Weight Distribution Bars

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 19:56
ThreadID: 122047 Views:4059 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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If you have a tow vechile that has been set up " Nissan Patrol 4.8" with Kaymar rear bar, OME Ssprings & Shocks and is rated to tow 3.5T with ball load of 350 K dd you need weight distribution bars, and what advantage does one gain by having them, if when you go offroad they have to be taken off.
Thanks in advance for all replys
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 20:09

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 20:09
Perhaps it might help you to read the Tip # 43 a couple of times on the WDH....
It might help you to understand that this is not much of a concern at slow speeds on dirt tracks and no concern at all in Off-Road situations... This is primarily a concern on the highway at high speeds, for better control.

Even if the two important Criteria in the Tip #43 are met, of a proper suspension and a properly loaded van, there are benefits to be gained by the use of the WD Hitch.... Specifically on your tow vehicle mentioned, it puts more downward pressure on the front steerage. If you have much cargo in the back, and you further put weight out on the tip of the hitch in the extreme you are mentioning, of 350 kg, it actually lifts weight off the front axle and gives your steering less "Bite" on the road... This could really hurt, when you have to make a radical high speed move to avoid an accident, as your vehicle is out of balance and with less effective steering... OK?

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 20:10

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 20:10
Sorry, that is Tip #46 on "Weight Distribution Hitch" Priorities.... not 43..
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 21:39

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 21:39
By request, I have been asked for a comment in this thread on "Size of van in relation to WDH"......

I am sorry, but I cannot give that definitive answer, as it varies tow vehicle to tow vehicle, and tow ball weight, and suspension, and also the experience of the Driver in towing... I can comment only on myself, and what priority I would place on the importance of the Weight Distribution Hitch..... Mind you I have more experience towing than most, but this is only my own feeling on the matter, and it is an added hassle to use the WDH...

Assuming the tow ball weight of a loaded van is correct at around say 8% to 10% average on the hitch, and assuming we are talking about the larger Japanese tow vehicles of Nissan and Toyota....

At 16' , I personally would not think it very important to have the WDH if all the other items were correctly done as in van loading and suspension upgraded...

But if handed a vehicle with a stock suspension that had not been upgraded and was soft and mushy like most are, and asked to take a 16' van long distance, then Yes I would take the WDH... To make up for the vehicles weaker suspension.

At 18' , I would definitely consider it as a priority, as it is a real benefit for control on the highway and should be viewed as a safety issue, yes it is better... Maybe not as an absolute necessity, but yes it is definitely better...

At 20', Yes, for highway use, it is a definite priority.... This errs on the side of safety, but this should be everyones concern on the highway especially...

Kind Regards, stg at Bushtracker...

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Reply By: TroopyTracker - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 08:18

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 08:18
I have towed my 18 ft BT for 10 000 ks without WDH and about 2 days ago I fitted one. I'd say the difference is nothing short of amazing!!! Driving with them on for the first time I was amazed how stable the rig felt, the van seemed to have much less influence over the vehicle. One of the first things I said to my wife was "you can have your 20 footer now". Perfect conditions to test them too, driving between Bourke and St George- skinny goat tracks, more road trains than anything else around me, cattle grids every few k's, stock on the road etc. I've driven these roads before and needed complete concentration to keep the rig stable and dead staight on these roads which have lanes that are sometimes less wide than the BT. Feels like the front wheels are nailed to the road in comparison.

One problem though. Clearence of bars and A frame, especially with the Kaymar rear bar that you speak of which I have(on troopy though). Mounting the hitch on the van on the underside will give the bars clearance of the A frame but now the van is sitting alittle nose up because of this arrangement. Even with the WDH on its lowest setting and using the longest drop head available this still occurs-the Kaymar rear bar is just so high. So once I sort this out it will be perfect, but no way will I ever tow without them again, so easy now-relaxing even.

The sort of terrain that requires the bars removal is also the sort of terrain that requires slower speed which is when you'd miss the WDH least anyway.

Lots of info on this topic on the web aswell as this site.
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 21:15

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 21:15
We have got an F250 and last year took the bars off in the rough stuff up in the Kimberleys, and then when we got back on smoother roads with a bit more speed, it didn't take long to feel the poorer handling without the bars. After refitting the bars as Matt said, the difference can be felt straight away.

If you fit a 4500kg tow bar with a 450kg ball weight to an F250's, Ford still stipulate that you have to have a WDH fitted for anything over 2270kg and 227kg ball weight, and the Ford is a much better tow vehicle than the current Nissan or Toyota. (Note that I said tow vehicle, as I don't want to start a debate on off road driving)

I would recommend a WDH for anyone towing a heavy load. A properly set up 4WD, will have stronger springs that stop the sag in the rear end. BUT a see saw has a solid pivot point and when you put a heavy load on one end the other end lifts, and it is no different with a 4WD when the caravan is attached, some weight is lifted off the front wheels.
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