Weight Distribution Hitch-What size to use ? - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-27-2013, 11:06 AM   #43
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Not included in the weight math was the weight of a W/D hitch itself vs. a simple drawbar. The w/d hitch and tension bars used with the kids Coleman weighs almost 80 lbs. by itself. Not a biggie on the Yukon Denali, but something to consider on a FreeStar.
True enough, Bob, these devices are heavy. A BlueOx weighs 68 pounds for the head, and the bars with chains weigh 12 pounds. From a functional standpoint, when in use, some of that weight is redistributed to the front axle and the trailer axle.

My biggest concern with the Freestar or similar would be as someone else pointed out, making sure the hitch attachment is done correctly.

A guess ( and that is all it is, a "guess" ) would be that the automatic transmission could be a weak point in the system, so having a cooler and regular fluid changes would likely be wise.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:10 AM   #44
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That is a valid point Bob. Spread over the 6 axles it would add about 15lbs of weight to each axle. That may or may not be a factor in the overall picture.

Note the Yukon Denali and the Freestar both have a payload capacity of close to 1,500lbs.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:48 AM   #45
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So the correct answer is both. You need the airbags to raise the rear suspension in order to make the tow vehicle level again. You also need the weight distribution hitch to restore the weight removed from the front axle by the weight of the trailer pushing down on the hitch.

Also of consideration, especially on a uni body vehicle, expect high twisting load on the hitch from use of WD hitch. Secondary consideration is A frame or front of trailer frame bending from leverage applied by WD hitch.

WD hitches are not designed to restore a sagging rear suspension. They are to restore weight to front/steering axle of tow vehicle.

Airbags, helper springs, overload springs, etc. are designed to add extra weight capacity by effectively stiffening the rear springs. However the confusing terminology does not mean you can carry more, but you restore ride height while staying within manufacturer's rated capacity.

Does that all sound correct?

Jason

PS: Something else I thought of. A vehicle with larger overhang will benefit more from WD hitch than a vehicle with short over hang.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:54 AM   #46
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Ya... but....the Denali/Suburban can tow up to 12,000 lbs with a w/d hitch, 6000 lbs without per GMC and that's right on the factory installed hitch.

And, if the FreeStar hitch sets a maximum tongue weight of, say 300 lbs, you should add most of the weight of the hitch into the trailers tongue weight value.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:25 PM   #47
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So the correct answer is both. You need the airbags to raise the rear suspension in order to make the tow vehicle level again. You also need the weight distribution hitch to restore the weight removed from the front axle by the weight of the trailer pushing down on the hitch...
Does that all sound correct?
Jason

Not strictly. Per Reese's set up instructions, the fore-and-aft attitude is adjustable due to the WDH. They suggest measuring the wheel well height before hooking up and then tensioning the WDH until the nose-up attitude comes back down to the original height once hooked up.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #48
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Jason's answer recognizes the elephant in the room and is the correct answer for trailers with light gauge frames and tow vehicles with unibody construction. The captive spring arms can produce huge bending forces on both. Attaching a bionic arm to a 98lb. weakling is the comparison I'd make.

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Old 03-27-2013, 02:35 PM   #49
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True enough. I suspect more unibodies tow fiberglass trailers than tow stick built behemoths. Makes a point for matching WDH ratings with the tow and trailer.

Even so, there are always going to be problems with generalizations, including the one I'm making now, I suppose.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:36 PM   #50
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Jason

Not strictly. Per Reese's set up instructions, the fore-and-aft attitude is adjustable due to the WDH. They suggest measuring the wheel well height before hooking up and then tensioning the WDH until the nose-up attitude comes back down to the original height once hooked up.
True, the WD hitch is working like a giant pry bar on the tow vehicle. In the process of pushing the front down the rear is lifted. So instead of the rear dropping 2 inches and front rising 1/2 inch, the whole vehicle lowers 1 inch? (Caution, made up numbers for the sake of example)

Sounds like a measurement of the rake (how level the tow vehicle is) before and after would be the most accurate way to setup the WD hitch. And some sort of suspension helper (IE: airbags) to raise the ride height if needed.

I would caution getting too carried away with a WD hitch. A lot of the tow vehicles people are considering on this forum are FWD (or AWD version of FWD base vehicle). As such many are already setup roughly 70/30 weight distributed over the front axle. Trying to level a vehicle solely by pushing the weight back onto front axle risks making the rear axle (of the TUG) too light and compromises safe handling. Reducing the weight carried by the rear axle raises the possibility of jack knifing the whole rig.

Jason
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:39 PM   #51
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Well, we can continue this thread later after I install my new Andersen w/d hitch ordered today. No bars, but chains instead.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:39 PM   #52
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The whole point of a WDH is to put weight back onto the drive wheels, which are the front wheels in most FWD and AWD vehicles.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:50 PM   #53
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here is a picture of a bad set up
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:51 PM   #54
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The whole point of a WDH is to put weight back onto the drive wheels, which are the front wheels in most FWD and AWD vehicles.
That may be the whole point, but it also puts weight back on the trailer -supposedly at the wheels but surely concentrated at the tongue rail.

And as long as we're on the subject:

Though perhaps not in this particular thread, I've seen posts from folks advocating w/d hitches for towing trailers as small or smaller than mine. (2,000 pounds loaded)

Can anyone explain to me the logic behind adding almost a hundred pounds so as to "redistribute" 200 pounds or so of tongue weight????

Francesca
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:52 PM   #55
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seems counter intuitive doesn't it
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:53 PM   #56
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the smaller trailers are more subject to sway so perhaps a w/d with sway control set up is really what is meant to be needed.
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