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Determining Weight Distribution System Requirements Based on Trailer Loaded Tongue Weight  

Question:

Hi. I would like a recommendation on a weight distribution system for my 2012 Ram 1500 Crew Cab- Longhorn ed. I already have a Husky v-5 hitch/shank and am looking to see if I can just buy some new spring bars/chains and clamp on couplers for it to attach to my rpod 179 travel trailer? The tongue load on the trailer is 300 pounds and I expect to have about another 1,000 lbs in cargo behind the rear axle.

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Expert Reply:

It is often possible to swap out just the weight-rated parts of a weight distribution/sway control (WD/SC) system when you change trailers, meaning the spring bars. The shank, head and frame brackets can often be re-used. Shanks do carry weight ratings, which should be observed, of course, but heads and frame brackets do not have specific ratings.

But before you buy any new bars you will want to confirm the R-Pod's actual measured tongue weight (TW) when you have it fully loaded for a trip, with water and propane tanks full, your supplies and equipment in place, etc. Use scale # e99044 to make this measurement easy and repeatable. Ideally your total TW will fall in the middle of the operating range for the system you select.

As you noted, any cargo weight in the Ram that sits behind the rear axle has to be added to your actual measured trailer TW to give you the total effective TW of the whole set-up. Once you know this you can choose new spring bars or a whole new system (minus the shank) if you like. Shanks all use the same industry-standard hole size and hole spacing so you can keep your Husky shank (presuming it has a sufficient weight rating) and use it with pretty much any brand of WD/SC system.

If your total effective TW were to be 1300-lbs (300-lbs actual TW + 1000-lbs cargo weight) then you might want to consider the Reese Strait-Line # RP66130. This set-up does not include a shank. It operates effectively over a TW range of 800- to 1500-lbs, making it ideal for a 1200-to-1300-lb total TW. All you need to add is a hitch ball like 2-5/16-inch # C40030.

The Strait-Line not only shifts trailer weight to your front axle to restore steering and braking performance, but is also prevents trailer sway. Most systems react to sway once it starts but the Strait-Line works to prevent it in the first place.

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