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Old 05-16-2011, 07:25 PM   #1
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weight distribution hitch size?

I found several weight distribution hitches on E-Bay and Craigs list that are at a much lower price than JC Whitney. I know one ad said one size fits all. Is this correct and if not what size do I need. I'm towing a 3500# trailer with a Kia Sedona minivan. I do plan on upgrading my tow vehicle but want to limp through one season as safely as possible.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decodancer View Post
I found several weight distribution hitches on E-Bay and Craigs list that are at a much lower price than JC Whitney. I know one ad said one size fits all. Is this correct and if not what size do I need. I'm towing a 3500# trailer with a Kia Sedona minivan. I do plan on upgrading my tow vehicle but want to limp through one season as safely as possible.
As far as one size fits all is probably correct - provided you have a source for steel plate, angle and tube stock. Then you need welding skills along with a welder.

Hitches are one more item to not go cheap on - and JC Whitney IS NOT cheap as you have found out. Buy a dedicated hitch for your car. It will be less expensive in the long run. Many RV supply companies offer them, occasionally with shipping thrown in as well. Locally, U-Haul sells a pretty good hitch as well. Just remember - you need a weight distribution hitch, lift bars, a 2-5/16" ball, a receiver plug and possibly a drop head as well. Your local guy may be your best bet
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:16 PM   #3
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I already have the hitch installed on my van, pulled the trailer home already. Just want to add the weight distribution part to make it easier for my tow vehicle. I have a 2 5/16 ball, does that matter?
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:19 PM   #4
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As noted, there are two things to not go cheap on...a W/D hitch with sway control and a brake controller. You have to be able to keep the trailer under control as well as STOP it.

Have you looked for an Equal-i-zer hitch?
Equal-i-zerģ Hitch - The “American Original” with 4-Point Sway Controlô and Weight Distribution

Ken
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:43 PM   #5
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OK, I'm confused but know I'm in the right place to get answers. Does this unit replace the hitch already on my van or does it work in conjunction with? If it works with the current one, do I have to get a certain size? I have a Curt class lll hitch bought from JC Whitney to fit my specific vehicle.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:40 PM   #6
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decodancer,
 
The term "hitch" can refer either to the frame unit on your tow vehicle (TV) that ends in the square tube that comes out the back, or the mechanism that slides into that tube that provides a ball and maybe an equalizing system, or the frame at the front of the trailer that attaches to the ball. Thatís why itís so confusing.
 
Are you sure you need a weight distribution (WD) hitch? What does your Kiaís manual say about it? A 3500 pound trailer isnít that heavy and a WD hitch may not be required. How big is the receiver on your Kia? If itís smaller than 2" square, you may not be able to use most WD hitches.
 
Was the hitch on your TV installed as a factory option? Was it installed as a dealer-installed option? Or was it something that was available from an aftermarket supplier (J.C. Whitney)? If your Kia didnít come with a factory-installed tow package, you may not be able to tow with it at all.
 
Your Kiaís manual should have information on towing capacities. If it doesnít, consult a Kia dealer. If there is no information available itís possible that your Kia is not "certified" for towing. If the information is available, it should tell you the limit weight, as well as the weight at which you will need a WD hitch.
 
Also, your 2-5/16" ball sounds too big to fit your trailer. Does it fit? Most 3500 pound trailers come with either a 2" or a 1-7/8" ball. THE REQUIRED BALL SIZE SHOULD BE STAMPED PERMANENTLY ONTO THE TRAILERíS HITCH! DONíT USE ANY OTHER SIZE! Donít trust anyone who tells you what size ball it takes. If you canít find any permanent markings on the trailer ball coupler, consult an expert. Do not use the wrong size ball.
 
It seems to me that you ought to be able to tow a 3500 pound trailer with your minivan. Be sure you do your homework and understand what your Kia is capable of, though. Either your Kia dealer or your RV dealer ought to be able to help you. Unless someone on these forums drives a Kia Sedona minivan you may not get informed help here.
 
Good luck,
Ė Loren
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:18 PM   #7
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The hitch receiver is the part mounted on the van. It has a big square tube hanging down under the rear bumper. The hitch head and W/D system plugs into this.

Ken
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:02 PM   #8
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Finally!!! The answer I was looking for. I'm no dummy but more the artistic type, not mechanically inclined at all. The Kia is rated for 3500 pounds, 350 hitch. The trailer was advertised as 2550 pounds but weighed in at 3560 at the scale (unhitched from the car) after I bought it. I'm trying to find ways to get the weight down a bit. The Kia pulls it fine though, didn't notice any sway even when a truck passed but I knew the trailer was there when we went up a long incline. The hitch is an aftermarket class lll made to fit my vehicle. 2 inch square receiver. I will check the ball size, the previous owner told me what to buy and it appears to fit. It was suggested that I add the WD hitch and transmission cooler to make it easier on the van. I want to do some serious long distance traveling and would love to keep the setup I have now. Not only moneywise but the van runs perfectly and is comfortable to drive. I plan on avoiding interstates and mountains but don't want the tranny to go out 1000 miles from home. Thanks for taking the time to help. Kathleen
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decodancer View Post
OK, I'm confused but know I'm in the right place to get answers. Does this unit replace the hitch already on my van or does it work in conjunction with? If it works with the current one, do I have to get a certain size? I have a Curt class lll hitch bought from JC Whitney to fit my specific vehicle.
Let's start with the assumption that the hitch receiver mounted on your van is the Curt class 3 you mention. That is rated for a 5000 pound towed load and 500 pound tongue weight, and will be adequate for your trailer unless the tongue weight exceeds 500. If it does, you should move up to a class 4 hitch receiver, if there is such an animal for a Kia Sedona.

You now need the weight distributing hitch system, which will include a ball head, spring bars, tongue brackets, and possibly a sway control. With your vehicle I would strongly suggest the sway control.

Since you obviously are not very knowledgeable about these things, your best source would be a local hitch specialist. You know what size ball you need, but spring bars come in different ratings for different weight trailers, so you need to make sure you have at least the minimum rated springs for your trailer weight/tongue weight.

JP
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:03 PM   #10
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Finally!!! The Kia is rated for 3500 pounds, 350 hitch. The trailer was advertised as 2550 pounds but weighed in at 3560 at the scale (unhitched from the car) after I bought it.
I'm somewhat amazed that the 'advertised' weight was so inaccurate. Not that is was inaccurate, but the amount of the inaccuracy. By the way, when you say 'advertised' what are referring to?......dry weight in brochure, etc OR marked weight on trailer as weighed by mfg?
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:22 AM   #11
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2550 is stamped on the metal label on the trailer itself. The seller pointed it out when I commented that the advertised weight seemed low. I did not notice what the letters next to it were, just assumed dry weight. I have recently purchased a Ford Explorer rated to tow 5000 pounds to pull the camper. My poor Kia did a good job but I didn't want to destroy the tranny.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:19 PM   #12
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Well, now you get to start all over again with the Explorer. Does it have the factory tow package--evidenced by the receiver hitch and the electric connections on the Ex? Have you looked into a brake controller--you need to be able to use the trailer brakes? Figuring all this out, you are ready for the WD hitch--you need the head and ball (fits into the receiver), spring bars, brackets for the trailer tongue and a sway bar. From the sounds of your posts, I feel you would be well-served by locating a reputable hitch store/service center and have them fix you up.
Hope you get it set up to pull/stop correctly--it will be fun when it tows ok, not fun if something isn't right.
Joe
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:23 AM   #13
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You are so right, I am starting over but have a few advantages. My mechanic insisted I get a brake controller for the Kia considering the weight of the trailer so that is being transferred into the Explorer. I can also use most of the wiring. The Explorer has a bumper hitch but even I know that is not going to work so a Class III hitch has been ordered. I'm not sure if I really need a WD hitch but will get one if the experts say to. I would also like a better mirrror option other than the strap on job I have now but I can use that for a while.
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