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Old 01-06-2020, 04:02 AM   #1
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Weight Distribution Hitch - Flagstaff 176ED

Hi Everyone,

I've got a Flagstaff 176ED that I tow with either my '91 Jeep Grand Wagoneer or my '98 Jeep Cherokee.

Both of those vehicles sag quite badly at the rear when the trailer is hooked up. The Wagoneer sags badly enough that the dolly wheel will sometimes scrape on gradient changes and bumps.

I've been thinking about getting a weight distribution hitch to help with this.


The trouble is that all the hitches I've seen have ~30" spring bars, which brings them right in line with where the battery and winch are located.

Is anybody on here using a weight distribution hitch and if so, how have you got it to work?
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:23 AM   #2
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there are companies that make chain snap ups that only go on the side of the frame, I use them on my car trailer because the hydraulic box was in the way of the top. mine are blue ox brand.
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:30 AM   #3
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I used to pull my old pop-up with a Jeep Grand Cherokee and had to make some modifications to the trailer to get the WD Hitch to work.

For me, it wasn't the winch that was in the way it was the battery and the propane tanks. What I did was have a welding/fabrication shop relocate the battery to the rear tucked inside the bumper under the license plate he basically used a piece of steel to form a shelf that the battery box sat on. For the propane bottles, he removed some of the metal up in the "V" of the frame so that the WD bars could be mounted and then fabricated a new shelf that the propane bottles could mount to that was a few inches above the surface where the old ones were so that the bars had enough room to move and not interfere with anything.

Look around some.. not sure which hitch you're wanting to use but I found that mounting a trunnion-style hitch that uses built-in sway control to be the best. Reese doesn't make the hitch I had anymore. The closest to that would probably be something like the Fastway E2 or the Equal-i-zer P4.
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:37 AM   #4
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Isnít that a lightweight pop up?

Either vehicle should handle it rather easily. Tongue should be #250.

As both vehicles are over 20 years old I sort of wonder if the shocks and springs are original?

Springs are relatively cheap! Is the vehicle severely overloaded? #500 in the truck rear is too much.
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cost4133 View Post
there are companies that make chain snap ups that only go on the side of the frame, I use them on my car trailer because the hydraulic box was in the way of the top. mine are blue ox brand.
That sounds like it might be a good solution. I'd seen similar elsewhere - are they just as easy to use?
My understanding was that they were a little harder to set up as there's no lever to tighten the chain. Is that correct?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 007matman View Post
Look around some.. not sure which hitch you're wanting to use but I found that mounting a trunnion-style hitch that uses built-in sway control to be the best. Reese doesn't make the hitch I had anymore. The closest to that would probably be something like the Fastway E2 or the Equal-i-zer P4.
Thank you for the advice. The work you described sounds like a fair bit more than I'd been hoping for!
The hitch I've been looking at is a Husky Sway Control which is a round bar setup. I'm in the UK so these things are hard to find (for a reasonable price) at all.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkatb View Post
Isnít that a lightweight pop up?

Either vehicle should handle it rather easily. Tongue should be #250.

As both vehicles are over 20 years old I sort of wonder if the shocks and springs are original?

Springs are relatively cheap! Is the vehicle severely overloaded? #500 in the truck rear is too much.
This is something I'd wondered about. Both vehicles sit roughly normally without a trailer. The Wagoneer sags easily but rides nicely with a trailer as it has heavy duty shocks.
The springs on the Cherokee don't sag as badly but the shocks seem a bit too light duty for it.

The trouble is that we ultimately have four vehicles that I plan on using for towing at different times. If I could get rid of sag with a weight distribution hitch it'd be helpful.



I'm also keen to make a quick decision as to whether or not I need a WD hitch as one has come up for sale locally, which doesn't happen very often at all in the UK!
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Old 01-06-2020, 02:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brynjaminjones View Post
That sounds like it might be a good solution. I'd seen similar elsewhere - are they just as easy to use?
My understanding was that they were a little harder to set up as there's no lever to tighten the chain. Is that correct?
my blue ox ones do have a lever, and they rotate to tighten the chain.
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Old 01-06-2020, 02:55 PM   #7
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One of the challenges is going to be 4 different tow vehicles.

WD hitches are typically set up specific to the vehicle. Different hitch ball heights will be a challenge.
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:39 PM   #8
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Look at an Andersen hitch if you need weight distribution. I'd guess the trailer brackets don't go back as far as the bar type hitches.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:30 AM   #9
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Weight distribution is definitely a big help with soft rear suspension vehicles. I found a WDH critical towing an A-frame pop-up with my minivan (Hyundai Entourage/Kia Sedona). I use an E2 600/6000 to restore my minivan ride to normal while towing.

As was pointed out, WDH has to be re-adjusted when you switch vehicles. Pick one, fit it with a WDH, and use it as your primary tow vehicle. You will be much happier.

Fred W
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2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:19 AM   #10
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Thank you again for the helpful replies everyone.

I've looked into the Blue Ox side-mount chain snaps and I think they'll do exactly what I need.

I'm limited as to what WD hitch I can buy as they're not really available at all in this country. The one I'm looking at is used.


I've taken the point from you all on using just one tow vehicle. Ultimately that is what I'd like to do, it's just that there might be rare occasions that I have to used a different vehicle.

I'm planning to set it up for the Wagoneer and simply accept that I'll have to do some work if I want to switch vehicles!

Thanks again for all the advice. You've helped me find the solution so I think I'm going to go ahead with this. I'll let you know how I get on!
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:04 AM   #11
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That popup is 2300 lbs GVWR.
There are lightweight WDH kits available, including the Reese 350-mini. When I was in the popup community, this was a popular option, which includes integrated sway control.


I had a 3000 lbs loaded popup, with TW at 375lbs, so I used the Reese Single Bar 400, plus a friction sway controller. I had to relocate my battery, which was not a big deal, using a drill and self-tapping bolts. If things need to be moved, and you don't feel comfortable doing it, take it to a Hitch shop. They do all that stuff.
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