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Old 09-02-2016, 10:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
snip..... So how did you "lengthen" them?......snip
I decided against adding additional chain links and hardware to make up the added chain required, so I purchased a total new length of safety chain & attached two new slip hooks (expensive route). I did initially look into adding to the existing chain(s) but couldn't find similar rated connecting hardware (off the shelf), which of course would have been the less expense approach.

I measured how much total added length of chain I needed and went to a local commercial trailer builder/retailer who also sold RV accessories Home - Richfield Trailer Supply. I purchased the "total length of chain" I needed (packaged length) and two new slip hooks...., similar chain/hooks represented in the following pic except long enough to attach two slip hooks at each end:



The chain/hooks I purchased have a much higher weight rating then the standard Jayco safety chain(s). Jayco's two existing chains were attached to the A-frame with two separate bolts..., I attached the new "single length of chain" using the same two bolts bolted through two individual links within the single length chain.

Note: If you should change the style of safety "hooks" make sure they are compatible with your style/size of TV receiver hook openings.

Bob
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:20 AM   #12
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Update:

I've had the Blue Ox for a while now and have had a chance to use it some, and I still think I made the right choice.

Some things I've learned: A breaker bar (15" or 18") with a 1" socket works better than the supplied tool. I lost the original tool on the first trip out to Lost Maples SNA in TX. I bought a cheap ratchet and impact socket thinking that would do the job. Hitching up was great, but unhitching, not so much. Because by design, the ratchet only offers tension in one direction, once I got the rotating latches past their natural "cam", they would let loose, and the ratchet was in the wrong direction to control them, so they would pop over HARD as the tension was released. So I bought a 18" swivel head breaker bar (would've gotten the 15" if Harbor Freight had one, the 24" I already had was too long to maneuver around the tongue) and it works WAY better than the original tool. The grip is better, the leverage is better, and the swivel head adds a great deal of control to the process.

The chains tend to get stuck in the rotating latches if you put them straight in. So when you're rotating them off, the latches hang on to the next chain link under tension (not the one that fits in the "slot") and you have to rotate the latch all the way over before it will let go, and it does so with quite a bit of sudden force. I simply give the chain a half twist so that the next link rides a little "crooked" in the channel and will easily drop free when the latch is rotated.

So far, I've towed in all the conditions I'm likely to face, and the Blue Ox has performed admirably. Strong cross-winds will move the trailer, but as long as you're doing your job driving, the hitch will do its job keeping the trailer where it belongs. Big trucks passing will still move you, but truck and trailer tend to move together instead of the "wave" effect you might otherwise get. Makes it easier to control. It's as quiet as advertised (I think I've heard it "creak" once or twice on tight turns), and setup is dead simple.

Blue Ox customer service is second to none. I needed a different shank than what was purchased with the hitch set because my truck is so tall, and they sent me the right shank with a RMA and label to send back the (unused) original, no charge. The tech on the phone said something to the effect of "that's how we do" when I offered my immense gratitude for making it so easy.

Anyway, I would recommend the hitch to anyone considering a new/different WDH.
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Old 11-10-2016, 02:49 PM   #13
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We finally were able to take delivery of our new 2017 Eagle 330RSTS and so I went ahead and let the dealership service department setup my BXW2003 Blue Ox WDH for underslung couplers that I had ordered from etrailer. Boy was THAT a mistake. Long story short, they setup the ball 6" too low and no matter what they tried, they couldn't get my setup level. I only had to go about 60 miles with it to get it home, so just left as quickly as possible and figured I would fix it when I got home. Taking it easy, the trip home was luckily uneventful but I immediately set out to figure out what was going on.

I started by double checking everything they had done. I towed the trailer a couple of blocks up to a local parking lot and found a side to side level area. I then used the tongue jack to level front to back (had to do that anyway to install my Level Mate Pro). I then measured the coupler height and was shocked! My coupler height ended up being 27" and according to the instructions, the ball should be 1 to 2 inches higher. The dealership installed the shank and ball at 23"!!!!!!!! No wonder it towed like crap!!!

So I took the trailer back home, unhitched, and drove to a friends house where we reset the ball height to 29 1/4". Had to flip the shank upside down to get it that high, but I can still open the tailgate with the hitch on. After getting everything where it SHOULD be, I drove back home.

Before hitching up, I decided I should also measure the brackets as well. They are supposed to be approx. 29" back from the coupler, and the chains once hitched, were supposed to be straight up and down. When I measured the brackets, to my surprise, one side was at 27" and the other was at 30". So I moved them as well so both sides were at 29". Obviously, instructions were too much to bother with!

So finally, thinking I had everything as good as I could get it, I measured all my wheel well heights and then hitched the trailer back up. I was only able to get the chains as high as the 8th link (4 links showing below the brackets once locked) no matter what I did, but went ahead and finished hooking them up and lowering the trailer back down.

Stepping back to take a look, I couldn't believe how level it looked. I was getting geeked! So I pulled out the tape measure and level once again and ecstatically discovered that my front wheel wells were still what they were before hitching up, the rears were only about 2" lower, and the trailer/truck was all but perfectly level. According to my Level Mate Pro, I was .25" nose down! Bubble level and 4' stick level also verified that I was as level as I could possibly hope for!!!

So a few days later, we embarked on our maiden voyage with the new setup. 1500 miles to Florida over 4 days! 20 mph cross winds the first day, numerous trucks passing during the trip, towing speeds between 55 and at times when necessary, 65 and the Blue Ox performed admirably!

Sure there was an occasional wiggle here and there during a wind gust or a semi blowing by, but at no time did I "white knuckle" it and most times, one hand was more than enough to keep her straight. The Blue Ox also seemed to dampen the bouncing I used to feel with the Equalizer I had with our old trailer which made the trip even more comfortable. It was about as good of a feeling as I could expect with a 10000+ lb bumper pull trailer following me.

So mark me down as yet another Blue Ox owner that is satisfied with their choice, but make sure YOU are the one supervising the install!!!!!
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Old 11-10-2016, 03:07 PM   #14
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Hey blujay40, that's a great success story!

I will +1 the advice to at the very least supervise the installation of any WDH. Better yet, do it yourself. When I bought my trailer, they really buggered the WDH setup. They even had one of the spring bar brackets opposite of the other (upside down)! I called the tech out on it and he said "it's like that because the slide side is heavier, so the bar on that side has to be tighter". Seriously?! How stupid do you think I am?

So, whatever, I knew I was going to completely reconfigure when I got home, so I let it go. When I got home, I did my homework and took the entire WDH down and started from scratch. Even with the marginal hitch I had (I was pushing the limits of its capacity, it wasn't the hitch's fault), the results were nothing short of spectacular.

So, when I upgraded to the Sway Pro, I did the entire setup myself, in my driveway. I will never let another technician set up my hitch again.
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:10 AM   #15
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Just thought I'd throw in my 2 pennies......

We just purchased a new TT and the dealership had both the Equalizer as well as the Blue Ox. They sold me on the Blue Ox even though the 2 brands of hitches were about the same in price. I did let the service dept. set my hitch up for me, the guy has 10 years experience so I felt confident he knew what he was doing.

My TV is a 2014 Ford Expy with factory installed brake and sway control. The dealership told me to turn off the anti-sway feature on the TV so the 2 didn't fight against one another. Towing our new rig home was a pleasure even with the big rigs flying by. I've only towed it once, so I'm sure I'll get more familiar with it after I've used it more.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:44 AM   #16
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My TV is a 2014 Ford Expy with factory installed brake and sway control. The dealership told me to turn off the anti-sway feature on the TV so the 2 didn't fight against one another.
This actually strikes me as bad advice, what do others think?

The anti-sway integrated into the hitch is always (afaik) a passive, mechanical, preventive system. It uses friction of some sort to prevent a sway event from happening by damping the pivot motion at the hitch. The anti-sway on the TV is an active, reactive, electrical system. It monitors TV motion to detect sway behind, and applies trailer brakes to bring things back into line.

I would look at the two together like belt and suspenders. The hitch system is the primary and should stop sway long before the TV detects any. However, in a situation where the mechanical resistance is overcome, (like an emergency swerve maneuver), the TV system will supplement by also applying the trailer brakes independently to bring the trailer into line. Yes the TV system is non-operative 99.99% of the time, but what is the harm in leaving it active for that 0.01% of the time when some turkey pulls out in front of you from a service station onto the highway.

Actually around here that seems to be more than 0.01% - "hey, better pull out in front of this trailer quick since he's probably going real slow." I'm not going slow, but I'm not stopping quick either!
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:51 AM   #17
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This actually strikes me as bad advice, what do others think?

The anti-sway integrated into the hitch is always (afaik) a passive, mechanical, preventive system. It uses friction of some sort to prevent a sway event from happening by damping the pivot motion at the hitch. The anti-sway on the TV is an active, reactive, electrical system. It monitors TV motion to detect sway behind, and applies trailer brakes to bring things back into line.

I would look at the two together like belt and suspenders. The hitch system is the primary and should stop sway long before the TV detects any. However, in a situation where the mechanical resistance is overcome, (like an emergency swerve maneuver), the TV system will supplement by also applying the trailer brakes independently to bring the trailer into line. Yes the TV system is non-operative 99.99% of the time, but what is the harm in leaving it active for that 0.01% of the time when some turkey pulls out in front of you from a service station onto the highway.

Actually around here that seems to be more than 0.01% - "hey, better pull out in front of this trailer quick since he's probably going real slow." I'm not going slow, but I'm not stopping quick either!

I agree with your analysis 100%. IMO, recommending that a customer disable electronic sway prevention (on either the truck or the trailer) is ill advised at best, and borders on negligent. The hitch is absolutely a physical sway prevention device and has no bearing on any additional electronic components. Further, to my knowledge, these electronic sway prevention measures on trucks and trailers only come into play during what I would consider a "severe" sway event. If your electronic sway control or traction controls on your vehicles are activated, you're way beyond what a hitch can "save" you from, and I would be getting a new pair of drawers if I made it out of the event intact.

There is absolutely no reason to disable sway or traction control just because you have a WDH with integrated sway prevention. They will certainly not interfere with eachother, and actually will be better able to save your bacon in a severe sway event by working with multiple aspects of sway prevention including automatic braking on the trailer and truck without driver input. Something that is vitally important when the SHTF and you're freaking out because you suddenly find yourself on top of a 15,000 lb bucking bronco.

As an aside, despite a technician's length of tenure, I would not trust him/her to properly install a WDH. You can bet I would be grabbing a tape measure and measuring that setup right in front of the tech. My "very experienced" technician did an absolutely horrible job setting up my first WDH, and I ended up tearing the whole thing down and starting from scratch (something I had planned to do from the beginning). One nice thing about the Blue Ox SwayPro is that setup and adjustment is SUPER easy. Hardest part is getting the ball height set, and that's not even hard.
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Old 12-15-2016, 11:06 AM   #18
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As an aside, despite a technician's length of tenure, I would not trust him/her to properly install a WDH. You can bet I would be grabbing a tape measure and measuring that setup right in front of the tech. My "very experienced" technician did an absolutely horrible job setting up my first WDH, and I ended up tearing the whole thing down and starting from scratch (something I had planned to do from the beginning). One nice thing about the Blue Ox SwayPro is that setup and adjustment is SUPER easy. Hardest part is getting the ball height set, and that's not even hard.
Amen to that! My very experienced technician completely botched my WDH setup too, and even managed to mount the frame ball bracket for the anti-sway backwards. The first sharp left turn was a bit of a surprise!

But as an engineering professional, I'm never satisfied until I've taken it apart and rebuilt it properly anyway...
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Old 12-15-2016, 02:25 PM   #19
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While you guys may have the experience/knowledge of how to set-up a WDH, I do not. And I would surmise, many RV owners do not as well. Hence why I had a more experienced person install my WDH.

On a side note, I actually spoke to a tech at Blue Ox and they were hedging on whether or not to disable the internal SC and traction control on my TV. I must admit I was scratching my head when I was given this advise. suffice it to say I will leave them enabled.
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:14 PM   #20
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While you guys may have the experience/knowledge of how to set-up a WDH, I do not. And I would surmise, many RV owners do not as well. Hence why I had a more experienced person install my WDH.

On a side note, I actually spoke to a tech at Blue Ox and they were hedging on whether or not to disable the internal SC and traction control on my TV. I must admit I was scratching my head when I was given this advise. suffice it to say I will leave them enabled.
That's exactly why I shared that advice. I had NO experience with sway control or WDH when I bought my trailer. I trusted the tech to do it right. Afterwards, I began researching, and reading the instructions and that's when I discovered (for sure) how bad my tech had botched the install. So, my advice going forward is to trust, but verify. And read the instructions for the hitch that will be installed before you go for your PDI and pick up your trailer. I have not found a hitch manufacturer yet that does not post their instructions on the internet. And in most cases, there are at least a dozen you-tube videos of their installation. Many by the manufacturer themselves.

Not only that, but my dealer sold me a hitch underrated for my trailer (my mistake really, I didn't know better). He sold me the hitch based on brochure empty weight instead of on GVWR or actual loaded tongue weight. My trailer can have tongue weight of up to almost 1400 lbs, and my hitch was a 1000/10000 model.

I would seriously question a Blue Ox tech who would consider recommending a customer disable any SC or TC systems on their vehicle. The only systems you should disable during setup are ride height adjustment systems like airbags or load-leveling equipment. Did you mention to the Blue Ox tech that the installation tech had recommended this? If that's the case, the Blue Ox tech could have been trying delicately not to step on the toes of the installation tech.

Either way, based on how each system works, they would never be "fighting" with each other, they will only help each other by working in concert to bring the truck and trailer back in line. The hitch is a passive system; it's always pushing the trailer into line behind the truck. The SC and TC systems are active and are initialized during a severe sway event and are designed to get the trailer and truck back in line. Everything is working together to straighten things out.
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