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Heavier hitch, or weight distribution?

Discussion in 'Tow & Trailer' started by 84_Chevy_K10, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Alright, y'all now know how I feel pulling something when it is overloaded. All I've done with my new trailer is pull it home since I got it, and it only weighs 2500 lbs empty so it did fine on my hitch.

    My hitch is rated for 5,000 lbs weight carrying, 10,000 lbs weight distributing.

    So, basically, I have two choices:

    1. Take off the hitch I have now, which I've used twice, (this truck normally has the 5th wheel behind it) and buy a Draw Tite hitch. They have one rated for 10000# weight carrying, 12000# weight distributing, which will allow me to pull my trailer with damn near anything on it and not overload the hitch (everything besides the hitch I have now is rated for 10,000) This will cost me about $200 plus shipping

    OR......

    I can buy a weight distributing setup. I had one, but I can't seem to find the bars. I have the head, so I'd have to buy new bars, and brackets for my trailer tongue. This will cost me about $200 + shipping.

    I can't afford to do both. I do want to buy Reese's dual cam sway control as well even though I don't really think I'll need it with a 20' trailer, it's always nice to have.

    I hate to feel like I have no safety factor with this hitch. It's a 3 piece design and with my truck on the trailer I'm going to have about 8500# on the hitch.

    Opinions?

    I'm leaning towards the weight distribution, but someone here offered to buy my hitch which might motivate me to change hitches and buy the weight distribution later.

    Truck is a 1987 Chevy R30 (1 ton 2wd) with single wheels, 350, TH 400, 14 FF, 4.10s, e rated tires. Hitch is a Valley, ball mount/weight distribution head is a Reese rated for 10000#, ball is a 2 5/16" 1 1/4" shank rated at 10000#. I use a Tekonsha Prodigy, it's a great brake controller, if you don't have one you definitely want one--you just don't know it yet. Truck has something like 11 leaves on each side including overloads with frame brackets that will kick in if the truck will even squat that far. As of now it squats about 2" with the truck and trailer behind me, and not even enough to put it on the overloads. Basically truck and trailer sit completely dead level when towing.

    Trailer is a 18 + 2, 14,000 lb GVWR rating trailer that I just purchased. It will have my 6,000 lb trail machine on it. It has an adjustable coupler, (Bulldog) brakes on both axles, etc......

    Opinions?
     
  2. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    I'd start with the bigger hitch now then get the sway control setup later when you can save up for it (possibly sell your nearly new hitch to recoupe most of what you spent on it).
     
  3. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    unless your hitch is rusted or something to that effect, I would go with the weight distribution. I have the Reese cam sway control/WD setup. it is awesome, and would not hessitate to get it again. I'd rather get the system than get a new hitch. If you ever have sway, you know how unnerving it can be. With the WD, you can be a little less "precise" (though for best results, you shouldnt).

    Other than that, if you got the big bucks, get a hensley or PullRite. They are all costly, but they basically work like a gooseneck or 5th wheel, except with ball type setup.

    Sway is almost non existant on a 5th wheel, but very prevalant among hitch style towing.
     
  4. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Sway is a result of an improperly loaded trailer 90% + of the time.

    No matter which one I go with I will not be getting sway control right now. Maybe later on down the road but sway control shouldn't be necessary for a 20' trailer that is loaded properly. I already own a friction type sway device I might dig up and throw on there for the hell of it.

    So, the question is weight distribution or heavier weight carrying hitch?

    Pullrite/Hensley Arrow might work nice but if I wanted a 5er or gooseneck, I would have bought one. I've already got a 16k 5er hitch, and if I wanted to spend $2k more I would have bought a gooseneck trailer to begin with.
     
  5. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I personally wouldn't tow a trailer over 5000 lbs. behind a non-dually truck without a weight-distribution setup.....

    99% of the time it's probably overkill with a truck like yours, but I'd be more worried about the 1%, especially with 7k + travelling behind you.
     
  6. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    but sway control shouldn't be necessary for a 20' trailer that is loaded properly.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Have you ever been in an emergency-type braking situation while towing before? It sure doesn't sound like it.....
     
  7. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    I agree with CanmoreK5. A proper weight distribution setup would be the easiest solution to getting a decent towing capacity without buying the new hitch. You'll probably end up wanting the distribution setup, even with the Class V hitch and you could always add the heavier hitch later.

    I tow my blazer with a class IV and weight distribution bars and have had no problems.

    BIGJ
     
  8. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    but sway control shouldn't be necessary for a 20' trailer that is loaded properly.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Have you ever been in an emergency-type braking situation while towing before? It sure doesn't sound like it.....

    [/ QUOTE ]



    Weight distribution and sway control are not the same thing. Sway control has absolutely no effect on emergency braking what so ever. They're often used together but they're certainly a serious difference.

    I'm leaning towards getting the bars. No sense in pulling that hitch off that I have, it is rated for the 10k and brand new.

    As to sway control I'm going to dig around the garage and find my friction type sway control. That will probably be more than enough for my 20 footer for now, and I can upgrade to the dual cam sways later. I dont think it'll be necessary but I have it, so it's free of charge right now and will provide additional safety factor.
     
  9. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Weight distribution and sway control are not the same thing. Sway control has absolutely no effect on emergency braking what so ever. They're often used together but they're certainly a serious difference.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Sorry, but you are dead wrong when you state that sway control doesn't affect overall handling during emergency braking. Have you ever had to steer around a deer while braking hard at highway speeds? Once again, it doesn't sound like it.....

    In case you didn't notice, every HQ weight distribution setup out there has sway bars built into the design. There's a reason for that.
     
  10. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    What are you talking about, "Sway bars?"

    As I said, sway control and weight distribution are two disinctly seperate things.

    Lateral motion has very little to do with braking. Up and down motion, which is controlled by the torsion bars, does and will seriously effect emergency braking.

    This isn't why I started this post. I started it for a poll about weight distribution vs. a heavier duty weight carrying hitch. Sway control is another subject. Start a thread on sway control if you want to talk about that.
     
  11. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    I think what he meant to say was that modern sway controls are integrated in with the weight distribution setup.

    And the WD bars souldnt be called torsen bars because torsen is a twisting motion, and a WD bar is a up down motion.

    Anyways, the friction type are passive sway controls- like adding a shock absorber. Im sure you already knew that. However, sway has a lot to do with so many aspects of physics, some of it being tongue weight, so on, so forth. A cam type sway control is a lot more active. (not 100%, but close enough). If your missing some of parts, but already have the WD drop hitch stuff, then consider just getting the dualcam, and WD bars.

    I have to disagree with your lateral motion and braking. unless your brake setup is perfect (not inpossible, but improbable) cause you cant tune it exactly to the varying road conditions (uphill, downhill, flat) unless you have a Tekonsha Prodigy or the same class of self adjusting controllers. Anyways, back to braking....

    Unless your always in an exact straight line (which in the examples previously listed as "braking hard and avoiding deer") your trailer and load is gonna be working at some point to be in a different tangent angle to your tow rig- heavy braking will cause the nose of your truck to dive, your tail end to rise, and your trailer (depending on tongue weight, so on and so forth) will do its own thing.

    WD will try and keep all the load level- Which is a good portion of the battle. However, sway can still be induced- and sometimes super dangerous. If in a downpour and you have to panic swerve, and you try and maneuver and hard brake- Its very possible for your trailer to jack knife on you. if your rear wheels of your tow rig lock up, they will slid around on you. Friction type anti sways will try and keep your trailer in the same line as your truck. Cam types will acutally use the WD bars and apply more force to the WD bars on the proper side to try and keep your truck in line with the trailer. Thats why Cam types are so much better than friction, it reacts to the acutal changes, and not just try to dampen what happened.

    Anyways, back to your original topic- my opinion is to Get the WD setup.
     
  12. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    1. A I said three posts ago, sway control is often used in conjunction with weight distrbution but they're not the same thing.

    2. I do have a Tekonsha Prodigy. I wouldn't leave the drivway without one having owned one now.

    3. I do understand exactly how sway control works. I already have a sway control system for now and I don't need to buy one. I can't upgrade my sway control without buying the w/d setup anyway because cam sway works with weight distributing style hitches only.

    I think I'm going to order up a set of 1000 lb Reese weight distributing bars and brackets soon. You guys have got me convinced.

    I've already got the trunnion style head, so all I need is the bars themselves, the chains, and the brackets that bolt to the tongue.
     
  13. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Cool. I dont know exactly how to size up the bar capacity- I dont know how much tongue weight your dealing with, and even then, can you have bars that have too much capacity? Humm.
     
  14. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    The bars hang from chains. You can adjust more or less links to fine tune the setup. I will likely put a mild preload on the bars at ride height with the trailer empty, then drive the truck up onto the trailer which when it pushes down on the tongue it's going to preload the bars quite a bit.
     
  15. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Weight Distribution would be the way I would go, and have gone for years. IN MY OPINON AND EXPERIENCE, the trailers that I have towed with blazer in tow and or any other type of heavy load on a hitch setup, WD setup is the only way to do it safely, the WD setup adjusts the weight much more evenly on the tow rig, and or the idea of it. Alot of people don't use WD and that ok in certain cases, but with a properly set up vehicle, with WD and properly adjusted trailer brakes, and what I consider a necessity, Air Bags, WD of a trailer hitch is not a bad setup if you don't have the need or the overall time and money to do a gooseneck setup. WD towing is like night and day vs straight out hitch towing. I have a class V hitch with air bags, and RSX shock on my other truck and I have towed all over this country with my blazer on the back, it's much safer and easier on the tow rig. Headlight to point up at the sky or into oncoming traffic, trailer brakes work much better, downhill runs are much safter and stable, brakeing is better, and most of all, it's a huge piece of mind for the person driving the tow rig.

    If I did not have a gooseneck I would have a class V w/ WD bars and a set of air bags, and would not even think of dragging it anywhere.

    My opinion.
     
  16. afroman006

    afroman006 1/2 ton status

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    I'd go with a weight distributing. I have one and use it for my 16' flatbed behind a Z71 and used to use it for a 30' camper behind a bone stock K5. Remember, you dont have to use the whole setup for the weight distributing, you can use just the hitch if you want, I frequently do.
     
  17. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    WD set up. If properly set up it has a tendancy to act as a sway control. The head needs to have about 15 degrees of tilt on it. This cuases the WD bars to want to swing away from each other. Effectlivly working as a sway control. Tadem axle trailers with minimal surface area to be caught by the wind are pretty stable . You get a travel trailer with att that surface area nd it changes things.

    As Rob pointed out the WD hitch shifts weight to the front axle of the tow rig. VERY important for safety.
     
  18. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I'll be ordering up my 1,000 lb bars and brackets real soon. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  19. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I ordered up my weight distributing setup today. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif $210 shipped for bars and brackets (I have the rest) from etrailer.com
     
  20. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    [​IMG]

    1200 lb drawtite bars.

    I can damn near pick the back of the truck up off the ground with these things. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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