Well, we just finished a 2 week, 2,000 mile drive with the new hitch setup. As far as I can tell it seemed fine and I never felt unsafe. It was fairly smooth, with a bit of soft bounce in the rear if the road got bumpy. With all tanks nearly empty, and therefore less tongue weight
(probably closer to 10% than the 12-13% with full water), I seemed to get a tiny bit of wiggle out of the rear of the trailer in a particularly windy section of Central Oregon. The Equalizer brand hitch makes more noise than it used to now that it has more force on the bars, particularly in slow, sharp turns like within a campground (kind of embarrassing at times...). Part of this is from the bars sliding over the top of the rubber pads on the L-brackets. Once, though, the noise was from the pins that keep the bars on the L-brackets--the pins were getting gouged by the top edge of the square bars. I put a bit of grease on the edge and it seemed to fix it, but I am also going to purchase the new "snap pins" that the company has recently come out with. The revision of this part indicates to me that I am not the only one to have an issue. This never happened before when there was less weight
on the bars.
The truck has the original shocks with 70,000 miles on them, so I might upgrade to a high quality aftermarket shock and perhaps that will control the rear bounce better, although I didn't find it objectionable as is. Also, Roadmaster makes a type of spring that assists the rear leaf springs. They are pricey but perhaps it might be worth looking into since I am running the rear axle
at its maximum rated capacity. I plan to continue to tow with this setup but I now have a fairly clear idea about how careful I need to be about what and how I load.
Once again, I think the key lesson here is that the loaded weight
of your trailer likely needs to be significantly less than the factory rated towing capacity for your vehicle. Perhaps a no-brainer for many of you, but I think some will find the difference in weight to be shocking. For example, for a 2004-2008 F150 you should probably keep the max loaded trailer weight 2,000-3,000 lb. below the factory rating or else you are going to risk exceeding your GVWR if you load much of anything at all in the truck and trailer. Every rig is different--maybe you don't have a canopy, you have different options, you carry more/less equipment, etc.--so of course you should check it at a scale, but that is difficult to do if you don't own the truck or the trailer yet and so maybe this can be a reality check for those looking. My worry is that too many people will do like I did initially--look at the truck towing capacity (mine is 8700 lb.), look at the trailer weight (mine was ~5400 dry), and think "it's fine--I have plenty of capacity". It wasn't true, and I think it is a bit shocking that the max towing capacity was so much larger and yet wasn't enough. My guess is that a similar story is true for other tow rigs as well.
It was kind of funny how all of this changed how I look at other tow vehicles going down the road--I've seen a lot of them the past two weeks, and more than a few times I found myself thinking "that vehicle is overloaded..." Another thought was that while in the fiberglass RV community our Bigfoot
seems huge, it is still among the smallest trailers I saw on our trip. So many monster 5th wheels and 1-ton trucks...