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Old 04-27-2015, 09:30 PM   #1
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Location: Clanton
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Towing an empty trailer?

We will be picking up our 20MRB in 2 weeks where we will have the dealer install a husky centerline weight distribution hitch at the same time..My issue is that we will immediately be towing the empty trailer 7 hours back home without adding any camping weight to the trailer. Our plan is to start out in camp driveway before we take it out for a trip.. Im assuming this will mean it'll have a really light tongue weight. With a light tongue weight, is there something we should do to offset the low weight? Add water or something? Will the low tongue weight and empty trailer affect the towing or set up of the hitch in any significant way? Will we have to reset the hitch once it's loaded for camping? I've done tons of research about not overloading the trailer but there's not much info about one without much weight in it.. Am I over thinking this being a problem?
We're towing with an F150 5.4. 2 adults, no kids, no pets.

Any help is appreciated.

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Old 04-27-2015, 10:04 PM   #2
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You are overthinking it just a bit and your worries do have merit. As you camp over the years, your trailer and truck will be loaded differently each time you take it out. and you will be asking yourself these questions everytime you take off.
- Is the front end of my truck bouncing too much because I have too much stuff in the back of the truck AND in the front of the trailer?
- Is my trailer swaying too much because I have too much loaded into the back of the trailer?
- Is my truck bouncing too much because the WD bars are too tight?

Make sure you know how to adjust the tension on the WD bars before you leave the dealership. The dealership will set up the hitch per the manufactures instructions, and will do it on your new, unloaded, trailer.

As you drive home, you might have to stop and adjust the tension on the bars.
- steering squirrelly? WD bars not tight enough
- Truck bouncy? WD bars too tight.
- Trailer swaying? Trailer not balanced and too light in front. shift the beer cooler and luggage to the front of the trailer and dump the waste tanks.

BTW, the FW tank is over the front axle. adding water won't really affect balance.


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Old 04-28-2015, 05:59 AM   #3
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how do you adjust tension on the bars?
Do you simply move the chain up or down a link??
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:22 AM   #4
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Like the other person said, you are over thinking it. While "proper" tongue weight is important for stability, you won't have any issues towing it empty. People do it all the time. It may tow slightly differently than it would if it was full but that doesn't mean it will be worse. When you get home and set it up with and average load and distribution you can fine tune the hitch. Congrats on the new rig and have fun!
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:06 AM   #5
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Overthinking is certainly preferable to under thinking. Way too many people just hook up, climb in, and take off - at 80 mph. Good for you that you're trying to cover all your bases!

My suggestion would be to try to plan your trip home so that you pass a Walmart (or some other grocery store with a large parking lot) within a few miles of highway driving. If you find your trailer is handling a little "squirrely", pull into the parking lot and make some adjustments. That may include loosening/tightening the chains on your WDH, moving cargo out of the truck bed and into the front pass-thru of the trailer. I suggested a grocery store parking lot because - if you think you need a little more tongue weight (getting a little "fish-tailing") - you can always go in and pick up several gallons/cases of drinking water to stow in the trailer's front pass-thru. It's heavy, inexpensive, and over the course of a few days/weeks/outings, you'll use it up . . . even if you end up using it for flushing or dumping it into the fresh water tank.

Just a suggestion
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:42 AM   #6
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I had the Equalizer setup at dealership and 53 mile drive home with 30mph cross winds was very good - no white knuckles! Since I have loaded my trailer only need to fill fresh water tank (dry camping first time out), then a quick review of how TT and TV sit and measurements are good then quick short drive to see if alls well.

Larry J
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:54 AM   #7
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Make sure the dealer explains how the WDH works and how to make small adjustments. I expect you will be good but it never hurts to think ahead. Let us know how the pick up goes.
And congrats!

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Old 04-29-2015, 10:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by scottraycraft View Post
how do you adjust tension on the bars?
Do you simply move the chain up or down a link??
for the hitch he has, the a-frame brackets will have to be raised/lowered to adjust tension

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Old 04-29-2015, 10:48 PM   #9
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I delivered trailers for Jayco. I towed everything from tent trailers to park models. EVERY ONE of those trailers was 'unloaded'. I never had a towing or handling problem. I always tow with trailer and tow vehicle rear tires inflated at or near their maximum. My front tires are about 5psi below their maximum.

I now OWN a Jayco trailer that I towed 1,800 miles from IN to AZ without any handling problems. When I'm ready to go camping with this trailer, I'll need to check and see if I need to adjust the Equalizer brand WDH hitch due to the added tongue weight.
Sherm & Terry w/rescues Steve (std Poodle) & Eydie (min Schnauzer)
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:51 PM   #10
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We took delivery of our new 20MRB on 3/31 of this year. Towed the trailer 75 miles home empty. WDH is an Andersen. Trailer towed with no problems. For a little weight upfront, have new battery(s) and full propane tanks.

Empty and without the "Mandatory Option" (?) package, the trailer weighs 4385 with a tongue weight of 540 pounds. The load carrying capacity empty states 1565 before the option package. I just checked the yellow sticker on my rig and it states to not load more than 1183 pounds. I can only assume the option package weighs 382 pounds (including the Glacier Package). This means the trailer weighs
4767. Even if the tongue weight didn't go up (which it did), you would still have a tongue weight of 11%.

You will be fine.


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2011 F150 Non EcoBoost (5.0)
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