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Old 01-29-2014, 07:07 PM   #21
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I kinda disagree with this.... This is true for payload capacity (GVWR-curb weight=payload). Payload includes passengers, cargo, and sometimes even fuel. However, travel trailer campers (not 5th wheel) are usually towed with a weight distribution hitch which minimizes tongue weight of the trailer. These hitches are necessary for campers as large as 28' because they also enable the use of a sway bar. This makes the tongue weight of campers virtually impossible to measure by distributing tongue weight back to the trailers frame when set correctly.

Most trailer dealers will have the weight rating info of specific vehicles as to advise customers for above all, safety and liability purposes. This "trailer tow capacity" info can also be found in your OWNERS MANUAL.

There are other acronyms to consider such as rear axle weight rating.... but stick to your manual's chart for trailers. If still confused, stop at a camper dealership and go fake shopping to get a better idea. Slide-out features on campers add a lot of extra weight.
I wouldn't say that a WDHitch minimizes tongue weight. It distributes the weight between the trucks front and rear axles as well as a little bit back on the trailers axles. With a WDHitch setup correctly it will transfer approximately 20% back to the trailer axles but not much..
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:22 PM   #22
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For the original poster. It is all about your available payload (yellow sticker on the inside driver door). For a travel trailer you need at least 10% of total camper weight on the hitch. 7338*10%=734lbs. So your available payload has to be greater than 734+ you, family and anything else you elect to put in the truck. If so, with a WD hitch you are good to go.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:25 PM   #23
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Done

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Old 01-29-2014, 10:35 PM   #24
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Maybe. Is that from Ford?
No, haven't seen anything like that from Ford.

It's from an old (2003) manual floating around the internet called "How to Tow Safely" by JD Gallant. And he gives no explanation about how those numbers in the table were arrived at.

Some of his stuff appears dated, but the basics still seem reasonable.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:17 AM   #25
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However, travel trailer campers (not 5th wheel) are usually towed with a weight distribution hitch which minimizes tongue weight of the trailer.
No. You're misinterpreting what a WD hitch does. It does not minimize tongue weight, or change tongue weight in any way. If your TT puts 800 pounds on the ball of the hitch, then your hitch weight is 800 pounds, and the amount of tongue weight on the ball will be 800 pounds, regardless of whether you have a WD or WC hitch.

A WD hitch distributes that tongue weight to the various axles of the rig, but it does not change the tongue weight on the ball of the hitch. With a perfect setup, that 800 pounds hitch weight will be distributed 200 pounds to the front axle of the tow vehicle, 200 pounds to the trailer axles and 400 pounds remaining on the rear axle of the tow vehicle. But that 200 pounds that gets distributed to the trailer axles does not reduce the tongue weight. It distributes it to the trailer axles and off the rear axle of the tow vehicle, but not off the ball of the hitch.

Scale tickets will show what happens to the weight on the axles of the tow vehicle. On mine:

Unloaded F-150: front axle = 3200, rear axle = 2840, GVW = 6040

Loaded with WC hitch: front axle =3040, rear axle =3880, trailer axles = 3480. GVW = 6920

The difference in loaded and unloaded was 650 pounds hitch weight and about 230 pounds of wife and dogs and stuff.

Because of the see-saw effect, the weight on the front axle decreased when weight was added to the ball.

Loaded with WD hitch: front axle 3280, rear axle = 3620, trailer axles = 3620, GVW = 6900

So the WD hitch moved 240 pounds to the front axle, 140 pounds to the trailer axles, and removed 360 pounds from the rear axle, leaving 270 pounds on the rear axle.

The hitch was not final adjusted yet when those scale weights were obtained. Only 41% of the 650 pounds tongue weight on the rear axle, 19 percent on the trailer axles, but 37% on the front axle. So I needed to adjust the hitch to move some weight off the front axle and put it on the trailer axles and the rear axle to get closer to a 25/50/25 percent distribution of tongue weight.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:15 PM   #26
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The hitch was not final adjusted yet when those scale weights were obtained. Only 41% of the 650 pounds tongue weight on the rear axle, 19 percent on the trailer axles, but 37% on the front axle. So I needed to adjust the hitch to move some weight off the front axle and put it on the trailer axles and the rear axle to get closer to a 25/50/25 percent distribution of tongue weight.
How do you achieve these adjustments and determine what adjustment will change the weight on what axle? Is it a result of head angle and ball height?

I am studying up as much as I can because I want to set my own hitch up this time, so any information is good
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:40 PM   #27
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How do you achieve these adjustments and determine what adjustment will change the weight on what axle? Is it a result of head angle and ball height?
Ball height must be such that the trailer is level, front to rear, when hooked up and ready to ride.

Weight distribution percentages are changed by adjusting the angle of the head to the trailer coupler. Trial and error, then weigh it again. And again. And again until you get it right.

If the scale costs $10 and reweighs cost $2, that's an average of $6 per weigh. If it requires 10 passes over the scales to get it right thru trial and error, that's $60 you have invested to set it up right. Not much compared to the overall investment you have in tow vehicle and RV trailer.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:51 PM   #28
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I think what smurfs means is how do you determine how much tension to dial in on the WD hitch. The objective is to return the front axle back to the unloaded ride height. Easiest way to achieve this is by measuring from the ground to the top of the fender well unloaded, then crank down the WD tension to return the front to that measurement when loaded.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:14 PM   #29
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Thanks gents! That's great info! Both posts answered the question actually.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:25 PM   #30
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When I bought my camper, the dealer taught me to do the following:
1. Lower trailer onto ball and lock hitch.
2. Crank the trailer jack back down until the rear of the truck is roughly back up to its normal (unloaded) height.
3. Set the WD chains to an equal number of links on both sides.
4. Crank the jack back up again, lowering the trailer. The truck should sit a few inches lower than than normal height.
5. Once the trailer is lowered again, if the rear of the truck is still too low, or it's too high, crank the trailer jack back down and reset the chain links accordingly.
6. Once you get the WD chains set properly the first time, mark the links with small zip ties (or just count them). This will make it much faster/ easier to hook again by hooking the proper link.
7. Then you can connect your sway bar and set the brake tension. Not too tight. I've had to take an exit off the highway to tighten it a little more if I notice too much trailer sway. **** don't forget to remove the say bar when backing the trailer into a tight spot while turning sharp (aka "jacking the trailer"). If it binds up, you could damage your hitch or the bar.

I've been camping with TTs for years. And pulling trailers for longer. You'll probably have a ton of questions on setting up, leveling, utility/ waste connections. I sure did! Feel free to message me if you with questions. I'll be glad to help you out with whatever advise I can. There's a lot of little things you can bring with you to make life easier. Other camper guys at most campgrounds (if that's your destination) would be ecstatic to help too.
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