Towing with and without a weight-distributing hitch - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-24-2017, 06:52 PM   #1
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Towing with and without a weight-distributing hitch

Yesterday I conducted an experiment: I towed my trailer from Kalaloch campground to Mora campground in Olympic National Park, a distance of 47 miles, without using the weight distribution bars on my weight-distributing hitch, so that it functioned like a standard hitch. I paid careful attention to the handling as I drove. The weight-distributing hitch definitely makes a difference. Without the bars I had quite a bit of bobbing and weaving, and the truck/trailer combination was more difficult to control on curves.

So if you have a Tacoma and are pulling a 21, it would be worth your money to get a weight-distributing hitch. Even though the truck can pull the trailer without one, it pulls much better with one.
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Old 07-24-2017, 06:54 PM   #2
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Question Mike,
If you had a Tundra, do you think your results would have been the same?
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:01 PM   #3
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Question Mike,
If you had a Tundra, do you think your results would have been the same?
I don't know, but I don't think so. Since the Tundra is a full-size truck, the difference in handling with/without the WD hitch should be less. The Tacoma without the WD hitch gets a bit of the "tail wagging the dog" effect from the trailer, which should be diminished in the heavier Tundra. I'm just guessing, though.

I saw a nice, new Tundra pulling a fifth-wheel a few weeks ago and wanted to ask the owner how it handled towing, but I never got the chance.
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:15 PM   #4
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Well, at least if you tow without WD, don't use an overly long ball mount. A common plain ball mount is significantly shorter than a WD shank and head, reducing the adverse effects of tongue weight on the tow vehicle.

Also, choose a ball mount for the correct coupler height. If the trailer is level with WD, disconnecting the WD spring bars will drop the ball and coupler, typically by a couple of inches (that's the reason that many people use WD... droop of the rear of the tow vehicle). That means the trailer is running with the front a couple of inches too low, shifting load to the leading axle and reducing stability.
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:40 PM   #5
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Question Mike,
If you had a Tundra, do you think your results would have been the same?
I just completed a 3,500 mile tow of a 2017 21 (aprox 4,200 lbs) without a WDH using a Tundra (5.7).

I used to pull a Casita 17SD with a Tacoma and a WDH. That setup worked great and I highly recommend one with a Tacoma. I was planning on installing the same WDH on the 21, but was missing a tool to change it from the 3" Casita frame to the 4" Escape frame.

Looking back on, I don't think you need one with a Tundra. I'm going to install it and test it on our next long haul, but other than smoothing out a few dips and maybe better sway control, I might start leaving it at home. The 21 didn't sway much, even in 30 mph crosswinds. Having owned multiple Tacoma's, I'm really impressed with the Tundra and it's towing ability. My former Tacoma (3.5) would have struggled up passes and in passing situations. We recorded transmission temps for the Tundra in the 195-225 range during our trip home. You would have to really slow down to keep the Tacoma temps in check.
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Old 07-24-2017, 08:56 PM   #6
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Mike,
What was your performance with the Tundra, avg speed and avg mpg?
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Old 07-24-2017, 09:18 PM   #7
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Mike,
What was your performance with the Tundra, avg speed and avg mpg?
No, I have a Tacoma. I pull at 60 mph in general and get around 13-14 mpg when towing. US 101 is a twisty road between campgrounds in Olympic National Park, so I drove a bit slower, maybe 50-55 mph.
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Old 07-24-2017, 10:45 PM   #8
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wdh

I tow a 19 with a Toyota FJ Cruiser (tow rating 5000). I've tried it with and without the wdh hooked up it is like night and day.
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:08 AM   #9
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Even with a 5300 # Yukon a WDH with our 21 has benefits for a smoother tow. We don't need it; headlights are fine, and on short-distance tows I don't bother hitching it up, yet it is a bit of a fatigue fighter just as air conditioning is when you don't have to hear all the wind noise for hours.
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Old 07-25-2017, 05:47 AM   #10
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How about trying towing without WD on a semi infested highway. Just drive a bit slow in the right lane and let the trucks pass you, if it's going to sway, that should do it.
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Old 07-25-2017, 06:43 AM   #11
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Mike,
What was your performance with the Tundra, avg speed and avg mpg?
No, I have a Tacoma. I pull at 60 mph in general and get around 13-14 mpg when towing. US 101 is a twisty road between campgrounds in Olympic National Park, so I drove a bit slower, maybe 50-55 mph.


Sorry, too many mikes, I was referring to member Rotateclockwise
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:37 AM   #12
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Sorry, too many mikes, I was referring to member Rotateclockwise
Sorry.

- Counterclockwise Mike
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:39 AM   #13
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Sorry.

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AKA loose nut.....
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Old 07-25-2017, 11:23 AM   #14
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I tow the 19 with my Tundra without a WDH and have been satisfied with the performance. I did need a longer stinger in order to clear my tailgate, and that initially caused some concern, but have experienced no sway, although have not been in high winds. I'm not certain I could get a WDH and still clear my tailgate, though.

Although my Tacoma could also tow the 19, the Tundra is a more comfortable ride from the roomier standpoint on long trips.
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Old 07-25-2017, 01:46 PM   #15
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My F250SD has a very stiff suspension due to the shocks I put on it for hauling my truck camper. So when I tow my 17B (w/o camper, i.e. empty truck) I get quite a bit of bounce. Believe it or not the WDH helps with that. Especially since I-90 coming out of Seattle east to Ellensburg is beat to pieces. Might as well be driving on a back country road in Utah.
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:51 AM   #16
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We've used our 2011, 4.6 L, Tundra double cab 2-wheel drive, with tow package, without a WD hitch to pull our Escape 21' since we bought it new at the factory in 2014. Never had a bit of a problem. We get 13-14 mpg while towing at 65 mph.
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Old 07-27-2017, 10:32 AM   #17
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We have the older small Tundra (2005). I will only tow our 21 without our Anderson WDH if taking it local, like to ETI. The same drive with the hitch is definitely smoother. It dampens the porpoising.
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:46 PM   #18
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Anti sway bar

We have a tundra to tow our yet-to-pick-up 21. We will be using a normal hitch and have super springs on the truck to reduce any sag. I am debating installing an anti-sway bar. I really liked using it when we towed our Casita 17FD with a 4Runner. Does anyone have an opinion on using an anti-sway bar with the Tundra/21 combination?
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:56 PM   #19
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... Does anyone have an opinion on using an anti-sway bar with the Tundra/21 combination?
With our Tacoma/17B combination and now Highlander/21 I have never felt even a hint of sway with a properly weight loaded Escape. I used a WDH with no sway control on the 17B, but now I have the E2 WDH with built in sway control. In my opinion, if you keep your tongue weight within recommended range you will not have any sway.
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:41 AM   #20
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We have a tundra to tow our yet-to-pick-up 21. We will be using a normal hitch and have super springs on the truck to reduce any sag. I am debating installing an anti-sway bar. I really liked using it when we towed our Casita 17FD with a 4Runner. Does anyone have an opinion on using an anti-sway bar with the Tundra/21 combination?
See my response above, plus: We've never had a hint of porpoising or sway with our Tundra with just the stock tow package. The rear sag with our 21' is very minimal even with our stock springs.
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