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Old 08-26-2013, 04:24 PM   #15
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Drive a few miles and check it out. If ok hit the interstate. If ok keep going and don't look back!
Paul
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:00 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by wncrasher View Post
Whatever you may read on these forums, do not use an equalizing type hitch unless you have a body on frame type vehicle.

A unibody structure, like you'll find on these crossover SUV's, minivans, etc., cannot handle the stresses thru the structure that a WD hitch setup will induce.
Somewhat. The unibody structure itself is much stronger than body on frame of similar vehicles. The problem is attachment points for the receiver, and the lift and stiffness of the w.d. hitch

I think some new unibody SUV's are designed for use with w.d. hitches. Jeep Grand Cherokee/Dodge Durango come to mind. On the other hand there have been a number of full-size truck receivers unable to take the lifting of them. Chev/GMC come to mind.

Pretty hard to group it all together.

doug
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:25 PM   #17
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Stability

Stability of the trailer matters a whole big bunch too. As in, NEVER load your trailer tail-heavy.

The old adage is 10%-15% of the trailer's weight should be tongue weight. So if you have a 4000lb trailer, your tongue weight should be at least 400lbs and even 600lbs is fine. That is a simplification.

The real deal is that you want the center of gravity (CG) of the trailer to be 10-15% ahead of the centerline of the axles, for stability.

Trailers are similar to aircraft here. A nose heavy airplane is OK as long as you're flying fast enough to have enough airflow over the elevator to keep the nose up. But a tail heavy airplane is a death trap bomb. They are unstable, and will eat you alive.

So is your trailer. A trailer loaded properly will have the CG 10-15% ahead of the centerline of the axles. If loaded thus, it will tow nicely with or without weight distribution. Better with, but with a heavy tow vehicle you could get by without.

With an ultralight tow vehicle, a heavy trailer, and a tail heavy one at that, you are asking for trouble.

Let's look at an example. Say you have a 31' Excella from 1977. It weighs 6000lbs loaded. Let's say you measure from the ball to the center of the front axle, then you measure from the ball to the center of the rear axle, and the exact point between them is 19' from the ball. You want the CG of the trailer to be somewhere around 10% to 15% ahead of this point. So 10-15 percent ahead of that is 3.1 feet to 4.6 feet ahead of that. So 19' minus 3.1 feet is 15.9 feet from the ball. The trailer should balance ahead of that. You can figure that with scales, but the easier way for Harry Homeowner is "tongue weight."

Anyway, don't load your blacksmith tools in the back. Put the weight forward in your trailer and it will tow much better. I saw a Bobcat on a flatbed trailer, loaded at the rear, sway, then do a 180 jack knife at 60mph, and then flip 90 degrees to the right and roll the whole rig up and over the guard rail.

You want your rig to be stable.

Make sure it's nose heavy

See ya,
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:53 PM   #18
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I'm No Pro But!

I am towing a 66 Caravel with a 09 Grand Caravan. My van is rated to tow 4000 lbs. and 400 lbs. on the hitch.(The Caravel is around 2400 lbs and we travel light) I was on the fence about WD hitch. I worried about the stress on the vintage frame. So i decided not to go with the WD. I have now towed my AS around 10,000 miles with the Caravan. I have had no issues. I have been planning on installing airbag on the van. But haven't done it yet. I think your Pilot can handle that GT with ease. I do have over 30 years of towing under my belt. But I'm no pro.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:56 PM   #19
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This explains why the PO of my trailer (a very experienced RV traveler) told me to tow it with the fresh water tank full (it's right up front centered under the front window). A little extra weight on the nose is a good thing!
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:02 PM   #20
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Extra trailer tongue weight increases the stability of the trailer but decreases the handling and braking of the tow vehicle. That's why you need weight distribution, the best of both worlds.

doug
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Extra trailer tongue weight increases the stability of the trailer but decreases the handling and braking of the tow vehicle. That's why you need weight distribution, the best of both worlds.

doug
Note: He is towing a vintage GT. Not a much much heavier newer Airstream!
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wncrasher View Post
Whatever you may read on these forums, do not use an equalizing type hitch unless you have a body on frame type vehicle.

A unibody structure, like you'll find on these crossover SUV's, minivans, etc., cannot handle the stresses thru the structure that a WD hitch setup will induce.
That's a bit of a sweeping statement and one that shows a certain lack of knowledge about the pros and cons of unibody construction. Have a read of Doug's post above (#12), he has it right.

I've been towing for the past three years with a unibody TV and a nice flexible weight distribution system. Yes, the hitch has been beefed in the manner that Doug described but the low COG, wide stance and overall rigidity of the modern unibody make for a fine tow vehicle. There are plenty of us out there!
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:49 PM   #23
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I tow with a Ridgeline, 5000lb rated towing and 600lb tongue weight rating. My trailer weighs in at about 3500lbs loaded, and I make sure the tongue weight is under 400lbs. It's basically a Honda Pilot, slightly beefed up.
Two reasons the Honda doesn't like a WD set up: first, it's a unibody frame. Not that that's a bad thing, it's just not an historically accurate towing frame, so adjustments have to be made.
Second, the computer system in the Honda takes into consideration the weight of the tow as it moves and adjusts traction to each wheel as it goes.
Basically, I'm towing a 1972 trailer with a 2011 TV, not a 1972 TV. I'll follow the TV manufacturer's recommendations, and keep the weights way under the max. I keep the speed down to 60 mph, both hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road ahead.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:00 PM   #24
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I thought the Ridgeline did have a frame, welded to and part of the unibody. That's quite different than the Pilot.

Does the Ridgeline owners manual state you should not use a load equalizing hitch?

doug
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:14 PM   #25
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Well, if its any help I have almost the same set-up. We are towing a 1970 23' Safari with our 2010 Honda Pilot and are using a WD hitch. We are towing on the mountainous west coast and haven't had a problem so far. We have towed through the costal mountains and from Vancouver to San Francisco. We keep our total weight at the Pilots GVWR without any real compromise.

The WD hitch is definitely needed to keep the nose down on the Pilot.

If I find any problem I will add to this post.

Mike
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:01 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I thought the Ridgeline did have a frame, welded to and part of the unibody. That's quite different than the Pilot.

Does the Ridgeline owners manual state you should not use a load equalizing hitch?

doug
Well, the owners manual does state that an equalizer hitch, and looking on the Ridgeline forum it's based on a Pilot. But I think you may be right about the beefed up frames because of the difference in capacities. It does be e less towing capacity than an F150, or evens a Tacoma.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:52 AM   #27
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This has been the most useful thread on this subject I have read. I think it is an important question as many people will have or buy smaller unibody vehicles in response to gas prices and will be towing light weight campers. So much of the decision to use a WD hitch has to be based on SUV warranty violations, knowledge and experience of local installing dealer and individual vehicles characteristics including computer stabilizing system. For me I will never violate manufactures requirements. Plus as a newbie, how is one to know if the local dealer has the actual knowledge and experience with your 2014 vehicle? Lots of life experience tells me there is a lot of BS out there. Probably another good idea is not to tow at your vehicle max rating to allow an adequate factor of safety...say 80% of max.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #28
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Lots of life experience tells me there is a lot of BS out there.
Without a doubt. The hard part is learning what it BS and what is for real.
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