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Old 08-30-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
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Hitch weight concerns

Hi all,

I hope that you guys can help us make a decision.

We have put a deposit on a Roo 21RS, which we love and think will be great. However here is the problem (and I am sure that you will have heard similar stories before)

We have a 2009 Pathfinder with a tow capacity of 6000lb, the Roo actual sticker weight is 4029lb (Dry weight is 3659lb) so assuming 309 lb for a full tank of water and 200lb of other gear, 50lb in the water heater, 40lb of propane and 20lb of batteries this takes me to 4648lb or there abouts leaving me 1352lb of spare towing capacity (22% spare capacity - 20% is a rough guide that I have read many times on this forum)

Now my issue is with the tongue weight - the Pathfinder has a max tongue weight of 600lb, and there is no mention if this is with a weight distributing hitch or not. The Roo 21RS has a listed dry tongue weight of 594lb which is very close to the hitch rating. I am deeply confused about the function of the weight distributing hitch. The dealer seems extremely genuine and says not to worry, the WD hitch will spread the load and about 30% will go back to the TT.

Now using the hitch weight ratio of 16% (dry hitch weight / dry axle weight) and including the additional weight that we think we will be adding, this would take the hitch weight to 744lb, subtract the 30% and we would have a hitch weight of 520lb and all is good. OR assume a 12% hitch to axle ration and no impact of the WD hitch and the hitch load goes to 558lb. I have also read that 12% is a good rule of thumb to use.

So the bottom line is - how can I determine if this combination of TV and TT will work ? There is so much information out there most of it conflicting.

Many thanks in advance
Andy
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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Well, I'm not too sure you're going to be satisfied with the way the Pathfinder pulls that TT, but it is within your weight limits anyway (if all weights are on). As far as your hitch weight, it sounds like that is the rating for the stock hitch. With weight distribution, you should be able to handle more. HOwever, I know very little about the Pathfinder, so I would highly recommend you contact your dealer, or specifically the service or parts department. If you don't get a satisfactory answer there, you might want to find a Pathfinder forum.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:15 PM   #3
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Weight dist is what it sounds like. You are using a lever to transfer weight to the front wheels. Generally speaking, WD hitches will get you a higher tongue weight rating. I can't possibly know what your setup would be but it should be stamped on your class three hitch.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:45 AM   #4
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Since your Pathfinder is rated for 6000 lb. towing capacity, that 600 lb. tongue weight is probably the weight distributing figure. With something as recent as a 2009 model, there should be a sticker on the hitch that states the maximum weights, both weight carrying and weight distributing weights. You might have get under the Pathfinder and do some crawling around with a flashlight.

That Roo does seem to have a very heavy hitch weight @ 16%. Usually a 12-14% hitch weight does good. I would think it would be hard to load that Roo to get the hitch weight down in that range.

You are wise to be checking all of this out before the purchase.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:22 PM   #5
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Just a thought why are you carring WATER when you are so close to the weight limits. I would fill your tank if you have to once you get to your campsite. Save weight anywhere you can.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:36 PM   #6
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I have included water in the calc, more as a little extra fat in the calculation. You are correct I don't intend to transport water anywhere.

Mtnguy - I think I follow your comment, we would try to load the trailer such that some of the weight came of the hitch. Best way I think is to weight the hitch weight and then try to find the optimum loading to hit the 12 to 14% that you suggest.

The big issue with all this is that you can do all the analysis and calculations, but in reality you either have to have a very large margin on the tow capacities to be 100% sure, or just take a risk and buy the TT, load it and take it to some scales.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:12 PM   #7
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If the problem is that the hitch will only handle 600# can you just upgrade to a better hitch?
Another thing to look at is the payload capacity of your truck. Lets say you have a 1,000# payload capacity. If you have 600# on the hitch, 2 adults at 100# each, 2 kids at 50# each you only have 100# left for cargo and Fido.
I believe a weight distribution hitch will only transfer some of the weight from the rear axel to the front but will not transfer weight back to the trailer.
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backin15 View Post
If the problem is that the hitch will only handle 600# can you just upgrade to a better hitch?
Another thing to look at is the payload capacity of your truck. Lets say you have a 1,000# payload capacity. If you have 600# on the hitch, 2 adults at 100# each, 2 kids at 50# each you only have 100# left for cargo and Fido.
I believe a weight distribution hitch will only transfer some of the weight from the rear axel to the front but will not transfer weight back to the trailer.
If all other weights are within range, then upgrading the hitch is a good possibility for the heavy tongue. I am not familiar with a Pathfinder and what kinda of frame it has. Tightened up the bars on a WDH with a tongue over 600 lbs. could stress the frame. Others familiar with Pathfinders please chime in.

A WDH will transfer some of the weight back to the trailer axles, but not a lot. In my case with a 700 lb. tongue weight, I transfer 140 lbs back to the trailer axle when the WDH is used.
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