Feb 08, 22
Weight Distribution Hitch Vs Air Bags Vs RoadActive Suspension(RAS)
Can RAS Improve Squat AND Weight Distribution While Towing?
Let’s talk weight distribution and reducing rear squat when towing a bumper pull. One of the most common arguments for using a weight distribution hitch(WDH) over a suspension helper [such as air bags] for reducing squat, is that while a WDH improves weight distribution -- rear suspension helpers simply put more weight onto the rear axle when towing. You can see that key difference in this popular video:
From the video, we see how this is a legitimate reason for prioritizing WDH. Notice how with the WDH torsion is used to shift some of the tongue weight forward to the front axle of the tow vehicle. Air bags in contrast, do an excellent job of keeping the truck very level by resisting the weight at the axle. While the air bags do an excellent job of keeping the truck level, we see that because of the way the weight distribution hitch reduces the trailers nose diving and distributes weight forward to the front axle, it’s a much better tool for improved control and stability. In addition, more weight on the rear axle caused by the air bags may actually have a negative impact on control and stability when it’s needed the most.
Does RoadActive Suspension Improve Weight Distribution?
The design of each product, can lead to very different outcomes with varying strengths and weaknesses. Since an air bag resists weight at the axle, it may work great in many loaded situations by completely eliminating squat, but can have very little positive impact on braking and trailer control. RAS works in a completely different manner, producing a greater impact on more just squat. The tension coil spring engages with the existing leaf springs, counteracting proportionate to force or weight applied. The result is a combination of reduced squat, better bounce isolation and significantly improved stability. The question here is, does RAS just add more weight to the axle similar to an air bag, or does it actually improve weight distribution? The AmericanDuramax Youtube channel took it upon himself find out, check what he found out here:
We see in this video that not only does RAS not put more weight to the rear axle, it actually has a fairly significant impact in re-distributing weight to the front axle when hooked up to that heavy trailer. While the weight distribution improvement is not as significant as a WDH, RAS is able provide some improvement because of its design concept -- which is to absorb and dissipate load force energy – rather than weight being pushed through to the axle like an air bag. Improved control, stability, bounce isolation and braking are tangible impacts echoed by our customers on a daily basis. The results shown in this video, underscores exactly why RAS is able to produce the results it does, and becoming a go-to-choice for pickup owners as a result.
Should I Still Use A WDH And Can I Use It In Combination With RAS?
Yes, we still recommend using the WDH for the optimal towing setup, especially for heavier trailers with a very heavy tongue weight. So why not use JUST a weight distribution hitch for towing? First, for lighter duty applications where truck has only been squatting an inch or two and a WDH has not already been installed; RAS will provide more bang for your buck by adding support and improving weight distribution needed for towing and any other non-bumper pull hauling situations. It’s also a true set it and forget it with not set up or removal required for towing, just hook up the trailer and go.
For heavier trailer applications such as full size travel trailers, pickup owners that have already installed a WDH come to us every day still experiencing either:
- Rear squat and negative effects associated with it;
- Very little to no squat but driver experiencing bounce and trailer sway due to too little tongue weight.
RAS has shown to work great in these instances, “filling in that gap” by bringing that rear squat up to a more desirable level or allowing for more tongue weight to be added if needed. Using RAS and good weight distribution hitch together complement each other very well, a must have for any pickup owner looking for the best tow setup.
*important to note that if WDH has already been installed and calibrated prior to RAS installation, we recommend walking through WDH installation after RAS to help account for stronger rear suspension
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