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Open Roads Forum  >  Towing

 > Weight Distributing Hitch Problems/Set Up

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J Money

Newport Beach

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Posted: 08/18/12 10:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is my first post. Let me start off by saying I really appreciate all the useful information on this forum. I have been lurking for a while and have definitely used the search function. I know there are a ton of threads on this topic. Sorry.

Tow Vehicle: 2006 F-250 Crew Cab 4x4
Trailer: Vortex 247 WTB 7700 lbs. dry, probably around 9500 lbs. loaded.
Hitch: Weight Distributing Husky (1200 lb bars.)

I'm going to tow this thing 1500 miles in a couple weeks so I am prepping the trailer and truck. I had to change the trailer tires and for peace of mind and decided to figure out why the rear end is sagging so much. I wouldn't really care about the sagging except I caught a wind gust yesterday and it was the worst sway I have experienced with my trailer. So I decided it is time to make some adjustments.

The trailer has smooth sides, a front bedroom, generator in the front, gray and black tanks in front of the axles and storage under the front bed. It's pretty freaking heavy with all the weight over the tongue.

Unloaded I measured my truck at the center of the wheel wells. The front sat at 42.5" and the rear 43.25."

I set the trailer to "level" with the ground and set the ball 1.5" above the coupler as a starting point.

I dropped the trailer without the WD bars and the truck's nose rose to 43.5" (+1") and the rear dropped to 41" (-2.25").

Time to hook things up...

Set Up #1

I hooked up the trailer to the 2nd chain link down. The WD bars were "bowed" upwards and the hitch had 6 washers/spacers. The front was sitting at 43" (+.5") in the front and 41.75" (-1.5") in the rear.

I couldn't get the bars down to the 3rd link down, but it wouldn't have mattered because they would have been bowed up even more.


Set Up #2

I raised the hitch 1 set of holes (1.5" I think) And, I added a washer for a total of 7. Still the 2nd link down.

The front measured 42.75 (+.25") and the rear was 41.875 (-1.375").

For set up #2 I really had to raise the trailer and truck which is why I wasn't comfortable with it.


Set Up # 3

I dropped the ball down the 1.5" I had previoulsy raised it, back to 1.5" above the coupler. I added an 8th washer for a 13 degree head angle. I was only able to use the final (top) link of the chain. The bars are parallel to the ground and the trailer frame but there is no way I can drop to the 2nd link or more.

Ride height 42.875 (+.385") and the rear was 42" (1.5" drop). I was able to lift the bars relatively easy after raising the truck and trailer.

When working on it, option 3 seemed to have the best results. But looking at the numbers I posted here, I should go back to set up #2.

My concern is that the truck still looks "nose high" and it feels like the front end is riding light. From my research the nose shouldn't rise at all but I just can't keep the front level.

These results are with the trailer unloaded with no water or fuel in the trailer.

I previously towed the same trailer with a 2002 Excursion and it towed awesome. I did have air bags and the truck and trailer felt glued to the ground "on rails." Pretty much the most comfortable set up ever. That was an awesome vehicle I should have kept.

Before that I had a 2005 HD 3500 Chevy and it also sagged a bit but it felt safe going down the road.

Here is the only thing I have come up with after working on this all day in the 100 degree heat with 40% humidity. I just added a 35" spare tire, I have snug top camper shell and a couple fully loaded tool boxes. So there is probably an extra 400lbs. in the bed.

Again, this didn't seem so bad until I typed it here.

I figured I could get the F-250 hitch set up right but I think I may need bags or some suggestions from you folks here. I live in Southern California and it seems that everybody has a bigger trailer than mine without the same sagging issues.

I think I need to take all the tools out of the back and see what happens.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for all your help. Sorry for writing a novel but I wanted to give all the pertinent details.

campr-pete1

Delaware

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Posted: 08/18/12 11:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Never had a 250 but I did own a 350 and had a trailer that weighed 11,000lbs and it didn't drop enough to even notice, I have talked with a few guys who had the 2500 chevy's and the F-250 fords and they had issues, one of the guys with the ford just added the extra spring that the F-350 uses, not replacing his just adding one he stated that it took care of his issues. The excursion is built on an F-250 frame and springs, maybe the air bags will fix your issue.

path1

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Posted: 08/19/12 12:44am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure if this might help...I had a 84 that rode like a dream. But that was due in part to the lightest (weakest) springs Ford put on that model year. To adjust I put more weight on front by making spring bars a little tighter (more links). I just experimented around until it rode good and headlights pointed where they should be.


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WyoTraveler

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Posted: 08/19/12 02:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just a guess but if your TT is at 9500 pounds loaded isn't your hitch weight around 1425 pounds? If so, maybe you need more than the 1200 pound distribution bars.

I have a Reese and they recommend that once the TT is on the hitch to raise the back of the vehicle with the tongue jack to make fastening the bars a little easier.


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eric james

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Posted: 08/19/12 07:42am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WyoTraveler wrote:

Just a guess but if your TT is at 9500 pounds loaded isn't your hitch weight around 1425 pounds? If so, maybe you need more than the 1200 pound distribution bars.

I have a Reese and they recommend that once the TT is on the hitch to raise the back of the vehicle with the tongue jack to make fastening the bars a little easier.



I agree. You may have a lot more tongue weight than the bars can handle.

Use you tongue jack to make grabbing the next chain link much easier. I think #2 is where you want to be.


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Ron Gratz

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Posted: 08/19/12 08:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree that #2 appears to give the best result.
However, wheel well heights can be misleading.
The only way to really know how well the WDH is adjusted is to go to a scales and make a full set of measurements.

The front end does not have to be returned to the unhitched height or weight.
In fact, Ford now specifies that only about 50% of the front-end rise needs to be eliminated.
Just ensure that the front does not go below the unhitched height or above the unhitched weight.

The truck does not need to be "level" and you definitely do not want to have "equal squat" front and rear.

Ron

J Money

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Posted: 08/19/12 12:26pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the replies guys. I think I will go back to set up #2 and drive it around again and test the ride. I should probably tow the whole rig over to the scales and get a better idea of what I am working with.

I just assessed the tool situation as well. I have a ton of duplicates between the trailer and truck. I guess I should get rid of the tools in the trailer maybe...

For the price of 1400lb bars should I just get some bags? I was looking at the Timbrens but I go off roading a bit and don't want the reduced down travel.

Terryallan

Foothills NC

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Posted: 08/19/12 02:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

eric james wrote:

WyoTraveler wrote:

Just a guess but if your TT is at 9500 pounds loaded isn't your hitch weight around 1425 pounds? If so, maybe you need more than the 1200 pound distribution bars.

I have a Reese and they recommend that once the TT is on the hitch to raise the back of the vehicle with the tongue jack to make fastening the bars a little easier.



I agree. You may have a lot more tongue weight than the bars can handle.

Use you tongue jack to make grabbing the next chain link much easier. I think #2 is where you want to be.


I vote #2 as well.


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J Money

Newport Beach

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Posted: 08/20/12 12:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, you guys were right. I had the tongue weighed this morning and we are just under 1400lbs. unloaded. I think the solution will be switching to a 1500lb. trunnion bar set up.

Now the next problem is that my factory Ford hitch is only set up for 1200lb. tongue weight according to the specs.

Think I need to upgrade the truck hitch as well?

BarneyS

S.E. Lower Michigan

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Posted: 08/20/12 02:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

J Money wrote:

Snip...

Think I need to upgrade the truck hitch as well?

Yes. You are 200 lbs over the factory hitch limit. Will be even more than that when you get your rig loaded and ready to go camping. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if your tongue weight is around 1600 or more pounds at that time.
Barney
Edit: I can see why your trailer has such a high tongue weight for it's size. The axles are placed very far to the rear. This should make for a very stable towing trailer although it does make the tongue weight very high.

* This post was edited 08/20/12 02:37pm by BarneyS *


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