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Old 11-30-2022, 10:00 PM   #1
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Towing with air suspension

Just picked up a defender 130. It has 8200lbs tow rating and 1900lbs payload, so would seem a to be a good SUV tow vehicle. It has air suspension and all manner of fancy electronic aids, and they recommend no weight distribution, but wanted to see if there was any other experience here around that.
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Old 11-30-2022, 10:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bobzdar View Post
Just picked up a defender 130. It has 8200lbs tow rating and 1900lbs payload, so would seem a to be a good SUV tow vehicle. It has air suspension and all manner of fancy electronic aids, and they recommend no weight distribution, but wanted to see if there was any other experience here around that.
Just a thought:

maybe change the title of this subject to something like "Anyone tow with WD and a Defender with air suspension?"
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:16 PM   #3
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We have towed with three Jeep Grand Cherokees with air suspension and have always used our Hensley hitch which is, among other things, a weight distribution hitch. Our experience is that the air suspension is nice for keeping the tow vehicle absolutely level, but the weight distribution of the hitch sure helps to keep steering the same as the tow vehicle has without the trailer behind.

Perhaps the structure of the Defender is such that weight distribution is not appropriate. That is possible considering that weight distribution hitches are not commonly used in Europe.

Tim
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JetstreamAS View Post
Just a thought:

maybe change the title of this subject to something like "Anyone tow with WD and a Defender with air suspension?"
Looking on another forum, the chatter was that it was a more general air suspension thing as the WD hitch would fight the air ride, hence wanted to make it a little more generic. I guess it could be a unibody thing... But then most SUVs these days are unibody.
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Old 12-01-2022, 10:26 AM   #5
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I tow with a 2018 Suburban Premier with air ride. The air levels the truck but it doesn’t distribute the weight back to the TT or front axle of the TV. Hence I still use a ProPride for weight distribution and also sway control. I have a very stable (and level) rig with the combination of the air ride and PP.
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Old 12-01-2022, 10:42 AM   #6
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Just another dumb question from the forum idiot...
Just how DOES the Mfg rationalize towing 8200 lbs without returning at least some of the FA weight?

Newz Flash...UK Auto Engineers have just determined that motor oil is a liquid, they are working with Harley Davidson on a remedy.

Bob
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Old 12-01-2022, 10:44 AM   #7
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Just another dumb question from the forum idiot...
Just how DOES the Mfg rationalize towing 8200 lbs without returning at least some of the FA weight?

Newz Flash...UK Auto Engineers have just determined that motor oil is a liquid, they are working with Harley Davidson on a remedy.

Bob
🇺🇸

C'mon Bob! Any engineer worth his/her salt at Harley will tell you EVERYTHING is fixed by a belt drive and loud exhaust!
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Old 12-01-2022, 11:06 AM   #8
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I tow my AS 23FB International Serenity with a Range Rover HSE TD6 (turbo diesel). Land Rover also told me that I did not need a WD hitch. They were wrong! Sway would start and the Range Rover automatic anti-sway program would suddenly apply the brakes to stop the sway. I added an Equal-i-zer WD hitch and have had no problems since. Probably not needed but I also added a brake controller to allow me to adjust the brake bias between the trailer and the TV. A Tekonsha P3 or Redarc Tow-Pro are good choices. My Range Rover needed the Ford F-150 adapter cable with a minor pin change. My Land Rover dealer knew how to make the mod. The brake controller also has a feature to allow you to proportionally apply the trailer brakes by pushing a button or moving a lever. This can be useful for preventing your trailer from trying to pass you (i.e., jackknife) such as going down a steep hill on a gravel road.

You didn’t say which AS you would be towing. I would not tow anything larger that a 25’ due to hitch weight restrictions. Others state they have towed larger but it’s important to note that the European 27’ AS is significantly lighter than the US version so be careful when reading comments about Land/Range Rover towing.

I get 25-28 mpg towing my 23FB with my diesel. The diesel has plenty of torque for big hills. My only problem is in stop-and-go driving (e.g., stuck in traffic going around accidents on the highway). My RR goes into “reduced performance mode”. When this happens, I just pull over wait 15 minutes for the drivetrain to cool and traffic to thin out and I am back on the road. It appears the transmission is overheating but Land Rover states this should not happen. So far it has happened only three times.

The only minor “problem” with a TV with air suspension is that the TV is somewhat “mushy” (i.e., compliant). With a WD hitch, the TV and AS are more tightly coupled. You can feel a change in the pitch moment. It’s a good reminder that your “driving for two”. Also, attaching and removing WD hitch is a good workout since the torsion bars are quite heavy. There are also some tricks to connect the torsion bars to the AS. Raise the hitch jack once the ball is connected and the bars should go on much easier. A good service tech who sets up the WD hitch can show you what to do.

Happy towing. :-)

- Mike
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Old 12-01-2022, 11:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwodzinski View Post
I tow my AS 23FB International Serenity with a Range Rover HSE TD6 (turbo diesel). Land Rover also told me that I did not need a WD hitch. They were wrong! Sway would start and the Range Rover automatic anti-sway program would suddenly apply the brakes to stop the sway. I added an Equal-i-zer WD hitch and have had no problems since. Probably not needed but I also added a brake controller to allow me to adjust the brake bias between the trailer and the TV. A Tekonsha P3 or Redarc Tow-Pro are good choices. My Range Rover needed the Ford F-150 adapter cable with a minor pin change. My Land Rover dealer knew how to make the mod. The brake controller also has a feature to allow you to proportionally apply the trailer brakes by pushing a button or moving a lever. This can be useful for preventing your trailer from trying to pass you (i.e., jackknife) such as going down a steep hill on a gravel road.

You didn’t say which AS you would be towing. I would not tow anything larger that a 25’ due to hitch weight restrictions. Others state they have towed larger but it’s important to note that the European 27’ AS is significantly lighter than the US version so be careful when reading comments about Land/Range Rover towing.

I get 25-28 mpg towing my 23FB with my diesel. The diesel has plenty of torque for big hills. My only problem is in stop-and-go driving (e.g., stuck in traffic going around accidents on the highway). My RR goes into “reduced performance mode”. When this happens, I just pull over wait 15 minutes for the drivetrain to cool and traffic to thin out and I am back on the road. It appears the transmission is overheating but Land Rover states this should not happen. So far it has happened only three times.

The only minor “problem” with a TV with air suspension is that the TV is somewhat “mushy” (i.e., compliant). With a WD hitch, the TV and AS are more tightly coupled. You can feel a change in the pitch moment. It’s a good reminder that your “driving for two”. Also, attaching and removing WD hitch is a good workout since the torsion bars are quite heavy. There are also some tricks to connect the torsion bars to the AS. Raise the hitch jack once the ball is connected and the bars should go on much easier. A good service tech who sets up the WD hitch can show you what to do.

Happy towing. :-)

- Mike
Good to remember...the LESS compliant the lash-up the higher risk of trailer damage.
Stiff is good under some circumstances...not towing.

POI...we move 860lb receiver wt with WD set
560 to the FA
160 to the AS
720 moved with 1000lb WD bars.
Bob
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Old 12-01-2022, 11:19 AM   #10
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The main concern with respect to air suspensions and weight distribution hitches is the interplay between the two systems. WDH systems like the Blue Ox Sway Pro utilize spring bars to redistribute the weight. Weight on the hitch causes the bars to flex, which then redistributes that weight to the tow vehicle and the trailer. If the tow vehicle has air suspension that levels it under load then it effectively takes the tension out of the spring bars and reduces or eliminates the redistribution of weight. Think about disconnecting your WDH. When you extend the trailer’s tongue jack, it lifts the back of the tow vehicle and allows you to easily remove the spring bars because there’s no tension in the bars.

Perhaps a system with rigid bars would address this situation - I really don’t know.
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Old 12-01-2022, 12:09 PM   #11
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If the tow vehicle has air suspension that levels it under load then it effectively takes the tension out of the spring bars and reduces or eliminates the redistribution of weight.
This has certainly not been the case with the air suspension (and our Hensley hitch) on the Jeep Grand Cherokees mentioned in my post above.

Tim
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Old 12-01-2022, 12:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwodzinski View Post
I tow my AS 23FB International Serenity with a Range Rover HSE TD6 (turbo diesel). Land Rover also told me that I did not need a WD hitch. They were wrong! Sway would start and the Range Rover automatic anti-sway program would suddenly apply the brakes to stop the sway. I added an Equal-i-zer WD hitch and have had no problems since. Probably not needed but I also added a brake controller to allow me to adjust the brake bias between the trailer and the TV. A Tekonsha P3 or Redarc Tow-Pro are good choices. My Range Rover needed the Ford F-150 adapter cable with a minor pin change. My Land Rover dealer knew how to make the mod. The brake controller also has a feature to allow you to proportionally apply the trailer brakes by pushing a button or moving a lever. This can be useful for preventing your trailer from trying to pass you (i.e., jackknife) such as going down a steep hill on a gravel road.

You didn’t say which AS you would be towing. I would not tow anything larger that a 25’ due to hitch weight restrictions. Others state they have towed larger but it’s important to note that the European 27’ AS is significantly lighter than the US version so be careful when reading comments about Land/Range Rover towing.

I get 25-28 mpg towing my 23FB with my diesel. The diesel has plenty of torque for big hills. My only problem is in stop-and-go driving (e.g., stuck in traffic going around accidents on the highway). My RR goes into “reduced performance mode”. When this happens, I just pull over wait 15 minutes for the drivetrain to cool and traffic to thin out and I am back on the road. It appears the transmission is overheating but Land Rover states this should not happen. So far it has happened only three times.

The only minor “problem” with a TV with air suspension is that the TV is somewhat “mushy” (i.e., compliant). With a WD hitch, the TV and AS are more tightly coupled. You can feel a change in the pitch moment. It’s a good reminder that your “driving for two”. Also, attaching and removing WD hitch is a good workout since the torsion bars are quite heavy. There are also some tricks to connect the torsion bars to the AS. Raise the hitch jack once the ball is connected and the bars should go on much easier. A good service tech who sets up the WD hitch can show you what to do.

Happy towing. :-)

- Mike
It's a 25rbq, but was intentionally keeping this somewhat generic to get wider opinions. There's a bunch of conflicting info on the land rover forums (just like here!), so your info, even though a very different vehicle despite also being a land rover, helps.

That said, the d130 has a neat feature where you can raise and lower the rear suspension from the cargo area, so should make setting up a WD hitch much easier as it won't fight during the hook up period; the rear can be raised while setting the bars and then dropped back to normal height - so it should be easy to tension the bars using that coupled with the power tongue jack.

I do have to get a brake controller (or snag the one out of the Jeep, which works fine, just need a new pigtail). I'd like something more integrated, so may look at something different. The redarc looks to be the ticket there if I don't mind cutting a hole somewhere or losing a usb port...

Dennis' point on the interplay is more what I was curious about. Would a certain type of WD hitch be more conducive to using with air suspension? I have a simple Reese style that works great with my current TV (Jeep gladiator) but not sure if it'd work as well with the air setup.
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Old 12-01-2022, 12:45 PM   #13
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This has certainly not been the case with the air suspension (and our Hensley hitch) on the Jeep Grand Cherokees mentioned in my post above.

Tim
That’s good to hear. Have you weighed your rig with and without WDH to determine the effectiveness of the weight distribution? I’m very curious. Hensley hitches may be designed in such a way that this isn’t an issue.
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Old 12-01-2022, 01:28 PM   #14
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That’s good to hear. Have you weighed your rig with and without WDH to determine the effectiveness of the weight distribution? I’m very curious. Hensley hitches may be designed in such a way that this isn’t an issue.
+1 on the weigh thing.


Recognize...the PPP hitches are only different in the way they control sway, WD is addressed with the two bars.

I would...get to a CAT scale & confirm the WD numbers.
I've found that the seat-of-the-pants rational will take over with time and the CAT is used only with an out of normal load. 👍

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Old 12-01-2022, 03:52 PM   #15
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I tow a 23 AS with a 2017 Land Rover Discovery (gas) 8000 tow rating. I do not use a WD system. Land Rover specifically states that the air suspension will handle sway and that a WD in conjunction with the computerized air suspension is not recommended. They feel that each will be constantly correcting the other system. I heard somewhere that if you use a WD and have an accident you could have legal issues because you did not follow the manufacturer's instructions. I travel at 55 to 60 and went cross country and into the Rockys with this setup getting 14 mpg.
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Old 12-01-2022, 04:46 PM   #16
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^
Explain...handle?

No WD will increase the chances of sway...especially with poor trailer loading.

But, as in all things Airstream...if it's good for you, it's good to go.

Bob
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Old 12-01-2022, 06:04 PM   #17
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+1 on the weigh thing.


Recognize...the PPP hitches are only different in the way they control sway, WD is addressed with the two bars.

I would...get to a CAT scale & confirm the WD numbers.
I've found that the seat-of-the-pants rational will take over with time and the CAT is used only with an out of normal load. ��

Bob
����
Yes, this is the biggest thing with air suspension or even air leveling suspension like I have. It is difficult to tell how much weight distributing you are getting. This makes it really helpful using CAT scales to set it up initially. A little fine tuning by feel afterwards may be needed but without the CAT scales first it can take some guessing to get to the fine tuning. This is due to the air suspension correcting the ride and hiding how much weight needs to be distributed. Just because it looks right doesn't mean it is.
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Old 12-01-2022, 07:09 PM   #18
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Perhaps we have been fortunate with the air suspension on Jeep Grand Cherokees. The "Tire/Jack Mode" of the that suspension disables the automatic leveling. We use that mode to see that the the tow vehicle is level when the trailer is hitched up and the weight distribution bars are fully adjusted,.

We have never used CAT scales, but have towed the trailer with its Hensley hitch for 20 years. The hitch jacks which adjust the bars are marked so that always the same tension is applied. That tension makes it so the tow-vehicle steering feels the same with or without the trailer hooked up. Of course, hitch weight is not very great with our 19' trailer, even with the Hensley hitch.

Tim
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Old 12-02-2022, 11:37 AM   #19
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Perhaps we have been fortunate with the air suspension on Jeep Grand Cherokees. The "Tire/Jack Mode" of the that suspension disables the automatic leveling. We use that mode to see that the the tow vehicle is level when the trailer is hitched up and the weight distribution bars are fully adjusted,.

We have never used CAT scales, but have towed the trailer with its Hensley hitch for 20 years. The hitch jacks which adjust the bars are marked so that always the same tension is applied. That tension makes it so the tow-vehicle steering feels the same with or without the trailer hooked up. Of course, hitch weight is not very great with our 19' trailer, even with the Hensley hitch.

Tim
I've found that leaving the door open disables self leveling on my d130 as well, so that may be the ticket to properly tensioning.
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Old 12-03-2022, 10:41 AM   #20
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My personal tow vehicles have had air suspension for 15 years now. Of course we have setup a couple thousand for customers.
We have setup a few the new Defenders. The hitch receiver should be fine.
Your correct leave the door open while doing the setup and measure as you would with spring suspension.
When you test drive look for steering feel to be a little more planted than solo. If not you can fine tune by driving feel. You’ll find that small changes in torsion bar settings make a big difference in weight transfer.
An Eaz-Lift Elite 1000 would be ideal.

The first video on this page is the instructions for a spring car. I can email you a sheet on doing air. Andy@canamrv.ca

https://www.canamrv.ca/towing-expertise/videos/
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