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Author Topic: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes  (Read 443 times)

Dreamsend

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Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« on: February 01, 2018, 09:04:14 AM »
Hello All Again

It's time to decide on a weight distribution hitch with sway control, and it's turning out to be more difficult than anticipated. I've already reviewed past recommendations, and been reading stuff for several months in anticipation, but now I find you need all sorts of nitty-gritty details to get it right.

First, when determining the hitch receiver size, do you measure just the INSIDE diameter, or is it OUTSIDE diameter?  My truck has a Class V receiver, but it also has a removable insert - so I think it is adaptable for two sizes.  Class V I'm guessing is a 3" with the adapter at 2.5" but I need to measure to make sure.

Second, I'll need at least a 11,000 lbs but not more than 12.000 lbs tongue weight capacity WD hitch I think.  Trailer axles are 10,400 lbs and tires are 11,000 rated.  Manufacturer has GVWR at 10,000 lbs. with a tongue weight of 11%.  I can't weigh anything as I don't own the trailer yet -- will get it in May 2018.  But estimating everything pretty thoroughly I'm thinking total weight is likely to be not less than 9,600 lbs. loaded.  So using the 10,000 lbs GVWR is good.

HERE'S A CONFUSING QUESTION  When a manufacturer lists a tongue weight for a TT, what are they actually getting at?  Does it mean that the tongue has to be AT LEAST the percentage they state of the final loaded weight of the trailer for good towing control?
Or, are they simply stating a tongue weight for an unloaded TT as it leaves the factory? 
Or does it mean that tongue weight should be that exact percentage? 
Example, mine says 11.1% -- so is that 11.1% of 9,600 lbs, (or 10,000 lbs for the tongue police)
or can it be 12% or 13% as long as I have a WD hitch sized to handle the larger tongue weight?

Third - do I want trunnion or round bars?  What are pros/cons of each. 
AND - do the chains on the Anderson models really work for sway control??   

Fourth - I really want an Equal-i-zer brand, BUT, the hitch head weighs 69 lbs.  There ain't no way I'm lifting that.  I've read someplace that in some states it's not legal to drive the truck with hitch head still attached to the receiver.  True or not? 
Does anyone drive their truck around town or when tooling around while camped with the hitch head still attached? 
Or, do you remove it while camped and driving just the truck? 
Is there an accepted "tradition" or practice among TT campers? 
Is it recommended or not to drive around with the hitch head still attached? 
If I could, I'd remove it for driving around without the trailer.

Fifth - My truck has sway control built in which I think can be turned off or on.  Will sway control on the truck interfere with operation of sway control for the trailer?  I would not think so, and the truck owner's manual does not indicate using truck sway control while towing is a problem, but I wonder anyway.  Anyone with experience on this issue care to comment?

To get hitch head weights, I have to call each manufacturer -- many don't list weights at all -- some list just total weight.  I've only called Equal-i-zer so far.  My next choices would be Reese, and then Anderson, but those chains scare me a bit.  The TT dealer sells Centerline, I think made by Husky? so I know they would have one that fits the trailer.

Anyone have experience with Centerline -- I have not seen this brand mentioned on the forum. 

TIA for any answers to the above.  I thought getting a hitch would be simpler.

Best regards
Linda
Linda with kitty Sarah
2017 Ford F250 Lariat aka Gypsy Rose

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 09:36:06 AM »
This article explains receiver sizes and weight classes:
https://www.etrailer.com/faq-hitch-size.aspx

The largest receiver size is 2.5"x2.5" (Class V).

The tongue weights listed in a brochure or website are mostly meaningless. There is no standard for how it is stated, but typically it is the weight observed for an empty trailer, i.e. the trailer "dry weight". Thus it is useful only if you tow the trailer empty.  For safe towing with little or no sway, the tongue (hitch) weight needs to be at least 10% of the actual loaded trailer weight. 12-14% is better, i.e. reduced risk of trailer sway. We use 10% of the trailer GVWR as a rule of thumb, because that results in 10-12% of actual weight as long as the trailer isn't overloaded.

I've never heard of any law that says you can't leave a ball mount in a receiver. What would you do if it was a fixed hitch rather than removable? Most Class I and Class II hitches are not removable anyway (do not use a receiver).

Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

kdbgoat

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 09:36:34 AM »
1-Hitch receiver size-measured inside, a Class V is 2 1/2", and may well have an adapter for 2".

2-Tongue weight is generally set at 10 to 15% of the loaded trailer's weight. Going to heavier end will help with sway. When purchasing a hitch, look at spring bars rated for about 12 1/2% of the trailers GVWR. This should suffice even if the tongue weight is a bit over 12 1/2%

3-The published tongue weight is supposed to be for an empty trailer as it leaves the factory. Yes, you can be a a different percentage. See above.

4-The biggest difference I've seen between round bars and trunnions, is that there is supposed to be more ground clearance with trunnions. In all honesty, unless you are going somewhere that you shouldn't be, it wouldn't make a difference.

5-Equal-I-Zer is a good brand, but I think they gave the weight of the complete hitch. https://www.amazon.com/Equal-i-zer-90001000-Equalizer-Hitch/dp/B004TR8F5C Shipping weight for the complete hitch is 64.9#.

6-I have heard the same thing about having a ball or hitch head attached when driving around, but don't know if it is true or not. I have always removed mine after I set up, and put it either in the truck, or storage compartment on the trailer.

7-The best advice for using the sway control on the tow vehicle is refer to the tow vehicle's owner's manual. They built the vehicle, and should know more than any of us here about the correct procedure. I've seen opinions online, and they're just that, opinions. Generally, following the manufacturer's recommendations is the best thing to do.

8-I have used the Reese Dual Cam hitch in the past and it worked very well. It is a real pain in the butt to set up correctly, but as I said, it works well. I have talked to folks that use Equal-I-Zers and they highly recommend them also. One guy that works for me has an E2, and seems to like it well also. You can go online like I did for the Equal-I-Zer and look at the shipping weights and possibly the actual weights of each hitch to help make your decision.

9-I have no experience with Centerline or the Anderson. I have read mixed feelings about the Anderson online, and it seems they either love it or hate it. I also disregard people's opinions on stuff that haven't actually used them.

10- Yep, choosing a hitch can be very involved. Many folks just take what the dealer throws at them and go on with, but many do end up dissatisfied with their set up.


I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 11:05:17 AM »
Just so you guys know, the 2017 Ford trucks, at least some of them, come with a 3" receiver and a sleeve to reduce it down to 2 1/2"
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Dreamsend

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 11:48:05 AM »
Hey Gary Wizard and kdb Greatest of All Time!

Wonderful replies -- exactly what I needed to continue my search and assessments.  I measured the interior of the receiver and adapter, and am still a little unsure because of the sorta rounded nature - hard to describe, so I have Ford Cust. Service on the line now checking.  I'm not holding my breath that this Ford guy is gonna understand#4^%!!! however.

Kdb - I got the hitch head weight from Equal-i-zer sales directly.  But, you gave me such hope I called them again.  Unfortunately, the total weight of the 12,000 GVW model is 109 lbs. and the head is 69 lbs.  I looked at the Amazon listing you so graciously provided, and I think someone hastily referenced the incorrect weight.  Oh well.

Equal-i-zer makes an off-shore brand called Fastway and there is a model with a hitch head at 45 lbs.  That I can handle.  Haven't' researched this brand completely, but 24 reviews on Amazon were all very good -- 4.7 stars.  Big difference is the Fastway is a 2-point anti-sway, and the Equal is 4-point sway.  That's the reason the equalizer head weighs more.

And I should maybe back up on something else.  What I read about not allowing hitches to remain on trucks could very well have been LOCAL ORDINANCES for cities or towns, and not state law.  That would make more sense.  I also don't wanna get sued by someone walking into the hitch and bruising their leg - or falling and breaking something more. 

Thanks again.  More later.  I was correct.  The Off-Shore Ford guy was useless.  I'll just go by the dealer and hope they can help.

Linda

 
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 02:28:46 PM by Dreamsend »
Linda with kitty Sarah
2017 Ford F250 Lariat aka Gypsy Rose

spencerpj

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 12:05:01 PM »
" I've never heard of any law that says you can't leave a ball mount in a receiver "

A friend of mine who is an insurance auto adjuster says that whenever someone gets rear ended with ball still in receiver, it trashes the hitch, and often damages the frame, making it not safe to hitch and tow again.  Even a low speed impact.  So it would not surprise me if there were laws against it.  I always take my ball mount out of receiver when not using it..

RedandSilver

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 12:37:39 PM »
Since no one else mentioned it - I will.

IF you don't have a tongue scale you will need one IF you really want to know what your tongue weighs.
Because I don't know if anyone can guess what it weighs and be accurate.

I have the 1000lbs version of this but think with a 12K lbs trailer you should have this one.

https://www.amazon.com/Sherline-LM-2000-Trailer-Tongue/dp/B007REK28M/ref=pd_sim_263_98?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B007REK28M&pd_rd_r=TBTK32XMXY46PB963WZH&pd_rd_w=EsKmQ&pd_rd_wg=kOzkt&psc=1&refRID=TBTK32XMXY46PB963WZH

It almost amazes me when people talk about 10 - 12% of the weight should be on the tongue but how would you know without a scale?
If you never weigh your trailer when loaded like your going to use it - well 12% of what?  GVWR? Maybe, but would that be accurate?
I use mine and it's surprising how moving something a little bit around in a trailer can shift the weight on the tongue.
 
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West MI Summer   Central FL Winter

kdbgoat

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 01:12:49 PM »
The E2 I mentioned is made by Fastway.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

grashley

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 06:35:26 PM »
Most of my replies have been covered.
Measure receiver size horizontally and vertically across the center of the receiver.  The number may not be exact, but close.

Published tongue was, as Steve said, are nonsense.  One legal definition is Axle weight rating PLUS tongue wt must meet or exceed GVWR.  MANY sources, including manufacturers, say a minimum of 10% of trailer wt must be carried on the tongue.  Over 10% is not an issue if the tow vehicle GVWR and RAWR are not exceeded.

About tongue wt - Red makes very good points.  Here are several ways to measure your tongue wt.
        https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-determine-trailer-tongue-weight.aspx
NOTE you still need to weigh the camper to know the real percentge
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2018, 06:52:50 PM »
I found the source of the "illegal" legend in the US.  A bill was introduced in the Illinois legislature back around 2014 to make ball mounts that stick out more than 4" illegal when not actually towing. It was never even debated, let alone passed into law.

Apparently the Canadian province of Alberta does have a law prohibiting a ball mount in the receiver if not towing.  Don't know how they deal with permanent mount ball hitches...
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

kdbgoat

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2018, 05:42:51 AM »
Thank you for clearing that up for us Wiz. Now we all know.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

steveblonde

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2018, 06:37:40 AM »
I found the source of the "illegal" legend in the US.  A bill was introduced in the Illinois legislature back around 2014 to make ball mounts that stick out more than 4" illegal when not actually towing. It was never even debated, let alone passed into law.

Apparently the Canadian province of Alberta does have a law prohibiting a ball mount in the receiver if not towing.  Don't know how they deal with permanent mount ball hitches...

YES they do have that dumb law here and some people use it as a tax grab, we drive more trucks than cars here in Alberta and i would bet that 50% drive around with a ball mounted hitch still in the truck (myself included on occasion i have Rock Tamers on the truck and they are a pain to take on and off all the time)
we were at a car show a while back and a buddy of mine got a ticket for the hitch as he left the show ( i think there is more to the story than he is telling me)
2015 Voltage 3305 Toy Hauler - loaded
2017 Ford Escape my Daily driver - first Ford in 25 yrs
2017 Black on Black F350 Diesel Dually loaded (First Ford Truck after 17 GMs) 5167lbs cargo/weight capacity named Kong


" If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space"
From Canada Eh

xrated

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2018, 11:34:20 AM »
Without any desire to turn this towards a political and/or law thread, that is one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time.  So my suggestion is......if there isn't any law against leaving your tailgate down, do that instead.  It would be harder for the L.E.O. to spot it, and it would make it almost impossible for someone to bump their shins/knees on the hitch.  Good Grief.......there is no end to big brother trying to protect us from ourselves.......

Rant off.........
2016 F350 Crew Cab Dually King Ranch Diesel
2017 Keystone Fuzion Impact 303
Track Bike  2008 GSX-R750
"If it ain't Fast......It ain't Fun

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2018, 11:39:40 AM »
Quote
Good Grief.......there is no end to big brother trying to protect us from ourselves.......

Apparently not - the "nanny state" notion is popular with a lot of well-meaning folks.  But we aren't gonna debate that here.   :-X
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Dreamsend

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2018, 10:46:16 AM »
Just an update - still researching and still groaning. Hitch manufacturers and their retailers do the worst job I've ever run into (on their web pages) as far as describing their products -- weights, lengths, sizes, type of sway control, etc.  They all lack important (for me) details.  And thanks kdbgoat for the testimonial about Fastway E2 hitches.  They are a top contender, but I need to talk with them about options - on Monday.

The truck receiver is indeed 3 inches, with a 2.5 inch insert/adapter (Class V).  All the hitches so far, including Equalizer, Reese, Fastway, etc. have shanks that are a standard 2 inches.  BUT, Equalizer (and I think Fastway as well) sells their WD and sway control hitches without drawbars, and one can buy a stand-along drawbar in various lengths in the 2.5 inch size.  Looks like this is what I'm gonna have to do.  But before any decision, I need to contact the TT dealer and determine what drop size is needed with my truck. Could be impossible as he has no models like mine on the lot, and neither does the manufacturer but maybe they can tell me without having to measure.  MORE details and calls. 

Also, Equalizer and Fastway don't come with hitch balls, so I have to add a 2 5/16 ball.  I may also decide to move up to 1400 lb tongue weight hitch model.  12-13 per cent of a 10,000 lb GVWR trailer is 1200 to 1300 lbs. and that doesn't count the weight of anything in the truck behind the rear axle, or the 100+ lbs hitch weight itself.  But, the whole purpose of using a WD hitch is to remove some of the tongue weight I thought by shifting it to the truck front axle and rearwards back onto the trailer axle . . .so who knows where you really end up? (Rhetorical Question! only)  Still have other manufacturers to look into, but some so far are ruled-out due to the small shank size.  The WD and SC hitches for travel trailers are not built to handle the tow big capacity of my truck.  They seem very limited to me, but I guess if you want more RV you get a 5th wheel or a Class A (just rambling here). 

Linda
Linda with kitty Sarah
2017 Ford F250 Lariat aka Gypsy Rose

steveblonde

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2018, 11:15:34 AM »
Just an update - still researching and still groaning. Hitch manufacturers and their retailers do the worst job I've ever run into (on their web pages) as far as describing their products -- weights, lengths, sizes, type of sway control, etc.  They all lack important (for me) details.  And thanks kdbgoat for the testimonial about Fastway E2 hitches.  They are a top contender, but I need to talk with them about options - on Monday.

The truck receiver is indeed 3 inches, with a 2.5 inch insert/adapter (Class V).  All the hitches so far, including Equalizer, Reese, Fastway, etc. have shanks that are a standard 2 inches.  BUT, Equalizer (and I think Fastway as well) sells their WD and sway control hitches without drawbars, and one can buy a stand-along drawbar in various lengths in the 2.5 inch size.  Looks like this is what I'm gonna have to do.  But before any decision, I need to contact the TT dealer and determine what drop size is needed with my truck. Could be impossible as he has no models like mine on the lot, and neither does the manufacturer but maybe they can tell me without having to measure.  MORE details and calls. 

Also, Equalizer and Fastway don't come with hitch balls, so I have to add a 2 5/16 ball.  I may also decide to move up to 1400 lb tongue weight hitch model.  12-13 per cent of a 10,000 lb GVWR trailer is 1200 to 1300 lbs. and that doesn't count the weight of anything in the truck behind the rear axle, or the 100+ lbs hitch weight itself.  But, the whole purpose of using a WD hitch is to remove some of the tongue weight I thought by shifting it to the truck front axle and rearwards back onto the trailer axle . . .so who knows where you really end up? (Rhetorical Question! only)  Still have other manufacturers to look into, but some so far are ruled-out due to the small shank size.  The WD and SC hitches for travel trailers are not built to handle the tow big capacity of my truck.  They seem very limited to me, but I guess if you want more RV you get a 5th wheel or a Class A (just rambling here). 

Linda

2017 Ford Super Duty F350 trucks come with a 3" a 2.5" insert and then a 2" insert - how do i know? my truck was shipped in without the inserts and i just picked them up this week lol i also installed a BOLT locking pin so nobody but me can have them lol
2015 Voltage 3305 Toy Hauler - loaded
2017 Ford Escape my Daily driver - first Ford in 25 yrs
2017 Black on Black F350 Diesel Dually loaded (First Ford Truck after 17 GMs) 5167lbs cargo/weight capacity named Kong


" If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space"
From Canada Eh

Dreamsend

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2018, 11:37:08 AM »
lol i also installed a BOLT locking pin so nobody but me can have them lol

Great idea.  Is this the one you bought
https://www.boltlock.com/locks/5-8-inch-receiver-lock/5-8-inch-receiver-lock-ford-side-cut

My OM says the bolt must be stamped 21,000 lbs.  Is your new locking one stamped?

My receiver came with both installed.  Was there another one in the glove compartment for 2" ? ?  I'll have to check what I did with all the stuff that was in there.

L
Linda with kitty Sarah
2017 Ford F250 Lariat aka Gypsy Rose

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2018, 11:39:17 AM »
The Reese Strait-line WD is an excellent anti-sway WD and is available with a 2.5" shank, a 2-5/16 ball and up to 1600 lb bars. Shank and  ball are sold separately in this model, so you configure it to your needs.

https://www.etrailer.com/question-19065.html
https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distribution/Reese/RP66075.html

The Husky Centerline anti-sway WD is also available with either 2.5" or 2" shanks and up to 1400 lb spring bars.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

steveblonde

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Woes
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2018, 11:50:39 AM »
Great idea.  Is this the one you bought
https://www.boltlock.com/locks/5-8-inch-receiver-lock/5-8-inch-receiver-lock-ford-side-cut

My OM says the bolt must be stamped 21,000 lbs.  Is your new locking one stamped?

My receiver came with both installed.  Was there another one in the glove compartment for 2" ? ?  I'll have to check what I did with all the stuff that was in there.

L

that is the correct part number - no idea about the stamp part - but in 25 yrs i have never had an issue with any Bolt product and we sell a ton  of them - literally 100s a year  - i recommend them 100%
mine was missing both inserts which i picked up this week - i got the truck in August and towed my 5 er twice so i never used the bumper hitch and i has to buy a new set of Rock Tamers that when i noticed the inserts were missing - my dealer and i trade a lot of work so he just got me a set from a stock unit and re-orderd another set.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 11:53:51 AM by steveblonde »
2015 Voltage 3305 Toy Hauler - loaded
2017 Ford Escape my Daily driver - first Ford in 25 yrs
2017 Black on Black F350 Diesel Dually loaded (First Ford Truck after 17 GMs) 5167lbs cargo/weight capacity named Kong


" If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space"
From Canada Eh

 

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