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Open Roads Forum  >  Towing

 > Weight Distribution (WD) Hitch --- How it Works

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#20 Home Depot

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Posted: 08/29/04 04:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The following is a common definition of a Weight Distribution Hitch:
WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCH
This hitch is used for heavy trailering. With its equalizing bars and snap-up brackets, this hitch applies leverage between the tow vehicle and the trailer to help distribute trailer's Tongue Weight evenly to vehicle and trailer instead of carrying the load mostly on the rear of the vehicle. The brackets and spring bars raise the hitch point parallel to the ground, equalizing the load onto all axles. This results in a more level ride, reduced weight on the rear suspension, and provides improved steering and braking control.

This is correct. The key is redistributing where the downward force of the tongue weight hits the ground. It cannot lessen the tongue weight. The bars eliminate a true pivot point or fulcrum.

Thomas are you wondering what the scales would read IF you could place them between the ball and the coupler before and after? Is that what you would define as tongue weight?

* This post was edited 08/29/04 07:23pm by #20 Home Depot *


#20 Home Depot
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thomas malenich

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Posted: 08/29/04 08:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi #20 Home Depot,

I guess what I am saying is this: A weight distribution hitch does not change tongue weight. The only thing that changes tongue weight is axle placement and load placement in or on the TT.

However, my point is that the tongue weight gets DISTRIBUTED when a WD hitch is engaged - the sagging tongue and TV rear is brought back to level and some weight is being distributed. This weight will vary depending on many factors but it will not be the exact same as it was when it was just sitting on the ball with no WD engaged. Ron is saying it is EXACTLY the same right there where it always was.

The definition above is a good explanation of my point and you said: "this is correct" ----- to the definition: "this hitch applies leverage between the tow vehicle and the trailer to help distribute trailer's Tongue Weight evenly to vehicle and trailer instead of carrying the load mostly on the rear of the vehicle."

* This post was edited 08/29/04 08:43pm by thomas malenich *


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Ron Gratz

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Posted: 08/29/04 08:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

--- So, now I am asking you to come up with an experiment of your own that proves that the weight measured at the tongue is the same after the WD system is engaged, which is your claim. ---

Thomas,

Since you no longer are using the phrase "tongue weight" and seem to have replaced it with the phrase "weight measured at the tongue", I will assume that you consider the two to be equivalent. So as not to continue debating parameters which have no agreed definition, I also will assume that you are referring to the vertical load which is imposed on the ball by the TT's ball coupler. This is the load which would be measured by the "thin tongue weight scale" introduced in your post of 8/26/2004 8:06pm. Please tell me if my assumption is incorrect.

Based on this definition, I have NOT claimed that "the weight measured at the tongue is the same after the WD system is engaged". In fact, I have claimed just the OPPOSITE and have illustrated that claim with numerical examples.
On 8/26/2004 7:44pm, I said, "No, the load on the BALL actually INCREASES by the assumed 1700#. The load on the receiver DECREASES by 300# as explained above."
On 8/26/2004 8:46pm, I said, "Nope. I am saying that your scale will read 650+1700 = 2350#."
I think our communication problem stems from having two different definitions for "tongue weight".

YOUR definition: "Tongue weight" is the vertical load which is imposed on the ball by the TT's ball coupler.

MY definition (to which I referred you in my 8/26/2004 7:44pm post):
"Tongue Weight: That portion of the TT weight which is carried on the ball coupler as opposed to that carried on the axles."

Your definition includes the load imposed on the ball by the WD tensioners. Mine does not because the tensioners' load is not part of the TT's weight.

Ron Gratz

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Posted: 08/29/04 09:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thomas,

I did not see your reply to #20 Home Depot prior to posting my previous message.

You made the following statements,
"A weight distribution hitch does not change tongue weight.", and
"This weight will vary depending on many factors but it will not be the exact same as it was when it was just sitting on the ball with no WD engaged."
Please tell me if I'm misreading this, but is seems that you now are disagreeing with yourself.

Thomas, please take another look at my initial post -- the one with the diagram. The diagram states that the WD hitch:
REMOVES 912# from the TV rear axle,
ADDS 612# to the TV front axle, and
ADDS 300# to the TT axles.

There is no mention of tongue weight. It could be zero. The WD hitch causes load to be removed from the TV rear axle and distributed to the TV front axle and to the TT rear axle. Is there any other way that I can try to explain this?

thomas malenich

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Posted: 08/29/04 09:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"A weight distribution hitch does not change tongue weight.", and
"This weight will vary depending on many factors but it will not be the exact same as it was when it was just sitting on the ball with no WD engaged."
Please tell me if I'm misreading this, but is seems that you now are disagreeing with yourself.
_____________________________________________________________________

No I am not disagreeing with myself - you are misreading me. I am saying that the WD hitch does not change the tongue weight - it distributes it after engaged.
If it was 600#s before, it is still 600#s but not all 600#s is right at the tongue after engagement. You are saying all 600#s is still right at the tongue. I am also saying that the only thing that changes the 600#s is axle placement, loading on or in the TT itself, or the angle of the TT's horizontal line off the ground either up or down. Changing the angle changes the center of gravity. Change and distribute mean different things to me in this regard.

rfduval

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Posted: 08/30/04 01:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Man, you guys are losing me. But please answer me one question.
I have on order a new (my first) TT that is advertised as having a 510# dry hitch weight. I figure that means the weight as delivered without options as it sits separate from the TV. When ordering an Equal-i-zer hitch I assumed some additional weight for propane, battery, and items loaded in the trailer. I estimated about a 650# tongue weight and was told by Equalizer to get the 1000# bars rather than the 600# bars. Now the question - assuming the tongue weight (that's what the manufacturer calls it) ends up being 650#, will the tongue weight decrease when the weight distributing bars are engaged? Should I have got the 600# bars after all?


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#20 Home Depot

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Posted: 08/30/04 05:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Now the question - assuming the tongue weight (that's what the manufacturer calls it) ends up being 650#, will the tongue weight decrease when the weight distributing bars are engaged? Should I have got the 600# bars after all?

No you got the right ones. The tongue weight will not decrease. Do you have a headache from thinking about all that or what?

#20 Home Depot

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Posted: 08/30/04 06:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

I guess what I am saying is this: A weight distribution hitch does not change tongue weight. The only thing that changes tongue weight is axle placement and load placement in or on the TT.

However, my point is that the tongue weight gets DISTRIBUTED when a WD hitch is engaged - the sagging tongue and TV rear is brought back to level and some weight is being distributed. This weight will vary depending on many factors


I agree to this point and I believe Ron does too.

Quote:

but it will not be the exact same as it was when it was just sitting on the ball with no WD engaged. Ron is saying it is EXACTLY the same right there where it always was.

I respectfully disagree and Ron is correct. The original weight PLUS the tension weight of the bars. The tongue weight MUST be a constant because if you weigh every axle before the bars are on and the orignal downward force had changed at the tongue after they were engaged the the sum of the axles weights would haved changed and that is impossible.

To sum it all up:
Weight distrubtion bars simply change where the tongue weight of the trailer gets applied to the ground. It does not change the tongue weight.

Ron Gratz

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Posted: 08/30/04 06:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thomas,

Please consider this situation.

A toyhauler trailer is overloaded in the rear and ends up having a tongue weight (by your definition) of ZERO before the WD bars are tensioned. The WD hitch (from my example) then is hooked up and applies an upward force of 1000# at the end of each 30" spring bar.

What is the tongue weight before and after the WD bars are tensioned?

How much of the ZERO tongue weight is distributed to the TV and TT axles?

How much has the load on each axle changed as a result of tensioning the WD bars?

On edit: Please assume the toyhauler and TV have the dimensions shown in my orginal post.

* This post was edited 08/30/04 06:36am by Ron Gratz *

#20 Home Depot

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Posted: 08/30/04 08:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What is the tongue weight before and after the WD bars are tensioned?
0 and 1700#
How much of the ZERO tongue weight is distributed to the TV and TT axles?
0
How much has the load on each axle changed as a result of tensioning the WD bars?
TV front axle 611.54 lbs ADDED
TV rear axle 911.54 lbs REMOVED
TT axles 300.00 lbs ADDED

Am I right Ron?

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