Weight distribution hitch? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-07-2016, 11:47 AM   #15
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Name: Gilles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
The purpose of a weight distribution hitch is not just to level the trailer/tow combination...it distributes the weight over all the axels/tires resulting in firm road contact and a "oneness" of trailer and tow vehicle. The sway control is important in stabilizing your combination in heavy winds and turbulence caused by oncoming traffic like tractor trailers. It is all about safety and not increasing the rated tow capacity of your truck.
The combined system is about control and safety.
You have the right words Patrick.
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:31 PM   #16
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The oneness acts like a big spring between the tow vehicle and the trailer.
This spring unloads the rear suspension and bridges it to the front of the truck and the trailer axle through the frame.
This "oneness" adds greatly to a light frame like an older scamp which is barely able to stand the stress anyway.
The WDH for a small trailer is a little overkill IMHO.
The old studied made in the '70s showed the approximately 1/2 of the improvement in handling of a WDH can be gained with the air lift to level the vehicle.
As a matter fo fact they suggested that the proper way to use the WDH is to add air to airshocks to level almost completely and then finish up with the WDH tension.
If you have a large truck and a small trailer then you probably don't need the hitch and if you have a smaller setup the WDH might overstress either the TV or the trailer.
I know many many Scamp, Casita, and Boler frames hre cracked and broken even without this added stress.
The "oneness" is a very good description since it connects the front of the TV and the trailer axle as one unit with only the flex in the lever beams and the frame giving compliance when you go through a dip in the road.
The purpose of the ball is to let them things flex separately.
If the chassis is weak and it flexes it will break (usually right in the bend in the front of the trailer ahead of the door.)
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:10 PM   #17
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Kenji, This is really helpful, thank you! I will do as you've suggested and try towing in various ways (will find some parking lots that will be safe and empty on weekends). I looked up the Airlift 1000 system and emailed them about which one would work on a Frontier. I saw that they had it for the Titan, so perhaps they will have one for my truck too. It's great to hear that they stand by their product - that is very important to me. I would love to see a 3D animation - can you really just "whip" one up to help us visualize the main points of this discussion? Cool!
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:38 PM   #18
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Here you go:

https://www.airliftcompany.com/works...-installation/



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Old 04-08-2016, 10:08 AM   #19
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Name: Patrick
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Thank you Gilles for the kind words...as usual your comments are "on point".

All too frequently members of this board suggest ways to "push the limits" when trying to justify towing with vehicles not suited to the task.

First time RV travel trailer campers try to use the family sedan to tow their first travel trailer well beyond the rated capacity. They are trying to avoid reality and save some money. Then they sign onto several RV boards looking for support in their ill advised selection of tow/trailer combination....sad fact is they will continue to "opinion-shop" from strangers on line until they find some vindication. The vindication most often comes from others who are also pushing the limits.

My advise is simple: If you are a first time RV travel trailer buyer seek professional advise and find a trusted dealer to set up your trailer/tow vehicle properly. Ask a lot of questions of professionals...listen to the answers from professionals and not from strangers on the Internet.
The life you save will be your own.

Happy Safe Camping !
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:19 AM   #20
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Uplander's post is spot on correct, in my opinion, but finding a "trusted" dealer is a real challenge.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:59 AM   #21
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I got lucky and discovered a very professional dealer about 10 miles from my home in upstate New York...dealer and service department is in Fairhaven, Vermont on
New York/Vermont state line..."Exit 1 RV" ...exit 1 off US Route 4 Fairhaven, Vermont.

Service laborprices are high but a family owned operation that does quality work and offers
good honest advise.

First time RV buyers need all the help they can get.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:00 PM   #22
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Thank you all for your input. I was so e cited to get the Boler that I had not put any thought into the towing weight capacity.


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Old 04-08-2016, 12:19 PM   #23
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Kenji, thank you for your detailed explanation of how a WDH works. I used one on a toy hauler trailer that had a robust frame pulled by my 3/4 ton heavy duty diesel truck, but would NEVER use one on a very light framed fiberglass trailer, or with a unibody. Firestone or Air-lift bags work very well to keep the vehicle level to keep the headlights beams on the road.
Dave & Paula
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Old 04-08-2016, 01:19 PM   #24
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If the frame of the trailer is not strong enough to handle a WDH, then don't use one.
If a tow vehicle is rated for say 5000, it is rated for that weight, regardless if a WDH is used or not (unless a WDH is specifically prohibited) and regardless if it is unibody or not.

A WDH doesn't increase the tow rating of a vehicle, but certainly improves the handling a lot. There is no way I would tow my popup camper without the WDH, and obviously the same goes for my heavier Trillium. And my tow vehicle is a unibody Toyota Highlander.

It's too bad the frame of some trailers can't handle a light duty WDH as it would be beneficial even for the small rigs. Reese used to make a 220lbs-rated small duty WDH that was designed to work with Class II hitches. I used one for some time with my popup before upgrading to the Mini 350. It worked really well, too bad it was discontinued. They still sell similar light duty WDH outside NA, I guess the market is not important enough here. Now even the Mini350 is discontinued.

I understand the point of selecting a WDH with softer spring bars, but if the strength of the trailer's frame is a concern, I wouldn't use any WDH at all. If the frame is strong enough, then I would use a full rated WDH and not worry about bending anything. It is rated for it, or it is not.
However some spring bars are softer than other for the same weight rating. There isn't much flexing in Equal-i-zer's square tubing bars, compared to Reese's Steadi-Flex tapered bars, which probably don't put as much stress on the hitch when riding over bumps and such.
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:14 PM   #25
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I don't believe that there is a truck rated over 5000 lbs without requiring a WDH for any load over that 5000 lbs.
That being said I would think that a set of Gabriel Hy-Jackers might still be a good addition.
My VW is within the rear axle rating with my Scamp, but I use the Air Lift bags to level the rig and keep the lights aimed properly IF I happen to tow at night (rare thing that).

Personally I think that you should tow with what you are comfortable driving.
You can't go wrong with a nice big truck, but personally I find my Sportswagen does a good enough job for me and I really don't care to drive a truck all the time.
It actually seems a little more stable than my 1990 Chevy Suburban.
This is not to say that anyone else should tow with one.
Here is a picture of a UK version od stabilizer that also serves to slightly relieve the weight on the rear end.
This one is a dual blade Bulldog Q-400, but they make it in a single as well.
It serves like a anti sway and "anti-bob" weight equalizer too.



I would like to get one of these for my Westfalia, but they don't import them to the US.
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:31 PM   #26
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The Reese light duty WDH I used was very similar to what Hayman-Reese sells in Australia:


Mini - Mini - hayman reese

I occasionally see some for sale in the classifieds. Mine is probably collecting dust somewhere in my shop.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:24 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Hannaburg View Post
I currently have a Dodge Journey RT 2013 with the v6. I pull a Boler 1700. My question is...Should one look at a weight distribution hitch? I was told not to as it is a unibody..but on the dodge forums there appears that a lot use that hitch. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Dennis
Unibody or not unibody is not the controlling issue. The issue is what the manufacturer says. Some vehicles, like Subarus, specifically state to not use WDH. Some say not recommended and, as has been observed, this can be taken one way or another. If your manual is silent on the issue, look online to see if Dodge publishes a 'towing manual' (either for Journey or for Dodges in general). Go by what the mfr says, and if the mfr says nothing about it, I would take that to mean it's not a problem.

As for weak old frames on trailers, well, the sooner you find out about that the better... and get it fixed. A WDH should not be a problem with a sound frame on most any trailer.

The Andersen No-Sway has a little more give, less rigidity, compared to some others. Or look for one with flexing spring bars. Hitches like the Equal-i-zer, though effective and durable, are inflexible and thus probably are not as good a match for our smaller rigs.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:42 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by KenjiFox View Post
The air pressure lifts the rear of the vehicle by the original weight supporting point. The rear axle of the vehicle. It doesn't put any extra weight on the trailer axle, and merely shifts the weight BACK to the front tires. It doesn't apply any extra. Depending on the distance between your rear axle and your hitch ball you can figure out how much weight is removed from the front wheels. The shorter the distance the better when it comes to sway and front wheel weight reduction. Yes, a WDH will push the front of the car down but it is almost NEVER needed. Just keeping the vehicle level while towing will keep it safely in control. I suggested softer spring bars when towing our lightweight trailers because they tend to have lighter gauge steel frames, and because quite honestly they are so light that it really shouldn't be needed even for small vehicles. (Take mine for example.)...
I do not believe that adding air to the rear suspension can shift weight to the tow vehicle's front tires. The same weight is still in the same place on the ball and on the rear suspension; the air merely stiffens that suspension and helps it carry the weight. If weight has been off-loaded from the front axle via leverage, that weight remains off-loaded even when air is added to the rear shocks.

Whether a WDH is "needed" or not can sometimes be a matter of personal opinion. Some folks are more averse to rear end squat than others! And some vehicles are more susceptible to it than others; for example, when Can-Am RV outfits a Jetta for towing, they always include WD to redistribute some weight to both the front axle and the trailer axle. One factor is the tow vehicle's rear overhang length; the more of it you have, the more leverage is applied by the trailer and the more weight is shifted off the front axle (in the absence of WD).
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