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Old    John Gunnels (cragrat)      Join Date: Mar 2012       03-25-2012, 10:11 PM Reply   
So... my V232 weighs in at 4100 dry and trailer tips the scale at about 1450. Loaded with fuel and toys I'm guessing about a total of 6500. I typically pull our boat with my Ram 2500... however when we camp it's busy pulling our camping rig. That leaves my wife's Yukon. The 6.2L has no problem with power, but trailering is rated at only 5000 without a weight distribution hitch. Any of the gurus think baggin' it would work... or should I give in a get one of those ugly things? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Old    Bu Coo (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       03-25-2012, 11:20 PM Reply   
Your Yukon is only rated at 5000 pound? Unless its pretty old that doesn't sound right to me.
Old    LR3w8kbrdr            03-25-2012, 11:41 PM Reply   
That doesnt sound right...my 07' Yukon had 8100lbs towing. Id think any 6.2L would be well above that 5k range (thats almost in the range of a V6 suv).
Old    John Gunnels (cragrat)      Join Date: Mar 2012       03-26-2012, 6:37 AM Reply   
I was confused as well. It's a '12 my wife just bought. Specs the dealer gave her read this:

Dead Weight Hitch - Max Trailer Wt: 5000
Deat Weight Hitch - Max Tongue Wt: 500
Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Trailer Wt: 8100
Wt. Distributing Hitch - Max Tongue Wt: 1215

She traded in an '07 that pulled our older boat just fine... but it wasn't quite as heavy as our new one.
Old    Russ Constable (Midnightv10)      Join Date: Feb 2012       03-26-2012, 7:19 AM Reply   
Check your owners manual..
The numbers you are talking about sound like the hitch capacities not towing capacity.
My 2008 pulls 8100#, the 2012's should be between 8100 and 8500..
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-26-2012, 7:23 AM Reply   
Specs aside, airbags aren't a substitute for a weight distributing hitch in cases where one is called for. The airbags will protect your rear suspension, level the vehicle and improve the ride but won't really transfer tongue weight to the front axle like the weight distributing hitch will.
Old    John Gunnels (cragrat)      Join Date: Mar 2012       03-26-2012, 7:28 AM Reply   
Thanks, Jeff. Kinda figured that.

Just spoke with the dealer. If a vehicle has a "towing package", the weight distribution system is intact. Should handle up to 8100 just fine.
Old    Bruizza (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       03-26-2012, 7:42 AM Reply   
If it has the 6.2 I'm assuming it's a Denali. If so it should have the air ride suspension in the back that will level it out when you hook up a boat. Should be no reason to get bags.
Old    Sherwin Owiesy (txmxer)      Join Date: Sep 2011       03-26-2012, 10:25 AM Reply   
Yeah that doesnt sound right, I have the 6.0 and I have like somewhere around 7500-8000 pounds of towing. The 6.2 will have no trouble with that and I hear the 6spd transmission does even better. As others mentioned if you have the denali the air ride should level out; it does with my truck.
Old    Bu Coo (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       03-26-2012, 11:39 AM Reply   
So now that's out of the way, I tow my 23 LSV loaded with toys and gas with an 07 GMC Sierra. I'm definitively not going to win any races going up hill, and I wish the the truck came with better breaks, but all in all I havn't had any real issues while towing. IMO unless you have money to burn you're going to be fine with the towing package you have.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       03-26-2012, 12:02 PM Reply   
Sounds like you have this one licked. Bet your glad your not gonna have to monkey around with that WDH.

I tried it on a Dodge Nitro, what a PITA it was to hook up / unhook. I ended up installing some bags on my Avalanche to stiffen things up a little when it was loaded. Works great. But the truck is rated for 7700 already.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-26-2012, 12:08 PM Reply   
The requirement of a weight distributing hitch for trailers over 5,000/500 lbs (total/tongue) doesn't actually sound too far off. Are we talking about a short wheel base yukon (I.e. like a Tahoe, not a suburban)? My dodge half ton is supposed to have one for loads over 6,000/600 lbs iirc. I'd bet if you read the "fine print" on most half ton trucks/SUVs they'd all require it around that weight.

My boat + trailer + gear is supposed to be in the neighborhood of 6,500 lbs buying haven't messed with a weight distributing hitch yet.
Old     (saberworks)      Join Date: Sep 2010       03-26-2012, 12:38 PM Reply   
Not sure about your vehicle, but I can confirm that my owners manual (2012 Ram 1500) says:

4. The maximum trailer weight is 5,000 pounds for a weight-carrying hitch. A weight distributing system is recommended for trailers over 5,000 pounds.

(and the max tow capacity for my truck is 10,500 lbs)

The Nissan Titan says it's required above 5k lbs. I couldn't find anything on Ford's web site mentioning a wdh.

I've never used a weight distributing hitch.
Old    Todd (antoddio)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-26-2012, 3:16 PM Reply   
I think what some auto makers refer to as a weight distributing hitch is what is already on the vehicle vs. one of those goofy contraptions that you hook up around your hitch. (I think that's a weight distribution system). On my 4runner the difference between the normal hitch and the weight distributing hitch is two extra frame mounting points on the hitch. You can't see them because they are inside the vehicle. Basically it's just a beefier hitch with a couple more mounting points. It doesn't have anything to do with those exterior weight distribution contraptions. I think you are fine, but they sure do make it tough to figure out. I'm hauling the same load (V232) with my 4runner. Tows fine for me.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       03-26-2012, 5:14 PM Reply   
Not sure about that Todd. I think this type thing is a weight distribution hitch.



Anything in the frame of the truck is part of the tow package. Typically the first numbers are considered towing with the tow package. The 2nd number is towing with a similar device as in the picture.

I've had conversations with the Dodge dealer about this. Their Nitro definitely needed the crutch to tow over 5k lbs with it. Even my 4'Runner needed it years ago.... it was a 93 & I was only towing a 2500 lb boat & the steering was so squirelly it was crazy.

Last edited by bill_airjunky; 03-26-2012 at 5:16 PM.
Old    John Bauer (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       03-26-2012, 10:34 PM Reply   
Helper bags do the exact same thing. They keep the weight off of the rear suspension of the vehicle so the tongue isn't too low, and the rear axle of the trailer is at the same height as the front axle. If you set your ball mount up so that the trailer is level when connected to the truck, helper bags (or stabilizer bars, if you must) will help keep the trailer level. That's all they really do.

Quote:
Having too much tongue weight in relation to gross trailer weight can cause the hitch of the trailer -- and the rear axle of the tow vehicle -- to dive, meaning the front of the trailer will head toward the ground, bringing the front of the towing vehicle off of the ground. Obviously, if your tow vehicle dives too far, such as in situations when you need to brake quickly, you'll loose braking traction and steering control of the wheels on the front axle, which can be very dangerous

I've had helper bags on at least 7 different vehicles. They do the job their intended to do, and do it well. I even used a set on an 05 Denali that already had OEM air in teh rear. The OEM wasn't enough to keep the truck and the trailer level.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-26-2012, 11:00 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonyb View Post
Helper bags do the exact same thing. They keep the weight off of the rear suspension of the vehicle so the tongue isn't too low, and the rear axle of the trailer is at the same height as the front axle.
As I stated above I disagree. The weight distribution hitch dampens the pivot point on the Z axis at the ball and transfers weight from the rear axle to the front axle. It's the same principle as a 5th wheel/gooseneck hitch accept not as heavy duty. If you throw a 1,200 lb tongue weight on a 1/2 ton truck with a regular hitch the front end of the truck will become too light and handling will suffer at some point. Even if the airbags are taking that load off of your rear suspension it's still being borne by the rear axle which, as tongue weight increases, the truck will pivot around and the front suspension will relax as the front gets lighter.

When we're talking 500-600 lbs of tongue weight as with most wakeboard boats on a 1/2 ton it's not really an issue but when you're talking about a travel trailer or car hauler with more tongue weight you'd better have the weight distributed properly on the tow vehicle.

Last edited by Jeff; 03-26-2012 at 11:03 PM.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-26-2012, 11:10 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoddio View Post
I think what some auto makers refer to as a weight distributing hitch is what is already on the vehicle vs. one of those goofy contraptions that you hook up around your hitch. (I think that's a weight distribution system)...
By that logic his Yukon would be able to handle a 1,250 lb tongue weight with just the OEM "Tow Package" hitch (Per the specs he listed above). I'd be willing to bet that would end in disaster.

I still think going to a weight distributing hitch may be overly cautious with the weight he's talking about and would certainly be a lot more trouble. If you want to go by the book though many/most of us towing 21'+ wakeboats with 1/2 tons should be using those "goofy contraptions". I certainly don't want to have to connect/disconnect one of those every time I hook the boat up either though.
Old    John Bauer (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       03-27-2012, 2:16 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
If you throw a 1,200 lb tongue weight on a 1/2 ton truck with a regular hitch the front end of the truck will become too light and handling will suffer at some point. Even if the airbags are taking that load off of your rear suspension it's still being borne by the rear axle which, as tongue weight increases, the truck will pivot around and the front suspension will relax as the front gets lighter.
Not when the airbags keep the back of the truck from sagging or bouncing. That's the whole point of an airbag, it keeps the rear from bouncing, which in turn keeps the front of the truck stable.

You don't need one of those weight distribution hitches unless you're towing a large camper, or +10,000 lbs.
Old    Todd (antoddio)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-27-2012, 12:37 PM Reply   
Seems like the weight distribution hitch/system just takes off weight of the hitch ball by moving it back further on the trailer. There's no way it could transfer some of the wight to the front axles of the tow vehicle other than just the fact that is is balancing the vehicle from the reduction of the tongue weight. It's not changing any of the attachment points to the tow vehicle. Though nothing I can find on google clearly explains this.

My conclusion is that unless you have excessive tongue weight, which i don't believe is a big problem on boats because they get lighter and narrower toward the front of the trailer, you won't get any benefit from a weight distribution hitch/system. A horse trailer or camper with a lot more weight up front might be a different story.

And if anyone has any idea how to measure tongue weight, I'm all ears.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-27-2012, 1:07 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoddio View Post
There's no way it could transfer some of the wight to the front axles of the tow vehicle other than just the fact that is is balancing the vehicle from the reduction of the tongue weight.
They do transfer weight to the front axle. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it clearly with just text and I can't really find any good illustration through an internet search either.

Let's think of this in extreme cases. Say you connected a trailer with a 10,000 lb tongue weight to a 1/2 ton truck. What would happen? The rear suspension would compress until it was against the bump stops and then the front end of the truck would lift off of the ground until the tongue of the trailer was resting on the ground. Am I making sense? The truck became a 3rd class lever. The trailer was the force, the rear axle/suspension was the fulcrum, and the front 2/3 of the truck was the load.


The load was focused at the ball of the hitch right?

Now, think about the same scenario but with no ball and no pivot point. The trailer is rigidly attached straight into the hitch which is firmly bolted to the frame of the truck. This is obviously only a hypothetical scenario because you couldn't turn the truck/trailer with that setup but bear with me. You once again lower that 10,000 lb tongue weight onto the truck. What's going to happen (Assuming nothing physically fails on this hypothetical/mythical vehicle)? The whole truck would squat down under the load since there's no vertical pivot point between the trailer and truck. Make sense?

The weight distributing hitch allows you to remove a percentage of that vertical pivot of the traditional hitch/ball attachment point. When you tighten up those chains on those long spring steel arms you're making it harder and harder for the ball/hitch to pivot vertically and transferring more of the tongue weight through the vehicles frame and to the front axle. Am I making any sense?
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-27-2012, 1:10 PM Reply   
Oh, and you are correct that the weight distributing hitch will transfer some of the tongue weight back through the trailer frame to the trailer axles as well.
Old     (saberworks)      Join Date: Sep 2010       03-27-2012, 1:16 PM Reply   
Interesting, I never considered the vertical pivot aspect of it (and never could really figure out how the wdh system could help anything). In this case, what happens when you start up a steep hill? Or encounter the bottom of a steep decline? How much does it limit vertical pivot?
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-27-2012, 1:18 PM Reply   
Sorry, I said 3rd class lever above and posted a 1st class lever pic. I meant 1st class lever.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-27-2012, 1:21 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberworks View Post
Interesting, I never considered the vertical pivot aspect of it (and never could really figure out how the wdh system could help anything). In this case, what happens when you start up a steep hill? Or encounter the bottom of a steep decline? How much does it limit vertical pivot?
Those arms are spring steel. So, they can flex to account for that. But they do resist that movement with progressively more and more force as the angle increases. How much force depends on how you have the chains adjusted and how heavy duty the arms are on the particular hitch. You probably wouldn't want to go offroad or tearing through a road with a bunch of tight switchback curves with one.
Old    Todd (antoddio)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-27-2012, 1:28 PM Reply   
Yea, makes a lot of sense actually. I wasn't understanding that it would limit the pivot point at the hitch.

So still the questions remains if you have a level trailer with no excessive vehicle squat, will there be any benefit?
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       03-27-2012, 1:47 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoddio View Post
So still the questions remains if you have a level trailer with no excessive vehicle squat, will there be any benefit?
I'd say that if your front end stays at about the same height with the weight on the tongue then you'd probably see no benefit using a weight distributing hitch. So, in the cases of most of our boats being being a half ton probably no benefit.

I'd say that if your front end is starting to raise up more than an inch or so under the tongue weight then you probably need to look at a weight distributing hitch.

The air bags would likely be beneficial in either case.
Old     (pprior)      Join Date: Jan 2012       03-27-2012, 2:55 PM Reply   
Jeff - I've never understood the purpose of those hitches, but your explanation made sense to me. Thank you for taking time to post it.

My 2012 F150 with HD towing package gives a requirement for a WD hitch about 5000 lbs, so I think most 1/2 ton trucks "need" one above about that weight. However most boats are much less tongue heavy than other campers, etc (esp v-drives) so as I'm in the 5-6k range, I'm running w/o one and certainly no problems.

I think you get into the 7+ lb range with a camper and having one is a good idea.

Last edited by pprior; 03-27-2012 at 2:56 PM. Reason: left out my "thank you"
Old     (saberworks)      Join Date: Sep 2010       03-27-2012, 3:05 PM Reply   
Ah, also interesting about the F150 requiring the wdh as well. I couldn't find any reference to it on their site. When I was looking for a truck, I originally discounted the Nissan Titan because all over their tow literature they had that 5000lb limit w/out a wdh. I figured they sucked or something. None of the other manufacturers mentioned it anywhere I could see so I figured it wasn't a requirement. I was the mildly surprised to see it on the Ram 1500 tow guide (although only on the PDF you can download, not on the calculation chart).
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       03-27-2012, 3:58 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoddio View Post
And if anyone has any idea how to measure tongue weight, I'm all ears.
From here:
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-p...ue-weight1.htm

Using a standard bathroom scale, you'll need a two-by-four cut to a five- or six-foot (1.5- or 1.8-meter) length, two pipes, your bathroom scale, and a brick. Lay one of the pipes across the scale and the other across the brick. Position the scale and the brick so the pipes are exactly three feet apart. Now, lay the two-by-four across the pipes, and find a suitable way to support the tongue of the trailer at the same height as the tow vehicle's hitch ball. Place the tongue (and hitch-height support) on the two-by-four exactly 2 feet (0.6 meters) away from the pipe lying across the scale and 1 foot (0.3 meters) away from the pipe lying across the brick. Read the weight displayed on the scale, and then multiply the weight by three. This is your tongue weight.

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