Chinook RV Forum

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PostPosted: March 19th, 2017, 1:15 pm 
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Joined: March 8th, 2017, 8:51 am
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I have a 1999 Chinook and the manual says it is a class three hitch. I understand that not all hitches are designed for using weight distribution and the manual does not mention weight distribution. So does anyone know if the class three hitch that comes on a chinook can handle weight distribution? Does anyone on here tow using weight distribution? If so what kind of weights are you towing? Thanks.


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PostPosted: March 21st, 2017, 12:49 am 
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isn't it only rated to tow 5k? If so, you want a WDH for that? I've only towed 5k very very briefly. I've town 2k a little more.. but that seemed like it wasn't even there.


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PostPosted: March 21st, 2017, 8:56 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1828
Location: 1999 Concourse
Just as a data point:
I've towed a 4,300' to 4,600# trailer quite a bit. It's a tandem, and has 330-350# of tongue weight (tandems don't need the typical 10% tongue weight, but use 5-7% instead).. It does have hydraulic disc brakes on all four wheels (surge type). I have never used a weight-distributing hitch on it. On the other hand, it doesn't push the rear of the Chinook down noticeably and even when I'm towing it, the aft end is still a bit higher than the front. It tows just great, no complaints. I don't feel or see any sway, and I wouldn't want the rear of the Chinook to be (any more) higher relative to the front (nor would I want more weight on the trailer axles).

I do run a Scan Gauge II and watch it religiously (fresh water temp, trans temp, alternator voltage, etc.). All was fine as original, but when I had my transmission re-done (due to a problem it had when I bought it, and it hadn't towed previously, so it was not from towing) I also took off the original transmission cooler and put on a larger one. It never got hot with the original (I think it may have maxed out at 190ยบ one time), but I just wanted "cool as a cucumber" type temps.

One note is that with the Chinook's long overhang, of course the tongue weight comes out to "more" on the rear axle (darned physics). I calculated that my 330# of tongue weight would add around 550# of weight to the rear axle. A scale verified it. In my case I'm still under the rear axle weight rating, but that may not be the case for everyone. (And maybe that's why you want a weight distributing hitch.)

So I guess that's kind of the reverse of what you were looking for, since I don't tow with a WDH. As I'm sure you've figured out, the 18,000# GCWR for our rigs is pretty much completely unattainable due to the weight of the Chinook, the rear-axle weight rating, and the hitch design all maxing out prior to that. Ford gave the cutaway that rating, but that's before the Chinook coach body was placed on it. My gross combined weight is around 14,600#, and the rear axle is at around 7,000# (more when gas tank full; less when empty).

BG

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PostPosted: March 21st, 2017, 8:58 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
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Location: Auburn WA
My 2004 Premier has the electric step and receiver extension and for that reason alone I would never use an ez lift or other weight distributing type hitch. I am sure that the extension isn't designed for that.

If you have a typical hitch (like on a truck) that could be different.

I'm sure others will chime in.

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PostPosted: March 21st, 2017, 9:44 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
SMan wrote:
My 2004 Premier has the electric step and receiver extension and for that reason alone I would never use an ez lift or other weight distributing type hitch. I am sure that the extension isn't designed for that.


That's a definite consideration. All of the receiver extensions I have seen say to de-rate the hitch by 50%.

There is also the option of a longer ball mount (vs. an extension and then a regular length ball mount). I don't completely understand why, but these are not de-rated. Of course the leverage is still there, but not all the connections. With the manual step on my '99, there is 5" from the end of the Chinook receiver until it will clear the top step when towing (bottom step is flipped up out of the picture when towing). Or to put it another way, 7-1/2" from the center of the pin hole to clear the step. Thus I can use a "long" ball mount, but don't need the extra long that is required with the electric step. The long ball mount is not so long as to seem like a giant leverage machine - it's just a titch longer than a regular one. They are available in various rises and drops (I typically use a 3/4" to 2" rise, depending on the trailer).

BTW, if anyone is looking for a good selection of long (if you have the manual step) or extra long (for the electric step) ball mounts, e-trailer has the best selection I have seen anywhere. You have to basically comb through them, as I haven't found a good search term that doesn't get mixed up in other descriptive words, but they are there. Some of them don't appear to have the measurements you need, but if you look at the Q & A they have provided the measurements to other queryers. They will also measure anything for you if you ask. The key for me has always been the distance from the pin hole to the first "catch pint" on the shaft (that might hit the step). I have never had an easy time finding these "locally," anywhere I have been (a few times I stupidly left the ball mount behind, then wanted to tow something for some reason and had to shop locally wherever I happened to be). Since one of my trailers is a tandem, I want to make sure it is level when towing (hence I want just the right ball mount to make it nice and level plus of course to clear the step).

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PostPosted: March 27th, 2017, 4:42 pm 
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Joined: March 8th, 2017, 8:51 am
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Thanks for your help guys. Not sure I really got what I needed but i will try this from another angle for now.


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