Minivan Weight Distribution Hitch Install & Review

Discussion in 'PopUpPortal TV' started by sstressfl, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. sstressfl

    sstressfl Member

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    Previously, we owned a very light 1997 Starcraft popup camper. When it was fully loaded, the van needed some help to stay level so I installed some airlift airbags to help lift the back end of the van. It worked! But we traded our old popup for a new Rockwood 2280BHESP popup camper. We love it! But, with the new popup came more weight. A lot more. Another 1000+ lbs!!! Needless to say the airlift bags were not the right tool for the job. We needed a weight distribution hitch to level out the van and raise the nose of the trailer and restore handling. I finally bought one.... and this is the install and test drive.

     
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  2. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    What a great review and demo of a product!
     
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  3. sstressfl

    sstressfl Member

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    Thank you so much!
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Just putting this out there for the newbies. Read both your vehicle and Your trailer manuals to see if a WDH (weight distribution hitch) can be used On either of your setups. There are some popups especially the c frame popups where a WDH could cause serious problems or bend the frame. The same could happen on your vehicle not equipped to handle a WDH.
     
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  5. sstressfl

    sstressfl Member

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    Very true! Thank you for bringing this up!

    My old popup had a cframe. The new one as you can see from the video is a full box frame. Cframes are used on lighter trailers. Box for heavier. Cframes can bend when using a wdh.

    Also my van is equipped with a class 3 hitch receiver designed for 5000lbs and 500lb tongue weight with a wdh.
     
  6. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Also for new folks. Remember that adding a hitch with a higher tow rating and tongue weight rating DOESN'T increase the vehicles tow rating. In fact adding anything like airbags, springs won't increase the tow rating.. Only thing that might is adding brakes to a small trailer and only for a few vehicles.
     
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  7. sstressfl

    sstressfl Member

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    TY Snow!! Great reminder. The work I've done does not increase the van's tow rating however it does create a safer tow experience by spreading the weight to all 4 wheels on the van, and it levels out the camper/van so it's not sagging in the middle. All of this creates a more stable, better braking, better driving, improved towing experience.
     
  8. gec66

    gec66 Active Member

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    Two more words of caution. First, with a WDH heavier is not necessarily better. Try to stay as close to the actual tongue weight as possible. There are 350 lb, 400 lb, and 450 lb options out there.

    Secondly, it is possible to overload the front axle of the mini van by transferring too much weight. Best practice to get to a weigh station with your fully loaded combo to see where you stand. I had mine all set up level and discovered I was actually a couple hundred pounds over the front axle rating. Fortunately I had chosen a WDH with the chain link bar connection like the OP has, so it could be adjusted on the fly. After I reduced the distribution by one chain link, which actually made the van sag slightly, I was back to within spec on both van axles as well as the trailer axle.
     
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  9. sstressfl

    sstressfl Member

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    My setup is so close to the limits that every tweak helps! Thanks for sharing your wisdom
     
  10. gec66

    gec66 Active Member

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    No problem. To expound on the weight capacity comment, a WDH uses the flex in the torsion bars to facilitate the weight transfer, so by having torsion bars that are too stiff it's actually not as effective. Probably not worth swapping your 800 lb WDH for a 400 lb one if that would do, but if you find yourself setting up another one or someone reading this gets helped by it all the better.
     
  11. sstressfl

    sstressfl Member

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    My research shows a system with a higher tongue weight rating than you’re towing can cause a harsh stiff ride. But if the ride is not too harsh it’s fine. Also it will not cause any damage. This thing rides like a Cadillac. It’s perfect. Also we are about 2 years from trading the van and plan on buying a truck. My wife is already eyeing hardsides and I don’t want to buy another hitch.
     

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