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Old 08-16-2013, 03:41 PM   #1
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Exclamation Do I have a problem??

We are now the proud owners of a 2010 Highlander after having our Rav4 written off because the person behind me wasn't paying attention to the traffic...BUT...

We are heading over to the Island on Monday, so I decided to do a trial run with the trailer just to see if it towed any differently with the Highlander. Well, it did and I would like some input as to whether or not it is just different or whether I need to do something.

Question 1:
The hitch (weight distribution) seems looser in the receiver (part attached to the vehicle) than it was with the Rav. (hope I have the terms right!) It is a new hitch on the vehicle but the old WD hitch and ball. Would that be causing the occasional clunk we heard coming from back there if I braked a bit sharply - not slamming on, just not the slow graceful glide to a stop one usually attempts to achieve? Is it a problem?

Question 2:
When cranking up the jack to disconnect the coupler from the ball, the back end of the Highlander is being lifted up until it eventually drops off, rather than the coupler just lifting up off the ball. Our driveway is flat then slopes downwards a bit right about where the hitch is located so the vehicles are very slightly off being on the same plane. Would that be causing the problem? Is it a problem? With the Rav there was a little bit of lift, but it seems much more pronounced now, and I don't want to do any damage to the vehicle.

Apart from these 2 issues, everything seems great and "Doodle Bug" follows beautifully behind its new TV.

Any suggestions/opinions/comments would be welcome as I would like to head off on Monday worry free!

Pam
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:52 PM   #2
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pictures may help...
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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This is the best I can do right now as the hitch is not in the receiver ( too heavy for me, so have to wait till my son gets home to put it in ). The pics show the angle the vehicles sit at. The trailer is jacked up to level.

IMG_2299.jpg

IMG_2300.jpg
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:47 PM   #4
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We hitch at roughly the same angle and it's been tricky a few times to get the coupler to catch the ball right so it can get locked closed all the way. I googled it when it first took us 20 minutes to hitch (our third time doing it) and found the suggestion to keep the ball as far forward in the coupler as possible, which has helped a lot. It just seems to work better, so we line up but stay maybe an inch forward of where we think we'll need to be, lower the coupler til it's just above the hitch, and then move the TV to where the front curve of the ball is in alignment with the front curve of the coupler before dropping it all the way down.
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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I don't have a slope as bad as that, but I found it easier to remove the WDH bars on level and then back it into the driveway and unhitch. At times you have to jiggle the trailer or the WDH to get the coupler to let go. Or let the tow drift forward a quarter of an inch.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:27 PM   #6
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You should always remove the w/d bars when backing up, at any time. With your slope, I would hitch up the trailer and pull it down to the street where it is level and then install the w/d bars.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:39 PM   #7
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Hi: dpsmith... There most certainly will be a diff. of suspension from the Rav4 to the Highlander.
In my limited know how for a straight trailer & hitch the coupler might be a little too tight for the ball, although they have been together before. The hitch being new or vehicle height difference may be a factor. Alf
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
You should always remove the w/d bars when backing up, at any time. With your slope, I would hitch up the trailer and pull it down to the street where it is level and then install the w/d bars.
I've heard some anti-sway bars ( if that's what they are called ) need to be removed for reversing, but, I've never heard that for WDH and I do not remove mine when backing.
That said, if the trailer and tow are on different angles, it can be difficult and sometimes dangerous to remove them, if they let go with force.
I install and remove with tow and trailer on the level.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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The part of the WD hitch system which plugs into the receiver is usually called the "shank".

I think there's quite a bit of variation in receiver sizing, and the new one might be a bit bigger, leaving more free play.

It sounds like the latching jaw at the back of the coupler is catching on the ball as the trailer tongue is raised, and perhaps the longer Highlander sits in the driveway at a more nose-down angle to the trailer, causing more interference. Is this a problem: on one hand the coupler's vertical strength should be at least half the coupler's trailer weight rating (which would be enough to lift the Highlander right off the ground); on the other hand it has that strength when properly latched, not necessarily when open.

I don't know which coupler is on a 2004 17'; at least some recent Escape models use a coupler with a wrap-around yoke, while others might be a more common lever-latch design. Personally, I would be less concerned about damaging the jaw of the yoke style than most others. If I wanted a coupler which would tolerate this even better, I would consider a different design, such as the Quick-Bite or the highly regarded (but I didn't like it when I tried one briefly) forged Bulldog; these designs don't have a rear jaw - they clamp around the sides - and seem less likely to have difficulty with pitch angle. Changing the welded-on coupler is not trivial, and the premium designs are not cheap... to me it would be mostly an excuse to try the Quick-Bite.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
You should always remove the w/d bars when backing up, at any time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I've heard some anti-sway bars ( if that's what they are called ) need to be removed for reversing, but, I've never heard that for WDH...
Friction-type sway control devices are typically removed for backing to avoid jamming, but like Glenn, I have never heard of such a requirement for a WD system. At least for a common bars-and-chains WD system, I can't think of any mechanical reason why backing up would be a problem.
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