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I've towed quite a bit with both setups on my frontier. There is no comparison. The airbags are great for weight in the truck and if no WDH is available. I towed a rented TT and my TT (both around 5k lbs, single axle, 17'/21' overall) a few thousand miles with just the standard ball and the bags. The truck rode well, but definitely had some sway when trucks would pass. Nothing unsafe, but would always feel it. Truck would easily sit level with the bags pumped up though.

Then my WDH finally showed up and it changed everything. Now i just make sure the rear truck height is correct, if i have a lot of weight, i can add some air to the airbags. Then i drop the trailer on the hitch, hook up the bars are go. No sway at all. Stability is dramatically improved. 95% of the time, i'm at the minimum (5psi) in the airbags. I'm running OME heavies front and rear. usually i have about 1.5-1.75" rake in the back, with the trailer on and bars attached, min pressure in the airbags i end up with less than 1" of squat in the rear and no lift up front, so the truck is nearly level. I'm thrilled with the setup.

Added bonus. with the WDH attached, i can now open the tailgate with the trailer attached.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've towed quite a bit with both setups on my frontier. There is no comparison. The airbags are great for weight in the truck and if no WDH is available. I towed a rented TT and my TT (both around 5k lbs, single axle, 17'/21' overall) a few thousand miles with just the standard ball and the bags. The truck rode well, but definitely had some sway when trucks would pass. Nothing unsafe, but would always feel it. Truck would easily sit level with the bags pumped up though.

Then my WDH finally showed up and it changed everything. Now i just make sure the rear truck height is correct, if i have a lot of weight, i can add some air to the airbags. Then i drop the trailer on the hitch, hook up the bars are go. No sway at all. Stability is dramatically improved. 95% of the time, i'm at the minimum (5psi) in the airbags. I'm running OME heavies front and rear. usually i have about 1.5-1.75" rake in the back, with the trailer on and bars attached, min pressure in the airbags i end up with less than 1" of squat in the rear and no lift up front, so the truck is nearly level. I'm thrilled with the setup.

Added bonus. with the WDH attached, i can now open the tailgate with the trailer attached.
Yes, I have had both. I had just about every combo. mixed results, all fine but they both have positives. Of my 7 travel trailers I only had one that you never knew was even on the truck. It was my 34 1/2 ft 5th wheel. Because it was centered over the axles you never felt a thing. Stable as could be. Love towing 5th wheels. That was 1993. In those days super cabs were popular but not crew cabs so you lacked family comfort inside cab. Today crew cabs and more passenger comfort is common and so much better. Air lifts are expensive and the best option is of both your choices single or together. The video was well organized and you can't deny math. My Dutchman aerolight model 195 is a 19.5 ft hybrid around 3200 lbs or so and I carry couple hundred lbs of other accessories in it. But my model tonque weight is only 204 lbs. so truck doesn't even care on tonque weight leverage. No budge. I have tandem axles on camper so if I want to take generator with me put it in camper directly over axles. I don't need any wd and only use a stabilizer sway bar. Of course I have brake controller and electric brakes on trailer. (proportional tekonsha)
 

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The video is good and he makes his point about the value of the WDH, but the hitch is only part of the story.

The part that was left out was that of shifting the load on the trailer to get more of the weigh onto the trailer tandems.

When loading the trailer they could have had a scale under the tongue stand and moved the load fore or aft to get the desired tongue weight. After that, use of the air-bags to fine tune the axle weights would have yielded a distribution closer to the unladen axle weights of the truck.

Years ago I drove a big rig and the trailers were loaded as to evenly distribute the load within the trailer, and then we adjusted the fore/aft position of the trailer tandems to fine tune the weight at the axles. (The reason there are scale houses at state lines is to keep the truckers alert to their axle weights and how that impacts safe towing and wear and tear on the roadways).

More recently, I tow a trailer behind my Gold Wing. Yes, the load is miniscule in weight as compared to the big rig loads, but the physics of load distribution are the same. I pump the rear shock of the Wing up to max psi and then load the trailer to get a 300 lb max tongue weight.

At the bottom line, adding sway bars to the hitch and air bags to the truck will help with control while driving, but the hitch and bag limitations are in a delicate interplay against the distribution of the load on the trailer. Put all of the trailer load at the front and no amount of air in the bags will do the trick. Likewise, putting the load back behind the axles of the trailer would relieve weight on the hitch, put weight on the front axle of the truck, and create a nightmare for towing purposes.

It's about balance.
 

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👍 just two things to mention. If you're hauling a small trailer, you don't have to have a WDH to use a sway control. Also, bags help retain ride height with any payload. Not just a trailer.

I run bags, WDH and separate sway control to pull my camper with a max weight of 3800lbs. I also pump up my bags when hauling 200lbs of bikes/rack cantilevered off the rear.
 

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I presume they sell weight distribution hitches - so take that bias into account.

Weight distribution hitches are great for those who can't get their trailer properly loaded.

They forget to mention the fact that you can damage your trailer if you get off pavement with anything more than a few bumps - the twisting while going over rough ground can damage the hitch or the trailer, depending on the amount of twist and the setup. It also doesn't help with everyday loading.

Different parts for different jobs.
 

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I presume they sell weight distribution hitches - so take that bias into account.

Weight distribution hitches are great for those who can't get their trailer properly loaded.

They forget to mention the fact that you can damage your trailer if you get off pavement with anything more than a few bumps - the twisting while going over rough ground can damage the hitch or the trailer, depending on the amount of twist and the setup. It also doesn't help with everyday loading.

Different parts for different jobs.
^^ This. WDs are great if the land is completely flat and you never encounter hills or potholes. I haven't used one yet but have yet to pull something that needed it, and I'm bagged. RideRites. I towed a 4k#+ UHaul w/ twin axles and surge brakes 596 miles and other than acceleration being rotten, the only time you knew it was back there was when it pogo-d the surge brakes, for and aft. Electric brakes would have eliminated that issue entirely. No sway, not a hint of wagging. I nose-loaded the trailer then pumped the bags to get the hitch height correct. Done.
WDs are nice if there are no hills. They really can't handle much angular inclination from the truck to the trailer without undue stress and potentially cracking or breaking a hitch arm. And forget off-roading with one at all. It won't be if but when you break it. Military vehicles have pintle hitches for a reason. They can change angular displacement in both axis, side-to-side and up n down. Something to consider.
 

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^^ This. WDs are great if the land is completely flat and you never encounter hills or potholes. I haven't used one yet but have yet to pull something that needed it, and I'm bagged. RideRites. I towed a 4k#+ UHaul w/ twin axles and surge brakes 596 miles and other than acceleration being rotten, the only time you knew it was back there was when it pogo-d the surge brakes, for and aft. Electric brakes would have eliminated that issue entirely. No sway, not a hint of wagging. I nose-loaded the trailer then pumped the bags to get the hitch height correct. Done.
WDs are nice if there are no hills. They really can't handle much angular inclination from the truck to the trailer without undue stress and potentially cracking or breaking a hitch arm. And forget off-roading with one at all. It won't be if but when you break it. Military vehicles have pintle hitches for a reason. They can change angular displacement in both axis, side-to-side and up n down. Something to consider.
You’ve confirmed my suspicion that what is being marketed as a “weight distribution hitch” is actually anti-sway bars for the hitch.

Interpreted, they are in effect a safety buffer for people who don’t understand, or perhaps are just too hurried, to do proper trailer load distribution.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Certainly believe in air bags if your roughing it on bad road terrain. But that probably is a small percentage of camping. Recreational camping mostly at standard quality campgrounds such as KOA and similar paved road locations are generally located in nice passable good roads. In my 40 years of camping even when I went to Canada I personally didn't encounter rough road conditions that I didn't compensate for the way I drove the vehicle. And 80% of people towing rv's are in a hurry always going way to fast because they just can't wait to get there or get back. Every bump at that increased speed beating the crap out of their suspension. But, yes hunters or off road I can see flex problems. I always stick to the load balance percentage ratios. I have seen so many people towing with tons of garbage loaded right in front of their trailers and just abusing the tonque weight and then having more loaded in the truck bed right on the rear. And many people load the front basement storage full of tons of weight right on the front of the trailer and also load boxes of stuff right inside the front door which in majority of cases is on front of trailer. Balance the load over the trailer axle and keep holding tanks empty when traveling. Water and waste are heavy and slosh around constantly not helping stability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What should tongue weight be? Tongue weight should be about 10% to 15% of the total weight of the trailer or gross trailer weight. Too much tongue weight can impair driver control over the vehicle, and too little can lead to sway in the trailer. This is something people just ignore. Thank god they have stabilizers, WDH, and air lift and beefed up suspension options. Otherwise, just plain ignoring safety.
 

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You’ve confirmed my suspicion that what is being marketed as a “weight distribution hitch” is actually anti-sway bars for the hitch.

Interpreted, they are in effect a safety buffer for people who don’t understand, or perhaps are just too hurried, to do proper trailer load distribution.


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I would say no, a WDH is not an anti-sway device. Some do include anti-sway abilities however. Also, it's not about compensating for poor trailer loading. It's about leveling the tow vehicle with a trailer payload. A properly balanced trailer well within the towing capabilities of the vehicle will still squat the rear suspension, especially on these trucks.

Some people may use it as a crutch, but any tool can be abused.

Also, they are not intended for off Road use, and I've never seen anyone saying that they are.

I could probably get by without my WDH, but my sway control is attached to the WDH draw bar, and I had it all setup prior to installing bags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My sway control is not attached to my WDH which I don't even use it and the sway is nicely adjustable. With only a 204 tonque load and tandem axles even my 3200lb trailer is very stable.
The trailer layouts that have front bedrooms and bathrooms up front have heavier tonque weights.
I chose this configuration because only kitchen booth up front, bathroom rear, and of course kitchen right in the center over axles so refrig, sinks, cabinets center. The best scenario for good towing. Manufacturers do all their calculations but the layout can have a noticeable difference in your towing experience. Even a little heavier trailer or a foot or two longer can handle better when you take the time to consider the inside layout. But people always choose layout first then only consider not happy handling until after they experience it. After all, you can't test drive your trailer if new before buying like a car. Then you are stuck with options you just may have not needed. I guess I was lucky, always looked at the towing ratios, tonque weight, curb and gross weight, and best angles I could get for front wind resistance. It's worth it. I always loved my trailers because unlike a car they hold up many many years and can still look great inside. Of course you don't use them everyday. I had one motorhome, loved it. But too expensive, too fast depreciation, too much maintenance cost. But the easiest fast hookups ever and onboard generator wonderful. For full timers probably the best if you can afford the luxury.
 

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You’ve confirmed my suspicion that what is being marketed as a “weight distribution hitch” is actually anti-sway bars for the hitch.

Interpreted, they are in effect a safety buffer for people who don’t understand, or perhaps are just too hurried, to do proper trailer load distribution.


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There is a world of difference between WD and sway bar, some WDs incorporate sway in the design of the bars. I have the type that requires a separate sway control. For those that think air bags are the answer for keeping the rear of the truck from sagging, yes the rear is no longer sagging, BUT you have done nothing to prevent the front axle from unloading which can lead to a very iffy situation in an emergency. You could put solid blocks between the frame and axle and achieve the same effect as pumping the airbags to level the truck, but that doesn’t make the load on the front axle any better. The WD hitch spreads the hitch weight evenly over the front, rear and trailer axles. If you have a trailer hitch weight of 600 lbs if the WD is adjusted properly you could weigh the vehicle and essentially have added 200 lbs over the truck and trailer axles. Here’s an example, 2 weeks ago we went to the Smokies, on the way home I hurriedly hitched the trailer and didn’t get my WD chains tight enough, I missed it by 1 link, we took a different route coming home running “through the woods” instead of the interstate. On two different occasions I had to get on the brakes harder than normal due to traffic suddenly stopping or slowing down, I found out the antilock brakes on the front of the truck work good as the front tires made a chirping sound as I suddenly braked. I found a parking lot and tightened the chains to the proper tension and had no more front wheel unloading. This is what happens with airbags, if you don believe me next time you’re using airbags to level your truck find a big open area and attempt an emergency stop and see if you front tires don’t skid. This would be a tragic situation on wet surface as you could lose complete control and injure or worse kill someone. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself, I’ve only been pulling these trailers fo 39 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, I agree. I had one vehicle that had air bags when I bought it. But really used my WD hitch more. My present sway bar attaches to a separate ball on my truck hitch. Only one side with adjustable tension. Works well don't even use wd bars because my tonque weight so low. Mine is a reese but this is a typical sway control. The actual truck hitch plate has a ball adapter on it for that hookup.
335044
 

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Yes, I have had both. I had just about every combo. mixed results, all fine but they both have positives. Of my 7 travel trailers I only had one that you never knew was even on the truck. It was my 34 1/2 ft 5th wheel. Because it was centered over the axles you never felt a thing. Stable as could be. Love towing 5th wheels. That was 1993. In those days super cabs were popular but not crew cabs so you lacked family comfort inside cab. Today crew cabs and more passenger comfort is common and so much better. Air lifts are expensive and the best option is of both your choices single or together. The video was well organized and you can't deny math. My Dutchman aerolight model 195 is a 19.5 ft hybrid around 3200 lbs or so and I carry couple hundred lbs of other accessories in it. But my model tonque weight is only 204 lbs. so truck doesn't even care on tonque weight leverage. No budge. I have tandem axles on camper so if I want to take generator with me put it in camper directly over axles. I don't need any wd and only use a stabilizer sway bar. Of course I have brake controller and electric brakes on trailer. (proportional tekonsha)
You are running a real low tongue weight, must be the tandem axle that helps! You should be 10-15% of overall weight with single axle
 

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Ive been debating off and on to ditch my WDH trundels and just use the sway control part. My camper is 20' Tandem axle with a weight around 4,000 Lbs. This spring, I plan on adding a leaf to the springs and have already added the helpers in place of the bump stops. My tounge weight is around 375Lbs. I dont get a lot of squat when I hitch up and cant even put that much tension on the trundels before it lifts to much. It also seems like the trailer gets a little bouncy when you go over any bumps. Your Thoughts?
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WDH equalizes the weight across all the axles, if you’ve got four axles between truck and trailer and a 400 lb hitch weight you’ll have 100 lbs on each axle. If you use air bags you’ll still have 400 lbs on the rear axle of the truck but the bad part is you’ll unload the front axle possibly loss of steering or braking. I pull a 23’ camper that weighs 5400 lbs with 600 lb tongue weight, I use WDH I didn’t get my bars tight enough and in an emergency stop I found the anti lock brakes work as the front tires were intermittently skidding. I pulled into a parking lot and tightened the bars up 2 more chain links and problem solved. You don’t think about the front tires being unloaded, but think about a teeter totter, one end goes down the other goes up. With a WDH you’re tongue weight is spread across all your axles.
 

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You are running a real low tongue weight, must be the tandem axle that helps! You should be 10-15% of overall weight with single axle
Any travel trailer should have minimum 10% of total weight as tongue weight up to 15%, normally 10-12%. Otherwise you may experience trailer sway. You may have to much weight in the rear of the trailer.
 
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