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Old 11-18-2013, 12:30 PM   #1
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W/D hitches

first time using a W/D hitch. what is the best way to set up these hitches for hauling. Should there be any tension at all when hooking the chains? should i be able to lift the hooks for the chains with my hand or should there be enough pressure to where i have to use the cheater bar/breaker bar/ handle?

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Old 11-19-2013, 02:14 AM   #2
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You want them tight and the ball mounted at the correct height. In the end the truck and trailer are both level. You will find that after coupling to the hitch, the tongue jack can be used to help preload the torsion bars. In other words crank on the jack to raise the tongue.

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Old 11-22-2013, 07:05 PM   #3
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Proper tension on the bars is that they are level when chained up. If you cant do this with chain links then the hitch head heeds to be adjusted. if you dont have instructions for your hitch, download some off the web. a properly set up wd hitch makes all the difference in the world.
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Old 11-25-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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As others have already said, there is no simple answer. Your hitch compensates for the weight of the trailer tongue on the tow vehicle, with the goal of making the TV as level as it was before adding the trailer. You put enough tension on the WD hitch to make that happen.

Basically you do a one time detailed measurement and adjustment to determine what is right for your rig. Thereafter you set it the same each time, unless there is a substantial change in trailer tongue weight due to a change in loading. It's a wide idea to re-check your hitch settings every year, or any time you make a big change in the load, e.g. adding a generator mount on the trailer tongue.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:52 PM   #5
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It is a somewhat complicated process when performed correctly. Follow this link to an excellent write-up for
how to properly set-up a W/D hitch.
I contacted the author asking permission to re-print it here, but was denied due to website copyrighting. So posting the link is the best option. I've had it bookmarked for several years.
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TBS-POPS View Post
Proper tension on the bars is that they are level when chained up.
That's true only for round bars. Trunion bars are a bit different. See the article in the link Ray posted for details.

Originally Posted by excerpt from Ray's link
Round style W/D bars should be parallel with trailer frame when these adjustments are complete... If W/D bars are not level with TT frame using a given number of chain links (5 minimum) or the trunnion bars are not slanted downward slightly, tilt w/d bars up or down with adjustment screw, washers, etc., (whatever method is employed on your hitch) and readjust as required, ...
If I try to make my Reese Strait-Line trunion bars parallel to the trailer tongue frame, I'll have way too much tension on the hitch.

On mine, I cannot snap the chain up with just my hand when the rig is level. I'm pretty strong for an old man, but not that strong. I usually use a cheater pipe about 9" long, then it's not very hard. But if the cheater pipe is not handy, then (after the coupler is connected) raising the tongue of the trailer and the rear end of the TV with the tongue jack will relieve the tension on the chain and snap bracket, and I can then snap it up with my hand without a cheater pipe.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:16 PM   #7
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I believe the OP is asking for how tight it should be at the actual time that you are hooking up, not set for travel. When I am hooking up I set the trailer to the ball, latch the coupler and than raise the trailer and truck with the jack just enough to lighten the suspension. This allows for easy setting of the chains, sometimes I do no need a cheater bar sometimes I do, depends on the angle of the trailer and levelness of the campground. After the chains are set lower it all down pull the chocks and hit the road.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:47 AM   #8
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The OP should be looking at the front wheel well measurement. Before attaching the coupler measure the front wheel well. Hook up the TT and set the WD. You want the front to be as close to the unhitched number as possible. Spring bar tension is irrelevant. They may be real tight or just snug. It depends on what truck/SUV you are using and how much of the spring bars rating is needed to achieve the proper weight transfer.

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