WD Hitches and other stuff

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dsharp

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Sep 16, 2006
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47
I am towing a 35' OAL trailer on a Drawtite WD hitch. I have a 2002 Dodge 2500 4wd with tow package, auto, 5.9L Cummins, the 24 valve model. Trailer weight with propane full is 8600 lbs. Tounge weight same is roughly 900lbs. So you can see I'm pretty close to the limit on my hitch, 10000lbs- 1100 tongue w/ WD hitch. I know I should move up to a 3500, and probably will next year, as soon as this one is paid for. I bought the trailer knowing it was close to the limit on a class 4, because I wasn't likely to see a deal like this one pop up again, (19.5k out the door on a new 2005 Pilgrim 308FLSS) and knew I was moving to the 3500 eventually. We have allready towed it from Anchorage to Seward and Homer, no issues with weight, the truck seems to love to pull it. Slows me down in the mountains, 45-50mph, but maintains 1500-2100 rpms and no heat issues. I do not, however like the spring bar setup, it seems that the binders(I have no idea what they are actually called)have shifted a little whenever I get where I am going. Is there a reason why I can't weld them down? Would a heavier set of bars allow me to not tighten down on them so hard in order to get the truck properly loaded? Should I just go to a Class 5 setup all the way around? I tried something different coming home this weekend, my bathroom is right over the axles so I put 1 full propane tank and my generator, an Onan 2400, about 120lbs, in there and it seemed like the binders didn't move a bit. I'm a little confused, I know theoretically how they work, but would like some expert opinions.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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For the life of me I can't visualize what those "binders" are that you are talking about - any you could post a photo?

All of the movable things I can think of on a WD hitch are supposed to be able to move, so welding them down would be a bad thing. But maybe I'm not thinking of the same parts you are. And I no longer have a WD hitch to go look at.

Your tongue weight seems light for an 8600 lb trailer, barely 10%, but if it does not start to fishtail in crosswinds or curves, I guess it is OK. At the first sign of poor trailer handling, though, I would shift load to get a bit more tongue weight.
 

dsharp

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Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Posts
47
Sorry no picture, trailer is on a lot with hitch inside, try here:

http://www.drawtite-hitches.com/WD/product_list.html#wd

the part I am talking about is where you connect the chains from the bar to the trailer. They are basicly a u-shaped bracket with a lever and prong for tightening up the chain, held to the trailer by their shape and a bolt under tension. You connect the chain, fold them up and then insert a pin. Thats pretty much all I know about them, except that I feel they're sloppy. I would like to weld them if possible. No response from Drawtite yet. Thanks for your help, though.

And I found out what they are called: Lift brackets
 

Lowell

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Aug 15, 2005
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2,221
Location
Tempe, AZ
Do your lift brackets move move on the trailer frame?  Mine are very secure and do not move at all.  Have you tried tightening the lift brackets?  I would think that if they are located correctly on the frame, welding them to the frame would not make them perform worse.  However, i wouldn't think you should have to go to that extreme. 
Jake
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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west Los Angeles
Thats pretty much all I know about them, except that I feel they're sloppy. I would like to weld them if possible. No response from Drawtite yet. Thanks for your help, though.

And I found out what they are called: Lift brackets

You can weld them, but then there they stay.  When you sell the trailer down the road, the entire WD system can otherwise be transferred between trailers.    I did that on one trailer and had to buy new brackets for the new trailer.  On the new trailer, I just use the the positioning bolts on the brackets.  If they are initially positioned correctly, so that they are centered over the chains when the brackets are raised, they do not move much.  Check the torqure of the bolts occasionally tho.
 

dsharp

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Sep 16, 2006
Posts
47
Yes, they do move, and yes, I have tightened them. They are positioned in the right spots, but I think I figured something out. This trailer was delivered up here OTR. Looking at these brackets and at new brackets, I realize mine have the retention bolt going in at an angle, whereas the new ones do not. It was this way when I bought it, but I didn't know enough about hitches to notice. I noticed the angle, and also noticed that the bends on the bracket looked clean, as it has been my experience that any time you bend 3/16 steel (hot roll, which is what I'm assuming this is) and you're not using a brake, it will crack at the bend. This looked like a factory angle to me, but maybe it's not. Maybe overstressed? I think I'm gonna just go ahead and shell out the 70 bucks for a new set, see if that helps. FWIW, I did remove and replace them before my trip back home, and they did ok, little shifting on the driver side,  but overall ok. That angle thing really has me bothered now. Do you guys's have angles, or are the retention bolts coming out at a 90? Thanks for all your help, and feel free to throw anything else out there.
 

Carl L

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Do you guys's have angles, or are the retention bolts coming out at a 90? Thanks for all your help, and feel free to throw anything else out there.

90?.  However, mine are Reese units -- which appear to be identical to Drawtite.  Anyway, check with a hitch dealer that carries Drawtites and see how yours compare with new, unused units.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Ah, now I get what you are asking about. Sure, those could be welded but there should be no need - bolting them down is normally sufficient.  And yes, the bolts are at 90 degrees in every one I've ever looked at (not all that many, however). I suspect they may be the wrong size or type for your trailer frame, so replacing them as you plan should solve the problem, if you can identify what you should have in place of them.

A local hitch shop ought to be able to tell you if there are different types of frame brackets and which one is suitable for your trailer.
 
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