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Old 05-14-2013, 08:52 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Langley. BC, Canada
Posts: 676
Balancing a WDH between axles

We're off to a CAT scale this weekend in an attempt to get our Reese dual cam setup dialed in correctly. I'm wondering if I need to balance the weight better between steer axle, drive axle and trailer axle, can I shift weight onto the trailer by tilting the bars down more or less?

I read this somewhere else once but am not sure if this really works? Our trailer has a tongue weight of just under 10% going by factory listed UVW and tongue weight and am not sure what the actual numbers will be. So I am wondering what to do if I need to shift weight on or off the trailer axles? Or can you to any extent? It's not very feasible to shift load around in our trailer either.


Gil & Deb & Dougal the Springer Spaniel
2014 KZ Spree 262RKS & Ford F250 supercab V10 4x4 LB
Langley, B.C.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Midland County, Texas
Posts: 2,751
Yeah, you change how much weight is distributed off the rear axle of the truck in two ways.

Changing the number of chain links on your chain is one way. You do that if you don't have about 50% of total tongue weight on the rear axle of the tow vehicle with the WD hitch adjusted. Loosening one chain length will put more weight on the rear axle. Tightening one length will take more weight off the rear axle.

Your goal is about 25% of total tongue weight distributed to the trailer axles, and another 25% distributed to the front axle of the tow vehicle, leaving about 50% of total tongue weight on the rear axle of the tow vehicle. You change the percentage of tongue weight being distributed to the front axle and trailer axles by adjusting the angle of the head of the WD hitch to the coupler on the trailer tongue.

If you don't have any rig weights yet, and you don't have a tongue weight scale to get total tongue weight, then you need three trips across the CAT scale:

1] total rig with WD spring bars tightened.
2] Total rig without the WD spring bars tightened
3] Tow vehicle (TV) only, no trailer.

Gross vehicle weight (GVW) is the weight on the two TV axles.

GVW with trailer without spring bars tightened
minus GVW TV only
Tongue weight

Difference in front axle weight, rear axle weight, and trailer axles weight, with and without the spring bars tightened, divided by tongue weight, = percentage of tongue weight distributed to the front and trailer axles and off the rear axle.


Tongue weight 650 pounds

Without spring bars:
Front 3040
Rear 3880
GVW 6920
trailer axle 3480
GCW 10,400

With spring bars:
Front 3280
Rear 3520
GVW 6900
trailer axle 3620
GCW 10,420

Ignore the 20# scale error

Front axle difference = 3280 - 3040 = 240 = 37% of tongue weight = too high.
Rear axle difference = 3880 – 3520 = 360 = 55% removed from rear axle, leaving 45% still on the rear axle = close to the 50% goal.
Trailer axles difference = 3620 – 3480 = 140 = 21.5% = a little bit too low.

So we need to adjust the angle of the hitch head (and ball) to the coupler to distribute less weight to the front axle and more to the trailer axles.

Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:27 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Langley. BC, Canada
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Thanks Smokey.

We were at a scale 2 weekends ago but I did not do a pass with the spring bars disconnected to get the tongue weight. I know the truck weight (and avail. payload) and trailer weight now at least. No tongue scale at home but I was thinking of using a bathroom scale using a 5x1 leverage method.

When I was at the scale, I adjusted the bar angle and number of links 3 times to get weight transferred onto the steer axle as on the first pass it showed weight being taken off instead of added. I had initially used the tape measure adjustment method but may not be that reliable? On the third pass I seemed to be getting what I thought was better weight transferred to the steer axle, but getting the bars on was not easy and I suspect I have overdone it. But without an actual tongue weight, I won't know the distribution of weight as well as the percentage of tongue to trailer weight.

The tongue percentage seems light based on the factory weights and I am hoping with propane tanks, battery and payload in the trailer that it ends up closer to the ideal 13%. Even with playing with number of chain links and angle of the shank head, the handling doesn't seem quite right which makes me wonder if the tongue weight is on the light side.

Interestingly, the scale shows that our truck has about 1,000 lbs less available payload than the door jamb shows. I have no idea why. I weighed it with just me and a full tank of gas. Also, the trailer has a lot less avail. payload than the stickered amount. It seems that there may be some things they don't include in the UVW like elec. stab. jacks and power awning? Definitely worthwhile going to a scale!
Gil & Deb & Dougal the Springer Spaniel
2014 KZ Spree 262RKS & Ford F250 supercab V10 4x4 LB
Langley, B.C.
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