How To Set up A Weight Distribution Hitch

Written by Hitchweb Team
Friday, July 10, 2015 — No Comments Yet

In this video we show you how to properly set up and use your weight distribution hitch. The goal of using a weight distribution hitch is to keep the trailer and the vehicle it's attached to, as level as possible by distributing the tongue weight of the trailer across the vehicles frame. Make sure your weight distribution hitch is properly set up to ensure that you have a safe and efficient towing setup.

 

Preparing to assemble your Weight Distribution Hitch

Start by lining up the tow vehicle and the travel trailer on level pavement and in the straight position. Use the trailer tongue jack and a level to raise or lower the trailer until it is level. Measure and record the distance from the pavement to the top of the coupler. Next, note the distance from the rear and front bumper on the tow vehicle to the ground. Deflate your air shocks and springs to their minimum recommended pressure before assembling your weight distribution hitch.
 

Assembling your Weight Distribution Hitch

Insert the shank into the receiver tube of your trailer hitch. Once in place position the head assembly with trailer ball onto the shank and raise it into position so that the top of the ball is 1" to 3" above the previously noted coupler height. This is to account for how much the tow vehicle will sag with the pull weight of the trailer.
Place the two flat washers over the short adjustment rod and install the head onto the shank at the previously determined coupler height, starting with inserting the 5" hex bolt and conical toothed washer to the lower hole.
With the adjustment rod in place, rotate the head unit tight against the shank. The ball should be vertical or slightly tilted back. Add or remove washers as necessary.
Insert the remaining hex bolt and conical toother washers and fasten the bolts with the supplied washers and nuts.
Tighten the top bolt with a wrench just enough to hold the head firm to the shank when we couple the trailer.

Now we need to make sure that the chain is attached to the spring bar correctly. Make sure that the ubolt is attached evenly, leaving two or three threads below the nylon nut. Before attaching the spring bar to the head assembly, apply a thick fibrous grease to the attachment points on the spring bars. This will reduce friction and extend the life of your weight distribution hitch. Insert the bottom knob of the trunnion into the lower pocket of the assembly. Rotate it up so that the top knob passes through the entrance slot in the upper pocket.
 

Couple the trailer 

Raise the coupler enough for the ball to pass under and back the vehicle into position. Lower the coupler onto the ball just enough for the coupler to latch. Allow the jack to support some of the weight. With the latch into position, raise the coupler about 3" with the use of the trailer jack. This will allow for easier installation of the chains under the trailer.
To install the chain lift brackets, position the spring bar so that it is parallel with the trailer frame and hold the chain vertically along side the trailer. Position the lift bracket so that the chain is dead center, and perpendicular to the ground.
Install the appropriate 1/2" bolt into the threaded hole of the bracket. Turn the bolt until it makes contact with the frame and tighten it 1/4" turn past that.

Before attaching the chains, raise the tongue of the trailer with the jack. This will make the lift bracket operation easier and safer. Raise the chain and bar up towards the lift bracket until the bar is parallel with the trailer frame. Take note of which chain lines up with the bracket and place it on to the lift chain attachment hook and be sure the chain is not twisted.
There needs to be a minimum of 5 links between the spring bar and the snap up bracket. If fewer than 5 links, the chain and snap up bracket will bind. If there are less than 5 links required for even leveling, readjust the tilt of the head using the longer adjustment rod to provide more links. Inser the lift handle under the top rod of the chain attachment. Raise the lift bracket up and over center so that it is fully seated against the mounting bracket. Secure the bracket into position by inserting the retaining clip into the bracket. Repeat on the other side of the trailer.

With both brackets snapped in place, lower the trailer jack so that the full weight of the trailer is now resting on the hitch.
Remeasure the distances between the ground and the front and rear bumper. These measurements should be within 1/2 of an inch of the original measurements.

Uncouple the trailer and torque all hardware to whats listed on the instruction sheet.

Weight distribution systems should always be greased between each use. Always remember to hook up your electrical systems and safety chains before towing.

 

WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION RESOURCES

WHAT IS A WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCH
ROUND BAR VS. TRUNNION BAR 
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS IN A WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM 
WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS AND BOAT TRAILERS

 

 


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