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Weight Distribution Hitches for Boaters

Classic Parker

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Ranger Tim

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I'm going to post this here to benefit the occasional boater that has a question about weight distribution hitches. Let me cut to the chase. They are generally not suitable for pole type trailers with surge brakes. However, there is at least one brand that will work and work well. I employ that brand on my trailer (Equalizer Hitch).

Weight distribution (WD) hiitches work on a principle of leverage and use long metal bars which are tensioned to create lift on the rear of your tow vehicle. This also creates a slight downward force on the front end of the vehicle which enhances steering control. Several brands also feature anti-sway control enhancement. Many are clumsy and require some practice to use.

My WD hitch is compatible with surge brakes and I have used it for three plus years now with no adverse effects. It does allow normal brake action to occur and does not interfere with brake piston movement. Unlike chains, the metal bars slide easily back and forth to accomodate brake action.

Mine is easy to install and is simple to use. It requires about two minutes to mount on the hitch receiver and attach the trailer. The trailer jack is then used to raise and lower the trailer to tension the bars. All adjustments are set during original installation and do not need to be repeated unless another tow vehicle is used. Other vehicles may also hook up to the trailer without using the WD apparatus and no removal of equipment. This may sound like an endorsement of the brand I use, but so be it. It is available for less than $600 if you shop the internet carefully. Check the RV forums for the latest deals.

Benefits: Air shocks or lift bags not necessary for suspension, better steering control, meets hitch requirements for weight ratings, eliminates sway at highway speeds, deters thieves from stealing trailer (the apparatus is under load and the ball cannot be removed easily -- I would think this would send the crooks to find easier prey).

Drawbacks: Heavy and awkward to attach, makes trailer bounce more when it's empty, reduces turning radius slightly, makes some weird noises as bars slide.

I hope this helps some folks regarding the use of WD hitches with boat trailers, i.e. some work, most don't. You may never need to use one with your rig. My Parker and it's trailer add up to a load that is more than my class three hitch is rated for unless I use a WD. It also gives me a much more stable configuration for the long hauls to the ocean and back (200 miles round trip). If I only hauled a couple of miles I wouldn't sweat it, but I live a great distance inland. For me the WD makes total sense.

See photos below:
 

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Mokee

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Ranger Tim, thanks for your input. I use the same hitch. I agree, it works well with the surge brakes on my trailer. I tow a 2120 DVSC like you with a Mountaineer AWD. Longest distance was just over 1,000 miles. Fortunately, have had only one panic stop (doing 45 mph), but experienced no loss of control. I would buy the same hitch again.

P. S. Looking at your web page helped me a great deal in making the decision to get my Parker. It helped me determine that the 2120 was right for my type of boating (this was before the ClassicParker.com forums).

Thanks again.
Mokee
 

Megabyte

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Great post Tim!

I'd heard there was a WD hitch that would still allow surge brakes to work, but this is the first time I've actually seen one! 8)
 

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