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hardrock

Weight distribution REQUIREMENT?

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Are there any federal or state laws, regulations that REQUIRE a weight distribution mechanism, hitch or otherwise, to be used?  I have been towing my Ollie for years without one,  absolutely no issues or problems.  I pack and travel lightly and that may be a contributing factor,    I have checked with my insurance and it is not an issue with them.

 

I want to travel more in The continental US, but do not want to get into a rub with some state or federal bureaucracy over compliance of an obsecure requirement.  I know there are recommendations for tow vehicles and for some RV manufactures.  For the record, I am towing an Elite with a GMC Sierra 1500.  I have the factory tow package with a 7800 lb rating.  However, I want to know the requirements and compliance for towing both an Elite and a Elite II.

 

Thank you kindly for your reply

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Coy -

 

A quick internet check with the NTSB showed nothing (but I assume that you have already gone down this road).  However, as I assume you also know, the various vehicle manufacturers list their requirements for each vehicle they produce.  Beyond this you can be cited for ancillary things like not having control of your vehicle (and camper), your headlights are too high (or low) (whether actually cause by your camper or not), driving in an unsafe manner (sway, bounce etc.)  - all of which just might be caused by the lack of a weight distribution hitch.  And, of course, there are always the potential liability issues which are magnified if your particular vehicle is deemed (by the manufacturer) to need one and you don't have it.  Perhaps a good lawyer (is there such a thing?) could argue that even if you didn't have one or need one and you still chose to get one, you were showing that you had taken all steps above and beyond what was necessary to drive safely.

 

For the record - I do use a weight distribution hitch (and always have).  Not only is it required by my manufacturer for towing the Elite II but I would use it anyway in that bounce is reduced (at least with the Andersen) and I believe that in an emergency situation it helps better "balance" my tow vehicle so that it will handle in a more stable and predictable manner.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I don’t think you should fret about state regulations, as long as you are complying with those of your OWN state. Certain things like mudflaps, light and bumper distance above ground, studded tire use, etc, are set by each state’s DMV, but they don’t enforce their own restrictions on out-of-staters passing through. That would be pure chaos.

 

What does GM say about hitches for your truck? What are their weight limits? What is the truck’s wheelbase?

 

My opinion is to stick with what works, add airbags if necessary to adjust ride height, and maybe a set of adjustable HD shocks in back. As long as the truck seems happy, I don’t think this is a problem. If you get a II, then I think you are going to need the Anderson hitch, unless you plan to buy a stripped one and tow it with empty tanks all the time.

 

If I were towing the smaller trailer behind my Land Cruiser I probably would ditch the Andersen - I certainly would test that setup -  but it MOST definitely is needed with the higher tongue weight of the Elite II. But the truck has a 112 inch wheelbase and has a comparatively long overhang in back, so it tends to move around more.....

 

https://www.hardworkingtrucks.com/towing-liability-2-0-weight-distributing-hitches-still-needed/

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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There is another related issue - at least in the State of North Carolina.  Vehicles with a combined weight (when towing) of greater than 5,000 pounds must declare what maximum combined weight will be towed and your license plate fees are increased from the standard (5,000 pounds).  This is supposedly to make those that tow more/weigh more pay for the additional wear they have on the roads.  If then that combined weight is exceeded and law enforcement pulls you over, you could be cited for excessive weight.  The only times I've seen this actually happen is when a light duty 1/2 ton pickup was towing a front end loader.  However, I've noticed many instances where 1/2 ton pickups are towing reasonably large campers and the license plate is a standard plate therefore only rated for the 5,000 pounds.  As John points out though, I doubt very seriously that law enforcement would cite an out of State person under this law.  And, of course, all of this has nothing to do with a weight distribution hitch.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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If you have an accident, your insurance company will no doubt check the towing specifications/requirements for your year/model tow vehicle.  Most 1500 tow vehicles have a requirement for a weight distributing  (not a weight bearing) hitch if the weight on the ball is greater than 500 pounds.   For F250's, 2016s had this requirement in their Tow Guide.  The 2017 guide did remove this requirement.  My 2017 F250 appears to have a class 5 hitch.  From the Drawtite Site: Class V hitches used as weight carrying are rated up to 12,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1200 lbs.  A Class V hitch has a 2-1/2" square receiver opening.  Class V hitches attach to the vehicle frame only.   A weight distributing hitch will  give you better handling and ride.  I chose a WCH because of back problems.

 

 

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Towing a 7k lbs trailer with a half ton pick up requires a weight distributing hitch.   Get our your magnifying glass and start checking the fine print in your owners manual.  This will not be an easy task, but you have to do the math yourself.   Pay attention to the small print and asterisks.  I would be happy to wager serious money that a half ton GMC pick up without a WDH has a towing capacity of about 50% of the rated capacity.  I town the LE2 with a 2016 F-150 that is rated for 9,900 lbs.  When you get that magnifying glass working you find that without a WDH the limit is 4,950 lbs.

 

BTW.. I am positive that the  F-150 could pull the 7k LE2 without a WDH safely all day long.  Most 1/2 pickups will.  But if you get in an accident any lawyer worth his salt will try to pin blame on you.  So, how deep are your pockets.

 

Here is an article that says it much better than I can.     https://www.hardworkingtrucks.com/get-sued-tow-trailer-with-pickups/

 

The Anderson is well worth the money in liability protection alone.   Pretty easy to hook and unhook once you get used to it.    Probably the best upgrade you can get on the LE2.

 

Good Luck,

Scotty

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


CTDEGAMDMANHNJNYNCPASCTNVAxlg.jpg

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Coy, I think you are fine towing your Elite with the GMC 1500. If you had an Elite II a WDH would be prudent. Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpg

 

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OOPS!   Jumped on my soapbox with an LE2 in mind.   I think that because the Olivers tow so easily we forget to read the fine print in the owners manual at times.  And the truck manufacturers don't make it easy for us to decipher what is required.   <of course.. i forgot to read the big print.. sorry>

 

Scotty


Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


CTDEGAMDMANHNJNYNCPASCTNVAxlg.jpg

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I have never heard of a single elite owner ( shorty) who used a wdh.

 

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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