Weight Distribution Recommendation for 2004 Chevy Silverado 2500 Towing 8,000 Pound Open Car Trailer


I have a 2004 silverado 2500hd with a towing capacity of 12,000 lbs. The factory hitch is rated for 7,500 lbs without weight distribution, and 12,000 lbs with. 1,000 and 1,500 lbs tongue weight, respectively. I have an open car trailer with a gvw of 8,000 lbs. This trailer is used for all different occasions - sometimes empty ~2,000 lbs, sometimes fully loaded, and anywhere in between. What is a recommended weight distribution system that can accommodate all different loading levels and tongue weights? Im guessing one with chain links, and Id just be using a different amount of links for each given loading situation? Would I have to loosen and re-adjust the hitch-head angle every time I change loading? Is it safe to take the spring bars off a weight distribution system and use it as a regular ball mount? Or is it best to get a regular non-weight distributed hitch and limit trailer usage to 7,500 lbs? Looking forward to having a nice, safe tow rig to play with.


Expert Reply:

Typically, you would want to choose a weight distribution system based on the loaded and ready to tow tongue weight of your trailer. Since your trailer will be carrying various types of cargo and have a different tongue weight nearly every time it is loaded, you will want to choose a system that has a large range and that can be adjusted to fit the load each time.

Based on the empty and loaded weights of the trailer you provided, it is possible that the tongue weight will range from 200 pounds - 1,200 pounds. There is not one single weight distribution system that is designed to work with such a wide tongue weight range, but we can find a system that will work well with your trailer when it is heavily loaded.

One system that I recommend for you is the Reese Weight Distribution System with Shank, Trunnion Bars # RP66542. This weight distribution system has a tongue weight range from 600 pounds to 1,200 pounds and a gross towing weight capacity of 12,000 pounds. The 1,200 pound capacity will match the high-end range of your trailer's maximum tongue weight. I've attached the installation instructions and a review video of this system for you.

This system does use chain hangers that work in hand with the hitch head to adjust the tension of the system. You will want to check the adjustment of the hitch head each time the trailer has a different load to ensure the head and chain hangers are set properly for that load's tongue weight.

When your trailer's tongue weight is below 600 pounds, you would not want to use the spring bar arms on the trailer. This would cause a very harsh, stiff ride for the trailer. The times when the you are towing the trailer and the tongue weight is less than 600 pounds, you would want to remove the spring bar arms when towing.

Another option when the tongue weight is lower than the system's range is to used spring bar arms with a lower rating, such as the Reese Replacement Tunnion Spring Bar # RP22225 (in qty 2) that are rated for 400 pounds - 800 pounds tongue weight. The # RP22225 spring bar arms would allow you to use the weight distribution hitch as a weight distribution hitch when your trailer has a tongue weight as low as 400 pounds.

The spring bar arms would simply need to be changed out based on the tongue weight range. Having 2 different sets of spring bar arms for your weight distribution system helps the system work on a wider range of tongue weights for your trailer. This is the best solution to accommodate the varying range of loads on your trailer.

I have attached a help article on weight distribution systems for you.

expert reply by:
Victoria B

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