With the help of my neighbor's level driveway (compared to my mudway) I got the hitch installed today. I do have a question for the group about which of two settings to use for the hitch head angle -- see further below. But first the report.
Unloaded, the Jeep sits almost perfectly level. I used the bottom edge of the wheel wells as references points for height when measuring loaded/unloaded stance. Note that the Jeep's wells are at different heights - just an oddity on the Jeep - but it sits almost perfectly level when unloaded.
Measurements (in inches from ground to reference points on wheel wells)
Front 37-3/4, Rear 36-3/8 - unloaded
Front 38-1/4, Rear 34-1/4 - loaded with ball hitch, no WD hitch
Front 37-1/2, Rear 35-3/4 - loaded with WDH, hitch head angle setting #2
Front 37-1/2, Rear 35-1/2 - loaded with WDH, hitch head angle setting #1
With the ball hitch only, the rear really sagged. With the WDH (Reese #67509), everything's nearly back to level. What I'm wondering is which hitch head angle I should go with. These are the two most extreme angles available on this head. With any other angles, I think the ball head would be too high for the trailer's ball socket. As it is, the trailer's socket is about 3 or 4 inches higher than the ball height, so I didn't want to angle the hitch head up any more.
So... the observations:
With #2 vs #1, the difference in vehicle stance was only 1/4 inch at the rear axle. Negligible, I assume. In addition, in both cases, the trailer seemed level enough, no big difference between the two.
The differences were when I hooked up and went to raise the spring bars:
In #2, there was less tension on the spring bar required when hooking the chain onto the catch point, and I hooked it on the 6th link.
In #1, where the hitch head angle was at the greatest of the 6 possible settings (i.e. tilting downward max), there was noticeably more tension required when I pulled up the spring bars, and I was only able to hook to the 8th link on the chain, couldn't use any less chain length. I also noticed that there was less clearance between spring bars (unhooked) and ground when the trailer was dropped onto the ball, than in the #2 configuration. That is, the bars actually dug into / pressed against the ground.
So.. which one of these configurations is best? Obviously it's more convenient in #2 when the spring bars can rest freely without hitting the ground, but in general, do I want to have more or fewer chain links between the spring bars and snap-up brackets? Or does it just depend on how level your vehicle sits? In my situation there's barely any difference in vehicle stance. Is it a toss-up?
Keep in mind one detail about my setup is that in an unloaded, unhooked configuration, with tow vehicle (Jeep) and trailer (16' Int'l) level, the top of the Jeep's hitch ball is about 3-4 inches higher than the top of the trailer's socket. In the Reese docs, it says you want about 1 inch higher, not 3 to 4. The Jeep just sits that high. This is why I angled the head down as much as possible (I assume that was the right thing to do... right?!)
Test drive showed no problems. I didn't see the night and day difference between weight-distrib and non, as some people describe, but then it's been 6 months since I towed this thing, and test drive was only 8 miles, so I'm not tuned in to the differences very well yet. I have no doubt it's better/safer. When I levered the snap-up thingies and heard/saw the Jeep's rear axle coming up, it was VERY satisfying!
So... which of these two configurations should I go with?
Sorry to be so long winded. Photo shows #1 configuration (steepest hitch head angle)