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:09 PM   #3
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This could be any manufacturer on any welded part. The welds are only as good as the person actually doing the welding. As a welder I have seen many welds fail, for all sorts of reasons.
There probably was a thin rusty line around the weld that might have been the only tell of a failure. The really bad part is paint normally fails at the weldments due to poor cleaning of weld area and there for rusts.
What can you take from this? If you suspect a problem because you are seeing rust on a welded joint. Clean it really well with a wire wheel to remove rust and loose paint and inspect area carefully. It's a great time to touch up paint if there is no problems. If you find a problem with welds, find a reputable welding shop to do the work. Don't rely on that person who says they have done some welding in the past and can save you money. All welding is not created equal. Just because the weld looks good doesn't mean it's strong. And not all ugly welds are weak (all though most are). There is a real science to welding!
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:20 PM   #4
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+1 on finding an expert welder. I recently had a small fabrication job to install a motorcycle carrier on the back of my camper. I took it to a structural steel shop (these guys fabricate and weld steel frames for buildings). The cuts were perfectly done and aligned, and the welds were about the cleanest beads that I have ever seen. I wish FR would hire people like this to build their frames.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:25 PM   #5
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+1 on finding an expert welder. I recently had a small fabrication job to install a motorcycle carrier on the back of my camper. I took it to a structural steel shop (these guys fabricate and weld steel frames for buildings). The cuts were perfectly done and aligned, and the welds were about the cleanest beads that I have ever seen. I wish FR would hire people like this to build their frames.
If they did hire guys like these, we could not afford these toys.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:32 PM   #6
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First and foremost...


I'm glad everyone is ok
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:35 PM   #7
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If they did hire guys like these, we could not afford these toys.
You're 100% correct on that. I assume you are referring to frames from Lippert components. I know that Rockwood uses them. I read somewhere awhile back that Lippert was hiring welders and the starting wage was @ $12.00 an hour. At least Lippert is not building nuke plants for Westinghouse which is a surprise, they make about everything else. The Keystone Passport trailer we currently have is on a Lippert frame and some of the welds are not pretty at all. No issues but they look like hell.

Now having a battery rail let loose or even a spring hanger is one thing on a frame, but when a hitch head fails like that???? That's a pretty big deal. I always thought the equalizer stuff was top shelf. A fluke maybe?
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:53 PM   #8
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You're 100% correct on that. I assume you are referring to frames from Lippert components. I know that Rockwood uses them. I read somewhere awhile back that Lippert was hiring welders and the starting wage was @ $12.00 an hour. At least Lippert is not building nuke plants for Westinghouse which is a surprise, they make about everything else. The Keystone Passport trailer we currently have is on a Lippert frame and some of the welds are not pretty at all. No issues but they look like hell.

Now having a battery rail let loose or even a spring hanger is one thing on a frame, but when a hitch head fails like that???? That's a pretty big deal. I always thought the equalizer stuff was top shelf. A fluke maybe?
I'm guessing fluke. One small detail overlooked while welding can lead to this problem. I'm sure they have done some serious product testing before releasing hitches to the masses.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:56 PM   #9
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First and foremost...


I'm glad everyone is ok
X 2

Could have been real bad at HWY speed...
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:11 PM   #10
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Catastrophic Equalizer hitch failure

I had no idea there was a problem, just a crash. I check the bolts torque on the hitch, but had not seen a problem. The L brackets on trailer frame are always loosening because the brackets bend a little. They end up shifting and always need straightening.
Equalizer said they had never seen this before, but I'm real skeptical of that. They may have had a bad run or had a new welder on the line. I just hope that no one else loses their trailer at high speed. This could have been a really big law suit for them. Right now I cringe every time I hit a bump hoping I don't lose the trailer.
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