How to Adjust an Equalizer Hitch 

Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Will Sabel

Equalizer hitch distributes the weight of your tow vehicle and trailer. You need a flat surface to work with an equalizer hitch. Without an equalizer hitch, most of the weight of your tow vehicle and trailer will force to the trailer tongue.

You need to adjust your equalizer hitch if you change your tow vehicle or trailer. For adjusting, you need the following tools.

  • Owner’s manual book 
  • A tape measure
  • Trailer tongue jack

Equalizer Hitch Adjustments – Step By Step 

Equalizer Hitch Adjustment Infographic

1. Measure the coupler height

Level the trailer and measure the coupler height with a tape measure. You should measure from the ground to inside the top of the coupler.

2. Adjust hitch ball head and shank

The adjustable shank forged hitch head and hardware are the essential parts of the hitch head. Connect the forged hitch head to the flexible shank.

Sometimes specialty shanks are used for more rise or drop according to need. Put the shank in either the upright or inverted position depending on the coupler height of your trailer.

Set the hitch ball head. The hitch ball height needs to be between zero and one inch above the top of the coupler. Check the spacer washer. 

3. Check the equalizer setup

You need to check the following thing before adjusting the equalizer.

  • Check that the lift chain is securely attached to the spring arm.
  • Check sway bracket
  • Check l brackets. It should be bolted to the frame at 32 to 29 inches from the center of the coupler on both sides.

4. Measure the front and rear bumper

Measure the front and rear bumper of your tow vehicle. Remember, you have to measure without coupling the trailer at that instant. Note the number of measurements in the owner’s manual book.

5. Follow the owner’s manual book

Follow the owner’s manual book given by the manufacturing company in the equalizer box. The guideline is not the same in all manufacturing company’s instruction books. 

The front measurement of the tow vehicle should be the same with and without the equalizer hitch. The back height will be a little lower when coupled than when uncoupled.

6. Couple the trailer and measure

Raise the coupler with the tongue jack. Then hook up the hitch ball head under the coupler. Measure the front and rear bumper. This time the measurement of the front bumper will increase, and the rear bumper will decrease.

7. Couple with equalizer hitch and measure

For the measurement with the equalizer hitch, insert the spring arm into the hitch head and place it onto the l bracket. Secure each of the spring arms with a socket pin and clip.

Now remeasure the front and rear bumper and note. Compare the measurement with the measure that you have taken earlier.

8. Analyzing the measurement

Look through the owner’s manual book. Mark the measurement of the bumpers without coupling as number A. Number B as the measurement with coupling the trailer.

For example, number A is 28,’’ and number B is 30’’.Now calculate the height halfway between A and B. Difference between A and B is 31’’.

Mark the measurement of the bumpers with equalizer hitch as number C. C’s measurement must be at least halfway between A and B. If it is higher than this, then it is under-adjusted. And if it is lower than this, then it is over-adjusted.

For over adjusted

If the measurement of C is not enough, then it is slightly over-adjusted. That means your l brackets are too high, or you have too many washers in your setup. Uncoupled the trailer and removed one washer or lower the l bracket height.

For under adjusted

If the measurement of C is too much, then it is under-adjusted. That means you need to add more washers or increase the height of the l brackets.

Now, watch this video to know how to fix an over or under-adjusted hitch.


Finally, it should be noted that not all equalizer adjustments are the same in every manufacturing company. You must follow the instructions provided by your manufacturer.

equalizer hitch adjustment

Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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