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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > How much weigh does a WDH actually redistribute?

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Nat in Ottawa

Ottawa

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Posted: 08/18/11 10:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all,

I'm almost ready to sign a deal on a Jay Feather x17Z.

But, I'm coming to the realization that the x17Z's hitch weight (same as tongue weight?) of 415# is relatively high, given the size of the trailer (3,000 # dry).

Question #1: How much weight does the WDH actually redistribute?

    Once I've added up the weight of all the gizmos near the front (LP tank, spare tire, stuff in the storage space, etc...) how can I calculate the final (distributed) weight that will be on the tail end of the vehicle? Since I've bought neither yet, I can't take them for a real-life test.

Question #2: Which would be easier to tow, just based on these two factors alone?:

    Trailer 1: 3,000 dry, tongue weight 415; OR

    Trailer 2: 3,400 dry; tongue weight 262.

    Tow vehicle: Highlander (3.5L V6, 4WD, 5,000# (edited)


I'm very grateful, in advance, for your sage advice.

Nathalie

* This post was edited 08/18/11 11:18am by Nat in Ottawa *

sharker6

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Posted: 08/18/11 10:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Depends on what link you have your chains and and the center of gravity of the trailer. Buy an electric jack, makes it a lot easier to make adjustments.


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powderman426

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Posted: 08/18/11 10:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yep. If you go enough links on the chain, you can lift the back wheels of the vehicle off the ground.


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APT

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Posted: 08/18/11 10:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a few really knowledgeable WDH people that I'm sure will post here. In the mean time...
You'll get about 15-20% back on the trailer's axles. Ideally it should be 33%, but I've never seen anyone post scale weights to prove it. The point of WD is to apply more weight to the front axle that is lifted somewhat by applying weight like a lever behind the rear axle.

Dry tongue weight ratings vs. dry curb weight - most trailers will tow with more tongue weight than the dry rating with options and things people tend to put in storage in front of the trailer's axles. The goal is to be at 10-15%, with 12-15% better. Based on that, trailer 2 is way under and trailer 1 is right on. But like I said, trailer tongue weight will likely grow making trailer 2 just right and trailer 1 more front heavy than ideal.

I would say that either one will not be pleasant towing experience for your Highlander. Both will be over your tow rating when loaded with camping gear. The highlander's suspension is quite soft to support the 450 pounds when properly loaded. I highly recommend sticking with a low walled RV, popup, hi-lo type.


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rfryer

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Posted: 08/18/11 11:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m about as far as you can get from an expert on tow weights, but I’m sure others will chip in with some good information. But my impression is that both TT’s are a too heavy if the 3500# you noted is the tow capacity of the Highlander and I don’t think either one would be easy to tow. And the 262# TW for #2 is less than 8%, well under what’s normal, which generally runs in the 10-15% area. #1 is more realistic. But those are dry weights and they could change a lot loaded.

Nat in Ottawa

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Posted: 08/18/11 11:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Apologies everyone, the Highlander tows 5,000 (not 3,500#). I made an error in the initial post, above. I've since edited it.

Nathalie

MacRoadie

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Posted: 08/18/11 11:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Question #1: How much weight does the WDH actually redistribute?

As has been stated, the amount of weight redistributed by the WDH is variable, depending on the size of the spring bars, the amount of tension placed on the bars (either through hitch head tilt or the number of links utilized), etc.

A more important querstion is how much SHOULD it redistribute, and why.

The hitch is utilized in order to return some of the unhitched weight back on to your front (steer) wheels. When a trailer is hooked up to your tow vehicle (TV), because that weight of the tongue is applied well behind your rear wheel, the rear axle acts like a pivot and the hitch acts like a lever. Like a see-saw, when the rear end is pushed down by the weight of the trailer tongue, the front end of your Highlander will want to (and will) go up (have weight removed).

This unloading of the front axle can lead to significant handling problems, so you want to get that weight that was lifted off put back on (redistributed).

For the longest time, the simple metric was to measure the height of your fender openings front and rear before hooking up your trailer, then measuring them again after hook up. The idea being that you wanted them to be relatively equal (although obviously lower due to the added weight on your tow vehicle's suspension): if the front fender opening was 1/2" lower than the rear before hooking up, then it should be 1/2" lower than the rear after hitching up the TT.

There has been a shift away from this metric and now manufacturers are recommending (in the absence of actual scale data) simply getting the front "close to" the unhitched measurement (this is a generalization).

Ultimately, of course, the BEST and only true way to get the correct amount of weight redistributed is to actually weight the tow vehicle by axle, before and after hitching, and adjusting the hitch accordingly.

As was stated above, some portion of the hitch load will be sent back to the TT wheels, some will be sent back to the tow vehicle steer axle, and the rest will remain on the tow vehicle rear axle.


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MacRoadie

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Posted: 08/18/11 11:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nat in Ottawa wrote:

Question #2: Which would be easier to tow, just based on these two factors alone?:


Trailer 1: 3,000 dry, tongue weight 415; OR

Trailer 2: 3,400 dry; tongue weight 262.

Tow vehicle: Highlander (3.5L V6, 4WD, 5,000# (edited)



I would be wary of option #2 as that tongue weight seems awful light relative to the TT dry weight. Ideally, you want somewhere in the 12% to 15% range to insure that the TT tows and tracks nicely and isn't prone to sway. 15% on a 3,400# TT would be 510#.

Obviously you're going to need to look at your TV's hitch rating (not the weight stamped on the actual hitch but what your vehicle is rated to carry) to see where your limits are, but I would be hesitant to go with a very light tongue weight just to satisfy a low hitch capacity. I think you would be robbing Peter to pay Paul...

GT Roach

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Posted: 08/18/11 01:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At the risk of offending ''dry'' weights are worthless, nobody tows ''dry''. Look inside the cabinets and interior doors and you'll find the max or gross weight of the trailer. Even those that say they'll never haul near that figure find that if they haul much water and after loading all their ''stuff'' find they are much closer to that weight than ''dry''. That is especially true after they've had their RV a few seasons. Most travel trailers have a hitch or tongue weight that is 10-15% of the total weight if loaded safely. Toy haulers are not only heavier but have a higher % of their weight on the hitch. After you've decided which RV is right and within the capacity of the tow vehicle weigh your unit when you're loaded to be sure you're within specs especially with regards to the weight on the tow vehicle's rear axle rating and the weight is balanced by use of a weight distributing hitch. Yes it is a bit of a hassle the first few times you do it but with time it's easy and remember it's not only for your safety but possibly mine if I'm out there sharing the road with you, Gerry

skipnchar

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Posted: 08/18/11 03:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your question is much like asking "how much dos a box weigh". the amount of weight transferred depends on the total amount of weight on the tongue plus the strength of the spring bars on your WD system and how it's adjusted. In your calculations (which will almost certainly be incorrect by a lot) you are forgetting that EVERYTHING you load into your trailer ahead of the axles will increase tongue weight and everything you load behind the axles will reduce it so there is no accurate way to predict what YOUR trailer tongue weight will be. It is generally a SAFE way to predict tongue weight to use 15% of the GVWR of the trailer as a worst case situation. In any case it does NOT change the amount of weight as it pertains to your tow vehicles ability to carry weight. The ACTUAL tongue weight (not after the hitch is attached) is what needs to be considered to determine towability.

Good luck / Skip


2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR -
2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles)
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