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Old 05-30-2017, 10:08 AM   #1
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WDH Conundrum

Question: Is it okay to over correct your WDH if the rear axle of the TV is at the GAWR post hitch setup?

Details: This past weekend we took out our new to us 2014 x17z. The TT and TV were loaded pretty much to capacity. I stopped off at the nearest CAT scales to do a final check before heading out. The weights all looked not terrible. But my front wheel wells with the WDH applied were lower than the uncoupled height. We all know the instructions on the WDH says this is a major no-no. So I readjusted the WDH until the front wheel wells were almost right at the uncoupled height. Here are my weight numbers.

Vehicle ratings:

TV: GAWR Front(2676); Rear(2963)
TT: GVWR 3500 (I'm assuming this would equate to 3150 on the axle and 350 on the tongue if properly balanced)

Initial CAT numbers:

TV: Front (2400) Rear (2960)
TT: 3240

Post WDH readjustment (reduced WDH correction)

TV: Front (2340); Rear (3200)
TT: 3160

This put me at the correct height of the front wheel wells. But it put my rear TV axle over the GAWR. So back to my original question. Is it safer to have the correct height during WDH adjustment. Or is it safer to have all of the measured weights under the GAWR?

I thought the risk of over correcting the WDH would be removing too much weight from the rear axle of the TV which could increase risk of jack knife. But if there is clearly plenty of weight on the rear axle, actually more on the rear than the front, is this a risk at all even if the WDH is technically over corrected?

I'm really interested to hear what you have to say. Thanks in advance for the responses.
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:47 AM   #2
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If I'm reading this right, you are saying that when you initially setup your WDH, it was distributing too much weight to the front axle - wheel wells were 'lower'. So you re-adjusted, taking weight off the front, back to the rear and now it measures right, but you are over your rear axle rating?

I'm a nerd engineer, so the only thing I can honestly suggest is to get a bigger truck.

But to answer your actual question, if I had to, I'd rather be a little over on my back axle than to go against the WDH manufacturers setup instructions. I had a really hard time with my setup getting enough weight transferred to the front... to the point of nearly needing to raise the back wheels of my truck off the ground just to install the spring bars. I can't imagine how hard your initial setup must have been if it actually made the nose of your truck squat. Honestly, I'd have to see the setup in person to really know what to say... so I'll stand by my 'get a bigger truck' assessment.

What is your current TV by the way? And why does your post count show as zero even though I'm responding to one of them??

Welcome to JOF if that was your first post.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:13 AM   #3
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Yep, bansai you read that correctly. And before our first trip was finished my wife and I had already begun the "Should we get a bigger truck?" conversation . Let's just say we're working on that but the timeline is looking like we'll be using my current TV (2010 Nissan Xterra) for the next 2-3 years. I'm also an engineer nerd and like your way of thinking. When solving a problem the first question is, would this justify a bigger truck?

I am going to contact Equalizer and get their take on my hitch setup. I'm also in the camp of not going against their warning. But I'd still like to know which risks I'm weighing. I don't know enough about vehicle dynamics to know which setup is safer or more risky.

Yeah I haven't figured out my post count. Maybe it's because I've got multiple tabs open in Chrome.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:36 AM   #4
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Cool, well you are at 2 posts now the system must have updated.

Good luck on making this work. After you made the correction in your WDH, you only took 60 pounds off the front but it looks like it made a much bigger difference out back. You aren't over weight on that axle by too much. I'll be curious what equalizer says... if their lawyers dictate 'get a bigger truck, cause we can't help you' or if they give you a legit, safe solution that doesn't require a $50,000+ purchase.

My wife and I had the 'get a bigger truck' conversation on every trip we took. I do all the driving (90%) so I had to work on her for a few months before she ok'ed the upgrade. Constant exposure to 'What's wrong with our 150?' conversations.. I was more prepared than Hillary's campaign to win this particular issue. Anyways, keep us posted. Hoping you get some other replies from members in your situation.
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorin'Sonoran View Post
snip..... But I'd still like to know which risks I'm weighing. I don't know enough about vehicle dynamics to know which setup is safer or more risky......snip
Transferring more weight to the TV's front axle then it's 'unhitched' weight will compress the front suspension thus reducing the amount of reactive suspension travel....., basically resulting in a rougher ride (been there, done it). In some cases one may experience some unfamiliar steering/braking characteristics, especially when towing at TV/TT weight limit capacities (as you stated).

The effect of exceeding a TV's rear GAWR by 8% will very from one TV to another...., but at the end of the day it's still exceeding TV manufacture specifications. TV's with 'softer' rear suspensions may have a higher probably of bottoming-out under less then ideal road conditions. I have heard that TV braking characteristics when towing can be effected when exceeding rear GAWR (or GVWR).

It's difficult to respond with a clear "which setup is safer or more risky"....., I wouldn't want either condition with my TV/TT combination, but that's just me.

Bob
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Old 05-30-2017, 02:54 PM   #6
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Thank you both for the great responses. It's good to read the words of the more experienced folks here. I think while I'm using this TV the answer is to reduce the load and bring my weights back within the GAWR for each axle. That being said here's the response from the folks at Equalizer.

"I don't recommend over-adjusting the hitch. The reason for that being if you over-adjust the hitch it puts more tension on the hitch then what it is really rated to handle and could cause the hitch to fail, second it puts more weight on your front axle than it would normally be which even if it doesn't exceed your front axle rating will cause your front tires to wear out more quickly. "
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:20 PM   #7
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We used to have an X. That thing would bottom out if a bird pooped on the rear section of the roof! Empty!

Do you have one of the upgraded models? With better suspension? Or did they fix that problem in later years? Ours was a 2006.

To answer your question (other than "get a bigger truck", BTDT), I would lighten the entire load as much as possible to stay within GAWRs if at all possible. Second to that, I would not "over-distribute" to the front axle because of the squirrely handling that introduces. You'll end up losing traction in the rear, and it could cause problems you don't want experience with during a panic stop.

The goal is to get the front axle weight back to where it was unloaded so that steering and control is not adversely affected because of the weight removed from the front axle by the tongue weight. So height of your fenders is just a ball park. Ideally, you want to weigh the truck loaded, but uncoupled to get a front and rear axle base line. Then hook up your trailer, and weigh all three axles, then engage your weight distribution and get a third weight. You want your steer axle to be as close to the same as possible on the first and third weigh. If you're over in the rear under that configuration, then, so be it. If you're willing to be over, then it is what it is. But, personally, I wouldn't use the WDH to keep your rear axle within GAWR.

You've already stated that you're on the road to a bigger truck? But if you're going to keep the X for a while, you might consider a suspension upgrade. Old Man Emu (OME) makes an "overload" spring kit for that vehicle. It's designed with off-roaders in mind. Guys who put bigger, heavier OR bumpers and racks on their X were finding the factory suspension was just too soft, so OME made an "overload" kit for it. You could also consider helpers or air-suspension. Granted, none of this will increase your weight carrying capacity, but it may help you manage the load you're carrying better. If you're definitely not going to keep the X, maybe you just get the cheap helper springs and move on with life, but if you're going to keep it, even if not to tow, the OME kit would be a nice upgrade IMO. It will give you a very modest lift (like 1" or so, a little less when the springs "settle" over time) and will allow installation of bigger tires if desired.

We sold our X to get something with more interior space, but I sure do miss that truck. It was a great platform that is relatively easy to modify and has plenty of aftermarket parts to do so. And it's pretty capable off-road too. That's what I would have done with it if we'd kept ours...
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