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Over The Network

Using & adjusting a weight distributing hitch

by Carl Lundquist

To hitch up a trailer using a weight distributing hitch 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.

  • Park the 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 lower of the two measurements from the higher; 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.
  • 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.