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Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:39 pm
by EasyDoesIt
When traveling down washboard rutted potholed sand dune dirt roads, how many of you are disconnecting your WDH?

Most of the camping I do is boondocking and we travel anywhere from 2 to 30 miles off road. Some roads are nicely graded dirt others rutted & unmaintained some not even roads at all.

1st question is, outside of some gnarly articulating trails that campers don't belong on, do you disconnect your WDH?

2nd question is, do you figure it jars the camper more or less when offroading with a WDH connected? As in is my camper more or less likely to fall apart with WDH connected off-road?

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:41 pm
by Reloaderguy
There isn't a single WD hitch on the market that is rated for travel on unimproved roads. Yes, wash boards while hooked up is hard on your trailer.

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:26 pm
by TankerZak
Good question. I wouldn't think it would matter. Your essentially just transfering weight on the TV axles anyway. Honestly i can't. I have to have WDH or 50lbs+ in my airbags to keep the PW of squatting terribly.

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:19 pm
by DamageWagon
Running a WD hitch on rough roads is a fast way to rip the WD brackets off or snap a load bar! You’re putting a ton of force into that system whenever the truck and trailer are shoved into being not level to the same plane.

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:50 pm
by olyelr
DamageWagon wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:19 pm
Running a WD hitch on rough roads is a fast way to rip the WD brackets off or snap a load bar! You’re putting a ton of force into that system whenever the truck and trailer are shoved into being not level to the same plane.
Exactly.

Think about what happens if your truck starts going up a steep incline, but your trailer doesnt... thats right, either your bars are going to snap in half, or the mounts on the trailer will break. They can only flex so far.

My gosh, half of the guys on the trailer trailer forums religiously take the bars off before they will even maneuver into their campsite :roll:

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:07 pm
by TankerZak
Meh... if they break they break. I take 'em off because they bind up and store a lot of force if the trailer isn't level. I mean for minor washboards its fine. I wouldn't take my trailer on anything more than a slightly uneven dirt road with some ripple washboards. That isn't going to do anything.

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:17 pm
by Reloaderguy
DamageWagon wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:19 pm
Running a WD hitch on rough roads is a fast way to rip the WD brackets off or snap a load bar! You’re putting a ton of force into that system whenever the truck and trailer are shoved into being not level to the same plane.
The bars most commonly bend before they break.

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:20 pm
by Reloaderguy
What system do you have?

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:11 pm
by BoldAdventure
olyelr wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:50 pm

Think about what happens if your truck starts going up a steep incline, but your trailer doesnt... thats right, either your bars are going to snap in half, or the mounts on the trailer will break. They can only flex so far.

My gosh, half of the guys on the trailer trailer forums religiously take the bars off before they will even maneuver into their campsite :roll:
I actually broke a cam on my Reese system back in 2015 in Montana. In a campground of all places. There was incline that went up and then and banked to a flat top. The angle anyways was too much force and SNAP it went.

Ever since then, we unhitch the WD bars whenever offroad. Hell, I do it before putting the camper in the driveway or backing into developed campsites because it makes it easier to maneuver the trailer.

You might sag, you might drag the chains, but it will actually just be better all the way around.

I just dragged the Airstream up a muddy ass hill today and the Airstream was going one way while the truck went another.

IMG_4094.jpg

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:57 am
by olyelr
Yea, articulation is certainly very hard on wd hitches thats for sure. I have the Equal-i-zer setup, and while I do like the setup a lot, it can be very noisy and annoying when turning. I sometimes take it off in campgrounds or around my house just so I dont have to have it creaking and cracking.

Man, I have drug our TT down some long, rutted muddy dirt roads in the past. But I swear, if i did that all the time it would probably just fall apart :lol:

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:54 pm
by TwinStick
As stated, they are not designed for off road travel---at all. That being said, some designs allow more "give" than others. I really like the design i have but you don't see them around much anymore.

https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distrib ... 66130.html

This is very similar to what i have. Only difference is the sway control bars. Mine is a bar with a hoop over where the trunion bar rests & chain is hooked to top of hoop. The bars on mine can NOT come off to either side because of the hoop.

A little trick I have used is: when running on the highway, I wipe off the grease on trunion bar & where it rests on the sway control bar. If off road, I remove & put some grease on both, so it slides easier & don't make all that noise. But they are NOT designed for anything other than straight line towing. For climbing hills or going down them or over inclines, you should remove them. So air bags or helper springs (in my case) should also be used. Mine squats with just a 3500 lb camper that is "supposed" to have a 350 lb tongue weight......that is WITH the Hellwig Load Pro 1 ton, 4-leaf helper springs. I could certainly crank/tighten the u-bolts more, to get more weight carrying levelness, but then the ride would be worse than it already is. It rides just slightly less than level when all hooked up. No one else can notice but i have a good eye for that stuff. A level has confirmed that it is about 1/2"-3/4" below level (which really isn't bad at all).

To tow effectively with any off road orientated vehicle is gonna take some suspension mods. Kinda just a fact of life. On that note...........I FINALLY found a ZR2 Diesel CC around me. I drove it today. I really liked it a lot. Had 3600 miles on it from Dealer's owners daughter driving it through the winter. Wrong color for us but they said they really wanted to deal. They are going to fix the tire that was going flat & said I can pick it up Monday, with a full tank of fuel & a full def tank, bring it home, hook it up to my camper & see how it tows it & keep it for a couple days. I told him it would take a full day to change my hitch over to make it fit this truck. They said cool-see you Monday.

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:01 am
by TankerZak
I have a buddy at work that has a ZR2. It's nice. Not enough towing capacity, and no sun roof kills it for me. Neat little truck though, bed is also too small. So much coming in the midsize market. New Jeep Truck, new Ram midsize truck, new Ford Ranger, new Ford Bronco.

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:11 am
by BoldAdventure
TwinStick wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:54 pm


https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distrib ... 66130.html

This is very similar to what i have. Only difference is the sway control bars. Mine is a bar with a hoop over where the trunion bar rests & chain is hooked to top of hoop. The bars on mine can NOT come off to either side because of the hoop.

That's the setup I have.

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:29 pm
by TwinStick
BoldAdventure wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:11 am
TwinStick wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:54 pm


https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distrib ... 66130.html

This is very similar to what i have. Only difference is the sway control bars. Mine is a bar with a hoop over where the trunion bar rests & chain is hooked to top of hoop. The bars on mine can NOT come off to either side because of the hoop.

That's the setup I have.
Yup, it's a GREAT set up.......especially on a 3500 lb camper. Ours is rated at 12,000 lbs, it's the one we had on our toy hauler. With new camper I really don't get any movement at all.....only from the old style-not very aero-dynamic semi-trucks passing me at a VERY fast pace. Then I get the push & the suck, as they go by, but no sway at all. :rockon:

Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 pm
by laramieskibum
I have cracked the square tubing and one of the welds on my equalizer hitch head doing this too much. I now 100% disconnect the bars on dirt roads or high articulation situations. Do it or you will regret it eventually. Mine was hard to notice but could have been really bad if a bar came flying off at speed for people around me or the trailer.

Much less stress on the camper too and better ride for passengers.

I run my Nash 25C hard. Hard enough all 2 of 4 leaf springs failed once at normal speed on a dirt road, floating the rear axle...

I have photos somewher.

Edit here is one. Hard to see but both square tubes were cracked bad and the hitch head had a nasty crack in a weld.:

Image
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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:39 pm
by Reloaderguy
laramieskibum wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 pm
I have cracked the square tubing and one of the welds on my equalizer hitch head doing this too much. I now 100% disconnect the bars on dirt roads or high articulation situations. Do it or you will regret it eventually. Mine was hard to notice but could have been really bad if a bar came flying off at speed for people around me or the trailer.

Much less stress on the camper too and better ride for passengers.

I run my Nash 25C hard. Hard enough all 2 of 4 leaf springs failed once at normal speed on a dirt road, floating the rear axle...

I have photos somewher.

Edit here is one. Hard to see but both square tubes were cracked bad and the hitch head had a nasty crack in a weld.:

Image
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Is that the spring bar trunion in an E4 head?

Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:26 am
by TommyG
BoldAdventure wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:11 am
TwinStick wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:54 pm


https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distrib ... 66130.html

This is very similar to what i have. Only difference is the sway control bars. Mine is a bar with a hoop over where the trunion bar rests & chain is hooked to top of hoop. The bars on mine can NOT come off to either side because of the hoop.

That's the setup I have.
We run that setup too. I am amazed how nice it makes the trailer follow.

Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:59 pm
by laramieskibum
Reloaderguy wrote:
laramieskibum wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 pm
I have cracked the square tubing and one of the welds on my equalizer hitch head doing this too much. I now 100% disconnect the bars on dirt roads or high articulation situations. Do it or you will regret it eventually. Mine was hard to notice but could have been really bad if a bar came flying off at speed for people around me or the trailer.

Much less stress on the camper too and better ride for passengers.

I run my Nash 25C hard. Hard enough all 2 of 4 leaf springs failed once at normal speed on a dirt road, floating the rear axle...

I have photos somewher.

Edit here is one. Hard to see but both square tubes were cracked bad and the hitch head had a nasty crack in a weld.:

Image
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Is that the spring bar trunion in an E4 head?
e4 head. Forgot to mention the true root cause i came up with: ball shank was too long as well as not taking bars off in off road or tight turn situations:

https://forum.aev-conversions.com/foru ... ild/page19

Both square stocks cracked in multiple places completely through the square stock. Thousands of miles on this hitch. Much dirt road. Several severe off camber situations such as pulling off main dirt roads into campsites and such. Look at the wear on the head and threads:

Image

Trailer now upgraded with slightly heavier duty leaf springs and mor/ryde greasable bolts and sre4000 suspension. Gave it a lift ontop of a smoother ride. How reliable it is remains to be seen.

Changing all 4 leaf springs on the side of the road during the first weekend of elk season by myself with every jack I could find sucked and was a total PITA. I was in 4x4 low second gear creeping along when they busted. Was just easing the trailer over some nasty washed out forest service road (private section that the owners refuse to allow maintenance to be done on but public is allowed access through it for forest access).
Image
Love bars over chain for the ground clearance. Never an issue around town. Off road I always disconnect as soon as I hit dirt and even some very rough county paved ranch roads.

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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:24 pm
by olyelr
Jeeez where ya been wapiti hunter!? Aint seen ya around these parts in a while!

I have that same hitch and have enjoyed it for 4 seasons now. But rarely get off road with it.

Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:05 pm
by laramieskibum
olyelr wrote:Jeeez where ya been wapiti hunter!? Aint seen ya around these parts in a while!

I have that same hitch and have enjoyed it for 4 seasons now. But rarely get off road with it.
Aev forum dead, power wagon forum didn’t perk my interest lately until I saw the ABS kill switch (been working on my own version of that but not much time) so I’m grabbing one of those and saw the forum topic sorting had changed so I thought I’d contribute a bit, CF is just annoying. Only visit it when I’m searching for troubleshooting or recall info...expeditionforum is where I spend most my time these days. That and ski forums. Lurking.

My hitch is off-road on every trip for a minimum of 10 miles, maximum of 35miles off road one way. Remainder of the trip is 50-100miles paved but with typical western high cross winds. Love it for that. 30-40mph cross wind? No sweat. Just keep the bolts torqued and change the hardware every few years (specifically the aluminum L brackets), and grease the friction surface where the square bars are...

Got the truck good and buried 4x this weekend chasing elk...1 late season cow down, 2 to go. One stuck was due to my lazy butt not pulling the ABS fuse and assuming 4x4 high with lockers locked would be ok...all is fine until the truck slips sideways then the throttle dies (traction control off but ESC got me)...spent the rest of the weekend in 4x4 low and 15psi in the tires to prevent that but smashing drifts in 4th gear doesn’t leave much room for wheel speeds high or low :-)...so got stuck on the 4” crust that has developed above 1-3’ drifts here...almost always when heading down hill, breaking trail up hill is no big deal but down hill that damn intercooler is like an anchor.


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Re: Weight Distribution Hitch Offroad

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:28 am
by Reloaderguy
laramieskibum wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:59 pm
Reloaderguy wrote:
laramieskibum wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:39 pm
I have cracked the square tubing and one of the welds on my equalizer hitch head doing this too much. I now 100% disconnect the bars on dirt roads or high articulation situations. Do it or you will regret it eventually. Mine was hard to notice but could have been really bad if a bar came flying off at speed for people around me or the trailer.

Much less stress on the camper too and better ride for passengers.

I run my Nash 25C hard. Hard enough all 2 of 4 leaf springs failed once at normal speed on a dirt road, floating the rear axle...

I have photos somewher.

Edit here is one. Hard to see but both square tubes were cracked bad and the hitch head had a nasty crack in a weld.:

Image
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Is that the spring bar trunion in an E4 head?
e4 head. Forgot to mention the true root cause i came up with: ball shank was too long as well as not taking bars off in off road or tight turn situations:

https://forum.aev-conversions.com/foru ... ild/page19

Both square stocks cracked in multiple places completely through the square stock. Thousands of miles on this hitch. Much dirt road. Several severe off camber situations such as pulling off main dirt roads into campsites and such. Look at the wear on the head and threads:

Image

Trailer now upgraded with slightly heavier duty leaf springs and mor/ryde greasable bolts and sre4000 suspension. Gave it a lift ontop of a smoother ride. How reliable it is remains to be seen.

Changing all 4 leaf springs on the side of the road during the first weekend of elk season by myself with every jack I could find sucked and was a total PITA. I was in 4x4 low second gear creeping along when they busted. Was just easing the trailer over some nasty washed out forest service road (private section that the owners refuse to allow maintenance to be done on but public is allowed access through it for forest access).
Image
Love bars over chain for the ground clearance. Never an issue around town. Off road I always disconnect as soon as I hit dirt and even some very rough county paved ranch roads.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I've seen that type of failure before. If you need ground clearance take a look at the Recurve R6. It works on the same principle as the Reese Straight Line but doesn't hang down below the frame rails.