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


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Old 03-26-2013, 02:45 PM   #1
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Weight Distribution Hitch-What size to use ?

I'm looking for advice on what size of weight distribution hitch I should use. I have a 1979 17' Bigfoot travel trailer (aprox 2500 lbs loaded ) with a tongue weight of around 300 lbs, my tow vehicle is a 2005 Ford Freestar Limited 4.2L with around 300 lbs in the back.
Advice on what size WD hitch to use would be great. David
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:49 PM   #2
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If this were my rig, I would not use a weight distribution hitch. I might want to install a friction anti sway though.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:53 PM   #3
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Well the first question is why do you think you need a weight distribution hitch?
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:13 PM   #4
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The rear of the van settles down taking the weight off the front, the WD hitch would be to put the weight back on the front drive wheels.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:26 PM   #5
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This might help you:

Common Weight Distribution and Sway Control Questions | etrailer.com
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:01 PM   #6
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I had a similar issue with my Rav4 and for $100 got the Firestone air bags for the rear coil springs... made a big improvement to the squatting problem.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deryk View Post
I had a similar issue with my Rav4 and for $100 got the Firestone air bags for the rear coil springs... made a big improvement to the squatting problem.
Airlift makes a kit for Freestar. For the $80 or so cost it would be worth trying.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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I see your model has third row seats- unless you need them for passengers, you might consider removing them when towing. Shedding that much deadweight might provide just enough "lift" to the vehicle rear.


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Old 03-26-2013, 05:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deryk View Post
I had a similar issue with my Rav4 and for $100 got the Firestone air bags for the rear coil springs... made a big improvement to the squatting problem.
The air bags may have improved the squat appearance, but did it do anything to re-distribute the weight?
I don't know, I'm just asking.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:39 PM   #10
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The air bags may have improved the squat appearance, but did it do anything to re-distribute the weight?
I don't know, I'm just asking.
Now Glenn, you know the answer...
No, the air bags do improve the ability of the tug's rear axle to handle the load of the trailer's tongue weight, but they do not increase the Gross Axle Weight rating and they do not re-distribute the load.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David in Fernie View Post
I have a 1979 17' Bigfoot travel trailer (aprox 2500 lbs loaded ) with a tongue weight of around 300 lbs, my tow vehicle is a 2005 Ford Freestar...
The Freestar (late Windstar, for those who don't recognize the name) has a ten foot wheelbase; the hitch ball would likely be about four feet behind the van's rear axle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deryk View Post
Well the first question is why do you think you need a weight distribution hitch?
Excellent question!

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in Fernie View Post
The rear of the van settles down taking the weight off the front, the WD hitch would be to put the weight back on the front drive wheels.
That's valid... now just how much is this?

The van is a big lever, like a see-saw (teeter-totter) with one end 10' long (the front wheels at that end), the other 4' long (the tow ball at that end), and the rear axle as pivot. Adding 300 pounds of trailer tongue weight to the ball levers 4/10ths of that off of the front axle, onto the rear: that's 120 pounds. The rear gets 300+120=420 pounds added to it.

The Freestar weighs about two tons (plus passengers and cargo), with about 60% of that on the front wheels (before trailer), so the front axle load starts at about 2400 pounds. Does 120 pounds (5%) reduction make a big difference?

My Sienna is the same size, my Boler tongue weight is the same (last measured at 305 lb), and with rear air bags in the Sienna I see no need for a weight distribution system. That's me... your experience may vary.


Of course, David didn't ask if he needed one, only what size it should be if he uses one. My answer is "big enough to shift no more than 120 pounds onto the front axle", which would also move about 75 pounds to the trailer axle and thus take 195 pounds off of the rear axle. By WD system standards, this is small.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:23 PM   #12
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I'm confused? If I have vehicle (A) which has air bags and when I attach my trailer it remains level and I'm within the spec's, therefore I do not need nor want a w/d hitch? Vehicle (b), the same as vehicle (a) but does not have air bags, it squats 2-3 " when I hook up my trailer and I'm still within the spec's, I do want a w/d hitch to raise my rear and lower my front to make the tow vehicle level.
Am I shifting weight to the front with vehicle (a) as I would be with vehicle (b) and the w/d set up? If not, why not?
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:32 PM   #13
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The air bags just prevent the rear from sinking. They don't transfer the weight to the front axle and trailer. You could replace the rear springs with I-beams from a high-rise office building and it wouldn't sag, but the ride would be really lousy.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #14
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where does the weight go in vehicle (a)?
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