Load level Rider Troubles
There seems to be a lot of offroad hitches out there in Australia. The other thing we have a lot of is camper trailers and caravans. What I see is a whole lot of people towing vans using offroad hitches and std ones and using the Hayman Reese type level rider kits to keep the van level. The thing is with these things is they have there limitations as well, like when you are going through a ditch or gutter and the car heads uphill and the van is still on the flat. What happens is the level riders keep working and the more angle the car gets on the more they tend to want to lift the back of the vehicle up, because the springs go under more tension. If you have a light vehicle the situation gets even worse. Likewise the other way if you go over a high bump or mound the trailer heading up hill and the car down the other side, most if not all of the usefulness of the level rider unit is undone due to the angle that the draw-bar is attached to the hitch in this situation. Another small problem is the overall maneuverability of the car to trailer. If the car goes on an sideways angle and the trailer is still on the flat then one bar lands up doing more work than the other and stands a chance of getting damaged or breaking. After all these things are just oddly shaped springs really.Turning circles are also limited.
One of the other things I have noticed is, some of the companies that use the Hayman Reese load levelers with their offroad hitches, are actually accentuating the turning problem. Let me explain. If you will notice, the Hayman Reese unit with the tow ball hole in the centre between the 2 trundle bar (level rider bars) slots are positioned all in a straight line. This is for a reason!!! If you take the distance between the tow ball hole as the centre of the trundle bar locating point(which is about 60mm) and bring the ball hole further out away from the original ball hole position, which grows that 60mm into more like 80-90mm then use it to fit an offroad hitch, what you are doing is accentuating the turning problem related to the level riders between the vehicle and trailer in a turn and making the trundle bar/springs move further down the side of the trailers draw-bar than is desirable. See the centre point of the ball hole to the centre point of the level rider bar is around 60mm on either side of the centre ball hole. So when you move the centre ball hole which is the pivot point (which would be the hitch to tow ball) of the Hayman Reese unit out and further away, using an adapter like they have done with the Hitchmaster DO35, you turn the 60mm distance apart into 80mm or 90mm. So what you say??… well here’s the crunch. That 60mm is also the same distance the trundle bars move down the side of the draw-bar when you turn as it is 60mm away from the pivot point. When the pivot point is 80-90mm away from centre of pivot point the load levelers arm will move 80-90mm down the side of the draw-bar. Now this can cause problems being that the chains have to be able to move that far down the side of the drawbar without hitting or breaking something or even over extending the chains and seeing as these kits have there limitations already all the angles are made even worse and makes the kit even less useful and more troublesome when you need to traverse rough terrain. It was my personal experience towing with a hitch adapter that was further away from the desirable pivot point, that when I turned as hard as I could the level riders arm pushed the chain further than it could handle and ripped the bracket that holds the chain to the drawbar right off. Now what if you did such a thing didn’t know you had done it carried on driving? This could cause all sorts of problems like light steering bad breaking etc or even a fatal accident.
So best to be aware of this problem, that it can arise and do all the checks you can and do a full turn circle at full lock with the bars in place after fitting your offroad hitch, to make sure it all works fine.