Any problems with over-capacity of sway/WD hitch?

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Stengaard

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Hi RV Folks,
Finally upgraded to a TT after years in pop-ups, it looks like I may need an antisway/weight distribution hitch based on seeing the front of our Ram 1500 lift in towing it home from the dealer. The Ram has listed tow capacity of 7,370 lbs with trailer specs as follows:

Hitch Weight: 630 lb.
UVW: 5,062 lb
GVWR: 7,000 lb.

Our Canadian Costco sells only the Husky model 32218 hitch for loaded trailer weights of 8,000 - 12,000 lbs and tongue weights 800 - 1,200 lbs. More than I need but it sells for almost $200 less than other retailers sell the model 32217 that is more appropriate for our TT.


So my question is if there may be problems using this over-capacity hitch for our rig?

Thanks kindly,
Karsten
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Let me put it this way:
If you can easily lift 200 pounds (Me years ago) then 100 pounds of load is no problem
But if you can only lift 100 Pounds (Me today) 200 is BIG problem

If the hitch is "Bigger" than the trailer. NOT an issue
The other way around is a disaster in waiting.

GO 4 IT
 

Gizmo100

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I have that brand hitch and my only concern would be be...

In order for the anti sway to work you want enough pressure on the arms to prevent sway. However if you oversize the hitch for the job then you may not get the resistance on the arms OR you will cause to much lift on the tow vehicle.

That said...I may not know what I'm talking about..
 

CharlesinGA

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I have that brand hitch and my only concern would be be...

In order for the anti sway to work you want enough pressure on the arms to prevent sway. However if you oversize the hitch for the job then you may not get the resistance on the arms OR you will cause to much lift on the tow vehicle.

That said...I may not know what I'm talking about..
Actually, you put it quite well. The bars slide on L brackets on the trailer frame. The friction of the sliding bars is the anti-sway dampening (it doesn't prevent, it just dampens what occurs). If you use bars that are rated for too high of a tongue weight, then they are stiffer than required and if you properly adjust the weight transfer to the front wheels, then the bars will be barely loaded on the L brackets and will not provide sufficient anti-sway dampening.

Following your link, it says 800 lb to 1200 lb tongue weight. Your trailer has a gross weight of 7000 so 13% of that is 910 lbs. IF, and that is a big if, you will be loading to or very near max gross weight virtually all the time. then this hitch will work for you. I you are loading the trailer lightly, ie 5062 plus propane, plus water, plus the battery, plus your cooking stuff, food and clothes, for one or two people and not loading to gross, but rather lets say to 6000 lbs, then you are sitting at a tongue weight of say 780 lbs. Its a guessing game, will it work? Yes. Will it work well? Not sure, depends on your loading.

Charles
 

Lou Schneider

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I'd weigh the trailer's tongue to see what it actually weighs when the trailer is loaded. Otherwise you're only guessing based on the unloaded weight.

You can take the truck and trailer to a commercial scale and get the weight of the truck with and without the trailer attached. Put just the truck on the scale, not the trailer. The difference is the trailer's tongue weight. You can make another pass over the scale and get the total weight of the truck and trailer if you want.

Or you can use a tongue weight scale or a bathroom scale and some leverage to measure the tongue weight:

Measuring the Tongue Weight of Your Trailer
 

Rob&Deryl

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With my utility & flat deck trailers, I drive on to the scale and stop such that the truck is on one scale & the trailer is on another with the hitch ball right over the break between scales.
Ask for a “first weight”, then unhitch the trailer such that all the trailer weight is now on a single scale and ask for a “reweigh”.
You can now easily determine what the tongue weight is.
At most of the “Cat Scales” I have used, the first weight costs $12.50 and the reweigh is only a few dollars.
 

Stengaard

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Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the feedback. I think I will forgo the savings from the model at Costco and get a shop to install and setup the more appropriate 32217 model.
 

viceprice

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I like our Husky Centerline WD hitch. We have the 800-1200 lb set up on a trailer about 1000 lbs heavier.
 

RVfixer

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As far as using spring bars that are heavier (stronger) than needed I'm thinking the sway control will be roughly the same with either heavier or lighter bar as long as both were at least rated for the load. If you set both heavier and lighter bars up to the exact points in the measurement range they would have the exact amount of anti-sway friction points. You are adjusting the hitch so that the bars lift up on the back of the tow vehicle and transfer weight to the front wheels. You should not do this by guess work like most dealers do! You should Follow the manual instructions and set the hitch up properly. Equalizer suggests using a little heavier spring bar than the anticipated size. Their reasoning is that on a new rig you may not know your loaded tongue weight until after you buy the hitch and weigh the loaded trailer.

The spring bars are used to lift the back of the tow vehicle so that the front and rear of the tow vehicle are in a measurement range, as measured from points on the tow vehicle to the ground at the front and back. No matter how stiff (strong) the bar is you will have roughly same weight on the friction points of the hitch with either a heavier of lighter bar. You are lifting the same weight either way. Think of it this way; If you lift 1/2 ton with a 1 ton jack or a 2 ton jack you would have the same 1/2 ton on either jack.

The only thing I see with using a heavier than needed bar is that there would be less spring in the bar with the heavier bar and that likely would result in a stiffer ride. Remember, it is not the trailer weight that dictates the bar size, it is the loaded tongue weight and that should be in a range between 10% and 15% of the loaded trailer weight. Remember if the trailer is level, or just slightly tongue low and never tongue high when hitched, as it should be...the loaded tongue weight will be X. If you lower the tongue at all from level the tongue weight goes up.

I have said this on several posts but I'll say it again here. I have had two dealers set up two different Anti-sway WD hitches incorrectly. I set the hitches up correctly myself at home correcting the dealers mess! I was surprised both times how far off the dealers were from the correct adjustments. One dealer assembled the hitch parts incorrectly and you couldn't tell that without disassembling the hitch. This resulted in not being able to adjust to the proper values. This is not rocket science. Just read through the directions once or twice then follow them step by step using the manual.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's a matter of degree. If the bar is too much over-capacity, it won't have much tension on it. Without at least some spring tension, the anti-sway function of the Centerline is less ineffective. Being a little over like that is probably not an issue, but I'd be more comfortable with the lower-rated model.
 

CharlesinGA

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As far as using spring bars that are heavier (stronger) than needed I'm thinking the sway control will be roughly the same with either heavier or lighter bar as long as both were at least rated for the load. If you set both heavier and lighter bars up to the exact points in the measurement range they would have the exact amount of anti-sway friction points. You are adjusting the hitch so that the bars lift up on the back of the tow vehicle and transfer weight to the front wheels. You should not do this by guess work like most dealers do! You should Follow the manual instructions and set the hitch up properly. Equalizer suggests using a little heavier spring bar than the anticipated size. Their reasoning is that on a new rig you may not know your loaded tongue weight until after you buy the hitch and weigh the loaded trailer.

The spring bars are used to lift the back of the tow vehicle so that the front and rear of the tow vehicle are in a measurement range, as measured from points on the tow vehicle to the ground at the front and back. No matter how stiff (strong) the bar is you will have roughly same weight on the friction points of the hitch with either a heavier of lighter bar. You are lifting the same weight either way. Think of it this way; If you lift 1/2 ton with a 1 ton jack or a 2 ton jack you would have the same 1/2 ton on either jack.

The only thing I see with using a heavier than needed bar is that there would be less spring in the bar with the heavier bar and that likely would result in a stiffer ride. Remember, it is not the trailer weight that dictates the bar size, it is the loaded tongue weight and that should be in a range between 10% and 15% of the loaded trailer weight. Remember if the trailer is level, or just slightly tongue low and never tongue high when hitched, as it should be...the loaded tongue weight will be X. If you lower the tongue at all from level the tongue weight goes up.
While the spring bars might lift the rear to a degree, most of what they do is push the front and the trailer down.

As I noted and Gary noted, the bars depend on friction on the L brackets to dampen sway, and if the bars are over rated, then it takes very little tension on the bars to push the front end back down, and the bars are not bearing tight enough on the L brackets to properly dampen sway.

On this type of hitch you are better off with an underrated hitch than an overrated one. As you noted, one may not know what they need until they weigh the trailer and tow vehicle. This is why I don't like the Equal-I-zer hitch because you cannot just replace the bars, you have to buy an entirely new hitch. Blue Ox and many others have a head capable of a very high capacity and you can swap bars up or down to suit your needs.

Charles
 

Lou Schneider

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While the spring bars might lift the rear to a degree, most of what they do is push the front and the trailer down.

As I noted and Gary noted, the bars depend on friction on the L brackets to dampen sway, and if the bars are over rated, then it takes very little tension on the bars to push the front end back down, and the bars are not bearing tight enough on the L brackets to properly dampen sway.

On this type of hitch you are better off with an underrated hitch than an overrated one. As you noted, one may not know what they need until they weigh the trailer and tow vehicle. This is why I don't like the Equal-I-zer hitch because you cannot just replace the bars, you have to buy an entirely new hitch. Blue Ox and many others have a head capable of a very high capacity and you can swap bars up or down to suit your needs.

Charles
I have to disagree. The amount of lift the bars are exerting on the L brackets remains the same regardless of the stiffness of the bars, so the amount of resistance to sway stays the same.

The only difference is 500 lb rated bars will flex more than 1000 lb rated bars.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Lou makes a solid point ; 500 lbs is 500 lbs regardless of the bar capacity. However, there seems to be a difference in the friction forces at the hitch head if the spring bars are greatly mismatched to the load. Possibly due to the reduced flexing in the stiffer bars? I doubt if it's a concern if we are talking a 200 lb difference, but what about using 1000 lb bars where only 500 is needed?
 

rhardman

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It is my understanding that having a hitch rated for more than what you need is generally not going to be a problem. The rating of the hitch has more to do with the strength of the hitch and what weight forces it is engineered to handle. Obviously getting a hitch that is rated for less than what you need would cause problems because you would be in danger of the hitch failing under the force.

You might find this old blog post on Equal-i-zer's site helpful: Which Equal-i-zer Hitch Model Do I Need? - Equal-i-zer® Hitch

You can also use their calculator here: Find Your Hitch Size - Equal-i-zer® Hitch

Hopefully this helps.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It is my understanding that having a hitch rated for more than what you need is generally not going to be a problem.
Don't confuse the hitch capacity rating with the spring bar (WD) assist rating. You could have a hitch rated for up to 10,000 lbs but equipped with spring bars rated to give a tongue weight assist of 800 or 1200 lbs. Two different things, but both casually referred to as a "hitch rating".
 

Alontheway

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Alageorgia
I bought a used WDH that was rated for 10,000. I had an 800 lb cargo trailer, little heavier loaded. The WDH did fine. It does not take 10,000 trailer to bend the spring. The 10,000 number is the limit, not the start to where the spring bends.
With over-spring like this the range of movement before a LOT of stress gets transferred to the trailer frame is a smaller window than if it were well matched, but I towed this all over for around 100,000 miles with no issues.
The truck was RAM 2500 and did not need any help, but this kept the truck level and did smooth out the ride.
If you just stand on the rear bumper the rear will sag. The WDH will correct the sag.
I ended up junking the WDH in favor of the Firestone airbags and have been very happy.
Unless the trailer has issues or is loaded wrong it should not sway, so unless you have sway issues you may not need to worry at all about sway.
I also towed other, bigger, trailers and used the same 10,000 WDH with no issues.
 

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