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Author Topic: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?  (Read 431 times)

Redrockerstl55

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    • Adventuring Today
Hi Everyone,

I need a little advice on how my weight distributing hitch was installed by my RV dealership. 

Truck by itself...not connected to trailer and no hitch attached to truck. 

Front axle 4,880 lbs
Rear axle 3,380 lbs
Total weight 8,260 lbs

Truck attached to my TT with weight distributing hitch installed

Front axle 4,700 lbs
Rear axle 5,380 lbs
Total weight 19,320 lbs

I am a bit newer to towing a travel trailer and how WD hitches work.  Yet it seems to me there is a possibility my hitch is not installed correctly. 

Shouldn't some of the weight from the trailer hitch be moved to the front axle rather than take weight off the front axle? 

The hitch weight (according to the manufacturer is 1,280 lbs.  We do have about 300 lbs of equipment in the front basement plus of the TT so maybe it's pushing 1,600 lbs--ish.  Plus the weight of the hitch and we did have a full tank of fuel vs the truck only weigh that was a 1/2 tank. 

The cat scale is showing 2,000 of additional pounds on the rear axle and 180 lbs LESS weight on the front axle.

Something doesn't feel right to me.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thank you. 


Tow vehicle:  2017 F250 6.7 PSD CCSB

RV: 2017 Mesa Ridge 328 BHS TT
Meet Rosalita...our TT
https://youtu.be/rldE075eK24

Adventuring Today intro:

https://youtu.be/2Sw62UyVbPY

grashley

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  • Posts: 4585
  • Western KY for now.
Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 07:27:03 PM »
Actually, you are in fairly good shape.  Without a WD hitch, that 1800# of hitch wt would have taken several hundred pounds off the front axle.  So, in fact, it has pushed weight back to the front axle.

Read the manual on proper setup and then readjust as needed.  The dealer likely set it up using an empty camper, which is fine for pulling it home.  It will probably need adjusted after you get it loaded for travel.

Note you have an 11,000# camper (19,320 - 8260 = 11,060) and 1820# hitch wt (10,080 - 8260 = 1820), which is 16.5%.  This is NOT a problem, but you are right at GVWR for the truck.  Any weight added to the truck will require moving some weight back behind the axles in the camper.  Anything added to the camper should be placed behind the axles as well.
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 08:22:11 PM »
In general terms, the truck should be at the same attitude front to back as when it is unloaded, that is if the weight of the trailer makes the back of the truck settle by an inch, the equalizing bars should be tensioned to the point that the front end settles a like amount.  They do this by their tension across the hitch forcing the front end of the truck downward, then spring compression at each axle translates this into additional weight on the axles.

Your numbers are saying the front end isn't being forced down enough, i.e. the equalizing bars aren't quite tight enough.  If you measure the height at front and rear of the truck with and without the trailer, you'll see the front end is still rising a small amount when the trailer is attached, unloading the front springs.

Like Grashley said, consult your hitch manual to see how to increase the tension on the equalizing bars.  Depending on the hitch, the head may tilt back so the bars start out at a greater downward angle before you lift them up to the trailer, or if the chain length stays within the minimum length requirement you may be able to just shorten the chains by a link or two.

What you want to achieve is having the truck settle an equal amount at both front and rear when you have the trailer attached, so it is at the same posture as when the truck is unloaded.

The second part of the setup is making sure the trailer is level when it is hitched to the truck.  This is adjusted by moving the hitch head up or down on the shank so the trailer sits level.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 08:32:55 PM by Lou Schneider »

kdbgoat

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Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 08:37:40 PM »
I never thought I would say this, but I totally disagree with you Lou. That's the way wdh's used to be set up, but no longer. Setting a hitch up like that has proven to cause dangerous bump steer. Yes, I know thousands have set their hitch like that, but it doesn't make it right. Going by height to drop the tow vehicle the same front and back will transfer too much weight to the front axle. The front axle should never weight more with the spring bars loaded than what is on it until hitched from the trailer. If there is 4400# on the front axle with no trailer hooked up, there shouldn't be more than 4400# with the spring bars set. Ford, and I think GM recommend only placing 50% of the weight back on the front axle. Say 4400# no trailer, then 3600# with trailer and no spring bars the final weight should be 4000# with the spring bars set. Personally, I like a bit more. Some of the hitch manufacturers are putting this in their instructions. The rear end will end up where it ends up. If it sags too much, get more truck.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 09:07:10 AM by kdbgoat »
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

Redrockerstl55

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    • Adventuring Today
Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 08:55:19 AM »
Thank you everyone.

I'm going to take some measurements before I hook up the trailer and then after to see what is going on...I really have no idea. 

The 4400 unhooked to 3600 hooked to idea on front axle of 4000 lbs example is probably somewhere around what is going on with my trailer (obviously different weighs but the concept is similar). 

I do think I need to get more weight in the back of the trailer...I have an entire bunk room back there that I can put some of our heavier equipment in when we travel.  I do think there can be better balance between the weight on the hitch/rear axel and the front.  Plus this may help with sway. 

This trailer does put me at near max capacity on my payload of my truck.  F250's are under rated but I am a victim of many other first time RV'ers and I should have purchased a F350.  You live and learn. 

I just need to make this work for about 3 years and then we are planning on upgrading.  In the meantime I need to make sure we are rolling as safe as possible.  The truck is capable I just need to make sure everything is set up as close to ideal as possible. 

We are not full timers...we go on about 6-10 trips a year and most of them are within 3 hours of our home. 

Thank you again!  Very helpful!!! 
Tow vehicle:  2017 F250 6.7 PSD CCSB

RV: 2017 Mesa Ridge 328 BHS TT
Meet Rosalita...our TT
https://youtu.be/rldE075eK24

Adventuring Today intro:

https://youtu.be/2Sw62UyVbPY

Old Blevins

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Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 10:40:51 AM »
Actually, you are in fairly good shape.  Without a WD hitch, that 1800# of hitch wt would have taken several hundred pounds off the front axle.  So, in fact, it has pushed weight back to the front axle.

Read the manual on proper setup and then readjust as needed.  The dealer likely set it up using an empty camper, which is fine for pulling it home.  It will probably need adjusted after you get it loaded for travel.

Note you have an 11,000# camper (19,320 - 8260 = 11,060) and 1820# hitch wt (10,080 - 8260 = 1820), which is 16.5%.  This is NOT a problem, but you are right at GVWR for the truck.  Any weight added to the truck will require moving some weight back behind the axles in the camper.  Anything added to the camper should be placed behind the axles as well.

 I think Grashley is right on all counts.
Jim
------------------------------------
2006 Silverado SRW 1-Ton 4WD Diesel
2006 Arctic Fox 29V
1985 Brawley 2-Horse Straight-Load Trailer

grashley

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  • Western KY for now.
Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 07:29:55 PM »
Red, don't beat yourself up!

You have a great truck, fully capable of handling this camper.  Readjusting the load will give you a nice reduction in hitch wt and overall truck weight.  Be careful to keep at least 10% - 12% pin weight, or you will cause sway!
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

Lou Schneider

  • Forum Staff
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  • Posts: 8178
Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 11:40:22 PM »
I never thought I would say this, but I totally disagree with you Lou. That's the way wdh's used to be set up, but no longer. Setting a hitch up like that has proven to cause dangerous bump steer. Yes, I know thousands have set their hitch like that, but it doesn't make it right. Going by height to drop the tow vehicle the same front and back will transfer too much weight to the front axle. The front axle should never weight more with the spring bars loaded than what is on it until hitched from the trailer. If there is 4400# on the front axle with no trailer hooked up, there shouldn't be more than 4400# with the spring bars set. Ford, and I think GM recommend only placing 50% of the weight back on the front axle. Say 4400# no trailer, then 3600# with trailer and no spring bars the final weight should be 4000# with the spring bars set. Personally, I like a bit more. Some of the hitch manufacturers are putting this in their instructions. The rear end will end up where it ends up. If it sags too much, get more truck.

Thank you Goat, I had never heard of that but after doing some reasearch, you're absolutely right!  I learn something new every day!

Given that, it looks like RedRocker's hitch is set up properly, but if it was mine I think i'd try going a link tighter on the chains and see if that dials in the last 180 lbs on front axle weight.


I do think I need to get more weight in the back of the trailer...I have an entire bunk room back there that I can put some of our heavier equipment in when we travel.  I do think there can be better balance between the weight on the hitch/rear axel and the front.  Plus this may help with sway. 

Trailers are most stable when their center of gravity is ahead of the axles ... this means NOT putting heavy stuff in the rear.

Here's a short video that dramatically demonstrates what happens when you have too much weight at the rear of a trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jk9H5AB4lM

Or a slightly longer video with explanations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jk9H5AB4lM



« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 12:01:24 AM by Lou Schneider »

Arch Hoagland

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  • Posts: 1953
  • Clovis CA
Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2018, 12:21:45 AM »
Had a trailer many years ago and went to a truck scale and weighed all axles with my weight distribution bars tight and rig level. I then reweighed the rig with the bars removed.

I found that about 250 lbs were transferred to the front axle of the truck. This was on a 2003 GMC 2500 and a 2002 27' Komfort trailer.

 
2004 Monaco La Palma 36 DBD
W22, 8.1 gas,  Allison 1000 Transmission
7.1 MPG over 80,000 miles

2000 Lexus RX300, 4020lb
U.S. Gear Braking System

kdbgoat

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Re: Advice on Weight Distributing Hitch...do these weights seem right?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 06:16:56 AM »
Thank you Goat, I had never heard of that but after doing some reasearch, you're absolutely right!  I learn something new every day!

Given that, it looks like RedRocker's hitch is set up properly, but if it was mine I think i'd try going a link tighter on the chains and see if that dials in the last 180 lbs on front axle weight.

Trailers are most stable when their center of gravity is ahead of the axles ... this means NOT putting heavy stuff in the rear.

Here's a short video that dramatically demonstrates what happens when you have too much weight at the rear of a trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jk9H5AB4lM

Or a slightly longer video with explanations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jk9H5AB4lM





Thank you Lou. Anytime something comes in my mind that makes me want to disagree with either you or Gary, I get second guessing myself. You guys are awesome.
I was taught years ago to set up a WDH like you said. Drop the tow vehicle the same amount all the way around. I agree with with a little more weight back on the front axle myself. The first time I went to set my Reese Dual Cam, is when I found out about the change, hence my wanting to be close to the unhitched weight on the front axle after setting the bars. Towing after setting it up on the first truck, even though I was running at the ragged edge of my weight limits, and the truck and trailer handled like a dream. When I set it up on the next truck, I had a bit more truck, and tried the 50% return. It worked fine, but the truck needed very little tension on the spring bars, so it negated a lot the sway control of the Dual Cam. I've helped a couple of friends that were having issues and set theirs this way. I told them to be honest and let me know what they thought. If they were not happy, I would change it. They are satisfied also.
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