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Old 04-03-2019, 11:10 AM   #1
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Land Rover warning: Weight Distribution Hitches!

Below is from the Land Rover Discovery "Towing/Towing A Trailer" section of their Manual.

Is this standard manufacturer's disclaimer language to avoid any liability in case of issues arising with a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Or, does this really mean that due to the characteristics of how this vehicle is constructed that Weight Distribution Hitches can (or do) indeed cause damage and should not be used?

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Thank you.

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Old 04-03-2019, 02:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by blacklab View Post
Below is from the Land Rover Discovery "Towing/Towing A Trailer" section of their Manual.

Is this standard manufacturer's disclaimer language to avoid any liability in case of issues arising with a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Or, does this really mean that due to the characteristics of how this vehicle is constructed that Weight Distribution Hitches can (or do) indeed cause damage and should not be used?

Note: Click on the Thumbnail image below to make it more readable.

Thank you.

Cheers,
Bryan
A wd hitch can put a lot of bending moment on the hitch receiver and can potentially cause damage if the receiver is not adequately attached to the vehicle. You can probably get away with it depending on what you're towing but you should inspect the receiver mounting and welds occasionally. If there is a problem then modifications may be required to use a wd hitch.
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Old 04-03-2019, 03:40 PM   #3
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It's because in Europe WD hitches are practically unheard of an are actually prohibited in certain circumstances from what I understand.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...hes-14646.html

Being a UK manufacturer, LR carried the language in their owner manuals over to other markerts. LR don't do a very good job of localizing documentation, and when they do it tends to add to confusion (such as the same RR having different tow hitch receiver ratings in the UK vs. US vs. AUS).

Plenty of people with LRs use WD hitches.

All that being said, for the LR discovery, that hitch receiver is not very good, and there are accounts of it failing under load.
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:06 PM   #4
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There are two potential impacts from the use of WD with a hitch receiver not designed or constructed for those forces. Both relate to the receiver, not to the vehicle itself.

The first is to the attachment points, but these are typically designed to be at least as sturdy as the receiver.

The more likely risk is to the receiver itself, if it wasn't designed for WD loads
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:20 PM   #5
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Is this standard manufacturer's disclaimer language to avoid any liability in case of issues arising with a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Or, does this really mean that due to the characteristics of how this vehicle is constructed that Weight Distribution Hitches can (or do) indeed cause damage and should not be used?
Yes and yes.

Land Rover engineering is explicitly telling end users that weight distribution hitches should not be used. That is as strong of a statement as any and not really needing interpretation. It is the manufactures position based on design, analysis, and plenty of engineering data that the model in question is not built to support the use of WD.

Many people get away with many things. Just because "plenty of people with LRs use WD hitches" is really inconsequential.

Reports of failures is consequential. The manufacturer is also telling you it can and will fail if used and abused outside of design parameters.

Doesn't really matter whether it's the hitch, unibody, frame, dynamics...there's likely a very good reason it's documented as such in the manual.

WD applies huge torsion loads on the vehicle's structure. Every part of it, hitch/frame/unibody, has to be up to the task. Any weak link subjected to these forces that are not designed for WD torsion loads can fail.

Modern LR's have been greatly optimized for weight and lightened. And many are now full unibody construction. Is it the hitch or the unibody? Potentially both, as there's no point to have one substantially stronger than the other. Modern designs do not have a lot of margin built in for off-case use, as that wouldn't be, optimal. Why have extra structural weight when users are not expected to (and explicitly instructed to) use the product in certain manners.

If you're asking what the weak link is, you can do some research into what canamrv does with many unibody vehicles, which is to augment the structure with an additional support welded in between the hitch and subframe.
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Old 04-03-2019, 11:46 PM   #6
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Land Rover engineering is explicitly telling end users that weight distribution hitches should not be used. That is as strong of a statement as any and not really needing interpretation. It is the manufactures position based on design, analysis, and plenty of engineering data that the model in question is not built to support the use of WD.
That is one possibility. The other is that it is a lack of design spec requirement, analysis, and engineering data that is leading the manufacturer to not recommend doing something that they have not considered nor tested for.

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Modern LR's have been greatly optimized for weight and lightened. And many are now full unibody construction. Is it the hitch or the unibody? Potentially both, as there's no point to have one substantially stronger than the other.
If there hasn't been any manufacturer consideration of WD equipment, there is no reason to believe that the unibody has been designed solely to the requirement of towing with WD equipment. The vehicle is designed for the rigors of daily use, on all sorts of terrain. If it has a relatively weak receiver, that doesn't imply that the vehicle structure is weak, just that the manufacturer didn't plan for towing with WD equipment with that receiver design. It isn't somehow weak because it is a unibody. Unibody structures are typically stronger.

I wouldn't automatically use WD equipment and assume that all would be well, I would investigate what others have done with that setup. But neither would I assume that the manufacturer's warning has anything to do with the vehicle structure, unless there was evidence for such a concern.
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:13 AM   #7
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That is one possibility. The other is that it is a lack of design spec requirement, analysis, and engineering data that is leading the manufacturer to not recommend doing something that they have not considered nor tested for.

If there hasn't been any manufacturer consideration of WD equipment, there is no reason to believe that the unibody has been designed solely to the requirement of towing with WD equipment. The vehicle is designed for the rigors of daily use, on all sorts of terrain. If it has a relatively weak receiver, that doesn't imply that the vehicle structure is weak, just that the manufacturer didn't plan for towing with WD equipment with that receiver design. It isn't somehow weak because it is a unibody. Unibody structures are typically stronger.

I wouldn't automatically use WD equipment and assume that all would be well, I would investigate what others have done with that setup. But neither would I assume that the manufacturer's warning has anything to do with the vehicle structure, unless there was evidence for such a concern.
I can assure you that if it's not explicitly tested for, then that means it was not designed for that purpose. Requirements drive design and test. It's not by chance that it will tow, and tow heavy with a WD hitch, well.

Unibodies are stiffer. Until they are re not. Much like a coke can vs a bar of steel. Generally, unibodies do not have more strength in that they will reach yield strength (especially off-axis as it may not have been designed for WD loads!) before a comparable body on frame vehicle. And unibodies are surely not more durable.

I'd personally defer to the manufacturer and their recommendations. Any other interpretation is conjecture.

There's evidence, just search Land Rover and hitch failures.

Yet I think we agree, any use of a Land Rover with WD is likely going to take analysis and modification. It is possible for the OP to use it in the way they want. Just not going to happen box stock without risk of "serious damage", as cautioned by the manual.
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:58 AM   #8
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Top gun is Andy Tompson at Cam-Am call him he knows all vehicles and the pros and cons.
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:00 AM   #9
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Smile Solution

Land Rovers are for "posing". Get something with a real hitch on it.
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:37 AM   #10
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Unibody construction in and of itself is not a problem. It can certainly be a problem if the unibody was not designed for a weight distribution hitch.

For example, in its many iterations, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has had unibody construction. To my knowledge, there has never been a manufacturer's warning against using a WD hitch on one nor have there been reports of failures due to a WD hitch.

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Old 04-04-2019, 07:57 PM   #11
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See Post #8. I had a unitized body mounted WD hitch that failed initially because the installer/fabricator was ill informed of the correct procedures. You must use long side supports with many attachment points along the angled flange to the unitized body. Use both welded and bolted attachments. After that I drove the TV five more years without a problem.
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:50 PM   #12
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There is a lot of miss information on this thread. So much so that it should probably be deleted. More than i want to type to correct. Just one of my pet peeves with forums today.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:47 AM   #13
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There is a lot of miss information on this thread. So much so that it should probably be deleted. More than i want to type to correct. Just one of my pet peeves with forums today.
Unit body vehicles aren’t what they used to be, but just because there’s a hitch receiver doesn’t mean it can withstand the torque from a WD system without modification of the attachment points to spread the loads across more distance on the “frame”.

There’s some good information in this thread. However, individuals are still responsible for discerning what is correct and what is not.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:46 AM   #14
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Top gun is Andy Tompson at Cam-Am call him he knows all vehicles and the pros and cons.
Yep that sounds like a workable solution...he might be able to do it over the phone or travel cross country. 👍

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Old 04-06-2019, 09:49 PM   #15
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The mis information is that Land Rovers are unibody. To start pre 2003 the P38 Range Rover and Disco were body on frame. The frame they used was full box construction much stronger than your trucks with C channel frames. The P38 even had a zbar reinforcement in the frame making it one of the stiffest frames constructed. The next generation Rover 2003+ was a unibody and it was 30% stronger than the 2002. Note that the Range Rover is a solid frame mount hitch and you have no worries. While the full size went unibody the rest of the line LR3 and Sport went to a Hydroformed aluminum chassis on frame. It was one piece from the top to the bottom and placed on one hell of a frame. It was stiff enough that the whole roof on the lr3 was glass. We used to try and twist the frames as a demo to customers on the off road course at the dealerships and then open and close all the doors just to show them. So stiff that the bumper positioning was move to utilize crumple zones in other vehicles in an accident. This design is still used. Now the "little Rovers" that you are not going to be towing your airstream with are unibody to more extent but still built to take the rigors of offroading.

The reasoning behind not using weight distribution is due to the traction control not the frame strength. Note also that all of these are air suspension and adding 600lbs on the back is no issue. The vehicle will self level when the trailer is on it and ride flat just like it was without the trailer. You really dont need weight distribution with air suspension at these small loads on the larger Rovers. As for sway control there are alternatives to a weight distribution set up. I am running a great one and am very happy with it.

The lr3 and the sport have a funky quick connect for a receiver. It has seen release failures with weight distribution(which you should not be running anyways), from what I understand they are infrequent but i would NEVER put a weight distribution hitch on one. There are aftermarket bolt on receivers that can be used in place of these but I had one bend pulling a 1300lbs pop up. After that i went to a Curt bolt on frame receiver.

So as I said there is a bit of miss information in this post. As a rule of thumb, Keep it simple, Dont overthink it and work within your design limits and you wont have a problem.

Now my fingers are tired of typing.
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Old 07-07-2020, 06:24 AM   #16
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The mis information is that Land Rovers are unibody. To start pre 2003 the P38 Range Rover and Disco were body on frame. The frame they used was full box construction much stronger than your trucks with C channel frames. The P38 even had a zbar reinforcement in the frame making it one of the stiffest frames constructed. The next generation Rover 2003+ was a unibody and it was 30% stronger than the 2002. Note that the Range Rover is a solid frame mount hitch and you have no worries. While the full size went unibody the rest of the line LR3 and Sport went to a Hydroformed aluminum chassis on frame. It was one piece from the top to the bottom and placed on one hell of a frame. It was stiff enough that the whole roof on the lr3 was glass. We used to try and twist the frames as a demo to customers on the off road course at the dealerships and then open and close all the doors just to show them. So stiff that the bumper positioning was move to utilize crumple zones in other vehicles in an accident. This design is still used. Now the "little Rovers" that you are not going to be towing your airstream with are unibody to more extent but still built to take the rigors of offroading.

The reasoning behind not using weight distribution is due to the traction control not the frame strength. Note also that all of these are air suspension and adding 600lbs on the back is no issue. The vehicle will self level when the trailer is on it and ride flat just like it was without the trailer. You really dont need weight distribution with air suspension at these small loads on the larger Rovers. As for sway control there are alternatives to a weight distribution set up. I am running a great one and am very happy with it.

The lr3 and the sport have a funky quick connect for a receiver. It has seen release failures with weight distribution(which you should not be running anyways), from what I understand they are infrequent but i would NEVER put a weight distribution hitch on one. There are aftermarket bolt on receivers that can be used in place of these but I had one bend pulling a 1300lbs pop up. After that i went to a Curt bolt on frame receiver.

So as I said there is a bit of miss information in this post. As a rule of thumb, Keep it simple, Dont overthink it and work within your design limits and you wont have a problem.

Now my fingers are tired of typing.
Not sure if anyone is still following this thread, but I just bought a used 2019 Range Rover Sport TD6, and am waiting to take delivery. It has the factory hitch option installed. Does this hitch have weight distribution? Do I need to do anything to make this hitch work better with my 23' Flying Cloud (which we also just bought and are waiting to take delivery on)? I'm completely new to trailers and towing, so I'm trying to figure this out. Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:40 PM   #17
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Switters, im still here. Your rover does not have a weight dist hitch. The hitch is a separate piece you would purchase aftermarket. It is not necessary with air suspension vehicles since the car self levels and corrects for the load. I am running a 2010 SC sport towing a 23fb, I run a frame mount curt receiver and a Hayes sway master. Its plug n play. she tows great.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:07 PM   #18
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Air suspension only levels the tow vehicle. A weight distribution hitch is needed to shift weight from the rear axle to the front axle of the tow vehicle and the rear axle of the trailer. If the front and rear axles are not balanced, the front will not steer and the rear will be overloaded. The tow vehicle will be unstable. This is why you must weigh the axles to determine the load carried by each set. A CAT scale at a truck stop is the place to get those weights. Pat
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:31 AM   #19
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This is what's so confusing. Seems there's a lot of disagreement about the question of whether a WD hitch is necessary for RRs as TVs.

According to Land Rover's own documentation, "The use of weight distribution hitches is not recommended. Using weight distribution hitches can potentially cause serious damage to the vehicle."

Special-Ed, the documentation of the 2019 RRS says that it has something called "Trailer Stability Assist (TSA)". This is how it's described:

Quote:
"When a trailer is correctly attached to the vehicle, the TSA system automatically detects when trailer sway is developing. When active, the TSA system gradually reduces the vehicle's speed by reducing engine power and applying the brakes to help regain stability control."
Would this replace the Hayes Sway Master, or does that do something different?
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:54 AM   #20
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Switters, im still here. Your rover does not have a weight dist hitch. The hitch is a separate piece you would purchase aftermarket. It is not necessary with air suspension vehicles since the car self levels and corrects for the load. I am running a 2010 SC sport towing a 23fb, I run a frame mount curt receiver and a Hayes sway master. Its plug n play. she tows great.

Please stop propagating misinformation... air suspension has little to do with weight distribution or towing. It cannot return enough weight to the FA.
Weight distribution moves the necessary weight back to steering axle.

TSA...only activates after sway is detected. It does little or nothing to prevent is from happening.

A properly set-up rig is the best prevention.

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