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Old 06-21-2007, 09:26 AM   #57
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Further info. AS tells me that the published ball height for my trailer ( 17.75 ) is measured with the trailer hooked up to the TV.
Tom
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:19 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by henw
Further info. AS tells me that the published ball height for my trailer ( 17.75 ) is measured with the trailer hooked up to the TV.
Tom

"WRONG" Factory or not, that statement is wrong. If you can provide that persons name, I will be glad to call them and have them stop giving out wrong hitch information.

The proper and "only" way to measure ball height is have the trailer loaded for travel and leveled, and sitting unattached.

Then measure from the ground up "INTO" the coupler.

Since one third (1/3) of the tongue weight will be returned to the axles, assuming a proper rated hitch, properly installed and properly adjusted is in use, then subtracting 1/4 to 1/2 inch from that dimension is in order.

Example. If you measured 17 inches, from the ground to "inside" the coupler, with the trailer loaded for travel, "NOT ATTACHED TO THE TOW VEHICLE", then you would set the ball height to 16 1/2 inches to 16 3/4 inches, depending on type tow vehicle you will use. A heavy duty tow vehicle would not drop as much as a light duty tow vehicle, therefore as an example if you used a 3/4 ton truck or equal, then setting the ball height to 16 3/4 inches would be correct.

These instructions were developed over 35 years ago, using truck scales to make sure that the tongue weight was redistributed correctly, which is 1/3 back to the trailer axle or axles and 2/3 to the tow vehicle, properly and equally distributed to the 4 wheels of the tow vehicle.

Ideally, the trailer should be level within itself as well as the tow vehicle, when the two are hooked up together, ready for the road.

Andy
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:37 AM   #59
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Andy,

I forwarded the discussed message from AS to you via email.

Tom
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:38 AM   #60
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too high

Interesting discussion here! I would love to be able to comply with the advised height setting for the ball on my hitch- but don't know how to. The set-up won't allow me to get lower than about 22", mounted on my Suburban 3/4 ton. What can I do? Thanks!
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Old 06-21-2007, 02:17 PM   #61
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Get an appropriate drop shank to lower the ball mount. I had to do that when I went from a 1/2 ton pickup to a 3/4 ton pickup.
I ordered from Trailer Hitches, trailer hitch bike racks, and more - HitchSource.com
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Old 06-21-2007, 04:25 PM   #62
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I apologize for belaboring this issue, but, depending on who you talk to the advice varies greatly. I'm trying to set my equalizer up according to their instructions. They call for setting the ball height 3/16" higher than the inside coupler height for every 100# tongue weight. For my unit that works out to almost 1 3/4". I was assuming they meant top of ball height. But, their tech has emailed me that they measure ball height at the base. Doing this will put the top of the ball several inches above the level of the inside top of the coupler once I add allowance for tongue weight. Does that sound right?
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Old 06-21-2007, 04:30 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henw
I apologize for belaboring this issue, but, depending on who you talk to the advice varies greatly. I'm trying to set my equalizer up according to their instructions. They call for setting the ball height 3/16" higher than the inside coupler height for every 100# tongue weight. For my unit that works out to almost 1 3/4". I was assuming they meant top of ball height. But, their tech has emailed me that they measure ball height at the base. Doing this will put the top of the ball several inches above the level of the inside top of the coupler once I add allowance for tongue weight. Does that sound right?

Sounds like instructions to hook up a hay wagon, certainly far from correct for a travel trailer.

Logic and the laws of physics clearly spell out how it must be done.

Bottom line is "everything" must be level, and the hitch must do it's job. Therefore the ball height must be correct, the hitch rating must be correct, the hitch must be installed correctly and the hitch must be adjusted correctly.

Andy
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Old 06-21-2007, 07:20 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tphan
Interesting discussion here! I would love to be able to comply with the advised height setting for the ball on my hitch- but don't know how to. The set-up won't allow me to get lower than about 22", mounted on my Suburban 3/4 ton. What can I do? Thanks!
I had the same issue, on my first trip looked like I was going uphill.

Stopped at a RV shop and picked up a 10" drop shank, then I pick the correct height.

So you need to shell out $150
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:43 AM   #65
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Thanks, LIPets and Dawgfan- will check with Hitchsource. I can understand HenW's confusion here, with the advice to set the ball LOWER than the tongue socket. Maybe I'm mis-reading that advice? My own common sense would tell me to set the ball height a bit higher to allow for the inevitable sag that will occur, or at least at the same height. If the ball is indeed supposed to be set lower than the tongue socket, can someone explain the reason for this to a simpleton like myself?? After everything is loaded, hitched up, and W/D chains tensioned, is the goal not to have the trailer sitting nearly exactly parallel with the ground, AND have the tow vehicle sitting as it did before the trailer tongue pushed the rear end down? Sorry to also belabor this but just want CLEAR, experienced advice so we can tow safely. Thanks!!
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:30 AM   #66
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good advice

hi again- just wanted to thank Dawgfan for the tip on Hitchsource.com, I ordered a 5.62" drop shank from them for only $74 including shipping. The "standard" shank-thing that came with my Curt W/D hitch was a 2" drop, so this gets me almost 4" more which will indeed do the trick. Hitchsource had a big selection of those things, with all kinds of different lengths and drops. I got #17120. Also hope to hear from some of you regarding Andy's advice to initially set the hitch-ball LOWER than the coupler- which seems counter-intuitive to me, if I'm understanding his advice correctly. Have a good one.
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Old 08-05-2007, 08:34 PM   #67
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WDH, to do or not to do with a Honda Ridgeline?

Glad to see this thread returned to its original purpose! Unfortunately, no one moved the earlier discussion of whether or not to use a WDH with a Honda Ridgeline to tow vehicles, or where ever it would be appropriate, and I have some updated input from a Honda engineer that I thought would interest you.

First, I did buy the Reese WDH and set it up with 550 springbars and had a great 3700 mile trip loaded for camping with my 16' Bambi. I reported this under tow vehicles in this forum and under weight distributing hitches in the Honda Ridgeline Owner's forum. The latter immediately sparked a rebuke from a Honda engineer. Thought you would find his reply interesting:

"I will try to offer this information without sounding condescending or disrespectful:

Honda has a staff of engineers that specialize in vehicle dynamics. There are members with advanced degrees including a specialist with a PhD vehicle dynamics. (This is the same group that developed the cooperative chassis control on the SH4WD system for the 2007 MDX.) These are the experts that have judged a WDH hitch as potentially dangerous device and should not be used. Even if these devices are set-up on a perfectly level surface, the moment that is produced on the tow vehicle is not constant and is a function of the gross profile of the road surface you are driving. You will experience a dynamic load condition that constantly varies during your trip depending on the road profile you are driving over. If a WDH is set properly, with a minimum amount of load removed from the rear axle (to avoid dynamic instability), a WDH hitch can reduce the amount of ďsagĒ on the tow vehicle. The primary problem with these devices is they are specifically promoted for this purpose. Most users attribute the improved stability from these devices which results from the damping nature they produce from the yaw friction induced due to their design. The tendency for the non-technical user is to set the WDH hitch up to achieve a level visual appearance on the tow vehicle. This may remove too much weight from the rear axle and cause the stability issues which may result in a crash. The Ridgeline Front and Rear GAWR were designed, engineered and tested to handle the necessary towing loads without a WDH. Further, the rear brakes are appropriately sized for the increased braking forces caused by a load on the bed or a large tongue load created by towing a trailer. Increasing the front axle loading with a WDH for braking purposes is completely unfounded and unnecessary. The origin of WDH dates back to the late 60ís and early 70ís when most American families were towing recreational vehicles with passenger cars. Passenger cars lacked the proper brake sizing, front to rear brake proportioning, and Rear GAWR to handle a large travel trailer. The WDH allowed people to compensate for these weaknesses and tow larger trailers with their full size station wagons and passenger cars.

Hondaís WDH recommendations were made by engineers Ė not by lawyers. The owners manual is a legal document due to our litigious country and political climate. The owners manual is drafted by a group of professional writers that are usually better linguists than a band of engineers that usually canít spell. A legal staff also reviews the owners manual because they have a technical background in law and they are familiar with the legal wording and potential liability issues represented by a band of opportunist looking to make a quick fortune. The wording in the Ridgeline owners manual is the result of a team of individuals that came together with a collective agreement that a WDH is extremely easy to miss-set and is therefore a dangerous device. This whole discussion validates this concern. If this appears too cautionary, then perhaps the language should be re-worded to be more clear about the potential pit-falls. However, it is difficult to anticipate the hundreds of potential set-ups on the market without targeting a specific piece of hardware.

"The fact of the matter is the Ridgeline was properly designed to tow the rated trailer without the use of a WDH. If you wish to ignore this recommendation by a staff of technical experts in vehicle dynamics and formulate your own guidelines based on your personal experiences Ė proceed at your own risk. However, please do not encourage others to follow your path without equal cautionary sensitivity for their safety."

In a private e-mail to me this same engineer said that WDHs could help the overall dynamics if properly set-up and if designed differently than the haphazard chain link design that is prevalent today and if spring bars could be more finely tuned to the individual rig. He indicated that he was on an SAE panel that is exploring improving towing safety and that WDH use was a topic that the panel and Honda was exploring.

Dick
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:33 PM   #68
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Wow, Just read through this interesting thread.
I do not think these Honda engineers have taken their nose out a book long enough to get some real world experience - I bet somedays they can't find their hind quarters with both hands.
I'm glad you have taken the advice from some of the seasoned folks here on this board. I have pulled many utillity trailers in my life and understand loading etc... but I also am happy to take advice from these people and I am slowing gathering all the items I need to make my travels as safe as I can.

Glad it is all working out for you.
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:47 AM   #69
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Dual Axle Trailers/Ball Height

As stated before there is no equalizing link between the two axles on the trailer.
The ball height therefore determines the weight distribution on the two axles.
The setting of the Weight Distrubution Bars (be they trunion, round or equalizer) determines the amount of and distribution of weight to the tow vehicle.
The desired end result is equal weight on all four axles (the two on the tow vehicle and the two on the trailer).
So make it easy on yourselves and cheat.
Call and make arrangments with a local CAT scale and tell the operator straight up that you are trying to set up your weight distributing hitch and would like to use their scales to get every thing balanced and correct. Inquire as to when their not so busy times are and do it then. They usually have large parking lots. Just pull off to an unused corner and make your adjustments.
Here in Virginia the CAT Scales in Suffolk I believe are $10.00 for the first pass then $1.00 for each subsequent pass within a 24 hour period. They were very nice and as helpful as could be realizing I had never done this before (used the CAT scale).
That way you know that the weight is equal on the two trailer axles for your individual situation (loading etc).
You may have to change the height and/or angle on the ball mount number of links under tension and lastly the position of the dual cam saddles (I have the Reese dual cam straight line).
The difference in ride, handeling and braking is amazing, unless of course you happen to be lucky and hit the right combination of adjustment by accident. In that case one pass across the scales is all you need.
THE TRAILER AND THE TOW VEHICLE BEING LEVEL DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE WEIGHT ON ALL THE AXLES IS EQUAL.
By the way, Dodge and GM vans have a facsimilie chassis welded to the floor, not the seperate ladder chassis found on pick-up trucks. That is why the towing capacity is less than for the pick-up trucks given the capacity rating (1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, 1 ton, etc).
Beginner
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:42 PM   #70
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Hat of to Yooper

Yooper, after reading through this post, I have to give you credit for putting up with all of the "advice" you were given on here in regards to your Honda TV. I am not sure if you have noticed, but there are many people on here that like to quote specs and tell people why they can not do something, based on the "OEM Specs for their Vehicle" But in this case everyone suggested you ignore the OEM and do what they thought was better and safer.

It appears that your OEM is qualified to tell you how much you can tow, but they are not qualified to tell you how to do it with the vehicle they designed, but the people on here are qualifed to tell you. I got a chuckle out of seeing all of the "experts" on here give you gloom and doom strories about something they know nothing about. Towing with a Honda Ridgeline.

If you were towing with a Suburban, one of the favored tow vehicles on here, then I would say they do have a lot of hands on experince, and would be considered "experts". I had to laugh when one poster said that your 40 years experience pulling a pop up and a boat, ment you had no expereience pulling a travel trailer, and counted for nothing. What a joke, towing experience is experience. Just becasue someone has pulled a travel trailer, one, does not mean that they are good at it, or two, they are even a good driver. Many towers drive very little except on vacation, and many of their towing issues are more to do with their inabilites to handle road conditions and other vehicles, than the tow vehicle it self. Most, if not all, accidents are the result of driver error.

I hope you are enjoying your Reese system for your vehicle, that is the same one I purchased. I also pull with a less than favored tow vehicle, a Ford Bronco. I pulled it home, over 150 miles with the PO hitch, with no sway control on I 96 and I 696 , on a windy day, and had no issues. The Bronco is more stable with my Argosy on it than with out. Most of the credit goes to the Argosy though, since I passed many travel trailers being towed by the favored Suburban, weaving all over the place.

Next summer we plan to make a trip up to TQ Falls, there are some really nice state parks in the UP.
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