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Old 01-22-2013, 08:11 PM   #1
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Weight Distribution and Tongue Weight

Today I found myself in a discussion regarding towing and I wanted to hear from the voice of experience to help me settle the arguement.


Basically the question is this: Does using a weight distributing hitch allow you to pull a trailer with a tongue weight exceeding the vehicle manufacturer's tongue weight rating.

For example:
Vehicle: Towing Capacity 5000lbs, Max tongue weight 500lbs
Trailer: Weight: 4000lbs, tongue weight 700lbs
is this combination acceptable if a properly set up weight distributing hitch is used?
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:17 PM   #2
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I can't speak for all manufacturers, but GM products give two ratings for tongue weight maximums. One w/o WD and one with WD. And the WD maximum is higher than the non-WD rating.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:23 PM   #3
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For example, here is a Chevy Silverado
1500. 2500 and 3500 have the same rating for both types of hitches.





Weight of the Trailer Tongue


The tongue load (A) of any trailer is very important because it is also part of the vehicle weight. The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) includes the curb weight of the vehicle, any cargo carried in it, and the people who will be riding in the vehicle as well as trailer tongue weight. Vehicle options, equipment, passengers and cargo in the vehicle reduce the amount of tongue weight the vehicle can carry, which will also reduce the trailer weight the vehicle can tow. See “ Vehicle Load Limits” for more information about the vehicle's maximum load capacity.


Trailer tongue weight (A) should be 10 to 15 percent and fifth-wheel or gooseneck kingpin weight should be 15 to 25 percent of the loaded trailer weight up to the maximums for vehicle series and hitch type.

Vehicle Series


Hitch Type


Maximum Tongue Weight


1500


Weight Carrying


363 kg (800 lb)


1500


Weight Distributing


499 kg (1,100 lb)
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:39 PM   #4
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Another example, this one different

I have just been reading a the owner's manual for a different vehicle, the GMC Yukon Denali (half ton version). That manual has a table showing a higher allowable weight for a weight-distributing hitch:


Vehicle Series Hitch Type Maximum Tongue Weight
1500 Weight Carrying 272 kg (600 lbs)
1500 Weight Distributing 499 kg (1,100 lbs)


Hope this helps.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:29 AM   #5
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If you are thinking of setting up your Flex to tow the 23 Safari it will work very well with weight distribution. We have a few dozen of these in service and they are a great tow vehicle, very stable and economical to operate. However the hitch receiver on the Flex is not strong enough to transfer weight properly, this is a common problem even on receivers that are rated for more weight. The good news is that it is fairly simple to strengthen it so that it can transfer weight quite nicely.

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Old 01-23-2013, 06:12 AM   #6
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Head over to London, ON, Aldean. Get the hitch receiver squared away / modified by those folks at CAN AM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:03 AM   #7
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Red! Your avatar is all crookedy!
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:43 AM   #8
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Red! Your avatar is all crookedy!
Yeah, new TT pic "correction" and the need to also change my "name". Upgrade membership. Contact a moderator. Stuff I haven't gotten around to, yet.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:36 AM   #9
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"Basically the question is this: Does using a weight distributing hitch allow you to pull a trailer with a tongue weight exceeding the vehicle manufacturer's tongue weight rating."

In a word.....No.

As noted it's the hitch receiver that is load rated.

It's the AXLE & TIRE, (trlr and TV) ratings that determine the weight being towed. I see no upside in exceeding either.

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Old 01-24-2013, 09:10 AM   #10
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What Bob said is the correct answer, it's the hitch that's rated for the weight not just the vehicle itself. While the hitch load/weight rating is probably below the real specification, a more beefy hitch would improve your odds of having a problem. Most over weight hitch problems result in a weld failing , or hitch bolt breaking, and then you are on your safety chains. Either way, it would not be pretty. The smaller the hitch, the less weight it can handle and margin of error increases.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:01 AM   #11
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Kind of reluctant to get into this because of how most tow vehicle vs weight/towing capacity discussions go, but there are actually several weight ratings on tow vehicles, and hitch weights both with and without weight distribution is just a couple of them. Although I would not want to exceed any vehicle weight ratings, especially hitch weight ratings, it seems to me the axle weight ratings are also very important, followed by max payload, and then towing capacity.

Just because a person might install a higher capacity rated receiver hitch on a tow vehicle, does not mean the rest of the vehicle can/will handle the weight. Vehicle manufacturers spend lots of money paying highly educated engineers to calculate these weight ratings, so it seems to me, at least, that they are important.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:28 AM   #12
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Head over to London, ON, Aldean. Get the hitch receiver squared away / modified by those folks at CAN AM.
I absolutely agree with this -- Andrew T is the PhD of hitch minds.

REDNAX - I rotated your avatar. The rotation probably was caused by EXIF orientation data in iPhones & iPads that non-Apple systems can't interpret. Sometimes a Windoze machine is good for sumpin'. Wish they'd all get on the same page.

Username changes are only done through the Help Desk -- click 'Contact Us' at page bottom and tell us who you'd rather be. Painless...
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
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REDNAX - I rotated your avatar.
Looks better. REDNAX is a straight up kinda guy and deserves to have a straight up Avatar.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
If you are thinking of setting up your Flex to tow the 23 Safari it will work very well with weight distribution. We have a few dozen of these in service and they are a great tow vehicle, very stable and economical to operate. However the hitch receiver on the Flex is not strong enough to transfer weight properly, this is a common problem even on receivers that are rated for more weight. The good news is that it is fairly simple to strengthen it so that it can transfer weight quite nicely.

Andrew T
Thanks Andrew, I was planning to add a brace from the hitch to the subframe, but that can wait until the snow melts.
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