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opinions on weight distribution hitches please!

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  • opinions on weight distribution hitches please!

    Now that my horse is getting old enough to take somewhere, I am thinking about getting a WD hitch for my "rig" (ha ha). I have a 2005 Expedition 5.4L V8 with factory tow and a 2 horse steel Turnbow that weighs about 3000lb empty.

    I have heard good things about Equalizer hitches. They are $$. I do not have a sway bar currently and want to either get an integrated hitch or an independent sway (thoughts on this please?).

    I don't need top of the line fancy, I just need something that works well and will do its job. That said, this is a daily vehicle and I would like something that doesn't take an hour to hook up.

    I'm also a little worried about how they attach. I switched out the old jack for a flat-plate one that swivels and locks into place along side the hitch (think boat type).
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    I have the equalizer hitch on my set up (1/2 ton with 3200lb empty trailer). Like it a lot. Can drive at highway speeds and get passed by numerous trucks with little to no sway. Before setup not as fun driving on highway. As far as money goes I don't think you will get a better bang for your buck (wd and sway device). If just getting a wd hitch you can probably go cheaper. Keep in mind some sway devices recommend not using sway device in rain. I think that is when you would need it the most.

    As far as hooking up it is a few more steps but nothing that really bothers me. I will tell you the main part with the hitch ball is heavy though. Setting it up correctly will take some time or an experienced installer but once dialed in for your setup is something you will not have to do again.

    I am no hitch expert but the sway and distributing bars are a few inches below the hitch ball so I don't think it will be an issue with your swiveling lock.

    The only cons are it is a friction type anti-sway. Think metal on metal. You are not supposed to grease that area so it functions properly. It makes some noise on sharp turns. Mine made noise when new but no longer does.


    • #3
      Agree with everything Flying Noodle said and wanted to add it's also great when backing up the trailer. It's pretty darn near impossible to jacknife the trailer backing up when you have that type of setup!!


      • #4
        I cannot make recommendations as to types or set ups; however, I would not pull a bumper pull without one. I used one with my toyota landcruiser/sundowner two horse and it made a tremendous difference. I just told my local mechanic what I wanted and he did the rest as far as installing, etc.

        FYI- I have since gone to a gooseneck and won't go back.


        • #5
          Originally posted by mkevent View Post
          Agree with everything Flying Noodle said and wanted to add it's also great when backing up the trailer. It's pretty darn near impossible to jacknife the trailer backing up when you have that type of setup!!
          Do note that sway bars are supposed to be uncoupled for backing up...


          OP, a weight distribution hitch system is a very good idea for any towing situation where there is even a hint of things not being properly level from tongue weight or where stability is less than ideal for any other reason. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend they be used when you get over a particular trailer weight as they know that while they can pull and stop the load, the suspension alone may not be adequate to fully support the vertical load...making the front end of the tow vehicle "light", etc. For the few hundred dollars they cost to employ, it's worth the investment for safety. ETrailer has some good options.


          • Original Poster

            I would VASTLY prefer a gooseneck!! However, we came across a very low mile, well preserved SUV and got an outrageous deal and here we are for now. That said I don't want to die, or kill anyone, (drama much?) and I only feel comfortable when there is zero wind. Unfortunately, Chicago has nothing on us when it comes to wind!

            I think I will ask for the equalizer for Christmas! For now I will stick to slow speeds and back roads.

            Am I right that you go from 5000 lb rating to 10,000 lb rating? Normally I have one horse (3000lb trailer, 1200 lb horse, 200 lbs of stuff = 4,400 lb) but on rare occasions I may want to haul a second horse, which would kick me over 5,000 lb. My vehicle is rated to tow 6,000 as is. Any advice? I assume I get the 10,000 one? How do they adjust it for me since I won't actually have the horse on the trailer? Any other advice? Do they have to weld it or cut the horse trailer hitch in any fashion? I only plan on using this trailer for another year or so... What did it cost you to have it set up, or did they do it for free when you bought it somewhere? I have to be detailed if this is an (ok probably my only) xmas gift. Thanks!

            Finally, we always unhooked my friend's sway bar (that's all she had and the only bumper pull I ever used previous to this--other trailer was a goose) for backing because we didn't want to put too much torque on the metal and bend it. So I guess we were unknowingly following Jim's advice.

            Any thoughts on this one--about half the price: http://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distr...s/PS49903.html
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


            • #7
              Many of the available weight distribution hitch systems have bolt-on brackets that go on the trailer A-frame making for weld-free installation. How your trailer's A-frame is configured will play into that, too. You need to know the tongue weight figure for your particular trailer to select the correct weight distribution system for your setup.


              • #8
                The WD hitch is only going to distribute the weight from the hitch to the front of the vehicle. It is not going to increase any hard number you have for your tow vehicle. The 6000 lbs is still going to apply in your case.

                As far as setting up you will want to know what your tongue weight with all normal contents (horses included) to have it set properly. When I set mine up I did the initial without anything. Later I wanted it dialed in more so I set off to the truck scales with horses and all. I am sure you can download or call equalizer and get the set up instructions before you buy to give you a better idea. Equalizer will also advise you on which hitch to get (10,000 etc.)

                Every thing for the equalizer is bolt on. No welding involved. Keep in mind the equalizer does not come with a hitch ball because of varied setups. You will have to have someone attach the ball with a torque wrench capable of pretty high numbers.

                If you decide to go with a equalizer I am sure you could find an authorized installer that make it easier on you.

                In the end it is all about safety. A bent truck, trailer, human, or horse is going to cost you a lot more than the hitch. I would ask Santa for the installation as well.


                • #9
                  Here's a useful link regarding WD systems.



                  • #10
                    I have had an equalizer hitch for several years and really like it. My husband is a mechanical engineer and he did extensive research before he chose it.

                    A gooseneck was not in my cards but this set up makes my trailer very solid. I was driving on 495 (outside of Boston) last week and there were huge trucks going by. The trailer was very steady.

                    Definitely worth the $$ for me.
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                    • Original Poster

                      e trailer

                      Well I wrote them (what a good website they have). Here is the response: http://www.etrailer.com/question-48553.html

                      So they recommend this WD hitch http://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distr...ies/49587.html and this seperate anti-sway http://www.etrailer.com/p-83660.html

                      I am "guessing" my tongue weight is around 500-550 lb when I only have one horse loaded. I'm not clear what happens if you use the WD htich rated for 600lb and you are under, except a rougher ride?

                      I'm still not sure how you figure out tongue weight when you are taking live loads into consideration (I can't really take the trailer off to weigh it with a horse on after all) but maybe I don't understand how you calculate tongue weight.

                      One other problem is the sway bar is on the right and that's where my jack is. I replaced the original when it died with a boat style jack that you rotate 90 degrees and click into place (the other one was always down too low). Can you do a sway bar on the left side I wonder...
                      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                      • #12
                        I have always used a WD hitch like what etrailer recommended without the sway control. I feel much safer with it on, not only for more control but I am paranoid about the truck and trailer coming apart on the road ( I don't trust the safety chains!)

                        I lived in Chicago for many years so I have dealt with trailering in high winds. I have always pulled a light weight 2 horse trailer with a small tow vehicle...currently have a 1/2 ton pickup. The WD hitch has worked great for me; I have never noticed a lot of sway in the trailer, even in traffic or high winds.

                        When I got a new trailer, I had to have the brackets for the bars welded on my trailer because there was no way to bolt them on. Is there a place on your trailer you could weld a bracket so you could use the sway bars?


                        • #13
                          I have the equalizer WD hitch (I think the 8500lb one? Had to get the RV place to order it for me because they only stocked the 5,000lb and 10,000lb ones.) Just a note: over-doing the weight is just as bad as under-doing the weight, if I recall correctly from what my BF found while we were looking up ours - hence why we decided on the odd weight class WD hitch.

                          I have a Titan Avalanche (steel) trailer with all the bells and whistles and a heffalump of a 16h WB-cross mare who easily is pushing 1200lbs. Truck is an '09 Chevy 1500 5.3L engine V8 with the HD tow package. The difference between towing with the WD hitch and without it is unreal....I can barely feel the trailer behind me with the WD hitch. The bars are a little intimidating at first...you can royally mess yourself up if you don't know what you're doing. However, once you figure it out, they're a breeze.

                          And a side note....go with the solid bars rather than the bar/chain. The bar/chain ones you have to unhitch in the rain, the bars you don't.

                          My favorite part was when I had the local (horse) trailer dealer install the WD hitch on my trailer (had to drill through the deck plate and I wasn't comfortable doing it myself) the guy asked me "Did you try flipping your hitch upside down? That should help with the squatting. I don't think you really needed this." Ummm, yeah, buddy....this is why I drove 5 hours to buy my horse trailer from another dealership instead of from you.