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Weight Distribution Hitches


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#16 SteveH

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 05:50 AM

Frank,

Lots of people think they understand how a WD hitch works, and they somewhat do, but in many instances they don't understand how to adjust one correctly, and if it's not adjusted correctly, it can be worse than not using one at all.

Think of the tow vehicle as a lever, and the rear axle as the fulcrum, and the tongue weight, as the weight. The weight lowers the bumper, using the rear axle as the fulcrum to raise the front, or take weight off the front axle of the tow vehicle.

As you tighten the weight distribution bars you move that tongue weight foward on the tow vehicle, and a small amount of the tongue weight goes back on the trailer, but for the sake of this discussion, lets just concentrate on the TV.. The tighter you make the bars, the farther you move the weight foward.

If you simply return the front of the TV to it's original height before hitching the trailer, you have then moved the tongue weight directly above the rear axle. If you move the weight far enough foward, the front of the TV will go down, and then you have put at least some of the tongue weight on the front axle, which is not desirable on a pickup truck, for instance.

You may have seen a TV and trailer conbination where the tow vehicle is too high in the rear, and too low in the front, which is a simple situation of having the WD bars too tight.

Too tight bars is also dangerous, as it removes traction from the rear axle of the TV which without sway control, can actually cause a jack-knife.

The main objective using a WD hitch is to return the front axle weight to the same or slightly more than it was before the trailer tongue weight caused it to be reduced, thereby returning the steering and stopping ability to the tow vehicle, and thereby reducing the chance of an accident. Secondary benefits are improved ride, and reduced stress on the tow vehicle.

It is my opinion if more people actually understood what a WD hitch does, and how to adjust one, there would be more people using them, the highways would be safer, and more people towing trailers would be happier with the experience.
Regards,
Steve

#17 cdsmith

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 01:23 PM

Also consider that there are some that attempt to use the WDH as a means of leveling their overloaded TV.

This of course places a great deal of stress on the frame of both the RV and the TV. The TV should be leveled using helper springs, air shocks, or air bags. This puts the TV load on the TV suspension.

The WDH should only be used to redistribute the RV hitch weight.

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#18 obrienj

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 05:27 PM

I picked up my 2010 17' FD on 11/12. Before leaving to pick it up I ordered a Curt Manufacturing 17000 WDH for $261.31 from Amazon. This is the same unit that Casita uses. Casita charged me $139 weld the bar chain connectors to the trailer and then they fitted evenything else.

My TV is a Chrysler Aspen with a 10,000# tow capacity using a WDH. I have towed an 8000# cattle trailer with it using another WDH and wouldn't tow any trailer without one.

The trailer acts like it is welded to the TV and more important there is no distortion to the road handling of the TV.

I plan adding weight to the tongue of the trailer so that became another reason to have the WDH.

In addition to the WDH I had a sway bar anyway so I had those connectors added also. I haven't used the sway bar because the trailer/TV combination is so stable that even in icy snow pack I found no need to use the sway bar.

So in my mind, the $400 total investment is more than worthwhile "insurance".

However, one word of warning, read the instructions for connecting and especially disconnecting. If you try to disconnect "in the normal way", the WDH bar chain connectors act something like a kicking mule. Beware!

Regards,
Jim



#19 Bobinyelm

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 08:21 AM

If you are planning to tow with a FWD vehicle such as your Volvo V-70, remember that the front tires must drive the vehicle (by applying sufficient torque to the road surface), as well as turn the vehicle by exerting a combination of torque and lateral friction with the road.

While I would consider the drive train of your vehicle marginal for towing a real-world Casita 17 weighing about 3300 pounds and having a tongue weight of 400 pound or more (full propane bottles, and no effort to load aft), the major limitation is that with 400 pounds well behind the rear axle (remember the lever mentioned above), you have much less than design weight on the front axle, and will suffer on both counts as mentioned in the first paragraph.

A WDH is meant to remedy that situation, and with the PROPER springs, properly adjusted will NOT harm your TV or trailer.

Further, here is a comment by someone in Europe using their V70 to tow a slightly lighter trailer than yours*, and indeed one with a dual axle, which actually reduces the tongue weight under certain circumstances (dual axles offer some additional stability with regard to tongue weight depending upon the angle of their frame with the road surface, as well as their ability to slightly damp sway due to the lateral friction of their 4 tires).

Note they mention loss of front tire traction (accentuated in the wet). This is FAR from the only comment regarding loss of traction, with some saying they had wheel-spin when starting off from a stop, indicating not excess horsepower, but inadequate weight on the front tires, limiting their ability to transmit torque to the road surface.
Volvo.png

While your Volvo MAY get you from point A to B under ideal conditions, I would not use it as a TV except for exceptionally short distances (and only in the dry) w/o a WDH.

Bob
* http://www.penroseto...nger_620_6.html (note: illustration of of the single axle model)
He states his weight as 1475kg, or 3250 pounds

Edited by Bobinyelm, 27 December 2009 - 08:27 AM.


#20 Maestro Bob

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:07 PM

Wow! Thank you for all the learning and some of the most valuable towing information. I'm fairly green to all these.

I have an additional question? Would it be necessary or helpful towing to purchase and install an air Suspenssion from etrailer? I'm towing my 2008 LD with my 2005 GMC Yukon.

Please advice,
Robert

#21 fella10

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 09:18 AM

good info and discussion about WDH, my question is: can you over size the WDH to the point that it causes harm to the trailer? I have already ordered and received a Camco 48053 1000# unit for when we pick-up our 17' Liberty Deluxe last week in May--I am aware NOW of that being "over kill", it was on sale at the time $50 below the 600# and 800# models, I know there are larger models(1200#, 1400# ect.) and thought of the 1000# size as just average.-----I've learned the size Casita offers is 600#--- but with all of that said, is there really any harm in having a larger sized WDH,--- doesn't the 1000# mean that it will handle UP TO a 1000# tongue weight, but that with correct adjustment it will handle lighter weights as well without causing a problem---so, sure I over sized my WDH but is there really any harm done IF it is adjusted CORRECTLY----- any wisdom on this subject is greatly appreciated

Edited by fella10, 12 April 2013 - 04:35 PM.


#22 Lane

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 04:24 PM

What Da Heck!
I believe the need for a WDH is a function of the Tow Vehicle and the particular trailer, plus the sensitivity of the driver, I had one installed on my new-to-me 2007 4Runner. Not one to do things by half measures, I'm setting out tomorrow to haul my 2007 Casita 17' SD on a 2,000 mile round trip. At the end of the trip, perhaps I'll know more than I do now about WDH (or I may continue in my blissful ignorance). I towed my Casita for 5 1/2 years with a Lincoln Navigator and felt no need for a WDH. I towed the same Casita for 600 miles and felt that it was marginally light on the front end. I had my trailer-guy put a WDH on it. I do know that I feel calmer knowing that I have the WDH. Did/Do I need it? Clearly I think so. I even had my trailer-guy explain to me how it works. Sounds good to me.
Bottom line. 2005 Navigator, Casita, me - no WDH. 2007 4Runner, Casita, me - WDH.

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#23 Ken C

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 04:36 PM

fella10,
IMHO 1000 lb. spring bars on a WDH are way to much and probably wouldn't provide any spring at all on a 3,200 lb. trailer, plus the draw bar is probably solid steel and weights a bunch. I pulled my Casita for 5 years without a WDH but because of the bouncing on rough roads I bought a Reese Single Bar WDH rated at 400lbs and it has done the trick. I really would not exceed 600 lb. spring bars on a Casita.
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#24 Jim & Carol

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 09:57 AM

fella10,
IMHO 1000 lb. spring bars on a WDH are way to much and probably wouldn't provide any spring at all on a 3,200 lb. trailer, plus the draw bar is probably solid steel and weights a bunch. I pulled my Casita for 5 years without a WDH but because of the bouncing on rough roads I bought a Reese Single Bar WDH rated at 400lbs and it has done the trick. I really would not exceed 600 lb. spring bars on a Casita.
Ken C


Ken,
I think you got to the real issue with spring bars that are too stiff. In addition to bouncing, going over crests (think speed bumps) or dips requires the spring bars to bend without changing the loading too much. In the worst case, going over a dip could pull most if not all the weight off the TV rear axle. Here is an interesting link that helps to determine the correct WDH rating.

http://www.etrailer....stribution.aspx

Edited by Jim & Carol, 13 April 2013 - 10:02 AM.

Jim
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2005 Tundra 4x4

#25 fella10

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 12:01 PM

fella10,
IMHO 1000 lb. spring bars on a WDH are way to much and probably wouldn't provide any spring at all on a 3,200 lb. trailer, plus the draw bar is probably solid steel and weights a bunch. I pulled my Casita for 5 years without a WDH but because of the bouncing on rough roads I bought a Reese Single Bar WDH rated at 400lbs and it has done the trick. I really would not exceed 600 lb. spring bars on a Casita.
Ken C


Ken,
I think you got to the real issue with spring bars that are too stiff. In addition to bouncing, going over crests (think speed bumps) or dips requires the spring bars to bend without changing the loading too much. In the worst case, going over a dip could pull most if not all the weight off the TV rear axle. Here is an interesting link that helps to determine the correct WDH rating.

http://www.etrailer....stribution.aspx


yall may be right, I've certainly made mistakes before and will again---sent an email to the manufacturer and should get a reply Monday---but Ken, the hitch apparatus is for sure very heavy, but all the same part numbers on 600#, 800#,1000#, 1200# and 1400#, only difference is the bar numbers--- trying to locate 600# bars this morning, I talked to a local RV dealer(selling and installing WDH for 31yrs.) who said sure the adjustments would need to be done correctly, but that he had never heard of any problem with "over kill" on a WDH, but certainly a problem if undersized--- so I will just have to wait and see what the manufacturer says

Edited by fella10, 13 April 2013 - 12:33 PM.


#26 fella10

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:47 PM

UPDATE on the issue of: "using a 1000# WDH to tow a 17' Casita Liberty", --- from the horse's mouth(the factory engineer), --NO problem, if adjusted correctly--no danger to the trailer structure either,---he said many RV dealers who install WDH's use only the 1000# bars because they don't want to carry a large inventory of different models----he explained how the bars differ and said his company sells all the models wholesale for the same price(because the only part that is different is the bars) and they certainly wish the dealers would buy their complete selection, but many don't---also said almost all problems with WDH's are when people don't follow the instructions correctly when making the adjustments, --- this is a big relief for me, happy to have talked with him and am assured that all is well, it just has to be adjusted correctly(as any of them should be)

#27 Babs&Chris

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:03 PM

All this gives me the impression that no tow vehicle manufacturer can be trusted as to what his owner's manual says a vehicle can handle as hitch weight or towing capacity and that trailer manufacturers (not just Casita) who say their trailers can be pulled by "most cars and SUVs" are liars. You make it sound like towing a trailer is dangerous and that only the the very experienced who are smart enough to handle a WD hitch and have the expertise to adjust it properly should ever attempt to pull a camper. I think you are telling us that 99% of us should just give up the idea.

#28 fella10

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:13 PM

All this gives me the impression that no tow vehicle manufacturer can be trusted as to what his owner's manual says a vehicle can handle as hitch weight or towing capacity and that trailer manufacturers (not just Casita) who say their trailers can be pulled by "most cars and SUVs" are liars. You make it sound like towing a trailer is dangerous and that only the the very experienced who are smart enough to handle a WD hitch and have the expertise to adjust it properly should ever attempt to pull a camper. I think you are telling us that 99% of us should just give up the idea.


I have no idea where you are coming from, I didn't say that at all, --I was simply passing on information that a factory engineer of a WDH company told me today, you can take it or leave it, I don't care,-- he simply reassured me that using my 1000# WDH to tow my Casita would cause to harm to the trailer and I don't intend to argue the point in a chat forum like this.

I posted that information because several folks had joined the conversation when I asked for advice, we all had opinions but none of us were sure of the facts.--- you need to reread that post and see just what about it would rial you up, ---when he said "most problems with WDH's are when people don't adjust them correctly", how can you argue with that? anyway, nuff said..............

Edited by fella10, 15 April 2013 - 01:48 PM.


#29 Babs&Chris

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:01 AM

Sorry, just frustrated. I cant argue with the fact that there are problems when not adjusted correctly. It seems like the conclusion is that not everyone needs a weight distribution hitch, but that everyone can benefit from one? Is that correct? Above, did you mean to say "using my 1000# WDH to tow my Casita would cause to harm to the trailer" or did you mean to say "would NOT"? I am just confused. Definitely did not mean to offend anyone--just seeking information and concerned that a vehicle that should from all specs be able to handle the trailer and a trailer that should from all specs be able to be handled by my vehicle is not going to work. That's all I was trying to say. Again, I apologize for ruffled feathers.

#30 fella10

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:30 AM

Sorry, just frustrated. I cant argue with the fact that there are problems when not adjusted correctly. It seems like the conclusion is that not everyone needs a weight distribution hitch, but that everyone can benefit from one? Is that correct? Above, did you mean to say "using my 1000# WDH to tow my Casita would cause to harm to the trailer" or did you mean to say "would NOT"? I am just confused. Definitely did not mean to offend anyone--just seeking information and concerned that a vehicle that should from all specs be able to handle the trailer and a trailer that should from all specs be able to be handled by my vehicle is not going to work. That's all I was trying to say. Again, I apologize for ruffled feathers.


I see what you are talking about, I miss typed, that should be "would cause NO harm to the trailer", old fingers don't always go where they are supposed to go when typing,-- No offense taken, it just seemed like I had offended you and I couldn't figure out why. --- I'm new to all of this travel trailer world and am trying to get caught-up on the many things I don't know but will need to know. Many people go without a WDH, my Casita salesman said with my truck I shouldn't need one, but then I read where others have started out without one and did ok, later added one and feel better about having it there. Certainly some people do need the wdh from the beginning because of the small size of their TV but I haven't read where any body regretted having one and removed it once they had it installed.

Since the brackets have to be welded on if I ever did want to add a WDH, I wanted to go ahead and get it all done at the beginning by the Casita folks who do that everyday, but they need the unit to know where to place the bracket. I could leave the factory without one and without that work, to see how it goes , but if I got home and wanted to add the WDH I'd have to locate a local welding shop and then try to get them to understand what it is I needed done. I can't believe their charge at that time would be much, if any cheaper than the $139 that Casita is going to charge.

I created my own headache/problem when I bought the 1000# unit because it was on sale. After receiving it, I begin to have doubts about it being ok, posted on the forum and begin getting opinions that also had doubts with some very good arguments as to why it wasn't ok. That is when I went to the company itself, the engineer assured me yesterday that it is all in the adjustments and that the 1000# is just as effective and as safe(no harm to the trailer) to use as the smaller units when the adjustments are correct. He did suggest that I go there with my own measurements(front and rear height from the ground) so that after the installation is complete, I can verify and know that everything is correct or not. Anyway, this is just trying to further explain, why I have done, what I have done. At this point one of the hardest parts of this is the WAITING, our trailer will be ready May 28 and that seems like an eternity. Happy trailering to yall, we're in NC, maybe our travels will cross one day and we can add you folks to what we hope will become a very long list of Casita friends.
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