Safe Towing System
SAFE TOWING SYSTEMS
A Safe Towing System requires that your vehicle and receiver hitch match or exceed the needs of your trailer. The Intermediate Towing Components must also meet the overall ratings of your Towing System. example: ballmounts, hitchballs and safety chains. IMPORTANT: Check your vehicle and trailer User's Manual for helpful information about their capabilities and limitations. GLOSSARY - Terms, Tips and Specifications
Ball (Hitch Ball)
The Hitch Ball is the connection from the hitch to the trailer. There are many elements in determining the correct hitch ball. Mounting platform thickness, hole size, coupler socket size and the most important gross trailer weight rating. The platform must be at least 3/8" thick and the hole size must not be more than 1/16 of an inch larger in diameter than the threaded shank. Every time you tow be sure to check the nut and lock washer to make sure it is fastened securely. A = Ball Diameter | B = Shank Diameter | C = Shank Length
The ball mount is placed inside the hitch opening which is mounted to the vehicle. Be sure to check your ball mount before towing to make sure a hitch pin is placed through the hole of the ball mount. The hitch pin secures the ball mount inside the tube of the receiver hitch when towing. Style Type #1 Ball mount: This style of ball mount is needed when the trailer and vehicle are equally level. Style Type #2 Ball mount: This style of ball mount is needed when your trailer and vehicle are NOT equally level. How do I determine what size drop or rise I need for my ball mount? To determine the size drop or rise for your style type #2 ball mount: (style type #1 is only for equal level vehicle and trailer) First level your trailer and measure from the ground up to the top ID. of receiver tube opening. Second, measure your vehicle from the ground up to the bottom of the trailer coupler. Third take the difference from both measurements and this will determine the size of drop or rise you need.
The coupler is the component that is placed over the hitch ball that connects the vehicle to the trailer. Be sure that the coupler size matches the size of the hitch ball and that the coupler handle is securely fastened. To determine what size hitch ball you need for your application you will need to know the size of coupler that is on the trailer.
Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)
The Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is a combination of the weight of the trailer and cargo inside. This is the total weight of both elements. Never exceed the weight capacity (GTW)of your trailer hitch.
Hitch, Receiver Hitch, Trailer Hitch
A Receiver Hitch is the primary device that is attached to the rear of the vehicle that allows you to tow. There are six classes of hitches. It is very important to choose the correct class of receiver hitch. Gross trailer weight and tongue weight will determine the hitch that is needed. Do not exceed the lowest rating of any component of your towing system.
Class 1 - up to 2000 lbs. GTW
Class 2 - 3500 lbs. GTW
Class 2.5 - 4,000 lbs. GTW
Class 3 - 10,000 lbs WD - 5,000 lbs. WC
Class 4 - 12,000 lbs. WD - 10,000 lbs. WC
Class 5 - 14,000 lbs. WD - 12,000 lbs. WC
Safety chains are a requirement and should be crossed under the tongue of the trailer so that the tongue will not drop to the road if it becomes separated from the hitch. Always leave enough slack so you can turn. Never allow the safety chains to drag on the ground and never attach the safety chains to the bumper.
Trailer Classification: Safety Chain Breaking Force-Minimum
Class 1: 2000 lbs (8.9 kN)
Class 2: 3500 lbs (15.6 kN)
Class 3: 5000 lbs (22.2 kN)
Class 4: The strength rating of each length of safety chain or its equivalent and its attachments shall be equal to or exceed in minimum breaking force the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the trailer.
The Sway Control is a device used to reduce the lateral movements of the trailer that are caused by the wind. This works along with a weight distribution hitch. Do not use this on a class 1, 2 or 2.5 hitch or with surge brakes.
Tongue Weight (TW)
Tongue weight is the downward force that is exerted on the hitch ball by the coupler. Tongue weight will vary depending on where the load is positioned in relationship to the trailer axle(s). To measure the tongue weight, use either a commercial scale or a bathroom scale with the coupler at towing height. When using a bathroom scale with heavier tongue weights, use the method shown; multiplying (the scale reading x 3).
Weight Distribution (WD)
A Weight Distribution hitch is used to balance the weight of the cargo between the front and rear wheels throughout the trailer which will allow for better steering, braking, and level riding.