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Thread: Towing - How to set up your WD hitch and other WD and anti-sway discussions

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    Default Towing - How to set up your WD hitch and other WD and anti-sway discussions

    I'm setting up this thread as a one-stop place to discuss Weight Distributing hitches (WD), as well as Anti-sway devices. Feel free to post your ideas and questions about the operation of these devices, as well as your thoughts on the usefulness of them.

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    I will start by posting my procedure for setting up a WD hitch. Note that this is different than what's commonly found on the internet.
    The more common "tape measure" method works, and is used by thousands of people. Here's the best description I've found: David's RV tips - How to set up your WD hitch with a tape measure

    I don't like this method for two reasons.
    1) It relies on having a reliably flat and preferably level location to take these measurements. Most parking lots I've looked at are not flat, and none are truly level.
    2) I'm the kind of guy that needs to KNOW the weights. With all my camping gear loaded and a full tank of water, what does my trailer truly weigh? Am I safe towing with a full tank of fresh water? Should I be moving some of the heavy items to my truck box? What is my tongue weight? Am I overloading my trucks rear tires? Am I unweighting my trucks front axle too much?

    Here’s my procedure
    1) Load the truck box and trailer as you would for a camping trip. Bring all the same firewood, generators, fresh water etc that you normally would. If you have less load than normal, remember that and try to factor that into your results.
    2) Drive your trucks and trailer to a CAT scale. There are three of these located in Calgary, and over 1500 locations in North America. These are accurate, and you get a printed copy of the axle weights, which is very handy. http://catscale.com/cat-scale-locator
    3) Park your rig alongside the other truckers, and get yourself set up. Have a look around the truck stop to get familiar with what route you are taking onto and off of the scale. There is usually adequate turning room and no need to back up if you pay attention. Note that the scares are one-way operation.
    4) You’ll need to do a minimum of three weighs, in any order
    .a. Truck without trailer
    .b. Truck and trailer with WD system disengaged
    .c. Truck and trailer with WD system engaged (may need to adjust and re-do this step a few times)
    5) Do some calculations and you now know what’s going on with your WD system. Easy!
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    Scale Ticket A (Truck without Trailer)

    Scale Ticket B, Truck and Trailer with WD system DISENGAGED

    Scale Ticket C, Truck and trailer with WD System Engaged


    Little shot of my rig lined up with all the "real" truckers.
    Make the world a radder place, grow a mullet.
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    Some Sample Calculations
    Tongue Weight = Scale Ticket B (steer plus Drive Axles) - Scale Ticket A (Sb+Db)-(Sa+Da) = 350 kg.
    Total Trailer Weight = Tongue Weight Plus Trailer Axle = 2610 kg (this trailer is rated to 3500 kg GVW, so I'm well within that limit)

    Without WD system, I'm unweighting my front axles 240 kg compared to unloaded.
    With my final WD setup, I'm putting 170 kg of that weight back on the steering axle.
    I had the displeasure of driving this trailer once in the winter without any WD assist, and let me tell you, that lighter load on the steering axle made for some terrifying handling when turning or stopping on snowy roads. It really confused the ABS system.

    Anyone care to discuss?
    Make the world a radder place, grow a mullet.
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    I use the tape measure for my rig. I found a school parking lot that is level and flat in cochrane for the setup. The big pain in my but is the WD system itself. I have Fastway e2 setup and once set, its amazing. Can't be happier with how it pulls. The big deal comes with when the weight dynamics change. I had to re-install everything once i added a mini quad and 3000w generator into the setup as its NOT easily adjustable.

    Speaking of my woes, we should look at doing reviews of different systems. Im thinking of switching to the blue ox for the reason above.

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    I set mine up quickly when I installed the hitch on my truck after buying a 30' bumper pull with the rest of the gear already installed.

    I never use it really use it. I like the anti sway attachment and that's about all I ever install.

    2500HD Duramax 8900lb trailer
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    .
    Last edited by codetrap; 01-01-2017 at 11:14 AM.

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    I took my truck and trailer to the CAT scales across from the Road King last weekend.

    I can't remember my exact weights off the top of my head but here is what I remember:

    truck only 6000lbs

    truck and trailer total 13020lbs

    tongue weight was about 1200lbs I may need to move some things around to get that to about 1000lbs or so. maybe that bike hitch on the back would help.

    without WD engaged, I lost just under 500lbs from the front axle

    with the WD engaged, I put back all but 20lbs of it.

    also readjusted the Dual-Cam system and she is towing straight as an arrow again.

    total cost for all 3 weighs was $20.

    small cost to pay to know that I have 600lbs of payload leftover even with the trailer hooked up.
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    SOAB, that's a lot of tongue weight. How big is that trailer?

    Codetrap, I believe they charge $15 for the first weigh, and $3 for each re-weigh on the same day.
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    I know the tongue weight is high. BUT, the brochure weight of my trailer is 6450lbs and the listed tongue weight was 968lbs or so. If I could get the tongue weight down to 1000lbs, it would still be about 14% of gross trailer weight so I shouldn't have any sway issues.

    I'm guessing because of the layout or design of the trailer, it has more tongue weight than normal?

    my trailer is a Kodiak 276BHSL

    http://dutchmen.com/kodiak/floorplan.../?modelId=4916
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    Maybe that trailer just has a high tongue weight? As far as I know, "dry hitch weight" that's listed on that brochure doesn't include batteries or propane, in addition to not including things like your camping gear, food beer, water in tanks etc.

    2x 30 lb propane tanks plus 2x 6V Trojan batteries is around 200 lbs, and that would be nearly 100% tongue weight because of how far forward they are.

    It's not ridiculous, and if your truck isn't overloaded, then you are fine. I am just surprised, since my trailer is a similar size, and it's much lighter on the tongue. It does sound like you have you WD setup pretty well.
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    with a half ton truck I would disregard my previous advice
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    Last edited by codetrap; 01-01-2017 at 11:11 AM.

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    Last edited by codetrap; 01-01-2017 at 02:25 PM.

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    Little update, price has gone up at the CAT scales, now $17 for first weigh, and $4 for each re-weigh. So for the three weights required for my system, a nice even $25. You can also pre-pay for the two re-weighs if you ask them, which saves a little bit of time.

    Re-did this for my new truck and loaded trailer, and will post scale tickets in the next few days when I have some time.
    Make the world a radder place, grow a mullet.
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    the lady that was working the scales when I went didn't make me pay until after my third time. she knew what I was wanting to do as soon as I pulled up.
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    Last edited by codetrap; 12-31-2016 at 12:57 PM.

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    Here are the scale tickets from my recent weighs.
    click for larger version
    » Click image for larger version
    Truck weighs 7140 lbs with no gear or passengers.
    That's S/D (steering and drive axle weights) of 4060/3080 lbs.
    This first "empty" weight is technically unnecessary, but I like to know, mostly for curiosity, but partly for a target minimum front axle weight.

    click for larger version
    » Click image for larger version
    Loaded, I'm at 4300/3500 = 7800 lbs without a trailer. Actually, this was missing two people and a bag, so maybe should be 250 lbs more, but close enough.

    click for larger version
    » Click image for larger version
    This is with trailer attached and WITHOUT WD system engaged.
    S/D/T is 3920/4740/5340 = 14,000 lbs combined weight. You can see how much weight has been removed from the front axle, 380 lbs gone, and that's even significantly lower than my unloaded front axle weight. It's my opinion that low front axle weights are a leading cause of sway and poor handling when towing. So let's hook up the WDH.
    click for larger version
    » Click image for larger version
    Now we are looking at S/D/T of 4060/4560/5420 = 14,040 lbs. I guess that 40 lbs extra is just the margin of error in the scale. You can see I've moved 140 lbs back onto the front axle. Ideally I think one more link in the chain would be a good idea, and if this was a half ton truck, I would have been more picky, but at this point I was satisfied, so we took off.

    Towed like a dream. Zero sway passing or being passed, and we went through some really windy conditions as well as a thunderstorm. Heavy truck helps, but axle weights are a big deal too.

    Pic of final setup.
    click for larger version
    » Click image for larger version

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    I didn't take a tape measure to it, but I think that picture shows that the front of the trailer is a touch high, the front of the truck is a touch high as well.
    So ideally, I'd lower the hitch an inch or two, and tighten the WD bars a bit.

    That hitch is a real pain to lower, so I haven't bothered.
    Make the world a radder place, grow a mullet.
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    I like this thread. Should come in handy one day.
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