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Old 08-22-2019, 12:58 PM   #1
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Vehicles that are incompatible with weight distribution hitch

We recently purchased a bigger TT to replace the old one (which is near the max GVWR), and with the recommendation from the RV dealer, we bought a weight distribution system.

Our tow vehicle is a 2019 Subaru Ascent, and I discovered after the fact that this vehicle is incompatible with any weight distribution system (says right in the owner's manual).

I think in general people recommend WDS without knowing the tow vehicle, and I learned my lesson the hard way. So I want to ask: what are the some other vehicles that the manufacturers state NOT to install any weight distribution system?

I'm also curious if this is the trend that modern car manufacturers are going for? Should I sell my WDS, or keep it in case our next vehicle will require one?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:09 PM   #2
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I don’t believe many unibody vehicles allow, permit, the use of WDH.
Just looked up our 2011 Buick Enclave and it can use a WDH.

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Old 08-22-2019, 01:12 PM   #3
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I donít believe any unibody construction vehicle is actually recommended to use a WDH. Just my opinion.

Terry
I know very little about these things. Are most SUV's (like the Ascent) unibody construction, and pickup trucks are the ones that takes WDS?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kcirick View Post
I know very little about these things. Are most SUV's (like the Ascent) unibody construction, and pickup trucks are the ones that takes WDS?
I believe that is a correct assumption.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:32 PM   #5
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Vehicles with a unibody instead of a body-on-frame should never use a WD hitch. They can't handle the torque. They will break apart under the stresses. Vehicles that have tow ratings of 5,000 pounds and under don't really have a need for weight distribution. There just isn't enough front end lift to matter in most cases. Sure, there are some WD hitches for such light loads, but you probably don't need one.



Weight distribution exists because of the physics of heavy tongue weights behind the rear axle. That axle acts like a fulcrum and lifts up on the front end as more weight is put on the rear. Eventually, you lift up so much that the front tires can't control the vehicle. Obviously that's bad, so the weight distribution torques the hitch to counter some of that front end lift.


Aren't all Subarus unibodies? That's why it's incompatible with a WD hitch. The stresses would rip apart the unibody.



I'd toss the WD system in a closet somewhere, or post it on Craig's List. You'll lose about half of the purchase price, but that's better than nothing right?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:34 PM   #6
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It is difficult enough to keep up with trucks let alone all the SUV's. I don't know which SUV's can not use a WD hitch.

Saying that, I used a WD hitch with uni-body Honda Ridgeline. Maybe I should have read all the towing restrictions. I am sure there was a myriad of them.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:35 PM   #7
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I know very little about these things. Are most SUV's (like the Ascent) unibody construction, and pickup trucks are the ones that takes WDS?
I noticed on another thread you started, you said your Ascent was rated to tow up to 5,000#. The Ascent is rated to tow between 2,000# to 5,000#. Does your ascent have whatever equipment is required to have the 5,000# tow rating?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:51 PM   #8
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Yes, I posted a thread a while ago when we were looking for a new TT. There too, people suggested WDS, and I failed to do my homework.

Yes, I have a limited edition with tow package, which is rated for 5000lbs, and tongue weight of 500lbs.

I guess I'll put my WDS system up for sale. I just wish I did my homework and didn't give into the sales pitch at the RV dealer.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:53 PM   #9
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It is difficult enough to keep up with trucks let alone all the SUV's. I don't know which SUV's can not use a WD hitch.

Saying that, I used a WD hitch with uni-body Honda Ridgeline. Maybe I should have read all the towing restrictions. I am sure there was a myriad of them.
I can't think of a new small SUV that isn't unibody. Everyone wanted the smoother ride when hauling the family around. The old Pathfinder is one that comes to mind that was body on frame. All the full size SUV still use body on frame to my knowledge.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:55 PM   #10
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Yes, I posted a thread a while ago when we were looking for a new TT. There too, people suggested WDS, and I failed to do my homework.

Yes, I have a limited edition with tow package, which is rated for 5000lbs, and tongue weight of 500lbs.

I guess I'll put my WDS system up for sale. I just wish I did my homework and didn't give into the sales pitch at the RV dealer.
Did you end up buying a larger trailer already?
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:13 PM   #11
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Did you end up buying a larger trailer already?
Yes, we considered all options, and got a trailer that is still within the parameters (barely) of what Subaru says it can tow. I know it makes everyone here nervous pulling a trailer near the limit, but getting a truck wasn't practical for us.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:28 PM   #12
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Yes, we considered all options, and got a trailer that is still within the parameters (barely) of what Subaru says it can tow. I know it makes everyone here nervous pulling a trailer near the limit, but getting a truck wasn't practical for us.
Understandable. Do you have some sort of sway control in place even though you can't use a WD hitch?
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:34 PM   #13
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The only rule of thumb is that not all unibody vehicles allow the use of a WDH*. Off the top of my head, the current generation Nissan Pathfinder and Land Rover Discovery are unibodies which allow the use of a WDH. (And, IIRC, the Dodge Durango and Mercedes GLS are also in the unibody and WDH club.)



*Actually, the rule of thumb is that sales folks lie like rugs and you should read the manufacturer's towing guide before you sign on the dotted line.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:49 PM   #14
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Rather than sell the WDH it would be best to change out the Forester for a Toyota 4Runner - a small SUV that's still a body on frame SUV. I know you'd rather not. But....

PS. The not available yet Ford Bronco SUV will be based on the Ford Frontier pickup and it will be body on frame when it finally gets released for sale.
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