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Old 03-29-2011, 07:22 AM   #1
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2010 16' International
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What are tradeoffs in extreme rise/drop hitch heights?

What are the tradeoffs involved - if any - in extreme rise/drop heights?

I'm towing a 16' International with a Jeep, using a Reese weight-distribution hitch and a hitch bar with adjustable shank (google Reese 54970).

The Jeep's ball height is about 4 inches higher than the trailer's hitch height when everything is level and disconnected, and things are mostly level when connected and spring bars loaded.

Setup is working fairly well but I really should have the ball lower. And someday I'll get bigger tires on the Jeep, so I'll have another inch or so to make up.

I see that shanks with greater drops are available (google Reese 3215).

What tradeoffs are involved in dropping the ball down say 10 inches from the receiver? As long as I'm not exceeding max specs, does drop/rise height matter?

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Old 03-29-2011, 07:56 AM   #2
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2010 30' Classic
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South of the river , Minnesota
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There is a twisting effect on the receiver that is more pronounced with large drops (the need for a large rise is uncommon). It is strongest during hard braking or acceleration. WD hitches make this worse during acceleration and mitigate it during braking.

One of the shortcomings of the V-5 specification is that it doesn't really adequately address the twisting forces produced by long drops or WD hitches. That's why notoriously problematic hitches like the GM OEM hitch on early 2000s Suburbans still pass V-5.

I believe that the V-5 tests are conducted using a ball carrier of the manufacturer's choice.

With the way the Jeep hitches work any twisting problems will show up as a bent rear frame crossmember.

My suggestion would be to talk to a local welding shop that knows hitches and get a custom hitch made that attaches not only to the rear crossmember but to points 18-24" forward on the frame, before using long drop hitches.
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ball height, drop, hitch height, rise

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