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Old 02-22-2014, 08:15 AM   #1
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Understanding WDHs

I went to the scales the other day to get a better understanding of my truck and trailer weights and what effect the weight distribution hitch (WDH) had on everything. I did 4 weighs: truck and trailer with WDH hooked up, truck and trailer WDH chains NOT hooked up, trailer without truck and truck without trailer.

The tongue weighed 1,260 lbs. (measured with only the trailer tongue on the scale). Extras add up quick from the 895 advertised weight.

I hooked the trailer up to the truck without the WDH and the increase to rear drive axel was 1,740 lbs. I was surprised to see the 1,260 tongue add 1,740 pounds to the truck. I still do not completely understand this.

When I added the WDH, the increase was only 1,240 lbs. The WDH moved 540 pounds from the rear axle and left a hitch weight of 1,240. The WDH really do what they are supposed to.

I believe that when I put the 900 pound motorcycle and stuff in the back of the trailer I should be within the 1,150 pound hitch weight or very close. I am still trying to over analyze all this information.

The other interesting thing I got from all this is my truck and trailer weight exactly the same at 5,960 according to the weigh tickets.

4 weighs at the scale: $16.
Days of tying my mind in knots trying to understand all this: Priceless
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:10 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mark S View Post
I went to the scales the other day to get a better understanding of my truck and trailer weights and what effect the weight distribution hitch (WDH) had on everything. I did 4 weighs: truck and trailer with WDH hooked up, truck and trailer WDH chains NOT hooked up, trailer without truck and truck without trailer.

The tongue weighed 1,260 lbs. (measured with only the trailer tongue on the scale). Extras add up quick from the 895 advertised weight.

I hooked the trailer up to the truck without the WDH and the increase to rear drive axel was 1,740 lbs. I was surprised to see the 1,260 tongue add 1,740 pounds to the truck. I still do not completely understand this.

When I added the WDH, the increase was only 1,240 lbs. The WDH moved 540 pounds from the rear axle and left a hitch weight of 1,240. The WDH really do what they are supposed to.

I believe that when I put the 900 pound motorcycle and stuff in the back of the trailer I should be within the 1,150 pound hitch weight or very close. I am still trying to over analyze all this information.

The other interesting thing I got from all this is my truck and trailer weight exactly the same at 5,960 according to the weigh tickets.

4 weighs at the scale: $16.
Days of tying my mind in knots trying to understand all this: Priceless
Good for you for taking the time to get you rig weighed. Very few folks do. FWIW, I've been down this road a few times myself.

The following are only my opinions and my way of doing things and should only be taken as such. Just a little disclaimer to let you know I'm not an expert on the matter.

If you had placed that 1,260 lbs. of tonque weight directly over the rear axle (like a fifth-wheel), then the rear axle weight would have increased nearly the same amount. However, with a bumper-pull the 1,260 lbs. is placed 4 or 5 feet behind the rear axle which ends up acting like the leverage of a long wrench or bar--which explains how the 1,260 lbs. of tonque weight increased to 1,740 lb. of downward force on the rear axle of your truck. 480 lbs. of weight on the front axle was "transferred" from the front of the truck to the rear axle. So, you were still left with 1,260 lbs. of total weight being placed on your truck as a whole. Hope this makes sense.

When you mounted and adjusted your WDH, 500 lbs. of the 1,740 lbs. you previously measured on the rear axle was redistributed over the front axle of your truck, and the remaining 1,240 lbs. over the rear axle.

You didn't mention if you did or not, but I record the individual front and rear axle weights of my truck (empty, full tank of gas with driver on-board) as a baseline. I then subtract the total weight of my truck (add front and rear axle weights together) from the GVWR rating on the door jam of my truck to find out the true, realworld payload capacity of my truck. I do the same for my toy hauler, too.

I then measure the front and rear axles of my truck and toy hauler, vacation ready, with toys/gear loaded in TT, truck bed loaded, and WDH installed. I verify that I haven't exceeded 1) the manufacturers gross axle weight ratings for either the front or rear axle of my truck, 2) the overall payload capacity of my truck, and 3) the gross axle weight ratings of my toy hauler. When I compare the various axle measurements (empty vs. loaded) of the truck and toy hauler, it clearly shows the various dynamics at play--exactly how and where ALL the weight of my ENTIRE rig is being distributed.

Lastly, I would recommend loading EVERYTHING possible as far behind the axles of your 18EC as possible. Also, consider traveling with your water tanks empty to reduce your tonque weight as well. Careful loading will give you the opportunity to reduce stress (weight) on your truck as much as possible. Let the toy hauler do its fair-share. FWIW, since your 18EC weighs 5960 lbs. (empty, right??) the optimum tongue weight under these conditions should be 596 to 894 lbs. (10-15% of gross trailer weight). Of course, with it loaded, your 18Ec will probably weight closer to 8,000 lbs. In that case, your optimum tongue weight should be 800-1200 lbs.

Hope this helps.

Happy Trails!
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:07 PM   #3
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Wow, that definitely helps. But I am not sure I believe the part about you not being an expert

Your explanation about the leveraged weight on the axle makes sense. I think what I got from this exercise is that my truck can properly handle the load. I thought I knew this from previous trips, but now I have all the numbers and more confidence. I am impressed with how well the WDH does it's job. I will weigh again when fully loaded.

Thank you for your very helpful input.

Mark
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