Mar 29 2006, 05:39 PM
Almost time to get out on the road again up here in New England. I'm hoping some of the more experienced camper's can advise me the correct, safest way
to hook up my 32' travel trailer's weight distributing bars. The dealer really didn't
go over it with me and as it was a used system, there were no instructions.
I have previously hooked up the trailer to the truck. connected the power plug,
the safety chains and the ball lock pin. Then, I jack the back of the truck/trailer
up to a level position with trailer jack. Then, I take the weight bars and set them in place without a lot of tension on the chains. Then, I let the weight back onto the truck by raising the trailer jack back up. This seems to put plenty of strain on the
distribution bars and the truck is level, but now the trailer is riding high in the front!
The hitch is set as low as it can be adjusted but no matter how loose I set the Wt.
bars, the trailer still rides fairly "nose up". What is a better way or do I just have
a hitch that is too high.
The hitch is a Reese and the truck is a 96 Chevy 4X4. The trailer is a 94 Prowler
Mar 30 2006, 09:33 PM
I know the feeling as i bought my 96 Coachman Catalina Lite TT and pull it with 2 wheel drive 96 chevy pickup. last year with the same type of set up, I went to a local camper dealer to see if i was doing it "right" as I was only "showed" this is the way. Here's how i hook up mine
After hooking truck/camper I jackup the trailer and truck kinda high and then connect the bars i use 3 links connected to the hook and then lift them up and put in the pin and then lower truck/trailer using 3 links seems to work for me as I had to play with how many to use but after this my truck and trailer ride level. I had been hearing/told i was doing it wrong so i went to the camper dealer and they said they do it the same way. I hope you understand what i am trying to say as I did my best to try and think/talk it out on how i hook up mine. If someone else does know of a better/safer way I too would like to know as the dealers didn't seem to think i was doing it wrong. Good luck and have a Safe Camping Season
Mar 31 2006, 05:12 AM
That way is the best way to hook the trailer up. You have to hook the hitch onto the ball and raise it to where it is level. At that point turn the tongue jack five or six times around to raise the front of the trailer and the rear end of the truck. The hooks where the chains attach should be lowered to where the hook itself is parallel to the ground. You should be able to attach to the link that reaches the hook when it is in that position. If you put to much strain on the chain it does not work as intended, and likewise if you don't put enough it will not work properly. After you get the chain secured, lower the tongue jack and the truck and the trailer should be completely level. Now, don't try it, but theoretically you should be able to take off the rear tires of you vehicle and have the whole thing sit level (most hitches are not rated for this kind of weight, but that is the idea behind the weight distributing hitch.) When you go to unhook the vehicle, raise the tongue jack up high enough to take most of the tension out of the chains. If you don't take the tension off the bar it can snap down with enough force to cause some serious injury. Their is a lot of tension on those chains and many people do not give it enough respect. I recently bought a bar-type weight distribution hitch and I like it much more than the chain-type. The chains (or the bars) lost their ability to keep the truck and trailer level and required that I tighten them more and more. Make sure that the hitch you have is rated for the weight that you are pulling. A lot of people, and I have seen this first hand, just slap whatever they can find onto their trailers and go. I am amazed that some of the set-ups I see make it to the campground in one piece. I find that the round tubes do a better job than the flat bars do. I hope that this information is helpful. Good luck!
Mar 31 2006, 06:34 AM
Sorry, to answer the question about the front of the trailer riding too high. If you do have the hitch adjusted as low as possible and the trailer still rides high than your hitch is too high. I would look at other brands of weight distribution hitches or perhaps the company that made yours offers different size hitches. It is important that the truck and trailer are level when sitting still to properly distribute the weight of the trailer. It can cause premature wear or even failure of your rear suspension, unless your truck is designed to tow much more weight than your trailer. If you are at or near the limits of your truck than it is even more important to have the correct equipment. HAPPY CAMPING!
Mar 31 2006, 08:09 AM
I know that my truck can handle the trailer i have but when i kept hearing "your doing it wrong" I went to the nearest dealer and they agreed with the way i was told by the guy I bought mine from, I can say that this hitch setup is the way to go. And YES you do need to watch out for the bars when unhooking them as My mom in law found that out years ago by being too close when they were un hooking lucky for her she didn't break anything................the way you explained it is how i do it. I'm just not good at explaining things sometimes...lol...Have a safe and Happy Camping season