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Old 12-14-2019, 07:18 PM   #1
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1979 25' Tradewind
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Weight distribution hitch match to trailer

Hello everyone I am new to the forums. Itís always been a dream to own such an amazing trailer and now we are acquiring one next week. Empty the 1979 Tradewind is 4200 lbs with a max of 5800. The tongue weight is 650. If I got a weight distribution hitch that has a 6000-8000 lbs tow and 600-800 tongue would this be sufficient? I understand that the tongue weight of the hitch has to be close to close to the tongue weight of the trailer.
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Old 12-14-2019, 07:50 PM   #2
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The sum of the weight of the trailer tongue and additionally all added cargo behind the tow vehicle's axle need to be matched to the hitch's torsion bar rating.

The hitch's towing capacity needs to be matched to the gross weight of the trailer and actual tongue weight loaded, not empty.

My guess, based on my experience with my 25', loaded tongue weight is ~ 150 to 200 lbs more than empty tongue weight (balance depends on how you place load inside the trailer)
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:46 AM   #3
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Yes this certainly makes sense so with the weight distribution system Iím looking at of 6000-8000 lbs haul and 600-800 lbs tongue put me nicely in the neighborhood. Even though I would never go past 6000 lbs the tongue weight would increase up to 800.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:12 AM   #4
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I had a 75 TradeWind and the numbers you quoted were similar to the published numbers from Airstream. At a maintenance rally in Colorado a few years back we had the hitch weight measured and it was just over 900 pounds. I used a Blue Ox with 1,000 pound bars.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:29 AM   #5
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Hi

As noted above, even the empty weights on some older trailers can be off by a bit. Load them up and they can be off even further. It's a pretty good bet that you want a hitch / tow vehicle that will handle 1,000 pounds.

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Old 12-15-2019, 09:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airpocket View Post
Yes this certainly makes sense so with the weight distribution system I’m looking at of 6000-8000 lbs haul and 600-800 lbs tongue put me nicely in the neighborhood. Even though I would never go past 6000 lbs the tongue weight would increase up to 800.
Considering the weight of the hitch/ball/bars (all added cargo behind the tow vehicle axel) and the possibility of carrying a generator, you might want to go with 1000 lb bars.
Though the 800 lb. bars would flex more to give a smoother ride, they might not have the ability to transfer enough weight off of the rear TV axle.

ps:
You did not tell us about the tow vehicle you are using. If you are towing with a vehicle with adequate capacity to easily carry the load, the 800 lb bars might be an OK choice. If you are towing with a vehicle that the rear sags a lot when loaded, you might need the 1,000 lb bars.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Airpocket View Post
Hello everyone I am new to the forums. Itís always been a dream to own such an amazing trailer and now we are acquiring one next week. Empty the 1979 Tradewind is 4200 lbs with a max of 5800. The tongue weight is 650. If I got a weight distribution hitch that has a 6000-8000 lbs tow and 600-800 tongue would this be sufficient? I understand that the tongue weight of the hitch has to be close to close to the tongue weight of the trailer.
What is your tow vehicle? If it's big enough you don't even need a weight distribution hitch.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:16 AM   #8
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Just as most people are suggesting, I agree 1000 lb. Capacity is the way to go. To add to the other justifications, another is the strength and heft of the unit. Durability, longevity and ability to handle higher dynamic load should not be underestimated.

Now if 800 is good and 1000 is better, how about even more? No because at some point the torsion preload displacements becomes insufficient and the unit will go loose (zero tension) and cause slack when you hit a large bump at speed. It can jar apart or snap a fastener on recovery (energy = force x distance, so movement of the hitches static components is not good) You don't want that to happen.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:29 AM   #9
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What is your tow vehicle? If it's big enough you don't even need a weight distribution hitch.
Even for oversized tow vehicles like mine with plenty of capacity vs. my trailer size (a Ram 2500 4x4 Diesel) a weight distribution hitch should be used in my opinion. The vehicle suspension geometry shifts enough to influence steering and suspension stability with as little as 300-400 lbs of tongue weight and also most of the better designed distribution hitches provide some anti-sway feedback to various degrees do to the geometry and dynamic load characteristics.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:56 AM   #10
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I've always looked at it this way, it's a combo of tow-rig and tongue weight.

For my 1962 Galaxie or 1968 Travelall, I need 1,000-1,200 pound bars and a greater head pitch to lift the back-end up when towing my 1966 Overlander. When towing the same trailer with my Excursion, I use 600-800 pound bars with little head pitch.

Seen many of folks take a 1-ton truck, use 1,000-1,200 pound bars to then pop rivets and even bend the front A-frame on an old trailer with little tongue weight.

Andy at InlandRV preached this over and over. The connection needs to flex, not be stiff.

Do a search on his recommendations and you won't go wrong.

Enjoy,
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
Even for oversized tow vehicles like mine with plenty of capacity vs. my trailer size (a Ram 2500 4x4 Diesel) a weight distribution hitch should be used in my opinion. The vehicle suspension geometry shifts enough to influence steering and suspension stability with as little as 300-400 lbs of tongue weight and also most of the better designed distribution hitches provide some anti-sway feedback to various degrees do to the geometry and dynamic load characteristics.
I too have a RAM 2500 diesel. Unloaded it is not properly balanced because it has a 1000 lb engine over the front axle. When I put a 1000 lb tongue load on the hitch ball it evens things out. I have a 52/48 rear/front weight ratio which is much better for steering than the 40/60 unloaded ratio. Also, if you take weight off the rear axle with a WD hitch it will make your truck more prone to jackknife in a hard brake and swerve emergency.

I tow a 28 FC on the ball and it doesn't sway at all even at high speeds.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:34 PM   #12
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One of the difficulties with this forum and really life in general is that trailers, towing and life are not so simple as short answers allow.

I suppose I should have said it depends on many factors, because it does. You didn't say if your truck is 2 or 4 wheel drive and even that makes a difference. While for neutral steering around a circular trajectory, 50/50 may well be ideal, and traction/acceleration/breaking favors weight in the rear, but in real life varied situations, the ideal depends more on suspension tuning. On the 4X4 diesel it favors a bit more weight up front 45-47 rear according to my automotive engineer friends primarily due to suspension and steering geometry trade offs.

Now I didn't say, but we carry wood, supplies, generator, furniture, bikes, gasoline, extra propane, full diesel tank and 10 gallons more in a container in the bed and no end of other stuff when we travel and on its own adds 1000 lbs to the rear axle and 300 to the front depending on how we load the bed so we are about 45/55 without the trailer. I figure everyone loads up their tow vehicle to some extent.

So I suppose the best answer is "It depends" I would even give you that an empty 2500 Diesel theoretically benefits from no distribution hitch, but I still stand by earlier statement that all travelers should consider the benefits of weight distribution hitch for trailers with any appreciable tongue weight.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:29 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone! A lot of great info and things to think about. Iím towing with a Ram 1500 with 10,000 lbs towing cap.
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Old 08-24-2020, 06:49 PM   #14
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I know this is a bit dated, but I am having my Equalizer replaced by a Pro Pride. When I purchased my FC 25' 2020, the dealer only installed Equalizer hitches. I never gave it a thought. I only focused on tow weight. Now I am replacing my Equalizer with a Pro Pride. My reasons maybe unique. I am towing with a VW Touareg. It has a tow capacity of 7700 lbs. but VW reduced the tongue weight to 616 lbs from 770 lbs. It has caused me to research options - other than plunking down another $50K for a pick up. My TV is probably the most popular tow vehicle in Europe, but they apparently do not use WD Hitch. To cut to the chase, I need to have the best hitch vehicle set up, and also pay attention to tongue weight. I am probably overly conservative, but at 73 with plans to put a great number of miles each year on my set up. I had 3 experts say I had the "wrong hitch" for my trailer and TV combo. So, I decided to bite the bullet and replace my Equalizer with a Pro Pride. It is a big nut. I paid $1200 for the Equalizer including install, and I will have to eat most of that. The Equalizer is a good hitch, but not the best from my towing set up. The Pro Pride is expensive, but it has capabilities that address my needs. If this makes a difference, it will save me buying a new TV and storing my Touareg for more than 6 months a year (I took my wife to look at 3/4T diesel trucks, and she said she did NOT want that as our primary vehicle.) Wish me luck.

My lesson is this: really research hitch set ups before you plunk down money. Ask people who know about towing. I found the CanAm RV very helpful. They gave good advice and also background. They did not recommend the Pro Pride - Hensley Hitch, but did say that the Equalizer was not the best for me. Another major AS Dealer said the same thing, but suggested I check out the Pro Pride.
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Old 08-25-2020, 06:25 AM   #15
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...How does the PPP increase the tongue weight capacity of the VW?
The TW of your trailer is still well beyond the stated capacity of the VW. A pivot point projection hitch will NOT reduce tongue weight.
Have you weighed the AS loaded for a trip?

Bob
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Old 08-25-2020, 07:47 AM   #16
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How does replacing 50 lb hitch with a 200 lb hitch reduce your tongue weight? My math puts you going in the wrong direction.
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:05 AM   #17
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The Hensley and Propride hitches are superior in terms of improving safety and stability while towing but as Richard indicate just adds to the receiver load problem. Since VW refrains from providing guidance on weight distribution they leave the customer to guess about the receiver and mount capacity for the US market.

If you follow their US guidance and maintain a safe and stable trailer load distribution, the effective max trailer weight capacity drops from 7,700 to 6,160 but really less than even that.

So, what to do? First inspect the receiver mount. It must be secured against pitch and roll rotation with at least 2 mount points for each rotational direction and preferably 3 with full welds on all four sides or quadrants if the bar is circular.

If the hitch is good then you can safely increase the capacity with WD by 1/3 so add another 210 off the bat. So now you are up to 826 or so. The Propride hitches are just a bit over 95 lb heavier than the your current hitch. Now since your hitch is well used you can inspect it for any sign of flex. Look for paint chipping off at stress points and look for cracked welds and chipped paint on the welds.

Going up from 826 tongue weight is now the question. If the receiver is strong, the primary issue remaining is cornering stability. The Proride makes that a non issue on normal corners greater than about 1000 ft radius or anything with a caution speed above 50 mph. So if you follow the speed guidance on the sharper corners you will have no issues with your set-up. The remaining issue is emergency maneuvers. So Inflate your rear tires 5-7 psi above recommended and reduce your front about 2 psi and then give yourself good following distance so you don't have to suddenly react. Also keep your speeds 5-7 mph below prevailing speeds and you can safely increase the tongue weight to 900 lb with a good safety margin even with very hard .45 g cornering. You won't have to worry about sway at all if you stay below safe speed limits. If you experience any hint of oversteer in normal high speed cornering, add a bit more pressure to the rear tires if possible and ease up a bit on WD tension.
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Old 08-26-2020, 08:19 AM   #18
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Hi

Tire and axle load ratings *do* count, even on passenger vehicles. Running things past their ratings *will* wear them out quicker. It may cause a failure as well .....

There is no difference between how the various models of WD hitch "move" the weight. They all act as springs. They all push weight forward on the TV by applying force to the hitch. What differences there are are in other areas of the hitch design.

Can you run things past their ratings? Sure you can. They don't break instantly when you do. I've done it lots of times. Some of them when I actually *knew* that was the case. Most of them due to simply not realizing what was going on. Only one of those many cases resulted in stuff breaking while on the road.

Lots of fun !!

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Old 08-26-2020, 10:07 AM   #19
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With Weight distribution, the Touareg won't have an axle load issue till about 900 lb on the tongue.
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Old 08-26-2020, 11:54 AM   #20
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The remaining issue is emergency maneuvers. So Inflate your rear tires 5-7 psi above recommended and reduce your front about 2 psi and then give yourself good following distance so you don't have to suddenly react.
Brian: Both you and Collyn agree on the inflation adjustment so there must be something to it, but I am not following the logic. To my understanding, generally lower pressures will result in more tire grip. More compliance surface meeting the road. However, the tire will be able to carry less load and will run hotter with lower pressure. From a towing perspective I can see good reason to increase rear tire pressure in order to accommodate the added load, but I cannot figure out how it helps in an emergency handling situation. What am I missing?
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