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RVing message boards => Towing and towables => Topic started by: Bilb on October 12, 2020, 12:39:07 PM

Title: Hitches
Post by: Bilb on October 12, 2020, 12:39:07 PM
We are new to Rving . Giving up tent life . We purchased a 4200lbs Coleman . I will be towing with a Ford F-150 4x4 with the 5.4 long wheel base crew cab. Towing is not the issue. Do I need to to purchase a weight distribution hitch with stabilizer bars. Of course the dealerships say I do. Iíve heard many opinions. Whee as t do yíall think.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Roy M on October 12, 2020, 12:44:31 PM
Of course the dealer wants to sell a hitch. Is the 4200 lb wet or dry? Dry weight is irrelevant for our purposes, nobody tows an empty trailer. Try it without, if it bounces excessively the hitch is easy to upgrade.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: SpencerPJ on October 12, 2020, 12:51:01 PM
You are on the fence, but personally, and I own a F150 and just a bit more trailer than you, I have a WDH, and hands down, like it.  Disappointingly, F150s are a bit sluggish with the shocks and WDH will tighten the whole line as well, and anti-sway will help in windy conditions.  My 2 cents, you will absolutely prefer it.  Most dealers do a poor job installing them correctly it seems; if you are handy and a DIY guy, for sure do it yourself.

edit: but as Roy suggested, try it without. Measure your front fenders height prior to connecting to trailer, level, in resting position. If it raises more than 1 inch after connected you certainly want wdh.  After I connect, by rear end sags maybe 2 inches and after wdh, my front end is within 1/2 inch of original resting position.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Bilb on October 12, 2020, 12:54:10 PM
4200 is dry. If dry means empty. Less than 4550 loaded. Few clothes food and pots and pans
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: SpencerPJ on October 12, 2020, 12:56:38 PM
4200 is dry. If dry means empty. Less than 4550 loaded. Few clothes food and pots and pans
Don't forget any water, propane, and battery you add. 
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Domo on October 12, 2020, 01:21:34 PM
Of course the dealer wants to sell a hitch. Is the 4200 lb wet or dry? Dry weight is irrelevant for our purposes, nobody tows an empty trailer. Try it without, if it bounces excessively the hitch is easy to upgrade.


+1    Once you know how you'll load your truck and the camper during transport you can take it for a ride and it will tell you pretty quickly if you need a WDH.


Having said that, and having done the research in the past regarding sway and weight distribution - AND knowing a completely acceptable weight distribution hitch can be purchased at Harbor Freight for around $210 I'd say just get the hitch. You'll want have the chain attachments welded to your the frame of the camper rather than rely on the (silly) bolts. I used one for years with a 20 foot trailer - I also have a sway bar - it all worked great...
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Arch Hoagland on October 12, 2020, 01:22:53 PM
I'd tow it without a weight distribution hitch a few times and see how it handles. 

Then, if you think it needs one, you can have one installed.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Bilb on October 12, 2020, 02:03:47 PM
It will be dry when I bring it home from Knoxville. 100 mile drive after that I will not be back on the interstate anytime soon . Just concerned a little about the trip home. I donít want to spend the money before I see how it does.  At the same time others have said they would not make tue trip without one.
I guess I could take back roads!
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: SpencerPJ on October 12, 2020, 04:49:51 PM
100 mile trip, go for it 100%.  Worse case scenario, slow down to 50 mph.  I towed more with a YukonXL rated for less than you will be doing, and it wasn't terrible, just slowed down a bit. I would suggest making sure you had a decent hitch at correct height.  I know my basic utility trailer needs to use a 5" drop with my 2020 F150.  Many hitches do 5000#, I'd search and pay for one that does 6000#.  If your hitch is too high (trailer too nose high, that is worse than a bit nose low).  Nose high trailer after connected will add to sway. 

Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: edjunior on October 12, 2020, 05:00:17 PM
My bet is, you are going to need a WDH.  I had one for my first tow vehicle and my first trailer, which sounds about the same as yours.  After my first two, I bought an F-250 ('03 5.4L).  I transferred my WDH over, and it was the perfect match.  That truck towed my 26' TT all over without any issues.  I never had to have sway control, but the WDH was perfect.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Seon on October 12, 2020, 09:13:31 PM
Why wait for the inevitable? Buy and install one now and enjoy towing your new toy.

My son bought a '20 Coleman 26' and towed it with his '12 Yukon from AZ to CA without a WD. Said it was ok other than the big rigs and wind blowing him some.  I took my Husky WD off my 26' TT and mounted it on his for his trip back home.  He told me it was the "Bomb" (what ever that means  ;D).  Said it was the difference between night and day.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Bilb on October 13, 2020, 07:27:26 AM
Thank you Spencer P Iím taking your advice
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on October 13, 2020, 12:11:51 PM
Without knowing the payload (cargo capacity) of the F150 and the loaded weight of the trailer, it's mostly guesswork, but I would be surprised if WD is needed for a trailer in that weight class.  Most F150 4x4 long bed crew cabs can tow around 8000+ lbs and carry 1500 or so lbs, so I'm definitely in the "first-try-it-without" group.
I'd be more concerned about the tires - some F150s come equipped with passenger car tires or recommended tire psi insufficient for heavier cargo loads.  Soft tire sidewalls and lower pressures are not conducive to good towing manners.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Bilb on October 16, 2020, 10:53:03 AM
Thanks for all the good advice.  We towed the camper home from Knoxville,Tn with no issues at all without the WDH .  Many Semis on the interstate . They didnít move the trailer at all.
Title: Re: Hitches
Post by: Arch Hoagland on October 16, 2020, 11:35:56 AM
Thanks for the update, glad to hear all went well.