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Old 09-23-2015, 08:58 AM   #1
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Post What trailer receiver/hitch for my 2002 Winnebago Chieftain ?

Hello guys,

Do you have a suggestion about what kind of trailer receiver/hitch/whatever should i purchase for my Motorhome so I can tow a proper trailer?

The motorhome model is 2002 Winnebago Chieftain, 12m/39' in length and about 10000kgs/22000lbs of weight.

Here is the hitch (it is a 5.3cm x 5.3cm / 2'' x 2'' - measured):


Here are some better photos showing the receiver slot and rear end of the motorhome:
Album
As you can see, the rear is pretty long and it really makes large arc when turning, which (I'm guessing) will probably affect something.

What i plan to tow using this:
- 2000 kgs (4400 lbs) trailer with 2 horses
- Some bike mount

I live in europe so I am not really into the american standards of towing, so could you guys suggest something ?
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:36 PM   #2
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Looks as if I posted the question in wrong section...
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by LoneTux View Post
Hello guys,

Do you have a suggestion about what kind of trailer receiver/hitch/whatever should i purchase for my Motorhome so I can tow a proper trailer?... What i plan to tow using this:
- 2000 kgs (4400 lbs) trailer with 2 horses
- Some bike mount
Prices mentioned below are all in US dollars.

A decent 2-horse trailer will have GVWR of 7,000 pounds and will gross 6,000 to 7,000 when loaded with two horses, tack, feed and water for the horse(s). Your number of 4,400 is apparently the empty weight of the trailer. You want a minimum of 10% of gross trailer weight on the ball (tongue weight), and average is about 12.5%. So estimate tongue weight at 12.5% of 7,000 pounds, or 875 pounds.

So you need a weight-distributing hitch with tongue weight capacity of at least 875 pounds.

Your Valley receiver is an aftermarket receiver, probably not an option from Winnebago. So you probably cannot get the specs for the receiver from Winnebago. So crawl under the back of the MH and look closely at the frame of the receiver, looking for a sticker or embossment or stamped area with weight limits. It should say something like "500/5,000 WC, 1,000/10.000 WD". That means the tongue weight limit is 500 pounds with a weight-carrying (WC) ball mount, or 1,000 pounds tongue weight with a weight-distributing (WD) hitch. If the weight specs are stamped into the metal, then painted over, you may have to use a powerful flashlight to read the stamped iofo.

If your receiver doesn't have at least 875 pounds max tongue weight with a WD hitch, then you shouldn't tow a two-horse trailer with that receiver. You can try to find a heavier-duty receiver to replace your Valley, but with a quick search I don't see any for a motorhome that have that much weight capacity.
For example, for a motorhome, eTrailer.com sells a Hidden Hitch that has: 6,000 lbs GTW, 750 TW with weight distribution
https://www.etrailer.com/Specialty-T...tch/82200.html

Because your hitch will be several feet from the rear axle, don't even think about trying to tow a two-horse trailer without a WD hitch. So in that vein, pay attention when you shop for a two-horse trailer. If it has a V-nose or U-nose, be certain that you can install a WD hitch on the trailer tongue. (My daughter bought a U-nose 2-horse trailer that would not allow installation of a WD hitch without doing some extensive body work to the front of the trailer.)

WD hitches come is three prices levels. Cheap ones are available for less than $600. If you value your horses, you don't want one of those.

Good ones with excellent sway control and complete with adjustable shank list for around $1,000 and you can buy them online for between $600 and $700. I prefer the Reese Strait-Line Trunnion Bar hitch, and others prefer the Equal-I-Zer. Husky made the excellent CenterLine, but have now "improved" it with a cheaper price and new name CenterLine TS, so I don't yet recommend those.

Then if you insist on the absolute best, you want a ProPride 3P, or its ancestor the Hensley Arrow. A ProPride lists for $2,345, and I've never seen a new one on sale for less than $2,000 USD,
Trailer Sway Control Hitch Guaranteed to Eliminate Trailer Sway - ProPride 3P
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
A decent 2-horse trailer will have GVWR of 7,000 pounds and will gross 6,000 to 7,000 when loaded with two horses
Sorry, i forgot to add - you have based your assumption on my incorrect data.

European 2-horse trailers (small ones) are rated exactly 2000kgs/4400lbs - that is the total mass including the horses.

I don't know what kind of trailers do they make in the US, but (well...) they make everything smaller in Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Your Valley receiver is an aftermarket receiver, probably not an option from Winnebago. So you probably cannot get the specs for the receiver from Winnebago. So crawl under the back of the MH and look closely at the frame of the receiver, looking for a sticker or embossment or stamped area with weight limits. It should say something like "500/5,000 WC, 1,000/10.000 WD".
I have just realized i had the operation manual of the hitch somewhere...

I will find it and write here.

EDIT:
This is the kind of horse trailer I am talking about. It has exactly 4400lbs total mass(with cargo):

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Old 09-23-2015, 07:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
....Your Valley receiver is an aftermarket receiver, probably not an option from Winnebago...[/url]
I have the same factory supplied Valley hitch on my 2006 Itasca (Winnebago). It's both bolted and welded on the frame. It's rated for 5,000 pounds tow and 500 pounds dead (tongue) weight. It's not rated for a weight distributing hitch.
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Old 09-24-2015, 02:36 AM   #6
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I have the same factory supplied Valley hitch on my 2006 Itasca (Winnebago). It's both bolted and welded on the frame. It's rated for 5,000 pounds tow and 500 pounds dead (tongue) weight. It's not rated for a weight distributing hitch.
You are correct, I have found the specs of my towing hitch:


The manufacturer is Valley, not Winnebago but It is clearly welded into the frame.

Also I noticed that Winnebago does not specify GCWR in their brochures when they don't install towing hitches and mine has GCWR of 26000 lbs, so it had to be factory-installed.

As you can see, the hitch is rated for 5000/500 lbs, but my Winnebago's GVWR is only 22000lbs, which makes the maximum weight of towable trailer 4000lbs ? (GCWR[26000] - GVWR[22000] = 4000 lbs).

Am I doing this right ?
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Old 09-24-2015, 02:46 AM   #7
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Because your hitch will be several feet from the rear axle, don't even think about trying to tow a two-horse trailer without a WD hitch. So in that vein, pay attention when you shop for a two-horse trailer. If it has a V-nose or U-nose, be certain that you can install a WD hitch on the trailer tongue. (My daughter bought a U-nose 2-horse trailer that would not allow installation of a WD hitch without doing some extensive body work to the front of the trailer.)
Well, I am 100% sure than almost none of the horse trailers that are made in Europe have the mounts for a Weight Distribution hitch. At the picture attached above - is what 99% of 2-horse trailers are like in Europe.

Just have a look at ebay:
http://www.ebay.de/sch/i.html?_from=...4nger&_sacat=0

I (and most europeans) am not really familiar with this technology, can you elaborate on what does it do and why can't I tow 2-horse trailer without it ?
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:20 AM   #8
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....
As you can see, the hitch is rated for 5000/500 lbs, but my Winnebago's GVWR is only 22000lbs, which makes the maximum weight of towable trailer 4000lbs ? (GCWR[26000] - GVWR[22000] = 4000 lbs).

Am I doing this right ?
You can tow a maximum of 5K lbs if your GVW is less than 21000 lbs. You need to load up the MH as if it is ready to travel and get it weighed (this is your GVW). Make sure you have both axles weighed. Subtract the GVW from the GCWR. This is the amount you can tow up to 5000 lbs. When you hitch up the horse trailer, you need to add about 5-600 lbs tongue weight to the rear axle load you weighed, above. Don't exceed the rear gross axle weight rating (GAWR). I'm guessing it's 15000 lbs for your MH.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:15 AM   #9
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You can tow a maximum of 5K lbs if your GVW is less than 21000 lbs. You need to load up the MH as if it is ready to travel and get it weighed (this is your GVW). Make sure you have both axles weighed. Subtract the GVW from the GCWR. This is the amount you can tow up to 5000 lbs. When you hitch up the horse trailer, you need to add about 5-600 lbs tongue weight to the rear axle load you weighed, above. Don't exceed the rear gross axle weight rating (GAWR). I'm guessing it's 15000 lbs for your MH.
Well, this is complicated.

I don't really plan on towing anything heavier than 2000kgs(4400 lbs) anyway.

The tongue weight of the trailer will be almost surely waaaaay below 500lbs - you can actually tow these 2-horse trailers even with a 2000kgs/4400lbs SUV.

------
Now, about general weighing RVs in europe... You know what kind of trouble i had to go through few months ago just to find a company that would have a proper flat scale to weigh my axles ?

I think i made about 10 calls, searched the internet for few hours and travelled to check several of the scales myself, to find a company that has such scale.

They(we) don't really do rear and front axle weighing in Europe (especially for RVs). I mean seriously, nobody weighs his vehicles before travel, except specialized companies (who sell building materials/furnace fuel). The only guys that normally do this are the ones from Road Transport Inspection - only they have a proper scale. But when they weigh your axles, it's probably gonna cost you in tickets...

At least that's how it works in Poland. It may be different in some european countries, but as far as I know - most of the EU countries have similiar road traffic laws as Poland (its now standarized under EU law).
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by LoneTux View Post
You are correct, I have found the specs of my towing hitch:
[URL="http://i.imgur.com/yMhZ5c4.jpg"]As youou can see, the hitch is rated for 5000/500 lbs, but my Winnebago's GVWR is only 22000lbs, which makes the maximum weight of towable trailer 4000lbs ? (GCWR[26000] - GVWR[22000] = 4000 lbs).

Am I doing this right ?
No. It's not a bad estimate, but ignores hitch weight. A bit better would be GCWR minus GVWR plus (in your case) 500 pounds hitch weight = 4,500 pounds max trailer weight.

But to do it right you need the actual weight (GVW) of he motorhome when wet and loaded on the road - without the trailer but with the shank and ball mount of a WC hitch, a full tank of fuel, and all the people and stuff that will be in the MH when on the road.

Then

GCWR of the MH minus GVW of the MH = max trailer weight you can pull without exceeding the GCWR of the MH. GCWR is the max weight your drivetrain can haul and pull without overheating anything in a well-maintained drivetrain.

GVWR of the MH minus GVW of the MH = max hitch weight you can haul without being overloaded, provided that max hitch weight is less than 500 pounds. But if that computation exceeds 500 pounds, then your hitch weight capacity WC and not GVWR is the limiter for hitch weight. And your receiver says you cannot use that receiver with a WD hitch.

Divide that max hitch weight by 0.125 and the answer is the max weight of any wet and loaded trailer with average tongue weight pecent that you can tow without exceeding the GVWR of the MH. But using that formula with 500 pounds max tongue weight results in a max trailer weight of 4,000 pounds, so you cannot load the trailer to a GVW over 4,000 pounds without exceeding 500 pounds tongue weight - if your trailer has average percent of wet and loaded tongue weight of 12.5%.

Quote:
I (and most europeans) am not really familiar with this technology, can you elaborate on what does it do...
A weight distributing (WD) hitch distributes the tongue weight approximately as follows:

50% to 60% of the tongue weight remains on the rear axle..
20% to 25% of the tongue weight is distributed to the trailer axles
20% to 25% of the tongue weight is distributed to the front axle of the MH

As a result, the max hitch weight and max trailer weight you can tow with a WD hitch is approximately double the weights you can tow with a WC hitch.

Without a WD hitch, with the hitch ball being several feet behind the rear axle, you have the see-saw effect of the rear of the MH adding weight while the front of the MH loses weight. All the tongue weight is on the ball, resulting in more than the hitch weight added to the rear axle of the MH and some of the weight on the front axle of the MH being distributed to the rear axle.

Quote:
and why can't I tow 2-horse trailer without it ?
I made that statement assuming that any wet and loaded 2-horse trailer would have more than 500 pounds tongue weight. It would be a very rare 2-horse trailer in the USA with less than 500 pounds tongue weight when wet and loaded with two horses. If you use a tongue weight scale and be certain that your wet and loaded tongue weight does not exceed 500 pounds, then you can probably get by without a WD hitch.

Here's my tongue weight scale:
http://www.etrailer.com/Tools/Sherline/5780.html

Without a WD hitch, you are limited to the type of sway control system you can add to the trailer tongue. I prefer the excellent sway control that is part of the Reese Strait-Line WD hitch, or my ProPride 3P hitch. "Friction anti-sway bars" is the only type of trailer sway control I know about that are not part of a good WD hitch. Here's a decent one - add one on both sides of the tongue to get fair sway control.
http://www.etrailer.com/p-RP26660.html

In addition to the sway bar and the part with the small ball that mounts on the side of the trailer tongue, you need a special trailer ball mount with one or two tabs for the sway bar to connect to. Here's one-tab ball mount for one sway bar:
http://www.etrailer.com/p-7390.html

Almost there now. If you order the sway bar and ball mount noted above, you'll still need another of the small (1.25") balls for the sway bar to attach to the ball mount,
http://www.etrailer.com/p-RP58060.html

And of course you'll need the "trailer ball" in a size that fits the coupler on the trailer - probably 2 inches, or maybe 2 5/8th inches, and with a ball shank that fits in the ball mount.

Quote:
Now, about general weighing RVs in europe... You know what kind of trouble i had to go through few months ago just to find a company that would have a proper flat scale to weigh my axles ?
Don't they have weight control for commercial trucks in Europe? They do in North America, and the weigh stations are very strict, with heavy fines for overweight trucks. Heavy trucks tear up the pavement much faster than cars, so the various department of transportation (DOT) offices enforce strict weight controls on commercial trucks.

Therefore, all along the major highways there are truck stops that include a certified automated truck (CAT) scale, with three or more pads to weigh the front axle, drive axles, and trailer axles all at the same time but with 4 different weights on the scale report - front axle, rear axle(s), and trailer axles, plus the grand total or gross combined weight (GCW). Truckers use those scales often to check their weights to be certain thay are not overloaded before they must enter the next DOT weigh station. If you have such weight control in Europe, I'll bet you also have truck scales at the big truck stops.

I use the truck scales at truck stops often to check the weights of my camper rig. Campers do not have to stop at the DOT weight stations, but an overweight rig is dangerous and will reduce the trouble-free life of the tow vehicle. So I try to know my weights.
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:23 PM   #11
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No. It's not a bad estimate, but ignores hitch weight. A bit better would be GCWR minus GVWR plus (in your case) 500 pounds hitch weight = 4,500 pounds max trailer weight.

But to do it right you need the actual weight (GVW) of he motorhome when wet and loaded on the road - without the trailer but with the shank and ball mount of a WC hitch, a full tank of fuel, and all the people and stuff that will be in the MH when on the road.

Then

GCWR of the MH minus GVW of the MH = max trailer weight you can pull without exceeding the GCWR of the MH. GCWR is the max weight your drivetrain can haul and pull without overheating anything in a well-maintained drivetrain.

GVWR of the MH minus GVW of the MH = max hitch weight you can haul without being overloaded, provided that max hitch weight is less than 500 pounds. But if that computation exceeds 500 pounds, then your hitch weight capacity WC and not GVWR is the limiter for hitch weight. And your receiver says you cannot use that receiver with a WD hitch.

Divide that max hitch weight by 0.125 and the answer is the max weight of any wet and loaded trailer with average tongue weight pecent that you can tow without exceeding the GVWR of the MH. But using that formula with 500 pounds max tongue weight results in a max trailer weight of 4,000 pounds, so you cannot load the trailer to a GVW over 4,000 pounds without exceeding 500 pounds tongue weight - if your trailer has average percent of wet and loaded tongue weight of 12.5%.



A weight distributing (WD) hitch distributes the tongue weight approximately as follows:

50% to 60% of the tongue weight remains on the rear axle..
20% to 25% of the tongue weight is distributed to the trailer axles
20% to 25% of the tongue weight is distributed to the front axle of the MH

As a result, the max hitch weight and max trailer weight you can tow with a WD hitch is approximately double the weights you can tow with a WC hitch.

Without a WD hitch, with the hitch ball being several feet behind the rear axle, you have the see-saw effect of the rear of the MH adding weight while the front of the MH loses weight. All the tongue weight is on the ball, resulting in more than the hitch weight added to the rear axle of the MH and some of the weight on the front axle of the MH being distributed to the rear axle.



I made that statement assuming that any wet and loaded 2-horse trailer would have more than 500 pounds tongue weight. It would be a very rare 2-horse trailer in the USA with less than 500 pounds tongue weight when wet and loaded with two horses. If you use a tongue weight scale and be certain that your wet and loaded tongue weight does not exceed 500 pounds, then you can probably get by without a WD hitch.

Here's my tongue weight scale:
Sherline Trailer Tongue Weight Scale - 2,000-lb Capacity Sherline Tools 5780

Without a WD hitch, you are limited to the type of sway control system you can add to the trailer tongue. I prefer the excellent sway control that is part of the Reese Strait-Line WD hitch, or my ProPride 3P hitch. "Friction anti-sway bars" is the only type of trailer sway control I know about that are not part of a good WD hitch. Here's a decent one - add one on both sides of the tongue to get fair sway control.
Reese Friction Sway Control for Weight Distribution Systems Reese Weight Distribution RP26660

In addition to the sway bar and the part with the small ball that mounts on the side of the trailer tongue, you need a special trailer ball mount with one or two tabs for the sway bar to connect to. Here's one-tab ball mount for one sway bar:
Ball Mount Adjustable with Sway-Control Tab, 6,000 lbs Draw-Tite Ball Mounts 7390

Almost there now. If you order the sway bar and ball mount noted above, you'll still need another of the small (1.25") balls for the sway bar to attach to the ball mount,
Replacement Ball for Reese Friction Sway-Control System Reese Accessories and Parts RP58060

And of course you'll need the "trailer ball" in a size that fits the coupler on the trailer - probably 2 inches, or maybe 2 5/8th inches, and with a ball shank that fits in the ball mount.
WOW, I can't properly express how helpful have you been. This is one of the most exhaustive answers I have been ever given on a forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Don't they have weight control for commercial trucks in Europe?
No, they don't. Not the way that it is done in US anyway.

I guess europeans address this problem on a different level. As I have noticed while looking for a flat scale, every company in Europe that sends trucks with larger loads has their own scale.

The companies that send larger loads are responsible for proper axle weight.

Another guys who have portable axle/wheel scales is Road Transport Inspection (it works in similar manner to Police, but they only deal with trucks). But as I previously said, when these guys are using their scale, you are in trouble (they are very good at spotting overloaded trucks).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
They do in North America, and the weigh stations are very strict, with heavy fines for overweight trucks. Therefore, all along the major highways there are truck stops that include a certified automated truck (CAT) scale, with three or more pads to weigh the front axle, drive axles, and trailer axles all at the same time but with 4 different weights on the scale report - front axle, rear axle(s), and trailer axles, plus the grand total or gross combined weight (GCW). Truckers use those scales often to check their weights to be certain thay are not overloaded before they must enter the next DOT weigh station. If you have such weight control in Europe, I'll bet you also have truck scales at the big truck stops.
I guess we have the same here, just mobile versions of weigh stations - used by the Road Transport Inspection guys.
We have no such thing as stationary scale that everybody can use.

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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
So I try to know my weights.
I also had to know my weighs because I have put a LPG installation with 2 huge-ass LP bottles on sides of my Winnebago (to run both the engine and GenSet on LP gas). This is the reason why I went looking for a flat scale first.

But man... that was nowhere as easy in Europe as it is in US.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:30 PM   #12
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I also had to know my weighs because I have put a LPG installation with 2 huge-ass LP bottles on sides of my Winnebago (to run both the engine and GenSet on LP gas).
Been here, done that - way back in the 1950s. We converted our farm pickup to run on either LPG or gasoline, with the factory gasoline tank under the bed, but an added 30-gallon LPG tank in the bed. Today those would be called a bi-fuel engine. MPG was about 80% on "butane" LPG compared to regular gasoline. We also ran our farm tractors on butane. Farm butane (without road tax)was about one-third the cost of farm gasoline, so we gladly took the less MPG cost to run on the much-less-expensive butane.

I still have a 1970s farm tractor that runs on butane or propane only. (It's not bi-fuel.) We have a 500-gallon LPG tank for our house (furnace, cook stove and hot water heater) and I can fill up the 30-gallon LPG tank on the tractor with hardly a dent in the 500-galon house tank.

But the economies of running on LPG has changed a lot. Today propane costs about the same as gasoline. So very few Texas farmers now run LPG in their farm pickups and tractors. Most farmers have been running diesel in both pickup trucks and tractors since the 1960s, and my old Massey-Ferguson Model 50 that still runs on LPG is a rare find.
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Old 09-25-2015, 04:38 AM   #13
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But the economies of running on LPG has changed a lot. Today propane costs about the same as gasoline. So very few Texas farmers now run LPG in their farm pickups and tractors. Most farmers have been running diesel in both pickup trucks and tractors since the 1960s, and my old Massey-Ferguson Model 50 that still runs on LPG is a rare find.
Not in Poland.

Here LPG costs 1,60-1,90PLN and guzzoline about 4,80-5,2PLN. That is price per liter, not per gallon.

I guess that makes it around 1,69 USD / Gallon for LPG and 4,97 USD / Gallon for guzzoline.

(Deliberate MAD MAX reference )
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