How Does A WD (Weight Distribution) Hitch Work?
The functioning of a WD hitch starts from the distribution of tongue weight. Due to its even distribution, the vehicle and trailer can stay in parallel with the road.
Just like a standard ball mount, a WD hitch also couples with the trailer using a ball. But the difference starts in the spring bars. The WD hitch’s spring bars act like a bridge to the connection between the trailer and vehicle, unlike the ball mount. One end of the hitch is attached to the trailer’s frame, and the other one is near the vehicle’s receiver. The connection places the spring bars under tension, making it possible to lift the back of the vehicle. Also, the same tension works in the opposite direction for the trailer tongue weight. It allows the vehicle and the trailer to remain at the same level.
7-Step Guide On Hooking Up A Weight Distribution Hitch
Now that you understand the functioning of a WD hitch let us move on to the hooking (installation) process. Here are the tools that you would need for the installation.
- Tape measure
- Torque wrench
Once you have the tools ready, you can start with the installation. Follow the steps below:
1st Step: Taking A Measure Of The Vehicle And Trailer’s Height
Start off by ensuring that the vehicle is on level ground. It is very crucial to find the right setup for towing. Now, use the measuring tape to check the measurement of the vehicle and the trailer’s height. There are three measurements that are key for the installation process.
- Distance between the ground and the trailer coupler’s top.
- Next is the distance between the rear bumper of the vehicle and the ground.
- Lastly, the distance between the ground and the front bumper’s bottom.
2nd Step: Shank Installation
Step 2 is the installation of the WD hitch’s shank to the opening of the receiver tube. You can find the opening behind the vehicle. The installation would depend on the needs of your vehicle. It will determine whether you should install the shank in an upright position or upside down.
If you have a high-riding vehicle, then the upside-down position would be more suitable for the shank. However, if you have a lower vehicle, the upright position would be better. After deciding on the position, use hitch pin and secure the shank placement.
3rd Step: Head Installation
The head is among those components that is responsible for holding trailer ball. You need to dry fit this part on the shank and fix the placement with a hex bolt and conical tooth washer. After that, rotate the head of the hitch and then check the distance measurement from the trailer ball’s base to the ground. Cross-check this measurement with the readings in Step 1. The trailer ball’s height should be no more than 3 inches and should be more than 1 inch than the coupler. If the installation was correct, it should be in this range only.
4th Step: Adjustment Rod Installation
An adjustment rod in a WD hitch is responsible for managing the right angle of the hitch. It does so with the use of space washers to change the angle accordingly. You can use a high number of washers if you want lesser leverage, and vice versa.
Now, you need to install that adjustment rod to the inner channel of the head unit. Washers will help in that process. Then rotate the ball mount and head in the downward direction to access that channel.
After placing the rod, rotate back both of them and use a hex bolt to secure the placement. Follow it up with another bolt and conical tooth washer along the shank vertically. Lastly, secure the shank bolts with conical tooth washers and nuts.
5th Step: Spring Bars Installation
Put grease on the spring bar’s attachment points before starting the installation. It will ensure that there is less friction which will lead to a long life for the hitch.
After greasing, you would have to attach the head unit and spring bars. The attachment for the spring bar will depend on WD hitch’s type you are installing. The installation of spring bars is usually from below if a round bar hitch is being installed. In the case of trunnion bars, the placement is angled and pivots in the upward direction.
6th Step: Coupling The Trailer And The Vehicle
Start off by lifting the trailer tongue with the use of the jack of the trailer. One thing you need to ensure is that the coupler clears the trailer ball. Once it is done, getting the vehicle back in a position makes it easy to lower the coupler to the ball and engage the latch.
7th Step: Re-measure The Vehicle’s Height
After the installation of all the components, measure the height of the vehicle again. Take the measurement from both sides of the bumper. Ensure that the difference is no more than 0.5 inches in comparison to the parts that are not coupled. Adjust the WD hitch if the difference is more.
Once the proper adjustment is made, you should torque the hardware. You can use a torque wrench to get the proper specifications.
How To Unhitch The Trailer?
You can also remove the hitch when not in use to prevent any accidents or make the vehicle last longer. Here’s how you can remove it:
- Leave the coupler as it is and lift the trailer and tow the vehicle to remove the weight. If the L pin becomes loose, it is an indication that the pressure on the arms is no more.
- Remove the spring arms and keep them away from the brackets of the trailer.
- Now, retract the tongue jack until you find the opportunity to open the coupler latch.
- Finally, you have to raise the trailer tongue and pull the tow vehicle. Get it away from the trailer.
This is how you can easily unhitch the trailer. In case you have any doubts or concerns regarding the process, feel free to ask us in the comments. We’ll be happy to answer each of your questions/queries.