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Old 04-15-2018, 10:05 AM   #1
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Tongue Weight and Weight Distribution Hitch

I plan on buying a Travel Trailer in the near future and I would like to buy a Weight Distribution System before I go to the dealer. Everything I have read and seen it says to buy a Weight Distribution Hitch that matches your trailer with it loaded just like your going camping.....

How am I going to do that? Do I use the Tongue Weight that the Manufacturer puts on their brochure? Or is there a better way?

I may buy a trailer that is 1000 miles away.

Thanks LeeB
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:19 AM   #2
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Do you know what size and type you are looking for? Most trailers will work well with 1000 pound bars but if you are looking for a really heavy trailer you may need 1400 pound bars. Those usually require a different hitch head.

I think it is generally best to buy the trailer first and spec the hitch you want as part of the deal. I prefer the Equa-lizer 4 point or Blue Ox Sway-pro simply because they are simple to use, work very well and if they ever need a part they are sold everywhere. Stat clear of cheaper hitches, we are only talking about a few hundred bucks. Why live with a cheap hitch forever to save $150 once?

Do you have a tow vehicle? What does the yellow sticker on the drivers door sill say for cargo capacity? That will dictate what size trailer you can tow and give a clue to the size hitch you need.

If you know the trailer you want you should plan on using the gross trailer weight for all planning. Tow vehicle must be capable of carrying the tongue weight. Use 13% of gross trailer weight to estimate loaded tongue weight, not dry weight out of the brochure. Your tongue weight will never be that light and nobody camps in an empty trailer. Tongue weight is your friend, it keeps the trailer from swaying dangerously. If you plan on keeping it light to allow you to tow a bigger trailer than your truck can comfortably tow it can cause serious handling issues. They list a safe range as 10 to 15% but in reality less than 12% is noticeably less stable.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:20 AM   #3
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In this case, the safest way would be to look at the GVWR of the biggest thing you're likely to get and then assume up to 18-20% of that as tongue weight.

Might I also suggest a hitch where the maker can offer different parts for different weights. I use a Blue Ox Sway Pro and they will sell you different bars for the one hitch head in case you go up or down significantly in tongue/trailer weight. Just be aware that you need to know whether you need one version or the other of their hitch head depending on whether the coupler on the trailer is underslung or not.

Good luck!

Ken
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:29 AM   #4
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The advertised tongue weight is when the trailer is unloaded as it left the factory. Think of it as a starting point. What you'll actually need hitch wise depends on how much all your belongings weigh and how its distributed so determining what you'll actually need is hard for us to say. Depending on the capacity of the bars you buy you might have to swap them out for something lighter or heavier. I travel light. I leave the kitchen sink at home so 1000 lb. bars work for me. YMMV.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:52 AM   #5
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The trailer would have to be less then 24ft and my towing capacity of the truck is limited to 6200# because of my gearing........

I have a 2017 Silverado z-71 4x4 1500 and my rear end is 3.08 gears

Thanks for the postings it will help

LeeB
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:30 AM   #6
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1000 lb. bars should work then. If after loading your trailer with what you typically carry and you find the rated bars too light/heavy you'll need to swap them out. Not a big issue.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 60sumtin View Post
1000 lb. bars should work then. If after loading your trailer with what you typically carry and you find the rated bars too light/heavy you'll need to swap them out. Not a big issue.
Thanks......
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Old 04-23-2018, 08:54 AM   #8
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While planning to pickup our new - and heavy - Arctic Fox 32A @ 10400#s, I phoned Equal-i-zer Techs at the Equal-i-zer Company. The Techs taught me that the tongue weight is actually calculated as follows: TT dry tongue wt + batteries + full propane bottles +hitch package weight + all cargo weight carried in the truck behind the rear axle. We decided on the 14000 hitch.
I would not not trust the Dealer to know this and I would suggest that you call Equal-i-zer, yourself. I also purchased a Sherline tongue scale - about $150 - to monitor TT loading as it may affect the tongue weight.
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ArcticFox View Post
While planning to pickup our new - and heavy - Arctic Fox 32A @ 10400#s, I phoned Equal-i-zer Techs at the Equal-i-zer Company. The Techs taught me that the tongue weight is actually calculated as follows: TT dry tongue wt + batteries + full propane bottles +hitch package weight + all cargo weight carried in the truck behind the rear axle. We decided on the 14000 hitch.
I would not not trust the Dealer to know this and I would suggest that you call Equal-i-zer, yourself. I also purchased a Sherline tongue scale - about $150 - to monitor TT loading as it may affect the tongue weight.
Some clarification needs to made. The question was about tongue weight AND a WDH. If the tech actually said "all cargo weight carried in the truck behind the rear axle" is tongue weight, that is incorrect. The tongue rests on the ball which is mounted to the truck. The cargo in the back of the truck doesn't not rest on the tongue. I suspect what the tech is describing is what weights to include when determining what WDH to buy. Someone appears to have misunderstood the other.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:04 AM   #10
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As I had suggested - "...Might want to call Equal-i-zer and talk to a tech..."
Here is E-Trailer's same take on calculating "Tongue Weight".....

This copy was taken from the included address. Illustration will not transfer.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-...ue-weight.aspx

*** Determine Tongue Weight for Weight Distribution System ***

Truck only on scale - trailer not hooked up, illustrates weight behind rear axle

If you want to use a weight distribution system, remember to include the weight of any gear you might load behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle. You should add the weight of this gear to your tongue weight to select a weight distribution system of the proper size. To get the weight of the gear behind the rear axle, weigh your vehicle with this gear and without. Then subtract the weight without the gear from the weight with the gear. This difference is the weight of your gear. In the formula below, C represents the weight of your gear. A represents the weight of your tow vehicle including the tongue weight. B represents the weight of your tow vehicle without the tongue weight.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcticFox View Post
As I had suggested - "...Might want to call Equal-i-zer and talk to a tech..."
Here is E-Trailer's same take on calculating "Tongue Weight".....

This copy was taken from the included address. Illustration will not transfer.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-...ue-weight.aspx

*** Determine Tongue Weight for Weight Distribution System ***

Truck only on scale - trailer not hooked up, illustrates weight behind rear axle

If you want to use a weight distribution system, remember to include the weight of any gear you might load behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle. You should add the weight of this gear to your tongue weight to select a weight distribution system of the proper size. To get the weight of the gear behind the rear axle, weigh your vehicle with this gear and without. Then subtract the weight without the gear from the weight with the gear. This difference is the weight of your gear. In the formula below, C represents the weight of your gear. A represents the weight of your tow vehicle including the tongue weight. B represents the weight of your tow vehicle without the tongue weight.
This is actually correct. But all of it is not tongue weight. You are adding those other weights to the tongue weight so you can size the WD system to effectively move the weight back to the trailer and front axle of the truck. But this weight has no impact on the weight-carrying capacity of the hitch you buy. The only thing you need to consider when sizing the hitch head is any force applied to the hitch head from the coupler on the trailer tongue.

Just wanted to clarify. Good luck!

Ken
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60sumtin View Post
Some clarification needs to made. The question was about tongue weight AND a WDH. If the tech actually said "all cargo weight carried in the truck behind the rear axle" is tongue weight, that is incorrect. The tongue rests on the ball which is mounted to the truck. The cargo in the back of the truck doesn't not rest on the tongue. I suspect what the tech is describing is what weights to include when determining what WDH to buy. Someone appears to have misunderstood the other.
This is correct. I said the same thing a bit differently in my post just above only to offer different language for those not understanding. But 60sumtin was right.

Ken
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:37 PM   #13
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A WD hitch is rated to a trailer GVW to be drawn and it’s tongue weight as is the truck receiver. You should only use a WDH to recover the effects of trailer tongue weight only and not to include load in the TV. Using a higher rated WDH to compensate for TV load can overload and damage the TV hitch/receiver depending on its rating.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:56 PM   #14
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Wow! All of these 'subjective' comments about what tongue weight is and how to calculate..... "KISS" - The Engineers (e.g. Equal-i-er Mfr), who actually design and build the WD hitches calculate the tongue weight - as it applies to the decision of choosing/applying a "rated" hitch ...... As follows - TT dry tongue wt + batteries + full propane bottles +hitch package weight + all cargo weight carried in the truck behind the rear axle. And then - YES, we have to calculate the additional weight added to the TT as additional load distributed to the hitch rating. The bars are basically applying a fulcrum effect to the weight that is shared between the tow vehicle and the trailer.
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