Weight Distribution Question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-06-2019, 02:01 PM   #1
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Name: Wayne
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Weight Distribution Question

Hey All,
Looking for your input and expertise. I recently traded in my Toyota RAV4 V6 for a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 5.3 V8. I used a weight distributor hitch on the Rav along with an anti sway bar. I would think I could dispense with the weight distribution bars or is there some benefit from continuing to use them?
Thanks
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:13 PM   #2
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Probably not needed, but it would help to know (1) actual tongue weight of what you’re pulling, and (2) what your owner’s manual says about the threshold for WDH (should be a rating for weight-carrying as well as weight-distributing).

It also depends on what else you're carrying in the truck. If you're close to the payload rating (including tongue weight, passengers, accessories- like a cargo cap- and gear), you may experience enough sagging of the rear suspension to warrant WDH use.

There is always a nominal benefit to distributing weight evenly across all axles in terms of handling and braking. The question is whether you get enough benefit to warrant the hassle and extra weight from the WDH equipment.

One approach is to measure the body height at front and rear axles (ground to top of fender arch on level ground) first unhitched and unloaded, then hitched and loaded. If you want to get fancy, take the truck and trailer to a CAT scale and get axle-by-axle weights with and without WDH.
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:17 PM   #3
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Hey Jon,
Sorry, yes that would be useful information. I have a 2014 Casita Spirit Deluxe. I don’t know the answer to your second comment offhand.
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Old 11-06-2019, 03:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wwig View Post
Hey All,
Looking for your input and expertise. I recently traded in my Toyota RAV4 V6 for a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 5.3 V8. I used a weight distributor hitch on the Rav along with an anti sway bar. I would think I could dispense with the weight distribution bars or is there some benefit from continuing to use them?
Thanks
If your WD is set up properly your headlights will still be aimed correctly.
That is a big plus for me....Tom C.
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:28 AM   #5
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If your WD is set up properly your headlights will still be aimed correctly.
That is a big plus for me....Tom C.
That's a good point (pun recognized ) Tom.
But I think rear air bags are a better solution than dealing with the hassle and weight of a WDH.

Walt
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:00 AM   #6
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Everybody has their own routine for hooking up. Personally the WDH hookup isn’t a hassle for me especially considering the benefit. When I’m ready to hit the road I have my doorframe checklist ( Thanks AZJack), my visual inspection and the aid of my young bride to help confirm that our lights are working properly and that the tow hookup looks complete and proper to her. Retired for several years now, I have time and experience on my side. Personally I will not tow a travel trailer without a WDH. YMMV as Donna D says.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:07 AM   #7
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
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Seems to me the Silverado is way more TV than needed for your trailer.
Eliminating the WDH/Sway parts, reduces dead weight, improves gas mileage, speeds hook up/unhooking procedure.
You can help reduce the sag by keeping the hitch ball as close to the TV as possible.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:18 AM   #8
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There are a lot of thoughts on a WDH. My personal go-no-go threshold on using a WDH or not is how light the front end of the tow vehicle feels without the WDH. If the front end is bouncy and light, I could get into serious trouble on a uneven surface, particularity when braking in a corner. In those conditions, a light front end will allow the front tires to scrub, and your steering goes away, just as if you were on ice.

When the TV has more weight, as compared to the trailer, you might get away with air shocks, or perhaps nothing at all. For me, it's all about handling and ease of driving.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:34 AM   #9
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Do not neglect the anti-swing.
He is always useful.
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:19 PM   #10
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Just some personal first hand experiences. When towing my trailer with my dismally underpowered Nissan Frontier 3.3L truck, I always tow with both the WDH and the sway bar. When my wife bought her 2016 Silverado Crew Cab with the 5.3L engine and the "tow package," etc, we started out using them both with her truck as well. It was great, even though it's a few extra things to deal with. Well, last trip (1,500 mi.,) we decided to try it without either of them. Did the truck tow it...yes, no problem. Did it tow well enough to not need them? NO! Even though the Silverado towed the trailer without any problem, there was a very noticeable "porpoising" and slight sway, which made the ride a little uncomfortable for the bulk of the trip. From now on, even with her big pickup, we will be using both the WDH and the sway bar on all of our future trips. Just the voice of experience on both sides of the fence. Little truck, big truck, we will use them both full time for all our future excursions.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:10 AM   #11
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With a similarly overkill setup (Silverado 1500 with Max Trailering, Escape 19), I've found that although the WDH isn't at all necessary to keep things level it is pretty effective at reducing porpoising. I'd go ahead and keep the bars around and at least test with and without them to see if it's worth it for you.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by WaltP View Post
That's a good point (pun recognized ) Tom.
But I think rear air bags are a better solution than dealing with the hassle and weight of a WDH.

Walt
Just a quick question for this newbie to towing a trailer. Air bags on the TV correct? My new Parkliner is 2400 lbs and my TV (2016 Ford F150 Sport/ heavy duty tow package (lge turbo 6) can tow up to 11,000 per specs & Ford. So just wanted to clarify the need for the rear air bags. I don't have sway bars either and was told by someone else I would not need them. Just want to set things up correctly before my maiden trip. Thanks
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:32 AM   #13
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Air bags prevent the rear springs from compressing. They do not redistribute weight to the front axle and trailer axle, as does a WDH. My WDH provides me a more secure and comfortable ride.
First photo is without WDH bars. Second is with bars.
Attached Thumbnails
NO WDH1.jpg   With WDH1.jpg  

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Old 11-08-2019, 01:04 PM   #14
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I towed my 17' Casita with and without WDH. I decided to always use the WDH. I used an Andersen then I switched to Blue Ox. Get the BO, you won't regret it. I also have Firestone Air Suspension, with on board compressor and remote. What a tremendous pain in the A...I will not ever put the FA on anything I own ever again. Had it professionally installed. Sometimes it will come on by itself. Sometimes it won't shut off, EVEN WITH THE TRUCK ENGINE turned off. Other times it will take many tries before the remote connects to the compressor. I have to take the batteries out every time I use it or the batteries will just drain to nothing within a day. If you really want air suspension, try some other brand.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
I towed my 17' Casita with and without WDH. I decided to always use the WDH. I used an Andersen then I switched to Blue Ox. Get the BO, you won't regret it.
I had a similar style hitch to the blue ox and then switched to an Equalizer. Do you have to un hook your arms before backing up or doing tight maneuvers.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:09 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
I towed my 17' Casita with and without WDH. I decided to always use the WDH. I used an Andersen then I switched to Blue Ox. Get the BO, you won't regret it. I also have Firestone Air Suspension, with on board compressor and remote. What a tremendous pain in the A...I will not ever put the FA on anything I own ever again. Had it professionally installed. Sometimes it will come on by itself. Sometimes it won't shut off, EVEN WITH THE TRUCK ENGINE turned off. Other times it will take many tries before the remote connects to the compressor. I have to take the batteries out every time I use it or the batteries will just drain to nothing within a day. If you really want air suspension, try some other brand.
on my tacoma, I used the firestone airbags with manual inflation (either a bike pump or a tire compressor) and had zero issues. made the truck handle and ride much better with a heavy load whether towing or not towing. When running empty, I let the air out and kept them at 5psi. It took 2-3 rounds to figure out that 30-40 PSI was perfect for heavy loads, so I didn't really ever feel the need to get he onboard compressor setup.

if I *did* get the onboard compressor, I'd go with the hard wired controls, wireless stuff is just too flakey.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
One approach is to measure the body height at front and rear axles (ground to top of fender arch on level ground) first unhitched and unloaded, then hitched and loaded.
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Originally Posted by TomE11 View Post
There are a lot of thoughts on a WDH. My personal go-no-go threshold on using a WDH or not is how light the front end of the tow vehicle feels without the WDH. .... For me, it's all about handling and ease of driving.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Air bags prevent the rear springs from compressing. They do not redistribute weight to the front axle and trailer axle, as does a WDH. My WDH provides me a more secure and comfortable ride.
These are the reasons I have spent the money, carry the 40 lb weight of the bars and adjustable height ball, and spent the ... What? 3 minutes maybe? to install or remove the bars at either end of the trip.
Any added weight behind the rear axle will remove some weight off the front axle due to the teeter-totter effect, A shorter hitch and receiver, or a axle further back will change the lever effect, but won't eliminate the front end lift. The back end doesn't have to sag to still create some front end weight reduction.
I don't bother with the rear fender lip height measurement. I measured the front hight unhitched, then adjusted the WDH to achieve that same front height. The back sags a bit I'm sure, but the front tire load is darned close to the same as unladen. I could crank up the WDH further to transfer more of the tongue weight to the front, but why? Low beam headlights are still below horizontal in our rig with this set-up. My gut feeling is that more WHD load transfer than what I use adds more stress to the trailer frame between the hitch and the WDH chain-up location for only a minor benefit.

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Originally Posted by ThomasC View Post
I had a similar style hitch to the blue ox and then switched to an Equalizer. Do you have to un hook your arms before backing up or doing tight maneuvers.
I don't. I have a friction anti-sway that I do remove before backing due to a greater opportunity to exceed maximum stroke limit, but the bars I often leave installed until parked where I want to set-up.
the Jon MB half of Bonnie RB
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:09 PM   #18
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John you are 100% correct. Manual inflation would be the best type to have. I went to the installer and asked to have it removed. They wanted as much to remove and install a manual as they did to install the compressor and remote. So I will keep the FS air suspension as it is. I have found that 30 to 40 lbs pressure when loaded is about right.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:26 AM   #19
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I tow a 3500lb (dry weight) trailer with a 3/4 diesel. Do I need a WDH and anti-sway bar? Nope but I use the WDH anyway because its all about weight on the front axle and how that can affect steering and braking.
The WDH places the tongue weight on both axles. Without it the weight is placed behind the rear axle which now becomes the fulcrum or balance point. Not only does the rear axle carry the entire tongue weight but also some of the truck's weight from the portion of the truck ahead of the rear axle. Proper weight distribution aids handling.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:29 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
I tow a 3500lb (dry weight) trailer with a 3/4 diesel. Do I need a WDH and anti-sway bar? Nope but I use the WDH anyway because its all about weight on the front axle and how that can affect steering and braking.
Mike, are you saying that 350 lbs of tongue weight will make your 3/4 ton diesel unsafe to steer? Really? That's the same as two people standing on the rear bumper. I started using a WDH with my toy hauler, on my diesel, at 800 lbs tongue weight. As I understand it, even F150s are rated for 500 lbs tongue weight. And they have a very light aluminum engine.

The beauty of a heavy duty truck is that they are built to work hard and carry weight safely. 3/4 ton diesels are particularly long, heavy in the front, and wide for stability. 350 lbs is just about enough weight to make them ride well, but way short of making them unstable.

I connect and disconnect a lot, and I don't want the hassle of fiddling with a WDH unless it is actually needed.
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