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Old 05-15-2019, 09:41 AM   #1
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weight distributing hitch vs load carrying hitch

Just a few questions about the WDH and the LCH.
Is a WDH universally required in all travel trailer and tow vehicle situations?
I understand the purpose of a WDH is to transfer some of the hitch weight to the steering axle of the tow vehicle.
Is there a situation where the travel trailer and it's hitch weight is so light that a WDH isn't needed? Is there a situation where the tow vehicle specifications are so capable (for example, diesel, 1 ton, dually) that a WDH isn't required?
If so, who or what decides when a WDH is or isn't required?
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:45 AM   #2
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Many time in the "Owners Manual" of your tow vehicle, it will state at what weight a WDH is required. Popup ? No. 3000lb TT and up...I'd go with Yes.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:11 AM   #3
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As someone that pulled a 2800 lb camper with three different vehicles i'd say it depends on the vehicle.

For my Jeep (Grand Cherokee) and my small pick up (an S-10) it was an absolute must. Night and day difference. When I pulled the same camper with my Denali Yukon XL, it was optional but gave me the confidence to be able to haul without worry.

I still use a WD hitch with my one-ton dually pulling a 7400lb camper..
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TheWolfPaq82 View Post
Many time in the "Owners Manual" of your tow vehicle, it will state at what weight a WDH is required. Popup ? No. 3000lb TT and up...I'd go with Yes.
I just checked my Frontier owners manual and it says, "use of a WDH is recommended when towing over 5000lbs".
Other than complying with manufacturer recommendations in the owners manual, are there towing situations where it's safe to not use a WDH? I often see horse trailers and car trailers being towed without a WDH. Am I correct to assume as TV specifications increase, the need for a WDH decreases?
Why are WDH often seen on travel trailers but not on cargo trailers..weights being equal of course?
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by upflying View Post
I just checked my Frontier owners manual and it says, "use of a WDH is recommended when towing over 5000lbs".

Other than complying with manufacturer recommendations in the owners manual, are there towing situations where it's safe to not use a WDH? I often see horse trailers and car trailers being towed without a WDH. Am I correct to assume as TV specifications increase, the need for a WDH decreases?

Why are WDH often seen on travel trailers but not on cargo trailers..weights being equal of course?
With a Frontier? I'd say it's an absolute must.

Those trailers typically have different weight and frontal area dynamics (not to mention large flat areas).

"Can" and "Should" are two very different things.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:50 AM   #6
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There are a few things to consider so it depends on the vehicle. I have pulled my camper with an F250 without a WDH. The tongue weight was below what the 250 required. That said I did not go far and would prefer the WDH for the sway control.

My F150 hitch sticker and manual both say Tongue weight over 500 requires a WDH. I also pull a larger but lighter work trailer and do not use a WDH with it and it would be similar to maybe an rpod.

My old SUV did not want a WDH (unibody issues maybe) but also could not tow anything heavy.

Travel trailers are typically much heavier than cargo trailers (higher off the ground too) and the loads can be managed better because it is a large empty space and light when unloaded. The wind getting under the trailer pushes it much more than a lower trailer will. Of the trailers I have pulled TTs are heavier by far unloaded. Once loaded this can change significantly and then you see cargo trailers getting WDH added. The heaviest cargo trailer I pulled was a gooseneck and solid steel and heavy. It was a horse trailer so plenty of room and well balanced because the heaviest load moves around.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:55 AM   #7
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IMHO, it is contractors, who are always in a hurry, who forego both the expense and bother of using a WDH. See it all the time around here. Haven't noticed one way or the other with big horse trailers - although the trucks tend to be all heavy duty class pickups or larger.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:13 AM   #8
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Only you can decide.

We picked our camper up 4 hrs away from our house. I listened to everybody and went and bought a WDH beforehand. When we picked the camper up, I couldn't get the hitch shank adjusted right and just ended up going with a normal hitch to tow it home that day and mess with the WDH when I got home. I drove 4 hrs on the freeway in 20 MPH winds and the truck didn't move an inch. The truck towed it like a champ. Even when semi's went past me there was nothing. Maybe our trailer is just balanced well, or the truck is just matched well but it towed great. A couple of weeks later, got the WDH all set up and went for our first camping trip and it really didn't make any difference with the WDH at all. Maybe a little less bouncy while in town going through intersections and what not but on the highway, almost zero difference.

WDH hitches were designed a long time ago for cars and station wagons who didn't have the suspension to help them tow better. So todays SUV's and small trucks probably fall into that category. Most trucks I think could handle a medium size trailer without issue. My trailer is 5000 lbs fully loaded and 21 feet long. Any bigger and I would say it is a requirement to have a WDH.

Hook up your trailer without it and see how it tows. If it sways and is all over the place, you know you would benefit from a WDH. It might tow just fine without it.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:10 PM   #9
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my dually is always hitched to a trailer, either my small 24ft camper or my open deck car hauler.

Part of the reason a lot of car haulers don't use weight distribution is the ability to shift the load on the trailer. open deck car trailers also tend not to have much wind resistance. I have load bars for my car trailer but rarely use them. Usually just when im towing a diesel pickup and cant get the weight far enough back.

When I had a 36ft enclosed 2 car trailer I used WDH but no sway control but it was a HEAVY triaxle trailer.

My camper is light but a wind sail, I use my WDH because It has sway built into it and I like the sway control even with the dually but don't need the weight portion.

Long winded way of saying you need to do what's safe for your trailer and truck. Every setup is different.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upflying View Post
I just checked my Frontier owners manual and it says, "use of a WDH is recommended when towing over 5000lbs".
Other than complying with manufacturer recommendations in the owners manual, are there towing situations where it's safe to not use a WDH? I often see horse trailers and car trailers being towed without a WDH. Am I correct to assume as TV specifications increase, the need for a WDH decreases?
Why are WDH often seen on travel trailers but not on cargo trailers..weights being equal of course?
When I had a half ton pickup I often used a WDH on my box and car trailers. But never for short in my area runs. I still have the same box trailer but rarely haul it long distance fully loaded and I now have a fifth wheel car hauler.

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