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Old 04-05-2011, 08:42 PM
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Weight Distributing Hitch

Ok, a month or so ago I posted a picture of my tow setup and there was some discussion of whether or not I needed a Weight Distributing hitch. http://jeepgarage.org/showthread.php?t=19839

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjw930
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidOxygen View Post
6k pounds and you don't need an equalizer?? Is the load leveling system that good?
I run around 10% tongue weight so in normal configuration it will have about 500lbs on the tongue. The QL can handle that without any issue. In fact, I know people that routinely tow 7000 lbs on the Cayenne's without an equalizer because for the first 4 years of production Porsche said weight distributing hitches were not compatible with the air suspension. Airstream worked with them a few years back to test and show that properly setup they work just fine. I think Porsche was afraid people would not adjust them properly and the air suspension would have trouble staying level. BTW, Continental makes both systems and yes, it can handle 700 additional lbs on the tongue without an issue as long as you don't go up and down a lot or throw another 500 lbs in the back (the compressor get's a tad hot at those pressures).

If I were to go above 500 or 600 lbs I would investigate a height distributing hitch but it tows just fine the way it is and the QL has no trouble keeping it level.
Since then I have acquired a real tongue weight scale and it seems my calculations we a bit off. Fully loaded the trailer comes in around 4800 lbs but the tongue weight is 700 lbs. It's within the 10% - 15% "standards" but about 200 lbs heavier than I had anticipated. There's no way to redistribute the weight because the way things fit but since any additional weight (as in a 3rd bike) will be at or mostly behind the axles the tongue weight won't go up.

On my Cayenne and Touareg VW/Porsche were and for the most part are insistent that weight distributing hitches are not the best thing for a uni-body vehicle and they aren't needed with air ride suspension. Since the architecture of the vehicles are pretty close to the WK2 I think it has merit.

Anyway, talked to the dealer and he doesn't have any guidance from Jeep and the Jeep hotline supposedly gave my request for information to the tech group and they called me back with a dissertation straight from the SAE towing guidelines but couldn't answer the question whether weight distribution and the auto leveling suspension will be at odds with each other. At least they don't say not to use it so I guess it's really up to me. Of course the hitch makers and at least one local dealer say it absolutely necessary for anything over 5000 lbs / 500 lbs tongue weight and one went so far as to say I would a danger to others without it. Ignore the fact that hundreds of Cayenne owners tow their fully loaded race trailers without WD hitches and most rave about the towing.

I have another issue, the design of the trailer makes using one of the low priced, generic WD hitches problematic so the one that would really work properly is around $500.

I haven't done a dry run under full load so I suppose that's my next step. In the mean time I figured I'd throw it out there to see any anyone here has some advice, experience, etc. And of course, we leave on vacation on the 25th so I have less than 20 days to sort this all out.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:20 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

I use a weight-distributing hitch to tow my Fleetwood Evolution E3 with good results. Tongue weight is around 850 lbs with the motorcycles loaded on the front deck of the trailer. I know this is higher than the recommended tongue weight, but it worked out really well with the WD hitch and I could hardly tell the trailer was there.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:31 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

I'm bring my boat home from storage this weekend, I have always used a WDH. I towed with my wife's 2011 Limited and it helped a lot, but I haven't tried it with the QL yet. I'll find out this weekend. All it should do is help put some weight over the front axle. It should balance itself out, we'll see
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:05 AM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

My brother-in-law has a Kubota tractor with loader and backhoe, and he tows them on a deck over trailer with a simple Pintle hitch, and the combined weight of the trailer and tractor is over 10,000 lbs. and the tongue weight is approaching or just over 1,000 lbs. Granted, he tows this with a Ram 3500 pickup truck, but the hitch manufacturers that claim that a weight distributing hitch is "absolutely necessary for anything over 5000 lbs / 500 lbs tongue weight" are full of crap.

My wife's 2008 Liberty specs specifically said that the standard towing capacity was 3500 lbs, and that if you added a weight distributing hitch then it could tow up to 5000 lbs. The Jeep web site says that my 4x4 WK2 Overland with the hemi can tow 7200 lbs. and it doesn't say anything about needing a weight distributing hitch.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:05 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouveau Redneck View Post
The Jeep web site says that my 4x4 WK2 Overland with the hemi can tow 7200 lbs. and it doesn't say anything about needing a weight distributing hitch.
Actually, on page 437 of the owners manual, you know, the one you DON'T get unless you order it or get it online, explicitly states the following.

Quote:
WARNING!
If the gross trailer weight is 3,500 lbs (1 587 kg) or
more, it is mandatory to use a weight-distributing
hitch to ensure stable handling of your vehicle. If
you use a standard weight-carrying hitch, you could
lose control of your vehicle and cause a collision.
I loaded up the truck and trailer to full travel weight this afternoon and took a short 30 mile ride. While it levels fine and tows fairly well I just ordered a Reese SC WD hitch with integrated sway control from eTrailer

While it's not the cheapest or most advanced, it's a very clean design and will work with my V-Nose without me having to drill into the trailer frame. It's also compatible with surge brakes and I do have the occasion to tow a friends 26' boat and weight distribution would be a big plus.

Not cheap, set me back around $550 with the special draw bar to get the drop I need but everyone who has towed with and without says for the longer trips it's money well spent.

I'll report back once it's here, installed and road tested.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg WD_hitch_manual.jpg (57.5 KB, 26 views)
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:14 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjw930 View Post
Actually, on page 437 of the owners manual, you know, the one you DON'T get unless you order it or get it online, explicitly states the following....
From your attachment I noticed it said:
Quote:
NOTE: The GCWR rating includes a 150lbs (68k) allowance for the presense of a driver.
Um, crap ... I haven't seen 150lbs since high-school.
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:23 AM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

Well, I got the WDH installed and after a couple fully loaded test pulls I think I have it adjusted properly.

I first set it up as per the instructions and it seemed like it was over adjusted since it actually lowered the front by ~1/2" while only lowering the rear ~1/2" but I figured I would use that as a baseline. It was obvious after a couple miles it was over adjusted as I went over bumps the rear never sagged and the trailer would pull the rear up as it went over the bump.

I went back to the house and set everything up without the bars to measure front and rear drops and rises. Without any weight distribution the rear dropped 3" and the front raised 1", what you would expect with 700lbs of tongue weight and leveling turned off. I got it dialed in to a 1" rear drop and a 0" front drop or raise, pretty much perfect from all I've read.

Another interesting observation, without the WDH even though everything was level you could visually see the rear tires compressed more than the front. With the WDH that is gone, both the front and rear look to be equally weighted which is borne out in the suspension drop measurements.

Took it for another ride and it's great. The ride is far more comfortable with no front end yaw, no rear sag over bumps and even in 20 - 30mph cross winds it was relatively comfortable though I did have a "moment" when a serious gust of wind (30+mph) hit the trailer broadside AS a semi was passing me but the WK2 handled it well, the trailer didn't oscillate (sway) and aside from a slight up tick in my heart rate everything was fine.

For anyone towing serious weight a good Weight Distributing Hitch with sway control is a very good investment.

(note on the pictures one of them makes it look like the draw bar isn't level, it's an optical illusion due to the camera lens, the draw bar is perfectly level in the receiver.)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg wdh1s.jpg (134.3 KB, 259 views)
File Type: jpg wdh2s.jpg (134.8 KB, 183 views)
File Type: jpg wdh3s.jpg (143.8 KB, 126 views)
File Type: jpg wdh4s.jpg (133.6 KB, 163 views)
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:31 AM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

Thanks MJW. + rep.
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Old 04-17-2011, 04:31 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

Never need to use a "weight dis. hitch" w my trailer and my 3 motorcycle or 2 Skidoo.... maybe because the frame is in ALU...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg trailer1.jpg (339.9 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg trailer2.jpg (243.2 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg trailer3.jpg (283.6 KB, 39 views)
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:29 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

I didn't "need" it but I can tell you the comfort level is 100% better with it rather than without it.

The material the trailer is made from is important only in that it determines the final weight. Placement within the trailer also will determine a lot. If I could have repositioned the bikes in a way that would reduce the tongue weight to around 10% or 500 lbs I probably wouldn't have gone with the WDH but because I'm hauling a Can-Am Spyder and a Victory Cross Country, with a total weight of around 1800 lbs and because the Spyder takes up the room of a small car it had to be pushed all the way forward or go with an even longer trailer. the net result is a tongue weight of 700 lbs (measured) with a total weight of around 4700 lbs. What's nice about my setup is I can add a 3rd bike and pretty much maintain the same tongue weight because it will go directly behind the Spyder.

Chrysler doesn't put this statement in the manual because they needed to take up space, they put it there because it increases the safety and comfort factor. Based on my experience my belief is you ignore their advice at your own peril.

Quote:
WARNING!
If the gross trailer weight is 3,500 lbs (1 587 kg) or
more, it is mandatory to use a weight-distributing
hitch to ensure stable handling of your vehicle. If
you use a standard weight-carrying hitch, you could
lose control of your vehicle and cause a collision.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:34 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjw930 View Post
I'm hauling a Can-Am Spyder
I see commercials for those all the time now. It says "come take your test on a can-am! Im not really into motorcycles, are they new?
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:41 PM
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Re: Weight Disctributing Hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by J13ntv View Post
I see commercials for those all the time now. It says "come take your test on a can-am! Im not really into motorcycles, are they new?
Sort of, they came out in 2008 and were slow to get going but they are catching on a lot. I think they have sold over 20,000 of them. They are great for someone who wants the open air experience of a motorcycle but isn't comfortable or capable riding 2 wheels. They are not motorcycles, it's a completely different ride, kind of like a street legal ATV. My wife absolutely loves hers and I think it's kind of cool but it will never replace 2 wheels for me. OTOH, I know a lot of people, men ans women alike, who have Spyders AND motorcycles and love them both so it's really a matter of personal preference.
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