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Old 11-10-2003, 02:52 PM   #1
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1986 32' Excella
vledder , drenthe
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how works a weight distribution hitch

maby a stupid question
on my new old airstream there is a weight distribution hitch
I know that it works but cant understand why it works
who can explain this

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Old 11-10-2003, 03:21 PM   #2
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2001 34' Limited
The State of , Ohio
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When you drop the tongue weight on the behind the bumper ball, that tongue weight does more than put its weight on the tow vehicle rear axle. It leverages weight off the front axle onto the rear axle. This reduces the front tires grip on the road when turning, particularly when wet.

If you measure the tow vehicle fenderwell heights from the ground, before and after dropping the tongue on the ball, you'll usually see the rear go down a good bit, and the front actually rise.

When you hook up the bars of the weight distributing hitch, it redistributes weight off the tow vehicle rear axle back onto the front axle. The tighter the bars, the more weight moved.

Think of the bars as wheelbarrow handles on the tow vehicle and the chains pulling up on their ends as the arms of someone standing on the tongue, pulling up on the handles.

You want the bars tight enough to at least put back the weight the front axle lost (i.e. the front fenderwells at least as low as they were with the tow vehicle unloaded), and maybe even a bit more. In the process of doing this, the weight distributing hitch also moves some of the tongue weight back to the trailer axles.

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Old 11-10-2003, 03:25 PM   #3
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1973 23' Safari
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well, imagine if you had your trailer hooked up to the truck without and WD equipment, and the trailer was a little nose-low, and the truck was sagging in the rear, due to the weight. imagine you are superman; go over to the back of the truck and lift up on the receiver. what happens to the truck? now what happens if you stand on the trailer's tounge, and do the same thing? that's what those weight distribution bars do. By putting what is essentially another "suspension" between the front of the trailer and the back of the truck, those springs transfer some of the weight of the trailer to the front of the truck, and also back to the trailer's wheels.
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Old 11-10-2003, 05:11 PM   #4
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Since you brought it up.

I agree with both of the above explanations........but......
since you both agree weight is transfered both to the front axel of the tow vehicle AND the trailer axels, the weight transferred to the trailer suspension must be taken into acount when doing a weight and balance of the loaded unit.

Does anyone have any hard weights from scales about how (before and after) Weight Distributing bars affect the trailer axel weights?

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Old 11-10-2003, 05:34 PM   #5
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1979 Argosy Minuet 7.3 Metre
Hailey , Idaho
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Scale ticket

6238 front axle

6320 second axle

6330 third axle

These are the results from my previous SOB when hitched to my Dodge Ram 1500.

This was without a WDH. The SOB towed excellently this way, by the way.

However, I can tell from feel that I need a WDH with my Argosy. A little twitchy on the front axle.

Is good weight distribution possible without a WDH? Yes.

Am I now shopping for a WDH? Yes.

Don't forget, a WDH can put too much weight on the front axle also.

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Old 11-10-2003, 06:24 PM   #6
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Without getting too far into physics, the WD setup uses a solid point on the hitch as a fulcrum, with the trailer ball as the pivot point. It actually pulls up on the drawbars, forcing the front end down in the process. If you imagine a capital "L", you would use the upright part of the L as a lever to force the front of your car down, by pulling up on the horizontal part of the L.


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