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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 Tundra V8 Access Cab with towing package. I need help deciding whether to replace the leaking airbags or install a weight distribution hitch (WDH). I have a 25ft travel trailer that is 4200 dry weight. I have an add a leaf and the Air Lift 59530 Ride Control airbag system. Both bags are leaking. Without the help of the air bags my back end sags badly. I have read that a WDH system is preferred over airbags. What WDH system should I install? If I install a WDH do I have to remove the airbags? Also seems some WDH systems don't allow backing up? I really appreciate some help making the decision? Thank you!
 

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I have a 2003 Tundra V8 Access Cab with towing package. I need help deciding whether to replace the leaking airbags or install a weight distribution hitch (WDH). I have a 25ft travel trailer that is 4200 dry weight. I have an add a leaf and the Air Lift 59530 Ride Control airbag system. Both bags are leaking. Without the help of the air bags my back end sags badly. I have read that a WDH system is preferred over airbags. What WDH system should I install? If I install a WDH do I have to remove the airbags? Also seems some WDH systems don't allow backing up? I really appreciate some help making the decision? Thank you!


A weight distributing hitch is one of the best things you can do if you tow a heavy trailer. You can use a WDH with air bags no problem. It will just make it where you can keep your truck factory (or close to) ride height with a trailer. The main problem that a WDH fixes that can’t be fixed with any other bumper pull trailer method is this: you put the weight of the trailer on the hitch which is behind the rear axle. Not only does it sag the rear end of your truck, it uses your rear axle as a pivoting point and reduces weight on the front axle (I know, these trucks are IFS not solid front axle, but it’s just for easy reference) a WDH helps put some of that weight back on the front axle which helps with handling. It’s a good system all around to use. I love my air bags, but I don’t pull trailers that heavy often enough to need a WDH. Ideally, to get the best trailer towing experience (in my opinion) is to have air bags and a WDH. You can keep the truck riding level and have the benefits of a WDH and if you have those two, you shouldn’t even need an add a leaf. As far as a WDH that you can’t reverse with, I’ve never heard of such a thing. As long as you don’t turn the trailer too sharp you shouldn’t have an issue.


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Discussion Starter #3
I really appreciate the info! Not sure about what WDH brands are good? Also thinking about getting system with sway control. Sway hasn't been a problem but seems like a good idea.
 

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I don’t have suggestions on brands. I used a WDH at my last job pulling a 30 ft enclosed with a Ford 3/4 ton diesel. The WDH really helped that truck even. And yeah, especially on half tons sway control wouldn’t be a bad Idea. Our trucks weight less than a 3/4 or 1 ton diesel so swaying is more of an issue for us.


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I use the Reese Strait-Line WDH rated for 1,000# tongue weight and 10,000# trailer with my ‘06 Double Cab. My 23’ trailer weights 4,400# empty.

What I learned is any trailer over 25’ long should use a WDH with sway control, matched to the trailer weight & length. My hitch is a bit overrated however the next one down was too light.

It goes down the road very nice; smooth, solid, and not bothered very much at all by wind and passing semis. There is some noise while turning as the WD arms move in and out of the cams but you get used to it as normal. My truck now sits level with the hitch chain links properly adjusted. And finally, it does not require removing the friction bar while backing up & turning as with the other brand’s design.

What I didn’t like was the use of rivnuts into the trailer frame that secure the sway rods. My experience with rivnuts is mixed however after 5 trips so far so good!

It wasn’t the cheapest hitch out there however given the liability of towing so much weight on public roads I wanted the safest solution.

In closing, Reese’s claim to fame is that their Strait Line design prevents sway from ever happening verses other brands that attempt to calm sway after it starts.
 

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Recommend to get a WDH and toss the leaking airbags. When properly installed, the WD will transfer the weight on your hitch ball to the front axle of Tow Vehicle and also the Trailer axle.
This effectively levels out the entire hitched unit. Reducing sway in the process. I use Reese StediFlex with 1000 lb bars for my 25' trailer, and a Reese Hitch ball rated for 10,000 lbs. Other quality WDH are the Equalizer and the Blue Ox. Get the WDH today and tow more safely. Remember installation is critical for WDH performance, so take your time or get an expert to do the install. They will dial the entire WDH system in correctly.

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before you toss your bags how bad are they leaking? Is it air loss in an hour, a day, or a month? When I installed my Firestone air bags about 13 years ago I wondered how the press on fittings would last and where would the system start loosing air? I can't believe the bags are leaking and wonder if 30 minutes reattaching the air lines and renewing the teflon tape at the attachment points might stop the loss. I have also thought that if mine ever started leaking what would happen if you put some of the bike tire slime inside the system. it isn't like it is a high pressure system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I appreciate all the replies! My airbags lose the air pretty quickly. Aired up to 90 and towing I'd say they last about 30 minutes. But I haven't identified where the leak(s) is. I assumed it's the bags since they are about 11 years old. I need to locate the source of the leak before moving forward. Thanks again!
 

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I have the same truck. I installed my bags eight years ago. I recently pulled a 20' travel trailer down to Baja with the WDH and an electronic brake thingy. Never once was I worried about the trailer. Our trips south are 9 hours, usually with the entire bed loaded up to the top of the SnugTop and we never have an issue. I run mine at 60-ish. If you run at 90 where do they settle and after how many hours? One other thing is I leave mine at 10 when I get home, then the truck sits for 3 months at a time. When I refill they are mostly empty yet they do their thing for 9 hours when I need them.

YMMV.
 

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I have a 2003 Tundra V8 Access Cab with towing package. I need help deciding whether to replace the leaking airbags or install a weight distribution hitch (WDH). I have a 25ft travel trailer that is 4200 dry weight. I have an add a leaf and the Air Lift 59530 Ride Control airbag system. Both bags are leaking. Without the help of the air bags my back end sags badly. I have read that a WDH system is preferred over airbags. What WDH system should I install? If I install a WDH do I have to remove the airbags? Also seems some WDH systems don't allow backing up? I really appreciate some help making the decision? Thank you!
A WDH is more safe and practical in towing, than using any airbag system to level your rig. They work by distributing excess to tongue weight forward to the front axial of the tow vehicle; and also rearward to the trailer axial. A really good WDH for first time users are the Reese Steadiflex or the Equalizer. Both easy to install and setup....and do the job with great reliability.

With airbags, the actual tongue weight problem still exists.....but airbags basically hide that problem from view by leveling the rig....but it's all just waiting for the right moment to cause an unsafe event in your driving.
 
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