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Old 12-03-2003, 11:58 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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weight distributing bars/trunnion bars

Hello to all. I am new to this A/S forum and have enjoyed reading and learning from the postings in this forum. Although I do not yet own an A/S, I do tow an enclosed Featherlite trailer that carries an old classic car. Total tow weight of trailer with car is approx. 5000 pounds. Tongue weight is about 500 pounds. Tow vehicle is a 93 Land Cruiser with a TRD Supercharger which bumps HP to 300 and torque to about 390 lb-ft. (Really helps pull up the Blue Ridge Mtns.)
I use a reese weight distributing hitch with trunnion bars that have a 1000# weight capacity. Unfortunately, because of the configuration of the Featherlite tongue and aero trailer, I could not install the dual cam sway control, but in the 3000 miles or so I have traveled so far, I have not had too much trouble with sway. However,I was suprised to read several postings from some of you stating that it is not advisable to use trunnion bars with weight capacities that far exceed the tongue weight of the trailer b/c they can be too 'stiff' and cause handling problems. Could someone help explain that more for me, esp. since I haven't noticed anything that I felt needed to be improved upon in the handling dept. Thanks to all.

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Old 12-03-2003, 04:48 PM   #2
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It seems to me there was some information on this on the Reese website.

I would not be surprised however, to learn that your tongue weight is somewhat higher than you think. Of course, if you have had it weighed as loaded, that settles that.

Sway is, unfortunately, one of those things you have none of and then all of a sudden have rather a lot of. See


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Old 12-04-2003, 06:58 AM   #3
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weight distributing bars/trunnion bars

Greetings teutonik!

Welcome to the Forums!

It has been my experience that there are two reasons to closely match the rating of the weight distribution bars to the hitch weight on my Airstream and Argosy.

1. If you are using the Reese Dual Cam Sway Control (part of the Reese Straight-Line Hitch System), the setup seems to function better when the weight distribution bars have a weight rating that is approximately equal to the actual hitch weight - - especially with a heavy-duty tow vehicle such as my K2500 Suburban. I use higher rated weight distribution bars when I tow with my softly sprung Cadillac as it seems to need the added strength of the heavier bars. I can notice a very substantial difference in handling when the heavier bars usually used with the Cadillac are inadvertently used with the Suburban.

2. With a heavy duty tow vehicle and heavier than necessary weight distribution bars, there have been reports of problems with popped rivets from the rougher than necessary ride that might result (the reports often center around the plate that is on the front wall between the two "legs" of the "A-frame" hitch). I only towed a very short distance with heavier than required bars on my Overlander so do not have first-hand knowledge of damage - - just the difference in handling characteristics for my coach-tow vehicle combination.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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