Is it the right size weight distribution hitch - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-30-2008, 06:39 PM   #1
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I recently purchased a 16 foot 1992 Scamp. For the title transfer we had it weigh and with the additional built in cabinets, water in tank, etc. it was 2100 lb. Our local RV dealer has recommended a weight distribution hitch which will handle up to 10,000 lb. It doesn't really cost anymore than the light weight model from the same company which handles up to 4000lb but it seems a bit of a overkill. Does anyone know if this larger one might be a problem??
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:00 PM   #2
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Are you referring to the whole weight distributing hitch system?
Or just the ball mount for the weight distributing hitch?

When I bought my Fiber Stream, it had the Lift Units already mounted on the trailer's hitch (the hook where you place the chain) and a pair of light duty trunnion (spring arm) bars. The Trunnion style ball mount was missing, and I had to buy one. The only one available at Camping World at the time was rated for 10,000 Lbs. I figured that as long as the spring arms were the right size, I could make do with the hefty ball mount. I wish it was lighter, though, for it adds to the tongue weight that the weight distribution hitch is working to counteract.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for the picture. Yes, the ball mount is at least as large and heavy as the one you show. The rest of the unit - bars, chains, hooks, etc are also pretty heavy duty. Do you have any problem with yours. Does it help?
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:50 AM   #4
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I will try to find the post explaining this, but DO NOT buy a WDH that has way more capacity than you need. It could damage your trailer and/or car frame when placed under load in a "V" dip, like coming out of a gas station.

I would look for a WHD with a capacity of 200#-400#, because what a WDH does is to offset some of the weight of the tongue. I don't know what that is on a 16', but I suspect its around 250-300#. The total capacity of the WDH, i.e. 10,000#, is not the number of interest for a light trailer, it's the weight distributing capacity.

If you do determine you need one, I recomment the single-spring type, like this Reese: http://www.etrailer.com/pc-WD~3205.htm

The big question is, do you really need a WDH for your tow vehicle? Many TV can handle that tongue weight without the need for a WDH.
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:14 AM   #5
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I wish it was lighter, though, for it adds to the tongue weight that the weight distribution hitch is working to counteract.
The ball mount does not add to the tounge weight. It adds to the weight your TV is carrying. Although this difference is a subtle one, it is no less a difference.

The weight of the ball platform should be compensated for by the use of air shock/air bags added to your TV. The WDH is not designed as a leveling device for your TV.

I agree with Patrick that you should not purchase a WDH designed for travel trailers weighing 5,000 to 15,000 lbs. You should be considering one designed for 3,000 to 5,000 lbs. That would be a 300 lb. or 500 lb. wdh. When I tow I have my two bar 500 lbs. per bar) adjusted for about 220 lbs. (lifting force of 108 lbs. per bar).

A 300 lb. single bar WDH should be more than adequate for up to 500 lb. hitch weight, assuming you have leveled you TV before hitching up..
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:27 AM   #6
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Thanks for the picture. Yes, the ball mount is at least as large and heavy as the one you show. [b]The rest of the unit - bars, chains, hooks, etc are also pretty heavy duty. Do you have any problem with yours. Does it help?
My spring bars, hooks, and chains are rated for [b]350 Lbs tongue weight and are very light! I would NOT use a system rated for more than that! It would damage my lightweight trailer frame.
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:32 AM   #7
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The ball mount does not add to the tounge weight. It adds to the weight your TV is carrying. [b]Although this difference is a subtle one, it is no less a difference.

The weight of the ball platform should be compensated for by the use of air shock/air bags added to your TV. [b]The WDH is not designed as a leveling device for your TV.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:31 PM   #8
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The WDH is not designed as a leveling device for your TV.

Cd, although they may not be designed for leveling, according to the directions of my single bar it would be easy to interpret that they are. The directions say to measure both front and back fender heights before hookup and once hooked up to adjust the chain so that those heights are maintained. care to comment?? this is my first time using either a WDH or a anti sway as my previous TV's (all full size pickups) did well w/o either.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:59 PM   #9
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The WDH is not designed as a leveling device for your TV.
My understanding of the function of a WDH is to re-level the frame of the TV by transferring force from the TV rear axle to the front axle and trailer axle. A 150+ post thread over at RV.net discussed this at length a few years ago, and this was the consensus definition:

Quote:
[b]Without a WD system, the tow vehicle's rear axle load could significantly increase due to leveraging of the tongue weight. Conversely the front axle load will be decreased. These axle load changes will make most tow vehicles unlevel. The decreased load on the front axle can cause a loss of steering control and braking difficulties. The increased rear axle load might exceed that axle's rating, and the load on the receiver might exceed its rating.

A weight distribution system enables a tow vehicle to more effectively handle the tongue weight of a trailer by removing some of the load from the tow vehicle's rear axle and distributing it to the tow vehicle's front axle and the trailer's axle(s). Note - When the WD system is engaged the actual tongue weight does not change. Recommended tongue weight is from 10% to 15%.
http://www.rv.net/FORUM/index.cfm/fuseacti.../pging/1/page/1
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:12 AM   #10
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My understanding of the function of a WDH is to re-level the frame of the TV by transferring force from the TV rear axle to the front axle and trailer axle. A 150+ post thread over at RV.net discussed this at length a few years ago, and this was the consensus definition:


http://www.rv.net/FORUM/index.cfm/fuseacti.../pging/1/page/1
Thanks Patrick, thats about the way I understand it, although I wouldn't have been able to explain it in such a refined way
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:49 AM   #11
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The WDH is not designed as a leveling device for your TV.

Cd, although they may not be designed for leveling, according to the directions of my single bar it would be easy to interpret that they are. The directions say to measure both front and back fender heights before hookup and once hooked up to adjust the chain so that those heights are maintained. care to comment?? this is my first time using either a WDH or a anti sway as my previous TV's (all full size pickups) did well w/o either.
Your observation and conclusions are indeed correct. The part they left out was to level your tow vehicle by other means before making the measurements and don't attempt to compensate for the load added to your TV before hitching up. This is extremely important when using a single bar WDH.

If you attempt to "level" your TV load (not hitch weight) plus the hitch weight with a WDH you may exceed the weight compensating capability of your WDH. This also puts an extra strain on the frame of your RV.

I have heard many full size pickup towers say they did well without a WDH. My response to them is, "Its OK for you, but what about the effect of your bed laod and hitch weight on the stability of you TV and its effect on those traveling the highways with you?" "I carry about 350 lbs of stuff when I travel, how about you?" "You have a 3/4 ton pickup, do you realize how much load you are carrying (350 + 450 = 800)?" "This is about half of you load capacity, have you considered the effect of this load on the aim of you headlights?"

The answer to all these questions, IMHO, is NO!
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:25 PM   #12
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I have a 1985 16' Scamp and tow with a 2001 Honda Odyssey. I towed without a WDH last summer and got by, but the rear was too low and I could tell that there wasn't as much weight on the front tires. I researched the different WD hitches and had a difficult time deciding what to get. The single bar hitches are probably the best choice, but if you have a battery and propane tank mounted on the A-frame there is no room to mount the cross piece used to tighten the bar. Reese makes another hitch with two bars that sit on top of the frame, but it was a strange looking setup and I was worried that it might have limited adjustability. I ended up purchasing the smallest capacity WDH made by Drawtite (#7901, 600 lbs.), a typical setup with two trunnion bars. It doesn't require much force to lift the bars--I don't even bother jacking up the tongue before lifting them--and it picks the back of the van right up. The hitch itself is extremely heavy duty, so I wouldn't be surprised if the only difference between the different capacity hitches was how beefy the bars are.

Honda recommends a WDH for any trailer over 2,000 lbs. Before installing the WDH I checked all axle weights and tongue weight at the local weigh station. The trailer axle was 1880 lbs. and the tongue weight was 300 lbs., for a total trailer weight of 2180 lbs. fully loaded (our trailer is a basic model with no furnace, converter, shower, hot water tank, etc.) The rear axle of the van, however, was 2800 lbs., which is only 40 lbs. under the maximum listed in Honda's manual. The front axle was 300 lbs. under the maximum. This was with a fairly empty gas tank and no driver (couldn't see the readout from the van), but a full water tank and 3 other people in the van. I need to make another trip to the scales to see how the weight distribution has changed with the WDH, but from measurement of wheel-well height I'm sure it has addressed the problem.

One issue with a two-bar WDH--it wouldn't work with my side-mount trailer jack. I had to purchase a center-mount jack and fabricate a plate to mount it to the trailer.

Finally, I do not know if the heavier-than-necessary WDH is a risk to the trailer frame or if I need air bags to address the leveling issue. My plan is to tighten the bars just enough to bring the front wheel-wells back down to where they are supposed to be and see how it works.

Derek
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:46 AM   #13
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Derek, just wondering if you had a transmission and power steering cooler installed, Honda recommends both especially if your on warranty. the early Odysseys had transmission issues and the tranny cooler seems to have helped them a lot.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:11 AM   #14
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I had an after-market transmission cooler installed that is larger than the strange looking little one sold by Honda. The van already had over 80,000 miles on it when we first started using it to tow last year and installed the cooler. I have read reports on the Honda forums of trany problems, but we haven't had any issues. I had the transmission fluid completely replaced at around 80,000 miles (should have done it sooner) and again this season before leaving for vacation. Apparently it takes special equipment, but the trany shop claims that they can replace all 11 quarts of fluid where I can only replace 3 quarts if I do it at home. I am going to spend the $85 every other year and have this done just to be safe.

I did not install the power steering cooler--the trailer is right at the lower limit (~2,000 lbs.) where they begin to recommend it. I guess I would be more motivated to do this if I better understood how the functioning of the power steering unit was affected by towing. Also, I haven't seen reports on the forums of it failing.

The issues we have had were an EGR passage clogging up--covered by warranty for most folks, but not us as ours is a Canadian model brought to the U.S...., and electric door problems.

Derek




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Derek, just wondering if you had a transmission and power steering cooler installed, Honda recommends both especially if your on warranty. the early Odysseys had transmission issues and the tranny cooler seems to have helped them a lot.
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