Being new to pulling TT I spent some time searching on various forums for hitch recommendations. As with their trucks folks are equally as passionate when it comes to their hitch selection so there was a lot of noise to sift through. Ultimately I decided on the Andersen for the following reasons:
- Light weight at only 60lbs total
- Clean (no grease)
- Easy to hook/unhook
Even though they'd never seen one before my dealer offered to install it when I took delivery. I'd read through the install guide and watched the short video on the Andersen site about installation and it looked simple and straightforward so I had them do that. As this was my first experience with a WDH as well as a larger trailer with electric brakes I didn't have anything to compare it to. I've only pulled low profile utility trailers. After picking up the trailer I pulled it around for a bit before heading home - it didn't take me very long to decide that something wasn't right. It's hard to say what about it bothered me - it just did.
My first thought was that perhaps the tire pressures were not correct. I checked tire pressures on both the truck and trailer to ensure all were at max pressure, which they were. 44PSI on the stock P-rated Wranglers on the truck and 50PSI for the LT's on the trailer.
One of the things I noticed when I got home was the slipping of the brackets on the frame which reduces the tension on the chains and reduces the WD portion of the hitch. This seems to be a common problem with the Andersen. I've tried increasing the torque on these brackets as well as the set screw but ultimately ended up having a tack weld done as is detailed in the manual as an optional way to address bracket slip. I think the set screw is really in the wrong place to be effective - it's too close to the pivot point. Based on my experience I would just go straight to the tack weld on the outer bracket and not mess with the set screw. I think the chains not only engage the WD but also play a role in the sway control. Without tension it probably decreases the effectiveness of the sway control as the ball probably doesn't turn with the trailer nearly as well as it should.
Another thing I discovered was the draw bar was really sloppy in the receiver. The ball had over 1/2" of up/down movement. I've temporarily remedied that with some metal shims and good old duck tape. Now there is less than 1/8" of up/down movement.
The last adjustment I decided to make was to drop the ball down a notch. I have an auto-leveling suspension and I wondered if perhaps I was ending up with the ball a little too high. The procedure for hitching up is to disable the suspension, then adjust WDH before re-engaging suspension. As I fiddled with this I found that the wheel well measurements would vary depending on load in the truck or angle (slight slope, etc.) so I wasn't confident that the initial ball height set when the dealer installed it was correct. I felt like if anything I wanted to be just a tad bit nose-down.
After making the above adjustments I took it out it again. Completely different feeling and experience. It felt nothing like when I first towed it home and I was not uncomfortable in running it down the freeway at 60.
So now we've just come back from our first long tow to the Washington Coast (about 170 miles each way) and it pulled just great. On the freeway at 60 the trailer remains straight in line and I don't see or feel any motion when passed by semi's. It's very stable when changing lanes as well. Same thing on the 2-way state highways when passed by semi's or other large vehicles in the opposite direction. One the way there it was quite windy and gusty and I didn't notice any adverse effects from that either. And I didn't feel worn out after a few hours on the road - and yes, I am well aware of the fact that the trailer is back there
. For mileage with the Hemi I got about 12.3mpg (hand-calculated) on the full round-trip.
For those interested I'm posting my CAT scale numbers below. In my research I've noticed that frequently folks wanted to know the numbers and not very many were showing up for the Andersen. At some point I do plan on getting a pass on the scale without WD engaged - mainly I'm interested to see how much re-distribution is occurring. It's just been way too busy every time I've been there to do that. In fact while I was on the scale this last time a semi just about took out the pump next to the scale - flattened 2 of the yellow safety poles in the process. There was only one attendant on duty and there was a line inside - felt sorry for them.... My truck and trailer are listed in my sig lines:
Truck GVWR - 6800
Truck FAWR/RAWR - 3900 each
Trailer GVWR - 3750
Trailer GAWR - 3500
Truck only w/full fuel and driver:
Steer Axle - 3440
Drive Axle - 2580
Total - 6020
Truck w/full fuel, driver, some cargo plus trailer mostly loaded for travel w/WD engaged:
Steer Axle - 3440
Drive Axle - 3080
Trailer Axle - 3100
Tongue weight - 400 (as measured by my Sherline)
Truck Total - 6520
Trailer Total - 3500
Tongue weight % - 11.5%
Truck w/full fuel, driver, passenger, cargo plus trailer fully loaded for travel w/WD engaged:
Steer Axle - 3520
Drive Axle - 3140
Trailer Axle - 3260
Tongue weight - 420 (as measured by my Sherline)
Truck Total - 6660
Trailer Total - 3680
Tongue weight % - 11.5%