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Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

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Old 02-24-2005, 07:04 PM
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Default Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

A rookie question...pardon me in advance.

I'm getting my 3/4 ton GMC van set up to tow my new rig (Formula 336 on aluminum trailer), which I estimate at 10,500 lbs. The local trailer shops I've talked to all say I must get a weight distributing hitch system, but I see many of you with bigger/heavier rigs than mine towing with a standard draw bar (I'm sure your bars/hitch balls are rated sufficiently).

What do I really need to safely tow? BTW, I'm not towing much or very far; the boat will be on a lift most of the time, but I'll probably pull it out every now and then to have it worked on.
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

I tow a 358 Sonic around 10,500 lbs. with a 3/4 ton GMC pickup. I got a trailer hitch that was rated at 12,000 lbs. gross load and 1200 lbs. tongue weight without the equalizing bars. I also had to get a ball with the high load rating. If your suspension can handle the tongue weight and you can get a hitch with the proper load rating I would see no reason for you to have to use equalizing bars. I have had no problems with the hitch or towing.
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

get a solid slug and just make sure your boat is positioned on the trailer for best tongue weight. A little too much or too little and you'll know - the hard way.

What-cha got for trailer brakes?, not surge I hope. ( I do and they suck)
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

I didn't think you can use the weight dist. setup with surge brakes?
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

I have a good friend that regularly pulls a 32 foot trailer and he swears by it. He said it really improves the way the whole rig handles.
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Old 02-24-2005, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

I pull my 38 Cig with and Excursion and I use weight distributing bars I'll never tow with out them. It make a big difference. I have surge brakes and as long as you angle the chains properly on the bars the brakes work just fine.
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

I tow my 30' Kachina without wieght dist. bars. My excursion (10" lift with 40" tires) doesn't sink down more than half an inch. I think if your trailer is set up properly you shouldn't have any problems, especially on a three axle trailer. I would suggest (more than suggest) a solid shank reciever, and a 12,000 lb ball. I use one of those versa balls so I can switch back down to 2" to pull my quad trailer around with out having to have 2 recievers. As far as surge brakes go....... They aren't the greatest but nobody recommends electric for boat trailers because of the water. Most manufacturers install surge type brakes, I have disc brakes on the front and rear axle with the center axle open and I have absolutely no problem stopping it. In fact it actually stops as well with the trailer as it does with out once you get past the brake lag (thats the time it takes for your surge brakes to kick in). The only time I have a problem with them is on a long down hill run, they tend to get hot because the boat is constantly trying to push the truck and you have no way of adjusting them. Just take it slow down hill, your towing a boat not racing, and you'll be just fine. I would get a ball thats properly rated and a solid shank for sure, what every you do.
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

one more thing, I am not recommending against a wieght distribution hitch, I think you would be better off with one. I'm sure they safer and probably a better ride, I just havent used one and dont think at this point I need one. My 2 cents........
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Old 02-24-2005, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

I always recomend airing on the side of caution. The bars don't cost that much, and if you look hard enough, you can find a used reciever. I got mine at a local camper shop for $75.00. To me its cheap insurance. Most guys get away with not enough all their lives, but some guys don't. You don't want to be one of those guys.
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Old 02-24-2005, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Towing question...weight distributing hitch or not?

What year is your van? What motor? What is the rear axle ratio? What does the door sticker and manual say for tow ratings?

DO NOT skimp. The second you have an accident, your insurance company will be reviewing your entire setup looking for a reason NOT to pay.

Invest in three things:

12K+ lbs rated Putnam Hitch.
http://www.putnamhitch.com/Trailer%2...SelectType.htm

Rear Air Bags for your suspension. (AirLift 1000 is perfect.)
http://www.airliftcompany.com/new-index/Frameset.htm

Weight distributing hitch and a pole tongue adapter.
http://www.hitchfinder.com/trunnion_WD_hitch.htm
http://www.hitchfinder.com/hi_pef_trunnion_bar_wd.htm

You can never have too much safety equipment. I have a 3/4 Ton Avalanche. Its rated to tow 12K lbs. with a Weight Distributing Hitch.
I tow 12K lbs with it, with a Weight Distributing hitch. You CAN use a WD hitch with surge brakes. You CAN'T use Sway Control bars with a surge brakes.

There is lots of info here on OSO.

http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/s...t=hitch+weight

http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/s...t=hitch+weight

I have mine setup 100% correct and 100% legal. It tows very well, and I will not ever tow without airbags or a WD hitch. It REALLY makes a difference.
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