Fitting AT35 to WDH?

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:33
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G'day everyone, We've had our BT for nearly a year now and so far I haven't been using WDH. Very hypocriticle of me considering I insisted that our jockey wheel be adjusable to allow the use of one. What I was wondering is how do you fit the AT35 to WDH as the tabs which stop the AT35 from twisting would obstruct fitting? One solution I remember seeing in an old magazine was to fit a spacer between AT35 and ballmount. I didn't like this to much considering the bolt would have to be under more strain when attatched this way. I know many of you guys drive F250s and would therefore be using such a setup and be able to help. I apologise if this is old ground for many of you but I was unable to find any old messages on this topic. Look forward to any replies. Matt
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:42

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:42
G’day John, The reason why I’m now considering a WDH after twelve months is that I do, and always have believed that a WDH should be mandatory unless you have a very heavy vehicle and a very light trailer. I don’t think any size BT could be called light. I’d advise you read Tom Olthoff’s articles on WDH (‘A Weighty Problem’ Caravan World Sep, Oct, Nov 02) for a detailed explanation on why a WDH is necessary. It’s these particular articles and his replies to people’s queries on this topic, as well as speaking to other caravaners who have towed with and without a WDH, that led me to believe that a WDH is definitely necessary. Put simply my explanation is this- If you put 10%, 250kg’s plus onto your tow hitch (which you should be, and some ‘experts’ will tell you otherwise-e.g. Ian Whiting , 4x4 Australia’s technical ‘guru’ although he retracted this in a later issue after receiving a blasting from not only readers but I suspect real towing experts ) it’s obvious that you take weight off the front wheels and that’s the big problem. It doesn’t matter if you put solid wooden blocks in place of your rear springs and have the rear of the vehicle higher than the front (as the 100 series IFS LC has from factory) there will be less weight on the front wheels. Stiffer, higher or progressive rear springs should only be used to assist with carrying the weight inside the vehicle and do nothing to stop weight being taken off the front wheels. Less weight on the front wheels means less steering and braking control. If you have to make sudden changes in direction or speed in an emergency you would want every bit of control you could get. I’m not saying that the only time a WDH is of use is in an emergency, as I have had plenty of people tell me of experimenting with and without their WDH (probably skeptical as you are, and I was) and they all say the difference is very noticeable. I have experienced some hairy moments with my current setup towing on some very crappy roads in SW QLD, while other vans in the convoy of similar weight being towed by lighter and shorter vehicles experienced no troubles through the same section. The result was I finished the days driving feeling a lot more tired having wrestled with the van over afew hundred very unpleasant kms. I base a lot of my thoughts on this topic on what I’ve learnt from Tom Olthoff who I 100% believe knows what he’s talking about. Not only does he write for Caravan Worlds ‘Caravan Clinic’, he’s also involved in accident investigation when towing is involved. In this role he is responsible for determining whether or not the vehicle was safe or not, and I promise after reading his articles, you wouldn’t want him anywhere near your car and van if you were involved in an accident towing close to 3000kg with no WDH. I know BTI’s thoughts on this matter vary considerably to what I have just rambled on with here but a quick survey of BT owners who use WDH’s might help you change your mind. Sure have gone on a bit here but believe me I could have gone on much longer!! I’m also aware of how hypocritical it seems for me to feel this strongly about WDH,s and not use one!!! It’s something I’ve just been putting off for to long. Hope this doesn’t sound like a lecture, just trying to help fellow Bogger!!! One last thing. David (oldperc), $450? Please tell me where!!! as I haven’t been quoted anything under $550 for a Hayman Reese WDH. <o:p></o:p> Regards Matt <o:p></o:p> P.S. Peter WDH= weight distribution hitch AT35= offroad tow hitch fitted to Bushtrackers (similar to treg and alike commonly seen on camper trailers) <o:p></o:p>
AnswerID: 562769

Reply By: Bogger John - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:43

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:43
----- Original Message -----
From:
Bushtracker18

To: Bushtracker Owners
Group
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 10:08
AM
Subject: Re: Fitting AT35 to WDH?





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From: Bushtracker18


Thanks for your comments, Anthony. It's
always a pleasure to read your informative
postings.
Regards,
John

G'day John,

I know you addressed your question to Matt but .....

It is generally accepted in the van/towing industry that a
drop of 15-20mm down in the rear suspension via vehicle load or
ballweight is reason for correction. This is achieved via
airbags or springs able to take a heavier load with less
compression. WDH should not be used to lift the rear of a
vehicle from load in the vehicle only ballweight
correction.

It is also generally accepted in the van/towing industry
that a shift upwards in the front of a vehicle of more than 6mm
is reason for correction via a WD hitch.

I recently had a "latest" Landcruiser at my place with
the owner wanting to place a BT on it before he took delivery of
his own BT... (great idea). The Cruiser was fitted
with heavier rear springs and polyairs with 5 psi . I measured
my BT18 ballweight via ballweight scales at 240kg which is about
50kg under what this vehicle will be taking from a
21ft BT.

The rear of the vehicle went down 27-28mm and the
front went up 17-18mm. That is a fair change in the
vehicles attitude especially the front. Come to think of it
the rear as well, as it had heavier springs fitted.

If you take this vehicle to a wheel alignment
machine ..... drive it on ...take readings of Camber,
Castor, Toe-in. Then place a jack under this vehicles bullbar
and raise vehicle 17-18mm to simulate lift in front via
ballweight and re-measure setting you will get a shock ....
Camber,Castor and Toe-in have altered from the factory specs set
by Toyota for optimum braking/cornering/self-centring ability.
These days good alignment places will even set toe-in with
a driver on board to simulate how 80% of cars are driven.

Another alteration is the contact patch of the tyre ..drive
the tyre onto a bit of glass and observe contact patch size then
lift it up 17-18 and patch will reduce. This will wear the
centre of the tyre if the pressure is not reduced for the
reduced load. A reduced contact patch increases the braking
distance for any given speed. The reduced contact patch along
with incorrect alignment settings can make the vehicle
wander at speed depending on camber of the road. Driver fatigue
sets in earlier with a vehicle that wanders a bit from the
extra concentration effort to keep it inline.

Realistically this would fine 99% of the time but in the
case an emergency (large steering shift) ...a roo jumps out
... someone braking too hard in front ... moving off the smooth
road onto the rough edge and back (roadtrain passing other way)
etc the handling of the vehicles front end can/will become
unpredictable. Its the 1% (or more) we are reducing with a
WDH.

With a shift in a vehicles attitude this far is really
is negligent in this day and age to not run a WD hitch,
especially at highway speeds with longer braking distances
etc.

To not use it is your choice and I respect that but I
wouldnt like to see someone not use it (that really needs it) on
the strength of your post.

Regards
Anthony

Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a
Bushtracker
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AnswerID: 562770

Reply By: Bogger John - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:44

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:44
Cost isn't an issue, David. I was just
curious to know why Matt and Jodie were getting a WDH after 12 months - I've had
my caravan for 12 months, too.
John

----- Original Message -----
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To: Bushtracker Owners
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Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 1:19
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Subject: Re: Fitting AT35 to WDH?





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From: oldperc



I agree with Anthony and add that you have something like
$140,000.00 +/- a bit so for around $450.00 I feel a WDH a
worthwhile investment.
David
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AnswerID: 562771

Reply By: Bogger John - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:45

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:45
Hi Matt, I appreciate you taking the trouble to
send such a detailed response to my query. Were those crappy roads in SE
Qld off the bitumen? If so I thought that you had to disconnect the WDH
anyway. Are BT still saying that a WDH is not necessary? If so, that
certainly muddies the waters.
Regards,
John

----- Original Message -----
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MattandJodie1
To: Bushtracker Owners
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Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 6:40
PM
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From: MattandJodie1



G’day John,
The
reason why I’m now considering a WDH after twelve months is that
I do, and always have believed that a WDH should be mandatory
unless you have a very heavy vehicle and a very light
trailer. I don’t think any size BT could be
called light. I’d advise you read Tom Olthoff’s articles on WDH
(‘A Weighty Problem’ Caravan World Sep, Oct, Nov 02) for a
detailed explanation on why a WDH is necessary. It’s these
particular articles and his replies to people’s queries on this
topic, as well as speaking to other caravaners who have towed
with and without a WDH, that led me to believe that a WDH is
definitely necessary.
Put
simply my explanation is this- If you put 10%, 250kg’s plus onto
your tow hitch (which you should be, and some ‘experts’ will
tell you otherwise-e.g. Ian Whiting , 4x4 Australia’s technical
‘guru’ although he retracted this in a later issue after
receiving a blasting from not only readers but I suspect real
towing experts ) it’s obvious that you take weight off the front
wheels and that’s the big problem. It doesn’t matter if you put
solid wooden blocks in place of your rear springs and have the
rear of the vehicle higher than the front (as the 100 series IFS
LC has from factory) there will be less weight on the front
wheels. Stiffer, higher or progressive rear
springs should only be used to assist with carrying the weight
inside the vehicle and do nothing to stop weight being taken off
the front wheels. Less weight on the front wheels means less
steering and braking control. If you have to make sudden changes
in direction or speed in an emergency you would want every bit
of control you could get.

I’m not saying that the only time a WDH is of use is in
an emergency, as I have had plenty of people tell me of
experimenting with and without their WDH (probably skeptical as
you are, and I was) and they all say the difference is very
noticeable. I have experienced some hairy moments with my
current setup towing on some very crappy roads in SW QLD, while
other vans in the convoy of similar weight being towed by
lighter and shorter vehicles experienced no troubles through the
same section. The result was I finished the
days driving feeling a lot more tired having wrestled with the
van over afew hundred very unpleasant kms.

I base a lot of my thoughts on this topic on what I’ve
learnt from Tom Olthoff who I 100% believe knows what he’s
talking about. Not only does he write for
Caravan Worlds ‘Caravan Clinic’, he’s also involved in accident
investigation when towing is involved. In
this role he is responsible for determining whether or not the
vehicle was safe or not, and I promise after reading his
articles, you wouldn’t want him anywhere near your car and van
if you were involved in an accident towing close to 3000kg with
no WDH.

I know BTI’s thoughts on this matter vary considerably to
what I have just rambled on with here but a quick survey of BT
owners who use WDH’s might help you change your
mind.

Sure have gone on a bit here but believe me I could have
gone on much longer!! I’m also aware of how
hypocritical it seems for me to feel this strongly about WDH,s
and not use one!!! It’s something I’ve just
been putting off for to long. Hope this
doesn’t sound like a lecture, just trying to help fellow
Bogger!!!

One last thing. David
(oldperc), $450? Please tell me where!!! as I
haven’t been quoted anything under $550 for a Hayman Reese
WDH.
<o:p></o:p>
Regards
Matt
<o:p></o:p>
P.S. Peter WDH=
weight distribution hitch

AT35= offroad
tow hitch fitted to Bushtrackers (similar to treg and alike
commonly seen on camper trailers)
<o:p></o:p>

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AnswerID: 562772

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:46

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:46
Peter, Here is a pic of the AT35/WDH on my BT/F250 combo ...the AT35 is the coupling that connects the BT to the vehicle. It is made by a company called Vehicle Components. The AT stands for All Terrain and the 35 is for 3.5 tonnes capacity. WDH - Is a Weight Distribution Hitch, on the pic below it is the yellow bars, head (where the AT35 attaches as well) and chains that connect via a mini hitch to the chassis section of the a-frame. WD hitches work by spreading the ballweight from a concentrated point (towbar) to the rest of the vehicles chassis. It does place strain on couplings, so some couplings cant take a WD Hitch ... those with poly blocks etc. They are used to correct the effect on a vehicle that placing 250kg+ ballweight on a towbar causes i.e. down in the rear ...up in the front. Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ... Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562773

Reply By: Liebs10 - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:47

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:47
Thanks Anthony for your help We are in the process of getting our vehicle organised to tow our Bushtracker and i would like to know any disadvantages of using a v8 landcruiser compared with a turbo diesel apart from running cost of petrol etc and will it have the capabilities of towing a 20 foot van Regards Peter
AnswerID: 562774

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:48

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:48
Anthony, I too would be interesed in your comparison however I am torn between TD 100 series Landcruiser and F350 XLT TD What do ya reckon? Anybody with comments is welcome. Macka
AnswerID: 562775

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:49

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:49
Peter, The turbo diesel Cruiser engine will tow slightly better than the petrol V8 at 20ft BT levels. That is not to say that the V8 petrol tows badly I just mean the diesel turbo has better towing characteristics. The diesel has around 5 % more torque than the petrol but more importantly it delivers this torque 2000 rpm lower than the petrol which is the secret of the better tractability. I'm assuming they are both fitted with auto trans to tow at these levels (3500kg). A flatter torque curve and with slightly more torque the diesel would be a better towing proposition as an all round vehicle. As diesel is the preferred fuel in the outback and combining that with the better economy of the diesel ....I'd go diesel. You do pay a premium at "list" price though ... Motley tows with a petrol V8 he might be able to comment further ... Macka, If you are talking about the vehicles as a tow only platform the F Trucks win hands down. How can they not ...700Nm of torque at 1800rpm, longer wheelbase, wider track, heavier vehicle and with the same economy. But if you want to park in town, or do "u" turns, or go scrub exploring uphill and down dale the Cruiser might be a better option. If I ever had to economise down to one vehicle (might happen one day) from my F250 and WRX Impreza ...I'd buy a Cruiser turbo diesel. I could run the girls to school AND park inside the school at busy times (just) ...tow the BT ... park in Kings Parking station in town etc. The F350 is a dually isnt it ...are you sure you want four rear tyres and a wide rear track just to carry 1000kg extra ? Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562776

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:50

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:50
G’day John, The roads I spoke of were in fact bitumen, although I’d have to say the road surface really shouldn’t be the deciding factor when you are deciding to have WDH connected or not. The type of terrain that would require the springs to be removed would be something like a steep embankment, a creek or river entry exit. When I say steep I mean very steep, in fact I doubt most BT owners would tow their van over the type of terrain that would require spring removal. If you think about the basic principles of a WDH you will realise that 99% of the time you’re towing you could leave your WDH attached. Yes BT definitely feels differently about WDH’s -“not necessary” in fact. I’ve chosen to take the advice of others in this instance, but that’s just me!!! Ultimately, it’s up to you. <o:p></o:p> Regards Matt
AnswerID: 562777

Reply By: Oldperc - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:51

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:51
Matt sorry to have misled you or others, its been a while since I purchased our WDH (and as you get older the mind wanders!!) Anyway, the $450 was for the first WDH I bought which was the Reese (American model, not Hayman Reese model) anyway the Reese didn't suit the AT35 without significnat enginering changes so had to return it for exchange and yes the price to swap to the HR was extra which brought the price up to some $550. John, we traveled recently through the Gulf and SW Qld. on some pretty crappy roads and only had to take the WDH off on very steep gullies/river crossings. Well I thought it best to do so. I've never traveled without the WDH (apart from above) so can't give you a comparison but the BT 20 footer behind our T/D 100 Cruises went great and never felt any concern towing the BT infact you tend to forget its there. Then that's perhaps time for a break!!! Although I wouldn't want to compete towing against Anthony's F250 up the Toowoomba range, but whose in a hurry anyway. regards David
David and Ann
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AnswerID: 562778

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:52

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:52
Anthony et al, Just looking at your photo at Message 13. Shouldn't the AT35 Pin be in a vertical position ? (Can be done by changing the cam on the HR hitch.) In January this year, after test driving a V8 LC100 with my BT 18 attached, I decided it was a much better tow than my '99LC100 Diesel with Dynamic (after market) turbo. So with the V8's at around 10k less than the factory Turbo, I went for the V8 Auto with Sat Nav. Now after towing with the V8 over 5000 odd k's through central Qld highlands (including 20% grades at Bunya Mounains), I think I would prefer the TD Manual (without Sat.Vav) for the following reasons. Better torque at lower revs. Much better fuel consumption (Under 20l/100km) compared to 26 for the V8. Can be boosted to 175 kw (from 151) @ 3400rpm, and 475Nm (from 430) @ 1800rpm, through "Power-up" module installed by Berrima Diesel. Better compression braking on steep downhills. The van will push the V8 and you have to use the brakes (both vehicle and van) a lot more (= more wear) for safe descents. The manual provides better control at low speeds for precise manoeuvring in tight spots, as well in slippery and boggy situations. The Sat. Nav. is good in cities, but is useless in the bush. Hope this will help in your decision..............cheers......................Rob
AnswerID: 562779

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:53

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:53
G'day Rob, No ...the AT35 pin does not have to be vertical. The coupling is rated throughout its arc of travel. I have mine set back a little to give me more clearance between the bars and the road surface. As you can see if I bring the pin back to vertical the bar ends would drop markedly (because the head would angle down further) and leave under 150mm to the road surface which is the min clearance required by the Aust Road Rules ...well last time I looked anyway !! I'm running two WDH heads to get the bars under the A-frame ... I fabricated an adapter plate to carry the second head in 12mm steel. I suppose you could say my AT35 pin is vertically challenged ...[wink] At all times when setting up a vehicle/BT combo if anyone at all is unsure about anything you should contact the manufacturers of the gear for advice. Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562780

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:54

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:54
Anthony, Thank's for that you have confirmed how I was thinking and needed you to help cut though some confusion. I was thinking along the idea of tread lightly so I think Landcruiser wins for what I want. If you understand what I mean Thanks Macka
AnswerID: 562781

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:55

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:55
Hi everyone, Collyn Rivers used to advocate WDH on the basis of safety ( i.e. to say on road and not offroad except with the specialized off road WDH). I think he is right as most of us are not towing with something overly large and Bushtrackers are not light. Regards Macka
AnswerID: 562782

Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:56

Thursday, Jul 29, 2004 at 08:56
Dear Macka, I don't think that you can get an F350 in XLT, they are all XL and cab/chassis not pickup. You would have to fit a tray body. I have a supercab F250 TD XLT with six speed manual which I believe was the only one of this configuration Ford brought to Australia (November 2001) and find it a fantastic vehicle. I have been told that Ford are going to reintroduce this model. If you are interested in the six speed manual it might be worth talking to you local Ford dealer. I have fitted a canopy and tow a 20' Bushtracker. The canopy is flush with the cab roofline and if anything, has improved fuel economy. I do a bit better than Anthony on fuel. On the highway with little weight in the ute tray I am getting 18l/100km. Maybe the manual transmission helps or it could be that I have a larger block of wood under the accelerator pedal than Anthony. The gearbox and clutch are a delight to use and not at all truck-like. If you are thinking of a manual I would highly recommend the F250. Regards Don
AnswerID: 562783

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