How to Set Up Weight Distribution Hitches

Last Updated on January 8, 2023 by Will Sabel

Ever faced the ‘trailer being overweight’ situation in the middle of the journey? You’re lucky if you’re not familiar with this experience. 

I get it, hitches are quite expensive and it’s impossible to buy more than one regular hitch (not even adjustable) for each trailer. 

Or, here’s a situation, even if your truck’s basic receiver hitch can tow around 8,000 lbs, it would still not be safe and smooth enough when you need to tow more than 5,000 lbs.

So, what do we do now?

This is where it kicks in.

A weight distribution hitch solves this issue. 

In this article, I will help you understand and walk you through the importance of precise weight distribution hitch setup of trailer hitches. If you have trailers that might call to situations like these, or even for safety purposes, then this piece of writing is for you.

Let’s dive right into the introduction of weight distribution hitches.

What is a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Weight Distribution Hitch

Although it might look somewhat similar to regular trailer hitches, it is going to have an attaching mechanism for some spring bars that are going to transfer weight through the vehicle over to the front axle. 

When the trailer is overweight, there forms pressure on the posterior part of the tow vehicle while lifting the frontal part of the car from the ground. 

The center of the hitch will also sink or go down. We can call it the ‘squatting hitch’ situation. This will reduce the wrecking force of your car. Now that is a serious threat to your and your trailer’s safety. 

Using adjustable spring bars, a weight distribution hitch distributes the excess weight forward and reward. It levels up the front axle so your driving is risk-free and velvety.

What is a Winch Weight Distribution Hitch?

Even though there wasn’t much about this on the internet, but here’s what I found:

‘A winch receiver is a type of winch mount that fits into a receiver hitch mount on a vehicle. Designed to allow the user to remove the winch after, the winch receiver is held into the receiver hitch racket by a single, solid steel pin.’

Basically, it’s similar to weight distribution hitch but with extra facilities.

Now that we are already familiar with the concept of weight distribution hitch, let’s have an idea on how to install or set up a weight distribution hitch for your car.

See Also: Top Rated Hitch Mounted Winch

How to Set up Weight Distribution Hitch

In this part of the article, I’ll teach you to master your weight distribution setup and to use it seamlessly. 

I know it didn’t look easy in some videos and guides, but trust me, all you need is a good guideline and curious hands. And with that very reason in mind, I’m writing the steps for you to follow. 

Step 1:

This is the initial and the very first step. Check your hitch manuals and make sure your trailer and vehicle both are ready. Read all the safety warnings and precautions before you begin. Collect all the necessary tools mentioned in the manual.

Before anything, check all your pieces of equipment and space one last time for safety reasons.

Step 2:

Start by lining up the tow vehicle and travel trailer on the level pavement in a straight position. Use the tongue jack and the level to lower the tongue until the trailer is level. You just need to make sure that both the front and back measurements of the trailer are the same.

Into the specified hole of the head assembly, insert the perfectly sized weight tow ball. Use safety locks and pins to properly lock the hitch and tighten it according to your requirements. 

Step 3:

Now that the trailer and vehicle are parallel to the ground, you can move on with the next step. 

In this step, you will measure and record the distance from the pavement to the top of the coupler. With this measurement, you have to put the customized/perfect-sized drawbar (according to the trailer) into the receiver of the vehicle. 

The correct size measurement will depend on the height of the trailer coupler. You may need to drop or raise the drawbar according to its size. 

The height of the ball is 1 to 2 inches above the coupler’s height in usual cases.

Let’s set the height now. For this, you’ll need to glide the head assembly onto the drawbar. Fix the position by inserting the lock key plates assembly and setting the position of the ball height. Double-check the pins to ensure safety before towing. 

Step 4:

You will be working with trailer rackets now. Find the centerline of the placement of trailer rackets. You can do this by measuring from the center of the trailer coupler. Put a mark on 32’’-inch both sides. This point will reduce the stress or have the least amount of stress and will provide the safest tow.

Make sure that the trailer rackets are safe. There should be no electric wire, gas lines, or any kind of safety hazards in between. 

You will need to reroute it if you face any safety issues. 

Step 5:

Spinning the head downward, you have to place two washers on the adjustment rod and insert the rod into the lower hole on the head. 

A few weight distribution hitches may already include this step. So, always check in with your consultor for perfect instructions on your weight hitch. 

Spin the head up into the mounting position. It’s better if it is positioned vertically or tilted slightly back. If you don’t get the desired angle, it’s time to add to remove washers. 

Lastly, you can position the second bolt into the chief hole in the hitch head. You will need to fasten both bolts with the included nuts and washers. 

Now tighten the bolts enough to hold it into place. Don’t make it too tight that it can’t even move.

Step 6:

Time to install spring bars and couple the trailers now.

See if your spring ar chains are attached. If they are not, attach them before going to the next step. 

After we’re done attaching the spring ar chains, mount the spring bars on the hitch head.

Here- you will have to raise the trailer coupler. Finally, back the tow truck up to couple the trailer to the trailer hitch ball.

Step 7:

This part is easy. Raise the coupling point using the trailer jack with the coupler sealed onto the trailer ball. 

The mentioned coupler should be lifted about 3’’- inches past the level position.

After that, comes the step of engaging the hookup rackets. 

Use the spring bar chains as a manual to set the spring bar hookup brackets on the trailer bracket. After that, you have to mount the brackets onto the trailer frame using bolts.

After you are done with that, connect the spring bar chains to the brackets and make sure both sides are positioned the same vertically, with the number of chain ties between the hookup brackets and the spring bars. 

Lever the brackets into the sealed position using the included lift handle.

Step 8:

It’s the step where I tell you how to adjust the weight distribution hitch.

For this, the steps are simple. You need to abandon the trailer jack. This will allow the whole weight of the trailer to rest on the hitch. 

Repeat the steps of measuring the distances between the front and rear jumpers and the level ground. The measurement of each distance should not change drastically and should be within a 1-2’’-inch difference compared to the original measurement. 

But if it changes drastically, the number of links on the spring bars can be adjusted to control the tension. The head unit can be tilted according to your need.

Step 9:

This is the last and final step of the process. For the last time, fully tighten the bolts. You can uncouple the trailer and torque all values to tighten them. 

With that, don’t forget to read all the manuals and safety precautions before you begin to set up the weight distribution hitch. 

Pro-tip is to take all your time to study the materials and you are good to go!

Before You Hit the Road: Cautions 

Sometimes, trailers can be overweight and could lose control in the middle of the road. For that very reason, you should check all your lists before you step out with the trust. 

And I’m here to help you with that. 

  • Before stepping out, check your tires, lues, and rakes. Keep a spare kit with you for emergency purposes. Check the spring chains, bolts, verify hitch clearance and this should be good enough for now.
  • After you are out, these are the steps you should look out for. Firstly, consider the height differences of your trailer and vehicle when you stop for gas or fuel.
  • Try to drive in the right lane on highways as it is easy to get over to the shoulder there.
  • It is recommended not to drive your vehicle’s rakes on long downhills. Overheated brakes may cause accidents so try to shift the truck’s transmission to a lower gear. That’ll help slow it down.
  • Do not push your rakes beyond your trailer’s load. This one is a must to avoid accidents.
  • Be very careful at every turn and corner with that loaded trailer.
  • Check route, fuel stations, and traffic before you leave the home for extra precaution. 

Basic stuff like weather concerns, double-checking the tools, etc are very important in this case. After you’re done with the preparation and tour, you should be off home and it’s time to take everything off. While you do that, remember to remember the cautions.

  • Try to pull it on a flat surface.
  • Make sure to put stops under the trailer.
  • You should remove the L-finger and L-finger pins.
  • Make space to pull off spring bars easily.
  • Store your hitch in a place that is easily accessible. 
  • Keep your weight distribution hitch away from weather conditions.

These cautions should be enough for a short preview of cautions.

See Also: Fastway E2 Wieght Distribution Hitch With Sway Control

My Last Two Cents on the Topic

If you are already here, congratulations on learning how to install weight distribution hitch and the caution that you need to know before you start your journey. 

Having a durable and nice weight distribution will last you a lifetime investment. A strong driving controller while towing is a bonus on top of that.

There are debates around the utility of weight distribution hitches which I found interesting to be a part of. While all the logic can support the argument, I do have to agree that weight distribution hitches reduce the center stress on the truck. 

This smoothens the whole journey and more importantly, the risk of accidents almost drops down to zero.

Good luck with your weight distribution hitch setup!

weight distribution hitches setup

Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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