bing tracking image
Q & A Icon

Weight Distribution Recommendation for a 2005 Toyota Tacoma Towing a 4,500 Pound Trailer


I am looking at a used travel trailer which weighs 3600 lbs and has a hitch weight of 525 lbs, dry. My Tacoma has a towing package, which includes a Class IV hitch with 650 lbs max tongue weight rating. I plan on towing the trailer at gross weights of no more than 4500 lbs. Is there any way to estimate the loaded tongue weight? Also, does tongue weight matter if Im going to be using a weight distributing hitch? Which capacity hitch would you recommend given these weights? Finally, since my truck has limited payload, approximately how much of the tongue weight will a weight distributing hitch transfer to the trucks axles, and how much back to the trailers?


Expert Reply:

First, a trailer tongue weight is usually 10 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight when loaded and ready to tow. For a trailer that weighs 4,500 pounds, you are looking at a tongue weight between 450 and 675 pounds. You can use a tongue weight scale, # 5780, to get the tongue weight of the trailer.

Once you know the tongue weight, you also have to add in the weight of anything loaded behind the rear axle of the Tacoma. If you had 100 pounds of gear in the truck bed behind the rear axle, the tongue weight would be 550 to 775 pounds.

When choosing a weight distribution system, you will want one that has a tongue weight capacity range that encompasses the total tongue weight. In the examples above, I recommend a system rated for 400 to 800 pounds tongue weight. There are several systems in this range depending on whether or not you want sway control.

I do recommend sway control for a trailer weighing 4,500 pounds. Dual-cam systems work well because they proactively and aggressively resist the start of sway by forcing the vehicle and trailer to ride in straight line. For a 400 to 800 pound system with dual-cam sway control, go with # RP66083. This system comes with the required shank so you would just need a ball like # A-90 for a 2 inch or # 19286 for a 2-5/16 inch.

The spring bars in a weight distribution system work to apply the weight more evenly to the axles on the tow vehicle and trailer. Essentially, the spring bars push forward towards the vehicle and backward towards the trailer. The amount of weight transferred is hard to measure because the vehicle and load are moving and the various stresses are always changing. However, it will not exceed the axle capacity of the vehicle.

I have included some instructional links and a link to our FAQ article on weight distribution and sway control.

expert reply by:

Products Referenced in This Question

Product Page this Question was Asked From

Q & A Icon

Similar Expert Q&A Pages

See More Q&A Expert Answers >>