After the CAD drawings came in, I requested some changes, as all customers do. Most of their suggestions or compromises I can live with pretty easily. One though, I’m struggling with a bit.
Weight distribution hitches are a critical piece of equipment when towing trailers with this kind of mass. Also very important is proper sway control, particularly for my trailer given it’s extra height – it’s basically a sail if the wind hits it the right way. For these reasons, I’ve done a bunch of research on weight distribution hitches, sway bar controls, combination units, and various pros and cons. My ideal unit is this one from Andersen Hitches. It’s more expensive than some of the cheapest units out there, but it’s a uniquely different design, and one that I think is so well designed that it’s worth a bit extra. It combines weight distribution and sway control into a single unit. It doesn’t need regular lubrication, is very easy to hook up and unhook, is silent, handles bounce control, and can be left in place while backing up the trailer. To me, it looks ideal.
There’s just one little trick: I need 28-29″ of frame rail exposed to make the system work. My trailer, with it’s V Nose covering up most of the front part of the frame, will only have about 24″ of exposed frame. I asked Becker about this, and their initial suggestion is to have them mount some brackets that can be used with the less sophisticated weight distribution systems. I didn’t really like that idea, but I pursed it anyways to see what it could do for me. Turns out even the basic WD (weight distribution) hitches still require 27-30″ of frame exposure in order to work correctly.
Various other people have had similar issues, and the solutions seem to be mounting or welding hook points for the WD hitches basically about as far back as you can go, then adding some additional chain length to make it all work. This compromises the bend bars of the WD hitch, and although it’ll all technically hook up, it just seems messy to me. Plus, you still have to have one (or two) of the ancient style sway bar control mechanisms, which is just more stuff to have to hook and unhook every time I couple or uncouple the trailer from the truck. Yuck.
So I got to thinking. The structural rails of the trailer frame extend beyond the v-nose underneath the living areas. What if I mounted the brackets of the Andersen hitch under there, and maybe even cut a couple small holes in the floor for them to mount properly? Since I’m going to have a secondary raised floor anyways, and there wasn’t anything really planned for that area, it wouldn’t hurt anything. I dug a bit deeper and noticed that the lines of the A-frame and the lines of the exterior of the v-nose were running at slightly different angles. The drawing above has a red line for the angle of the A-frame and the a blue line for the angle of the exterior of the v-nose. Since they’re different, I’m imagining that there’s more than one piece of heavy-duty framing going on underneath the trailer in this area. That should give me some different mounting opens if I were to put the brackets of my preferred WD hitch back a bit further.
I’ll have a conference call with my sales guy and CAD designer early next week. Hopefully we’ll all come to an agreement on getting me everything I ever wanted.