Camper Trailer Weight Distribution Hitch

A weight distribution hitch is a type of hitch attachment that slides into the receiver of the tow vehicle to redistribute the weight on the tongue across all of the axles. A weight distribution hitch adds spring bars on each side of the hitch system that are used to apply leverage between the tow vehicle and the trailer allowing the tow vehicle and trailer to ride level in proportion to the road surface which helps the the tow vehicle to operate more safely.

The purpose of weight distribution. Trailer weight distribution redistributes the weight of the trailer that is sitting on the rear of the vehicle to all of the axles of the tow vehicle and trailer. The redistribution improves vehicle stability while towing and helps to reduce the amount of sway of the trailer. With the weight from the trailer distributed between all of the axles, the vehicles are leveled off and driving performance is improved. A weight distribution system should be used anytime the trailer weighs more than 50 percent of the tow vehicle’s weight.

The components of a weight-distribution hitch are:

· Hitch Receiver
· Ball Mount
· Spring Bar Assembly
· Sway Control

Weight Distributing Operation Adjusting your weight distribution systems is relatively easy. The snap-up brackets allow the spring bar tension to be adjusted by changing the links in the support chains. This makes is possible to adjust for different trailer tongue weight so long as they are within the range that the spring bars are allowed. This is done by applying tension on the spring bars until the tow vehicle is level with the trailer so that trailer tongue weight is distributed between all of the axles of both the trailer and tow vehicle. By doing so, you will have greater control of the tow vehicle’s steering and brakes, create less stress on the tow vehicle and get greatly improved fuel mileage.

Weight Distributing Hitch Size. A weight distribution trailer hitch will have two weight ratings: GTW – Gross Trailer Weight and TW – Tongue Weight.

GTW refers to amount weight of a fully loaded trailer including water, food, bikes and whatever you normally take with you on a camping trip.

TW for trailers with weight distribution refers to the trailer tongue weight plus the amount of weight in the tow vehicle that is behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle.

When choosing a weight distribution hitch, make sure that the GTW (gross trailer weight) capacity of the weight distribution system is equal to but preferably exceeds the loaded weight of the camper trailer. The TW rating listed on weight distributing hitches refers to trailer tongue weight plus the additional weight of the vehicle’s cargo behind the tow vehicle’s rear axle. It is extremely important to make sure that you choose a weight distribution system that will work closely with the amount of weight that you will be towing.

You don’t want a weight distribution system that is rated to tow 1,000 lbs. when you will only be towing 600 lbs. Towing is likely to be inconsistent. Likewise, you don’t want a weight distribution system that is rated to tow 600lbs. when you will be towing 1,000lbs as the system will probably prove to be ineffective.

Trailer Sway When a trailer sways behind the tow vehicle, this can be a very scary moment. There are several factors that contribute to trailer sway:

· Tire Inflation – Be sure that your tow vehicle and trailer tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires will cause the trailer to pull to one side and possibly go into an out-of-control swaying situation.

· Towing Speeds – Your towing speed is critical. Most trailer tires are rated for a speed of up to 55MPH. It is much easier to control your trailer is you are doing a slower rate of speed.

· Hitch Weight – DO NOT tow more hitch weight than what your vehicle is rated. Your vehicle tow rating is there for the purpose of protecting you. Studies have been done to come up with these rating for being able to safely tow and stop your vehicle. If you tow more than you are rated for, you may have a hard time stopping or controlling your trail if an emergency situation arises.

· Suspension – Your suspension is only rated for a certain weight. Read your manufactures guidelines to be sure that you stay in your weight range.

· Trailer Design – The design of each trailer is different. One of the biggest designs of a trailer that will affect how it tows is the axles. Some trailers have one or two axles. When you have a choice, the 2 axle option is the best.

Sway Control Sway Control uses friction to resist the movement of the trailer. It works by tightening the coupling area between the trailer and tow vehicle. It doesn’t prevent initiation of the sway but it does help to control it if it starts to happen. All in all, trailer weight distribution will help to increase towing capacity, save on fuel, work with the braking system of the tow vehicle and make for a smoother and safer ride.

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES
Trailer Hitch Classes

Trailer Weight

Trailer Tongue Weight

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