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Can someone explain a weight distribution hitch to me?

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Can someone explain a weight distribution hitch to me?

Old 05-26-2015, 09:29 AM
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Default Can someone explain a weight distribution hitch to me?

I have only towed boat trailers, enclosed trailers and equipments trailers all of which have only weighed a couple thousand pounds at most when empty. Boat trailer weighs 9,600 lbs when loaded and I have never used or seen a weight distribution hitch used in this type of application. My father had a land clearing business and we would tow heavy equipment trailers with bulldozers and front end loaders with tandem axle or tri axle dump trucks with a pintel type hitch. I have heard of them and believe they are more common with the RV crowd, can someone explain what they are used for and why they would need them? From the ones I have seen, it looks like a big ball ( 2 5/8 ) with a very small ball ( 1" or smaller? ) next to it.

Not trying to be a smart ass, just know there are alot of people on here that have more technical towing experience than I have that also tow RV trailers. Just trying to satisfy my curiousity and gain a little practical knowledge.
Old 05-26-2015, 09:34 AM
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I have an equal-i-zer WD hitch for my truck. It works with surge breaks. It lifts some of the weight off of the rear axle and puts it back on the front. The difference towing is night and day. The trailer does not push the truck around as much as when not using the WD hitch. Breaking feels more stable and there is no trailer sway.

With that said it cost me $600 for the setup so if I was just towing across the street I would not have done it.
Old 05-26-2015, 09:49 AM
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I can understand your point, but I'm asking how is this accomplished? What are the mechanics of the weight distribution hitch that does this? As I said, it just looks like a normal size ball with a smaller one beside it.....how exactly does it redistribute the weight to remove it from the rear axle?
Old 05-26-2015, 10:15 AM
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There is more to a WD Hitch than two different size balls.

The weight transfer from the tow vehicle's rear axle to its front axle is accomplished by means of two spring bars. These are part of the WD Hitch system. The extend from the tow vehicle coupler rearward at an angle.

It is easiest to think of these spring bars as being similar to wheelbarrow handles for the tow vehicle. Lifting up on the spring bars takes weight off of the rear axle and adds it to the front axle. Chains are attached between the trailer frame and the ends of the spring bars to provide the upward force.

That is a VERY brief explanation of how it works.

BTW the smaller ball often seen on WD Hitches is for a sway control setup.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:47 AM
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There are different styles of WD hitches, too.
Equalizer (the brand made in Utah) uses brackets (instead of chains) and the bars from the hitch to the brackets also provide sway control. With the chain set up, you need and additional cylinder that dampens and provides sway control.
The Equalizer is a bit noisier, as the bars slide along the brackets, but you get WD and sway control in one set up.
Old 05-26-2015, 10:56 AM
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Thank you, simple explanation, but it allows me to see the principles involved.
Old 05-26-2015, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by runabout View Post
I can understand your point, but I'm asking how is this accomplished? What are the mechanics of the weight distribution hitch that does this? As I said, it just looks like a normal size ball with a smaller one beside it.....how exactly does it redistribute the weight to remove it from the rear axle?
It basically lifts the rear end on to a bracket attached to the trailer via torsion bar. .

You can figure out how it works from this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wb-liD6cJM
Old 05-26-2015, 01:41 PM
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I think RV's generally have more tongue weight therefore need WD hitch. That being said, I've seen a lot of disclaimers from vehicle makers stating use of WD hitch required over x number of pounds but you rarely see them with boats. I had an older buddy that used one on his suburban when towing his 27' shamrock.
Old 05-26-2015, 03:12 PM
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Out of all the boat trailers I have ever seen at the boat ramp, it's been thousands. I have seen exactly 2 boat trailers equipped with a WD hitch, both where northern tagged trailers and I know one was a large cabin boat.

I'm not sure anyone makes a marine WD hitch that is catered to boat trailers, however some types are easily adapted. Tongue weight on a boat trailer is fairly adjustable and in most cases changed without touching the axles, which helps make a WD hitch not needed. However like anything some people feel they need one.
Old 05-26-2015, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Lifegoeson View Post
Out of all the boat trailers I have ever seen at the boat ramp, it's been thousands. I have seen exactly 2 boat trailers equipped with a WD hitch, both where northern tagged trailers and I know one was a large cabin boat.

I'm not sure anyone makes a marine WD hitch that is catered to boat trailers, however some types are easily adapted. Tongue weight on a boat trailer is fairly adjustable and in most cases changed without touching the axles, which helps make a WD hitch not needed. However like anything some people feel they need one.
I've got a Nissan Armada with the Tow Package. Specs say without a WDH tongue weight should be no more that 600 lbs with a total weight of 6000 lbs (900/9000 with the WDH). My new bay boat should be no more than 500 lbs fully loaded. I didn't like the way the back of my truck was sagging even with the self leveling shocks. I got a WDH just to be safe since I pull it a couple of times a year down to the keys (750 miles round trip). Got the Curt Weight Distribution System - Round Bar - 8,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW. It supports surge breaks.

It was well worth the 200 bucks for the piece of mind. The truck now sits "almost" level and definitely handles better.
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:37 PM
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And the small ball offset to the side isn't part of an equalizing hitch. It is used to attach a bar with what essentially a shock absorbed to dampen out side to side sway.
Old 05-27-2015, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BahrTender View Post
I've got a Nissan Armada with the Tow Package. Specs say without a WDH tongue weight should be no more that 600 lbs with a total weight of 6000 lbs (900/9000 with the WDH). My new bay boat should be no more than 500 lbs fully loaded. I didn't like the way the back of my truck was sagging even with the self leveling shocks. I got a WDH just to be safe since I pull it a couple of times a year down to the keys (750 miles round trip). Got the Curt Weight Distribution System - Round Bar - 8,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW. It supports surge breaks.

It was well worth the 200 bucks for the piece of mind. The truck now sits "almost" level and definitely handles better.
Do your surge breaks work with that setup?
Old 05-27-2015, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by agallant80 View Post
Do your surge breaks work with that setup?
They advertise that the model supports surge breaks. And they do. The chains don't have the ability to stop the force behind the weight of the boat when you break or accelerate. There is "swing" built into the system.

So far I've had good luck with it.

But you must know it's a pain in the ass to set up every time you want to use it.
Old 05-27-2015, 03:06 PM
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More and more vehicle manufacturers are requiring these type of hitches. For instance, the big Toyota Tundra is listed with a tow capacity of over 10,000 lbs. Read the fine print in the owner's manual and you'll find that anything over 5,000 lbs Toyota REQUIRES a WD hitch. And they're not the only company requiring them over 5k now.
Old 05-27-2015, 03:32 PM
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A WD hitch attempts to make the frames of truck and trailer into one frame with articulation at the ball.
That is how weight gets "redistributed".
Old 05-27-2015, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BahrTender View Post
I've got a Nissan Armada with the Tow Package. Specs say without a WDH tongue weight should be no more that 600 lbs with a total weight of 6000 lbs (900/9000 with the WDH). My new bay boat should be no more than 500 lbs fully loaded. I didn't like the way the back of my truck was sagging even with the self leveling shocks. I got a WDH just to be safe since I pull it a couple of times a year down to the keys (750 miles round trip). Got the Curt Weight Distribution System - Round Bar - 8,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW. It supports surge breaks.

It was well worth the 200 bucks for the piece of mind. The truck now sits "almost" level and definitely handles better.
What is that plate coming off the top of stationary portion of coupler and going down to the frame?
Just a stepping spot?
P.S.
I think I would be utilizing that third hole in the actuator through the frame like those two in front of it.
Old 05-27-2015, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BCPD199 View Post
More and more vehicle manufacturers are requiring these type of hitches. For instance, the big Toyota Tundra is listed with a tow capacity of over 10,000 lbs. Read the fine print in the owner's manual and you'll find that anything over 5,000 lbs Toyota REQUIRES a WD hitch. And they're not the only company requiring them over 5k now.
Everyone does. Even my 2013 2500 Duramax Diesel said in the manual and had a sticker on the hitch saying weigh carrying up to 5,000 over 5,000 requires weight distribution. No one listens to it or thinks it applys to their situation but its in the manual.

In my case it bakes a big difference. I don't bother with it if going a few miles but for example this weekend we are going 110 miles down to the coast and the WD hitch will be on the truck.
Old 05-27-2015, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DoubleO7 View Post
What is that plate coming off the top of stationary portion of coupler and going down to the frame?
Just a stepping spot?
P.S.
I think I would be utilizing that third hole in the actuator through the frame like those two in front of it.
I really don't know if there's a function for that plate. I do use it to step on though.
Old 05-27-2015, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BCPD199 View Post
More and more vehicle manufacturers are requiring these type of hitches. For instance, the big Toyota Tundra is listed with a tow capacity of over 10,000 lbs. Read the fine print in the owner's manual and you'll find that anything over 5,000 lbs Toyota REQUIRES a WD hitch. And they're not the only company requiring them over 5k now.
After reading this i had to get my book out. 07 Tundra. 10300lbs *2 ( with tow package). Pg570. No reference to a distribution hitch.
Old 05-28-2015, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Thalasso View Post
After reading this i had to get my book out. 07 Tundra. 10300lbs *2 ( with tow package). Pg570. No reference to a distribution hitch.
From Page 482 accessed at http://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/docum...3U/pdf/3_1.pdf

If the gross trailer weight is over 2268 kg (5000 lbs), it is necessary to use a weight distributing hitch with sufficient capacity.
And it's not even in fine print. It's in a big yellow caution box taking up 1/3 of the page. My suburban has a sticker right near the receiver's 2" opening. My owners' manual has an entire section that talks about WDH. When you buy aftermarket receivers (unless you're talking about the really wimpy ones) there is usually a "dead weight" rating and a separate "weight distributing" rating. The trailering industry makes no attempts to hide the wdh requirements, which makes it even more puzzling why only very few boat trailers are using them.

The "best" excuses I've heard for not needing WDH is because "there are no hills down here" and "it's for a boat." Really? I didn't know WDH were rated by how hilly the terrain is and that they exempt boat trailers from WDH requirements. Who knew...;?

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