How to Set the Ball Height on a Weight Distributing Hitch

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Towing a heavy trailer can put a large strain on your vehicle’s rear suspension, causing the rear end to sag noticeably. The added weight on the rear of the vehicle can cause adverse handling characteristics. By using a weight distributing hitch, this problem can be corrected by placing the tongue weight of the trailer equally at the front and rear of the tow vehicle. One of the first steps in setting up a weight distributing hitch is to set the proper hitch ball height.

Things You'll Need

  • Carpenter’s level
  • Measuring tape
  • Socket set
  • Ratchet wrench
  • Place a 3-foot carpenter’s level longitudinally on the floor of your trailer. Raise or lower the trailer jack at the front of your trailer until the bubble in the top of the level lays in between the two marks.

  • Measure from the ground to the top of the hitch ball coupler at the front of your trailer with a measuring tape. Make a note of this measurement.

  • Slide the hitch draw bar into the hitch receiver at the rear of the tow vehicle. Measure from the ground to the top of the hitch ball on the shank, which is attached to the draw bar. Follow subsequent steps to adjust the height of the hitch ball if it is not .75 inch to 1 inch higher than the trailer coupler height measurement.

  • Loosen the two retaining bolts that attach the hitch shank to the draw bar with a socket and ratchet wrench. Remove the nuts and washers from the bolts. Hold the shank with one hand while removing the two bolts with the other hand.

  • Hold the shank into position on the draw bar mounting holes that will position the hitch ball closest to its proper height. Insert the retaining bolts through the shank and draw bar mounting holes. Place the washers and nuts over the threaded end of the bolts protruding through the opposite side of the draw bar. Tighten the nuts with a socket and ratchet wrench.

  • Measure the height of the top of the hitch ball from the ground. Ensure that the height is .75 inch to 1 inch higher than the ground to coupler measurement taken on the trailer. Move the shank to the next highest or lowest mounting holes on the draw bar in the same fashion to obtain the correct measurement, if necessary.

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