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 > Upgraded my tow vehicle, do I still need a WDH?

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TomG2

Central Illinois

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Posted: 10/26/19 05:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The dealers love selling 75 pounds of iron for $600. WD hitches and their "Required" use developed back in the day when we towed with sedans and station wagons. A modern pickup is much more capable that grandpa's 1958 Buick. Old habits are hard to break though. Sometimes they are still required, often not. What does your truck manufacturer say on the subject?

Having said that, if you think you need something, you need something.

badercubed

Canandaigua, NY

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Posted: 10/26/19 06:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I mean, if you have the hitch, why not utilize it?


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trailer_newbe

Tucson

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Posted: 10/27/19 07:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We just towed to Pepper Sauce canyon this weekend. On Friday we had 40+ MPH cross winds. Having a WDH with friction bars built in was nice. Driving down the road with a hollow 11-12’ tall box behind you acts a lot different than a low profile car hauler or landscaping trailer.


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ppine

Northern Nevada

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Posted: 10/27/19 09:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Measure the height of your wheel wells off the ground with and without the trailer hooked up. You probably can get by without the WDH. I had a 2800 pound hybrid trailer once that definitely did not need one. You might be on the margin.

Slowmover

Fort Worth, TX

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Posted: 10/27/19 10:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, set your phone with the CAT Scale app. To test, is the thing. For that a numerical baseline is needed.

A WDH is only partly about being a hitch. It’s an aid to steering control. It also improves braking.

1). TARE Weight. Take a cold tire pressure reading first. Max the fuel once at the truckstop. With driver alone and nothing in the truck EXCEPT what remains there to the day you sell it, get a scale reading. (The paper copy is at the fuel desk inside).

- The published shipping weight means little. The TARE weight is the lightest it will ever be. Take a pic of the door sticker showing axle/tire/wheel ratings.

- With the tire Load & Pressure table (and inside truck limits) pressurize the tires to reflect the values acquired.

2). Another day, but again with a cold tire reading, trailer in tow, both vehicles loaded for camping (plus fully topped propane & fresh water) max the fuel tank and cross the scale. All passengers aboard. Again, acquire the ticket.

3). With no changes except to have dropped the trailer, cross the scale again. Everyone still aboard. Acquire ticket.

4). Adjust truck tires to book value. Trailer tires to sidewall max.


Generally speaking, the benefits of a WDH start with a 350-lb TW (my Cummins diesel operator manual requires it at that point). Understand that pulling weight down the highway is nothing. The hitch rigging (as it were) IS A STEERING COMPONENT.

Where the trailer in question is low to the ground and presents little surface area to crosswinds, it’s not the weight of a trailer that gets operators into trouble, it’s the wind load of a high-riding box.

That typical box riding on leaf springs has little to no wheel travel, and the design TRAPS winds (versus a radiused Airstream) such that with slide outs (imbalance) and a very tall floor height, it’s the least stable vehicle on the road. Bad design & **** suspension make it terrible.

To tow without WDH is done everyday. But, why? Braking distances are increased, not decreased, ride motions are exaggerated, and steering is wonky.

The leading cause of loss-of-control accidents with towed RVs is adverse winds. Natural, or man-made. The rear of a box TT will come off the ground in a sway event (which is better pictured as oscillation where a widening cone starts at the hitch ball and extends back) and in only a moment, the TV rear tires lose contact. That’s the end.

The operator tried to stay upright. Overcorrects. Wrecks.

It wouldn’t occur to me to tow a billboard thru the wind without a WDH (integrated away control). As it stands, I can take my 63’ long, 17k combined rig and do maneuvers all day at 55-mph that following me would cause you to have that wreck before completing the first one.

That my rig stops sooner Towing than the loaded truck does Solo, is enough.

As a truck driver running in excess of 10,000 miles/month I see the rigs that struggle with crosswinds. Or, in coming up over a major river crossing with a wicked wind coming downstream. And we are WAAAY up in it above ground level. It’s a problem for me even with 46,000-lbs in the box.

The original WDH is the Reese. Still the best of the type. But made obsolete by the design patented by Jim Hensley a quarter—century ago. No sway. Ever. Cheap at twice the price.

So, the above work outlines the basics of static measurement. What happens on the road is dynamic. That trailer tongue effectively starts back between the tandem axles. A very long lever. Wrong conditions and it’s exerting several thousand pounds of force. Thousands, not a few hundred. All of it onto the hitch ball.

A WDH spreads the force. Over three points, not one. Down on the hitch ball — OR UP —the force is mitigated so far as Steering feel is affected.

My truck, solo, ready to hitch, is at a 50/50 weight balance. After tension applied, the Steer Axle is close to the solo value. The Drive Axle still outweighs it (important) by 10% or a little more. Weight has been shifted to the TT tires which increases their grip resisting side-sway, and improving braking.

My TT TW does NOT exceed the receiver rating (been upgraded). So what?

What matters is Steering, Handling, and Braking. That which improves those reduces risk of accident & injury. It makes my day at the wheel far easier. Uneventful.

So, start as above with the scale tickets from two different days. Do it correctly. Don’t adjust truck tire pressure past Table values (as that reduces tire grip; it’s what the dummies do to try and modify handling), and take it out for a trip.

WDH by itself gives a tiny bit of anti-sway. The hitches with integrated antisway exert about 150-lbs of resistance. A Hensley or Pro-Pride simply eliminates the problem altogether.

A tow rig is composed of three EQUALLY WEIGHTED items: TV, TT and the hitch rigging. That last is as important as the other two.

The new guys with twenty years haven’t towed with a well-designed rig and don’t know what’s possible. No reference. A new 1974 Holiday Rambler with lower clearance height than today’s pulled behind a Dodge Monaco was a tow rig better than what they’ve ever experienced. (Can’t get the WD adjusted properly either, so not much help despite good intentions ). Do your own investigation getting the correct numbers and doing the tests.

1). How fast can you do an emergency double lane -change? 35-mph? I can do them unceasingly at 55-mph. Start with starboard tires on Interstate shoulder and violently cut over to opposite outside edge of passing lane. And back. Throttle-on the whole way.

2). Whats the difference in braking distance from 60-mph in an emergency stop from the solo, loaded for camping condition, to that with the trailer also loaded?

3). What conditions experienced underway are those where you are forced to stop. Be specific. Know them ahead of time. Have alternates planned.

I have towed my 35 TT in 45-mph crosswinds with higher gusts where the big trucks are all leaving the road. This is after the RVs disappeared. The point here is that my hitch rigging was as important as both the TV & TT. The limits have to be found, and known. (Once the big trucks left, so did I. But at an exit of my choosing).

Here’s a further clue in advance: Ideally, the Drive Axle will weigh more than the Steer once hitched. Traction. Without WDH this means the solo TV will be light on the Drive. . . . what happens to Drive traction when the TT is pitching and the tongue is on the upward swing?

.

* This post was last edited 10/27/19 11:16am by Slowmover *   View edit history


1990 35' SILVER STREAK Sterling, 9k GVWR
2004 DODGE RAM 2WD 305/555 ISB, QC SRW LB NV-5600, 9k GVWR
Hensley Arrow; 11-cpm solo, 17-cpm towing fuel cost

Slowmover

Fort Worth, TX

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Posted: 10/27/19 11:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To use WDH, follow the directions in the article at the CAN AM RV website titled, “How to Set Your Torsion Bars”. This is the rough-in. Use a carpenter level across the door threshold and keep the trailer leveling inside the bubble.

At the Cat Scale, one pass with hitch tensioned as per above, then a second with tension fully slack (plus crossing third time solo).

Get tire pressure nailed down at book value.

Ready to test means an easy 1.5-hours to a pull-off with gentlest braking. Ck pressure. A rise of 5-7% above book value is fine. 9% or higher means add some.

The other tests need doing. You may need more weight transferred, or less. It’s “right” when itvtracks on rails. Level trailer is required. Truck may squat (not a problem).

. (An addition to this is headlight height. Go to auto lighting engineer Daniel Sterns website to learn how to correctly aim headlights. Once WD values are as you like them, you need to know how much to adjust lights for correct pattern).

Unlike the others, never assume. TEST & VERIFY.

An annual 3-pass scale verification is a minimum. There will be A RANGE of adjustments to record and keep handy with those scale tickets. Every rig has this range, and it differers slightly for each one.

Take your time. Buy the tools and keep them dedicated to this use. Do the record keeping and testing. It’s only over a hump the first time.

Good luck



.

Slowmover

Fort Worth, TX

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Posted: 10/27/19 11:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TomG2 wrote:

The dealers love selling 75 pounds of iron for $600. WD hitches and their "Required" use developed back in the day when we towed with sedans and station wagons. A modern pickup is much more capable that grandpa's 1958 Buick. Old habits are hard to break though. Sometimes they are still required, often not. What does your truck manufacturer say on the subject?

Having said that, if you think you need something, you need something.


OP, it isn’t worth the waste of time refuting what you can easily prove to yourself. Ignorance and stupidity appear alike at first, luckily one of them has a cure.

* This post was edited 10/27/19 11:28am by Slowmover *

Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

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Posted: 10/27/19 01:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Slowmover wrote:

TomG2 wrote:

The dealers love selling 75 pounds of iron for $600. WD hitches and their "Required" use developed back in the day when we towed with sedans and station wagons. A modern pickup is much more capable that grandpa's 1958 Buick. Old habits are hard to break though. Sometimes they are still required, often not. What does your truck manufacturer say on the subject?

Having said that, if you think you need something, you need something.


OP, it isn’t worth the waste of time refuting what you can easily prove to yourself. Ignorance and stupidity appear alike at first, luckily one of them has a cure.
That left a mark.[emoticon]


Huntindog
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2010 Palomino Sabre 30 BHDS
84 gal. Grey. 84 gal. Black
2 bathrooms, no waiting
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TomG2

Central Illinois

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Posted: 10/27/19 04:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Funny that I am first one to mention scale weights and vehicle recommendations. And "I" am the stupid one? Go with your "Feelings" boys.

Here is deal folks. I currently use a weight distributing hitch. Why? Because that is what the scales and Ford dictate. I have towed thousands of miles with and without a WD hitch, both safely and in full control. You guys who have a "Wonky" feeling may have something wrong, or just "Wonky" feelings. If your "feelings" and "fears" point you in one direction or another, go for it. I go with facts and numbers.

* This post was edited 10/27/19 05:53pm by TomG2 *

Slowmover

Fort Worth, TX

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Posted: 10/28/19 03:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You won’t live enough years to have towed the variety of trailers or with the variety of tow vehicles I’ve used. Privately, and commercially.

What “Ford says” doesn’t mean much. Never did. Has zero legal or insurance consequences. You own and operate it, you’re the one responsible.

By the way, once you set that WDH, what was the decrease in braking distance versus the solo (loaded) number?

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