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Old 09-08-2006, 08:45 AM   #1
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Gilroy , California
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 23
How does it work? (WD Hitch)

It's been mystifying me for some time, so I'll just reveal my ignorance and ask. What exactly does a weight distributing hitch do? And how does it do it? My newly acquired '69 Globetrotter - which I have only towed once to my home to begin refurb - came with what appears to be a true antique hitch assembly, very heavy and and very hard to hook up, which I assume can be replaced with something better. But how do they work? What is the best to switch to? Does it provide sway control also? If not, what do I do about that? Refurb will be done soon and it will be time to take it out. Need to be safe and ready, so please help. Thanks!

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Old 09-08-2006, 09:33 AM   #2
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Hi Dick,

If you use the search feature you will find an abundance of posts on WD hitches. There are many types, but for a quick reply you can look at 3 in particular. The first and most expensive is the Hensley Arrow. The next is the Reese dual cam and the third is the Equal-i-zer brand.

You will find many posts on who uses what type and why they chose it. Most folks are very happy with their hitch and some are extremely brand loyal. I use the Equal-i-zer as I find that it is very easy to setup and offers both WD and sway control in one unit for simplicity.

The basic premise of a WD hitch is to have the hitch head that is attached to the TV at a downward angle, allowing the weight bars that are attached to the trailer to 'torque' the hitch receiver and thus the TV frame. This torqueing action will re-distribute some of the tonque weight off the ball and to the front axle of the TV and a small portion back to the trailer axles.

Hope this helps a little. Have fun in your search!

Lew Farber...RVIA Certified Master Tech...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:56 AM   #3
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1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
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A weight distributing hitch adds vertical stiffness to the hitch so it doesn't sag. (as contrasted to sway control which adds horizontal stiffness)

When the rear of the tow vehicle doesn't sag, its steering wheels aren't lifted off the ground which means better handing and control.

The stiffness is achieved by grabbing the tow vehicle hitch receiver and twisting it. The twisting is done by spring bars that are attached to the trailer frame. This is kind of like adding depth to a beam to keep it from bending.

The effect of this stiffening at the hitch is to transfer the load at the trailer ball out along the 'beam' so it shows up at the front axle of the tow vehicle and the trailer axle rather than mostly on the rear axle of the tow vehicle.

Any good hitch will be heavy as there are a lot of very large forces to handle. Make sure that the receiver and ball mount are both rated for the trailer you are towing. The trailer ball also needs to be rated for the load - that is an easy one to miss.

Depending upon your tow vehicle you may not need a load leveling hitch or a sway control hitch. There are those who are adamant in their views on this so read opinions carefully. For me, the key is a tow vehicle able to carry the load and good handling going down the road. Others like 'insurance' and add all sorts of things "just to be sure."
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:07 AM   #4
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Sorry to bring back an old thread but I was wondering the same thing and ran into this thread. How does it work? Now that that question was answered, What are the differences between the Hensley Arrow, the Reese dual cam and, the Equal-i-zer?

Also, Do these WD hitches bind up when the TV is on a sharp incline? Like a driveway entrance for instance.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:03 AM   #5
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Hensley is about $2000 more than the others and to some with smaller TV's and big trailers is worth it. Pullrite's do the same thing cheaper and essentially make the trailer into a 5th wheel setup with better lateral stability. Dual Cams add to self centering at a still cheaper cost. Frictional dampeners do not self center but do damp lateral instability. W/D hitches are effected by dips. They do bring down the rear bumper of the trailer and you can scrap. I have to drop my bars before I back into my driveway ortherwise, I will jam the rear skid frame into the asphalt.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:27 AM   #6
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When you ask about differences between the hitches, you are asking about sway control and not weight distribution. All of the hitches mentioned use essentially the same mechanism for weight distribution. That mechanism is to add vertical stiffness to the hitch with spring bars and a hitch receiver bolted to the tow vehicle frame.

Weight distribution should not be confused with sway control.

For sway there are two classes of mechanism. The Reese DC and Equal-i-zer and the most common friction bar all use damping. The Hensley and the Pullrite use geometry.

Damping works by reducing overshoot (like shocks in the vehicle suspension). Geometry works by changing how the sway forces are handled.

Binding usually refers to an angle between the tow vehicle and trailer that is limited by parts other than the hitch. This is a risk when backing up in tight maneuvers. Sway and load leveling hitches can increase this risk because they add width at the pivot point which reduces the maximum angle before hitting something. The usual limit, though, is between the propane tanks and something mounted on the rear of the tow vehicle.

Drag is what happens when the rig goes over a gutter or other sharp change in road surface angle and the hitch parts dig trenches in the road. This is especially a problem when there is a large distance between the tow vehicle rear axle and the ball mount and the ball mount is not high off the ground.
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:14 AM   #7
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Makes a Nicer Drive!

I like keeping it simple. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Jerry and Avis
2006 Safari Bambi 19'
2005 Toyota Tacoma PU

"Mi Casa Es Su Casa!"
WBCCI #6716
AIR #17388
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