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Old 07-27-2012, 10:02 PM   #1
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stress on trailer tongue ?

How much stress does a weight distribution hitch put on the trailer tongue ?
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:48 AM   #2
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I have hooked up and installed many WDH over the years and hence the name my thoughts are they cause less stress because it puts more weight on the front wheels of the TV and levels the unit so I would say less stress I would like to hear what others think on this idea too I never got into the techinal side of it.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:07 AM   #3
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A lot?
More than if the coupler was just resting on the ball?

With the weight distributing arms in place (assuming proper ball height and properly sized arms), the trailer frame, especially the forward sections of it, are acting as a giant lever which is twisting the ball mount with enough force to lower the front of the tow vehicle. To twist the ball mount with enough force to be effective (transferring the loads as expected), HUGE loads (stress!) are imposed on the ball mount and coupler. Those forces imposed on the coupler are transferred directly to the trailer frame, especially the forward sections of it. As you move back along the frame, the amount of leverage increases, decreasing the stress.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightriderrv View Post
I have hooked up and installed many WDH over the years and hence the name my thoughts are they cause less stress because it puts more weight on the front wheels of the TV and levels the unit so I would say less stress I would like to hear what others think on this idea too I never got into the techinal side of it.
It has to put some stress on it, because it uses the tongue as a anchor point to allow the spring bars to act as a lever to lift the back of truck up. But how much stress I don't know.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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There are stresses put on the frame as ahicks describes. To determine the stresses, an engineering calc would have to be performed. Variables as type of WD hitch, amount of force applied by the WD hitch adjustments, etc. As an engineer, I've conisdered this very issue.

WD hitches are not a new fad. Therefore, one would hope enough evidence of structural integrity should exist with the manufacturers of the hitches. However, other factors would play into the equation for each application.

For example, differing trailer frame member types would have an effect. Some TT's use rectangular tube, other's use c-channels. Some are aluminum, some are steel. Even within the materials there are variations; e.g. differing aluminum types used.

Because of all the differences whereby a manufacturer of WD distribution hitches wouldn't have access to all of the variable conditions. One can only assume that the stresses - when the correct WD hitch is installed for the ratings of the trailer capacities - are acceptable.

Since trailers are manufactured with GVWR's imposed, and since tongue weight ranges are an industry standard - between 10% and 15% of the trailers GVWR - I would assume WD hitch manufacturers take this all into account when rating their hitch assembly capacities.

So, yes there are stresses imposed. Might they cause damage if the wrong WD hitch size were chosen? Perhaps. The way to find out is to perform a stress analysis of the exact configuration of your system. OR... obtain the generic analysis done from the WD hitch mfr. - which they will not provide you.

Not much help, huh? Sorry...
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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BTW - The force applied by a WD system not only distributes the weights from the rear axle of the tow vehicle to the front axle but it also transfers weight back to the axles of the trailer's axles. Once installed, you can then have your unit weighed at a scale to determine what the final loads to each axle is. Confirming that you haven't overloaded any of the axle capacities would be a good thing.
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