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How does my hitch height look?

jeepin95

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We just got home this afternoon from picking up our new '22 502A Powerboost after trading in our beloved Grand Cherokee Diesel. We hooked up the trailer to check some measurements since the receiver height was pretty close to the Jeep to see if I needed to adjust. In this picture the tongue jack is not touching so all the weight is on the truck and trailer. While there wasn't a lot of sag the WDH bars only recovered 14% of the lift in the front so I adjusted the bars one hole which got me to 60%. I haven't visited scales yet though.

My real question is, does it look like I should flip the drop hitch over and lower it one hole or does the height look good?

My secondary question is since the manual requires WDH over 5000lbs and our trailer is only 3500 does it really even matter how much sag it recovers? In the config on the Jeep after cat weights we could put the bars in place by hand with a bit of effort, and the same with the truck. Once I repositioned the hangers up 1 hole it can't be done by hand anymore and needs the tool.

20220623_171418.jpg

 

Buyer2021

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First - Nice rIg, congratulations! Kudos for not 'pushing the limits' with any of your choices! (y)

IMO it 'looks' pretty good but the optimal trailering performance is in the numbers. Here's what I'd do to achieve that:
  • Load the trailer as for your typical trip
  • For this step of the exercise, adjust the WDH ball so the trailer sits level or very slightly nose-low without the WDH bars engaged
  • Head to the CAT scales
  • Make 1 pass with the truck alone, another pass with the trailer hitched but the WDH bars not engaged
  • From that you can determine your trailer total loaded weight and tongue weight, and adjust weight in the trailer as necessary to ensure at least 10% of the trailer weight on the tongue (more up to 15% is better, IMO / IME to help prevent onset of dread trailer sway; with your rig you've got plenty of capacity to be conservative in this regard, i.e. run well-over 10%)
  • Reminder 1: (total weight of truck + trailer) - (total weight of truck alone) = Total Trailer Weight
  • Reminder 2: (Weight of both truck axles with trailer hitched) - (total weigh of truck alone) = Tongue Weight
Then after confirming proper trailer tongue weight distribution, adjust the WDH using a level and tape measure on level ground, aiming for:
  • Trailer level or very slightly nose-low.
  • As close as you can the same amount of sag both front and rear on the truck (i.e. the same reduction in axle-to-wheel-arch measurement front and rear compared to unloaded stance); or very slightly more sag at the rear.
Yeah, as you already know, it may take several iterations of ball-height adjustment and bar-tension adjustment to meet those goals of trailer-level and sag-distribution. And yeah, as you know, you'll likely never get it exact, thus err in the direction of trailer slightly nose-low and slightly greater rear sag change.

The tension on the bars will be what it will be.

You can head back to the CAT scales if you want to know your final axle weight loadings, but with that rig you can be confident that will only prove that none of your axle loadings have been exceeded and the change (increase) in the truck's axle loadings is approximately equal front and rear with the WDH engaged.

With that you should enjoy relaxed and comfortable towing for most any condition you may encounter on your travels, and IMO that's what ensures you Have Fun!

Just for your consideration.
 
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JEB

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First - Nice rIg, congratulations! Kudos for not 'pushing the limits' with any of your choices! (y)

IMO it 'looks' pretty good but the optimal trailering performance is in the numbers. Here's what I'd do to achieve that:
  • Load the trailer as for your typical trip
  • For this step of the exercise, adjust the WDH ball so the trailer sits level or very slightly nose-low without the WDH bars engaged
  • Head to the CAT scales
  • Make 1 pass with the truck alone, another pass with the trailer hitched but the WDH bars not engaged
  • From that you can determine your trailer total loaded weight and tongue weight, and adjust weight in the trailer as necessary to ensure at least 10% of the trailer weight on the tongue (more up to 15% is better, IMO / IME to help prevent onset of dread trailer sway; with your rig you've got plenty of capacity to be conservative in this regard, i.e. run well-over 10%)
  • Reminder 1: (total weight of truck + trailer) - (total weight of truck alone) = Total Trailer Weight
  • Reminder 2: (Weight of both truck axles with trailer hitched) - (total weigh of truck alone) = Tongue Weight
Then after confirming proper trailer tongue weight distribution, adjust the WDH using a level and tape measure on level ground, aiming for:
  • Trailer level or very slightly nose-low.
  • As close as you can the same amount of sag both front and rear on the truck (i.e. the same reduction in axle-to-wheel-arch measurement front and rear compared to unloaded stance); or very slightly more sag at the rear.
Yeah, as you already know, it may take several iterations of ball-height adjustment and bar-tension adjustment to meet those goals of trailer-level and sag-distribution. And yeah, as you know, you'll likely never get it exact, thus err in the direction of trailer slightly nose-low and slightly greater rear sag change.

The tension on the bars will be what it will be.

You can head back to the CAT scales if you want to know your final axle weight loadings, but with that rig you can be confident that will only prove that none of your axle loadings have been exceeded and the change (increase) in the truck's axle loadings is approximately equal front and rear with the WDH engaged.

With that you should enjoy relaxed and comfortable towing for most any condition you may encounter on your travels, and IMO that's what ensures you Have Fun!

Just for your consideration.
If you are already at the CAT scale and have done the three-pass method, consider a fourth and maybe fifth pass to fine-tune the weight distribution using the actual front axle weights instead of tape measurements at the wheel well. Focus on the front axle weights in passes one and two. You want front axle weight 3 (or whatever happens to be your final measurement) to be at least half way between weights one and two. The closer to weight 1 (without going over) the better. Keep increasing the tension on the spring bars until you get as close to weight 1 as you can. If you go over weight 1, back off the spring bars one setting. At that point, you will have restored all the weight you practically can to the front axle.

You already have the actual front axle weights. You might as well make use of them.
 

notabot

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My real question is, does it look like I should flip the drop hitch over and lower it one hole or does the height look good?
First concern is proper tongue weight. You must have enough tongue weight to keep the tail from wagging the dog. After that, I try to keep things as level as possible for the best ground clearance fore and aft.
 
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jeepin95

jeepin95

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First concern is proper tongue weight. You must have enough tongue weight to keep the tail from wagging the dog. After that, I try to keep things as level as possible for the best ground clearance fore and aft.
I'm good on the tongue weight, we did a few trips of the multi sequence CAT scales with the TT and our Grand Cherokee last year. With a full fresh tank and loaded for 2 weeks of camping we were at 460 lbs tongue weight which was 14% of the trailer weight. We normally travel with less water putting us at about 12% and it towed great. The Jeep required WDH if the trailer was over 3000lbs and we were a bit over that.

I'll be weighing at the CAT again but I will see how things go with the hitch in it's current location. I don't have a good flat and level place to take accurate measurements so the trailer looks pretty level. The scales are an hour or more round trip not counting time at the scales so I was trying to get as close as I could first.

Thanks
 


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jeepin95

jeepin95

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If you are already at the CAT scale and have done the three-pass method, consider a fourth and maybe fifth pass to fine-tune the weight distribution using the actual front axle weights instead of tape measurements at the wheel well. Focus on the front axle weights in passes one and two. You want front axle weight 3 (or whatever happens to be your final measurement) to be at least half way between weights one and two. The closer to weight 1 (without going over) the better. Keep increasing the tension on the spring bars until you get as close to weight 1 as you can. If you go over weight 1, back off the spring bars one setting. At that point, you will have restored all the weight you practically can to the front axle.

You already have the actual front axle weights. You might as well make use of them.
I do plan on doing that soon, I just wonder how much of a difference it makes. If the difference is only 40 lbs so I even worry about it since the CAT here is no more precise? It seems like I technically don't even need WDH with this truck and trailer (below 5k and 500 tongue weight) but since I already have it I may as well use it and tune it. Every bit will help if something goes wrong. My understanding is that spring tension also plays into the sway control.
 

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My understanding is that spring tension also plays into the sway control.
It's long and well established that proper tongue weight bias is the best inherent measure for avoiding onset of trailer sway and stopping oscillation caused by external forces; it's the laws of physics at work to your benefit.

Start with that and it's likely any mechanical band-aid will never come into play (and that's good!).

One significant advantage of a WDH is that, within the limits of the rig's various ratings, it allows one to maintain very conservative (beneficial) tongue-weight bias and then 'correct' the effects that has on vehicle sag / weight distribution. It reduces the devilish temptation to scrimp on tongue weight to maintain a 'looks right' static vehicle stance.

While you may not "need" a WDH, since you've already got it and are used to it I'd run with it. If nothing else it will likely provide a more comfortable ride in the truck in certain situations, for example reducing the 'bucking' sensation that can occur when driving on asphalt roads with cross-wise ripples or concrete roads with poorly matched expansion joints at regular intervals (you'll know the latter if you've ever towed in Louisiana, among other places ;) ).

Yes, you can certainly achieve the desired trailer level and weight distribution goals with multiple passes at a CAT scale making WDH tweaks between passes. One reason I prefer to adjust the WDH by measurement at home (or a flat parking lot conveniently near home) is that often to get everything optimized there's need to not only tweak the torsion bars (which is quick and easy) but also need to tweak the ball height (and head/trunnion-angle on some WDH's). That can get to be a bit much at a CAT scale site, IMO better undertaken in the relaxed and no-rush setting of home where one can step-back and take a break if needed.

Either method if properly implemented will get to to the same desirable end result.

Again, just for your consideration, Have Fun!
 
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notabot

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I'm good on the tongue weight, we did a few trips of the multi sequence CAT scales with the TT and our Grand Cherokee last year. With a full fresh tank and loaded for 2 weeks of camping we were at 460 lbs tongue weight which was 14% of the trailer weight. We normally travel with less water putting us at about 12% and it towed great.

Thanks
Sounds like you have a very good handle on the situation, good work!
 

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That looks pretty good. What model trailer is that? I tow a Coleman 17b. For the weight distribution hitch, Ford requires it if you are over 500 lbs on tongue weigh, which you're pretty close. If you plan on a second battery, dual propane, bike rack or generator rack you'll be past it. My WDH also has a tilt adjustment which can get you a little lower if needed.

With mine about the only thing I feel is when wind hits it. I also don't travel over 65 mph for safety and the insane gas prices.
 
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jeepin95

jeepin95

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That looks pretty good. What model trailer is that? I tow a Coleman 17b. For the weight distribution hitch, Ford requires it if you are over 500 lbs on tongue weigh, which you're pretty close. If you plan on a second battery, dual propane, bike rack or generator rack you'll be past it. My WDH also has a tilt adjustment which can get you a little lower if needed.

With mine about the only thing I feel is when wind hits it. I also don't travel over 65 mph for safety and the insane gas prices.
It's a '21 Jayco 154BH Baja. About the only time I really ever felt it behind the Grand Cherokee was in heavy cross winds or a couple times on undivided highways with a big truck, but never anything that worries me. I know the truck will handle it, just want to make sure I have stuff setup right.

The only "concern" I have at this point is with the turning radius in the truck vs what the Jeep was :)
 


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I do plan on doing that soon, I just wonder how much of a difference it makes. If the difference is only 40 lbs so I even worry about it since the CAT here is no more precise? It seems like I technically don't even need WDH with this truck and trailer (below 5k and 500 tongue weight) but since I already have it I may as well use it and tune it. Every bit will help if something goes wrong. My understanding is that spring tension also plays into the sway control.
Honestly you're pretty 'over trucked' for that trailer and if you're able to hit that 12-15% number on that light of a trailer you're probably just fine.
But if you've already got the setup you can also tweak it slowly based on how it feels. I have a few different trailers and some tow much smoother at 10% tongue weight and some like to be 15%+. If you're going over the north cascades or even over Stevens/Snoqualmie the stability from the WDH would probably be worth it just based on how bad the roads are.
 
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daemonic3

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How are you guys doing all these CAT scale passes?

I have been to the 2 truck scales in my area (non CAT affiliated) both had long lines (like 4-5 trucks deep) when I went, and it costs $12 for a pass over the scales. There is no way I'm spending 3 hours and $60 to weigh multiple times.

So is CAT just way more friendly and efficient, and they allow multiple passes??
 

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How are you guys doing all these CAT scale passes?

I have been to the 2 truck scales in my area (non CAT affiliated) both had long lines (like 4-5 trucks deep) when I went, and it costs $12 for a pass over the scales. There is no way I'm spending 3 hours and $60 to weigh multiple times.

So is CAT just way more friendly and efficient, and they allow multiple passes??
I happen to have a Pilot Travel Center with CAT scale about 14 miles from my house. Years of casual observation have taught me the 'non-peak' times, so I aim for those but if I hit a line trucks pass through quickly in my experience (most of them are using the CAT Scale App which provides fast processing, no trip to the inside desk for payment, etc.). Pro truckers are generally respectful of everyone's time so don't dally, you need to be prepared to act the same way.

I don't typically make more than 2 passes to get what I need (see my previous posts), the need is not frequent, the cost is insignificant IMO in the big picture of achieving relaxed RV towing.

If you're doing a lot of weighing the free CAT Scale App may be worthwhile to reduce steps - though aimed for them you don't have to be a professional / commercial trucker to use it.
 
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unafFORDableXLT

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I have the CAT app as well. I think it’s $12 for the first weigh, then go back with the trailer and it’s $3 for a re-weigh. The app walks you thru it. Pretty simple actually.
 

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I have the CAT app as well. I think it’s $12 for the first weigh, then go back with the trailer and it’s $3 for a re-weigh. The app walks you thru it. Pretty simple actually.
It's been a while for me but that fits my recall; IIRC you're limited to one 'discount re-weigh' per each full-price weigh (?).

 

 
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