Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

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Thread: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

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    Junior Member 1stYoda's Avatar
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    Question Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    A question for the towing experts:

    I have a 2010 Tundra 5.7 with the factory tow package. I am planning on buying a 20' long, dual axle enclosed trailer which I will use to haul my personal belongings nearly cross-country (about 2500 miles). Now, the trailer weighs empty about 3500 lbs and I expect to load it with another 3-4K pounds of household items. I estimate the trailer will come in at under 7500 lbs fully loaded.

    Now to my question, do I absolutely need a weight distributing hitch or can I safely pull this with my factory hitch? The weight distributing hitches I've seen are not cheap and I will likely never use it again as I rarely ever tow. I would rather save the expense if I can. I will of course be driving very cautiously at no more than the posted speed limit or less if the conditions demand it. I will not be out to set any land speed records So what do you guys think?

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    if you were going across town i would say no. but across country you need it for sure. you will hate the ride. its alot of tongue weight on your springs that you dont want to ruin. plus not to mention the safety factor. look for one on craigslist thats used and you could sell it when your done. for a few hundred bucks its well worth your safety and comfort.

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    Junior Member 1stYoda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by crewmax buddy View Post
    if you were going across town i would say no. but across country you need it for sure. you will hate the ride. its alot of tongue weight on your springs that you dont want to ruin. plus not to mention the safety factor. look for one on craigslist thats used and you could sell it when your done. for a few hundred bucks its well worth your safety and comfort.
    Thanks, appreciate your advice. I'm a towing rookie, so not too clear on exactly what a weight distributing hitch does that a regular hitch does not? If I get one, will it replace my factory hitch or is it added to my present hitch?

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    it is a 3 part deal. first is the pieces bolted to the tongue of the trailer. second is the receiver part the slides into your hitch that is on your truck now. and the third part is the bars that connect to your receiver and the bolted pieces on the tongue of the trailer. the bars take weight off the back bumper and tongue of the trailer and distribute some of the weight to the front axle of the truck. it just makes everything ride soooooo much nicer and safer and easier on the truck. you wont regret getting it.

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    Supporter DaveGS4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    Your drive across country will certainly be a lot more comfortable and less-scary with a WDH, especially if you haven't towed much.

    I bought my trailer with the WDH already installed so I don't recall how the part that connects to the trailer is mounted, but you could possibly remove it and resell after your trip (if you don't plan to get rid of the trailer altogether).

    If you're in the Charlotte area you're welcome to check out mine.
    Tow: 2009 Tundra DC SR5 5.7 Mods and Adds: Prodigy, under seat storage, Avic-F90BT Nav w/ HD module, backup camera, TRD 18w/ CrossContact LX e-rated,
    glass break sensor, Homelink Mirror, Hardwired Valentine One w/ Blendmount, TRD rear sway, Valor tip, bed step, G4 tonneau Next: 35% tint, helper springs or bags
    Haul 2008 Continental Cargo Enclosed Car Hauler 22ft V-nose, Reese WDH
    Daily: 2005 Lexus LS430 Ultra-Luxury * PCS * ML * Rear Fridge * Massaging and Reclining Rear Seats * Vaistech SL-I * Coastal Lockpick
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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    WDH for sure, I had an experience towing my trailer with a friends truck with an incorrect setup. Went into a bad sway situation down a steep grade and was probably close to flipping the truck and trailer, thankfully I remembered the manual override on the brake controller and got it under control. No doubt with 7K safety is a factor, get the correct WDH and put your mind at rest.
    2010 DC 5.7 4X4 TRD Slate Metallic
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    2010 Aprilia RSV4 Street
    2008 Weekend Warrior SX18 Toy Hauler
    2012 Kawasaki KX450F

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    Most WDH use clamps to attach the brackets for the bars to the trailer, so no permanent modification to the trailer is necessary. It is something you can use then try to sell after the trip. Nothing modifies your existing hitch on your truck or your setup on your trailer. I wouldn't tow anything of that weight without one anywhere. I've towed with at least 4 different vehicles in the past 5 years, not a veteran, but not a noob either. A few hundred bucks for safety of whatever or more importantly whoever is going on the trip with you is a drop in the bucket. I tow my 28ft RV several times a year about 1K miles or so. You can go without sway control "probably" with a 20ft trailer so there are some savings there "maybe". P.S. your gonna need/want electric brakes on that trailer, I wouldn't think it would have surge brakes so a brake controller is in order too. Sorry to add to the cost factor.

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    My $.02 is buy a WD hitch. Not only for the safety factor but a comfort factor as well. Towing a 20 ft enclosed trailer can be pretty hairy in high winds empty or loaded. If you won't need it again sell it craigslist when you are done. The small difference between what you pay and sell it for is minimal compared to your comfort and safety on a long haul.

    All that said I tow a 27 ft travel trailer that weighs about 6500# when loaded. The difference with and without a WD hitch is very noticeable even on short trips.

    Good luck and drive safe.
    2008 Tundra DC SR5 4x4 5.7 TRD

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    Thanks guys for all the advice. Looks like getting a WDH setup is really a must for my size trailer. I definitely want to be safe. I've been doing some searching and it looks like I can get a WDH with sway control for under $300. I found this one on eBay:

    Curt Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch & Sway Control - eBay (item 300460899704 end time Feb-24-11 08:05:32 PST)

    Does that look like a good setup for the money? Any reason not to get it? Thanks again, I really appreciate everyone's advice.

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    not sure about the mount for the sway control. I do not use this type of sway control so I cant pipe in, but someone can. You might have to drill and bolt a plate to your trailer for that to mount but I'm not sure. The price looks good and a 1000lb tongue weight should be ok since tongue weight should be 10-15% of your total trailer weight (around 7500lb according to you). Maybe call curtis manufacturing or hit their website to double check all the info.

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    Junior Member 1stYoda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyb76 View Post
    not sure about the mount for the sway control. I do not use this type of sway control so I cant pipe in, but someone can. You might have to drill and bolt a plate to your trailer for that to mount but I'm not sure. The price looks good and a 1000lb tongue weight should be ok since tongue weight should be 10-15% of your total trailer weight (around 7500lb according to you). Maybe call curtis manufacturing or hit their website to double check all the info.
    Thanks for mentioning that. I want to avoid drilling or other permanent installs since I'll be selling the trailer when I arrive at my destination. I'll ask the seller about it or contact Curt as you suggested.

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    Don't forget you can also just sell the hitch along with the trailer.

    My trailer already had one installed and came with the hitch... having it already there was one of the features that made me buy it.
    Tow: 2009 Tundra DC SR5 5.7 Mods and Adds: Prodigy, under seat storage, Avic-F90BT Nav w/ HD module, backup camera, TRD 18w/ CrossContact LX e-rated,
    glass break sensor, Homelink Mirror, Hardwired Valentine One w/ Blendmount, TRD rear sway, Valor tip, bed step, G4 tonneau Next: 35% tint, helper springs or bags
    Haul 2008 Continental Cargo Enclosed Car Hauler 22ft V-nose, Reese WDH
    Daily: 2005 Lexus LS430 Ultra-Luxury * PCS * ML * Rear Fridge * Massaging and Reclining Rear Seats * Vaistech SL-I * Coastal Lockpick
    Track: 1998 BMW E36 M3/4 track car (wife's)
    Float: Sea Ray 240 Sundeck

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    Take a look at the Equal-i-zer hitch. WD and sway built in. You can find it for about $400 and its a very popular hitch among the TT crowd for good reasons - its very effective. RVWholesalers sells it with free shipping. I don't know anything about that curt hitch.

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    I once towed a 28ft camper that weighed around 5500lbs around 300 miles without the WDH connected. Did fine except when I crossed a couple bridges on the interstate with some high winds, made it wag a little and I had to slow down.

    Equalizers are pieces of junk. My L bracket broke on me last summer and the lifetime warranty doesn't mean ****. Progress Manufacturing totally screwed me while I was on vacation. They are only popular because they are one of the cheapest which is reflected in the build quality and the customer service you will receive if you have a problem. Get a Reese...costs more, but holds its value better and you'll be able to resale it very easy for almost as much as you paid.

    2008 Blue Streak Metallic Double Cab 4x4 Limited 5.7L
    2009 Outback 310BHS Sydney Edition 10,060lbs 35'10"
    Prodigy, Retrax, Equal-i-zer, Load Lifter 5000

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    Default Re: Is a weight distributing hitch absolutely necessary?

    I'm definitely ordering the WDH for the truck before my trip; I'll probably go with a Reese with built in sway control. I'm still a bit confused about one thing: air bags used in conjunction with a WDH.

    Can you use air bags with a WDH or is it redundant and not needed? My tongue weight I estimate will be 800-1000 lbs. I have Firestone air bags that I've not installed, just wondering if I should even bother with them. If I do use both, how does that affect the setup of the WDH? Should the bags be at minimum pressure when setting up the WDH or something else? Thanks guys.

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