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routlaw

Weight Distribution Hitches & tongue weight redux

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Hoping to inspire another conversation on WDH, tongue weights etc for the Oliver's, especially the Elite II's. Its my understanding that thus far no one uses them due to the unique way the Ollies are built with the FG surrounding the tongue etc.

 

However just recently while perusing yet another RV forum one very knowledgeable person informed me that ALL towing capacities and tongue weight limitations are halved when not using a WDH! I had never heard this before but as instructed I looked under my F150 Eco Boost, which has a Class IV hitch with a 1050 Lb capacity, and 10500 lb towing capacity, and sure enough right there in B&W a printed stamp on the bottom of my hitch receiver stated those numbers are reduced by 50% without weight distribution, down to 500 lbs and 5000 lbs respectively. Every tow vehicle with hitch receiver should have this plate or stamped information from the manufacturer apparently.

 

Given that the Elite II has a dry weight of 4200 lbs with a 10% tongue weight of 420 lbs it doesn't take much to figure out even with my well equipped truck I would be pushing the envelop. Ad cargo, propane, and gear in the truck bed and I am most likely going to be over the legal limit. But on more than one occasion I have read where people tow with the Elite II's without a WDH better than they have had experience with other trailers using one. Suffice it to say this is all confusing and contradictory.

 

Suggestions point to the holding tanks and battery being right over the tandem axels, which surely helps, but can that be the only reason why the Ollies appear to tow so well. There has to be more to it than this, surely. Would like to hear your thoughts on the subject, especially those with the Elite II's.

 

Thanks

 

Rob

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Is that stamped on your hitch? I've never seen that on our three vehicles (Dodge Ram 4x4, Silverado, Volvo xc90), all of which have towed our Oliver admirably.

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Sherry, absolutely there is a printed tag on the bottom of your hitch. You will have to crawl underneath your truck, usually feet toward the front, look up and you will see a tag with this info. Suffice it to say its very well hidden, why I'm not sure. I will be heading to the local Ford dealer sometime during the week to see what they make of it and get their opinion.

 

Regardless, glad you're getting a good tow with your Oliver.

 

rob

 

Is that stamped on your hitch? I've never seen that on our three vehicles (Dodge Ram 4x4, Silverado, Volvo xc90), all of which have towed our Oliver admirably.

Sherry

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I just crawled under the Silverado and the Ram, with garage lights and an LED flashlight. I didn't find a tag, or stamp, on either receiver-- bottom, side or front.

Of course, neither is a new vehicle. 10 and six years old, respectively. Could have fallen off, I guess, but I don't see anything like a blank sticker space, either. Did see some dirt, as they're work trucks, but nothing popped out when I wiped the bottom or sides of the receivers. It will be interesting to hear what your dealer has to say. Hope you'll report back after your conversation with their service department. One would think that anything of that importance for your truck (or anyone's) would be clearly noted in the manual and specifications.

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Interesting! I will likewise crawl under again sometime today and grab a quick photo with my iPhone and see if I can upload it. You could be correct this is something that has been implemented within the last few years for safety reasons or what ever and was not on earlier vehicles. You're right something of this importance should be well documented. I spent a good portion of my Saturday reading through my owners manual too, and did not find anything regarding this there.

 

Will definitely keep you posted.

 

rob

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Sherry I tried to attache a small jpeg of the hitch sticker, but got an error stating: "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached" or in other words I can't upload this file.

 

rob

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Quick followup. Called Ford customer service this morning and sure enough I was informed that towing capacity and tongue weight are relatively half when not implementing a WDH. The representative had me go to the following link where you can download the appropriate pdf guide for towing capacities for all of their vehicles by year. I was informed this scenario was implemented a few years ago but she did not tell me exactly what year. And just to be certain she looked at the build of my truck to verify it was a Class IV hitch. If you have a Class III presumably these numbers would drop precipitously, and ramp up with a Class V.

 

I would assume all auto/truck companies provide the same information and would encourage you to look there as well. For those with Ford TV's (or anyone curious) I am providing the link below.

 

http://www.fleet.ford.com/towing-guides/

 

Suffice it to say there is a bit of hidden misrepresentation when it comes to advertising the towing capabilities with any and all of these TV's regardless of manufacturer.

 

Hope this helps

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It's the same with General Motors. The following is copied from their trailering guide on the internet but it is echoed in our manual as well. This info was printed underneath a chart that showed the max tow weights for their various vehicles. Our new truck, as equipped, is rated at about 11,000 pounds but in the fine print, sans a WDH it's only 5000 pounds. Guess the Outlaw Oliver will have to stay home since it's a lot heavier than that.

 


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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So everyone thats pulling a Elite II without a WDH is over limits, per the manufacturers specs. Guess all those years I was pulling a horse trailer with 2 and sometimes 3 horses plus the slid in camper, I was really over weight. I didn't know anything about WDH's till I started looking at RV trailers. Over on the Airstream forum the subject gets pretty intense.

 

Stan


Stan and Carol


Blacksburg, VA


2014 Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi


2014 Legacy Elite II Standard  Hull 63

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I'm still not planning on getting one.


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Oh no don't do that, :D

 

rob

 

Guess the Outlaw Oliver will have to stay home since it's a lot heavier than that.

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Stan

 

I wouldn't say over the limits, well if you have a TV like Steve's GMC or my F150, but going by the specs it is at least theoretically pushing the envelop to not have a WDH. Like you I had not given WDH much thought either until just recently when it sort of more or less got shoved down my throat. When discussing this with the Ford rep this morning she and I both concluded that probably well over 50% of the people out there towing are way over the legal limits based upon these new ratings.

 

Airstreams. I suspect pretty much everything over there can get intense at times.

 

I do want to point out in no way, shape, form, or fashion am I complaining about the Oliver. They are in fact my favorite TT on the market today. To me nothing else compares for what we need, make that want.

 

Rob

 

So everyone thats pulling a Elite II without a WDH is over limits, per the manufacturers specs. Guess all those years I was pulling a horse trailer with 2 and sometimes 3 horses plus the slid in camper, I was really over weight. I didn't know anything about WDH's till I started looking at RV trailers. Over on the Airstream forum the subject gets pretty intense.

 

Stan

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After seeing this post, I took a good look at my 2008 Tacoma crew cab with towing package (6500 lbs tow limit). There is a sticker on the front of the class IV hitch that says refer to the operators manual for limitations. In the towing section, it "recommends" using a sway bar with loads above 2000 lbs. (who'd a thunk it). It says nothing about a WDH. I did add a Timbren suspension assist system to keep the Taco level, because they all tended to have sagging rear ends under load. By getting the correct hitch, along with the Timbrens, both the trailer and truck sit level while towing.

 

In my personal experience of more than 80,000 miles towing The Wonder Egg with my Tacoma, in all sorts of weather and wind conditions, (well, OK, I haven't done the snow thing yet), I have yet to encounter any sway or other scary problem while being passed by 18 wheelers or during the rare firm braking.

 

I personally believe the great leaf spring suspension and double shock absorbers facilitate a uniquely smooth ride. I think I'll easily get another 80,000 trouble free miles with my current set-up. 8-)


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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Pete, nothing like extensive experience which you clearly have. It still begs the question for me at least why do the Oliver's seemingly tow so well without WDH's when other TT do not.

 

I get the part about the smooth ride because of the unique suspension, and that the frame is very rigid due to the FG wrap at the tongue but none of this really addresses sway, or weight distribution as I understand it. As for side winds and large freight trucks, perhaps the somewhat rounded sides (i.e. tube shape) allow for easier air flow over the trailer vs a flat sided stick built?

 

Interesting stuff.

 

Rob

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Rob,

 

Don't know. Most of my friends with Casitas use some combination of anti-sway and weight distribution device. I've been caravanning many miles with them down Route 66, Southern Utah, and a great Lewis and Clark expedition trip. I was often amused at the bouncy way their trailers dealt with road bumps. There is a slow movement within that community to add after market shock absorber kits to their high lift torsion axle set ups to alleviate this malady.

 

Also, a lot of Casitas seem to have a larger amount of weight on the tongue than the Ollie's. Looking at some of the forum threads speaking about weigh ins done at rallies, I was surprised at the number of trailers bumping up to or exceeding 500 lbs.

Now, Casitas have been happily plying these roads for decades, and many have undergone significant modifications which could be part of the reason for the extra tongue weight. But my guess is many exceed the recommended 10-12% total weight on the tongue. This could cause steering problems for the tow vehicle. Then there are the folks who have the added on contraptions on the back of their trailers so they can bring all the comforts of home along with them. They risk lightening the tongue weight too much and setting up a sway problem.

 

Of course, even an Ollie could be pushed out of limits of you extend the tongue all the way out, build a HUGE metal box, strap on a monster 3500 watt generator, and pull it with a short wheel based Jeep. But then, if you do that and your name is Mountainborn, all of your extensive experience hauling stuff with trucks and your in depth knowledge of proper weight loading garnered from years with a rescue mule pack team in the Ozarks likely compensates. (Heh, heh, heh . . . Gonna catch heck from Larry now)

 

With my Ollie and truck both sitting level, the tongue weight in the zone, awesome trailer suspension system, and conservative driving habits, I am one Happy Camper. :D

 

Pete


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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My world seems to be the same world as everybody else's, yet I tend to view things in earthy simple terms. I studied the Oliver travel trailer as most do, thought it was right and it has been. I met a salt and pepper haired man with a firm hand shake and a steady gaze that told me that it didn't need "all that stuff", and it didn't. Betty and I tend to carry everything, and I mean everything. So when I loaded stuff poorly, I could overcome the good handling of the Oliver trailer, that is when I remembered the handshake and advice, and balanced it like it should be and it has always towed well. With no added devices needed.

Now, that has been our experience.

Others will experience towing the Oliver as their personal learning and fears dictate. Now don't misunderstand my use of the word fear. Any trailer that is loaded poorly will react to that, and a swaying trailer is a scary, fearsome thing.

In my simpler world there is two ways to "fix" a sway. Unload your stuff and reload it in a more balanced way, or add a device that helps to overcome a poor job of loading.

Yes, I know that is a outrageous concept, that the owner might be the source of the problem. Yet here is a simple fact. Too much weight in the front and a trailer pulls bad, too much weight in the back and a trailer pulls bad. Balance the load and the trailer pulls well.

This was with the 17' Oliver, the 23' 6" is two axle, wider, longer and heavier. Your tow vehicle of choice is a major contributor to the over all handling when towing.

By the way should you need a WDH, the Oliver factory now stocks and can install for you, the all aluminum Anderson weight distribution hitch.


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Good thoughts and comments Mountainborn, points well taken. With that in mind, wouldn't be nice if some company produced a relatively portable scale so that it would be easy to measure your tongue weight? At least theoretically as long as you stay within the 10-15% range of total TT weight you should be good to go with a well balance trailer.

 

Thanks

 

rob

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Your local DOT enforcement officers have portable scales that they use to weigh trucks, but I'm sure they are very expensive. I have contributed funds to their cost, not once, but twice when I was hauling rock and sand for a concrete company. ouch

Actually, when I take a steer to the butcher shop I go to the local fertilizer place and use their scale. I usually go after hours so as not to take up their time, but I have to use a pair of binoculars to look thru the window to read the weight. But it works.

 

Stan


Stan and Carol


Blacksburg, VA


2014 Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi


2014 Legacy Elite II Standard  Hull 63

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If you want to weigh your rig, you can go to a CAT scale. We did, years ago.

I'll see if I can find the link on instructions, but it wasn't too tough. I asked for two weighs, to determine the tongue weight.

Here's a link to locate a public scale:

http://www.publicscaleslocator.com/

 

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Earlier in this thread bugeyedriver mentioned our large generator box on the tongue and how heavy we would load. Here is a very short video that was taken as we returned from "Wintering up" down on the Gulf of Mexico. It is a good look at our genset box and loading. We did not use a sway bar or weight distribution hitch. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FGCLa2fuSA

Please note in this 42 second video, how level the Jeep and Oliver are sitting.


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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In this photo we are 65 miles down the raw beach drive from the Malakeet campground at the Mansfield cut on the Padre Island National Sea Shore. It is another 65 miles of raw beach driving to get back to camp. You might notice my buddy Dillon the drug dog looking nervously at the front tire of the jeep. When he went to it I noticed that we were having a flat. Yep, it turned into a adventure alright. So, what do you think ? Overloaded ?

19832_1328519743402_5849730_n.jpg


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Here we are at the end of the road at South Padre Island, at Dawn, after overnighting. Pretty well loaded up, isn't it ? It worked well for us, but may not be for others.

19832_1328495982808_2609637_n.jpg


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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