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Old 09-05-2010, 12:21 AM   #1
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Reese Dual Cam Question

We just did our first week with the new trailer and it is also our first time ever towing a travel trailer. Overall the truck appeared to do ok and I had no real issues. When we came back, I went to a scale close by our home to weigh everything and then took the trailer home and went back again with just the truck to weigh it unhitched. The front axle was approximately 150 lbs lighter when the trailer was hooked up to our Expedition. I was also not overloading my rear axle.

I am going to do some adjustments on the hitch to transfer more weight to the front axle and my question is, how much weight should I expect to transfer to the front axle by shortening the chains by a link? If I find after shortening the chains up a link, that I have moved too much weight to the front axle, can I adjust this some other way with my hitch? Now that we have the trailer loaded up pretty much the weigh we would like it, and also know we are ok with the weights, I want to get things setup correctly. I plan on going back to the scales this weekend, as the fella that owns them said I can use them and take my time to weigh everything. So I plan on measuring the drop on the front and back accordingly. We calculated that I had 900 lbs on the tongue and the trailer weighed in at 7350 lbs. I read on the Reese documentation, that I should have a minimum of 5 links, I currently am on link 6, so if I take it down to link 5, will I be ok, or do I need to adjust the angle (sorry I do not have the correct terminology for all this) of the head?? to gain access to more links?

Also, when tightening up the chains, the documentation said you should be able to lift it by hand, without the bar, as that is how much tension should be on the chains, when you have lifted the tongue and trailer with the trailer jack. Is this correct, or am I misreading this? The reason I ask, is that I certainly could not lift that hook by hand, without the bar. It also states that the hook should be level and that you then hook the appropriate link on the chain, onto the hook. In order for me to latch onto the 6th link, I had to have the hook down, so I just am not sure if I am doing this properly. If I do it when it is level, I would latch onto the link 7, and then the front end of the truck feels like it is floating. Hopefully I have not confused everyone here

Best Wishes,
Chuck
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:28 AM   #2
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Chuck, I ALWAYS use the bar to lift the hook!!!
Try one more link on the chain to get more weight on the front
end.
It won't make a huge difference in front axle transfer so I think
you'll be ok. One link isn't a real big difference so go for it.
The only time I can lift my hook with my hand is if I've got
the trailer tongue jacked up with my tongue crank.

If you mean you have 6 links dangling when you're hitched you
might need to change the angle a notch.

Others will have their opinions I'm sure!!
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:17 AM   #3
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In reading your post, it sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of your hitch. You are correct that you can increase the pressure on the hitch in 2 ways; another link or increase the angle at the hitch head. If you are 150 pounds lighter on the front axle with the trailer hooked up, you are definitely not transfering enought weight to the front. We have found that it is important to get enough weight transferred to the front. The truck steers better and there is less "bouncing" at the rear on less than smooth roads. I personally don't worry quite as much about the number of links because of the dual cam. The links go to the cam and not to the ends of the bars. Without duam cam, the number of links becomes more critical as then the chain needs more slack to go back and forth with the bar ends. With dual cam, the key is to make sure your bars and trailer frame don't interfere with each other.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:23 AM   #4
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As for using the bar to hook up, like KyDan, I always use it. Think about it. When the WD is in use, hooked to your truck, trailer level, there is a LOT of pressure on the WD hitch. No way you can hook up by hand. As KyDan suggests, you would have to raise the tongue very high to be able to hook up by hand; in essence having no pressure on the hitch while hooked. There is a reason they provide that hooking bar so go ahead and use it.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:56 AM   #5
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Here is a real good article on setting up a Reese hitch.

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Towing: Travel Trailer Hitch Set-up Procedure
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:12 PM   #6
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I think I was getting the install instructions confused a bit, regarding the lifting the chain by hand ;-) .

Looks like the dealer totally fudged up the install of the whole Reese Dual Cam hitch from what I can tell, hoping I am wrong, but does not appear so. First thing that bothered me was that the ball on the truck was almost 6 inches higher than the tongue on the trailer (when the trailer was sitting level). Today I spent the day weighing things and adjusting the chains to see the effect and then I noticed that the hitch head itself, was crooked, in that they had it torqued down with one more tooth showing one side compared to the other. I was then looking more closely at the install instructions and seen that the cam is supposed to rest square in the middle of the curve on the trunion bar, mine rests 1/2 inch away from the tip at the end and never goes into the detent part of the trunion bar. According to the instructions, the cam arm assembly is supposed to be mounted approx. 19 3/8 inches back from centre of the coupler, mine is almost 26 inches back. There is no room left for adjustment on the cam to shorten it up and put it into the detent. Bugs me as well that I now have 4 holes drilled into the tongue on the trailer frame and they will need to drill 4 more in to relocate this whole thing. Needless to say I am not very happy . I hope I am wrong on this whole thing, but after all the reading and research I have done, it appears that this whole install was bad.

The only good to come from this is that I am a whole lot more knowledgeable about this whole hitch and I did get the truck to squat pretty evenly from front to back. The front went down 10mm and the back went down 15mm which was good. I still did not get as much weight up front as I would have hoped to get there, but maybe I am expecting too much? With 884 lbs on the tongue, I transferred only 199 lbs to the front and 685 lbs to the rear axle. Does this sound ok?

Wish me luck next week in getting this sorted and I bet the truck will handle a whole bunch better once this is setup correctly.

Best Wishes,
Chuck
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:01 AM   #7
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Like you, my dealer did not set up my Reese Dual Cam according to the directions either. But mine was setup where I can get the cams into the bar indents. I have done a lot of tweaking to get my trailer towing sweet, but it was well worth it.

If the cams will not go into the indents then you will have to move the cam mount. I would insist that the dealer do that, since they messed it up in the 1st place.....this time show them where it should go. But to save drilling an extra 2 holes, you might have 2 alternatives. #1 is see if reversing the cam mounts from 1 side of the tongue to the other will give you the adjustments that you need....the yoke bolt is mounted off center of the mount, and depending on which how your the yoke mount is installed that might give you the adjustment that you need......or make it worse. #2 possibility if #1 won't work, is to use 1 of the existing bolt holes and just drill 1 more extra per side as you move the mount.

In my case, I have the ball mount tilted back as far as it can go. I have the worst case scenario for a Reese Dual Cam trunnion bar set-up.....a 6" trailer frame with the coupler on top of the frame. A round bar setup would have been better for my trailer to keep the cam from rubbing the trunnion bar during a sharp turn.

The ball being 6" high is probably too high. Usually, an inch or 2 is sufficient to allow a little settling so that your truck will ride level.

As far as to how much weight 1 link of chain will transfer to the front end, there are a lot of variables there, like the stiffness of the bars and how far they are already bent. Looking back through a couple of my adjustment recordings, I have had as little as 60 lbs. and as much as 140 lbs. additional weight transferred to the front of the truck with 1 link less.

After you get the trunnion bar indents seated into the cams properly, and the minimum 5 lengths of chain used won't give you enough weight transfer, then you might need to tilt the ball mount back another notch. Being that the ball appears to be several inches too high now, moving the ball mount down to the next set of holes will probably give you the weight transfer without having to tilt the ball mount back further.

Nice catch on noticing that the spacer didn't have the same number of notches on each side......that is very important to not putting the whole thing in a bind. The dealer service people are trying to maximize their time trying to get as many trailers out of the door, and don't spend the time they need to setup these things properly. Seems like you have a handle on things, and getting it done right. I have gone through the same type of adjustments, and it is all worth it when towing down the road.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:29 AM   #8
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Yikes! What a horrible install. And you understand your Dual Cam better than the dealer! Your ball height has to come down if your trailer is ever going to be level. Good luck. Make sure to report back to us on how this finally all resolves for you.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:35 AM   #9
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I have a question about the ball height relative to the trailer tongue. I read that the ball should be 1/2 to 1" higher than the trailer tongue, but where are these measurements taken from on both?

With the hitch install, I will be sure to keep everyone updated. I am going to take a bunch of photos of before and after as well.

Is is also normal for the top back part of the ball to be chewed all to heck after only about 320 km total towing? Looks like it was beaten with a hammer. The one cam is Aldo showing wear, as it has metal ground off, as do the end parts of the spring bar, the part that was riding on the cam that was not supposed to be. I just hope this whole assembly is not junk now. Reese even states in bold letters that misaligning the teeth can strip them.

I know the head guy that normally does the install had a an accident in the shop and had to go into the hospital, so I am hoping that is why this is why it was all fudged.

Best Wishes,
Chuck
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flumpydog View Post
I have a question about the ball height relative to the trailer tongue. I read that the ball should be 1/2 to 1" higher than the trailer tongue, but where are these measurements taken from on both?

With the hitch install, I will be sure to keep everyone updated. I am going to take a bunch of photos of before and after as well.

Is is also normal for the top back part of the ball to be chewed all to heck after only about 320 km total towing? Looks like it was beaten with a hammer. The one cam is Aldo showing wear, as it has metal ground off, as do the end parts of the spring bar, the part that was riding on the cam that was not supposed to be. I just hope this whole assembly is not junk now. Reese even states in bold letters that misaligning the teeth can strip them.

I know the head guy that normally does the install had a an accident in the shop and had to go into the hospital, so I am hoping that is why this is why it was all fudged.

Best Wishes,
Chuck

Get a nice level parking lot, level your trailer (measure frame front and rear to the pavement) and measure to the top of the coupler. Set your ball height about 1" above that. When you hook up the trailer, the rear of your tow vehicle will drop some, and hopefully level everything. My truck rides about 1" lower in back with the trailer than without after pulling up the WDH.

My ball has gouges also. A local trailer shop said that happens, and he has seen much worse. I wonder sometimes if they tow from the factory without greasing the balls, damaging the coupler. I grease the ball well before towing now, and haven't noticed much additional damage.

Your cam will show wear also, but not sure how much you have after 320 km. When you get everything set up properly, mark the spring bars so that the go back on the same side every trip. That serves 2 purposes: 1, just in case the spring bars are not the exact same length, using them on the same side every time will let them fit exactly on the cams to keep your TV straight. 2, using the spring bars on the same side every time will allow the cam and the spring to "seat" the same every time you tow.

Also, use Vaseline on the cam and spring bars....that will help with the noise, and maybe lessen the wear. Do not use grease there.
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