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Old 10-19-2018, 12:20 PM   #1
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Does a WD Hitch Overload TT Axles

With the never ending and useful discussions re WD hitches and the transfer of weight between TV axles and TT axles, it's made me wonder about the potential to overload the TT simply by making WD adjustments.
Let's say you load your TT to the mfg GVW and even distribute the weight perfectly to achieve the optimal TW.
It's quite typical for TT to have an axle rating less than the GVW as the assumption is that 10+% of the total sits on the TV tongue.
Now we adj the WD hitch to achieve the sweet spot for weight back on TV front axle and trailer level.
Theoretically at least I'm thinking that weight transfer back to the TT could now overload that axle.
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:27 PM   #2
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Still transferring weight to tow vehicle front axle AND weight still ON the tongue
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:30 PM   #3
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You could go weight it and see for yourself.

Also, maybe not load the trailer up to max gvw so as not to risk overloading, which you wouldn't know you had done for sure without weighing it.

So basically, weigh it.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:38 PM   #4
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If the trailer was not overloaded before you adjusted the weight-distributing (WD) hitch, then it probably won't be overloaded after you adjust the WD hitch.

If all else fails, use the CAT scale.

With the tow vehicle (TV) and the trailer both loaded for towing, and with the WD hitch installed and adjusted, drive to a truck stop that has a truck scale. The most common truck scale is the Certified Automated Truck (CAT) brand scale, but some truck stops have other brands. Fill up with fuel, be sure everybody is back in the cab, then weigh the wet and loaded TV.

The CAT scale will give you four weights:
1] front or steer axle
2] rear or drive axle
3] trailer axles
4} gross weight of TV and trailer

Add the GAWRs of the trailer axles to get combined trailer axle weight rating, and compare that weight to the weight on the trailer axles.

Add the weights on the two axles of the TV and compare that weight to the GVWR of the TV.

Compare the weight on the rear axle to the rGAWR of the TV.

Compare the gross weight of the rig to the GCWR of the TV.

With one pass over the CAT scale, you'll know if the TV is overloaded, if the rear axle of the TV is overloaded, if the trailer is overloaded, and whether your drivetrain has enough oomph to drag that much trailer over the pass without overheating and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic on the grade.

That one pass over the scale will not tell you the tongue weight of the trailer or the gross weight of the trailer. But if the GVWR of the TV, the rGAWR of the TV, the combined GAWR of the trailer, and the GCWR of the TV are not exceeded, you don't really care about the tongue weight or gross trailer weight when on the road.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:19 PM   #5
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In the real world, not so much. Given your theoretical scenario where say the axles are 2 x 3500 = 7000 plus 1000 TW with GVWR of 8000:

If you loaded to 100% without WD and then tightened the bars, well load is removed from the tow vehicle rear axle and added to the front TV axle and trailer axles. Assume for simplicity of example the distance from the ball to the front TV axle is equal to the distance from the ball to the trailer axles.

Transfer half the weight and you'll add 250# to the front TV axle, and the same to the trailer axles.

* Cue up a math whiz to point out I disregarded the overhang from the rear TV axle to the ball. Sorry about that, I'm too lazy to do the long version on a tablet screen.
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Old 10-19-2018, 04:00 PM   #6
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What ever amount of tongue weight that you start out with BEFORE hooking up the W.D. bars, you will have the same weight on the tongue after hooking up the bars. Tongue weight does not is the same both before and after using the W.D. hitch.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:12 PM   #7
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Transfer half the weight and you'll add 250# to the front TV axle, and the same to the trailer axles.

Please remember, I'm not trying to be argumentative here but hope to encourage an open discussion for the benefit of improving understanding.

In the example you created, I think you are suggesting the trailer axles will now measure their original weight plus the 250# just transferred through the use of weight distribution.
If that is what actually happens, you could theoretically overload the axle (s) by doing so.
My TT for example sits on a single 3500# axle but has a GVW of 3860. So if I loaded it to capacity with the above distribution between axle and tongue and then distribute weight from the tongue to steer axle and TT axle, did I just overload the TT axle?
I would agree in this case that the TT GVW is not violated, but possibly now the axle is overloaded?
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Old 10-20-2018, 06:25 AM   #8
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You can prove anything with mathematics. I would say yes, if your front axle of the TV was at it's max. Like you have a snowplow on the front. Then you hook a trailer to it and adjust the WD hitch, then yes, it is possible to use a WD hitch to overload the front axle, if that is your real question.
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Old 10-20-2018, 06:41 AM   #9
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Put it on the scale once with the bars unhooked, and a second time with the bars cinched up. You'll have your answer.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:05 PM   #10
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My 20' 10k car hauler with a 50 hp blue tractor/7' mower = 8120 lb on the trailers axles before a WD hitch.

I just installed a Husky Centerline TS 1200 lb bars set up per instructions. Trailer axles are now at 8340 lbs.

Trailer axles are 5200 lb rated with 16" load E tires with 2085 lbs per tire vs 2030 lbs per tire without bars.

The potential to overload the trailers axles/wheel/tire is there....all depending on how close the the trailers axle loads are before adding a WD system.
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