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Old 12-11-2003, 03:59 PM
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Default hitch ball height

When looking for a hitch ball receiver, should getting one that keeps the trailer frame level the most important factor?
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Old 12-11-2003, 04:04 PM
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Default hitch ball height

YEs, it's important. When I bought my last boat with a trailer, I talked to a local hitch dealer who does all sorts of hitches. His advice was to have the top of the ball 18" from the ground with the truck on level ground. I did that while towing my boat, my buddy commented, "Are you sure you have a boat back there". I'm sure others will have there opinions.

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Old 12-11-2003, 04:04 PM
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Default hitch ball height

If your trailer has surge brakes, yes.
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Old 12-11-2003, 04:18 PM
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Default hitch ball height

Thanks. I've seen the 18" measurement for ball height before. Does that mean all trailers are pretty much the same height?
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Old 12-11-2003, 04:36 PM
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Default hitch ball height

For the most part your recreational trailers are 12" and 14" wheels with 3 or 4 inches of tire on them, plus springs, etc. They run around 18" for the most part. Keep in mind that the the trailer will add some tongue weight and lower the receiver a bit. Here's a free test. If you have a 200 lb tongue weight get someone you know that weighs 200 lbs to stand on the hitch. Compare this to the height of the trailer tongue while the trailer is level. If they are even, you are OK. If the trailer is 2" below the receiver, you need one of the hitches that has a 2" drop. If you err do it by going a little low. A traler guy told me not long ago that a little low was better than a little high.
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Old 12-11-2003, 07:29 PM
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Default hitch ball height

I depends on the size of the trailer. I have a E-Zloader trailer with dual axle and torsion suspension. It says right on the trailer that the the center line of the ball height on the tow vehicle should be 26". Very important with torsion suspension. This measurement also ends up with the frame of trailer parallel with ground. There is no one height that fits all trailers!

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Old 12-11-2003, 07:33 PM
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Default hitch ball height

The tongue needs to be high enough for rain water to drain out the boat.
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Old 12-11-2003, 08:15 PM
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Default hitch ball height

The tongue should also be high enough to take the wheel on and off of the jack.

My Ford Explorer Sport has a really saggy rear end so I'm going to be replacing the single-leaf springs with dual-leaf springs from a 4-door explorer. Supposedly this will lift up my rear end a bit.
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Old 12-11-2003, 08:35 PM
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Default hitch ball height

For the trailers that I've had; if you can wack your knee cap on it, it is the right height.


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Old 12-11-2003, 09:00 PM
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Default hitch ball height

the trailer itself should be level, no matter what the vehicle looks like.
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:11 PM
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Default hitch ball height

I would also suggest that a hitch ball receiver that has a load rating higher than the weight of your loaded trailer is critical. Level is nice, but having your boat when you get to the ramp is even nicer. I overlooked this fact when I bought a bigger boat and didn't realize that my old hitch ball receiver was under rated. Thank goodness for engineered safety factors.
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Old 12-12-2003, 05:06 AM
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Default hitch ball height

The idea of keeping the trailer level with tandom axles directly corelates to keeping equal weight distribution one front and rear tires. If you have the trailer to high in the front, it will cause the back tires to carry a higher percentage of the load. Therefore wearing them out much quicker than the front ones. I speak from experence. I wore out the front tires way before the backs. Flipped the reciever over, and it's much better now.
PS also if you have brakes it important to have that weight right.
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Old 12-12-2003, 06:13 AM
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Default hitch ball height

Snookman's terse response is actually the perfect one - the trailer needs to be level. If it's too low, the thing will dive when you brake. If it's too high, you will decrease your tongue weight and increase trailer sway. A level trailer is also much better for evenly distributed the load on tandem axles.
When it's all loaded, as long as the trailer is level, you are in good shape. This is the single most importatn factor. You obviously dont want to exceed any wieght ratings, whether it be your rear axle weight, receiver capacity, hitch capacity, etc. but you will put more strain on a hitch receiver if it's not level.
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Old 12-12-2003, 07:47 AM
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Default hitch ball height

scott: Next time get the load leveler air shocks with the trailer tow package - they will solve your problem. Adding the heavier springs will help. Adding heavier springs AND 90 lb Monroe air shocks will make you think you're a born again Southern Baptist.
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Old 12-12-2003, 07:50 AM
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Default hitch ball height

I have two:

1. Level for trailering.
2. High hitch because my boat sits at the boat yard so all I do is drop it in and take it out without really trailering it around. The high hitch allows my to wash the boat down after I take it out and all the water flows back through the scuppers. When I need to trailer it home, I switch to the level set up.

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Old 12-12-2003, 08:39 AM
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Default hitch ball height

NGLEO, you didn't mention the relative size of the boat when compaired to the tow vehicle. Everything that has been said about the trailer being level is important - if you're talking about a boat that is relatively large when compared to the vehicle. When I had my 25 1/2 ft Dusky, I was towing over 7000 lbs. It was very important for the trailer to sit level. Now, when towing my little skiff, that 600lb weight is so insignificant when compaired to the 4500lb truck that it doesn't matter if the ball is level, low, high or whatever.

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Old 12-12-2003, 08:51 AM
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Default hitch ball height

Garret has it right but I must add knee high to the draw bar. Now that hurts
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:42 AM
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Default hitch ball height

just be aware that even small changes in the
height of the ball have MAJOR effects on the
tongue-weight!!!....the higher it is, the more
you risking snaking and jackknifing, and the
lower you go, the more you risk bottoming out
and damaging vehicle and rig....your tongue
weight needs to be min 8%, but 10% makes a notic
eable improvement in handling....be certain that
whatever you do with the height (i favored a tad
down slant, given the very high level of both
the car and the trailer frame), you MEASURE the
tongue weight afterward (use a bathroom scale
with some wood blocking to distribute the weight
better).....some trailers can have the axle adj
usted as well, others allow the winch post to
be adjusted....thus, you can get it level and
to 10%, but it is an all day job......dan
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Old 12-12-2003, 04:48 PM
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Default hitch ball height

I have to disagree w/ Garett and mist-rest, just below the kneecap at the very top of the shin bone is where the hitch should hit. I've hit it so many times I have a permanent mark.
Tom
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Old 12-12-2003, 05:21 PM
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Default hitch ball height

alleydc, my boat, gear motor etc will weigh about 4500lbs. My truck's tow rating is 5000lbs. so it's a close match. I would say 95% of the time I will be towing 5 or 6 miles to the ramp so it might not be that critical to get everything perfect but I would like to know how to measure the tongue weight of my rig.
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