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Open Roads Forum  >  Towing

 > WD hitch setup with air bags

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Kfd518

Central Tx

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Posted: 12/26/20 03:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Alright, 1999 ram 1500 RWD new style husky center line WDH. had quite a bit of squat in the rear end before and had to use 8-1200#bars to get enough weight transferred back to the front of my pickup. I knew from the towing that was done before I got it (without weight distribution) that the rear suspension was quite tired. Anyways I added 5k bags this weekend , went back down to 600-800 #bars and re adjusted everything the following is what I ended up with, I am wondering why one side would transfer more weight back to the front axle as it is doing and if anyone thinks I should drop the spring bar hook pads down 1 Hole ? I also Plan to put front air bags on it as soon as they arrive.


All adjustments to air bags were made before hooking up the weight distribution bars


15 psi bags 600# bars
B 37 1/8 A 36 5/8” pass rear
B34 3/16 A34 1/16 Pass front
B34 1/2. A34 1/2 driver front
B37 5/16. A36 7/8 Driver rear

With three children and me and the wife working opposites to ensure constant child care it’s hard to get free time to make all the changes going back and forth. Would like to make the most of my time available with as much information as possible in hand prior to trying a bunch more things. I would like to have it figured out prior to getting ready to head out next time instead of a boat load of trial and error when I should be hitting the road instead.

Lwiddis

Death Valley NP

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Posted: 12/26/20 03:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are you over the truck’s payload?


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


opnspaces

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Posted: 12/26/20 04:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Air bags do not distribute weight. They merely change the angle of the body. Either adjust the weight distribution (WD) with no air in the bags. Or head to a scale and get the axle weights before and after the WD is engaged. Once your axle weights are set then you can use the air bags to adjust the attitude of the body and make it look level.

As far as the differences in the ride heights there are many different factors that come into play. You could have one spring that is a little weaker than the other . Many trucks have the fuel tank on one side of the frame only. Do you have a tool box in the back with something heavy on one side?


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Lwiddis

Death Valley NP

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Posted: 12/26/20 04:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You said the ‘99 truck was tired. Is it unsafe at what you’re asking it to pull....AND carry?

Kfd518

Central Tx

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Posted: 12/26/20 06:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not to sound thick headed, I understand they don’t shift weight, they do more than change angle of the body though when your suspension is tired and worn. They support the load but do not distribute it. Yes I am aware that they lift weight off without having weight distribution used at the same time.

Now the question concerning your advice is” will it mess with the WD inflating AFTER setting bars for level”. It seems the geometry and height measurements would change considerably. Making me again completely set the hitch back up.
When I said earlier that I aired the bags before connecting the bars it was added before even hitching. The 15 psi mentioned put me at factory height according to what was written by trucks PO in the owners manual.
Fuel tank is on drivers side. This might account for passenger side being weaker since most manufacturers design into the suspension extra lift for the side with fuel tank. There are two diaper bags and a camper top on the truck at the time of measuring. Concrete sacks are used to simulate weight of equipment and people when I set up fully after getting front air bags in.

* This post was edited 12/26/20 06:26pm by Kfd518 *

Fstmvrerik

Salina, Ks.

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Posted: 12/26/20 07:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am using an Anderson WD hitch and I set it up using the recommended settings and installation procedure. I do however have wildly fluctuating weights in my camper and the bed of my truck, between fresh and waste water and fuel, over a thousand pounds of weight plus or minus.
I have found that by using the airbags after the trailer is hitched and WD hitch hooked up, I set the bottom of the hitch to the same measurement as the original set up elevation. The weight transfer is good and the trailer tows like a dream.
I have scaled the truck several times, when the tongue weight gets heavy the weight transfer is effected, by unloading the front but I can still get close to unloaded weight on the front wheels. The bags do not effect the weight transfer, but do keep my headlights on the road.,

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 12/26/20 10:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kfd, you’re working with a couple misconceptions here.
1. There is zero need or benefit to adding airbags to the front of the truck. Unsure what you’re trying to accomplish unless you feel the front springs are so tired they’re sagging.
If that is the case, bags are a bandaid and a poor one at that. And likely springs cost about the same, and relatively easy or cheap if hiring out the work, to replace.
2. Don’t obsess about measured fender height differences. First, spring rates are not different side to side, as designed, to account for minor weight differences such as a fuel tank. Second, your truck is 22 years old and admittedly has a tired suspension. Even if it didn’t, many/most pickups and many other vehicles have slight ride height differences. I’ve had probably 30 pickups in as many years and been around or responsible for hundreds of trucks. Many of my personal trucks have different ride heights. Part is loading, part is any anomoly in the surface where parked and most of it is trucks just don’t always sit perfectly the same. 2-2016 trucks and 1-1986 truck in my driveway. 1 stock, 2 lifted, all 3 sit a little different side to side, as did the last couple 2007, 2008 and 2013 models. I can notice a 1/2” difference by eye pretty easy and most every truck is a bit different.
To your actual question, if you only need 15 psi air, you really don’t need the extra support, however, I’d air em up more, where once you drop the trailer on and the set the wdh you get back close to unloaded rear height. (With it riding higher than normal height first.) This’ll help a bit if you’re sure the rear springs are sacked out some.
Sounds confusing but you’re on the right track imo save for the front airbags.
And yeah some trial and error setting up will likely be needed to get it dialed in.
But the rule of thumb still stands. Get the front back down about to unloaded height and that’s real close to right.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

goducks10

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Posted: 12/29/20 09:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I used air bags and a WDH with our 1st TT. Issue was that thw truck was carrying almost all the gear plus firewood and bikes. TT had little storage space. After loading the truck up and using 1,000 lb bars to return the front of the truck back towards the OEM ride height it made the ride very harsh.

So I added air bags and used bars with a 400-600 lb rating. TW was around 500 lbs. What I did was load the truck with gear then aired the bags up till the rear was at the OEM ride height.
Then hitched up the TT and set the front of the truck to the correct height.

Rode like a Cadillac. Best towing combo I've owned to date.

Hank McMauser

Payette County

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Posted: 01/01/21 01:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a 2015 ram 1500, and tow a Keystone Bullet 261RBSWE with a GVW of 7650#.
I added the air bags that go inside the springs, and upgraded tires. I found that running the bags at about 13-15 psi was the sweet spot, with the husky 10,000 round bar wdh hitch. Any more air, and the bars aren't being allowed to do their job because the truck isn't sagging enough to apply the needed pressure to the bars. I've found out that the 4th link of chain is also best over the 5th for the same reason, it puts the bars a little above parallel, but on the 5th link theyre not applying consistent pressure , and the tow vehicle porpoises much more.The point of all of this is that you have to find the sweet spot for your setup, as the airbags, and the WDH work against one another by their physical nature, and how they perform their job.


Twin 2015 1500 RAM bighorns and a 12x12 alaknak tent

BarneyS

S.E. Lower Michigan

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Posted: 01/01/21 08:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hank,
You would probably be better off tilting your hitch head back a bit and using the 5 links under tension as you originally did. Using only 4 runs the risk of jamming the wd bars into the brackets and sliding them back or forward on the A frame. 5 links is usually the minimum recommended by most manufacturers to allow room for the bars to go back and forth during turns. By tilting the hitch head rearwards some more, you can get additional lift on the bars with the same amount of chain lengths.

If you have not already seen it, we have an old but excellent thread on how to set up the WD hitch stuck at the top of this forum here. Part of it discusses the reason that manufacturers recommend a minimum of 5 links under tension.
Barney

* This post was edited 01/01/21 08:34am by BarneyS *


2004 Sunnybrook Titan 30FKS TT
Hensley "Arrow" 1400# hitch (Sold)
Not towing now.
Former tow vehicles were 2016 Ram 2500 CTD, 2002 Ford F250, 7.3 PSD


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