Towing Service Bakersfield CA
RV Cheap Towing Bakersfield CA
In continuation to the last post regarding safety in towing, we as your reliable towing Bakersfield CA company, continued on to look at Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook's overview on this. This handbook is written by Gary Bunzer in the updated 4th edition. Below excerpt pertains to motor homes but has some parallels and similarities to other vehicles:
Travel Trailer Hitches
Once you have settled on a tow vehicle, it is imperative that you be aware of the many different types and styles of equipment available. Here is where you need some expert advice and a tittle homework. Although variations exist, some vehicles may be better suited than others for your particular towing combination. An examination of some of the more common options concerning towing equipment is in order, but it is important also to understand that final decisions can only be ascertained after knowing the specifics of your particular tow vehicle and trailer. It is highly advisable to develop a relationship with a local RV service facility. Make certain the service facility is capable of installing the equipment you consider. If necessary, contact the manufacturer of the equipment and ask the company its recommendation of a good shop in your area. More often than not the manufacturer will be happy to oblige you. After all, its reputation also rides on the quality of work by the shop that installs its product.
Obviously, a hitch is that crucial connection between tow vehicle and trailer. Just as in choosing a tow vehicle, choosing a hitch is also determined by weight rating. Since you now know what your trailer weighs and the capacity of your tow vehicle, simply choose a hitch that falls within those parameters. Is it that simple? Just about; it's a matter of doing the math. All good service facilities that install hitches will first ask you about the total weight you will be towing. Next, they will ask you about tongue weight. Tongue weight is that percentage of the total weight that will be placed directly on the hitch assembly. It usually amounts to approximately 12 to 17% of the total weight of the trailer. Any cargo stowed in the tow vehicle behind the rear axle must also be considered and added to the tongue weight when trying to determine the hitch required. The key is to ensure the gross weight of the trailer remains less than the tow vehicle's maximum load rating. That, plus each component in the towing configuration must also be rated appropriately.
There are two basic types of hitches: weight carrying and weight distributing. Weight carrying hitches literally carry the weight of the trailer on the hitch and rear axle of the tow vehicle.
By far the most common type of hitch today is the weight distributing, or load equalizing, hitch. Always mounted directly to the frame of the tow vehicle, this type of hitch, by its design, distributes the towed weight to both axles of the tow vehicle. A weight distributing hitch is the preferred method of towing all but the lightest forms of travel trailers.
All hitches are rated to tow within a specific weight limit, termed classifications. It is vital to understand that some hitches may indeed fit a multitude of vehicles, so it is paramount that all components of the chosen hitch be rated for that specific load. The following chart depicts the various classes and their maximum capacities.
Class Type Capacity
I Weight Carrying 2,000 GVW
II Weight Carrying 3,500 GVW
II (torsional) Weight Distributing 3,500 GVW
III Weight Carrying 5,000 GVW
III Weight Distributing 10,000 GVW
IV Weight Distributing 10,000 GVW
V Weight Distributing 15,000 GVW
Weight Distributing Hitch Components
What most call "the hitch" is actually comprised of several components, not including the coupler of the trailer. Weight distributing hitch assemblies include three main components:
The main component of a weight distributing hitch is the receiver. The receiver is, in most cases, bolted to the frame at various strategic points underneath the tow vehicle. Some may be custom fabricated and welded into place. Hitch manufacturers today produce a myriad of hitch receivers for specific tow vehicles that are custom designed just for that vehicle. All the bends and mounting holes are in the correct place. It will mate perfectly with the frame of the tow vehicle. For older, obsolete vehicles, custom hitch receivers can be fabricated from scratch by a quality hitch shop.
- Ball mount
- Spring bar assembly
The ball mount is the actual link between the trailer and the tow vehicle. It, too, is available as a bolt-together unit or it can be fully welded. Installation of the ball mount is not as simple as it may appear. Careful measurements must be taken on the tow vehicle and also on the trailer. Ball mount tilt angle and ball height are two important measurements that are necessary to ensure a proper hitch setup. Tilt angle is best left up to the professional hitch shop. The result of correct ball mount tilt angle will find the spring bars parallel with the bottom of the trailer coupler when fully hitched and connected.
Ball mount height, however, can be determined by leveling the trailer on a hard surface street or parking lot. The trailer must be fully loaded to its traveling weight. Measure the distance at the axle (or in between tandem axles) from the road surface to the top of the frame. If the trailer has a solid underbelly, defer to a professional hitch shop for proper measuring. The top of the frame should coincide with the top of the coupler on the A frame. Next, add 1/8 inch for every 100 pounds of trailer tongue weight. The final calculation will be the correct ball height needed at the ball mount. Since ball mount height is specific to just one trailer, it is not wise to borrow someone else's ball mount. Chances are the ball height or the tilt angle will be different.
Also be aware that not all ball mounts are created equal. Hitch ratings and ball mount ratings must be compatible. Remember, the overall tow rating is based on the weakest link in the configuration. If, for example, a Class V hitch receiver has a weight rating of up to 7,500 pounds, be sure the ball mount is like-rated. If the ball mount is only rated for 5,000 total pounds, then the overall rating is reduced to 5,000 pounds even if the Class V receiver is rated significantly higher.
The third component of a weight distributing setup is the spring bar assembly. Using the dynamics of leverage as its theory, spring bars are like the handles on a wheelbarrow. By lifting up on the bars, the weight is distributed or shifted toward the front axle. This component gives new dimension to the handling characteristics of the tow vehicle. Steering and turning become improved and safer while towing.
Other items located at or near the hitch connection include:
- Safety chains: In case the trailer and tow vehicle should prematurely part company
- Breakaway switch: Applies full power to all electric trailer brakes in case of unintentional separation (electric brakes are detailed in the following chapter)
- Electrical connector: Connects the tow vehicle lights and other circuits to the trailer (See Tow Wiring, later in this chapter)"