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Old 07-25-2014, 06:28 PM   #1
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weight distribution system

I know alot of you already know what i'm about to say but for those who don't here goes. Weight Distribution system is just that! It has nothing to do preventing sway it distributes the weight between the tow vehicle and camper. I repeat it has nothing to do with preventing sway!! Anybody that says so is either trying to sell you one or is misinformed.The weight dist sytem works like this if you have your tow vehicle and camper hooked on level ground ,I mean level ! and the tow vehicle in down in the rear and the camper is down in the front. then perhaps you should consider a weight dist system. If your tow vehicle and camper are straight and level, then you do not need to spend several hundred dollars. I will qualify that this is for camper up 25 feet or less.Again It has not a thing do with preventing sway. All you need is a quality anti-sway friction bar properly installed. This WILL help greatly to prevent sway.Now is you need a weight dist system then you still need to install a friction sway bar, unless you get a combo unit.
I also learned that the tongue weight is approx 10% of the weight of the camper with consideration for full propane tanks and water, for instance I have a 1969 safari, its weight is approx 3800lb but the tongue weight is listed as 420-450 lbs that includes full propane tanks and water. I learned this from a expert who has been doing hitches and only hitches for over twenty years Again anything over 25 feet probably would need a weight dist system as well as a friction anti-sway bar.Good luck and happy camping
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:31 PM   #2
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Oh boy, here we go!
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:59 PM   #3
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:39 PM   #4
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If you feel more confortable having a WDS thats fine. I'm just saying that is a misnomer that they help with sway, they don't. Never ment to never will.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:45 PM   #5
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There are a few combination systems on the market the incorporate a sway into the WDH. Equalizer is one of them...

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Old 07-25-2014, 07:46 PM   #6
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:50 PM   #7
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Wds

Your exactly right,I did say they have WDS with an anti-sway system built in
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:06 PM   #8
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Boy, this one could go in a bazillion directions
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:31 PM   #9
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Drop a trailer on the receiver and you lighten the traction of the truck's front tires. Wiggle the trailer side-to-side and the truck's front tires resist the side-to-side wiggle, but due to loss of traction because the truck's front axle is lightened by the trailer on the receiver, it wiggles too.

Add a weight distribution hitch to restore the traction of the truck's front tires, the sway is reduced. Add a friction sway bar, the sway is reduced some more. Add a Hensley style hitch and the the wiggle is projected forward over the truck's rear axle while the trailer cannot move itself out of alignment with the truck, sway is eliminated.

As you can tell, I'm not an engineer.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:06 AM   #10
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Well, Russellsue, welcome to the Forums. So glad you cleared all that up.

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Old 07-26-2014, 01:32 PM   #11
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I would imagine that if the trailer out weights the tow vehicle then a WD would be needed for weight distribution not anti- sway. I was using my safari as an example my tow vehicle out weighs the camper by about 2500 lb. There is no way in hell it will effect the front tire contact or suspension and create lift, But Im sure you experts will argue this point
ALL I AM SAYING , NOT TRY TO READ EVERY WORD, WD DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ANTI-SWAY.
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:23 PM   #12
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Any weight placed behind truck's rear axle lightens the front axle. For a very heavy truck and a very light trailer you may not notice the loss of front axle traction (resistance to sway, not to mention steering control) except under the most severe combination of conditions, but when does that ever happen.
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:22 PM   #13
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Suddenly I feel like the apprentice in the commercial about the "oldest trick in the book"....."lookest thou over there" (apprentice looks off in the distance), Master says, "ha, made you look!" Apprentice says, "Wait....Whaaaat?"
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:47 PM   #14
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"All you need is a quality anti-sway friction bar properly installed."

Some might consider this an oxymoron

Leave the testosterone on the shelf, engage the cranium and read dkottum's posts. They are well done and quite informative. Most people probably need WDS while ALL people should have some sort of anti sway. The sway bar is widely used by many but for my money I would go with a system that has both built in. Just me but then, I have a half ton truck so I don't really have the option of going without.

Your point, by the way, is well taken. But so is dkottum's.
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russellsue View Post
... snip...
I was using my safari as an example my tow vehicle out weighs the camper by about 2500 lb. There is no way in hell it will effect the front tire contact or suspension and create lift, But Im sure you experts will argue this point
ALL I AM SAYING , NOT TRY TO READ EVERY WORD, WD DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ANTI-SWAY.
No need to yell :-)

There is a definitive way to test your theory. Take your rig to the cat scales. Take the full rig and get a reading. Drive off, disconnect the trailer and go back to the scales with just your truck. The true expert will be those tickets. If your truck's front axle weighs the same with and without the trailer attached, you can do without weight distribution.

Good luck, happy and safe camping.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:16 AM   #16
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Wds

I am humbled in the presents of so many experts I am truly sorry that I voiced an opinion. I yeild to all you ,I hope when I grow up I can be just like you.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:29 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by russellsue View Post
I am humbled in the presents of so many experts I am truly sorry that I voiced an opinion. I yeild to all you ,I hope when I grow up I can be just like you.
This reply appears dismissive and defensive to me - if that wasn't your intention, forgive what follows.

I'm not an expert - very few here are. There is, however a great deal of learned wisdom in this forum from which you can benefit if you're interested. That's your call. You have no reason to be sorry for voicing your opinion - but "growing up" would suggest you're at least open to hearing from others.

Your opinion on WD appears misinformed. That can make things unsafe for you, for anyone you travel with and for anyone who happens to be sharing a road with you should you need to make an emergency maneuver and find you don't have the grip on your steer axle you need.

Nothing to be defensive or dismissive about. It's just physics. Try my suggestion at the scales. I could be completely wrong about how your lighter trailer impacts your tow vehicle - I'm wide open to learning about that. No need to speculate. The scales will tell you the objective truth no matter what you, I or anyone else feels/believes about the situation. Then you can report back and we'll all become more educated - not experts per se, but a smarter community for sharing our knowledge together.

Share your opinions all you like - that's welcome. Be open to other input - that's "discussion". Test and share - that's "applied wisdom". We all get better from that.

Again - good luck, happy and safe camping.
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:10 PM   #18
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Wds

Ok I apoligize if I sounded a little Short. I have a question for somebody that knows more then I do. My tow vehicle is a 2011 chevy 1500 silverado 1500 5.3lr engine with a tow package weight is 5329 lbs my trailer is a 1969 Safari weight 3800lbs Tongue weight 420lbs. I have had the complete truck and trailer hooked up and parked on a very level lot There is no dip from either the tow vehicle or trailer. I use a anti-friction sway bar. Question is do I really NEED a WDS. I should have asked this question instead of spouting out what I thought was gospil. can anyone respond I dont really have scales in my area.
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:33 PM   #19
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My opinion, no you do not. But the antisway is important. Boy are we gonna get yelled at! Jim
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:36 PM   #20
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No prob, russellsue.

One thing you could do is measure the height of the front wheel well on your truck before hitching up and them measure again after. It's still a little hard to answer without the scales and I'll explain why below.

While you're hitched, you see everything as level - you just need to compare those heights before and after for a quick "gut check". Just drop a tape measure vertically from the center of the front wheel well straight through the center of the tire down to the ground. Let's say you get something like 38" when the trailer isn't hooked up. If you get 40" on that same measure with the trailer hooked up, you definitely need WD.

The reason that's tough is that it's really only approximate. For example, on my Chevy 2500, there is no perceptible difference in height (maybe 1/2" if you're lucky) but a full 500# gets lifted off my front end when I hitch (according to the scales) and I need 50% of that loaded back on the front end for my trailer according to my truck manual. I wouldn't see that with just the tape measure.

You might get a good enough indication with that for starters and then you can usually find some scales somewhere close to where you're camping.

The other tricky part is I'm not sure what weights you're using for the trailer - is it published numbers by Airstream? Usually the published tongue weight is relatively low compared to real life and is very flexible based on how things are loaded, whether you're traveling with water in your tanks, what's in front of the trailer's axle, etc. You may only be putting 420# on your truck's rear end or you may be closer to 5-600#. I don't know enough about your truck to know whether that kind of weight would lift much off your steering axle or not but I'd be surprised if it didn't have some impact upwards of 250# or more. That's a wild guess on my part :-)

You can go to catscale.com for their locator - maybe one is closer than you think. In the meantime, try the fender measurements, include before and after pics if you can and post them here. You'll get good food for thought!
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