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Reese Strait-Line Weight Distribution System Review

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Review of the Reese Strait-Line Weight Distribution System

Speaker 1: Today we're gonna be taking a look at the Reese line of Strait-Line weight distribution systems with sway control. This is what our kit's gonna look like installed. As you can see, we've got our head here fully active weight distribution system, but also active sway control, so if you're in the first group of customers, you don't have a weight distribution system at all right now. You've got a lot of squat on the back of your truck and the front of your trailer. The rear suspension's doing a lot of extra work, and the front axle on your trailer's gonna be doing a lot of extra work. With these bars being fixed mounted to our head, as we draw those up it's just like lifting up the back of a wheelbarrow.

As you lift up the back of a wheelbarrow, that weight transfers forward. That also is reflected in our trailer. The weight's gonna be transferred back, so we're gonna evenly distribute the amount of work over the two axles on our truck and the two axles on our trailer. That's gonna make components last a lot longer.If you already have a weight distribution setup or if you don't, this applies to both categories. We have now added an active sway control system rather than the passive system that just bolts on here and bolts on here.

That does nothing if sway hadn't started occurring. That only works after sway starts, and it's just there to dampen the effect. With an active system like this since our trunnion bars are sitting on our cams, this is working at all times to prevent sway from ever starting. There could be big crosswinds, 18 wheelers passing us, any number of things can cause a trailer to begin swaying, but this from the instant it starts is gonna be fighting to return it to center. This can also be an extremely helpful situation, that active sway control, in evasive maneuvers.

Let's say you have to jump over a lane really quickly. When you turn your truck, the weight of the trailer wants to continue forward with the standard weight distribution setup. With an active sway control system rather than a standard weight distribution with the friction style, it actually pulls the front end of that trailer toward your truck. It makes it easier for the trailer to follow your truck rather than go in its own direction, which is really important especially if you have to do those evasive maneuver type situations.This Strait-Line kit from Reese isn't just available for your really big trailers or the really small trailers. They have a wide variety of tongue weight and trailer weight applications, and it's important that you know what you need.

It's important that you know what kind of tongue weight your trailer has and what the gross trailer weight rating is because matching your weight distribution system to that is gonna give you the optimal ride quality. If your trunnion bars are too stiff, then the ride quality in your truck's gonna suck. It's still gonna distribute the weight, it's gonna be nice there, but the ride quality is gonna be drastically diminished. If your trunnion bars are too light, if they're not gonna work for your application there, well you're not gonna get the weight distributing effect that we need. You'll probably still have sag in the rear of the truck. Front of the trailer's probably still gonna be down, so check it out, know the numbers, and purchase the system that's gonna fit into those numbers to give you exactly what you need.A lot of times it's gonna say 600, 800, 1,000, 1,200 lbs worth of tongue weight. If you're at 900 lbs worth of tongue weight, let's say, you probably wanna go to the 1,000 lb bars. If you're at 750, you probably wanna go up to the 800, but having a 1,000 lbs worth of tongue weight, we don't need a set of 1,500 lb tongue weight bars. It's just gonna diminish the quality, and you're not gonna enjoy the ride.This would be just a chain connected to our trunnion bar here. That'd be a traditional weight distribution setup. Once we add on our bracket here, you're gonna have an arm that comes down to a cam, then we've got our cam bracket here, that's gonna go over it. Now, as we turn or if sway happens to start, let's say we're making a right hand turn, this bar is gonna be forced up and over that cam, and it's gonna come up this direction a little bit. As it does, it's trying to fight back because on the opposite side, we've got the opposite effect. On that side, this came up our cam a little bit, so that's pulling back, pulling back, trying to get everything straightened back out.The Strait-Line kit's gonna give us superior construction when compared to kits. All of the components you see here that are black, they're, of course, just of base steel. They've got an e-coat on them, then a powder coat that's gonna go on top. That's gonna give you really good durability and also corrosion resistance. Anything that we see that is silver in color or like our bolts here that are gold, those are gonna be zinc coated. The silver's gonna be white, and this is a yellow zinc coating. That allows us to also resist that corrosion. We're not gonna have issues with everything getting rusted up and deteriorating rapidly.The shank's also gonna fit a wide variety of heights of vehicle. This can be flipped into a low position or a rise position like we have it here. We'll show you why that's important once we get to the installation.I like this type of sway control system compared to the other ones out there because of, basically, the way it connects to our frame here. As you can see, basically, we've got a bracket that's gonna fit right down along the bottom. With it being on the bottom of the trailer, that's usually gonna be more unobstructed. We're usually not gonna have a lot of stuff down here on the bottom. You can see our upper brackets here, they got real close to our propane tank holder there. The upper part of the frame always tends to have more stuff, so I like how this attaches down here on the bottom. Gonna keep it out of the way, and usually you won't have any interference issues to deal with.To properly set up our weight distribution system, we want our trailer to be sitting nice and level. We're gonna measure the coupler height right to the top. As you can see, we're gonna be just over 24" here, about 24, 24-1/4". When we set up our coupler, we want the top of our ball to be about 1/2" to 1" higher than that. Our goal is gonna be 24-3/4", 25-1/4" somewhere in that window.You will need to supply the appropriate ball mount for your application. There's gonna be pretty much three standard sizes: 1-7/8", 2", and 2-5/16". That's what we've got here, just recycling the ball off the old ball mount. The requirement for our head here is gonna be 1-1/4" shank. We've got the right size shank here. Gonna bring that through the head. This is, of course, gonna go on the top. Gonna put our lock washer on there, and then we're gonna torque this down to the specifications that are listed in our instructions.Now, we're gonna match the ball height to what we said on our coupler, about 1" to 1/2" above it. The shank will allow us to rotate from a drop to a rise, so if you have a higher truck or a lifted truck, you're probably gonna use it in the drop position. You can see we have two holes in the shank. If we have the option, we always wanna use the hole closest to the upright holes. That's gonna get our shank further in the hitch. If you do have an extended bumper or something that interferes, you can use the rearward hole. If you still don't have the clearance that you need, then you can use an extended shank. Let's try that again. Looks like that's gonna be about an inch too high, so we should be able to go down one set of holes, and that'll be our position, or at least it'll have us as close to the appropriate position as we can get it. It's okay if it's a little bit off. I would just err on it being a little bit higher than low. It's okay for that truck to squat a little bit. We can take care of most of that with the system, but instead of it being a little bit low, I'd rather it just a touch high.There you can see our bolt. We're gonna put on one of the square spacer blocks with the serrated back. We're gonna slide it through, and as we do it's going to engage the teeth that are on the side of the head there. Put one of those on both sides. You do wanna make sure that you can see the inaudible 00:08:53. You see if it's this way they're not gonna engage. That's gonna ruin the setup when we get it, so we want them to both be positioned where they're gonna grip. Place on one of our provided lock washers and nuts.If you look right here on the side of the shank and the head, there's gonna be a small gap. In some situations you'll have a gap, some you won't. But you can see they've provided a spacer here, a shim, and that very easily slides down in there. With that being the case, we're gonna place that between the shank and the head. Get that slid in. These we'll just leave loosely secured for now.To set our initial height adjustment, we need to determine which type of coupler we have. In your instructions, there's a chart that has A, B, and C as the choice of coupler. This is what they consider a C coupler. It's top mounted, and it has a 5" frame. A B style coupler would be top mounted like this, but it would have a 6" frame. An A coupler would be one that was mounted to the bottom, so it would be more level with the bottom. Like we said, in our case we've got a C coupler. Then we need to move the chart. We need to check the coupler height. There's a couple different ranges in there. I think five different ranges. You just move down your chart both directions until you get to the right number. In our case, it says we want the back of our trunnion bars to be about 9-1/2" from the ground, so let's make the proper adjustments. Try to make that happen. I think we'll need to rotate this head up just a little bit.The U portion of our bar we want facing downward. We're gonna put the bottom tab in the lower hole first, tip the top in, and then as you rotate it's gonna be captured there. We're gonna lift on our bar until it stops. I got pretty lucky there. This looks like I'm sitting about 10-1/4", so maybe we'll adjust the head down just one notch, see how that helps. We'll loosen that. We're gonna hold our ball so it doesn't move too much. Take it down a notch. Let's check it again. We're gonna be about 9-3/8" with our adjustment. That's about as close as we can get it. That's okay. We're gonna be 1/8" too low rather than too high. Again, this is just gonna help us get a little bit of additional weight distributing effect. Once we have the proper angle set for our head, we're gonna use 1-1/8" socket and wrench. We're gonna snug these bolts down and then torque them to the specifications listed in the instructions.We've got the head angle set. Before we put our trailer coupler down on the ball, we want to measure to a fixed point somewhere in side the front fender. I usually just go to the hightest point. It's the easiest to find again. We're gonna use this measurement later to determine our front angle load return, the FALR, of the system and make sure we're getting adequate pressure put back down on the front end. Right now at our highest point, we're at about 41-1/8".Now, we're gonna show you how to set the positioning of your frame brackets. You wanna take the length of chain and run a U-bolt through the very last link there. Then we're gonna loosely secure it to one of our trunnion bars. We're gonna have a flat washer and a lock nut that goes on there, but these lock nuts we only wanna run them until they stop. We're not gonna permanently attach our chain because we still have to put our chains onto the dual HP system. This is just so we can properly set up the weight distribution system before we add the sway control to it.Just like we did when we we're setting our head angle, we'll slide our trunnion bar back in. You see we had to remove the old sway control, which is fine. We're putting on a brand new, much more advanced sway control system. We're just gonna tighten down . I'll show you here, it's the square head bolt. We're tightening that down until it makes good contact with our frame, then we're gonna go 1/4 turn further. There's no need to over tighten these. That should be in position where your chain, as you can see, is as vertical as possible to the center of the bracket. You see our bracket's down. Our bolt has made contact. Again, just 1/4 of a turn. I'll do the same thing over on the driver's side.Now that we have our frame bracket set for our weight distribution setup, we're gonna use our cam brackets here on our chains. You can see we're just gonna use the same hardware we removed. The U-bolt now is gonna go through the two holes on the end there. We're gonna place a flat washer and a lock nut on each point, and now we're good to tighten these down just to a point to where we have about two threads showing outside of the nut here. We still want this to be loose and be able to move. You can use 9/16" socket for the nuts. You can see that's about good. Just a couple threads showing there. All you're gonna need. See Still allows plenty of movement there. Now we're gonna hang this from our hook just like that, and we want the thread side of our U-bolt to be facing out. We're gonna do that on both sides.We've got our brackets here, and what we're gonna do, we just wanna get these centered, so we want about the same amount of thread showing on each side of our bolts here. If you need to, you can lubricate these nuts with a light penetrating oil.Now, we need to mar the center of the ball inside of our coupler here. You wanna just look at your ball. We know it tops here. See where the base. We'll mark our center point up and down and left and right. Depending on the design of your coupler, whether it's a top mount like we have here or a bottom mount, we're gonna measure back from that center point on our frame rail to the specified measurement. This is just gonna be rough for now. You can see same style bolt here. We're gonna run this down just to where it kind of supports our bracket temporarily for us. That measurement that we have in our instructions needs to be the center of our X to the center of our bolt.Once we have our center to center where we want it, we'll run our red bolt down to where it makes good contact, and just like before, we need to go 1/4 additional turn. You wanna make sure you don't have any gap on the front or rear of that bracket from the bottom of the frame to the top of the bracket.To verify our positioning here, what we're gonna do is take the weight off of the back of the truck. We wanna lift our trailer back up, and we wanna make sure that the cam here is fitting directly inside of that hump that we have in our trunnion bar. Come straight down, then of course, eventually we'll connect our chain here, pull that up, and that'll take care of the weight distribution of the sway control at the same time. But if this isn't nestled in there perfectly, what you're gonna wanna do is move your bracket forward or back a little bit to accommodate that leaving a full section here for adjustment. You can adjust it here forward and back slightly, but if you'll move your bracket just a little bit and leave these centered, if you ever change tow vehicle, the weight distribution setup's already gonna be set up for the trailer. You'll just have to adjust these a little bit to accommodate.Once we've confirmed that this is in the right position, we're gonna drill both of our holes out here to a 9/16" diameter, and we can use the plate as our template. If you decide to, you can continue using that 9/16" bit and trying to get that hole drilled out, but I like to use more of a step bit process. We'll start with a 1/4" bit, then we can go up to 7/16", and then the end hole, the last hole that we need to drill is 11/16", so gonna keep that in mind and either drill one single hole, it might take you a little longer, or you can step up through several sizes of drill bit and do it that way.Now, we can take the two nut inserts. We're gonna place them into each of our holes. It's gonna be a snug fit, and that's a good thing. We don't want them to be loose. That's why you don't want to wallow out that hole when you drill it. Get them driven in there. We're gonna take our shorter M12 bolts, we're gonna put a lock washer on them. We're gonna start one of those in each of our inserts. Once those are snug, we'll want to torque them to the specifications in our instructions. We're gonna tighten down that set screw on the back, again, until it makes contact, and we'll another quarter turn. Now, we need to repeat that same process of steps but over on the driver's side.Now with our brackets installed and everything torqued down to specification, as you can see we've used our jack. We've lifted the tongue of our trailer up, brought the back of the truck up just slightly, place in our trunnion bar. Bring it back. Nut's facing. This will align that so we can rotate it up into position. We need at least five links down here, so we're try just starting . this would be the seventh. Bring that up and click it in position. Then we've got our pin. This pin's just gonna slide in and then rotate down. That's what's gonna hold that up and keep that from coming down. Now we're gonna do the same thing on the other side.Now, we're gonna bring our trailer back down. We want the jack to be off the ground. We're gonna check our coupler height. Remember, it's okay here to have 3/4" to 1" of squat, and then we'll check that front axle and see what kind of load return we've had there.With the weight off our jack and all the weight on the head of our weight distribution system, it's time for us to check our trailer coupler. Remember, we had it at about 24-1/4". We wanna make sure it's right back at that same area. Looks like maybe we're 1/4" high there. That's gonna be all right. Let's go check that front axle and see what kind of front axle load return that we've got. Looks like maybe we're high by about 1/16", but we've almost got 100% front axle load return. When we get that weight transferred back up to our front axles, not only are we evenly distributing the weight, but you're gonna return all those driving characteristics that we missed before. We're gonna have a return in the braking performance and the handling. Our suspension geometry's also gonna be returned back to its original configuration, so we won't have to worry about any kind of weird tire wear or anything like that. Even in some extreme situations as that front end rises, your headlight beams tend to point upward, and they don't really light the road ahead of you. In this case, bringing that back down, gonna be pointed right where we need to go, allowing us to see everything that will be coming in front of us.Once we've confirmed all of our measurements are where we want them, we wanna double check just to make sure that our cams are right in the nook of that trunnion. It should be equally spaced. If not, if it's a little bit too far forward, we're able to extend this bolt out slightly to accommodate, or maybe on the other side of it, maybe it's a little too far back. Then you wanna draw that bolt in a little bit. But again, like we said in the beginning, if you leave this in the middle it gives you a lot more adjustment room if you happen to change vehicles. We're gonna use our 1-1/2" wrench here. Wanna get this tightened down. It's especially important to crush this lock washer completely flat. You'll feel the stop point. Once you've got everything compressed, the pressure's gonna go up a little bit, and you'll know that you've got it where you want it.That's gonna complete our look at the Reese line of Strait-Line weight distribution systems with sway control.

Questions and Comments about this Video

John T.
Does this set up allow me to remove the hitch assembly when the truck is on an angle to the travel trailer. I have a centre line hitch and the truck has to be straight in to the trailer when removing. Also how much does the hitch alone weigh?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

You would still need to be in a pretty straight line to easily remove the spring bars of the Strait-Line System. The issue is the tension that the angle creates (by design) that make it extremely difficult to remove until you take that tension out by straightening up.

Info for these parts were:

Employee Dustin K
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R

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