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Old 07-28-2014, 06:52 PM   #57
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This probably isn't has not much to do with this thread, but y'all should find it interesting.
Years ago, I worked for Trailer Life Magazine, when Art Rouse, and his family owned and ran it.
Also at that time, Wally Byam, was still alive and building Airstreams. These two were good friends, as Art and his wife, Harriet owned and used a 34' Airstream. T.J. Reese was the original builder of the Reese WD hitch.
It was very difficult to make people understand how WD works, just by explaining it.

These three guys, (and they are all in the RV Hall of Fame) got together, and decided to show people how it worked. Art Rouse bought one of the first Oldsmobile Toronado's, (front wheel drive, with a 455 cubic inch V-8).

Reese supplied the hitch (an early version of the current Dual Cam), Byam supplied the Airstream, and Rouse supplied the TV. A Reese frame receiver was installed on the Toronado, hooked up to the Airstream, then they removed the rear wheels from the Toronado, and drove that rig from Los Angeles, to New York City. My office was in Elkhart, Indiana at the time, they stopped there on the way to New York.

After seeing that, I finally understood how WD worked, and I have used it ever since. By the way, that was in the late 1960's, I was 27 years old at the time.

For whatever it's work, I just thought y'all might be interested in a bit of RVing history.

Larry C
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:57 PM   #58
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what? how'd that happen?
Rich,

It was so good, we asked to see it twice.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:11 PM   #59
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I've seen a pic of that, LarryC - great story - thanks!
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:58 PM   #60
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weight distribution system

Fwiw, while posting on a different WD thread I was compelled to go find the weight ticket I got last year while leaving town on my first trip out.

No WD

Steer axle 2,880
Drive axle 2,880
Trailer axles 6100
Total weight 11,860

I didn't remember that the steer and drive were exactly the same, but they were.

The trucks GRWR;

Front 3,950
Rear 3,750

Does this vehicle need WD?

Would it be better to move a couple hundred pounds forward?

I say maybe. Necessary for safety? I don't think so.

But still,,,, I did buy a Hensley last night, so I will play around with it some.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:11 PM   #61
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You beat me to it Larry But, you saw it for real...I've only seen pictures.

I thought a guy did a similar thing (though didn't tow it that far) with a Chevy Citation back in the late 80's.

Crank in enough distribution and you can pick the back of the car off the ground.

I've not posted to this thread because I figured, it would go down hill really fast. Glad to see it didn't get too ugly

There are many variables involved to all of this.

The original poster did kind of make a valid point: If you have a heavy truck, you don't really need weight distribution. Especially if you have a diesel that has double the weight on the front axle already. Just look at the math. That does not mean you don't need anti-sway.

Let's say you have an F-350 gasser that weighs 7000lbs, and I have one with a diesel that weighs 8000. Let's say your front axle weight is 3500lbs, and mine is 4500lbs, all else being equal, and no trailer hooked up. The exta weight of mine is all from Rudolf Diesel's finest and the associated beef-up up front to mount. Let's say they are both crew cab long beds, and have a 170 inch wheel base. Let's also say that whatever WD hitch we are using has the ball 40" aft of the center of the rear axle.

OK, it is a simple statics problem. Pick a tongue weight....say it's 1200lbs. OK, with 1200lbs on the ball, and perfect weight distribution, you put 600lbs on the front axle and 600lbs on the back (you'd really have to crank on her to actually do that) and squat it down just right (assuming equal spring rates, etc. which they aren't but this is an example). So now you have 4100lbs on the front axle. On my truck, I have zero weight distribution. So I'm just dumping 1200lbs on the ball. Do the moment calc and I've added 1482lbs to the rear axle (you get leverage from the overhang) and I've removed 282lbs from the front axle. So I now have 4218lbs on the front axle. Even with no weight distribution, I still have 118lbs more weight on the steering axle than the gasser. So the details do matter. And the best way, like the others have said, is to weigh the thing.

Of course, if I had something like a half ton Suburban with a 5.3, it will have a relatively light front axle load, softer springs all around, and more overhang (typically) from the center of the rear axle to the hitch ball. So say it has a 120" wheelbase, a 50" overhang, and a very light front. You would need to use heavier load bars on that setup.

Unfortunately, it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. So you have to look at the trailer, look at the tow vehicle, look at the geometry of them, and go from there. Both my dad and grand dad have had multiple sets of load bars, at different ratings, for pulling the same trailer but with different vehicles. I know Reese And Eq are happy to sell you some

Weight Distribution and Anti-Sway are two separate entities. But, if you can kill two birds with one stone, then why not? That's why they've said for years the bigger and heavier the tow vehicle, the lighter load bars you want to use. With a big one ton diesel dually, you really don't "need" any weight distribution at all. If anything, you'd want one of those cushion hitches that help absorb the shock because it'd take the Rock of Gibraltar to move the springs on one of those. But, you always want to have the anti-sway for safety. With a Reese Dual Cam on a big dually, you'd probably want 600lb bars, as you're not going to lighten the front axle enough to matter, and you're certainly not going to settle the back of the truck with a little ol' silver trailer (maybe a 40' fifth wheel....). So you don't need 1200lb bars. Use the 600's, so that they flex enough to work as designed and give you the "Straight Line" or "Anti Sway" action without tearing the tongue off the trailer. Same thing for an Equal-I-Zer. Both of these hitches require a certain amount of deflection to work properly. If you used the heavy bars with the heavy truck, you're basically just dumping a bunch of excess load into the trailer tongue.

Another facet of this whole argument is Center of Gravity, which is probably more important than any kind of WD hitch. If the CG is too far aft, nothing will make it track right. A travel trailer's CG should be 10-15% ahead of the center line of the axle group. So if you have a single axle, measure the length of the trailer, multiply by .125, and measure forward from the center of the axle. That's where it should balance. Same with a triple and do it off the center axle. With a tandem, it'll be measured from halfway between the front and rear axle. The diddy about 10-15% of the trailer's weight as tongue weight is just a simplification of the real method, which is based on CG. Trailers are much like aircraft in that if you get them nose heavy, they are stable. Get them tail heavy, and they are unstable. Unstable = bad. A good hitch might mask it, but it's better to be loaded properly and have a good hitch setup. So put your blacksmith tools in the front. I once saw a utility trailer with a bobcat on the back that was loaded toward the rear. As I was passing him, I noticed his trailer start to fishtail. I accelerated quickly. It went from mild to wild in about 2-3 seconds and the trailer turned about 160 degrees, came up beside the pickup so they were going down the road like a capital V right behind me, and then the trailer flipped up over the pickup and rolled him off the right side of the road, completely over the guard rail. Guy was wearing his seatbelt, and so fortunately walked away from it as he slid through the bushes and didn't hit a pole or anything. But that is a classic example of an aft-CG unstable loading condition.

So to summarize this book:
Evaluate the tow vehicle and the trailer.
Don't go cheap on a hitch...spend the bucks and get a good one.
Determine the right load bars for the hitch.
Set it up right. If you need help, just ask on here. I've set up Reese's and Eq's, and others have too, as well as other brands. We're happy to help.
Make sure you have good tires, brakes, and lights that all work.

Go have fun!
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:17 PM   #62
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Fwiw, while posting on a different WD thread I was compelled to go find the weight ticket I got last year while leaving town on my first trip out.

No WD

Steer axle 2,880
Drive axle 2,880
Trailer axles 6100
Total weight 11,860

I didn't remember that the steer and drive were exactly the same, but they were.
Interesting. Mine is not symmetrical without WD.

Just wondering - is symmetry on TV axles a goal or is that coincidental? My understanding is that the goal is to restore a required % lifted off the TV steer axle regardless of balance front/rear.

Mine starts at 4660 on steer and 3320 on drive. Add the trailer (no WD) and I'm at 4140 and 4900. With WD applied I'm at 4440 and 4500 (which I took to be coincidentally balanced). And note: my truck's manual wants 50% FALR (or 260# from the 520# lifted off the steer - the 4440 is 60# above the 50% FALR so I could back off the WD to balance that 60# difference - just don't know if that symmetry is a goal).

What do you all think?
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:22 PM   #63
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weight distribution system

I don't think dead symmetry is important. I would say yours is close enough.

The fact that mine came out dead even is just pure chance.

Unfortunately I have never weighed my truck unhooked..... And I own a truck scale.....

By the way,,, I agree that anti sway IS a good idea, and good enough of an idea that I spent $1,246 on a Hensley last night.

I figure with the Hensley I can feel comfortable letting my wife drive.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:37 PM   #64
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I don't think dead symmetry is important. I would say yours is close enough.

The fact that mine came out dead even is just pure chance.

Unfortunately I have never weighed my truck unhooked..... And I own a truck scale.....

By the way,,, I agree that anti sway IS a good idea, and good enough of an idea that I spent $1,246 on a Hensley last night.

I figure with the Hensley I can feel comfortable letting my wife drive.
Thanks. Not related to hitches, but one of the most important "anti-sway" devices is practice and experience. Having purchased both the truck and trailer new and this being the first ever RV for us, DW and I felt it was a worthwhile investment to spend a weekend (the first after we bought the trailer) at the local CDL driving school for a Safe RV Driver course. She did WAY better than I did. The instructor INTENTIONALLY did everything REALLY slow. At first I was annoyed but he'd keep saying - hey, relax, it's CAMPING. :-)

Take it slow, GOAL (get out and look), relax, it's camping....all valuable lessons together with the technical aspects of backing it in to tight spaces, road tests in some hairy areas (highway is too easy ;-) ) and evasive maneuvers. Highly recommended no matter what hitch you buy.

Enjoy the Hensley. We have the ProPride (same principle) and just love it - admittedly with no other experience to measure against :-)
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:57 PM   #65
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weight distribution system

I have had my CDL for over 25 years now, driven lots of miles and I still get out and look, LOTS, and I don't care who mocks me for it...

Truly excellent advise about the driving school.

By the way,,, not that it has anything to do with this thread,,,,, but my wife just walked in from a trip to Florida....

Do I tell her that I bought the hitch tonight or tomorrow....
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:56 AM   #66
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Wds

Man,
All these responces, great, but very confussing with drag factors, axle weight,symmetry, lot of math. I'm at the point where it would be easier to rent a hotel room and take a cab.I'm just going to do what I feel confortable with. I have never worried about what might happen, I live in the now and I also beleive there is no problem until there is a problem. 20 years a cop does that to you,you take day by day I do appreciate all the imput, I have learned alot.
Russ
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:08 AM   #67
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I have had my CDL for over 25 years now, driven lots of miles and I still get out and look, LOTS, and I don't care who mocks me for it...

Truly excellent advise about the driving school.

By the way,,, not that it has anything to do with this thread,,,,, but my wife just walked in from a trip to Florida....

Do I tell her that I bought the hitch tonight or tomorrow....
Is she tired and cranky, or refreshed and perky?

1st case: tomorrow 2nd: now.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:14 AM   #68
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She was tired, a little cranky, but glad to be home ...

I told her last night....

I explained that I had to place a bid on the lightly used hitch for half price,,, and it surprised me that I won it...... But at least now she can pull her trailer wherever she wants....

So far so good.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:19 AM   #69
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Russ,,,

I am about the same way. Try it, see what works, if it works good, if it doesn't, fix it.

First time out after my first trailer rebuild I found I built the back of my trailer too heavy....

After returning from my first trip I remodeled my just remodeled rear bath.... fixed it and learned a few things,,,, pendulum effect on a vertical axis,,,, and lightweight construction techniques.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:55 AM   #70
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Russell, it's not that complicated for your light truck and trailer. The heavy combo's cannot benefit from weight distribution the way you can.

So keep it simple, medium-sized w.d. bars to evenly distribute the added weight of the trailer on your truck's front and rear axles. You already use a sway control bar, that's good.

The hitch head and bars should be installed so they are tilted down toward the rear to assist with w.d. and give a better handling rig. When the w.d is applied, your wheel well measurements should show an equal drop front and rear (never lift the rear higher than equal or you will begin to lose rear wheel traction), and the trailer level.

Trailer and truck balance is mentioned. Just load your trailer so the front and rear of the trailer get about the same weight, concentrate heavy items over the axles. Load the truck with the heavy items as far forward in the bed as you can, keep the area behind the rear wheels as light as you can.

It will become second nature after you have used it a few times.
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