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Old 04-19-2020, 01:02 PM   #21
jcl
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Originally Posted by DCPAS View Post
I have seen eTrailer's response. Perhaps someone here can explain it, but on its face it makes no sense to me. If the hitch "distributes" tongue weight to the front axle and we know that it also distributes weight back to the trailer axles, how can it not reduce tongue weight? It can't be in three places at once. Must be some special physics beyond my reach.
Tongue weight doesn't change.

What changes is "effective" tongue weight.

Absolute tongue weight matters for the design of the receiver, whether it is strong enough to take the load. But what matters beyond that is what the axles are being asked to carry. Each axle has a gross axle weight rating (GAWR) and these are firm numbers to respect.

Effective tongue weight is what is transferred through to the axles and tires.

As the load on the rear axle is reduced by the application of WD equipment, the load on the TV front axle and the trailer axles is increased. Those are the three numbers that have to balance to keep the world in equilibrium.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:02 PM   #22
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Tongue weight doesn't change.

What changes is "effective" tongue weight.

Absolute tongue weight matters for the design of the receiver, whether it is strong enough to take the load. But what matters beyond that is what the axles are being asked to carry. Each axle has a gross axle weight rating (GAWR) and these are firm numbers to respect.

Effective tongue weight is what is transferred through to the axles and tires.

As the load on the rear axle is reduced by the application of WD equipment, the load on the TV front axle and the trailer axles is increased. Those are the three numbers that have to balance to keep the world in equilibrium.
While I understand what you are saying, it still seems to me that what you are calling effective tongue weight is what matters when determining whether you are within the vehicle's max tongue weight rating or not. That is the load on the vehicle when the springs of the WDH are connected. If that's right (and I am not saying that it is), then the OP may get to his Highlander recommended tongue weight. Which is opposite of what eTrailer says. Which is why I am struggling to understand it. My guess is that if we were talking about the rear axle weight rating, there would not be any question that we would be saying that the weight on the rear axle with the weight distribution engaged as read by a CAT scale is the number that matters. But not for tongue weight. I just don't get it.

No one should rely on my logic. I do not have a technical background.
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:56 PM   #23
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The U-Haul video demonstrates only one aspect of trailer loading. It shows what happens if your tongue weight is too low and your speed is too high. There is another aspect to loading a trailer and that is having too much tongue weight. This can cause your rig to jackknife in a hard turn. The traditional recommendation is to have a tongue weight greater than 10% but less than 15%. Lately, though, it seems that 10% may be close to the ideal target tongue weight.

It is very difficult to load a properly designed travel trailer with too little tongue weight. You would almost have to start moving cabinets and fixtures around. Not so with a cargo trailer like a U-Haul. If you don't pay attention to loading a cargo trailer you could get yourself in trouble.

It's a simple video meant for a simple demonstration of what can happen by trying to get around the hitch weight safe maximum. When someone talks about shifting weight in a trailer by loading everything in the rear I think this simple demo can show you what can happen. The demo is for a single axle trailer and the OP was asking about an '06 19', which is dual axle and would fare better with load shifting; still, not advised.


For overloaded tongue weight, Toyotas have (or had, not sure if that's changed or not) a device on the rear axle that changed the braking from the standard 60/40 to put more braking on the rear axle because of the change in weight distribution. That's why air shocks or air bags are not recommended, they will defeat that safety feature. I do not know if this applies to the Highlander since it is unibody and not body on frame. He does have the AWD option.
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Old 04-21-2020, 06:43 PM   #24
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Thank you all for your input. Lots of good advise here. I have plenty to learn & research. Will be looking for 19' or smaller.
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Old 04-21-2020, 08:36 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by DCPAS View Post
I have seen eTrailer's response. Perhaps someone here can explain it, but on its face it makes no sense to me. If the hitch "distributes" tongue weight to the front axle and we know that it also distributes weight back to the trailer axles, how can it not reduce tongue weight? It can't be in three places at once. Must be some special physics beyond my reach. Now, before someone says it, I completely understand the comment somewhere else that you can ignore the weight movement because your loaded tongue weight is likely to be heavier, but that is a different topic entirely.
It does not reduce tongue weight but it is confusing because of an unfortunate issue with the English language where the word weight is used to signify both force and mass. Tongue weight is a force caused by the need for the center of gravity of the mass of the trailer to be in front of the trailer axles. WD adds additional forces to counteract that force which shifts front axles forces to the rear axle, but is powerless to reduce the original, so it remains and we can accurately say WD does not reduce tongue weight.

It is true that WD also adds an additional force to the trailer axle shifting some force off the rear axle so it does slightly reduce Tow Vehicle GAW which also is not the mass the tow vehicle is supporting rather it is the sum of the forces the axles are experiencing.
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:56 PM   #26
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Go to your Toyota dealer where you bought your Highlander and ask a technician who knows towing.

I will be towing my 67 Caravel (17') with my 2019 Highlander, and as a really non-technical person, I was not understanding all the excellent (I'm sure) advice available on this site. I read and read, and just didn't get it.

The technician, who also tows a travel trailer, understood my concerns and was able to explain why/how the Highlander is OK with this towing set-up. I understood what he was saying although I couldn't repeat it to save my life!

I did have Toyota add on a much stronger receiver, it was welded, and the unibody should be fine with the weight. Now, for a 20' the story may be different, but check with a knowledgeable technician (NOT salesperson!) and I think you can get a good answer, or at least another datapoint.

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Old 04-22-2020, 05:36 AM   #27
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Thank you all for your input. Lots of good advise here. I have plenty to learn & research. Will be looking for 19' or smaller.
So there was plenty of great advice in this thread all indicating the Highlander as equipped had some sort of structural deficiency in managing the torque generated by tongue weight. Perhaps it was the hitch itself or how it was secured to the frame as Cerberus indicated and if so, a stronger, stiffer or better secured hitch will get the Highlander up to snuff. Perhaps it is the Highlander frame or unibody structural components but I doubt it. Before you give up on the 20ft. see if you can resolve this, because that is your single issue.

The Highlander loaded up, less 750lb for the tongue weight, will weigh 5250lb which is greater than the trailer so very good. With good stiff sidewall tires, stiff hitch, and a high quality WD anti-sway hitch your set-up will be nearly optimal. A good trade-off between size, capacity, comfort and performance. If you can just get the tongue weight limit over 750 lb with a high quality well mounted class III hitch.
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:44 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by richw46 View Post
It's a simple video meant for a simple demonstration of what can happen by trying to get around the hitch weight safe maximum. When someone talks about shifting weight in a trailer by loading everything in the rear I think this simple demo can show you what can happen. The demo is for a single axle trailer and the OP was asking about an '06 19', which is dual axle and would fare better with load shifting; still, not advised.


For overloaded tongue weight, Toyotas have (or had, not sure if that's changed or not) a device on the rear axle that changed the braking from the standard 60/40 to put more braking on the rear axle because of the change in weight distribution. That's why air shocks or air bags are not recommended, they will defeat that safety feature. I do not know if this applies to the Highlander since it is unibody and not body on frame. He does have the AWD option.
Well the video is intended to demonstrate "how to Load or pack your trailer" to keep the tung weight and the load over the axle. ( So that people don't rent a U haul trailer and out there crap on the back 2 feet, and drive down the highway and wonder why it's all over the road
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:55 AM   #29
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Derek,

I have a 2005 Diesel Ford Excursion. Just sold my 25í Safari, would sell or trade for something smaller.



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Old 04-22-2020, 12:23 PM   #30
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I think anything over 3500 pounds, dry, would be too much for your little car. I had one of those rigs, and it was OK..not good...so I got rid of it.

for a 6000 pound ,dry, trailer..you should have a tow rating of 9000+ , and a good (expensive) WD hitch.

I have a rig like that, and I feel safe

Good Luck...stay with it, you will find everything you need, by educating yourself
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:58 PM   #31
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Affordable and Airstream. Does such a thing exist ?
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:10 PM   #32
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For what itís worth, we have a 27í Flying Cloud(2017) and our TV is a 2014 Tahoe. Works like a champ...... never a problem.
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:27 PM   #33
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The Highlander is a awesome vehicle . However, the empty weight of the 2006 AS Safari (4920) would be within the limitsl, any load putting the trailer over 5000 would not.
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:15 AM   #34
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I will provide another viewpoint.

1. You can readily purchase an aftermarket hitch receiver rated for 6000 lbs and 900 lbs tongue weight.
2. While you have all wheel drive, it doesnít matter except maybe on wet grass or loose gravel. Front wheel drive vehicles tow perfectly well with effective weight distribution.
3. You want to avoid overloading the tow vehicle axles. Weight distribution helps a lot.
4. Properly set up weight distribution is critical to stable towing.
5. The weight of the trailer is the least important factor in the towing equation.
6. There is no law against exceeding tow ratings.
7. Except for climbing long grades, the primary load on your tow vehicle drivetrain is the result of aerodynamic drag. A 16í pulls just as hard at highway speed as a 23í.
8. You didnít say what engine you have, but the Toyota 3.5 V6 is plenty of engine to tow an Airstream.
9. Not having built in connectors for lights and a brake controller is not an issue. Any competent RV shop can add these things to any motor vehicle.
10. A caution - a properly set up weight distributing hitch may cause the receiver to twist. If this happens, it should be reinforced at a welding shop. Welding on the receiver wonít hurt it. Itís made of ordinary mild steel.

This is confusing, because you are getting different viewpoints. However, Iíve been towing an Airstream with a car since 2006 - nearly 30,000 miles worth - and I see no reason to spend big dollars on a heavy truck.

Andrew T, on this forum, got me started and everything heís told me has turned out to be perfectly accurate. He does not trade in hyperbole and neither do I.
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Old 04-23-2020, 09:04 AM   #35
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Good information Albert, let me elaborate on a couple points you made:

Trailer weight not important when going straight at a constant safe speed as you indicate by also pointing out aerodynamic drag, however, trailer weight figures prominently in sway, cornering and swerving stability.

When towing a trailer that has more total mass than the tow vehicle total mass (when loaded with gear, no trailer attached), safe stable speed is reduced by about 5-7 mph for each 10% greater trailer mass relative to tow vehicle.

The OP's desire to tow a 5000 lb max trailer with his 6000 lb max Highlander will work fine if he resolves the tongue weight limit and is able to get that above 750 lbs. Again it is most likely the hitch design.

A well built class III or IV hitch will not bend twist or flex with WD unless one attempts to navigate passages that are laterally very uneven. It is best to release tension before proceeding through the uneven area.

Again great points.
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:12 AM   #36
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It does not reduce tongue weight but it is confusing because of an unfortunate issue with the English language where the word weight is used to signify both force and mass. Tongue weight is a force caused by the need for the center of gravity of the mass of the trailer to be in front of the trailer axles. WD adds additional forces to counteract that force which shifts front axles forces to the rear axle, but is powerless to reduce the original, so it remains and we can accurately say WD does not reduce tongue weight.

It is true that WD also adds an additional force to the trailer axle shifting some force off the rear axle so it does slightly reduce Tow Vehicle GAW which also is not the mass the tow vehicle is supporting rather it is the sum of the forces the axles are experiencing.
So while it doesn't reduce tongue weight, it does shift some of that weight from the TV rear axle to the TV front axle and TT axle(s). Is that statement correct?
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Old 04-23-2020, 03:34 PM   #37
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So while it doesn't reduce tongue weight, it does shift some of that weight from the TV rear axle to the TV front axle and TT axle(s). Is that statement correct?
Correct you can describe it that way, though strictly speaking the tension applied to the weight distribution hitch generates additional torque counteracting the torque generated by tongue weight that does several things:
1. adds weight (force) to the front axle
2. removes weight from the rear axle
3. adds weight to the trailer axle(s)
4. adds weight to the tongue
5. removes weight from the hitch Shank
6. reduces net torque and sheer stress on the receiver and vehicle frame
7. increases net torque and sheer on the trailer frame

The fact it reduces sheer on the hitch is why tongue capacity goes up with WD. The increased sheer on the trailer is why WD is not recommended for light trailers.
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Old 04-24-2020, 06:24 AM   #38
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4. adds weight to the tongue
Did you type that right?
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Old 04-24-2020, 07:29 AM   #39
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Good information Albert, let me elaborate on a couple points you made:

Trailer weight not important when going straight at a constant safe speed as you indicate by also pointing out aerodynamic drag, however, trailer weight figures prominently in sway, cornering and swerving stability.

When towing a trailer that has more total mass than the tow vehicle total mass (when loaded with gear, no trailer attached), safe stable speed is reduced by about 5-7 mph for each 10% greater trailer mass relative to tow vehicle.

The OP's desire to tow a 5000 lb max trailer with his 6000 lb max Highlander will work fine if he resolves the tongue weight limit and is able to get that above 750 lbs. Again it is most likely the hitch design.

A well built class III or IV hitch will not bend twist or flex with WD unless one attempts to navigate passages that are laterally very uneven. It is best to release tension before proceeding through the uneven area.

Again great points.


Indeed, my answer was incomplete. I did not address the factors that influence the capability of the tow vehicle.

All things being equal, trailer weight influences handling. However, there are plenty of other tow vehicle factors that can be considered, including: wheelbase; rear overhang; wheel stance; shock absorber control; steering ratio and feel; handling balance (neutral vs heavy understeer); tires (stiffer is better - low profile high performance tires will make a difference); centre of gravity. Airstreams also help in this case because their centre of gravity without slides is low, and independent suspension with shock absorbers is a distinct advantage. Andy Thomson claims that Airstreams will slide at the limits of adhesion before they roll.

While safety can theoretically be distilled down to numbers, there are so many relevant factors that creating a simple formula is virtually impossible. Instead, we rely on facts, some logic, and a whole lot of experience to confirm our hypotheses. What makes me comfortable is a combination that not only feels stable in a straight line, but resists crosswinds well and exhibits relatively neutral handling. It should be a pleasure to drive on a winding road.

The Highlander has one major disadvantage. Like all SUVs, it has a higher centre of gravity than a sedan. Also, the tires may have been chosen for comfort rather than handling. However, it should still be acceptable to most people as long as it is driven within its limits.

I agree that most hitch receivers shouldnít flex. There are older examples of factory receivers that were inadequate and would twist when using a weight distributing hitch, even within the ratings.

One more point - tapered weight distributing bars are progressive in their action, and will put less stress on the receiver or trailer frame on uneven ground.

Thank you for a thoughtful reply.
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Old 04-24-2020, 07:53 AM   #40
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Did you type that right?
I did type that right!

It is counter-intuitive, but because the WD spring bars act on the hitch shank on one side and the trailer frame on the other, and considering the relative lever lengths, about 80% of the WD tension on the trailer side is added to the tongue, which ends up just holding the ball and socket together which increases sway damping, and 20% is added to the trailer axle. On the tow vehicle side, about 20% is shifted from the front axle to the rear, 10% is removed from the rear axle and 70% counteracts the added tongue weight.

The actual numbers depend greatly on relative lengths of components.
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