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Weight Distribution

Posted 11-14-2017 at 08:38 AM by Boog
Updated 11-14-2017 at 09:04 AM by Boog

Since threads about weight distributing hitches often get long and heated, I’ve decided to post my solution here in a blog post where it can reside unscathed. According to the literature that came with my truck, a 2001 Chevrolet 2500HD long bed with an 8.1-liter gas engine, “Weight distributing hitch and sway control required over 7500-lb trailer weight.” My 2012 23D has a dry weight of 4768-lb, a tongue weight of 779-lb and a gvwr of 6000-lb, so by my truck’s design, I am well below the requirements for a weight distributing hitch.

When I put my 1978 8-NCO Alaskan truck camper (approx. 2000-lb) on my truck, the front wheel well height rises 3/8” and the rear wheel well height drops 1 7/8”. I’ve traveled thousands of miles with no problems, no sway and no loss of steering control. With the Alaskan truck camper off of the truck and the Airstream hooked up on the ball, I get the exact same measurements.

While I haven’t weighed my truck and Alaskan set-up yet, I have weighed my truck/Airstream set up with no weight distribution.

Truck empty: front axle 3460-lb (4410 max), rear axle 2740-lb (6084 max), gross 6200-lb (9200max)
Truck/Airstream: front axle 3540-lb, rear axle 4180-lb, trailer axle 4180-lb, gross 11920-lb (21200 max)

I achieve weight distribution by loading my truck with the heaviest items forward of the rear axle. With the 8-foot bed, I can load almost everything that way. This puts weight onto both axles and gets my front axle at/above the unhitched weight.

What I have done is to upgrade my hitch platform on my truck from the stock GM hitch to a Curt Xtra Duty Class V (16000/2400lb tongue weight), purchased a Shocker Hitch with the 2” and 2 5/16” ball attachment, and to added a Hayes Electronic Sway Control unit to the Airstream.

I can tow all three of my trailers with the same “Shocker” hitch (there are other brands of air suspension hitches). I have a 900-lb teardrop, a 1900-lb Shasta and a 4800-lb Airstream. The air bag inflation is adjusted for each one depending on their tongue weight so each one gets a smooth tow. I don’t need a weight distributing hitch for a 900-lb trailer any more than I need one for a 4800-lb trailer. I do have an equalizer hitch that came with my 23D and I used it once on the 450-mile tow home after purchasing - it was one of the worst rides ever.

With my current set-up, I am not concerned with popped rivets, cabinet doors flying open or cushions on the floor after a trip. I tow flat, well balanced, extremely stable and safe. I drop the trailer on the ball, attach my 7-pin and safety chains and off I go. No counting links, no tweaking a friction bar, no worries while backing up, and no added tongue weight from a heavy hitch.

Weight distribution can be accomplished with loading instead of leverage.
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