weight distribution choice for a 7K dump trailer & factory F-150 hitch
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    nikdfish's Avatar
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    weight distribution choice for a 7K dump trailer & factory F-150 hitch

    The factory tow hitch on our 2008 Ford F-150 needs weight distribution for TW > 500 lb. and/or towing > 5000 lb. With WD, it is rated for 1000 lb. TW & 10,000 lb. towed. We have stayed under the WD requirement limit with our 7k aluminum car hauler when moving our small tractors, but recently bought a 7K dual axle dump trailer & now want to add weight distribution to handle it's fully loaded weight potential. With an additional set of brackets, we can also increase the car hauler capacity.

    Empty tongue weight on the dumper is 384 lb. & the unloaded weight is about 2200 lb. I want to accommodate a full load approaching 7000 lb. when moving gravel/top soil. I am looking at the Curt 17001 and Curt 17002 round bar weight distribution kits as a couple of economical (~ $210) possibilities. The 17001 has a tongue weight range of 600 - 800 lb w/8000 lb towed max, the 17002 has a tongue weight range of 800 - l000 lb. w/10,000 towed max (matching the factory hitch max WD limits).

    I am leaning toward the 17002 as the top end TW seems more appropriate with the potential TW of 15% x 7000 lb being 1000 lb. I have not actually loaded the trailer to a max load & measured the TW (because that would be beyond the factory limits without WD) so I really don't know what it will be. I expect there will be numerous occasions when I am using the dump trailer with a tongue weight only modestly over the 500 lb. limit, i.e. in the 500 - 600 lb range, like when carrying lighter materials like cut timber, etc. but still need to have WD in place. Should I go for the higher limit, just in case, even though those times will be few & far between?

    Nick
    Last edited by nikdfish; 05-24-2018 at 09:27 PM.
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    Similar situation

    I have a similar situation but haven't done the WD hitch yet. One thing to check is the allowable GVW of vehicle and towing. I actually run out of that before hitting a tongue weight limit on my 2006 Silverado. It's somewhat axle ratio dependent so you may not have the same issue.

    Ultimately, I need a bigger truck. . .

    Treefarmer
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    I'd stick with the Curt 17001.

    Here's my thinking:

    Both your trailers are rated for 7K. The standard advice for WD hitches is to play a game of "The Price is Right". You want a hitch that comes as close to the weight rating of your trailer without going over.

    If you start going over, the tongue weight on the actual tow hitch will be lighter than it should be. The idea of the WD hitch is to unload some of the trailer's tongue weight onto the axle of the tow vehicle. But you don't want to unload too much of it. If you go with a 10K WD hitch, you are unloading more tongue weight than you need or want to.
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    they have a good video here explaining the hitch

    https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Dist...rt/C17002.html
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    Personally, I think I may end up with a custom, low-side, 18' tandem axle dump trailer. Unlike cars, it doesn't cost too much extra to have a trailer custom-ordered. Then I can haul my tractor around in it, too.


    On the actual topic of WD hitches, just take it easy towing those around, your F150 wasn't really designed for towing that kind of weight.
    Last edited by firemachine69; 05-25-2018 at 07:31 AM.
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    I have been posting a bit on this topic lately.

    So you have a Class III hitch on the truck. One option that I don't know that you considered is upgrading the hitch on the truck. Just want to mention it first as it is an option.

    Double check the application as I quickly looked it up.

    https://www.curtmfg.com/part/14055

    Here it is on Amazon for a price check on this option.

    https://www.amazon.com/CURT-14055-Cl.../dp/B001NJDKT0

    It will increase your carrying tongue weight to 1000# from 500# that you have now. With a WD hitch you can go to 1200#.

    What it won't do is level out the truck. This is a nice option when you are just a little over the 500 and are not towing trailers where you want sway control. That is a bigger issue with an enclosed trailer or camper like what I tow. If you get too much sag you can always add air bags to level and you would be good. This is a great option when you have more than one trailer. This is because the hitch height may be different from one trailer to the next. Also you can't easily move the chain hangers from trailer to trailer. Well you can but it will get old real quick and you will buy at least another set of hangers.

    The WD hitch option.

    The nice thing about this is that your truck is older so I don't know where you are at in the how much longer do I keep it game. Going with the above option means you start over if you get a new truck. That is what is nice about the WD hitch option is it can follow you to a new vehicle. You still have the setup process but you don't have to reinvest.

    As for the rating of the hitch should you opt to go WD hitch. The biggest difference between the ratings is the stiffness of the bars. I use a Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch. This is more for campers and are pretty expensive but they provide really good sway control for our camper. If I want to go from a 1000# rating to 1500# rating, I just swap out the bars. So that is an option for you. While you can go with a higher rating you don't really want to. In fact going too strong and you can cause damage to the trailer or the truck. If you are towing a trailer with 550# tongue weight with a WD hitch rated for 1500# with the bars locked down, you can easily damage the frame of the trailer or the truck. Things can't move like they should and you will start tweaking things.

    One very popular brand is Equal-i-zer. I don't know that I would recommend something like that for your use. You didn't mention them but I am mentioning this because if you start looking at reviews you will see them and they will be rated pretty high and they are not too bad of a price point. A little more than a Curt but less than my Blue Ox. They are great hitches but the problem in your use case is your load is constantly changing. They are more designed for the campers where the weight is pretty consistent. It takes a lot of work to dial them in. Once done they are great but it isn't worth the work. Go with a chain based system like the Curt you are looking at or Draw-Tite is another brand. We had a Draw-Tite with our old camper. It was much smaller than our current one though.

    I was helping another member here with numbers on his dump trailer. The problem he ran into is the A frame of the trailer is made from I Beams and he has a tool box welded on there so it was impossible to put the chain hangers on there. I recommended he have plates welded to the trailer and once the positioning of the chain hangers worked out, cut them so they fit the tongue and weld them on as well. There are a couple options that bolt on. For instance Blue Ox makes one but it can get expensive. For reference my hangers mount to the A Frame about 28" back from where the ball sits in the coupler. They will all be a little different but that gives you a ball park. The 28" is the middle of the hanger and the hangers are 6" or so long. So they take up space from about the 25-31" range back from the ball.

    We are off camping over the weekend but let me know if you have any other questions and I can help out.
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    For tongue weights the rule of thumb is 10-15% of the weight of the loaded trailer. With a camper I like being in the 13-15% range because it is hard to adjust the load. There are times (like this weekend) where we are camping somewhere that we can't dump the black and grey tanks. We have to drive about 7 miles to the county fair grounds that has a place to dump campers. Black and Grey tanks in travel trailers are almost always in the back of the camper. Having these tanks full means you are shedding a lot of tongue weight. If I ran it at 10% I could easily get in trouble and it isn't exactly easy to shift weight. Also with the tall sides you catch wind easier which adds to the concern.

    With a car trailer or dump trailer is is easy to tell them to load the gravel toward the front. Every place I have gone with mine do that anyhow unless you have some new highs school kid running the machine. If you have a car or tractor, just loosen the straps and pull it a foot or so forward to add more tongue weight.

    The biggest thing you are going to have to watch is what your cargo capacity is. The first thing most 1/2 ton trucks run out of is hitch capacity. Once you address that with a WD hitch or upgraded Class IV hitch. Then you run out of cargo capacity. If you have a topper or anything else that is aftermarket or dealer installed, that also eats into that cargo capacity. It is easy to run a heavy trailer and then fill the bed of the truck with all kinds of stuff. You are going to be way over the limits doing that.
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    nikdfish's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments. One of the reasons I have been looking at the Curt line is because they offer an inexpensive bolt-on chain hook plate option (~$34). The dumper battery/pump box placement makes use of the regular tip-up chain hooks unlikely.

    I mentioned the current hitch being a factory tow configuration because factory hitch replacement is not simple - the bumper mounts to the factory hitch so removing the hitch also removes the bumper.

    Regarding the stiffer bar setup, wouldn't backing off a link or two on the chain reduce the degree of weight distribution enough to avoid potential damage or a jolting ride? My understanding (from videos & articles) is that I would be adjusting the hitch to have the truck rear "squat" a half inch or so lower than the unloaded height when the trailer is fully lowered onto the ball. If I don't see that deflection, I would need to modify the suspended chain link count (or hitch head adjustment) until I see it.

    I am thinking I probably need to go with one that can accommodate the dump trailer worst case scenario, where I run into a 1000 lb. tongue weight (i.e. 15% of a 7K total).
    Last edited by nikdfish; 05-25-2018 at 09:41 AM.
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    sennister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikdfish View Post
    Thanks for the comments. One of the reasons I have been looking at the Curt line is because they offer an inexpensive bolt-on chain hook plate option (~$34). The dumper battery/pump box placement makes use of the regular tip-up chain hooks unlikely.
    That is the exact problem that the other member had. The one thing I don't get though is how do you hook a chain to a hook? I tried finding a video or something to show the process but couldn't find anything. With the flip up style or the cam style that Blue Ox uses, you still lift up on the back of the truck as much as you can to make it easier to flip up. Granted I am running close to 1000# of TW. It isn't a big deal because my camper has a power tongue jack. Even doing that it is still hard to flip up or rotate the cam mechanism. The hooks work I guess but maybe someone will chime in on how you actually hook the chains on there to do any good. My experience is with campers. Maybe hook up stuff before the trailer is loaded.

    I mentioned the current hitch being a factory tow configuration because factory hitch replacement is not simple - the bumper mounts to the factory hitch so removing the hitch also removes the bumper.
    Fair enough, I just wanted to make sure you knew it was an option. There are pros and cons as I kind of mentioned. I replaced the hitch on my Avalanche years ago and it was 6-8 bolts and I had to change up how the trailer harness mounted. It wasn't a big deal. Our Yukon Denali has the hitch integrated into the frame and bumper. No upgrade option.

    Regarding the stiffer bar setup, wouldn't backing off a link or two on the chain reduce the degree of weight distribution enough to avoid potential damage or a jolting ride? My understanding (from videos & articles) is that I would be adjusting the hitch to have the truck rear "squat" a half inch or so lower than the unloaded height when the trailer is fully lowered onto the ball. If I don't see that deflection, I would need to modify the suspended chain link count (or hitch head adjustment) until I see it.

    I am thinking I probably need to go with one that can accommodate the dump trailer worst case scenario, where I run into a 1000 lb. tongue weight (i.e. 15% of a 7K total).
    Yes and no. Trying to think of a good way of explaining this. You don't really look at the rear squat as much as the front fender measurement. The bars are there to shift weight back to the steering axle which in turn unloads the rear axle. Without it you would exceed the rear axle limits. Also most your braking effort is front and that one thing called steering which comes in handy every now and then...

    So a better way of looking at it is you want to measure from a point in your front fender with no load. Then hookup and load the trailer. You are adjusting your chain links to return your front fender measurement back to what it was before the load or within 0.5-0.75". You want to get it pretty close. If you had a 1 ton with a big heavy diesel engine it is less of a concern that some of the newer 1/2 ton trucks that have aluminum block V6 engines. They just don't have much nose weight. This gets back into I don't know how those chain hangers work. If you are trying to figure out how many chain links you are dropping it takes trial and error. You really need to be able to snap them up. Even it you went with the weakest spring bars (hitch rated for the least load) there is no way you would be able to just lift up on it and get it on one of those hooks. Maybe I am a girly man though. I am assuming you are talking of a chain hanger like this.

    https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...rt/C17005.html

    Now getting back to backing off a link to lessen the lift and using stronger bars. I would mainly caution you about going too overboard. The number of links is really spring preload. The rating of the bars determines the strength of the spring bar. Think of it like putting 1 ton springs on your 1/2 ton truck. It is going to ride like crap unless you have the weight behind it to allow the spring to flex. If you go too overboard it is pretty much like welding that trailer to the back of the truck where it can't flex up and down at all. This is where damage can come in as the frames are not designed to take that much load. I have seen where people bend the A frame on the trailer because they have a really small camper and picked up a 1500# rated WD hitch off Craigslist for cheap. They just knew they needed a WD hitch and didn't understand how to set them up or what the ratings mean. They just saw a good deal. Realistically going one size higher probably won't be an issue. Using the example of your dump trailer. Well empty you have under 500# so drive to the gravel pit with no bars. Then put the bars on when you get there and have them load the trailer for the trip home. That would be an example of how you could very easily get by with a WD hitch rated for 1000#. On the trip out there the spring bars would be way too heavy and cause an issue but you were not over the limits of the hitch anyhow so who cares. You are right you have a bit of fudge factor with chain system of being able to drop a link or two. This is what I do. This weekend when we go out we are dry camping. I have a generator that I mount to the A Frame. This adds tongue weight so I need another link. If we go somewhere with full hookups I don't need it so it isn't on the camper so I back off a link. This is why we went with the Blue Ox Sway Pro over the Equil-i-zer. It is a great hitch once dialed in but doesn't adjust to load changes as easily. You want to stay within reason though. Bottom line a bars with a rating that falls within the TW is going to provide a better ride. If you have to be outside of the box, it is probably better to go over but don't go way over. Your ride will suffer but if it is a short ride and your spring bars are one category higher rating than the load you have, you will be fine. I doubt you will break anything. I just wanted to point that out that it isn't recommended. You have some wiggle room with the links but they are not designed to offset all that much. Just fine tuning.

    If you go with those chain hangers that I mentioned above I would be interested in seeing how they work. I don't know how you get them hooked up or more importantly unhooked. Maybe with weaker spring bars they would work but I don't know that I would use them with 1000# TW. The amount of preload needed is going to be a bear. That is why I mentioned them to the other member when we had this discussion but I had the same warnings. For him he has the same issue with the box but I think he has a little bit of a lip. If the top of the I beam is 2" maybe there was 1" to work with so I think he is going to use the flip up style and cut off the part that hooks over the top of the A Frame but leave as much of a lip as possible. So they look like an upside down L. Then once positioning is worked out, weld a plate to the I beam and weld the flip up chain hangers to that. It should work fine.

    Hope this helps.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

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    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    sennister's Avatar
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    Oh and while I mentioned a link to Amazon before. I am really happy with Etrailer.com. They are great to work with. I just posted that for the hitch to get an idea of the price if you replaced the hitch on the truck as the MSRP on Curt was going to be higher than that on Amazon or ETrailer.

    I bought my Blue Ox from Etrailer and it turns out it was out of stock. I ordered it on a Sunday afternoon. I got an email that evening that they didn't have it and they were drop shipping it direct from Blue Ox. I was shocked to get a response so quick late on a weekend. I didn't even ask for rush shipping or anything.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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