Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Tow Vehicles: When is weight distribution needed?
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 > When is weight distribution needed?

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TomG2

Central Illinois

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Posted: 12/06/20 12:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Engineers that design the vehicles and write the owner's manuals, with lawyers watching, are a conservative bunch and when they say their product is good to go with or without a WD hich, I listen. Hard to believe but there have been engineering improvements since 1958.

ssthrd

Vancouver Island

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Posted: 12/06/20 01:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yosemite Sam1 wrote:

I drove with one and drove without -- the driving stability is like day and night.


I'll second that thought. I pulled my 7K# travel both ways with my GMC 3500, and the difference was definitely noticeable. The drive was much better with my Equal-i-zer with four point sway control.

I really didn't need it either according to the book, but the effect was to reduce lateral movement on a rough winding road (paved) and also to greatly reduce "porpoising" after going through frost heaves.

I no longer have a travel trailer, but if I did, I wouldn't leave home without it.


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Hannibal

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Posted: 12/06/20 04:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Huntindog wrote:

otrfun wrote:

IMO a lot of folks have handling/sway problems, don't bother (or don't know how) to check their tongue weight percentage, and purchase/use a WDH (and anti-sway) as a band-aid fix.

With 15% tongue weight (bumper-pull) you shouldn't have any handling/sway problems with any vehicle. Many 1/2-ton trucks must use a WDH to because of their limited rear axle capacity (which ends up off-loading weight from the front axle), not because they inherently need a WDH/anti-sway to prevent handling/sway issues.

We towed a 35', 10k bumper pull TT (with 14% tongue weight--1,400 lbs., and no WDH) with our '16 Ram 3500 SRW Cummins cross-country many times. Towed like a dream, even with 35 mph sidewinds. All you felt was one push/pull with every wind gust. When an 18-wheeler passed too close, again, just one push/pull, and that was it. Zero sway--completely stable.
I will add, that a lot of people have no clue as how to properly setup a WD hitch to get the maximum benefit. This is obvious just observing rolling trainwrecks waiting to happen going down the highway..... And those that do not want to use a WD hitch just don't understand what they are missing.

The thing about towing setups is that there are many opinions on just what level of performance is acceptable to each individual.
I am anal about it. It starts with proper TW, Tire pressures etc, and ends with a properly setup WD hitch.... Because I do not settle for good enough,,,, I want it to be the best it can be. There have been a couple of times I was glad I was so particular.
It is a lot like seatbelts. One can drive millions of miles and not need them (does that make one a fool for using them?) or have a wreck going around the block.... and be glad you were using them.


That or some of us have been towing trailers of various types and sizes for over 40 years and make our choices based on experience with and without WD. I have a Reese HP trunnion style and an Equalizer 4-point in the shed ready to use. I’ve always preferred a simple, short ballmount when possible.


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2017 Jayco 28RLS TT 32.5'. Reese HP Trunnion 800

Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

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Posted: 12/06/20 05:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hannibal wrote:

Huntindog wrote:

otrfun wrote:

IMO a lot of folks have handling/sway problems, don't bother (or don't know how) to check their tongue weight percentage, and purchase/use a WDH (and anti-sway) as a band-aid fix.

With 15% tongue weight (bumper-pull) you shouldn't have any handling/sway problems with any vehicle. Many 1/2-ton trucks must use a WDH to because of their limited rear axle capacity (which ends up off-loading weight from the front axle), not because they inherently need a WDH/anti-sway to prevent handling/sway issues.

We towed a 35', 10k bumper pull TT (with 14% tongue weight--1,400 lbs., and no WDH) with our '16 Ram 3500 SRW Cummins cross-country many times. Towed like a dream, even with 35 mph sidewinds. All you felt was one push/pull with every wind gust. When an 18-wheeler passed too close, again, just one push/pull, and that was it. Zero sway--completely stable.
I will add, that a lot of people have no clue as how to properly setup a WD hitch to get the maximum benefit. This is obvious just observing rolling trainwrecks waiting to happen going down the highway..... And those that do not want to use a WD hitch just don't understand what they are missing.

The thing about towing setups is that there are many opinions on just what level of performance is acceptable to each individual.
I am anal about it. It starts with proper TW, Tire pressures etc, and ends with a properly setup WD hitch.... Because I do not settle for good enough,,,, I want it to be the best it can be. There have been a couple of times I was glad I was so particular.
It is a lot like seatbelts. One can drive millions of miles and not need them (does that make one a fool for using them?) or have a wreck going around the block.... and be glad you were using them.


That or some of us have been towing trailers of various types and sizes for over 40 years and make our choices based on experience with and without WD. I have a Reese HP trunnion style and an Equalizer 4-point in the shed ready to use. I’ve always preferred a simple, short ballmount when possible.
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Huntindog
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TomG2

Central Illinois

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Posted: 12/06/20 05:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Forty years? I started out on the farm over fifty years ago and progressed through forty years in the construction business towing with everything from a tandem dump with a pintle hook to Ranger pickups hauling backhoe buckets on small trailers. Believe me, you know what sway is with a thousand pound backhoe bucket behind a Ranger. By the way, sway is not front end lightness but overloaded rear suspension. WD hitches are the first thing people go for when they have an overloaded tow vehicle, and they can help. Helps even more to get a tow vehicle rated to tow the load without any need for a band aid.

Having said that, if you "Think" you need a WD hitch, get one. Salesmen love them.

Vanished

Central PA

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Posted: 12/07/20 05:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the additional information... Just to follow up I did a ~60 mi 'test tow' with fuel in the trailer tank (30 gallon fuel tank behind axles) and my Indian Springfield loaded up in the rearward position. This lifted my truck by ~1/4" so I'm assuming about 1200lb-1300lb tongue weight (shows 1400lb on the website) and right around 10k lb total...

My impressions:
Sway - Almost non-existent.. we had some 15-20mph gusts and the trailer settled down immediately with no white knuckle moments. I tried some various speeds from 60-75mph and felt comfortable at 70mph the whole time... Bouncing - after hitting bridges/expansion joints the trailer would again settle down quickly... Overall I think the lack of sway and significant bounce made this tow very similar to my old setups with HD trucks with the WD/SC hitch...

Thanks Hannibal for the link.. This is exactly what I want! I have (& used) the 4" drop version of this for my test. And it looks like the front end is about 1.5" low or so (without firewood in truck bed) so this should level me out.. (also should tow even better!) Btw, truck was pretty much level now.. Thanks for the video as well - that was perfect for my situation/concerns!

I was going to drop a picture here but not sure how to play that game anymore (been a while) - so anyways, happy camping!


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mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 12/07/20 09:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There's no such thing as "almost non-existent" when it comes to sway.

"Sway, or sway not. There is no almost." -Jedi Master Yoda

What you experienced was NOT sway. Sway does not self-correct. It gets worse until you either jam on the trailer brakes, or the trailer decides to take the lead position in your "lashup."

A trailer will bobble in winds and on uneven road surfaces. Not sway.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

lenr

Indianapolis, IN

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Posted: 12/08/20 09:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My opinion--your may vary.
Safety is not black and white, yes or no, true or false--it is a great big gray zone where each has to find his/her comfortable zone. The truck rating is a guideline by engineers. It may not be safe 1 pound under and unsafe 1 pound over. My son never used WD or anti-sway with his F-350 dually crew cab long bed truck--you CAN'T make that truck sway. Then one day he hooked up a pole trailer and loaded it with scrap poles from a construction site. He was careful to put the shorter poles on top close to the front to increase hitch weight. Pulling out on the interstate he swayed across 3 lanes--thankfully no traffic. He got settled down and then swayed all the way to the right berm where he stopped. We now think that too much tongue weight contributed to the sway. Now he uses WD and anti-sway with his 6,000 lb. camping trailer. Using WD will return engineer designed weight to the front axle helping insure better steering which in turn will help move the rig to the safer end of the gray zone. I agree with above saying why not do all you can to prevent sway. Also very important--Ford anti-sway (and maybe others as well) is an emergency reaction by the truck AFTER it detects sway. You don't want the sway to start.

TomG2

Central Illinois

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Posted: 12/08/20 12:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

lenr wrote:

....snip.....put the shorter poles on top close to the front to increase hitch weight. Pulling out on the interstate he swayed across 3 lanes--thankfully no traffic. He got settled down and then swayed all the way to the right berm where he stopped. We now think that too much tongue weight contributed to the sway. .....snip.......


You think?

I was hauling a load of steel sheet piling on a beaver tail trailer behind a dump truck when I had to let up on the accelerator to maintain enough front tire contact for steering. A WD hitch was not available for that combination, but common sense and scales were. The guy gave us the piling, so I took more than I should have. That's the moral of that story. Anything can be overloaded.

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