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Author Topic: More Weight Distribution Questions  (Read 4707 times)

Prowler

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More Weight Distribution Questions
« on: June 03, 2005, 11:33:20 PM »
Hello List, new member here! Noticed all the post about WDS, now I have a few more. Recently purchased a Prowler 24 BH (Measures 23'). Dry weight of trailer is abt. 4600 pounds. Pulling with a 2002 Ford Explorer SUV 4.0L V-6. Ford book reads Maximum GCWR is 10,000 lbs/Trailer Weight 0-5380 lbs. so I am assuming I am ok in this area. I read as truck can pull combined weight of truck/ trailer of 10,000 lbs, with MAX trailer weight loaded not to exceed 5380lbs. Am I correct in my thinking or am I viewing this wrong. ALSO, I have the weight distribution bars, 2 5/16" ball with a massive hitch (Draw Tite?) My biggest question is- do I connect the trailer to the truck, lower hitch of trailer to completely latch onto truck, lock clasp of tralier hitch onto ball and then raise hitch back up lifting truck too or above level stage before hooking up weight dist. bars. I seem to have a lot of flotation in front end of truck when pulling as if too much weight on rear of truck.Seems each bar has 9 links and after hookup I usually have 4 links hanging freely from WD. Sometimes can only get 3 links hanging. Feel certain trailer nor truck is overloaded and both have loads distrubuted well. Would appreciate any words oif wisdom and Thanks in advance!
Kenny in KY!

Jim Dick

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Re: More Weight Distribution Questions
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2005, 06:36:01 AM »
Hello List, new member here! Noticed all the post about WDS, now I have a few more. Recently purchased a Prowler 24 BH (Measures 23'). Dry weight of trailer is abt. 4600 pounds. Pulling with a 2002 Ford Explorer SUV 4.0L V-6. Ford book reads Maximum GCWR is 10,000 lbs/Trailer Weight 0-5380 lbs. so I am assuming I am ok in this area. I read as truck can pull combined weight of truck/ trailer of 10,000 lbs, with MAX trailer weight loaded not to exceed 5380lbs. Am I correct in my thinking or am I viewing this wrong. ALSO, I have the weight distribution bars, 2 5/16" ball with a massive hitch (Draw Tite?) My biggest question is- do I connect the trailer to the truck, lower hitch of trailer to completely latch onto truck, lock clasp of tralier hitch onto ball and then raise hitch back up lifting truck too or above level stage before hooking up weight dist. bars. I seem to have a lot of flotation in front end of truck when pulling as if too much weight on rear of truck.Seems each bar has 9 links and after hookup I usually have 4 links hanging freely from WD. Sometimes can only get 3 links hanging. Feel certain trailer nor truck is overloaded and both have loads distrubuted well. Would appreciate any words oif wisdom and Thanks in advance!
Kenny in KY!

Hi Kenny,

Welcome to the forum. Though I own a motor home I'll try to answer some of your questions.

Do not exceed the 5380 lbs on the trailer!!!! Be careful when loading. It's easy to overload if you're not paying attention. Remember water weighs 8.33 lbs/gal.

The first thing to do is set the hitch so you will be level when the trailer is hooked up. Do this by parking on a level spot. Adjust the tongue jack until the trailer measures level front to rear. I usually measure from the frame to the ground near the front and the rear. Measure from the top of the tongue where the ball attaches to the ground. Adjust your ball hitch on the tow vehicle until ithe top of the ball is the same distance to the ground as the tongue of the trailer. This will give you a good starting point to hook up the bars

To hook up with weight distribution bars you first must hook the trailer to the tow vehicle. Once done, raise the trailer with the tongue jack until you start lifting the rear of the tow vehicle. The more you lift, the less work you need to do. Attach the bars and pick a link on the chain to start. I usually go with around 3-4 hanging with the rest doing the work. Lower the trailer until all the weight it back on the tow vehicle. Stand back and see if the whole rig, tow vehicle and trailer look level. If not readjust the links on the chain until you get the desired effect. NEVER try doing anything with the weight distribution bars unless the load is on the trailer!!!!!! You can really get hurt if you don't pay attention. Once you have a level unit you should not experience any floating sensation in the front end.

You didn't mention what size bars you have. With a 5380 lb trailer you will need 600 lb bars. There should be a slight bend to the bar when they are hooked properly. Hope this helps.

Jim
Jim

Titusville, Florida
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2000 American Dream 40' DP
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: More Weight Distribution Questions
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2005, 08:10:58 AM »
In addition to Jim's advice on procedure, make sure the 10,000 lb GCWR applies to your particular model of Explorer. GCWR may vary with engine, transmission, and rear axle configuration and the sales brochures often do not distinguish among specif configurations when they list a "max" GCWR. Ford has a towing guide that will list GVWR and GCWR for each engine and transmission combination.

Remember that the GCWR is the combined tow vehicle and trailer weight when each is fully loaded.  Your Explorer likely weighs quite a bit more than its "Curb weight" (shown on title/registration) when actually going down the road loaded for a weekend of fun.  Best bet is to pack up for a trip and then take a ride to the nearest scales for a weigh-in.  Until you do that, I would assume the trailer weighs in at its GVWR rating (max loaded weight) after loading with food, gear, water, propane, etc.  When you weigh, do it axle by axle, car and trailer, to see how the load is distributed.

In my opinion a 4600 lb dry weight is too much for an Explorer V6 to handle safely and reliable.  At best you are going to be right at the 10,000 lb GCWR and with the Explorers passenger-car-like suspension that is really stretching things.  That's probably why you have a perception of floating down the road.  Pulling up and extra link or two on the bar chains should help some.  However, you really should try to stay 5%or so  under the GCWR and that is probably not possible with the explorer and that trailer.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Tom

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Re: More Weight Distribution Questions
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2005, 08:31:19 AM »
Gary's suggestion of reading the Ford towing guide is right on. You can view it online at https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/rv_trailer_towing/
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Prowler

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Re: More Weight Distribution Questions
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2005, 11:00:39 AM »
Thanks Guys, been a big help. The V-6 is going to have to do for the time, this ol' boys broke!

Carl L

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Re: More Weight Distribution Questions
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2005, 01:38:06 PM »
Hello List, new member here! Noticed all the post about WDS, now I have a few more. Recently purchased a Prowler 24 BH (Measures 23'). Dry weight of trailer is abt. 4600 pounds. Pulling with a 2002 Ford Explorer SUV 4.0L V-6. Ford book reads Maximum GCWR is 10,000 lbs/Trailer Weight 0-5380 lbs. so I am assuming I am ok in this area. I read as truck can pull combined weight of truck/ trailer of 10,000 lbs, with MAX trailer weight loaded not to exceed 5380lbs. Am I correct in my thinking or am I viewing this wrong. ALSO, I have the weight distribution bars, 2 5/16" ball with a massive hitch (Draw Tite?) My biggest question is- do I connect the trailer to the truck, lower hitch of trailer to completely latch onto truck, lock clasp of tralier hitch onto ball and then raise hitch back up lifting truck too or above level stage before hooking up weight dist. bars. I seem to have a lot of flotation in front end of truck when pulling as if too much weight on rear of truck.Seems each bar has 9 links and after hookup I usually have 4 links hanging freely from WD. Sometimes can only get 3 links hanging. Feel certain trailer nor truck is overloaded and both have loads distrubuted well. Would appreciate any words oif wisdom and Thanks in advance!
Kenny in KY!

Oh wow.   I do hope your Explorer has the 3.73:1 axle.  Otherwise, with the 3.44:1 axle, you would be limited to a tow weight of 3500 lbs and your rig would be just plain unsafe with the Prowler.    Assuming it has that axle ratio, then you are at a 5940 lb tow rating and do-able.   

Your trailer dry weight is 4600 lbs.   Add 40 gallons of water for 320 lbs and you now have 4920 lbs.   Add 500 lbs for trailer cargo including propane and you have 5430 lbs.  That is 91% of the Trailer Life tow rating of the Explorer.  Now myself, I like a headroom of at least 10%, 20% in the mountain west.   That allows for mis-loading, aging of vehicle and those long, long 7000'+ passes in the Mountain West.   You are outside the low end already, so if you have the 3.73 read end think about getting another vehicle over the next few years.    If you have the 3.55:1 axle, think about getting another vehicle now.

Hitching is as you describe it.  Lower the coupler onto the ball with enough weight to assure that it is fully seated.  Lock the coupler and raise the trailer till the tow vehicle has leveled again and then attach the spring bars and then raise the trailer jack completely.

To determine the proper tensioning by chain link use the following procedure.   
  • Put your trailer and tow vehicle in position to hitch on a level stretch of pavement.
  • Put a small piece of tape above the front and rear wheel wells just above the axle of each wheel.
  • Measure from the ground to the tape at each wheel.   Subtract the two measurements -- the difference between them is the attitude of the rear axle with respect to the front axle.  This is what you want to restore with your spring bar tension.
  • Now lower the trailer coupler on to the ball and proceed to tension the spring bars to middle link.
  • Measure and determine the axle attitudes again.  If the measurement difference is within  3/4 inch of the initial measurement, you are in business. Otherwise go up or down a chain link until you are.  If you straddle a pair of links, go with the link that puts more weight on the front axle.
  • When you are done, you have the tensioning link that restores your unloaded tow vehicle attitude.  Memorize or mark that link.  That is where you will hitch from there on.

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Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

Lou Schneider

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Re: More Weight Distribution Questions
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2005, 12:13:54 AM »
Or, to put it another way -

If you drop the trailer onto the hitch without hooking up the equalizing bars, the leverage of the hitch point being several feet behind the rear axle will add weight to the tow vehicle's rear axle and actually remove weight from the front axle.   You'll notice the rear of the tow vehicle drop when the hitch weight is added to it, but the front of the vehicle will also rise as weight is removed from it.   When you adjust the equalizing bars, you're creating a bridge across the hitch - instead of the car and trailer forming a V at the hitch, both are pulled up to a more horizontal posture.

This transfers weight forward to the tow vehicle's front wheels.

The proper adjustment point is when the front and rear of the vehicle drop an equal amount when hitched.   If the rear bumper height drops 1", the front bumper height should also drop 1".

« Last Edit: June 20, 2005, 12:16:26 AM by Lou »

 

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