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Author Topic: weight distrubution hitch on TT  (Read 708 times)


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weight distrubution hitch on TT
« on: October 01, 2017, 11:14:17 PM »
I have a 22' Fleetwood mallard travel trailer with a dry weight of 3750 lbs.I have not weighed the travel trailer and tow vehicle to calculate the correct tongue hitch weight but figure with battery up front and 2 30 lb propane bottles plus weight of a loaded trailer and the weight of the truck bed which is usually full of gear and firewood,I could use a weight distribution hitch with swaybar.I rarely pull this trailer on the interstate but go a couple times a year to the great smokey mountains in Tennessee and am on the interstate at that time.I have not had any issues with sway on the interstate even with trucks passing but the front end feels a little light at times,probably due to the truck rear being loaded on the heavy side along with the weight of the travel trailer.I figure the hitch weight loaded at the most around 600lbs and know the sway control on the hitch I have ordered through amazon which is a camco eaz-lift elite wd  hitch will have to help.My question is I ordered a 800 lb tongue weight hitch,I know this is more hitch weight than I am running but can this hurt me?I am wondering if I need to run some water in my fresh water tank which is up front in the camper,it has a 40 gal. capacity tank to add the difference in weight or will I be ok?I just don't want to take too much hitch weight off the truck,but on the other hand want to help it all I can.I pull with a 1/2 ton chevy 4x4 with tow package.I haven't recived the hitch yet its on the way,but they may offer a 600lb spring bar option,I figure with the 800 lb if I ever go to a 28' or 30' travel trailer I will be prepared on my hitch.Any opinions would be appreciated,THX

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: weight distrubution hitch on TT
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 07:57:36 AM »
The tongue weight needs to be 10%-12% of the loaded trailer weight for safe trailering and minimal sway. Even 15% is ok. Based on your description, I would guess your loaded tongue weight is going to be 500-600 lbs.

The purpose of the WD hitch is to distribute that tongue across both front and rear axles on the tow vehicle. The truck has two weight ratings for its hitch receiver, one "weight carrying" and the other 'weight distributed". Without WD, just about all the tongue weight falls directly on the receiver and the truck rear axle and those two components have to "carry" the entire weight. With WD, some of that weight is shifted to the truck front axle, relieving the burden at the rear.  Thus, the weight distributed rating is higher.

The spring bar rating indicates the weight range it can handle, so it is fine to use somewhat larger spring bars than needed. As long as they are not so large that there is no spring tension at all, they work fine. The 800 lb bars you bought are probably OK.
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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Re: weight distrubution hitch on TT
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 09:50:34 AM »
Thanks Gary,your knowledge and opinion is very appreciated.My hitch will arrive tomorrow and I'm already more confident on installing it with more spring bar than I actually need.


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Re: weight distrubution hitch on TT
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 01:31:20 PM »
Also be aware of your ratings, especially if, like you say, you haul stuff in the bed as well (gear and firewood).  You have a maximum payload which should be on a sticker in your door jamb.  This payload includes passengers, and anything else you're carrying in the truck and in the bed, AND the tongue weight of the trailer.

So if your payload is 1600 lbs, and your tongue weight is 600 lbs, that leaves you with 1000 lbs for gear, firewood and passengers in the truck.  Note that a WD hitch can weigh anywhere from 80-200 lbs, and the weight of the WD hitch itself will be added to the tongue weight.  So if your trailer tongue weight is 600 lbs, and the WD hitch weights 80 lbs, then you have 680 lbs of tongue weight on the hitch/truck.

Other restrictions are your front and rear axle ratings which should also be in your door jamb, indicated as Front GAWR (or fGAWR) and Rear GAWR (rGAWR) which are Gross Axle Weight Ratings.  You need to be careful not to exceed these.

Using a scale (CAT Scale for example) which can be found at a truckstop and some garages, you can weigh each axle separately.  Weigh your truck with just yourself and a full tank of gas to get a good baseline.  You'll get front and rear axle weight.  Load up like you're going camping and hitch up the trailer (Or stop there on your way out when actually going camping) and weight all the axles on the truck and trailer.  IF your measured front axle weight is lower with the trailer hooked up, then you need to tighten up the load bars on your WDH.  Weight should not be taken off of the front wheels.  If your rear axle weighs more than your Rear GAWR, then you have too much weight on the back axle and again need more tension on the bars to distribute more weight to the front.

The key here is to 1) Not overload your rear axle 2) Ensure weight is not being taken OFF of your front axle 3) Try to make the truck and trailer ride as level as possible.

All this must be done without exceeding any of your limits.  It sounds like a real pain, but once you have it dialed in the first time, it's easy to repeat.  No need to keep weighing every time unless you bring much more weight or add something to your load.

EDIT: Tip, if you are going over your payload, you can transfer weight to the trailer by hauling your gear IN the trailer instead of in the bed of the truck.  Also, you can drive to the campground with an empty freshwater tank as I do, and fill up when you get there.  Most campgrounds have the facility to fill your tank on site.  I also either dump the remaining water on the ground before leaving, or run my tap more on the last night/day to use it all up and then dump it with the grey water.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 01:42:33 PM by Dorian »


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Re: weight distrubution hitch on TT
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 02:22:39 PM »
" Also, you can drive to the campground with an empty freshwater tank as I do, and fill up when you get there"

I second this advice.  I don't think adding the weight in the fresh tank would help with what you are trying to do.  Also, your tank may not have baffles, so any motion added to the water will be transferred to the trailer and there is nothing to dampen the waves.  It's good that your water is in front of the axles, but still, why add this weight and motion?
In my case, the fresh tank has no baffles and the tank is secured front to back but not side to side.  If I tried to carry much water I would get too much sway from the water sloshing and the tank sliding.
Virginia is for Lovers
current: 2006 Cherokee 25DD
former: 2001 Coleman Sedona pop up


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Re: weight distrubution hitch on TT
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 06:34:00 PM »
Thx to everyone,all your advice is appreciated.