How to Adjust a Weight Distributing Hitch


Trailers with heavy tongue weights, such as travel trailers, car haulers and horse trailers require the use of a weight distributing hitch for the safe handling of your rig. A properly adjusted weight distributing hitch will distribute the trailer tongue weight up to 1000 pounds evenly over all four corners of the tow vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Assorted wrenches
  • Make sure you are working on a firm, level surface. Slide the hitch into the hitch receiver on your tow vehicle and secure with a pin and cotter key. Level your trailer before attaching it to the tow vehicle. Measure the height from the ground to the inside of the trailer's coupler where the hitch ball rests. The top of the hitch ball needs to be ½ inch higher than this measurement. Using wrenches, loosen the head of the hitch and adjust to obtain this measurement. Tilt the hitch head 15 degrees toward the trailer and tighten the hitch head bolts.

  • Measure from the ground to each corner of your tow vehicle and make a note of the measurements. Jack up the tongue of the trailer and back your vehicle until the hitch ball aligns with the coupler. Lower the trailer tongue and lock the coupler.

  • Install the spring bars and connect the spring bar chains to the spring lifter hooks. Using the leverage bar supplied with the hitch, raise the spring lifters and lock into place. Raise the trailer tongue jack until it is off of the ground.

  • Measure each corner of the tow vehicle again. The measurements should be equally lower on each corner. If not, lower the trailer jack and raise the tongue. Using the leverage bar lower the spring lifters. If the rear of the vehicle has settled more than the front, raise the chains another link to give the spring bars more tension. If the front has settled more than the rear, go down another link on the chains to give the spring bars less tension.

  • Continue the process until the tow vehicle has settled equally on all four corners. The hitch head angle can be adjusted to tweak your settings. Torque the hitch head adjusting nuts to the proper specifications specified by your hitch manufacturer.

Tips & Warnings

  • While traveling, check your hitch adjusting bolts for tightness. To check if there has been any movement in the bolts at a glance, apply small dabs of white paint on the bolts and hitch. If you cannot keep the rear of your tow vehicle from sagging after you have tried all adjustments, you may need heavier spring bars. Know your trailer's loaded weight before ordering new spring bars.

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