How to Find the Properly Rated Weight Distribution System

Question:

Vehicle: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder GVWR 6,000 pounds Travel Trailer - Coachman Clipper 17FQS - GVWR 3,685 pounds 370 pound hitch weight. I have a Fastway E2 10,000 pound round bar distribution hitch system. I have read that an overly high rated system can be detrimental to use with lower weight trailers and can affect safe vehicle handling because of the excessive stiffness of the system I also read that the Weight Distribution system should be closely matched to the trailer and vehicle. In this case my E2 system is over rated by about 4,000 pounds. For safe towing and anti sway function should I buy lower rated 5,000 pound round bars or will my current system although over rated, be safe to use?

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Expert Reply:

What matters in regards to a weight distribution system is the tongue weight rating and not the GTW that you referenced. A system rated too high, which your Fastway e2 # FA94-00-1000 is based on the numbers you provided, will result in a very stiff and bouncing ride that will be ineffective so you will need the correctly rated system, and I'll tell you how to figure that out.

You will first need to know your total tongue weight (TTW), which is the tongue weight of your fully loaded and ready to go trailer plus the weight of any cargo behind the rear axle of your 2017 Nissan Pathfinder. The tongue weight is typically between 10% and 15% of your trailer's GVWR but you'll want to verify it by using a scale such as the Sherline # 5780 or by using one of the methods outlined in the help article on determining tongue weight I've linked for you.

From there, simply add on the weight of the cargo behind the rear axle of your vehicle and you'll have your TTW. The ideal system would be one in which your TTW would fall somewhere in the middle of the weight distribution system's tongue weight capacity.

With the numbers you provided an educated guess is that your TTW will be in the 450 lb to 500 lb range. If that is the case and you have the Fastway e2 # FA94-00-1000, which is a round bar system with a 1,000 lb tongue weight capacity, you can simply replace the bars with a pair of the 600 lb tongue weight capacity bars # FA94-02-0699.

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Kyle S

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