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Old 11-30-2020, 03:22 AM   #1
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Weight distribution with air suspension

I have a 2020 Ram 1500 with a 4 corner air suspension system. Can you use any weigh distribution system or is there a particular one that is best suited for Ram with the air suspension systems? I do know that when you are setting it up, you need to put it into “Jack Mode” in order to disable the auto adjusting of the system. If there are some other Ram owners with an air suspension system, I would be interested in what you are using for weigh distribution. If it matters, we will be towing an Escape 19.
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:41 AM   #2
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We have the Andersen WD system that we bought when towing with our 4Runner for the first couple of years. At that point the weight distribution function was useful.

We now have a 2016 Ram with the air suspension and have no concern about leveling, since it is self-leveling, but we continue to use the Andersen to benefit from the anti-sway it provides. I just tighten it a bit, not really as much as if I were trying to get weight distribution.

I'd actually try the 19' with just the ball hitch for a while. The Ram will self level and sway my not be an issue.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:14 AM   #3
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Also have a 2020 ram 1500 4x4 with air suspension. Used Andersen with our tacoma and 19. With the ram so far just using the Andersen head without the chains/plate and the 19 levels and tows just fine. I do take the chains and plate just in case.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:35 AM   #4
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We have a Sequoia that has airbags, and I will say we learned pretty quickly that it is much easier to hookup if the airbags are placed into manual mode. Once hooked up I turn them back on auto.
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:23 AM   #5
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you can't use WD system with the RAM air suspension. this was confirmed by escape when I picked up my 2018 21C. I have towed over 25,000 miles and never felt like I needed it. When fully loaded the truck is 7,000 pounds, you hardly know the trailer is back there.
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Old 11-30-2020, 01:48 PM   #6
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The brand or specific type of WD system doesn't matter to the truck's air suspension - they all work fundamentally the same way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by canakiwi View Post
you can't use WD system with the RAM air suspension. this was confirmed by escape when I picked up my 2018 21C.
The company which actually designed and manufactured the vehicle has no problem with the use of a WD system with the air suspension. The people who made the trailer just don't understand how air suspension works, or are just avoiding having to deal with it; it would have been much better if they just said "we don't know" instead of misleading people with the blatantly incorrect "you can't use it".

There is a section within the towing section of the Ram 1500 owners' manual entitled "Towing With 1500 Air Suspension" (page 306). It explains the use of jack mode for WD adjustment (as Mark already mentioned) and advises the use of normal mode (rather than one of the lowered or raised modes) while towing. Towing with WD and the air suspension is clearly and explicitly endorsed, and the adjustment is just like without air suspension (as long as the air suspension is in the correct mode during adjustment).
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Old 11-30-2020, 02:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The company which actually designed and manufactured the vehicle has no problem with the use of a WD system with the air suspension.

I was wondering about that. You probably don't need a WDH for an Escape 19 with the Ram, but with a trailer closer to the vehicle's limit I sure think you'd want one. That truck can tow very heavy trailers and I bet the front end would get so light it wouldn't be safe.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:41 AM   #8
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You probably don't need a WDH for an Escape 19 with the Ram, but with a trailer closer to the vehicle's limit I sure think you'd want one. That truck can tow very heavy trailers and I bet the front end would get so light it wouldn't be safe.
I agree that it's not likely needed with a 19', and the manufacturer's recommendation is to use WD with trailers over 5,000 pounds (which is almost no Escapes).

Even 1,000 pounds of tongue weight would only transfer about 300 pounds of the 3,000 or so pounds that the truck's front axle carries, so it might not be so bad... especially with air suspension preventing undesirable suspension heights and adverse alignment angles.
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Old 12-01-2020, 01:46 AM   #9
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Excellent advice everyone. I likely go with no WD and just see how it goes. Sounds like I won’t need one and will definitely simplify the hook up.
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Old 12-01-2020, 01:34 PM   #10
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I tow my 19 with a Frontier, beefed up the rear suspension and quit using the WDH. It tows wonderfully and hitching/unhitching are so much easier now.
With your truck I'd doubt seriously that you would need a WDH.
The bigger consideration with the 19 is making sure you keep good tongue weight. I'm moving my batteries inside in a few months and will put a truck box to compensate for the weight adjustment. The 19 will get squirrely if tongue weight gets too light.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:03 AM   #11
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Good advice Greg. We are going with the Escape box on front so and I like the idea of easier hitching and unhitching. That is a benefit.
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Old 12-17-2020, 09:53 AM   #12
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same question for Colorado diesel with air bags

Reading this thread it appears that ETI warning not to use an equalizer with air bags may not apply. I have air bags on my colorado and I think they'll be very helpful when we upsize to a 21C whenever it gets built. With that small truck, I think an equalizer and sway control would be nice but I really don't want to remove the air bags.

Is the reason ETI says they are not compatible is that it makes the coupling height higher and perhaps make hitching/unhitching more difficult?
The bag manufacturer has no problem with it and, in fact, towing trailers is the main reason many people install air bags.

I'm just trying to figure out the rationale for ETI saying not to use them with a WD hitch.
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Old 12-17-2020, 03:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Semievolved View Post
Is the reason ETI says they are not compatible is that it makes the coupling height higher and perhaps make hitching/unhitching more difficult?
The bag manufacturer has no problem with it and, in fact, towing trailers is the main reason many people install air bags.

I'm just trying to figure out the rationale for ETI saying not to use them with a WD hitch.
While they might not understand how air suspension works, or might not understand how WD works, I think it's more likely that they just don't want to consider all the possible air suspension configurations and resulting procedures for adjustment. "We don't know how to handle it for your specific tow vehicle so you shouldn't do it" seems like the most likely blunt paraphrasing to me.

Air suspensions (factory or aftermarket, full or supplemental to other spring types) are typically used to maintain suspension ride height at the same level regardless of load - that's higher than a non-adjustable suspension fully loaded, but typically lower than a non-adjustable suspension without load. In any case, the tow vehicle ride height doesn't matter to the WD system, as long as that height doesn't change much during use... this makes air suspension even better for WD applications than non-adjustable suspensions.

For coupling and uncoupling, the trailer tongue jack just needs to lift the coupler clear of the ball - the tow vehicle height is irrelevant. The softer the suspension the greater that distance, but air suspensions are not necessarily different in stiffness than other types. If you want, in many cases the height adjustment could be used to drop the ball out of the coupler when unhitching and lift it back in when hitching, making for even less work with the jack.
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Old 12-17-2020, 03:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
While they might not understand how air suspension works, or might not understand how WD works, I think it's more likely that they just don't want to consider all the possible air suspension configurations and resulting procedures for adjustment. "We don't know how to handle it for your specific tow vehicle so you shouldn't do it" seems like the most likely blunt paraphrasing to me.

Air suspensions (factory or aftermarket, full or supplemental to other spring types) are typically used to maintain suspension ride height at the same level regardless of load - that's higher than a non-adjustable suspension fully loaded, but typically lower than a non-adjustable suspension without load. In any case, the tow vehicle ride height doesn't matter to the WD system, as long as that height doesn't change much during use... this makes air suspension even better for WD applications than non-adjustable suspensions.

For coupling and uncoupling, the trailer tongue jack just needs to lift the coupler clear of the ball - the tow vehicle height is irrelevant. The softer the suspension the greater that distance, but air suspensions are not necessarily different in stiffness than other types. If you want, in many cases the height adjustment could be used to drop the ball out of the coupler when unhitching and lift it back in when hitching, making for even less work with the jack.

thanks much, that makes total sense.
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Old 12-18-2020, 07:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Semievolved View Post
Reading this thread it appears that ETI warning not to use an equalizer with air bags may not apply. I have air bags on my colorado and I think they'll be very helpful when we upsize to a 21C whenever it gets built. With that small truck, I think an equalizer and sway control would be nice but I really don't want to remove the air bags.

Is the reason ETI says they are not compatible is that it makes the coupling height higher and perhaps make hitching/unhitching more difficult?
The bag manufacturer has no problem with it and, in fact, towing trailers is the main reason many people install air bags.

I'm just trying to figure out the rationale for ETI saying not to use them with a WD hitch.
I have air bags on my F250 and I simply set them to 5lb when towing my 21 with an Equal-I-Zer WDH. No problem at all.

Helps with hitching and unhitching too. Blow them up to 50lb and the WDH bars will release without using the tongue jack.
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