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Dumb bumper pull / weight distribution hitch question....

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  • Dumb bumper pull / weight distribution hitch question....

    I know it's been done before, but a quick search didn't pull up exactly what I was looking for. I've never had a BP trailer before (man I miss my 3/4 ton and 4star gooseneck rig!) so please bear with me and enlighten me....

    - Truck is 2009 Chevy 1500, 5.3L V8, 6,900lb tow capacity based on the axle rating (there were 2 for this engine size, ours is the lower of the two) with factory tow package (including transmission temperature monitor, etc.)
    - Hitch on truck (welded/bolted to the frame) says 5,000lb WC / 10,000lb WD - so I'm assuming this is a class III?
    - Trailer is 2012 Titan Avalanche 2 horse slant load with front dressing room, 3,700lb empty weight
    - Only hauling 1 horse maybe once a month on short hauls (1 hour maximum each way) mainly to/from 6-7 horse shows a year, to the vet every now and then, and to the cross-country facility for schooling
    - Will eventually haul 2, with a bigger truck, to be purchased once I find a 'real' job after graduation

    Trailer hauls fine empty - pulled like a champ on the 4 hour drive home from the dealership. I'm just wondering if I need to replace the hitch? Or do I leave the hitch and get a weight distributing system? And if so, does this need to include the bars ("sway bars") that involve drilling or otherwise something being permanently mounted to the tongue of the trailer?
    I took the (empty) truck/trailer to the RV place down the road (possibly a bad choice but I figured they knew more than I did about bumper pull rigs) and the guy told me he'd be happy to sell me the WD system but he didn't think I needed it. His reasoning was that with the dressing room and slant set up, he didn't think the tongue weight would be as great as say a bumper pull RV. Granted, horses are obviously more of an unstable load than a stationary item by nature, but does his logic still apply here?

    I realize that ideally I'd have a 3/4 ton truck, but that just wasn't in the cards financially. And if I did have that 3/4 ton truck, I would've gone with a 2-3 horse gooseneck I just want to make this (temporary, low use) rig work as best and as safely as possible.
    Last edited by Rio Blanco; Jun. 25, 2012, 02:07 AM.

  • #2
    I think you'll get a lot of the same info reading between the lines on the other trailering threads, but...

    My first set up was my DH's F150, basically same config as your truck, with a 2H BP Hawk (3200# empty). Pulled fine with 1.5 horses and limited stuff in tack room. But if you do the math, if your trailer is 3700#, by the time you add one 1300# horse, you've maxed out your hitch unless you go WD. So no stuff in your tack room, no hay, etc. Because the limiting step here is the 5000lb hitch rating, and I'm pretty sure Cat III is all you can do for BP hitch.

    If you add WD, you will be able to increase weight to 6900#, although it's been said you should perhaps not exceed 80% of your max when figuring for horses. Here, the limiting step is your truck's max tow rating. As I understand it, even with the tow package there's some risk of destroying your engine, and you won't have great acceleration for hills or merges. And WD hitch can be moved to your next truck, as well.

    I did eventually get my own truck, an F250, and added WD, and feel the whole thing rides MUCH better, of course. And yes, they had to cut holes in the trailer tongue deck plate for my WD, although not in the frame of the tongue, of course.


    • #3
      A wd hitch will save some wear and tear on the truck and it will improve the handling. It wouldn't be worth changing the hitch itself because the WD will put you over the max towing capacity for the truck anyway. A WD hitch consists of a shank (the part that slides into the receiver) with the ball head (the part the bars hook onto on the truck end), the bars and the lift brackets (attach to the frame of the trailer and adjust the bars).

      Here is a pretty good video explaining how they work as well as how to hook them up, etc. There are lots of other videos, most put out by the manufacturer's themselves.


      Damrock Farm


      • #4
        The WD system helps with overall stability and for the minimal price you cannot be too safe.


        • #5
          Forgot to add...

          My dad used to say all the time, "The only stupid question is the one you don't ask".

          Damrock Farm


          • #6
            A good WDH is worth every penny you will pay for it and then some in handling and stability alone. I have this one with the adjustable hitch since my trailer's tongue is so low. You do have to cut a slot in the sheet metal on each side of the tongue of the trailer to mount the brackets unless you want to get the kind that can be permanently mounted (welded to the frame).



            • #7
              I have a similar rig, same truck and engine, pulling a 2H Hawk w/ dressing room, and I always haul with a WD setup. There is definitely a difference when hauling without it, so I just always snap the trunnion bars on and go.
              "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."
              -Richard S. Bach


              • #8
                If you go for a WD hitch, I'd go for one with sway control as well. Not all WD hitches have sway control. Just because there are bars does not mean they are "sway bars."

                When I was doing research into WD hitches with sway control, these are the two main ones that were recommended on different forums:



                I wound up trying an Andersen hitch. It's a newer style. It was between the Andersen and the Equalizer, and the Andersen won out due to price and noise. (WD hitches often make creaking/popping noises when you turn.) It's supposed to have better bounce control as well.



                • #9
                  When I got my Avalanche II, 3-horse slant (empty weight 4,040) the dealer I bought it from suggested I use it first to determine if I needed a WD set up. I pull with a 3/4 Ton, and it hauls empty, or fully loaded like a dream! So glad I didn't put any $$ into a WD...JMO...haul it around some, keep your speed down a bit, and see how you feel after a few trips


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AzulBlue View Post
                    .... I pull with a 3/4 Ton, and it hauls empty, or fully loaded like a dream! So glad I didn't put any $$ into a WD...
                    BIG difference in the suspension of a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton truck. OP has a half ton truck, so will be much happier with a WDH than without. It keeps the weight evenly distributed on all 4 tires, which will greatly improve handling. With the 3/4 ton suspension, a BP trailer generally isn't going to put the weight on the rear tires, so no the WDH isn't going to make much difference.

                    I've let a couple people drive my setup and they have all been sold on a WDH after comparing how a 1/2 ton truck handles with and without.


                    • #11
                      I have the Equalizer hitch and feel like my rig pulls much better with it (very stable).

                      It's not very expensive when you think of the handling advantages.
                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks guys, I really appreciate all the information. I'm totally new to the BP trailer thing and everyone I've talked to (trailer dealership here in town and the RV place in town) told me I didn't need one - which didn't make sense with the WC 5,000lb that is stamped on our hitch.

                        This at least gets me a starting point! I'll be ordering the WD shortly Thanks!


                        • #13
                          You can definitely install it yourself. All it takes is putting the head onto the shank, then putting the bars on to figure out where to bolt the lifts onto the trailer frame.

                          Damrock Farm


                          • #14
                            Where I live we see very few WD hitches which is unfortunate. I have read tons on the subject and the evidence is conclusive as far as I can tell. It is safer and more comfortable to use the WD systems, even with a 3/4 ton.