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Old 06-10-2009, 09:30 AM   #1
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Weight Distributing Hitch Guidance...

With around 5k miles on the trailer in the last 3 months I'm considering moving from just a sway stabilizing hitch to a Weight Distributing hitch. We have a T-2199 that we pull with an 05 Toyota Tundra. The towing is actually really good and we get minimal sway even when a Semi cruises by at 65+. The biggest reason that I am looking at a different hitch is to remove the sag at the hitch. That said the price on EQ hitches is pretty steep (especially since we are full-timing on a fixed budget right now) so I wanted to get some recommendation and ask some questions before we invest in this.

First I am wondering if there is any problem with towing without a WD hitch. Does it have any adverse affects on the the TV or trailer?

One of the things I am concerned about is ground clearance at the hitch since we currently scrape occasionally on the foot for the jack and on the skid plates in the back. I know that leveling will reduce the clearance in the back, but from doing some basic math it seems like the ground clearance will also be reduced with the WD bars hanging down below the frame.

I measured the ground clearance under the foot with the rig loaded and hitched right now and its 6 3/4". I then leveled the trailer and remeasured to estimate what the jack foot clearance would be with WD. It moves to around 9 3/4", but will likely be lower than that slightly as the truck would squat with the hitch on. Lets call it 8 3/4". The bottom of the trailer frame when sitting level is at 14". The concern I have is that the WD bars seems to hang around 6" below the frame so that would make the ground clearance 8" with it level. Thats 3/4 of an inch less than without the WD hitch.

What I'm getting at is, will this reduce the ground clearance and make us even more likely to skid? This is especially troubling if the skid is happening to the hitch system and not just the jack foot.

I also took some measurements and pictures of the current setup unloaded and loaded.



This is the setup unloaded.

I measured the wheel well heights and hitch ground clearance as follows:
Back Wheel Well - 34 3/4"
Front Wheel Well - 34 1/4"
Top of Ball Mounting Plate - 15 5/8"





This is with the trailer hitched. You can see the slight rise in the front of the truck. Measurements loaded are:
Back Wheel Well - 32 1/2"
Front Wheel Well - 35 3/8"
Top of Ball Mounting Plate - 12 1/8"

I guess some of my questions are these:

1 - Does this setup look like something that needs a WD hitch or am I killing a mosquito with a canon. (trying to determine if the cost is justified)
2 - Has anybody else had problems with Hitch clearance on a WD hitch or has ground clearance improved?
3 - The RV place I talked to was trying to steer me away from Husky hitches since they are "low quality" and they only otherwise sell the Reese HP WD system. Does anybody have good or bad experience with some of the more economical hitch systems? (Husky, Valley or lower end Reese)
4 - How much would you expect to pay for a Reese HP hitch installed? ( was quoted approx $800 for Reese and $540 for the Husky)
5 - How difficult is this to install myself? (Loaded question I know, but I'm pretty handy - recently repacked bearings and did brakes on the trailer)
6 - Does everybody flip their TTs for more ground clearance?

Thanks in advance for any help on this, its a pretty big decision and investment for us right now.

--Tom
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:38 AM   #2
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Tom,

I am very new to trailers but these guys were very supportive in my many towing questions. I settled on the Equal-I-zer hitch.

Here is the thread with some info that may be helpful. I will watch and learn on this thread too!

http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/ph...pic.php?t=3046

I too have been trying to make my budget stretch as there were many accessories to purchase, but for a few extra $$ it put my mind at ease.

Also look online for purchases. Ebay and website prices were very different from the local dealers.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:12 AM   #3
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Tom,

FWIW, I researched hitches extensively before I purchased my 2005 T2299 and settled on the Equal-i-zer 1000/10,000. The dry weight of your Sunline will be very similar to mine. I have not had any regrets what-so-ever about the hitch. It is very easy to install and adjust by yourself and costs $460 ( http://www.rvwholesalers.com/catalog...0-00-1000.html ) Once adjusted it performed without a hitch, LOL! I have been on the highway doing 70 and have been passed by some real big rigs and never once felt insecure or that I was in any trouble. One caveat....the standard confguration Equal-i-zer comes with the 4200 shank. I could not get my T2299 set up properly with this shank and my TV so I swapped it out for the 4300 shank. You might want to visit the Equal-i-zer site and go to their shank selection page to be sure which one is appropriate for your set up.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:33 PM   #4
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Hi Tom

Sorry this took so long. Your post landed on top of a camping trip. See if this helps any.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteigers
With around 5k miles on the trailer in the last 3 months I'm considering moving from just a sway stabilizing hitch to a Weight Distributing hitch. We have a T-2199 that we pull with an 05 Toyota Tundra. The towing is actually really good and we get minimal sway even when a Semi cruises by at 65+. The biggest reason that I am looking at a different hitch is to remove the sag at the hitch. That said the price on EQ hitches is pretty steep (especially since we are full-timing on a fixed budget right now) so I wanted to get some recommendation and ask some questions before we invest in this.
When you say you get minimal sway explain that some. There should be no sway. What do you feel inside the truck and have you noticed the TT doing anything?

I looked up a 2004, T2199. Is that the year you have? I found that on an old post. That model was new in 04 and as such there where no tongue or unloaded GVW weights listed. It is a 5,500# GVWR camper. I also looked up in 2005 and the T2199 was replaced with the T2299 that grew in length as well. What I was after was a dry tongue weight on a dry GVW to see how the TT was built at Sunline.

What I do see it a rear living room area layout, (we like them too! ) and a front pass thru cargo hole for storage. The rear living area campers in any brand load weight towards the front as a normla part of that layout. The kitchen is over the axles but any storage ends up adding a percentage to the tongue. There really is not much storage aft of the TT axle to help offset the tongue so those style campers can have higher tongue weight for there class.

Have you ever weighed the TT and know your loaded tongue weight? This is helpful to know where we are starting from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteigers
First I am wondering if there is any problem with towing without a WD hitch. Does it have any adverse affects on the the TV or trailer?
If the weights are high enough in relation to your TV, yes problems can come from not using a WD hitch. Some are:

1. Light front end on the TV. The TV can be more susceptible to sway effects with a lighter then normal front end.
2. Steering geometry can be affected and if you tow a lot, front end suspension can wear at a faster rate then normal. The TV makers generally optimize the steering on a normal weight front end as that is the way it rides around a large percentage of the time.
3. You can actually overload the rear axle rating and may not be realizing it.
4. Your TV receiver could be in an overloaded condition pending your actual loaded tongue weight. Many OEM receivers are rated very low in weigth carrying mode (no WD hitch). They gain hitch holding and towing ratings when a WD hitch is used.

Do you know the actual weigth carrying and weight distributing ratings for your receiver? Many have a sticker on the reciever; some are in the truck manual. You will need to know that rating when buying a WD hitch or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteigers
One of the things I am concerned about is ground clearance at the hitch since we currently scrape occasionally on the foot for the jack and on the skid plates in the back. I know that leveling will reduce the clearance in the back, but from doing some basic math it seems like the ground clearance will also be reduced with the WD bars hanging down below the frame.

I measured the ground clearance under the foot with the rig loaded and hitched right now and its 6 3/4". I then leveled the trailer and remeasured to estimate what the jack foot clearance would be with WD. It moves to around 9 3/4", but will likely be lower than that slightly as the truck would squat with the hitch on. Lets call it 8 3/4". The bottom of the trailer frame when sitting level is at 14". The concern I have is that the WD bars seems to hang around 6" below the frame so that would make the ground clearance 8" with it level. Thats 3/4 of an inch less than without the WD hitch.

What I'm getting at is, will this reduce the ground clearance and make us even more likely to skid? This is especially troubling if the skid is happening to the hitch system and not just the jack foot.
You have done some good homework. However a few things to add. When a WD hitch is installed the desired intent is to tow the TT level. Next is slight nose down. I’m assuming you have a 4” TT frame. Tell me if I am wrong.

4” frame, and you said 14” to bottom of frame to ground. Knowing Sunline, the ball coupler is on top of the frame. So your ball height sounds like about 18”. This is common. See here on my T2499 that had a 18 ˝” ball height. This was with a Reese Dual cam. And this is on a 5” frame.





The jack foot should not be your problem unless you have something different then I am seeing. As you can see I only had 6” ground clearance on the dual cams. I only kissed them twice and I bounced the truck over a pot hole doing it.

You are concerned that the WD bars are 6” below the frame. Well it all depends on the hitch you get. The Equal-I-zer will be higher up and the Reese Trunnion bar hitch as well. Again the with the ball coupler on top, the hitch head is up higher. I do not see the WD hitch hitting like you are thinking. If you get a round bar WD hitch like a Reese, EAZ lift, husky etc then yes they do hang down some more as the WD bars come out of the bottom of the hitch head. The Reese trunnion bar or Equal-I-zer brand the bars come out of the middle of the hitch head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteigers
I also took some measurements and pictures of the current setup unloaded and loaded.
This is the setup unloaded.

I measured the wheel well heights and hitch ground clearance as follows:
Back Wheel Well - 34 3/4"
Front Wheel Well - 34 1/4"
Top of Ball Mounting Plate - 15 5/8"

This is with the trailer hitched. You can see the slight rise in the front of the truck. Measurements loaded are:
Back Wheel Well - 32 1/2"
Front Wheel Well - 35 3/8"
Top of Ball Mounting Plate - 12 1/8"
You have done a good job measuring and we can now help you better.

Your TV front end went from 34 1/4" to 35 3/8”. That is 1 1/8” rise above unhitched. That is a lot in the eyes of towing. You have unloaded a fair amount of front end weight in order to create this.

The TV rear went form 34 3/4" to 32 1/2”. A 2 1/4” drop. Yes this is in line with your 1 1/8” front rise. For TT towing this is a fair amount of rear end drop. 1’ to 1 1/2" pending loads and after WD adjustment is common on the back. The front end will be returned to unhitched height or very close to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteigers
I guess some of my questions are these: I’ll post the answers in blue

1 - Does this setup look like something that needs a WD hitch or am I killing a mosquito with a canon. (trying to determine if the cost is justified)
In my opinion, yes. WD is needed on your towing setup. Even if you just sneaked by on the receiver limits, a WD hitch in combination with a TT attached works on truck bed weight aft of the TV rear axle. We see you have a truck cap. This “generally” means things are inside. How many pounds of weight if aft of the TV rear axle? 100#, 300#? WD is also part of an anti away program. Adding WD helps reduce the effects of sway on a TV as the TV is better loaded to resist the sway.


2 - Has anybody else had problems with Hitch clearance on a WD hitch or has ground clearance improved? Yes hitch clearance can be an issue on Sunline low riders. An 18” ball height is a low rider. However throwing a life line to a fellow Sunline club member can help you in the right WD hitch that does not hang down so far, and is effective as part of a total anti sway program. Some brands hang down more then others. And yes, ground clearance can improve with the use of a WD hitch as the TT is towing level and is not so soggy going over bumps that without WD you could hit

3 - The RV place I talked to was trying to steer me away from Husky hitches since they are "low quality" and they only otherwise sell the Reese HP WD system. Does anybody have good or bad experience with some of the more economical hitch systems? (Husky, Valley or lower end Reese)
All the hitches you described have value. However some have more towing value then others for not a lot more money. The Husky and Valley are the basic WD hitch. There are a lot of them out there. They however do not have anti sway controls as an integral part of the WD hitch.

I’ll come right out and say this. And again this is only my opinion and I’m on the conservative side as towing a TT is a serous matter. You want to get a good hitch, not just one that will get you by. Now this does not have to be the ultra high end hitches but a good quality hitch with integral anti sway controls built in and the rest of your TV seup propelry. The hitch can no do it all by itself. The cost verses effective use if not a great deal more for the safety factor you have gained.


4 - How much would you expect to pay for a Reese HP hitch installed? ( was quoted approx $800 for Reese and $540 for the Husky)
Cost. We first have to size the “right” WD hitch to your TT and TV. We need to know the loaded TT tongue weight and we need to know the TV receiver rating.

Here are 2 options that will serve you well. An Equal-I-zer hitch. This is a 1,000# WD bar hitch with I’m sure may be too heavy for you but it is a price place to start. EQ at RVW $485.81 and it includes tow ball and shank. If you can reuse your old tow ball that is a ~ $25 savings.

Here is a Reese Pro series. This is new to Reese and is not as effective as the Reese DC but is good hitch with integrated sway control. Sway pro on Etrailer $330 plus a ~ $25 tow ball is you cannot use yours. NOTE: This is a 1,100# WD bar system. I used this only for price comparison to the Equa-I-zer.

We have to size the right hitch to your setup. An 800# WD setup may be better suited to your system if your TV receiver can handle it. But again, the needs to be size per scales loads. A commercial truck scale weighing is less then $10.


The Reese DC system in the trunnion bar setup is in the $534 range. Which is very good when setup right. In this case I would picked the Equal-I-zer "IF" the size of the WD hitch works with your truck. They only make a 600# and a 1,000# is the next jump. The Reese has a 800# system that may fit better with your TV setup. Both are good, however in this case my belief is the Equal-Izer is slightly ahead of the Reese sway Pro. The Reese DC is on par to slighlty ahead with the Equal-I-zer in performance.

Note: RV Wholesalers was freight free and Etrailer was $0.99




5 - How difficult is this to install myself? (Loaded question I know, but I'm pretty handy - recently repacked bearings and did brakes on the trailer)
If you repacked your TT bearings which is far more complex then a WD hitch, you can do the WD hitch. And we can help as needed.

6 - Does everybody flip their TTs for more ground clearance? Axle flips are common here on Sunline club. Some cannot get in or out of there driveway without tearing up the camper. In these cases it really is a must. However if you can run with it lower, it does have some advantages. I never flipped my T2499 and in my case, I did not see the need to. But this is beacsue of my situation.

Thanks in advance for any help on this, its a pretty big decision and investment for us right now.

--Tom
Hope this helps. As you can see, the cost if you install it you can get a good quality system and then you understand the hitch in the learning process.

Sorry this was so long winded. I was on a roll. After absorbing this, come back with more questions and we/you need to know your weights before sizing up any WD hitch.

Good luck

John
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:56 AM   #5
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Wow John, good feedback. Long explantions help us newbies!
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:17 AM   #6
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WD hitch

Yeah John....geez....certainly better than "buy an Equal-i-zer, I like it" ... great reply.
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:16 AM   #7
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Thanks to all for the great feedback. As always this forum is an amazing resource and I hope to someday be able to help out in addition to just asking questions.

Based on the comments I had started looking for a WD hitch. I decided to do some poking around the used department since it seems like there are a lot of RV's up for sale and my thinking was that I might get a hitch that was not longer needed. We are currently in Calgary Canada so it was a nice big town to look around in.

I was very fortunate and found a #12000 lb rated Reese Strait-Line hitch system for sale and was able to get it for $350 CAD (around $315 USD). I'm pretty sure that it is a more substantial hitch than I need, but I was pretty set on getting the DC sway control if I was going to go this route. Now to answer some of the questions that JohnB shot out.

1 - There is definitely stuff in the truck bed. I try and load the heavier items to the front of the bed to limit the amount of weight that is behind the axles. I would think I am probably looking at around #150 max behind the axles of the TV.

2 - I don't have any of the weights for the trailer, but it is something that is on my To Do list to get done. I'd like to get the exact tongue weight, but I will probably just start with getting the TV and TT weights. I need to look around for a scale in Calgary. One question on that is, do I need to unhitch the trailer to get accurate weights or can they be weight hooked up.

3 - There was a question about what I mean by sway. In the current setup the trailer does not "sway" when we are towing, I can feel a semi or larger vehicle cruise by and get a push and pull where I can feel the trailer pulling from side to side, but not anything that causes significant steering control.

4 - I'm not sure on the weight specs for the receiver. I'll have to dig through the Toyota manual and crawl around under the truck to see if I can tell.

The real challenge for me now is getting the DC system installed. Since I bought the hitch used I didn't get any of the Reese Manuals with it and I haven't been able to find them on-line anywhere yet. I've been reading through a bunch of forum posts but want to make sure I know where the DC plates go before I drill holes in the trailer frame. I also have to figure out if I'm going to need to remove the friction sway control plate.

I'll follow up this post or start a new one as I get into putting the hitch on and getting it all adjusted.

--Tom
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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One other quick note. We actually get good storage in the back of the trailer since we replaced the stock table and chairs with a couch with storage under it.

http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/ph...pic.php?t=2937

I'm pretty obsessive about trying to keep the trailer balanced so I put some heavy stuff like books and such in the back under the couch. The majority of the stuff is still under the bed for sure, but it helps a little bit.

--Tom
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:08 PM   #9
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If you are still in AB, they have an abundance of unmanned weigh scales beside various highways--Hwy 2 south of Calgary is one. There is no charge for using the scale you just drive on and happy weighing.

The best weight is each axle obtained on a segmented scale. But if the scale has only one platform--and I believe all the free ones are single platform-- just drive forward weighing each axle as you go. There is a digital readout so this is all pretty fast. Ideally you should weigh the truck axles without the trailer and then weigh all axles hitched up so you can see how the weight distribution goes.

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Old 06-19-2009, 09:10 PM   #10
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Tom, Comments in blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteigers

I was very fortunate and found a #12000 lb rated Reese Strait-Line hitch system for sale and was able to get it for $350 CAD (around $315 USD). I'm pretty sure that it is a more substantial hitch than I need, but I was pretty set on getting the DC sway control if I was going to go this route. Now to answer some of the questions that JohnB shot out.

Good for you!!!! Now do you know which hitch you actually obtained? Reese makes many of them that fall into the 1,200# Straight line group and then there is the older and newer hitch heads.

Does it have round or square WD bars?

Any chance of taking and posting a pic of the pile of parts? Then I know exactly what you have. Reese has made many generations over the years



1 - There is definitely stuff in the truck bed. I try and load the heavier items to the front of the bed to limit the amount of weight that is behind the axles. I would think I am probably looking at around #150 max behind the axles of the TV.
OK as we thought. You are like every other camper out there including me…. We need to keep that 150# in mind as the WD hitch will work to try and distribute some of it to the TV front axle and TT axles. Good estimate.

2 - I don't have any of the weights for the trailer, but it is something that is on my To Do list to get done. I'd like to get the exact tongue weight, but I will probably just start with getting the TV and TT weights. I need to look around for a scale in Calgary. One question on that is, do I need to unhitch the trailer to get accurate weights or can they be weight hooked up.
Since you do not have an WD hitch now, 2 sets of weights will tell the story. With a WD hitch you need a 3rd set. See this post. This is not all the weighing but it will give you some more details of where I’m going with this. How to weigh your TV & TT

You need 2 sets of weights. All axle by axle.

1. TV and TT hitched and loaded like you normally drive down the road with all caming stuff, people and full gas tank. TV front axle on one scale, TV rear on 2nd scale and both TT tires on 3rd scale.

2. Go unhitch the camper and then drive the truck back on. TV front axle on one scale, TV rear on 2nd scale.

Since you do not have WD now, your axles weights are truly acting upon the dead weight of the TT tongue.

To get TT tongue weight : subtract the weight of the truck empty from the weight the truck hitched.

To get TT GVW : Add tongue weight from above to the TT axle weight.

Then compare your axle weigths to your axle ratings to see what areas need help.


3 - There was a question about what I mean by sway. In the current setup the trailer does not "sway" when we are towing, I can feel a semi or larger vehicle cruise by and get a push and pull where I can feel the trailer pulling from side to side, but not anything that causes significant steering control.
Thanks. This helps. The push pull of a large semi or bus, the side to side rocking of the entire TV and TT can be normal. If you are having to do steering corrections, you “might” have an amount of what we will call, instability. This is hard to describe unless you have enough of it to do larger steering corrections and it is hard to nail down “large or small” amounts of steering corrections in words. BUT, remember that feel you have now. Once you get the WD hitch on and properly adjusted then compare the feel. If it then gone with WD and other adjustments, well that instability was actually the small onset of sway mixed in with side to side rocking of a larger mass whizzing by you.

4 - I'm not sure on the weight specs for the receiver. I'll have to dig through the Toyota manual and crawl around under the truck to see if I can tell.
Yes this is very important. Since you have 1,200# WD bars and what small amount I have helped other Tundra owners, you could have a 750# WD rated receiver using 1,200# WD bars. If you find yourself in this situation, we need to work on that problem. There have been cases where the TV receiver becomes permanently bent up from WD bars being stronger then the receiver can handle. Each one of those WD bars is a 1,200# spring. And 2 of them are 2,400# of spring force.

The concern comes when the truck drops in a pot hole, dip in a CG, coming out of a high up gas station and the back of the truck quickly drops. A hard backflex is put into the hitch head and the WD bars load up heavy. The TT tongue try’s to lift up first and if it can’t lift enough the heavy back flexing forces of the hitch go right into the pin box of the receiver and issues can come. And there is also those same high force acting on your TT A frame. Since your TT is 5,500# GVWR unit, a 1,200# tongue would be 21.8% tongue weight which the designers may not have put enough beef into the system for.

So now what? Well it first starts with what are the weights of the tongue and rear axle loaded along with the receiver ratings. Once we know them options present themselves.

With your truck, the receiver rating may be all that the TV rear axle can handle. In this case upgrading the receiver to handle more tongue weight is not a solution for this reason.

Next is finding lighter WD bars that fit in your existing hitch. Once we know what exact hitch you have, we can look up part numbers of lighter WD bars. Since you found a complete used hitch, finding lighter WD bars is even more common.

And then there is moving things around in the TT or truck to get the tongue weight, WD bars and receiver to all line up and no overload on the TV rear axle while still maintaining at least 13% TT tongue weight. This is really not that bad to do. Key is to be aware of it and how to compensate for it.


The real challenge for me now is getting the DC system installed. Since I bought the hitch used I didn't get any of the Reese Manuals with it and I haven't been able to find them on-line anywhere yet. I've been reading through a bunch of forum posts but want to make sure I know where the DC plates go before I drill holes in the trailer frame. I also have to figure out if I'm going to need to remove the friction sway control plate.

I'll follow up this post or start a new one as I get into putting the hitch on and getting it all adjusted.

--Tom
Mounting the Reese, Yes open up a new post and post a picture of what your hitch is. I have done several of these hitches and helped many others and have a pile of pic’s to show you how to install and adjust. I do not want to do a lot of instructing yet as we really do not know what hitch you have. There are certain things that have to be watched out for on the DC, but once explained I know you can do it. Measure 3 times, drill once…..Each has there own set of tweaks to work on your TT and TV setup. And we may have good odds of finding you the Reese instructions as well. Reese hides them sometimes it almost seems like. But there on there.

Good luck and ask away on anything.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markbrit
Wow John, good feedback. Long explantions help us newbies!
Markbrit,

Thanks for the kind words.

We welcome new members here on Sunline Club so new member or veteran member, (notice I did not say old member.... .) have the same questions. TT towing is a serious thing and any question can be freely asked here on Sunline Owners Club. There are no so called dumb questions. Collectively amongst all of us, we can generally help point you where to go looking.

This is a very unique site and club. We all learn from each other and we do it in a very friendly camper way.

Speaking of which, how are you doing on your new hitch setup?

John
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:13 AM   #12
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As usual, I learn SO MUCH reading this forum.

Since we've only had our coach for a few months (and camped only four times), I've been spending a lot of time going over the hitch and receiver setup. I've never towed anything this heavy before, so I want to be sure it's all RIGHT.

We have a very different WD hitch... it's a Hensley Arrow. It came with the coach. I was able to purchase Hensley's Lifetime Warranty even though I was the 2nd owner. This Warranty has come in very handy because I needed to replace some parts on the hitch that were damaged.

The previous owner had not installed the hitch according to the installation guide and left out a part that was apparently very important. Long story short... I will completely de-mount the hitch, deal with all the rusty areas resulting from lack of maintenance, repaint both the hitch assembly AND the A-frame, re-install the spring jack mounts WITH the shear bolts installed (replacing the BENT Ubolt assemblies) and then replace the semi-clogged zerk fittings with new ones.

John raised a question that I had to check on my own truck... that of the receiver's WD rating as related to the spring bar rating on my hitch. I had to clear away some road grime to read the sticker on the GM factory receiver, but I found the numbers:

Weight Carrying: 5000 lbs max trailer weight / 600 lbs max tongue weight
Weight Distributing: 12000 max trailer weight / 1500 lbs max tongue weight

My Hensley came with 1000# spring bars. So I think that should work just fine for our setup.

Thanx again to all who post their wisdom and experience here for us newbie's to read!
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:49 PM   #13
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--EDITED WITH SOME UPDATED DATA---

Well I've been on a bit of a fact finding mission based on JohnB's response and have dug up some additional information on my setup.

The 2005 Tundra seems to have the following ratings:

GVWR - 6300 LB
Front GAWR - 3500 LB
Rear GAWR - 3650 LB

I've pulled this from the placard on the door of the truck as seen here.



I think I have the weights right, but if not someone please correct me.

I spent a good amount of time under the truck today trying to find information stamped on the receiver that is mounted to the truck. I do know that the hitch is factory installed as our Tundra has the factory tow package included. From the manual I've been able to deduce the following for towing max and tongue weight max.

Max Gross Trailer Weight for 4 WD Access Cab w/ Tow Package - 7000 LB
Max Tongue Weight for Access cab with towing package - 700 LB

(This is listed in a section that is titled "Weight carrying hitch or distributing hitch" so I am assuming that the max receiver weight is the same regardless of the hitch type)

I'm trying to get a hold of someone at Toyota to confirm these ratings are correct.

Based on the sticker on the outside of the Sunline the following ratings apply to the trailer:
GVWR - 5500 LB
GAWR ALL - 2750 LB (per axle)

I searched all over and cannot find a factory roll-off weight sticker anywhere so I did some hunting for our models dry weight. The best I can come up with is

TT Dry Weight - 4080 LB

The coupler on the trailer had the following stamped on it:

SAE/CSA CI 4 Rating - 10,000 LB
1500 LB Tongue Wt.
Do not exceed 5000 LB on Jack

I'm still working on getting actual loaded weights and have found a scale that I hope that I can get to tomorrow and post weights then.

JohnB also asked for some pictures of the hitch that I bought so below are what I've got.

This is the full set of parts:


This is the label on the hitch itself:


This is the label on the trunnion bars:


Here is a summary of the weights and ratings that I have and am looking to find out:

GVWR - 6300 LB
Front GAWR - 3500 LB
Rear GAWR - 3650 LB

Max Trailer Weight - 7000 LB
Max Tongue Weight - 700 LB

Sunline GVWR - 5500 LB
Sunline GAWR ALL - 2750 LB per axle
Sunline Coupler Rating - 10000 LB
Sunline Coupler Tongue Rating - 1500 LB
Sunline Jack Max - 5000 LB
Sunline Dry Weight - 4080 LB

Actual TT Weight - NEEDED
Actual TV Front Axle Weight - NEEDED
Actual TV Back Axle Weight - NEEDED
Actual Tongue Weight - NEEDED

--Tom
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:21 PM   #14
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Hi Tom

You are on a roll now. Good for you. When you get the scaled weights back this will tell a lot.

While you are out searching up more stuff, add these 2 things to the list.

1. Pull the cover off the tow ball on your hitch and look for a stamp on top of it. That is the ball pull rating. Being used you have no idea if it is rated correct.

2. Measure the side width of the TT A frame. Is it 4" channel iron?

I know exactly which hitch you now have. And it is the present day new model. Good find. It is also the exact hitch as mine shown in the photos above mounted on my T2499. Just I have a different hitch shank.

You are missing the "pipe" / handle as Reese calls it. This is a short piece of pipe about 15" long that goes on the snap up bracket when hitching and unhitching the snap ups. You can buy a spare one or go to the lumber yard or hard ware store and buy a piece of galvanized pipe. Sunday I will measure mine and report back

Here are the Reese instructions. When you get to the point of mounting, I will add some more things to look out for that Reese does not do such a good job on explaining.

Here are the hitch instructions. You have a HP Trunnion Bar WD hitch. You can see the pipe you are missing in the pics.


Part Number: 66542
Description: 1200 lbs. Adj. High-Performance Trunnion Style w/#54970 Shank
Finish: Black Powder Coat
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
Weight: 74 lbs.
http://www.reeseprod.com/fitguides/pdf/N66542.pdf

And here is the DC. It is a HP Dual Cam. They package these separately from the hitch.


Part Number: 26002
Description: Dual Cam HP Sway Control
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
Weight: 28.3 lbs.
http://www.reeseprod.com/fitguides/pdf/N26002.pdf

Note: That HP hitch head accepts, 600, 800, 1200, 1500 and 1,700# WD bars. And you can buy any of those sizes to fit it. Maybe you can find a dealer who will trade your 1,200# bars for 800# bars. But again, come back to us with actual scaled weights first, the WD bars may only be part of the correction process.

Hope this helps

John
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Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Speaking of which, how are you doing on your new hitch setup?
I purchased the Equalizer 1,200/12k model. used it twice and it seems very stable. Will be on the maiden voyage next weekend!
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:33 PM   #16
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thesteigers
Ok so now I have the weights from the scales, and I'm hoping that someone can help interpret them since I'm a bit scared of what the apparent tongue weight of the trailer is based on just doing straight subtraction. Here are the weights:

With Trailer Hitched (just dead load on the reciever no weight distributing)

TV Front Axle - 2520 LB
TV Back Axle - 4140 LB
TT Axles - 4420 LB

Truck without the trailer:

TV Front Axle - 2940 LB
TV Back Axle - 2920 LB

If the tongue weight of the TT is just the back axle weight loaded minus the TV back axle weight unloaded then we are looking at a tongue weight of 1220 LB which seems really high to me considering we load both the front and back of the trailer and we have a middle galley, but I suppose the full fresh tank and propane could be part of that.

I was thinking that perhaps the actual tongue weight is a factor of the tongue position between the back axle and the axles of the TT so I measured the axles distances and hitch to axle distances as seen in the following sketch (please forgive the low quality).



John also asked for the ball rating which is 7500 LB and while I forgot to specifically measure the A-frame on the trailer when I was at it today I am 95% sure it is 4".

Here is the updated summary of weights and ratings:

GVWR - 6300 LB
Front GAWR - 3500 LB
Rear GAWR - 3650 LB

Max Trailer Weight - 7000 LB
Max Tongue Weight - 700 LB

Sunline GVWR - 5500 LB
Sunline GAWR ALL - 2750 LB per axle
Sunline Coupler Rating - 10000 LB
Sunline Coupler Tongue Rating - 1500 LB
Sunline Jack Max - 5000 LB
Sunline Dry Weight - 4080 LB

Actual TT Weight - 4420 LB (?)
Actual TV Front Axle Weight - 2940 LB
Actual TV Back Axle Weight - 2920 LB
Actual Tongue Weight - 1220 LB (?)

A-frame size - 4"
Hitch ball rating - 7500 LB

Thanks again for all the help figuring out what we need to get this towing dialed in.

--Tom
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:22 PM   #17
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Tom

This is going to be a quick one and I can calculate more since you gave me axle centers but for tonight so you can sleep better, here are some corrections and other findings from your numbers. See comments in blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteigers
Ok so now I have the weights from the scales, and I'm hoping that someone can help interpret them since I'm a bit scared of what the apparent tongue weight of the trailer is based on just doing straight subtraction.

The good news is, you made an error. Your tongue weight is not as heavy as you think.

Here are the weights:

With Trailer Hitched (just dead load on the reciever no weight distributing)

TV Front Axle - 2520 LB
TV Back Axle - 4140 LB
TT Axles - 4420 LB

With these weights your truck axles now weigh 2520+4140 = 6,660# GVW

Truck without the trailer:

TV Front Axle - 2940 LB
TV Back Axle - 2920 LB

With these weights your truck axles now weigh 2940+2920 = 5,860# GVW


If the tongue weight of the TT is just the back axle weight loaded minus the TV back axle weight unloaded then we are looking at a tongue weight of 1220 LB which seems really high to me considering we load both the front and back of the trailer and we have a middle galley, but I suppose the full fresh tank and propane could be part of that.

Where is your fresh tank located? If it is in these weights that is very important to know if it was filled. If you can tell us the distance from the center of the fresh tank to the tow ball and how many gallons of fresh water your TT has, I can then calulate and tell you if filling the fresh tank will add or subtract from tongue weight and by how much. Also did you prime the system and fill the 6 gallon HW heater? If so, where it that tank center located in relation to the tow ball? (distance)

You made a miss-calculation in the tongue weight to your advantage. With no WD engaged it is. 6,660 – 5,860 = 800# tongue weight. The truck GVW only gained 800#

However you are for sure in need of a WD hitch by these weights. The dead weight of the TT on the ball with no WD is afecting your TV axles in a negative way.

TV front axle lost: 2,940 – 2,520 = (420#) was lost from the front end. This is a lot to loose on a small truck.

TV rear axle gained: 4,140 – 2,940 = 1,200# was gained by the dead weight of the TT with no WD. See later in the note, by not using WD this 1,200# gain on the rear axle pushed your rear axle over it’s rating. This is very common on many TV’s which is why WD is so important. For just this one fact of rear axle weight gain, and front axle weight loss.


I was thinking that perhaps the actual tongue weight is a factor of the tongue position between the back axle and the axles of the TT so I measured the axles distances and hitch to axle distances as seen in the following sketch (please forgive the low quality).

Tom, tongue weight does not work that way but axle weight does. Tongue weight at the tow ball is tongue weight, it doe not change. The tow ball is 5 feet behind the rear axle. That is a 5 foot mechanical advantage lever with the TT pushing down on it. The TT tongue weight is acting on that 5 foot lever and driving up your rear axle weights. The TT tongue weight remains the same but the rear axle weight goes way up and the front axle weigth goes light. The main purpsoe of WD is to work on that heavy rear axle weight and move some of it to the front axle and some to the TT axles.

Since you gave me actual distance numbers, there is a calulation that can be done to show how the weight is being moved around by a WD hitch. It’s late tonight but I can show you this on Monday if you would like


John also asked for the ball rating which is 7500 LB and while I forgot to specifically measure the A-frame on the trailer when I was at it today I am 95% sure it is 4".

Good thing you checked the ball. As I suspected this might happen. Having a 1,200# WD hitch capable of pulling 12,000# only had a 7,500#ball on it which is light. But in your case for your TT, 7,500# will cover pulling a 5,550 GVWR TT.

Here is the updated summary of weights and ratings:

GVWR - 6300 LB
Front GAWR - 3500 LB
Rear GAWR - 3650 LB

Max Trailer Weight - 7000 LB This is the truck rating. We need one other pull rating from your TV manual. Look for GCWR. Gross Combined Weight Rating.

GCWR is the real pull rating the engine, transmission and rear axle can handle. You will need engine size and rear axle ratio from your manual chart to get the right GCWR. The wording “Tow Rating” is very confusing to many unless they understand the fine print that goes along with it. Tow Rating in most cases is GCWR – weight of stripped truck GVW, full gas and a 150# driver. To the truck, everything in the truck included TV options above base vechile are cargo on top of the TT it is pulling. Any gear is considered cargo and subtracts from the available amount left the truck can pull. If you use GCWR, that number is undisputed with scaled weights on towing capacity.


Max Tongue Weight - 700 LB Again this is believed to be your receiver rating. We will see below. It might be a rear axle limitation.


Sunline GVWR - 5500 LB
Sunline GAWR ALL - 2750 LB per axle
Sunline Coupler Rating - 10000 LB
Sunline Coupler Tongue Rating - 1500 LB
Sunline Jack Max - 5000 LB Out of curiosity, where did you find this?
Sunline Dry Weight - 4080 LB

Actual TT Weight - 4420 LB (?) You missed adding the tongue weight. TT GVW is axles plus tongue. Or 4,420 + 800# = 5,220# TT loaded GVW You have 280# more cargo capacity before hitting the 5,500# GVWR on the TT

Actual TV Front Axle Weight - 2940 LB (Truck unhitched) 560# extra capacity B4 GAWR
Actual TV Back Axle Weight - 2920 LB(Truck unhitched) 730# extra capacity B4 GAWR
Your unhitched truck GVW is 5,860#

These are your truck axle ratings
GVWR - 6300 LB
Front GAWR - 3500 LB
Rear GAWR - 3650 LB

Actual Front Axle Weight - 2520 LB Truck hitched – no wd : 3,500 – 2520 = + 980# extra capacity

Actual Rear Axle Weight – 4,140 LB Truck hitched – no wd: 3,650 – 4,140 = - 490# Over capacity of the rear axle. This one we need to really work on.

Actual TV GVW hitched: 6,600# - no WD : 6,300 – 6,600= -300# over TV GVWR. This one we need to work on.

GCW: TV GVW (6,600) + TT Axles (4,420) = 11,080 # GCW. Need Tundra GCWR to compare to see how much reserve towing capacity is left.

TT tongue weight % of GVW: 800 / 5,250 = 15.2% tongue weight. This is a very stable % for low sway towing. However the truck has to hold it up.

For sure you need WD to help your TV rear axle and GVWR. The scales tell it like it is. It is always amazing what stuff weighs. You also have a 100# rating problem (800# tongue on a 700# receiver) on your receiver we have to work on.


Actual Tongue Weight - 1220 LB (?) This is 800#

A-frame size - 4"
Hitch ball rating - 7500 LB

Thanks again for all the help figuring out what we need to get this towing dialed in.

--Tom
For sure let us know about the fresh water. That can affect a lot, better or worse. I know my T2499 gained 150# of tongue weight with fresh water. The way I had mine loaded, I could not haul fresh water until I rebalanced the TT. My 3/4 ton Suburban could not take the water weight the way that rear living camper loaded with all my “stuff” in the TT. Stuff adds up….. Once we know the fresh water part on your TT it might greatly help the situation.

Hope this helps

John
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Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:12 AM   #18
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I'll measure the actual center location of the fresh water tank when I am back at the trailer today (house sitting for a couple of days for a friend) but I do know that it is between the axles and the tongue and was full when we weighed.

We tend to do a lot of boondocking so I wanted to get the worst case scenario and made sure the tank was full when we went to the scales. The Grey and Black tanks were pretty empty, but we don't normally tow very far with them full and I'm pretty sure at least one of them is behind the axle (I'll check that today also).

The Gross Combined Weight Rating based on the Tundra manual is 11800 LB. Its not actually listed as such, but is listed in a section on sway control and indicates that the combined weight of trailer, cargo and truck must never exceed that limit.

So I think from the numbers I need to try and trim down our weights some, and find a way to move at least 100 LB from the tongue weight. Although perhaps less since the mechanical advantage of the weight at a distance from the TT axles should mean that less effective weight can be move to axle neutral or to behind the axles.

I'll be looking around the camper today to figure out what I have in front of the axles that is movable.

Also - I found the max jack rating stamped on the top of the coupler. It has a never exceed weight for the jack of 5000 LBs. Was mostly worn off, but I was able to read it barely.

--Tom
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:46 AM   #19
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Tom

First off I want to commend you for your efforts here.

It takes some time to sort this out, but the rewards pay off in long run. And in this process you are learning how all this fits together. Knowledge is for sure, power. This is really not that hard to do once it is understood. It does take some time and best is if someone can help you along the learning path of where to at least go looking. That cuts down greatly on the time aspect of it.

You are on the right track. Need to move some things around to still keep good TT balance but also to not overwork a towing component in the system. When you get all done you will know where you stand. Sometimes a component may have to be upgraded, other times your TT and TV needs to go on a serious diet…. And then there are times where the present day TV is not a long term solution for the TT. But you will not know the answers to these unless you do the towing health check like you are doing now.

While you are out checking on the fresh tank, find that HW heater and it’s distance. That HW tank filled is 50 pounds of water weight all by itself.

On the weights and balance part of this, I try and use 13 to 15% tongue weight per loaded GVW of the TT. 10% is the bottom end industry recommendation. Pending towing conditions when you go under the 10% the center of gravity balance of the TT in relation to the axle shifts and sway can come with the slightest upset in towing conditions. The farther under 10% the less it takes to create an upset.

On a TT, and a small one, if one propane tank goes empty that can shift your weight %’s a lot. So if you are at 10% with full propane, you can go under with 1 tank empty or one wrong gear move inside the TT and never realize it. Being at 13% and above, allows some safety cushion. The 13% is a guideline. You will not find the difference in 12.5 to 13% but as you approach the 12, 11, 10 and then 9% it shows up. The TV has a lot to do with this too. Someone towing with a long bed crew cab PU, 1/2 or 3/4 ton or larger on a small TT may be able to get away with 11% tongue weight on your smaller TT as the TV is compensating for many other variables. But in your case you have a lighter weight truck connected to a lighter weight camper. So this weight and balance is that much more important.

I just helped another Sunline Club member out on his T2499. He was in a worse boat then you. A lot smaller truck and a lot larger camper. In his case he had to correct the TV problem. And since I have a T2499 in the shed, I could go out and measure the floor plan to tell him where stuff was loaded and what it affect tongue weight. While I do not have your T2199 dimensions, you can see here how this works as the T2499 is also a rear living area camper. If you want to get to this level, let me know and I can show you how to do this as well. Travel Trailer Tongue Weight Aid - T2499

I’ll be back later to show you the effects of WD on your present day setup if you can get your TT loaded tongue weight down to 700# how this will fair on the truck axle weights and if we can bring the truck in under or at all the ratings.

Keep at it. Your on 2nd base running for 3rd…. Home plate is getting closer.

John
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:20 PM   #20
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Hi Tom

I took some pic’s of that missing pipe you do not have. Here is mine.


You have at least 2 options to acquire one of these.

1. Go to a hardware store. Lowes, Home Depot etc – ask for 3/4in. schedule 40 galvanized pipe cut 18” long. No threads. Or buy a 24” piece with threads and cut it down your self. I measured mine that is what it is, jut it is not actual pipe, it is more rolled and welded tubing with zinc plating. By not having threads on the ends it does not cut you as bad grabing the threads.

2. Go buy an Actual Reese one . It is Reese part number 58162. Looks like this:


Can be bought here http://www.etrailer.com/p-58162.htm for $14.95 plus shipping or shipping is free on orders over $150. I have bought from them several times and had good luck. They also sell just your WD bars to fit your hitch if you cannot get smaller used ones. Just make sure it is the Reese Trunion bar for a HP hitch.

Here see this Reese parts catalog. http://www.towingproducts.com/catalo...ementparts.pdf Go to page 372, item 30. It lists out the part numbers of all the WD bars that fit that head. Except the 1500# bar, the catalog is not updated yet. Here is the Reese 22225 800# bar at Etrailer http://www.etrailer.com/p-22225.htm Sells new for $79.95 each bar


Now out of curiosity, I did some playing around with your tongue weight on the TV and TT dimensions you gave us.

If you use an 800# tongue the pure math says:

When you adjust the WD hitch to return the front of the truck to unhitched weight (o gain or loss) then:

The TV front axle will be at: 0 # gain or loss
The TV rear axle will bear: approx + 585#
The TT axles will bear: approx + 215#

Now using those numbers with your unhitched truck weights.

Truck axle ratings
GVWR - 6300 LB
Front GAWR - 3500 LB
Rear GAWR - 3650 LB
TT Axles GAWR - 5,500 LB
TT GVWR – 5,500 LB

Scaled weights:

Truck without the trailer:

TV Front Axle - 2940 LB + 0 weigth gain = 2,940 with WD
TV Back Axle - 2920 LB + 585 = 3,505 with WD
TT Axles - 4420 LB + 215# = 4,635#

TV GVW with TT and WD = 2,940 + 3505 = 6,445#
TT GVW with WD = 4,635 + 800 =5,435 #

The truck is technically at 6,445# to a 6,300# GVWR. So you are 145# over on GVWR but you have really gained to not be in an overload on the truck axles.

See this busy graph. I have another RV buddy who is as into this as I me who made this sheet and it saves me doing all the hand cal’s. It shows the axle weight change when you engage WD for your dim’s on the TV and camper with a 800# tongue weight



And I re-ran it using a 700# tongue weight, and assumed you still kept all the same stuff in the camper, just moved things around to lower the tongue weight.

Let’s see how it turns out.

If you use an 700# tongue the pure math says:

When you adjust the WD hitch to return the front of the truck to unhitched weight (o gain or loss) then:

The TV front axle will be at: 0 # gain or loss
The TV rear axle will bear: approx + 500#
The TT axles will bear: approx + 200#

Now using those numbers with your unhitched truck weights.

Scaled weights:

Truck without the trailer:

TV Front Axle - 2940 LB + 0 weigth gain = 2,940 with WD
TV Back Axle - 2920 LB + 500 = 3,420 with WD
TT Axles - 4420 LB + 200# = 4,620#

TV GVW with TT and WD = 2,940 + 3,420 = 6,360#
TT GVW with WD = 4,620 + 700 =5,320 #

The truck is technically now at 6,360# to a 6,300# GVWR. So you are 60# over on GVWR but axles are in good shape.

And 700# on a 4420 + 700 = 5,120 TT GVW is 700/5120# = 13.6% tongue weight.

And here is that busy graph


You are getting really close now on the axle weigths to where you can tweak it to just make it under. You need to move some things around, drop your tongue weigth to 700#. Still good at 13.6% tongue. And properly setup the WD hitch using smaller WD bars then those 1,200# bars you have. If you reduce weight and leve some stuff home, it even get's better.

Now that you found the GCWR of 11,800# and right now you are at 11,080# GCW on the 800# tongue, there is 720# in reserve towing capacity, or 6.1% reserve. That is a little light for pulling a TT but you already know how she pulls. On large hills you will find the performance issues, on flat land not so much.

You can tweak what you have to just stay under the ratings. Just you are going to have to keep track of your weights until you get this all sorted out.

Hope this helps and good luck

John
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