How Does Weight Distribution Hitch Work? (Explained)

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Moving or hauling the giant-size trailer will need a weight-distribution hitch. This sleek and middle-size gear bears a lot of weight and is still able to hold both sides to make a connection.

But, have you ever wondered how weight distribution hitch works? It’s nothing but physics that causes the truck to stay even while carrying the load on the trailer through the WD hitch!

We know this might seem a little confusing to understand. So, this guide will explain all the fundamental stuff related to weight distribution and its working mechanism, in the simplest way hopefully, so that it helps you.

Shall We Start?

Exactly How Do Weight Distribution Hitch Work!

It’s simple once you figure out the main mechanism. We’ll give a slight idea from a mathematical approach example first so that you can catch the main point. Let’s see!

Suppose,

Tow vehicle wheelbase = 120”

TV rear axle to ball coupler = 60”

Ball coupler to travel trailer axles = 120”

length of spring bar (Weight distribution) = 20”

Lever’s arm (Rear axle to front axle) = 100”

Rear-end load of spring bar (Weight distribution) = 2000 lbs

The weight distribution is attached to the tow vehicle and travel trailer. The spring bar tensioners of the WD will pull the rear-end side of the bar up and lift the tongue of the travel trailer down (force 2000 lbs).

The downward force of the TT tongue increases the load of 333 lbs at the axle. Here’s the calculation:

Rear-end load of spring bar x Length of spring bar / Ball coupler to TT axle

= 2000 lbs x 20” / 120”

=333 lbs (approximately)

To balance the tow vehicle and travel trailer, the WD will need 333 lbs in the TT axles. You’ll also need to count the required load on the TV front axle to add. Here’s the calculation:

Added load of TT axle x (TV rear axle to ball coupler + Ball coupler to TT axles) / Lever’s arm

= 333 lbs x (60” + 120”) / 100”

= 599.4 lbs

The WD hitch will add the 599.4 lbs to the TV front axle so that the truck gets level. Still, the truck will show an improper balance due to the TV rear axle. Count the needed load that you might want to remove from the TV rear axle. Look at the given calculation:

An added load of TT axle x (TV rear axle to ball coupler + Ball coupler to TT axles + Lever’s arm) / Lever’s arm

= 333 lbs x (60” + 120” + 100”) / 100”

= 932.4 lbs

This is the load that the WD hitch will take out from the TV rear axle and complete its working to level the truck and trailer.  

Summary Of Changes In Axle Load

TV front axle           + 599.4 lbs
TV rear axle– 932.4 lbs
TT axles (front & rear)333 lbs

Factors That Affect The WD Hitch Working

We’ll explain each stage of the weight distribution hitch operation so that you can have a clear idea. Keep on reading to find the details.

Stage One: Pressure Point

You might need to have a good idea of 2 pressure points to understand the whole game. These include.

  • Upward pressure (that raises up the truck front area for 0.5 Tow Ball Mass).
  • Downward pressure (that decreases the lift of the truck rear area for 1.5 Tow Ball Mass).

To explain the above case, when you carry the trailer through the ordinary hitch point, the truck loses its tow weight by around 10% – 20%. It causes the truck’s front side to get upward pressure which later results in it going up.

Any guess where the 10% – 20% weight goes? Yup, it goes on the rear side of the truck causing it to face downward pressure. This force causes the back side of the truck to lift down.

That will eventually cause the truck as well as the trailer to stay uneven during the ride, which is risky for road application. 

The WDH fixes the issue by shifting the 10% – 20% load on the front side which also helps the trailer mass to stand evenly.

Stage Two: Axle Point

The axle points are what help the WD hitch to fix the evenness of the truck. In short, the WD hitch on the rear of the truck plays like a fulcrum that adds the necessary weight on the back tow axle and removes the weight from the front tow axle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a weight-distribution hitch reduce tongue weight?

No, it doesn’t! The weight distribution never divides the total tongue weight. In fact, the calculation of WD doesn’t include the TW (tongue weight).

Are weight distribution hitches worth it?

The weight distribution hitch is a must-have item for big loads to confirm the needed safety. This not only lets you drive well while taking the large trailer but also ensures no harm to the car or loads due to unevenness.  

How much weight does a weight-distribution hitch distribute?

It depends on the total weight of the vehicle. The weight distribution load takes out a total load of the rear axle and shifts it to the front axle so that the truck stays in a level state. It’s pretty impossible to state a number of weights.

Wrap Up

The above detail might give you a headache if you don’t like math at all. But that was something we needed to cover to understand how do weight distribution hitch work. Hopefully, the explanation later was able to give you a good insight. 

The examples were kept simple so you understand the working of WD hitch better.

Hope this guide helps show the necessary info about the WD hitch working mechanism.

See You On The Next Guide Soon!

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About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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