Weight Distributing Hitch

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

Weight Distributing Hitch

Postby Mark519 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:27 pm

I have not built or owned a CT/CTC before. My plan is to purchase and build out a 7x16 tandem axle trailer. I have spent several years refining my plans (with thanks to the many great ideas on this board) but can go no further without understand how the load affects the hitch weight. I DO NOT want a weight distributing hitch because they are a pain to deal with. I think my Dodge diesel RAM 2500 can tow a 7x16 tandem without the hitch but my design puts most of the weight up front. I will have a generator and box on the tongue, cabinetry/fridge/etc right inside the front. I can move batteries and tanks to the rear. Steel framed bunks will be in the rear. My truck has the factory class 4 hitch and the book says weight should be within 10-15% of trailer weight but an equalizing hitch is required if tongue weight is over 350 lbs. I see contractors hauling these all over town without weight distributing hitches. But maybe not on the interstate? Am I likely to need one? Comments??
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Postby vreihen » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:09 pm

I tow my 24' car hauler behind my 2006 Ram 2500 diesel with no weight distribution. The factory hitch ratings on the 3rd gens are a little bit confusing, but most people read them as 5000 pounds without WD, and 10K pounds with WD. I figure that my loaded weight is 6,200 pounds, and have the luxury of being able to move the car backwards in the trailer to get the tongue weight as close to 10% as possible. With that said, I'm planning to upgrade the factory hitch to one that can carry 10K without WD just for liability reasons, since I'm obviously tapping the safety margin now.

Oh, it bears mentioning that I just ran a 2000 mile round-trip from NY=>GA and back last week, and things were stable at 70 MPH on the interstate. Got 12.6 MPG towing to boot.....
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Postby pete42 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:45 pm

over the years I have owned several travel trailers it seems the longer they are the more they tend to sway with every passing semi.
On several of the trailers they were in the 18-20 foot range single Axel with a light tongue weight.
on those I did not use a WD hitch on the longer two axel, heavier trailers I did. the tongue weight on them was over 350 pounds.
Hitch was adjusted so the trailer road level as did the truck the hitch I had was very easy to use.
I have found on any trailer if you fall out of the 10-15% tongue weight the trailer behaves badly.
worse case is one loaded too light on the tongue.
so I would recommend use what you have weight the tongue with trailer loaded try it then decide if a WD hitch is needed.
I'm guessing not, but that's a guess......
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Last edited by pete42 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby OverTheTopCargoTrailer » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:01 pm

I would say don't get to freekie about your weight yet. The 2 axel trailer can have total weight of 7000 lbs, that's a lot of junk you can stuff in there. You should also have electric breaks and brake controller, they help a lot.

Just add some water tanks or cement bags in the rear if you notice that you have handling problems. I don't think 600 -1000 lbs on the hitch would be a big problem, unless you have another 1,500 in the bed of your truck. I stuffed my trailer 7 x16 to the gills from a storage locker and my tundra at 380 hp towed it like a ghost. I do however stay around 55 mph as in calif tickets start at $500 and up.

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Postby 8ball_99 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:27 pm

When you build the trailer you need to try and balance it best you can. A WD hitch doesn't help at all with reducing the tongue weight. If you have 30% vs the recommended 10-15% the tongue is still going to be heavy. What the hitch does do is move some of the weight from your rear axle to the front axle. As far as the hitch ratings go. Best I can figure is with the WD hitch it spreads the load out over the hitches mounting points better.. To be honest I've never really worried about the hitch. I've always looked at what the bumper pull rating of the truck was and what the axle ratings were. Also from what I've seen if you have to much weight on the rear of the truck it will squat the truck to much and make the front end light.. I would think with stock suspension that would be the issue before over loading the hitch was.. Now if you have air bags or extra leaf springs then I could se being able to over load the hitch because the truck would not squat..

Basically if your truck sits level with the trailer connected I wouldn't worry about the tongue weight.. If the rear of the truck is lower then the front then you need a WD hitch.. I would not try to beef up the rear suspension with out also using a WD hitch. Thats when over loading the hitch could be a real issue..
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Postby vtx1029 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:53 am

Have you ever used a wd hitch? Check outhttp://www.equalizerhitch.com/ frankly after its set up it only takes an extra 30 seconds to hook up. Basically all you need todo with this brand is slide the bars, pin them at the hitch, snap the bars into position and drop in 2 clips.

Not having to worry about a swaying trailer and the weight properly distributed is worth it to me. Once I was with a friend towing a overloaded trailer with no wd hitch or sway control going 60 mph down the freeway sideways heading for the ditch is something I hope to never see again!

That said, I do most towing (8.5x23 toy hauler) near the gvw of the trailer but when it's empty wd really isn't needed.

More then likely the size trailer your looking at will have a gvw of 7k you would really have to throw a ton of stuff in there to get at or near gross weight. Your best route IMO is lay out your trailer as best you can and scale it and tow it first and then determine if you need a wd hitch.
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Postby BC Cargo » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:53 pm

The key is to keep enough weight on the tongue. If there is not enough... then you run into big problems. I have to make sure when I load my ATV that I get it far enough forward in the trailer to provide enough tongue weight. With it and all the crap I take to the cabin like tools, pails of paint, 4 batteries for boats etc. I have not been able to over load it to the point that I notice it pulling down my vehicle's back end. I have a 6 x 13 V nose twin axle, pulled by a Diesel Grand Cherokee.
Personally I don't want a hitch that is going to unload my rear wheels when I am driving around a corner in the rain, mud...or snow.
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Postby 8ball_99 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:25 pm

BC Cargo wrote:The key is to keep enough weight on the tongue. If there is not enough... then you run into big problems. I have to make sure when I load my ATV that I get it far enough forward in the trailer to provide enough tongue weight. With it and all the crap I take to the cabin like tools, pails of paint, 4 batteries for boats etc. I have not been able to over load it to the point that I notice it pulling down my vehicle's back end. I have a 6 x 13 V nose twin axle, pulled by a Diesel Grand Cherokee.
Personally I don't want a hitch that is going to unload my rear wheels when I am driving around a corner in the rain, mud...or snow.


Its not really a matter of unloading the rear wheels. If his trailer is heavy enough to squat a ram 2500 truck and he adds a WD hitch he will still have plenty of weight on the trucks rear axle. If the trailer doesn't squat the tow vehicle then no need for a WD hitch. With a heavy trailer you almost have to have one or you will overload your rear axle.
Anyone that has never used one should really try them. They are very simple to attach and make the trailer pul 10x better. It will reduce sway and it will also make the load much easier to control over bumps or sectioned highway and over passes.
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Postby roadinspector » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:42 pm

With a Class 4 hitch on a 2500, you would have a hard time overloading it with a 16' CT. Yes you do need to keep your tongue weight 10-15%. Another simple fix is after you get your trailer loaded, weigh it. Figure out how much weight needs to be on the tongue. Use a set of scales and a jackstand. Set the tongue on the jackstand which is sitting on the scales. Adjust the height of the tongue until you get within the 10-15%. Measure the height difference between the reciever and the tongue. Allow an inche for settling when attached to the reciever. They sell recievers that are different heights just for this reason. If you actually have to get way out of level to get this, then I would do as OverThe Top said. Add some ballast to the rear and get on down the road. 100-200 lbs in the rear of the trailer can make a big difference on your tongue weight. The trailer should sit close to level. Don't sweat it too much, you'll give yourself a headache.

The only thing I ever had to use a equilizer hitch on was 28' +/- long travel trailers that were loaded to the gills with test equipment.

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Postby Mark519 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:44 am

Thanks guys! I feel a lot better about being able to make a few adjustments and not need the hitch. One of my design goals is fast setup and takedown.
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Postby pete42 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:41 am

Mark wrote:Thanks guys! I feel a lot better about being able to make a few adjustments and not need the hitch. One of my design goals is fast setup and takedown.


Mark that is what most of us want also.
Just remember if you get a trailer with two axles it needs to be pulled level or just slightly nose down
if it is pulled with the nose way down the front tires and axles will be carrying more weight than the rear tires and axles.
nose high and just the reverse neither is good.
best load is one where weight is same side to side and front to rear.
A WD hitch redistributes the weight on the hitch.
transfers some to the front wheels of the tow vehicle some to the trailer.
think of lifting a wheel barrow lift up on handles and weight is transfered to the wheel
in it's simplest form that is same as a WD hitch.
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Postby Gerdo » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:18 pm

Weight distro hitches not only help the vehicle carry more of the trailer weight but also carry a heavy tongue. One of the best fetures of a WD hitch is that it transfers weight all the way up to the front wheels of the tow vehicle. http://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx

If you use too large of a WD hitch, you will not allow the bars to flex and they will give you a harsh ride.

I have done tons of trailering. some with and some without WD hitches. The WD hitch will help with sway.

By the way. I bought a WD hitch that I would like to sell.
http://tnttt.com/viewto ... ight+hitch
And a sway control http://tnttt.com/viewto ... 137#898137
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