Weight distribution hitch question

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
For anyone that knows, can you put the shank in either the up or down position when attaching the ball mount? My TB's receiver is higher than the pickup I used to pull my camper with (and the truck was too high), so I finally bought a new hitch to replace what came with the camper. I need to have the shank turned down to provide a drop to keep the camper more level. I have seen pictures and real-life examples of them mounted both ways, but the instructions that came with this one only show it facing up (rise).

Here is a "down" mount - Pro Series Weight Distribution System w Friction Sway Control - Round - 10,000 lbs GTW, 1,000 lbs TW Pro Series Weight Distribution PS49903

Here is an "up" mount - Reese SC Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion - 10,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66153

I posted this on the other TV site, but it seems like this one has more activity.

Thanks for the advice.
 

BRomanJr

Member
Dec 9, 2011
371
C-ya said:
For anyone that knows, can you put the shank in either the up or down position when attaching the ball mount? My TB's receiver is higher than the pickup I used to pull my camper with (and the truck was too high), so I finally bought a new hitch to replace what came with the camper. I need to have the shank turned down to provide a drop to keep the camper more level. I have seen pictures and real-life examples of them mounted both ways, but the instructions that came with this one only show it facing up (rise).

Here is a "down" mount - Pro Series Weight Distribution System w Friction Sway Control - Round - 10,000 lbs GTW, 1,000 lbs TW Pro Series Weight Distribution PS49903

Here is an "up" mount - Reese SC Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion - 10,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66153

I posted this on the other TV site, but it seems like this one has more activity.

Thanks for the advice.

The WD arms must be attached to the hitch below the ball mount, so a welded assembly can not be "turned over" The first link for the "down" mount will work the best, and you can adjust it at the bolted connection to your towing combination.

In my experience, You want both the tow vehicle and the trailer to each be close to level when loaded and completely hooked up. A slight sag in the middle is proper before the WD arms are installed. There should be good instructions with the assembly when you buy it to help you set it up.
 

DocBrown

Member
Dec 8, 2011
501
Yes, you can turn the shank down. That's what all those bolt holes are for. As BRomanJr stated, if its welded it can't be turned over, but I think that would show itself to be rather obvious. My Jayco hybrid trailer is known for low ground clearance, and while I had a drop shank of a few inches on my '95 Burb, I had to buy one with a 6" drop for the TB. It was nearly $100. the bottom of the shank is only about 3in off the ground for my setup. Seems to low, but its never been a problem.

What BRomanJr says is true. A slight drop at your rear end is normal. What you want to measure is the front, the distance between the top of the tire and the edge of the wheel lip on the fender. When all is said and done, with the trailer connected, you really don't want that to be more than an inch more than without the trailer & W/D hitch connected.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Most important is a proper set-up. Takes an hour or more to do properly, because to accurately judge how much weight you're proportioning from rear to front requires keeping records and using a tape measure. It's all in the ANGLE of the trunnion bars (set by the tilt washers) and the number of chain links you engage. Once set-up, it will last for a long time. But don't underestimate the work involved in doing it right. Your safety, and everybody on the road at the same time, depends on a good install to reduce fishtailing dynamics.
 

de3jr88

Member
Dec 8, 2011
45
Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
Roadie is absolutely correct. Regardless of the style of WD hitch set-up you have, the key is taking the time to set it up properly for your vehicle. There is a reasonably easy and generic procedure for setting up any WD hitch system for proper height and it really doesn't change regardless of vehicle. The key is following the instructions from YOUR manufacturer. And also remember, your initial setup may need to be tweeked a little once you have travelled with it. You may find that your load leveling is not quite as good, or maybe even too stiff once you are moving on the road and manoevering some corners.

One other thing to consider is the strength of your spring bars. You can overstress you trailer's A-frame(and possible your vehicles hitch) if you are using bars that are too stiff for the application. For example if your trailers hitch load is 600#, there is no need to have 1000# spring bars. I cannot say that I have ever experienced this personally, however a close friend works for a hitch distributor and these are recommendations they give their clients.
 

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
Thanks for the good advice. This weekend is the set up weekend since we are camping next weekend. The instructions that came with the hitch are very detailed with several drawings/pictures illustrating correct and incorrect set ups. I bought a WD hitch with 750# bars, and they may still be a bit much for the trailer, but now that I will be towing it level, I may actually have more tongue weight than I had before. The original (well, the one that came with it) bars are smaller, and if I had to guess, may be only in the 500# range. Thinking of it, tho, I think they were not strong enough as I had to really crank on them.

Thanks for the replies. I figured I could orient the shank in either direction, but I just wanted to confirm it. I'll try to get a few pics as I go.
 

kenmyfam

Member
Dec 11, 2011
168
South West Ontario, Canada
As said above the set up is huge. Take the time and get it right. Then mark whatever you need to for quick set up in the future.
Good Luck with everything. By the way, what are you towing ???
 

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
I'm towing an Amerigo Snap-N-Nap. (These are pics I found online before I bought mine.)

Amerigo1.jpg
Amerigo2.jpg


When I put the trailer on the hitch, the truck barely sagged. I set the ball mount up basically vertical, using 3 (or 4?) washers on the rivet, and at the very bottom mounting position. That had the tongue/trailer fairly level (according to eyeball and bubble) before the bars were even cinched up. Going camping Labor Day weekend about 30 miles from home, so that will give it more of a shake-down than driving around the block.
 

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
It is pretty interesting. Both ends fold out for sleeping areas. People look at it funny when I pull into a campground, and even more funny when I start opening it up. Kinda small, tho, as our family is growing, so it will most likely be sold next spring as we move up.
 

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
Hooked the trailer up to bring it home yesterday and the lights weren't working very well, and it didn't seem like the trailer brakes were helping much, even though the controller showed a connection. Got it home (about 3 miles) and started checking the vehicle's Bargman plug as I never had any issues with the trailer when it was hooked to my p/u. Checked the ground post to the frame and had a very high resistance. I took the plug off the back and pulled the "receiver" out of the truck and saw that the ground post inside was severely corroded. Cleaned it up and put it back together. Resistance check SAT, so I plugged the harness back in and man, you could actually see the lights!

I'll get some pics of the complete hookup today. Heading to the campground after work for the 3-day weekend.
 

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
Well, the weekend turned out pretty nice. Rain Saturday afternoon (a gully-washer!) and a little yesterday morning, but the rest of Sunday was nice and hot, as was today.

A photo of the corroded pin in the Bargman plug. Before I took it all apart, I stuck my camera in there to see as I was too lazy to go get my inspection mirror.

corrodedpin.jpg



The camper pre-hookup.

Amerigo_1.jpg


Hooked up.

TB_Amerigo_1.jpg


At the campsite.

Amerigo_2-1.jpg


Amerigo_3-1.jpg


See that 30' Jayco in the background? That belongs to my best friend (like a brother to me) and his family with whom we were camping. This morning on the way back to the campground from home after dropping off his canoe, his truck died (fuel pump wasn't running). I went with him to look at it and towed him home, then headed back to the campground to hook up to his trailer to get it home. He lives about 8 or 9 miles from the campground, and the TB pulled it very well. He was suitably impressed. He pulls it with a '95 K2500 with a 350, and he said my TB with the 5.3 pulled it better than his truck. He was also impressed with the Prodigy electric brake controller. He said he was buying one of them as soon as possible.

So, overall a good weekend, except for the end for my buddy. We'll get his truck straightened out and life will go on. Always does!
 

sawicksted

Member
Dec 7, 2011
366
C-ya said:
Hooked the trailer up to bring it home yesterday and the lights weren't working very well, and it didn't seem like the trailer brakes were helping much, even though the controller showed a connection. Got it home (about 3 miles) and started checking the vehicle's Bargman plug as I never had any issues with the trailer when it was hooked to my p/u. Checked the ground post to the frame and had a very high resistance. I took the plug off the back and pulled the "receiver" out of the truck and saw that the ground post inside was severely corroded. Cleaned it up and put it back together. Resistance check SAT, so I plugged the harness back in and man, you could actually see the lights!

I'll get some pics of the complete hookup today. Heading to the campground after work for the 3-day weekend.
Glad to hear you had a good trip.
It always comes back to the ground:mad:...... I have refurbished / set up two trailers in the last year and a half and all my electrical "problems" seemed to come back to a ground connection. You try everything and then you find the ground issue....I think there is a "Murphy's Law" saying that covers that.
(funny thing though - my mechanic's last name is Murphy..............):undecided:
 

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
Murphy as a wrench, huh? I bet he's been ribbed most of his professional career.
 

sawicksted

Member
Dec 7, 2011
366
C-ya said:
Murphy as a wrench, huh? I bet he's been ribbed most of his professional career.

Yeah he gets tortured every now and then but he's got a good sense of humour so it works out. He also helps out just about everyone in our town ( small town) and he's on the volunteer fire department so I'm careful not to mess with him too much. Karma tends to kick you in the butt if you go too far!
 

Forum Statistics

Threads
23,328
Posts
637,956
Members
18,531
Latest member
jvest

Members Online