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Old 04-28-2018, 05:48 AM   #1
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Ladies: How easy/difficult to handle is your hitch setup?

I have a Sunline T1950 that i am towing with a 2003 Chevy Tahoe. I am proficient and capable of doing what needs to be done to crank, lower, backup and hitch with the ball hitch setup that every camper/tow vehicle comes with.

Now, I am considering a weight distribution hitch. It is sounding like they are going to require a little more strength to carry, install, crank, tension, etc. than a regular simple ball hitch setup.

I have decided to do my first run with the RV without the weight distribution hitch and see how it goes. I figure if my 2014 Jeep Latitude could handle it (barely), the Tahoe will do better and I will be taking all back roads on this trip, no highway which is where I usually run into issues.

My question is, ladies, are any of you using weight distribution hitches or sway control devices? Are they kind of big, heavy and unwieldly to handle for you?

I am in good shape, smaller frame 5'4", but my upper body capabilities (arms, neck, shoulders) have good days and bad days since a bad fall I had a few years back. I can handle a lot on good days. But the bad days, my strength is very limited. Unfortunately, the bad days can be 25% of my days. I am worried that if I get a weight distribution hitch, that I might not be able to handle hitching/unhitching on a bad day.

Thoughts, ideas, experiences, suggestions?
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Old 04-28-2018, 06:31 AM   #2
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Although I can't speak from a woman's standpoint, as a senior citizen I don't think you would have a problem. The hitch is heavier, but you can always leave that attached on your tv for an extended time, as long as you remember it's there when backing up or trying to park. Lol. As far as tensioning, jacking the vehicle up while hitched takes the strain off the tensioning bar for easier setting. If you don't currently use a power jack, I heartily recommend getting one. They are not expensive, especially a used one, and are easily installed. One of the best purchases I have made for under $150.
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:30 AM   #3
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I agree, leave the hitch attached. I know mine is very heavy... Buy a locking pin for it. The bars are not difficult. (Another mans perspective)
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Old 04-28-2018, 04:24 PM   #4
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I'm 5'4" and small frame also. There's no way I'd be able to lift the hitch head without a struggle. And you probably wouldn't want to and take the chance of hurting your back. I agree with the guys, just leave it on. The bars aren't bad, and if you have the electric tongue jack you can adjust the tongue height to make putting the bars on easier.
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Old 04-29-2018, 01:05 PM   #5
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Ok, from a senior guys prospective....

Hitch will be heavier, but as been said, leave it in on bad days.

Definitely get a power jack.

Bars are no issue with the above power jack.

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Old 04-29-2018, 03:59 PM   #6
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How much would the hitch head stick out from my truck bumper if I left it on? (if I am understanding correctly). I was looking for picture examples. I am guessing the bars would not stay on, correct?
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Old 04-29-2018, 04:59 PM   #7
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Mine sticks out 14". Good protection from tailgaters. Lol. And yes, the bars come off.
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Old 04-29-2018, 05:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketgirl View Post
How much would the hitch head stick out from my truck bumper if I left it on? (if I am understanding correctly). I was looking for picture examples. I am guessing the bars would not stay on, correct?
Here is a Reese hitch head on a Chevy Trailblazer. This is what they call a drop shank setup where the hitch head needs to be lower in height from the ground to get under a low camper. This would be similar on your Tahoe and camper.


Other brands will look similar with exception of the Andersen that is more different. (less bulk) These hitch heads stick out approx 14 to 18 inches from the truck depending on the shank and the brand of hitch.

Yes, the spring bars do come off and stay off until you are ready to hitch up again. You only need to lift one of those bars at a time. They are much more manageable then the WD hitch head and shank.

What folks are talking about needing a power tongue jack on the camper is so you can lift both the truck and the camper when coupled together. You lift the 2 high enough that the chains or other device on the spring bars can be flipped or placed by hand without any strain on the body. Yes, the truck and camper will look sky high, but that it how to do it and not get hurt or strain putting the spring bars on or taking them off. Odds are high you may need a 6" tall block of wood or plastic blocks to put under the tongue jack to be able to go high enough with the jack. As was said, using the power jack makes this so much easier. Once you convert from the hand crank jack to a power jack, you will never go back...

A suggestion if you leave the hitch head in the truck. Place a plastic grocery bag over the part that sticks out and tie it the hitch shank. This will keep the grease and dirt from the hitch in the bag. Then create a more pleasing looking bright colored cover bag with a drawstring to put over the whole thing. This can help "you" see it and hopefully not run into it walking behind the truck or putting something in or out of the truck. The bag can also help cushion a shin hit too. This would be for when you are in the campground. Driving to town with the bag on may blow off going down the road and create problems. Or you create a very good method to attach it to the truck somehow.

Having the hitch head in the truck in the campground is not a problem other then "you" need to watch out for it. If you do go into town, that is where much discussion comes in when this topic comes up, can you drive around with a hitch head in a vehicle not towing?

In some states I have heard it can be declared illegal to do this on the open road. This comes primarily from the insurance industry pushing it as a rear collision creates a lot more damage with a hitch in the truck. Try can check in the states you plan to go to so you at least know. Then there is the chance other people not looking can walk into it in a parking lot. Yes, they walked into but this creates a not good situation with someone getting hurt on your vehicle. You can often see people with a hitch sticking out of a pickup truck in the parking lot. I see it all the time right or wrong. Many are the shorter non weight distributing draw bars some are actual WD hitches. I myself do not do it as I would be the one walking into more than likely. And if someone hits me hard enough in a rear end collision, it has been shown it can bend the truck frame.

Maybe this is where the little cart comes in handy if you have to remove the hitch from the truck. Slide it out onto the cart and then slide it back in the truck when needed. It removes the need to lift it from the ground up and back down.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 04-29-2018, 08:33 PM   #9
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When we bought our 2363, I told my husband that we would share the hooking-up duties. I don’t have a whole lot of upper body strength and can handle the tow bars easily. Especially since we raise up the tongue so that there’s less tension on the bars when we take them off. That’s facilitated by our electric tongue jack which we bought four years ago and which I ❤️. Our hitch head is heavy and, while I can handle it, that’s generally one of my husband’s duties. We leave the hitch head in while we’re on camping trips but not in between. JohnB’s suggestions on covering the hitch head are good as colliding with the hitch is painful, ask me how I know!
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Old 04-30-2018, 10:54 PM   #10
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I have never used any sway control with my T-1950 but I have a Diesel truck
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:44 AM   #11
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All good info, thank you all! I feel a little the wheel base difference between the Tahoe (116) and the Dodge Ram 1500 (154), and most likely mass too. The Tahoe is closer to my 2014 Jeep Latitude, where wheel base is concerned, but I am sure the Tahoe is heavier with a bigger, stronger engine.

I used to have a hitch mount bike rack that I left on my Jeep. It stuck out like a pair of rams horns. I put bright orange tape around it. It was hilarious!!! No one tailgated me, ever! It really makes no sense, it appears that tailgaters are less concerned about hitting you, as long as it does not do much damage to their own car. To heck with the whiplash!
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