Hitch install questions - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-15-2006, 09:07 PM   #15
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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Hitch Class versus WDH Availability

I went though a similar decision process with my Sienna+Boler1700, and concluded that in my case I did not want a WDH, so my Class II factory hitch is fine. I did discover during the research that there are no longer any WDH systems for hitches smaller than Class III, so I believe that Gina would need to go all the way to Class III (not just Class II) for weight distribution.

As for the light WDH system, there is a single-bar Reese product (search in http://www.resseprod.com for "Single Spring Bar" or PN 66069) which was previously discussed in this forum. I believe that it is fundamentally incapable of the cam-action spring-centering of the Cequent (Reese or Draw-Tite) "Dual Cam" system (which is an add-on to their WD systems), but it would be much lighter than a typical WD setup.

I agree that the loss of traction in a front-drive vehicle due to load transfer to the rear as a result of trailer load can be a problem; however, in my case using a WDH to increase front axle load would just overload that axle. I encourage anyone considering a WDH setup to determine what their actual axle loads will be, and to check them on a scale if they go ahead with the installation.
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Old 01-15-2006, 09:17 PM   #16
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Since essentially all modern hitch systems use a reciever into which a ball mount is inserted, I don't think that there is really a ball height issue when supplying and mounting the receiver. As mentioned above, the correct ball mount (or an adjustable one) is used to match the particular trailer.

I would not buy a ball mount which placed the top of the ball specifically at 18" unless I knew that my specific trailer needed that height. My 1979 Boler B1700 has a ball height of only 16"; many people in this forum have reported raising their trailers, and so even the same model might need a higher mount, and newer trailers are routinely higher than mine - maybe 18" has become very common.

I found that while ball mounts are trivial to change, they can be hard to find in the right combination of rise (or drop) and extension (length outward from pin to ball), especially in the less common 1.25" square size used with Class II hitch receivers. The challenge for me is keeping the ball as far forward as possible (to reduce adverse load transfer, etc) without running out of margin for error between coupler and (plastic) bumper. If I raise the trailer and go thus need to go with a higher ball, I will need more extension to avoid hitting the van hatch on the trailer jack when opening the hatch.
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:36 AM   #17
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Gina: Just ran across this useful website: http://www.title-3.com/Sway.htm Good information on the causes of sway. But this item in http://www.title-3.com/FAQ.htm#WDH is what caught my eye:

"Check with your vehicle manufacturer as some tow vehicles (mostly unibody) can not handle a WDH due to the torque placed on the vehicle frame/body. Additionally, check with the trailer manufacturer because many light trailers don't have a strong enough frame for the high leverages and forces involved in a WDH."


The Honda Element has a unibody. Your Burro has a very light frame. Food for thought.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:06 AM   #18
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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We'd covered this territory in the pre-hack forums pretty thoroughly, but since it's gone...

Unibody construction is stamped steel to give directional torsional regidity. The forces a unibody are expected to handle are accounted for in the directional stamping. A WDH may stress a unibody in directions it wasn't designed for.

A WDH also distributes (at least in theory) some of the weight of the tow vehicle back across the trailer's axle. It would not be a good idea then, for example, for me to try using a WDH with my 7000 lb Excursion and put 500 lbs additional weight from the tow vehicle back onto my Scamp's axle.

When the tow vehicle and the trailer are fairly equally matched weight-wise, and all of the compontents are capable of accepting the weight and the hitch components, a WDH may make a huge difference in the capability and handling of the entire unit when assembled. The Honda Odyessy, I believe someone has said, requires a WDH for tongue weights over a certain number, or for a towed load over a certain weight.

The Reese Dual Cam with 600 lb bars was an ideal setup with my Toyota Compact truck and my Burro 17'. It dealt with the tongue weight as well as potential sway issues and was solid as a rock. I wouldn't consider using WDH towing a FGRV with my Excursion as it's neither necessary nor appropriate. I wouldn't think of towing my Airstream 34' with the Excursion without WDH/sway control. I am currently not using either WDH or sway control with my Tundra/Scamp 16 combo and so far it's doing fine.

The use of both WDH and sway control are entirely rig-dependent. One trailer may tow wonderfully behind a specific tow vehicle, and the same trailer could be so squirrelly behind another as to make it a white knuckle drive every time you're out.

Sway can be induced by a number of factors, some of which involve inherent design flaws in the tow vehicle that are entirely independent of the trailer. Some have to do with tires, some with tongue weight, and some with trailer loading and balance. Some can be overcome by judicious loading and attention to tire pressures. Some must be addressed with WDH and sway control in some tow vehicle/trailer combinations.

There are some vehicles that should just not be used as tow vehicles, particularly lightweight 4WDs with short wheelbases (and I've done it...), but if you must use a marginal tow vehicle, then give yourself every advantage possible (without damaging either the tow vehicle or the trailer.) Know your options. Know the limitations of your tow vehicle. Load your trailer appropriately and balanced. Employ those aids that you need, but don't overburden either the tow vehicle or the trailer with stuff you don't.

Roger
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:01 PM   #19
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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As Roger mentioned, some tow vehicles require the use of a WDH for trailers over a specified hitch weight. In the specific case of my 2004 Toyota Sienna, I recall (sorry, no owner's manual at hand at the moment) that weight-carrying hitch weight limit as 350 lbs. I stay under that and do not use a WDH.

The factory requirement for a WDH hitch in this specific case confirms to me that the vehicle structure is intended to take the loads of that type of hitch, within its allowable limits. Unfortunately, there is no specification of the forces applied by the WDH (how much tension on how long a spring bars), so there is no way to know if too much torque is being applied by the WDH. Anything can be overdone...

(Edit: I corrected a typo in the year of my van)
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Old 01-18-2006, 12:29 PM   #20
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Name: Steven
Trailer: 2002 Scamp 16 ft / 2014 Ford Escape
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Quint, Steve again with the 2002 Mercury Villager and Scamp 16'. We tow with a Class II hitch and a sway control, no WDH. It works very well, so you should have no problem with the Quest and a 13' Scamp. The tongue weight isn't that heavy and is well within the specifications for the Class II hitch.
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