hi low adapter for level towing

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hi low adapter for level towing

Postby working on it » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:19 pm

There's another thread currently running about extensions for towing. Not wanting to hijack another thread, I'll ask my question here. In this picture from my gallery, you can see that my truck is too high for proper alignment with my trailer. 113091 I'd like to drop it about 8", without having to buy another Weight Distributing shank. The one I currently use is perfect for my wife's 20ft Palomino Puma QB trailer, and for my 18ft car hauler. I can't get any more drop from it, nor do I want to switch heights on a regular basis. I've spotted a possible quick-change adapter solution. There are hi-low adapters made for leveling towed cars (behind motorhomes), but the adverts warn "not for trailers" . If you examine this photo,
RM-048-8_1000.jpg
RM-048-8_1000.jpg (18.41 KiB) Viewed 1187 times
the hi low seems better constructed than some spindly straight extensions I've seen, and the 140lb tongue weight (even with the added force of the WD spring bar attachment) of my trailer shouldn't even be close to the 400lb tongue weight this hi low is rated for. The question is : has anyone tried this before, and with what results? I may not need that much more drop; I think 6" might be perfect, and thus less stress would be generated on it as well. I'm not a structural engineer, but a shade-tree mechanic. ????
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:05 am

I don't know why that would specifically say "not for trailers", but they do make specific rise/drop ball mounts similar to what you're showing.

Here's one for a 2" hitch, 8" drop.....

Image
https://www.etrailer.com/Ball-Mounts/Hi ... 80213.html


And if that's too much drop, here's a 6" drop....

Image
https://www.etrailer.com/Ball-Mounts/Hi ... 80240.html
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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:14 am

Check out the "Expert" comments towards the bottom of the page (under the pictures) regarding using a tow-bar for a utility trailer.....

https://www.etrailer.com/question-19006.html

Roadmaster is very specific that their adapters are to be used in flat-tow applications with tow bars only.


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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby M C Toyer » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:35 am

Working -

Why do you feel you need the weight distribution set-up with only 140# tongue weight?
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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby Dale M. » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:31 am

M C Toyer wrote:Working -

Why do you feel you need the weight distribution set-up with only 140# tongue weight?


That would be my first question..... #140 tongue weight is a little bit heavy but not anything to be concerned about....

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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby 48Rob » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:32 pm

I run 280 pounds tongue weight, and do not use or need a weight distribution system.

From the looks of the setup in the picture you posted, you do need a drop hitch to get the ball lower, like the ones Zach posted.
It looks also like your trailer setup and wheel location may contribute to sway/instability, if this is the case, and still is after using a drop hitch to get truck and trailer level, you might need an anti sway bar.
While the weight distribution system does by nature help control sway, the anti sway bar is much cheaper and easier to use.

In answer to your question, the adaptor would probably work, but would push the weight further back, causing potential instability and stress on your trucks hitch, and likely cost as much or more that a simple drop hitch and ball.

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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby working on it » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:26 pm

M C Toyer wrote:Working -

Why do you feel you need the weight distribution set-up with only 140# tongue weight?

Here it is in a nutshell: The 140lb may be reduced to 40lbs, prior to a return trip home. I load the forward area of the trailer with 100lbs of water (in two containers), and 65lbs (or so) in the ice chest. That's my beginning/towed weight (1438lbs total, as reported in Sharon's weight compilation thread). Assuming that the consumables are used up, to some extent, I anticipate a return trip load to be up to 100lbs less; thus the tongue weight will be drastically reduced. The tongue weight without any load in the forward area is about 40lbs. That, coupled with the nose-up attitude of the trailer, could conceivably cause a problem (though I tested towing that way, when I took the completed trailer to be weighed, with no problems, and without the WD hooked up). I've related in another thread that I have had a trailer become unhitched from the ball, and since then I use a WD hitch to maintain positive pressure on the ball, as well as the other benefits (my personal choice is to never tow without it). I would prefer to use the WD shank and spring-bar, with a hi low to level it, but if not advisable, I could get a regular drop hitch and just hope it never lets go. Or I could tow with the '98 GMC; its WD hitch sits much lower.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby 48Rob » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:54 am

If you are set on using the weight distribution system as an insurance plan, and have only 140 pounds or so tongue weight, you will be well within the saftey range for the high-low as it is rated at 10,000 pounds and 400 pounds tongue weight.

Towing a 1200-1400# trailer with only 40# tongue weight and the far forward axle position is an invitation for the tongue to want to come off the ball.
A locking pin at the least will keep it there, but finding a way to better (permanantly) redistribute/balance the weight will make for a much more stable, safe to tow trailer.
Moving the axle back might make the most sense, if you ever go that direction.

Rob
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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby working on it » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:48 pm

Yes, the WD is a crutch. I trust it to work even if the coupler unlocks. But, its also true that my trailer is out of normal specs. Partly by designing for a light tow vehicle (didn't work), and partly by not putting a large tongue box in front (thought I could compensate for that design change-not!).The 40lb (actually 45) tongue weight is the worst-case scenario; a more probable scenario is that half the consumable weight is used at camp, leaving about 100 lbs in the cargo area, and 90 lbs tongue weight. 1438-65=1373lbs for the return trip. 90/1373=.06555 or 6.56% tongue weight. That's almost acceptable in Europe. My probable long-term solution is threefold: 1.) get a larger tongue box (never could find one I liked, but I may construct my own) that holds more of the loose gear now assigned to the very rear of the trailer, 2.) remove the gas can from the rear, and tote it in the truck bed (now that the trailering behind the little cars is a moot point). And 3.)move the battery charger, and electrical tools, from the rear cabin into the new tongue box, next to the battery. Estimated tongue weight then to be 165lbs, or 11.7% of total weight. With just these changes, using a larger tongue box, I would effectively change the apparent "virtual" axle placement ratio from 44.5 rear/52.75 front (45/55 ratio)-rear edge to front edge to 44.5 rear/78.75 front-(36/64 ratio)rear edge to front of loaded tongue box (the real front of the trailer), by way of mass transfer instead of structural-axle-transfer. That's more than the magic 40/60% trailer ratio. As the trailer is now, it travels well, over switchback roads and at higher than I'll admit to speeds. The changes I've projected will only make it better. And, by lowering the hitch height, even more so.
Attachments
hi lo with wd shank proposal - Copy.png
hi lo with wd shank proposal - Copy.png (72.76 KiB) Viewed 433 times
Last edited by working on it on Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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Re: hi low adapter for level towing

Postby working on it » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:17 pm

working on it wrote:Yes, the WD is a crutch. I trust it to work even if the coupler unlocks. But, its also true that my trailer is out of normal specs. Partly by designing for a light tow vehicle (didn't work), and partly by not putting a large tongue box in front (thought I could compensate for that design change-not!).The 40lb (actually 45) tongue weight is the worst-case scenario; a more probable scenario is that half the consumable weight is used at camp, leaving about 100 lbs in the cargo area, and 90 lbs tongue weight. 1438-65=1373lbs for the return trip. 90/1373=.06555 or 6.56% tongue weight. That's almost acceptable in Europe. My probable long-term solution is threefold: 1.) get a larger tongue box (never could find one I liked, but I may construct my own) that holds more of the loose gear now assigned to the very rear of the trailer, 2.) remove the gas can from the rear, and tote it in the truck bed (now that the trailering behind the little cars is a moot point). And 3.)move the battery charger, and electrical tools, from the rear cabin into the new tongue box, next to the battery. Estimated tongue weight then to be 165lbs, or 11.7% of total weight. With just these changes, using a larger tongue box, I would effectively change the apparent "virtual" axle placement ratio from 44.5 rear/52.75 front (45/55 ratio)-rear edge to front edge to 44.5 rear/78.75 front-(36/64 ratio)rear edge to front of loaded tongue box (the real front of the trailer), by way of mass transfer instead of structural-axle-transfer. That's more than the magic 40/60% trailer ratio. As the trailer is now, it travels well, over switchback roads and at higher than I'll admit to speeds. The changes I've projected will only make it better. And, by lowering the hitch height, even more so.

UPDATE: As I stated here, I needed a larger tonguebox to complete my trailer re-balance to more commonly accepted standards. I found one, thanks to Prem, installed it, and it matched my projections in the previous quoted post. 114353114350Actually, the added structure underneath the box added some 12lbs more than I thought, and I added 20 more lbs of equipment, so I am compensating with a rear mounted Ice-Cube Cooler. I'll calculate the revised balance figures later. Probably will bring the overall weight to 1500lbs. So, I'm considering the suggested replacement axle, at long last, or at least modifying it for added strength. Anyway, the "tongue weight to total weight" and the "front/rear axle ratio" are now basically set (for awhile). But, as I had thought before, the magic ratios are not set in stone, as the Europeans go by one standard and N.Americans another. I found this quote today, while researching axles, from a well-respected American builder:
axle placement & tongue weight (grant whipp).docx
(17.27 KiB) Downloaded 32 times
General rules are just generalities; what works is... what works. Added 3/30/2014: saw a hi-lo adapter in use on the highway today. It was pulling a Ram 4x4 with a fully loaded (or overloaded) bed. As the 4x4 attachment point was higher than the tow vehicle's bumper (a mid-sized RV), the hi-lo was being used as a riser. If the towed 4x4 was as heavy as it looked (probably 5-6k lbs), then my plan to use a hi-lo as a dropped attachment point for my WD hitch shank (towed weight under 2k lbs), couldn't exert any more force on the piece than the towed Ram truck. Especially if I reinforced the hi-lo with 1/4" steel angle stock, on both sides of the hi-lo weldment, to prevent flexing and stress risers from forming. My revised plan:
hi lo with wd shank proposal - Copy.png
hi lo with wd shank proposal - Copy.png (72.76 KiB) Viewed 431 times
The angle steel would resist flex in two directions, better than a flat piece. Only the hi-lo would have to be drilled to accept the 5/8" thru-bolt (the WD shank is already drilled out). The bottom flat of the angle pieces would rest on the WD ball mount plate, to further reduce twist and flex.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
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