HR bar for WD hitches - mounting position

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 22:36
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We were at BT last week having a 4th solar panel & Anderson plug fitted, at the same time we had the safety chains replaced with the welding inside rather than outside the A-frame. I think this now may be the standard. The idea was to turn the HR tow bar which holds the hitch receiver on the F250 "upwards" so improving ground clearance. When we got home I remounted the van coupling on the top of the A-frame & turned the HR bar upwards. All looked good, cleared the F250 tray door no problems, until the HR bars were connected. As soon as we tried to turn (about) 20 degrees one bar was hard against the lower section of the A-frame. One possible solution might have been to lower the pivot point of the tortioning system but this would only have left two active links vs the HR minimum of four. All is now back as was. In summary, it would seem that to use the HR system on an F250, as is required by law, the HR tow bar has to be mounted "upside down". Anyone found a method to avoid this? Andy
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Reply By: Andy1 - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:06

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:06
Rob As the old man said when he kissed the cow, "Each to his own". When we towed with the Toyota we found 200kg on the ball much too light & even at that weight felt the loss of road holding at the front. The more of less industry standard is 10% - BT have their own at 5 - 10%. Andy
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Reply By: Bushtracker42 - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:07

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:07
Unladed it was just under 190kg. We have quite a bit
under the bed e.g. golf clubs, BBQ + cylinders etc, but I have not weighed it
again. Also on the last trip we had pushbikes on the extended drawbar, so I
suspect 250kg.


Gary Harding

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Reply By: Bushtracker42 - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:08

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:08
Anthony – Regarding Aspect

Nice to know all this after, anyway I may have lucked
out as I went for caravan dead level originally i.e. I got a gooseneck made to
have the back of the van with the same clearance as the front. With the extra
weight in the rear of the cruiser I am now a little downhill when towing. I’ll
check that however and do some measurements.

I have to admit when we got to the corrugations we
were not expecting them as our map showed the road as major, and I did not
setup e.g. tyre pressures. It was not just a single sideways/slide, it was the oscillations
it setup which was the worry, especially as the corners were 40km/hr ones.

Most of my trouble re wind is not with vehicles
passing opposite. I ran 100-110km/hr to QLD and back recently and passing oncoming
was only just noticable. It’s rigs coming up the back at 110 K. I try to
travel at 100-110K which makes it better but not having an effie, we know there
are hills. I get a ‘push’ then the van sucks in to the truck a bit.
This seams to be worse than 2 years ago, but I admit I am doing 10-15km/hr
faster now (just that they are as well).

Thanks for the thoguhts on the change in camber, I’ll
measure this and I suspect I have at least 6mm. One thing that has happened is
we do have more towball weight as well. This and the recovery gear will have
lifted the front more than before and it ‘smells’ like these
changes have had effects.


Gary Harding

TriSys Engineering/III

AnswerID: 561508

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:09

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:09
Rob, Whilst sarcasm it not my usual M.O. I was applying it to what you "implied" about WDH it wasnt anything about you personally. I have the greatest respect for anyone "out there in a BT doing it ". Others could think after reading that post that it not necessary ... when for them it could be life saving ....there are still vehicles and vans rolling over on our roads with one of the major causes bad vehicle/van attitude or setup. There is also a heap of vans travelling our roads because of setup only do very low speeds on single lane highways. Obviously this not so much of a problem on dual lane. This gives rise to people having to overtake long conga lines behind these vans with resultant dangers compared with not having to do it if travelling at or near the limit. Please dont think this is levelled at you ...your combo could be just fine ... I'm just stating some facts. Could you do me a favour ? Measure the increase in lift at the front after the BT is hitched ? Measure on the rim shoulder at 6 oclock to the wheel arch edge to eliminate tyre wall flex from uplift or pressure differences and to take uneven ground out of the equation .. Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:10

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:10
Anthony, 1. I am not aware of any laws in NSW pertaining to usage of WDH, although I think there should be, as you do see some rigs on the road that have a horrible looking attitude. Perhaps you are referring to a Qld. regulation. 2. Don’t know about Ford Manufacturers’ specifications relating to WDH usage and Toyota certainly don’t have any mention of them in their handbooks. 3. I re-read my thread and can’t find where I inferred that the WDH is useless. If you read it that way, then I should correct it by saying that with my rig, as I have set it up, together with BT’s Simplicity load-sharing suspension, I have found that the rig behaves in such a manner that I feel I do not need to use the WDH. Gary, 1. My original TD100 had no suspension mods. I tried with and without WDH, adjusted chain links, “ball” (AT35) height, and HR adjustable pin angle via cam. I found that the best position was with the AT35 pin vertical (not at a forward angle like in Anthony’s photo.) With WDH attached, and with one loose link on chains, I found the attitude to be good for highway comfort and felt quite safe. However in tight manoeuvring turns on undulating surface a chain would drop down, leaving a bar dragging on the ground. 2. I think your problems are related to all four of the points you raised, but having had the experience with the V8100, complete with drawers, recovery gear, tinny on top, outboard on the A frame along with 3 jerry cans PLUS the suitably inflated air bags, I think No. 3 is the main contributory factor to your problems. Try the air bags! <o:p> </o:p> Gary and Anthony, 1. Cracker has it right as far as wind created by an overtaking truck is concerned. Have a look at the photo on our “What’s New” page - Landcruiser and BT fording river. There are three waves, the major one being the bow wave created by the front end of the ‘cruiser. There is a small wave created by the rear axle and wheels, and a third by the BT wheels. Now, think of a truck overtaking you pushing air rather than water. The prime mover is pushing a bow wave of air and that wave is going to hit the rear of your BT, forcing it to the left. The wave, or “wind sheer”, unlike the water wave, is higher than your BT!!. This initial blast will tend to push your A frame, hitch and tow vehicle rear-end to the right and the front-end of your vehicle to the left. So, to compensate for this you have to steer slightly to the right (Horrors! your turning right in front of the bloody truck!). It’s a tiny steering movement perhaps better described as holding the wheel such that your vehicle can’t steer to the left. Actually, you are already doing this to compensate for road camber (like if you let go of the steering wheel the vehicle will steer left if you’re on a straight road) -So, when a truck comes up be prepared for a little extra pressure to the right. 2. As the truck is passing, as Cracker says, there is a vaccuum behind the bow wave and this will tend to draw your vehicle toward the side of the monster. So as the truck is passing you will need to apply pressure to the left on the steering wheel to stop getting sucked in. 3. The wind sheer of the “bow wave” will vary between trucks. The worst are the flat fronted (engine under and behind cab) prime movers towing a pantechnicon (pantec - like a Woolies semi, 4.2m high and 2.4m wide). Bull-nose (motor out front with bonnet) are not so bad and the major wave may not be the prime mover, but the pantec it’s pulling. A road train with variable height trailers may have different levels of wind sheer over its entire length. 4. The higher your speed is, the more difficult it is to compensate so it’s best to back off a bit when the manoeuvre is taking place. This also makes it easier for the truckie as the time and distance spent overtaking will be less. 5. Obviously, if you regularly check your mirrors (or rear camera monitor), you can assess the type of truck and be better prepared for the event. 6. If you keep your UHF on 40 (except for Pacific Hwy Bris - Syd where it is 29) you can help the manouvre by telling the truckie that you’ll back off when he pulls out. He’ll appreciate that! <o:p> </o:p> Kind regards,...............Rob PS Anthony, Won't be hitched up for that measurement until 27 April, will let you know what it is when I do. Whatever it is, I can now counteract with the air bags
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:11

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:11
G'day Rob, Ford F-trucks towing over a certain weight must use WDH to allow them to tow a weight between that spec and their max allowable towing weight. In the F250 it is up to 2500kg without or up to 3500kg with WDH. This now also applies to the Ford Falcon range of vehicles if over 1600kg (from memory). It doesnt matter what state I'm in because if I tow over this 2500kg without a WDH on ...... I'm OVER-LOADED by the manufacturers specs which is what the RTA use as limits .....and there is not a state in Aust that allows you to overload. Once I overload obviously insurance is void .... I know Toyotas are a great vehicle but when the maker of the F-trucks, with a far longer wheelbase and more weight at front, says to use a WDH because of the reaction of adding ballweight to that vehicle as requisite to carry a 3000kg BT ... it does it for a reason ..... F-trucks react far less than Cruisers when placing ballweight on the towbar, especially at the front. Like I've said before you can put solid iron bars between diff and body at the height your polyairs are now ...the front must still rise when you place 250kg almost 1 metre back from this pivot point .... basic Archimedes. Once your cruiser goes up at front how does an airbag, at the rear, bring it back to height where your wheel alignment settings were done ?? The only way this can be achieved is to remove the springs and have airbag only suspension all round, not airbag assist. If this is the case ...the fully air-bagged suspension only moves the suspension back to height where camber/toe-in etc are normal ... is doesnt return the tyres contact patch to as before because weight has been taken off the tyre ....this is also easy to prove with a weigh bridge. I placed the ballweight from my not fully loaded BT onto a mates 18month old turbo diesel Cruiser and it went down 76 mm in the rear and up 26mm in the front .... from standard height .... imagine how much weight was taken off the tyres at front when Cruiser moved up an inch at front by applying weight to towbar ...??? Regarding your post ....... No pitching Excellent braking comfort in a panic stop from 80km/h with aid of Prodogy Don't have to move the Jockey Wheel to facilitate WDH Don't have to spend time hooking/unhooking WDH Won't drop a WDH bar in tight turns over rough terrain Can now grease the AT35 without removing it Can adjust rig levelling (in accordance with load distribution) using air bags. Anyone want to buy a used HR WDH ? With all the Anti-WDH points and then offering to sell a used one does infer that they are useless .... or at best a waste of money ... sorry thats how I read it ... Point 2 could also infer that you have better braking without the WDH ... Panic stops from 80k's, even in a vehicle down in the rear and up in the front, are not that bad or different in a straight line, once the suspension compresses .... where a "set-up" vehicle comes into its own is hard stops (even from 100kph) with an immediate change in direction to avoid an object. The first thing that drivers do to avoid an accident is to brake ..the next thing, even subconsciously, is to turn the wheel to avoid an object. It might never happen in 500 months but there are plenty of vans rolling over .... Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:12

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:12
Tellembuggerem, been cogitating long and hard on your experiences and input from BT. Must admit still wary of the physics you are claiming. When I was a kid my dad used to ride the See-Saw with me. I was a weed at, say 20kg, while he weighed in at say 70kg. I'd sit on the very end of the See-Saw, and he would sit a meter from the middle (pivot) and we balanced. Now, if he moved back at all, up I'd go. And, you know something? It didn't matter what kind of shoes he was wearing, the same thing always happened. If I was the front wheels of our cruiser, and dad was the downforce on the hitch, and the pivot was the rear axel, it never did matter whether the See-Saw pivot was attached to the ground by metal posts, springs or airbags: when dad's bum hit the plank, I (the front wheels) went up. That's the way a lever works (and as that old coger Archimedes was reported to have quipped, "Give me a lever and a place to stand and I shall move the Earth"). Now what, I hear you ask, does dad's shoes have to do with it? Precisely nothing. The same relavance as your van's Load Sharing suspension. That is to say, none at all in the context of this discussion. Yes, a good suspension will track truer and be less disturbed by road conditions, but that is irrelevant to your tow vehicle's front-end behaviour if it's 100's of kilo's below design weight. I don't much care how well the van is tracking if you lose steering and directional control, you're in trouble and your van's suspension won't save you (as several have discovered to their fear and terror). You woudn't dream of giving yourself white-knuckle bug-eyes by running bald tyres on your front end (not a bad analogy for the loss of grip and the resultant under-steer that significant lightening of the front end causes.) And naturally, when this situation is likely to occur is in a pitchy, bouncy corner at speed where the steering variation would be variable from moment to moment resulting in even greater control and response problems. The interesting thing about running bald tyres is that in the scenarios you describe (like emergency straight line stops, on dry bitumen) they could perform even BETTER than regulation full tread depth (more rubber on the road). But in the wrong conditions, you're scating on thin ice. Running level is not the issue. Anthony's suggestion of a before and after front-end weigh is an excellent one. I'll be fascinated to get the real figures. Who knows? It may be a storm in a 50 kg tea cup. On the other hand, if its a significant loss, then put you WDH back on and try it again & see what (if any) difference that makes. If it brings things even half way back from a significant loss, could we all agree that the WDH represents a nice, additional (cheap) insurance policy? Regards Griff
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:13

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:13
'Onya Griff & Anthony, Yep, I certainly will do some more measurements and experiments so the WDH is temporarily off the market, and, I'll be getting some more use out of my Maytow Multi-Weigh jack and measuring tape!! More news after 27 April - doing a month long loop to Salvator Rosa, Ka-Ka Mindi, Carnarvon, Cania, the Border Ranges and bits in between. Cheers..............Rob.
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:14

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:14
Griff, I have tried to explain WDH by use of see saw as well but some people won't believe it because when they have extra heavy rear suspension, they don't see any visible movement at the rear of the vehicle so they don't believe they need anything. It would be interesting to take a vehicle to a weigh bridge and have the front wheels weighed without any load, then connect a 200 plus kg load on the tow bar and re weigh front wheels noting the reduced reading, and then connect WDH and apply pressure and watch the weight of the front wheels increase as the WDH pressure is applied. Brian
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Reply By: Oldperc - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:15

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:15
Well I've been reading all the old and new threads and found all comments most interesting and feel that to spend a few bucks for a little, percieved or not, insurance is worth the effort. Notwithstanding this, to put my money where my mouth is, armed with the advice of many on the thread, I just went out and purchased the Reese 67509 (Trailboss) and when I got it home the bloody AT35 doesn't fit. So what have all you others using this WDH done? I spoke to AT35 manufacturers and they advise they now make a new one to fit the HR WDH with orders from BTI only but at present not for the R 67509. Help please if you can. David @ oldperc
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:16

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:16
Hi I will second David request. I have just installed the 67509 on our Effie and I know that the BT I am purchasing has an AT35. Are they going to meet in the middle? If I recall, Greg Hirst removed the AT 35 and is using a ball joint with his Reese. Suggestions? tgintl/jay
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:17

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:17
G'day David, The first generation AT35's had a single locating bolt to stop the coupling swivelling. The second generation has two pins one either side to stop the swivelling. I believe the ones now made to go to BTi do not have these ears with the two locating dowels. I am picking up the latest AT35 variant (both types, std and BTi model) from Vehicle Components on Monday and going to Probar (the Qld distributors of the Reese (drop bars)) to see why it doesnt fit and proffer a solution .... Of course I'll take my trusty digital camera for a pic of the problem .... I will know more Monday. Could you give a description of why it doesnt fit ??? Is it because the dowel pin "ears" make the base to wide to fit into the head mount area ??? I'm usually around on the mobile number in my profile. Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Oldperc - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:18

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:18
Thanks for that. First you might like to go to and you can view the product 67509 (and other stuff). The AT35 won't fit as the back (where the drill hole is) pushes over the top of the Reese and won't fit. Thats not a very good explaination. The AT35 would have to have some 10mm cut off it tp make it fit. I had a look at the HR WDH and just on looks alone the Reese 67509 is a far better product. To me the HR product looks like it was made in a back yard. All one needs is a welder and some steel. The Reese 67509 appears to be cast. I also noted that the snap up brackets provided by HR are in fact the Reese product. I was going to take the Reese hitch down to Vehicle Components to see if thay could vary the AT35 to fit. As you are going down on Monday, I would appreciate your outcome before I get the HR WDH and grind or whatever is the best option. By the way the Reese 67509 is $80.00 cheaper than the HR (beats me) Let me know if I can give you more details. Regards David
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:19

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:19
David, The Hayman Reese head is stamped mild plate and welded you are right but this can be an advantage. It means it can be rebuilt in the wear areas with normal welding techniques, either stick or mig, and shaped to suit the trunnion ends again. They do wear fast when at their limit of upforce.... both the trunnion contact area and the head where the trunnion contacts. Bob (Turist) has rebuilt the worn area on his at least once. I presume that the trunnions on the Hayman Reese and the head on the Reese to be forged not cast because of the much higher yield strength of a forging. I usually tell by the difference in the "forging line" on the article being wider than the "parting line" of a cast iron article.... but upon inspection I'm "pretty" sure they are not castings. It does get harder to tell if there is heavy machining after forging or casting. Forgings and castings are very different in their crystalline structure compared to mild steel pressings of the Hayman Reese head. They require specialist welding techniques (more so in cast iron) and specialist filler rods or wire in the case of mig .... and a degree of preheat in the case of cast iron ... this makes it a little harder to do in the field. It is some time since I did welding theory and the structure of metals ... there might be rods/filler wire suitable for all now. These parts to buy as a spare part are expensive. The heads are about $200 and the trunnions $100 each. I'm almost positive that Hayman Reese and Reese are from the same company in the USA ..just differing models with the Reese product eventually drying up (in Aust) in favour of the Hayman Reese. I have seen the Reese in detail but only in pics ...will see in the flesh Monday. Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Oldperc - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:20

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 23:20
Matt/John Brought this info to the top as there is a bunch of stuff in which you may be interested. regards David
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