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Old 01-20-2014, 03:30 PM   #1
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Noisy hitch - Solved!

I know there are a few posts out there on this, but I thought an update/revival would be nice.

I recently (October) purchased a travel trailer. During PDI, I asked the tech how to lube the hitch and he waved his hand and said "put some grease here and there". He indicated greasing the friction points on the sway control as well (NO! you shouldn't do that! I already knew at least that part.)

The hitch is a Fastway E2. This hitch has integrated sway control accomplished using L-brackets attached to the tongue of the trailer and round bars that distribute weight and use the friction against the brackets for sway control.

Anyway, so I've been towing with it unlubricated (except for the ball) and finally got tired of listening to it and bothering the neighbors.

So I got some marine grease (because that's what I had from our old boat) and went to work. I put some fresh grease on the hitch ball, and the part of the bars that go into the hitch head. I didn't use a lot, just enough for a nice thin layer, applied with my fingers.

Now here's the cool part: I had read somewhere that if you wanted to quiet down a friction sway WDH, use Vaseline. I thought "seriously, Vaseline?". The answer is YES! I put a good gob of regular old Vaseline on the L-brackets and the bottom of the bars, and WOW! What a difference! Between the grease and the "lube" my entire hitch barely makes a sound now. The Vaseline doesn't add any significant lubrication (at least not enough to overcome the friction of the sway control) but it sure does quiet those bars down! AND it makes them a little easier to pry into place.

Now get out there and lube your stuff! You won't be sorry!
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:06 AM   #2
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I'm going to offer another point of view;
The Equalizer hitch manual specifically says DO NOT apply anything to the L-brackets.
No noise equals less friction which equals much less effective sway control.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David472 View Post
I'm going to offer another point of view;
The Equalizer hitch manual specifically says DO NOT apply anything to the L-brackets.
No noise equals less friction which equals much less effective sway control.
This is absolutely true. In fact the Fastway E2 instructions say not to apply lube to the friction sway points. That's why I used Vaseline; not an efficient lubricant under that much pressure, but just enough to keep it quiet. I think the way it's actually working is that under normal conditions, the friction point has to break a higher pressure to begin moving (that's the initial "thump" you hear when you begin turning) then it smooths out. It sort of hops across the L-bracket. All the Vaseline is doing is preventing that initial "thump" or break point where the parts begin to move, thus creating a smoother movement between the steel pieces while offering very inefficient continuous lubrication.

FWIW I did not notice any difference in performance under crosswind and 18-wheeler passing conditions. And YMMV.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:35 AM   #4
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I do not lube L-brackets but I do lube all pivot points at the hitch head. The popping noises I hear are an indication that I have sway control.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:22 PM   #5
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Straight out of the install manual, it says:

Lubricating the socket joint may help reduce this noise, and is part of the required regular maintenance routine. Lubricating the L-bracket joint is optional. A better solution is a set of official Equal-i-zer brand Sway Bracket JacketsTM. They quiet the ride without the mess of using a lubricant.

My hitch showed signs to me of almost galling, and it was noisy. I started to lubricate mine with the Equal-i-zer brand lube as stated above out of the manual including the L-brackets. My hitch is quiet and I have seen no diminishing affect in sway control at all.
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:00 AM   #6
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Old thread here but was wondering...i can't seem to find where it says you can use Equalizer parts on the fastway assembly. Are they owned by the same company? The products look mostly the same to me...also how are those jackets holding up? Thinking about getting some for my fastway but dont want to lose much sway. Thanks for any replies!
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Old 05-25-2017, 07:36 AM   #7
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Going to try and quiet mine down a bit as well. I don't have the Equalizer sway control though. I was thinking just using some lube on the actual ball as I believe that's where most of my noise is coming from. Is there a particular type of lube or grease I should use?

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Old 05-25-2017, 07:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrpshtr View Post
I was thinking just using some lube on the actual ball as I believe that's where most of my noise is coming from. Is there a particular type of lube or grease I should use?
Any quality wheel bearing grease will be fine. I wipe mine off and re lube it 2 or 3 times a year.
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:01 PM   #9
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I don't own that hitch any more; I went with a Blue Ox.

I found that the Vaseline I was using was pretty messy, so I wiped it off. Interestingly, even after I wiped it off, I didn't have much noise, and I never experienced a decrease in anti-sway performance.

As far as Fastway and Equal-i-zer, yes, they are both owned by Progress Manufacturing. The L-brackets are interchangeable, but the design of the Equal-i-zer brand is better. The fastway L-bracket actually sits a little off from the mounting plate, allowing the spring bars to put enough leverage on the L-brackets for them to bend. The Equal-i-zer L-brackets have a cutout in the back to allow them to sit flush against the mounting plates.

I bent my original Fastway brackets, so I emailed Progress Manufacturing to see that the Equal-i-zer brackets (superior design) were compatible, and they said absolutely they are. So I ordered a set, and they worked A LOT better than the original Fastway equipment.

To be fair, the Fastway is a fine hitch. Not quite as good as the Equal-i-zer IMO, but a fine hitch nonetheless. I needed to upgrade anyway because I was maxing out the capacities of the hitch. I narrowed it down to 2 primary options; the Equal-i-zer 4-point sway control hitch, and the Blue Ox SwayPro. I eventually (after A TON of research and back-and-forth) decided on the Blue Ox primarily because of the ease of setup and adjustment. With the Blue Ox, there is only one adjustment (number of chain links under tension) and I don't need any wrenches to make that adjustment, and it can be done "on-the-fly".
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