When using any weight distribution hitch, what’s the one thing you look forward to? Removing most of the weight from the rear axle of your towing vehicle. And distributing it evenly to the front side wheels. And to the wheels of the trailer. But this is only possible when you know how to set up weight distribution hitch.
It’s not only important but also necessary to attach that hitch properly. Otherwise, you’re just opening the door to accidents and problems while on your journey.
So if you genuinely want to embark on the safest journey with the trailer, it’s time to get to know the correct setup process.
How to Set Up Weight Distribution Hitch – What You’ll Need
- Screws and bolts.
- Jack and its stand.
- Tape measure.
- And a weight distribution hitch, obviously.
9 Step To Set Up Weight Distribution Hitch – Quick and Easy!!!
Step #1 – Measurements
The first thing you should be doing is positioning your towing vehicle and trailer on stable, level ground. For taking critical measurements. The measurements you note down at this point help when you have to make adjustments later.
Line up the two modes of transport. Just keep your trailer uncoupled.
Now using the measuring tape, measure that uncoupled height from the front and rear wheel openings. All the way to the ground. Also measure the height of the trailer coupler.
Step #2 – Setting Up Hitch Ball
Let me bring to your attention that it’s not only the weight distribution hitch ball angle that’s crucial. You have to make sure you’re using the correct hitch ball as well for the trailer. The rating of the hitch ball should be right is what I mean.
First, you attach the ball in its ball mount section. Lock the assembly with the help of nuts and washers. When using washers, don’t ever forget to place them right beside the nut.
As for the correct torque specifications, you can always turn to the manufacturer’s installation guide.
Step #3 – Placing the Shank/Hitch Bar
You have to go through the trouble of purchasing the correct adjustable bar or shank. One that pairs up well with the coupler height specifications of your trailer.
The length of this shank should also be right. The same applies to the tongue weight and gross trailer weight capacities. When you keep all these factors in mind, you get access to proper clearance for turning. Without causing any damage to your truck or trailer.
Now it’s time to insert that hitch bar. Put it in the towing vehicle’s receiving tube. This depends on the trailer height. The inserting part you can perform either by the rise or drop configuration. After that, secure the bar using a clip and pole pin.
Step #4 – Placing Ball Mount
The next step is to place the assembly of the ball mounts into the hitch. Begin by lowering or raising the assembly. This ensures proper setting. The height should be between one inch and three-fourth inch higher. In comparison to the earlier coupler measurement you recorded at the beginning of the setup process.
Is there some gap between the head and bar? If yes, then you have to fix a shim. The best way for solving this space issue is top down. That is if the space isn’t big enough. Feel free to use a half-inch shim. Even so, if it’s not enough, you can always fine-tune later.
Now it’s time for the hardware installation. Place it into the top and lower ball mount holes. But don’t tighten those nuts completely. All you have to do is ensure the nuts are tight enough. If you don’t want any unwanted movements of the ball mount.
Step #5 – Setting Up Spring Bars
Weight distribution hugely depends on the hitch’s spring bars. And the best part about them is that you can use any one on either side. Meaning there’s no left or right spring bar. Place any one on the right and the other on the left.
For attaching the chains, use the U-bolts These flat washers are perfect for hooking up the chains to the bars. Then lock the nuts to ensure no threads are exposed below the locking nut.
The correct bar position is when the sticker appears at the top. The reinforcement set of the trunnion at the bottom nob through the ball assembly lower socket. Then it’s time for sliding the knob over the ball mount. And swinging the bar for making sure it lines up properly. That is are the trailer frame edge.
Don’t hesitate to have a look at the table given in the instructions manual. It offers the correct height for the spring bar.
Step #6 – Adjusting Spring Bar
Okay so now you have to make spring bar adjustments. Without these, it’s impossible for the spring bar to match the proper height. You should be able to tilt that ball mount whenever needed. That’s the ultimate goal of this adjustment.
The ball needs to be vertically-placed and slightly tilted toward your trailer. However, when using with a top-mounted style coupler for the bottom-mounted style coupler, this adjustment is not the same.
Once again, check the instructions manual to know the amount of torque. You can measure the space from the towing vehicle’s front wheel. All the way to the pavement. Is the measurement within one-half inch of that measurement? If yes, then you can breathe a sigh of relief. Cause the correct weight distribution has been achieved.
Step #7 – Hookup
The hooking up part first requires you to raise that coupler. With the help of the jack of the tongue. Raise this enough so the ball passes underneath it.
Now move your towing vehicle a little backward. So the hitch ball reaches below the coupler.
The next move is to lower this coupler into the ball for latching. But don’t get rid of the jack just yet. Allow it to handle some weight.
Step #8 – Reinsert Spring Bars and Install Bracket
The bars and chains are all in the proper position. So it’s time for reinserting spring bars and installing brackets. The snap-up brackets get attached to the trailer frame. For that, position them in the middle before tightening them. Use the bolt for the task. And don’t over-tighten the brackets.
Then attach that chain into the bracket from the spring bar. This way it runs straight down and up.
Step #9 – Connecting Chain on Yoke
The final step involves connecting chain on yoke. So first off, raise the tongue of the trailer with the help of the jack. And the tow vehicle back for removing a little bit of weight. This way it becomes easier for connecting the chain.
Now you can lower the bracket yoke until the thing is parallel to the ground. The chain goes up and into the closest hook link. Make sure there are at least five links placed between the U-bolt and hook on the spring bar.
The next step is to slide the bracket. Then lift that handle placed on the yoke. Raise it till it passes over the middle point.
Now is the perfect time to place the safety pin inside the hole for deadbolting this yoke in the proper position.
Please keep in mind, you have to remove that handle. Before you repeat step numbers 8 and 9 for the remaining spring bars. Just ensure the links between the U-bolt and hook remain the same.
Once everything is where it’s supposed to be, measure the rear and front axle. Does it measure the same? If so, you can rest assured knowing the installation of the weight distribution hitch is correct. (Common Towing Mistakes)
If this is your first time using a weight distribution hitch, I know it can be slightly intimidating. But as an experienced user, I can tell you that the equipment is not so complicated. When you know how to set up weight distribution hitch, your ride with the caravan becomes stable and safe. There’s no way you can underestimate this fact.
It’s very important for you to understand and accept that such hitches should not be abused. Meaning they only allow the specified ball weight. So you should keep from increasing weight for your vehicle. Otherwise, accidents and other issues are only inevitable.
The installation part does look a bit tricky. But once you read the instructions thoroughly, the process doesn’t seem so daunting. You can take your own sweet time. And work at your convenience. No need to rush.
And if you have any doubts, the instructions manual is always at your disposal. Just check the guidelines to get access to the correct information. Setting up a weight distribution hitch may be a little difficult. But, to be honest, it’s not an impossible task. Simply set your mind to it and don’t give up.
Before I sign off, there’s one other thing you should know. Hitches demand some form of maintenance once installed. You have to keep them in good condition. For that, using normal lubricating grease for the spring bars is enough. Grease the bars where they connect with the ball head.