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1/2 Tons towing over 5000lbs without a WDH?

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1/2 Tons towing over 5000lbs without a WDH?

Old 12-03-2020, 07:00 PM
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Default 1/2 Tons towing over 5000lbs without a WDH?

These new 1/2 tons have impressive Max tow numbers, ďwhen properly equipped.Ē But I believe most, if not all of them have Class IV hitches with 5000lb limits, unless using a WDH.

Iíve never seen a WDH on a boat trailer, so Iíll just say MOST people donít use them.

Plenty of people are towing well over 5000lb boats using a 1/2 ton truck without using a WDH, and in most towing threads you can find people recommending other people buy a 1/2 ton truck to tow 7000lb, 8000lb, even 9/10,000lb boats with no mention of using a WDH.

Iím just wondering, do most people not realize they technically need to use a WDH with their 1/2 ton to tow over 5000lbs even if it has a 13,000lb Max tow rating, or do they know, but just donít care? Any liability risk there? Iím not even getting into payload capacity.

Iím planning on moving up to a 3/4 ton because my new boat is around 8500/9000lbs loaded on the trailer and figured Iíd ask if Iím missing something first.


Old 12-03-2020, 07:02 PM
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Technically in terms of what?

all the law cares about is axle weight ratings and tire ratings. Within that, knock yourself out. Itís literally all that legally matters. In that size class truck specifically.

Once you crack 10k gvwr or shift to towing for hire/commerce, things change in many cases. Private vehicles, not so much.
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post
Technically in terms of what?
The small print on the towing guides, the owners manuals and in some cases, the sticker right on the hitch.
Old 12-03-2020, 07:17 PM
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That number- 500lbs tongue weight/ 5000 lbs towing is based upon 10% tongue weight. My Ram hitch says 600lbs/6000lbs.
Many boats are not that tongue heavy due to engine in the rear, you can have a 7000lb boat with 490lbs of tongue weight (7%)

You can have a weight distribution on a boat trailer- they are out there. RV's and other trailers tend to use them more.
Old 12-03-2020, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Wicked Game View Post
The small print on the towing guides, the owners manuals and in some cases, the sticker right on the hitch.
meaningless. Other than the hitch. Literally.
Old 12-03-2020, 07:44 PM
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I actually have and use a WDH on my boat.
F-250 has 6klbs max hitch without WDH, and 12klbs with WDH.
Boat + trailer is around 13klbs.
By now it only takes me 5 minutes to get it hooked up, and it really makes for a smooth ride. 0 sag on the rear end, and the whole rig is very stable.
I have the bars (not chains) so backing up is no problem.
Old 12-03-2020, 07:47 PM
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Class IV
  1. Class IV hitches are weight carrying (WC) and weight distributing (WD) hitches depending on the vehicle and hitch specifications.
  2. Not all Class IV hitches are rated to be both. See the specific hitch for that information.
  3. Class IV hitches used as weight carrying are rated up to 10,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1000 lbs.
  4. Class IV hitches used for weight distributing are rated up to 14,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1400 lbs.
  5. A Class IV hitch usually has a 2" square receiver opening.
  6. A higher class drawbar does not increase the towing capacity of the hitch. To use this class of hitch for weight distribution requires a weight distribution system.
  7. Class IV hitches attach to the vehicle frame only.
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:18 PM
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ď Ford's F-150 towing selector provides all the towing capacities. The max trailer rating can only be achieved by conventional towing with a weight distribution hitch. Without a weight distribution hitch, the F-150 is limited to a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.Ē - https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2019/0...apacities.html

Maybe thatís a better example of what Iím trying to say, I had a newer F-150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost and Max tow rating was around 11,000 lbs if using a WDH but the hitch had a sticker on it clearly stating the same as the article above, only 5000lb max towing without using a WDH.


Old 12-03-2020, 09:50 PM
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WDH's are a necessity for campers and trailers that do not allow you to move weight around to allow proper tongue weight. Boats are easy to adjust on a trailer. Its the manufactures that are limiting you, be it a warranty or liability concern for them. In Florida and federally axle weights is what matters, tow ratings are merely a suggestion. Most likely this is the same for most states.
Old 12-04-2020, 12:11 AM
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Dropping a boat off a trailer with a weight distributing hitch would require you to unspring the bars first. When you put the boat back on the trailer, you'd have to re-spring the bars. That's a lot of work.

To spring or unspring a set of bars, you would have to crank up the trailer tongue very high--manually or with an electric tongue jack.

If you dropped the boat off a trailer into the water without releasing the bars, technically the vehicle's rear wheels could be not touching the ground. Or, little weight on the rear tires might cause you to spin up the boat ramp.

WDH's are best not used on boats. If you need one on a 1/2 ton truck, you need to go up to a 1 ton dually.
Old 12-04-2020, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Wicked Game View Post
ď Ford's F-150 towing selector provides all the towing capacities. The max trailer rating can only be achieved by conventional towing with a weight distribution hitch. Without a weight distribution hitch, the F-150 is limited to a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.Ē - https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2019/0...apacities.html

Maybe thatís a better example of what Iím trying to say, I had a newer F-150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost and Max tow rating was around 11,000 lbs if using a WDH but the hitch had a sticker on it clearly stating the same as the article above, only 5000lb max towing without using a WDH.
change out the hitch.

this one is rated for 1,000 tongue weight.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hit...leID=202033000

Last edited by autobaun70; 12-04-2020 at 05:31 AM.
Old 12-04-2020, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
Dropping a boat off a trailer with a weight distributing hitch would require you to unspring the bars first. When you put the boat back on the trailer, you'd have to re-spring the bars. That's a lot of work.

To spring or unspring a set of bars, you would have to crank up the trailer tongue very high--manually or with an electric tongue jack.

If you dropped the boat off a trailer into the water without releasing the bars, technically the vehicle's rear wheels could be not touching the ground. Or, little weight on the rear tires might cause you to spin up the boat ramp.

WDH's are best not used on boats. If you need one on a 1/2 ton truck, you need to go up to a 1 ton dually.
This statement is factually incorrect on so many levels.

The WDH does not lift the back of the vehicle. Thatís not how a WDH works.

springing or unspringing the bars when you load/splash the boat is complete nonsense.

I load and splash my boat about 30 times a year, not once have I done anything with the bars.
Old 12-04-2020, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by berrie View Post
This statement is factually incorrect on so many levels.

The WDH does not lift the back of the vehicle. Thatís not how a WDH works.

springing or unspringing the bars when you load/splash the boat is complete nonsense.

I load and splash my boat about 30 times a year, not once have I done anything with the bars.
While your experience is what it is, the guy above is not totally off base. A WDH hitch transfers weight from the tongue/rear axle of tow vehicle to the front axle of the tow vehicle. Properly set up, and UNDER LOAD, the tow vehicle squats both in the front and rear thereby maintaining a level tow rig and all the benefits therefrom. When the load is dumped, things change. The tongue weight changes significantly, but the connected bars are still sprung and attempting to transfer a load that is no longer present. Is this enough to completely lift the back of a truck...probably not, but it WILL reduce the weight on those rear tires vs the weight on them without the bars in place. This may or may not be enough to lose traction. With 4wd its a non issue. The image attached is an old ad gimmick, but it still illustrates the possibilities of the physics taken to extremes.

Old 12-04-2020, 09:55 AM
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OP - mind your business and live your life. I'll tow my boat however I want, and you tow yours however you want. No safety sermons required. Isn't that refreshing!


Old 12-04-2020, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by rcskywalker View Post
While your experience is what it is, the guy above is not totally off base. A WDH hitch transfers weight from the tongue/rear axle of tow vehicle to the front axle of the tow vehicle. Properly set up, and UNDER LOAD, the tow vehicle squats both in the front and rear thereby maintaining a level tow rig and all the benefits therefrom. When the load is dumped, things change. The tongue weight changes significantly, but the connected bars are still sprung and attempting to transfer a load that is no longer present. Is this enough to completely lift the back of a truck...probably not, but it WILL reduce the weight on those rear tires vs the weight on them without the bars in place. This may or may not be enough to lose traction. With 4wd its a non issue. The image attached is an old ad gimmick, but it still illustrates the possibilities of the physics taken to extremes.
You are under the assumption that the WDH lifts the back to counteract from squatting, which is an incorrect view.
The WDH (as far as its physical properties allow it to) extends the frame of the car into the trailer. As a result, any weight on the trailer hitch is "equally" distributed across both the front and rear axle, thus preventing squat, and that is clearly displayed in your picture. And yes, steel bends, flexes and thus doesn't make it quite as rigid as that sounds.
But when properly set up, the unloaded trailer will not impact the rear axle, and most certainly not lift it off the ground.
Old 12-04-2020, 11:15 AM
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Wicked Game, this comes up often and I've participated in these threads in the past. I don't have the interest to read every post or argue today so I'll just say.... your intuition, thoughts, assumptions, and understanding of it in your first post are correct. You can close the thread and move on now, or wait the F150 guys show up and it goes 10 pages.
Old 12-04-2020, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by berrie View Post
You are under the assumption that the WDH lifts the back to counteract from squatting, which is an incorrect view.
The WDH (as far as its physical properties allow it to) extends the frame of the car into the trailer. As a result, any weight on the trailer hitch is "equally" distributed across both the front and rear axle, thus preventing squat, and that is clearly displayed in your picture. And yes, steel bends, flexes and thus doesn't make it quite as rigid as that sounds.
But when properly set up, the unloaded trailer will not impact the rear axle, and most certainly not lift it off the ground.
I agree with you that the WDH hitch mimics an extension of the frame....but itís not an extension of a boxed frame beam. Itís a spring. The WDH bars are springs. As such they desire to return to their UNSPRUNG state which is the state they were in when you used a pry bar to place them on the spring perches or hook the chains before applying a load. Which is with the tongue jacked up and the rear of the truck jacked up with it. Then as the tongue jack is lowered, the weight is transferred from tongue jack to SPRINGS that transfer it to the frames of both vehicles.

The WDH bars or SPRINGS will always have the desire to return to their unsprung condition. The more pre-load you place on the WDH bars through the hitch head angle, perch location, or chain length, the more weight carrying (distributing) you get and the more power they have to ďliftĒ once the load is removed.

I fully agree that this ďliftĒ is not enough to raise a trucks wheels off the ground, but I have used WDH hitches to haul heavy rvs with maxed out half tons and the amount you have to jack up the tongue and rear of the truck to get enough preload to ultimately have a level truck is alarming.

Soooooo. As with all things....it depends. Lol.
Old 12-04-2020, 12:47 PM
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On the Equalizer hitch I had I always thought of the bars as levers, with the fulcrum point being the drive axle adding weight to the steer axle.
Old 12-04-2020, 07:43 PM
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You can get better hitches. I put a class V Curt on my Chevy which is rated for 17,000lbs and 2,400lbs tongue weight with or without weight distributing. It was 100% bolt on using the existing holes in the frame, but it's a far beefier hitch than what the truck came with. You still don't want to overload the springs though.

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