How to Adjust Equalizer Hitch

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Last Updated on September 30, 2022

When you are installing the equalizer hitch, there are some adjustments that you have to make. Or it could also be for scenes where you are changing the trailer load or the tow vehicles.

No matter what the case, you should consider finding the right way of making this adjustment. And that’s what this whole guide will be about.

We’ll tell you exactly how to adjust the equalizer hitch while installing it so that the equalizer hitch setup is right for your usage. Are You Ready?

Here’s How To Adjust Equalizer Hitch While Installing It

To adjust the equalizer hitch several steps are parts of the installation, let’s go through them all one by one.

How to adjust equalizer hitch

Take Accurate Baseline Measurements & Trailer Coupler Height

  • You want to determine the tow vehicle’s front and rear reference points.
  • The height between reference point and pavement, measure and note it down.
  • This is the initial height
  • Make the trailer parallel to the ground using a trailer tongue jack.
  • You want to measure the distance between the trailer coupler’s inside top part and the parking surface in inches.
  • This is the initial trailer hitch height.

Making Trailer Height Adjustments

  • For the equalizer hitch adjustment, at this point, you need to add some height to the hitch ball so that the tow vehicle’s rear suspension can be compensated for a regular compression.
  • When you couple the trailer and tow vehicle, this adjusted trailer height will help in making the ride normal and comfortable.

Consider the following equations for each addition of 100 pounds for trailer tongue weight.

  1. Half-ton trucks are light suspensions, you’ll need to add quarter inches hitch height.
  2. 3/4-ton trucks are average suspension, you’ll need to add 3/16 inches hitch height.
  3. 1-ton trucks are stiff suspension, you’ll need to add 1/8-inch hitch height.

You should record this as the adjusted trailer height.

Hitch Shank Installation & Adjustment

Bear in mind that before you get into this step, it’s important to have the hitch ball installed. Once you confirm that, here’s what to do next:

  • Place the adjustable hitch shank inside the receiver of the tow vehicle. You can have it pointed up or down for obtaining the right ball height on this hitch shank.
  • In case of downward pointing. Make sure there’s enough ground clearance available.
  • Finally, you want to use the clip and receiver pin for consenting to the shank.
For Your Information – If there’s a need for a bigger height or drop with the hitch shanks, you can ask for one from the dealer and they may give you in case it's available.

Hitch Head Installation & Adjustments

  • You should find around five holes on the hitch head channel, near the top side. And these are usually half an inch deep. Use five spacer washers after placing the spacer river.
  • Make sure you hitch head on the shank and let the hitch ball be placed as well at the adjusted trailer height that you recorded earlier. Maintaining proper weight distribution hitch head angle is necessary.
  • Consider the closest bolt hole for sliding the head of the hitch up or down next. Into the ¾-inch flat washer, put the same size bolts. 
  • And you also want to do this for the shank and hitch head channel hole. Use a nut, lock washer, and flat washer of the same size. Make sure you hand tighten all of these.

Install The Trailer Frame Plates, L-Bracket & Spring Arms

  • Use the needed bolt for link plates to connect the assembly with the frame after marking the right spot. You’ll find the depth detail on this inside the equalizer hitch manual.
  • Make sure to tighten the bolts and also check that both outside and inside link plates have contact with the frame evenly.
  • Next, you want to install the L bracket using the set screw on the outer link plate. Here the bevel end will be entering the hole and securing the assembly’s backside with an L-bracket instead of setting screws going completely through the holes.
  • Place the spring arm end into the hitch head’s arm socket and connect it with the socket pin as well as the socket clip. Make sure the arm is away from the frame of the trailer.
  • Next, you can couple the hitch ball of a trailer and follow up with attaching the spring arms to the brackets of the trailer. 

These are more installation-based procedures so we’re not going deep into it as equalizer hitch adjustments are what we discuss today. You can check the details in the given manual for better reference.

Reference Points Re-measurement to Adjust If Required

We already told you how to measure the reference point to the ground. And you have recorded it previously as initial height. Now you need to take the measurement once again and call it the installed height, that you’d compare with the initial height.

Subtract the initial one from the new height. And here you have the two vehicle’s suspension compression references.

Your job is to make both compressions on the front and back equal. It cannot have a difference of more than 1 inch.

Here’s how you can sort the trailer hitch adjustment issues

  1. If you are trying to increase the weight transfer or bring the tow vehicle’s front end below, try elevating the position of L-brackets. You can also add space washers.
  2. However, if you are trying to reduce the weight transfer or bring the tow vehicle to the rear-end below, try lowering the position of L-brackets. You can also reduce space washers.

As soon as you get the required weight distribution, make sure

  • The angle set screw is tightened enough against the shank.
  • There should not be any gap in the washer stack.
  • Make the ¾-inch bolts tightened to not more than 200 ft. lbs.

Wrapping Up

And here we are, done with the whole discussion on how to adjust equalizer hitch during installation. 

It’s a little tricky but not impossible to handle yourself. However, if it still feels a little rough, don’t hesitate to contact a professional who can get it done for you. 

Good Luck!

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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