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Old 01-21-2016, 02:40 PM   #1
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Choosing the proper hitch

Okay, this may be a dumb question but I have never towed anything other than a U-Haul before. We got a 1979 Tradewind and are making plans to go pick it up. I looked up the details and found that the dry weight is 4005 lbs, hitch weight is 670 lbs and the ball height is 19.5 in. I'm assuming that, when getting a hitch, I would look for one that is capable of towing a loaded trailer, not just the rated to tow the dry weight. (See, I told you this may be a dumb question). Anyway, I read somewhere that getting a hitch rated for a much heavier weight than I'll be towing is just as bad as getting one that isn't rated high enough. Is that true? If so, can anyone tell me a ballpark weight I can expect the trailer to weigh when loaded? And, can you recommend a weight distribution hitch that will do the job and is easy to use? We are eager to pick up are new trailer and getting to work on it so we can enjoy traveling the country. Thanks for any help and advice you can give.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:17 PM   #2
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A rough guess would be empty weight plus 1500#. Figure 12% of that total as tongue weight.

I would get 600# bars.

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Old 01-21-2016, 10:31 PM   #3
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Read this article and you will know more about selecting weight distribution and sway control hitches than most.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx
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Old 01-22-2016, 08:19 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. This will help a lot.
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Old 01-22-2016, 08:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
A rough guess would be empty weight plus 1500#. Figure 12% of that total as tongue weight.

I would get 600# bars.

Mike
I thought this sounded correct.

But when I ran the numbers through the Equalizer Selection Tool, the suggestion leans toward the 1,000 bars.
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:39 AM   #6
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A Reese straight line with 800 lb bars will do a good job with a 25'. Too heavy bars combined with a very stiff truck like a 250 is thought to possibly damage a trailer but I have towed 60000 miles or so with a Dodge 2500 with the Reese hitch and 800 lb bars and have not had a problem.
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:44 AM   #7
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Many times a weight distributing/sway control hitch comes with the trailer when you buy it. Do you know for sure a hitch is not included?
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:54 AM   #8
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Correct bar selection is widely debated. I don't think it matters that much.

Typically the dry weight in the specifications is less than the dry weight of the trailer as delivered. Typically trailers gain weight over the years from repairs and upgrades. You can figure water at 8# a gallon, propane at 4# a gallon, 200# a person for stuff, and 200# for baseline "stuff" beyond that. That will get you close.

But you should take your trailer over the scales early and often so you know for sure.
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Old 01-22-2016, 04:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoot View Post
Okay, this may be a dumb question but I have never towed anything other than a U-Haul before. We got a 1979 Tradewind and are making plans to go pick it up. I looked up the details and found that the dry weight is 4005 lbs, hitch weight is 670 lbs and the ball height is 19.5 in. I'm assuming that, when getting a hitch, I would look for one that is capable of towing a loaded trailer, not just the rated to tow the dry weight. (See, I told you this may be a dumb question). Anyway, I read somewhere that getting a hitch rated for a much heavier weight than I'll be towing is just as bad as getting one that isn't rated high enough. Is that true? If so, can anyone tell me a ballpark weight I can expect the trailer to weigh when loaded? And, can you recommend a weight distribution hitch that will do the job and is easy to use? We are eager to pick up are new trailer and getting to work on it so we can enjoy traveling the country. Thanks for any help and advice you can give.
You sure opened up a contentious subject. Put your seat belt on.
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Old 01-22-2016, 04:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SCOTTinNJ View Post
I thought this sounded correct.

But when I ran the numbers through the Equalizer Selection Tool, the suggestion leans toward the 1,000 bars.
With the Equalizer you should get as close to the actual weight as possible. You go over too much and you will get rivet popping rides. I made that mistake and even my shower door fell down.
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:43 PM   #11
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With the Equalizer you should get as close to the actual weight as possible. You go over too much and you will get rivet popping rides. I made that mistake and even my shower door fell down.
Aww! The voice of experience!

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Old 01-22-2016, 09:21 PM   #12
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Hitch and bar selection and suggested reading

These articles by Andy Rogozinski are suggested reading before buying a hitch and you tow vehicle weight should be taken into account.
The hitch torsion bar story
http://www.inlandrv.com/articles/hitch-torsion-bar-story.html
and towing myths
http://www.inlandrv.com/articles/towing_myths.pdf
What weight bars you use is tied to your tow vehicle weight. Heavier tow vehicle = lighter bars.

The goal of the bars is to transfer some of the tongue weight and lower the front of the tow vehicle. My 2013 Tundra is close to the trailer weight and my trailer is 4300# empty and about 6000# loaded with full water tank (front) and full propane tanks, but, my tongue is light at a measured 540#. I have both 750 and 1000# bars and tried both. Everything I read said 750# bars should work but I could not get the front to come down. With the 1000# bars I was able to get the front of the truck within 1" with the rear.

I was concerned with the heavier bars but after 8,000 miles towing I have had no popped rivets and nothing is out of place unless I hit a big upheaval in the road. My hitch is the original 1977 Eaz-lift hitch and I have never had any sway or wind problems.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:32 AM   #13
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We were sold Blue Ox by the AS dealer. It is totally adequate for towing the weight of our trailer, but it is so low to the ground that we scrape the ground even on slight dips out of gas stations regardless of how slow we go. We can't wait to get rid of it.
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:47 AM   #14
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This is an excellent question.

I have just finished spending the past few weeks reading everything I could get my hands on, and corresponding with a number of users, regarding weight distribution hitch selection. Andy Thomson at CanAm suggested an Eaz-Lift hitch with 1400# bars, plus a pair of Husky sway bars (this is for an F-150 crew cab 4X4 and 25' Airstream). His observation was that it takes this strength bars to transfer enough of the high tongue weight to the front of this somewhat long wheelbase TV. He likes the Husky sway bars because they are quieter than others.

In the end, I essentially followed Andy T's advice. I chose round bars because they may ride somewhat "softer" than trunnion bars. Rather than the Eaz-Lift, I chose Curt because I wanted grease zerk fittings in the head and I liked the way the torsion bars are released, but I am using the Husky sway bars. Frankly, I couldn't discern much difference between the various round bar heads, except the Reece head is forged while all the others are welded steel. Of course, some claim "4-point" sway control like Equal-i-zer and a couple of others. Blue Ox claims built in sway control because its chains are tightened close to the take-up bracket. It may be worth noting that Sean and Kristy, of Long Long Honeymoon fame, use a Reese round bar hitch, but not dual cams--he selected just one sway bar rather than two for his 25' Airstream, and they have towed in all 49 states.

I rejected the ProPride/Hensley because I didn't want any more tongue weight, not because of cost. I opted out of the Reese dual cams for reasons not especially relevant here.

Andy R. at Inland suggests the tighter sprung the TV, the lighter weight the torsion bars should be. He's the pro and I'm not, but the physics imply that wheelbase is important. That's but one reason I followed Andy Thomson's advice.
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