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How to Determine When Trailer Weight Distribution System is Needed  

Question:

Should I use a weight distribution hitch on a jayco Jay king when I am pulling it with a 98 ford ranger or a 99 Chevy k1500?

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Expert Reply:

There are signs for when a weight distribution/sway control (WD/SC) system is called for. If your vehicle headlights point upward, if the vehicle rear sags under the trailer's tongue weight (TW) load or if the loaded trailer weighs more than half of the vehicle weight you probably need a WD/SC system. Other signs of the need for one include sway from passing vehicles and difficulty steering or stopping, since both of those function require solid traction between the front tires and the road. Too much trailer TW can lift the front end and impair both braking and steering. You can refer to the linked article and video for more on WD/SC systems.

The key to picking out the right system is knowing your pop-up camper trailer's actual fully-loaded TW, which you can easily measure with a scale # e99044. To this you need to add the weight of any cargo in the truck that sits behind the rear axle since that will act just like trailer TW. Ideally your total TW will fall in the middle of the system's operating range.

Your trailer hitch also must be rated for use with WD; the safety sticker on your vehicles' hitches will indicate if they are usable with WD/SC and will indicate the towing capacities when a system is employed.

Once you know your total TW you can use the linked page to see and select systems rated appropriately. Simply click on your total TW figure to see suitable systems. These systems include built-in sway control that will work far better than the friction arm type.

For an example, let's say your total TW is 400-lbs. You could then use the Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution System # EQ37060ET which works over a TW range of 200 to 600-lbs. This system comes complete with everything , even a 2-inch hitch ball. All you might want to add is a thin-walled socket like # ALL643216 for easier hitch ball installation. A video on this system is included.

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