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Old 06-05-2017, 10:02 PM   #1
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Weight Distribution Hitch for 17B

Forgive me if this is repetition, but I can't seem to find it on search. Our 17B build sheet is due and is pretty much complete, but we're wondering if we need a WDH. The two vehicle is an older F150 (2005) with a 5.4 engine and tow package. Tow rating over 8500 lbs.
We like the way a WDH works with our current Bigfoot, but it would be nice to just have a ball mount.
We would be willing to buy the WDH from ETI and resale it if necessary, but which one? Choices: 1) Equalizer Hitch (Pro Series 600lb Trunnion) $350 CAD
2) Equalizer Hitch (Pro Series 600lb Trunnion) with Sway Control Bar (Pro Series)
$475 CAD
3) E2 by FastWay Integrated Sway Control and Weight Distribution Hitch $625
CAD
We will call ETI hitch installer tomorrow to see if they have any thoughts. What have others used? Any advice from the group?
Thanks,Tony
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:43 PM   #2
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:16 PM   #3
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Pro series worked great for our 17 with both tow vehicles


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Old 06-05-2017, 11:36 PM   #4
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I'm towing my 17B with a 1997 F250 super duty 4x4. Went ahead and got the Pro series WDH for the $350CAD when I got my trailer in March. WDH seems to help with two things...strong crosswinds like we sometimes have near Ellensburg WA and rough highways like we have on I-90 out of Seattle. It seems to help the truck and trailer ride a bit more like one platform. Just my feelings on the matter. In reality we could probably get away with just a ball hitch given our truck sizes. In my case I thought if I ever go to a smaller truck I'll certainly want the WDH so might as well get it now.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:30 AM   #5
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(Edited for clarity)
We have a 2015 17A, and just use the ball mount; no WDH. We are careful to maintain 350 lbs. tongue weight or less, so no WDH is needed. I would suspect that on an F-150 with that large tow rating, no WDH need be considered.
Concerning sway (not really a WDH function, but seems to be implicit in any inquiry):
We have driven in strong cross winds (Calif. Central Valley on I-5 during wind warnings: 25-30 mph, with gusts over 40 mph.). Because the axle is 12 feet from the ball, the trailer is very stable. In the gusts, there is a shudder, but no sway or altering of course.
When we first picked up the 17 at Sumas, we drove WA state two-lane highways to Bellingham, and observed semi-trucks passing us going the other way, so the differential speed is 80 mph (combined) or more. We had no sway and no drawing of the trailer out of line, so we decided that no WDH/sway device was necessary. Now, 7000+ miles later, we are still of the same mind.
Tow vehicle is a 2011 Honda Pilot. The ball mount has been modified, with an extra 5/8" pin hole drilled so the ball mount sits further in the receiver, and the ball is almost 2" closer to the receiver.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony N View Post
Forgive me if this is repetition, but I can't seem to find it on search. Our 17B build sheet is due and is pretty much complete, but we're wondering if we need a WDH. The two vehicle is an older F150 (2005) with a 5.4 engine and tow package. Tow rating over 8500 lbs.
We like the way a WDH works with our current Bigfoot, but it would be nice to just have a ball mount.
We would be willing to buy the WDH from ETI and resale it if necessary, but which one? Choices: 1) Equalizer Hitch (Pro Series 600lb Trunnion) $350 CAD
2) Equalizer Hitch (Pro Series 600lb Trunnion) with Sway Control Bar (Pro Series)
$475 CAD
3) E2 by FastWay Integrated Sway Control and Weight Distribution Hitch $625
CAD
We will call ETI hitch installer tomorrow to see if they have any thoughts. What have others used? Any advice from the group?
Thanks,Tony
We tow our new 17B with a 2005 Honda Pilot and no WDH. We drove the I5 southbound earlier this year through some pretty hefty winds and no sway and no issues. Your F150 is a much more powerful and robust vehicle and suspect that you don't really need one.

Also when we were being set-up, Dennis at ETI who does all the hitch set-ups for new trailers told me that if they thought that you needed one they would tell you at the time of set-up and can install one then and there.
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:27 AM   #7
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If you decide to get one, let them do it. I was on the fence and didn't and now I wish I had. Their prices are very competitive. They would have installed it for less than the price of just the hitch around here.
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:06 AM   #8
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WDH for 17B

I towed my 17B with a Toyota FJ Cruiser which has 5000 tow rating. No WDH. It towed just fine. I don't see how you would need a WDH towing a 17B if your vehicle has 8500 tow capacity. I would try it without the WDH and see how it does, I think you will find it to be OK.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:28 AM   #9
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I used the Escape installed Equalizer Hitch (Pro Series 600lb Trunnion or what ever version they were installing in 2011) when I towed with a V6 RAV4. Worked well, no sway problems.

When I switched tow vehicles to a 2016 Tacoma Off Road, I added Sumo Springs to reduce rear end droop, and used the WDH for the first trip. Decided to go without it for the long winter trip to Arizona, and found no stability problems. I did notice that on bumps, the trailer did a bit more side to side twisting that the WDH prevented, but it had no effect on stability.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:54 AM   #10
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I'll just add that hitching and unhitching is far easier without a WDH. I would think with that truck you won't need it and it will just add unnecessary time to your routine.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:06 PM   #11
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Tony:
We've towed our 17B with a 2008 4Runner (5,000 lb. tow rating) without a WDH since getting the trailer in 2015 and are completely happy with our towing experience. Given the relatively light weight of the 17B compared to your truck's tow rating, I think you'll be fine without a WDH.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:17 PM   #12
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Wdh

Tony, if you decide to get a WDH make sure you also get the power tongue jack, it will make your life a lot easier hitching and unhitching. You don't really need the power jack if you don't get the WDH.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:30 PM   #13
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If I didn't need a WDH on my RAV4, I wouldn't have one. PIA.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
If I didn't need a WDH on my RAV4, I wouldn't have one. PIA.
Really, mine REALLY sags without our Anderson.
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Old 06-06-2017, 04:57 PM   #15
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I recently switched tow vehicles and bought an '09 Tacoma, V6 to tow my 17A. Bringing it home, I wasn't satisfied with its handling as it just didn't track well and grooves in the pavement could cause me to veer a little. What's wrong, alignment, worn front end parts? It qualified for a rear spring recall and after getting that done, its handling improved greatly.... also its rear droop improved to hardly noticeable. Mmm 2 birds one stone .. almost. I still wasn't satisfied though and noticing that the previous owner had installed passenger car 2 ply sidewall tires, decided to install BF Goodrich KO2 tires - 8 ply (I think). The heavier stiffer sidewalls made another huge handling improvement but at a the cost of a bit more road noise and a little rougher ride ... my opinion is that it was and still is a good trade off. I still had more droop than I wanted so installed Firestone Airbags. Now we are talking! Tow and trailer are rock solid and I'm very pleased with the ride without a WDH. I can dial out any rear droop or sag by changing the air pressure in the bags and my truck itself rides level. Time will tell if the airbags vs Sumo is the better choice ... I don't know.

When I picked up my trailer at ETI, Dennis told me (I'm paraphrasing) that the 17 was inherently stable and I wouldn't need a anti sway device but maybe a weight dist. device. With the information overload at the time, I wish I had asked more questions but looking at my trailer, I think overall design considerations required the axel placement to be a little bit farther aft compared to many designs and this is where the inherent stability is coming from. With my "A" floor plan and my Full bed forward, I find it very easy to get too heavy a tongue weight due to having so much storage space under my bed. I try to target 11% of trailer weight on my tongue and that seems to work for me. My trailer is still new enough to me that I'm experimenting still where I store stuff.

Overall now, I'm very happy with my trailer and towing without a WDH. Sidewinds or semis don't bother me ... so far. I really didn't want the extra weight, cost or complication of a WDH. Some brands require removing the anti-sway components before backing up! My airbags probably cost a little more than a WDH though ... the replaced tires on tow don't count in a cost analyst cause I needed them anyway (worn out tread) and the new rear springs were free from Toyota.

Side note: I bought a new 1000# Sherline tongue scale about a year and a half ago. After doing my above mods, I got it out to check my tongue weight and found hydraulic oil all over the scale body and the plunger all the way down. It was unable to work. I called the factory and was told that they had changed the "O" rings used during manufacturing and they were failing. The factory sent me a new scale free (trusting that I would send back the old one) and a postage free label to return the old scale. Another business with great customer service!

Tom

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Old 06-06-2017, 05:30 PM   #16
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Hey Tom...thanks for the line on the Sherline tongue scale. I'll have to buy one of these for balancing my load.

When I went to pick up my trailer this March I had to give my truck to Dennis for the WDH. When I got back there he was chuckling about the size of my truck vs the trailer and the WDH. Said I probably didn't need the WDH given the size of my F250 truck unless I was in Wyoming with the winds they sometimes get. Dennis said he'd feel comfortable towing my 17B with just a hitch ball for the most part. However, I'm glad I got it as it does seem to make a difference when towing on rough highways. My truck suspension is brutally stiff...and the WDH seems to help tie the truck/trailer as one platform smoothing the ride a bit.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by advenas View Post
Hey Tom...thanks for the line on the Sherline tongue scale. I'll have to buy one of these for balancing my load.

When I went to pick up my trailer this March I had to give my truck to Dennis for the WDH. When I got back there he was chuckling about the size of my truck vs the trailer and the WDH. Said I probably didn't need the WDH given the size of my F250 truck unless I was in Wyoming with the winds they sometimes get. Dennis said he'd feel comfortable towing my 17B with just a hitch ball for the most part. However, I'm glad I got it as it does seem to make a difference when towing on rough highways. My truck suspension is brutally stiff...and the WDH seems to help tie the truck/trailer as one platform smoothing the ride a bit.

Part freight train ....

You are going to love it traveling with all the stuff you can bring along.

Tom
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by StarvingHyena View Post
Part freight train ....

You are going to love it traveling with all the stuff you can bring along.

Tom
Yeah, it's a legacy truck....originally bought it for a truck camper. Then downsized to a lighter pop up truck camper...then switched to the Escape 17B. Tows great...the 460 motor in it doesn't even know the trailer is back there. I do though...at 10 mpg. At some point I'll get a smaller truck....but I'll keep the WDH.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:31 AM   #19
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I still wasn't satisfied though and noticing that the previous owner had installed passenger car 2 ply sidewall tires, decided to install BF Goodrich KO2 tires - 8 ply (I think).
There have been no tires made for light trucks with 8-ply sidewalls for a long time - probably decades. Tom, do you mean "8 ply rating"? That really means Load Range D. The BF Goodrich page shows sizes on load ranges C, D, and E, but for this tire doesn't list sidewall plies; however, TireRack.com says that in Load Range C it has two sidewall plies, and in Load Range E it has three sidewall plies.

I believe that this Light Truck tire in a high load range has much stiffer sidewalls than a Standard Load "passenger car" tire... but it just doesn't have 8-ply sidewalls, and may only have 2 plies.
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Old 06-07-2017, 02:26 AM   #20
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Brian B-P,
Well, thank you for bringing this to my attention. My trailer is too far away to go see what is mounted ... I'll check on it. You do a great job researching so likely you are right.

Tom
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