Weight distributing hitches

Discussion in 'Towing & Trailer Tech' started by Crawdaddy, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    So I'm in the market for a new weight distributing hitch with sway control built in for my camper. I have a weight distributing setup right now, but I don't know what tongue weight it's rated for and it doesn't have sway control. I have no idea if I'm overweight on the hitch or not, and it's borrowed, so I want to get my own. The camper weighs in at 10K pounds, though I'm not sure what the tongue weight is. Anyone have a tongue scale they'd be willing to let me borrow to determine my tongue weight then return? Would a local camper dealer have a tongue scale? Also, what weight distributing setup should I go with? It seems that the integrated sway system is more of a defining attribute of a WD setup than the actual WD part of the hitch.

    CKNSLS Rockstar 100 Posts

    If your towing that with your Suburban that is WAY TOO MUCH TRAILER for that vehicle. FYI. You will be over your GVWR even before you put your family in it. You may have a 3/4 ton powertrain but everything else is 1/2 ton (Frame, brakes, etc.).
  3. Jaele

    Jaele Rockstar 100 Posts

    ^^ I agree with [MENTION=51062]CKNSLS[/MENTION] about that...

    With that aside I use a Husky system


    Its a 2-5/16 ball and its good for 800-1200lbs tongue weight, it you have the trailer info you should be able to look it up. There should also be a sticker if its a travel trailer.
  4. steved

    steved Former Member

    Most times tongue weight (on a camper) is around 10% of the total trailer, so figure around 800 to 1k pounds would be a good estimate...and then depending on how you load.

    There is a method to use a bathroom scale and a board as a lever. The board acts as a lever, to ensure you don't overload the scale, and its an easy calculation to get the weight from at home.
  5. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    As for being out of the weight class for the Suburban, I'm not terribly worried. The frame is still the 1/2 ton frame, but the brake system, axles, and everything else below the springs is 1-ton. The factory-installed hitch also specifies a 10K max weight with a weight distributing hitch setup. Why the factory would put a hitch that the truck couldn't handle doesn't make a lot of sense. I also have a bunch of documentation saying that the truck can handle this weight with the only difference being me not having the 7.4L engine. Exacting documentation between the 1/2 and 3/4 ton trucks is little to none. I have the original sales literature, restoration packet from GM, and the factory GM service manual and none of them can give a clear, straight answer.

    I'm also figuring the tongue weight to be in the 1000-1200 pound range. It can vary wildly with how the trailer is loaded and the Eagles seem to be a little tongue-heavy. I'll have to look for the bathroom scale method. I'm having a hard time justifying $125 for a tongue scale I might use once in a blue moon to verify my tongue weight. According to my scale tickets from the last trip I took with the camper, I need to transfer more weight to the front axle of the truck, but I think I was running out of links on the bars, so that's also why I am looking for a new and heavier WD platform.

    CKNSLS Rockstar 100 Posts

    It doesn't matter what documentation you have. The only documentation that matters is that little yellow sticker inside your driver's door jamb that states the GVWR from the manufacturer. There is nothing you can do (inc. the mods you already made) that will increase the GVWR that the manufacturer has stated the vehicle can handle when it left the factory. You don't need to be worried-unless you have an "at fault" accident towing that 10,000 pound beast with a vehicle that was never rated to towing that much, then a lawyer will have a field day and your life will change forever.

    None of us can figure out how manufacturers arrive at tow ratings between different models. Now, there is an industry standard that is being adopted for new trucks that will make this clearer.

    So tongue weight is 10-15% of the weight of the trailer. Then add a full tank of fuel, then add passengers, (GVWR is figured only with a single driver) then add your ice chests, then your luggage. Then add the EXTRA WEIGHT of the mods you have already done. Take a look at that yellow sticker again.

    The above post isn't meant to be derogatory - just what possibly your putting yourself at risk for.
  7. Marcus A.

    Marcus A. Rockstar

    I'm staying out of the weight conversation. I tow an ultralite 30' TT 6000lb max with a Reese Straight Line weight dist. anti sway. Very nice set up. My best friend likes his Equilizer weight/anti sway set up. Both very good. I think the Reese is a little more but the design is a little more too. It helps to keep truck/trailer in a straight line by way of a cam on the bars. Works good I think.
  8. dbflyrod

    dbflyrod New Member

    Go to a truck scale. Most travel centers have them. Like Loves or Diamond J. They will charge you 10 bucks. They have 2 scales in a row so you park your truck on one and the trailer on the other, hooked up that is and get a weight from the guys at the desk. Then take your trailer to the lot and unhook. Go back and weigh just your truck. Do the math: Your truck loaded with the trailer minus your truck alone = tongue weight. Your trailer axle weight plus the tongue weight = total trailer weight. Be sure to record the amount of fuel and other stuff in the truck so you have a good idea at any time what your truck weight is. Do the same for your trailer and you will know at a glance about what your trailer is weighing.
  9. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I went to my local landfill where they charge by weight and not load and they weighed my truck for free empty :)
  10. CKNSLS

    CKNSLS Rockstar 100 Posts

    You need to weigh your truck prepared to camp. That includes family, bikes, firewood, ice chest, easy ups, whatever. THis is where PAYLOAD comes in to effect.

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