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  1. #1
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    Weight distribution hitch on a denali

    Hey guys, first time poster and just about to be a first time grand design owner.
    My question is does anyone have info on the best way to set up a weight distribution hitch on a denali with the auto level air suspension. I seen a few videos but want to make sure I do it the right way without doing any harm or having the compressor constantly run.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Yep, figure out how to disable the air system, set up the hitch. Use the onboard air system as the "after thought" when the hitch is set up.
    Inventory Manager at Tom Schaeffer's RV, Shoemakersville, PA www.tomschaeffers.com
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    Big Traveler geotex1's Avatar
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    Depending the year of the Denali, you might not be able to disable without throwing a light on a dealer can reset. However, fear not, you can always dial in a crude set up at the scales. It will be an iterative dance, but totally doable.
    Rob & Nikki + Cloverfield
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  4. #4
    Site Sponsor Canyonlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by el_fuego View Post
    Hey guys, first time poster and just about to be a first time grand design owner.
    My question is does anyone have info on the best way to set up a weight distribution hitch on a denali with the auto level air suspension. I seen a few videos but want to make sure I do it the right way without doing any harm or having the compressor constantly run.
    Thanks in advance!
    We towed our 2004 Cougar 294 TT with our 2001 Suburban (no bags) and then our 2007 Yukon XL Denali with the air auto level suspension. We hooked up with the Denali not running (thus compressor not running) setting bar tension to level the Denali to where it was before hitching.

    Bar tension for us varied depending on how much weight was in the front end of the TT thus on the camper hitch. Bar tension could vary a setting or maybe two from when the camper was empty and considering cargo weight (people and "stuff") in the Denali as well.

    We used a Reese 12K hitch and 1200 lb. bars

    Dan
    Dan & Carol
    2014 303RLS Reflection #185 (10/2013 build)
    2012 Silverado LTZ Crew Duramax 2500HD
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    Thanks for the info. So I’m assuming when you powered up the denali the compressor started and raised the vehicle and took the sag out? Did it cycle a bunch or not at all. I’ve seen videos that have shown hooking the trailer up with the vehicle off, turn it on let the air suspension max out and then connect the bars. Just trying to figure it out

  6. #6
    Site Sponsor Canyonlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by el_fuego View Post
    Thanks for the info. So I’m assuming when you powered up the denali the compressor started and raised the vehicle and took the sag out? Did it cycle a bunch or not at all. I’ve seen videos that have shown hooking the trailer up with the vehicle off, turn it on let the air suspension max out and then connect the bars. Just trying to figure it out
    The first step, for us was to lower the RV trailer hitch onto the to vehicle ball just enough to latch it. Then using the tongue jack of the trailer we would raise the front of the RV and thus the rear of the tow vehicle up in to make tensioning our bars an easier task. Then we lowered the RV tongue down (raising the jack) to the point where the jack was not supporting the RV any longer.

    It is this point where the properly tensioned bars will cause the tow vehicle to sit as it "normally" does or should be when not towing. When the bars are set properly transferring the necessary load to the front of the tow vehicle our compressor rarely ran but for a few seconds. If it ran too long, that meant too much load on the rear of our Denali meaning time to tension the bars another notch.

    I suspect these air bag systems are pretty stout enough to handle several thousands of pounds of load. I too have seen folks hitching as you share but to me it seemed why strain the tow vehicles air bag and compressor when it is unnecessary and possibly damaging long and maybe short term.

    Curious as to what your Owners Manual says about this ?

    Dan
    Dan & Carol
    2014 303RLS Reflection #185 (10/2013 build)
    2012 Silverado LTZ Crew Duramax 2500HD
    2700/16K Pullrite Superglide

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canyonlight View Post
    The first step, for us was to lower the RV trailer hitch onto the to vehicle ball just enough to latch it. Then using the tongue jack of the trailer we would raise the front of the RV and thus the rear of the tow vehicle up in to make tensioning our bars an easier task. Then we lowered the RV tongue down (raising the jack) to the point where the jack was not supporting the RV any longer.

    It is this point where the properly tensioned bars will cause the tow vehicle to sit as it "normally" does or should be when not towing. When the bars are set properly transferring the necessary load to the front of the tow vehicle our compressor rarely ran but for a few seconds. If it ran too long, that meant too much load on the rear of our Denali meaning time to tension the bars another notch.

    I suspect these air bag systems are pretty stout enough to handle several thousands of pounds of load. I too have seen folks hitching as you share but to me it seemed why strain the tow vehicles air bag and compressor when it is unnecessary and possibly damaging long and maybe short term.

    Curious as to what your Owners Manual says about this ?

    Dan
    Thanks for that. Makes sense and I appreciate it. Owners manual only states

    “ When using a weight-distributing hitch, the spring bars should be adjusted so the distance (2) is the same after coupling the trailer to the tow vehicle and adjusting the hitch”

    Basically what your saying. Play with the settings of the bars to maintain the same height of the front fender body line.

    So is it better to get a hitch with chain style for the bars so I can adjust said tension or all the weight distribution hitches have adjustable tension bars?

  8. #8
    Site Sponsor Canyonlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by el_fuego View Post
    Thanks for that. Makes sense and I appreciate it. Owners manual only states

    “ When using a weight-distributing hitch, the spring bars should be adjusted so the distance (2) is the same after coupling the trailer to the tow vehicle and adjusting the hitch”

    Basically what your saying. Play with the settings of the bars to maintain the same height of the front fender body line.

    So is it better to get a hitch with chain style for the bars so I can adjust said tension or all the weight distribution hitches have adjustable tension bars?
    It's been several years since we towed our TT with our Reese setup. There are several good hitch options out there and I suspect many improvements since we towed.

    You may want to do some research on the forum and elsewhere to learn and decide what is best for your situation. You could also start a new thread and hopefully the folks who tow TTs will share their feedback.

    Dan
    Dan & Carol
    2014 303RLS Reflection #185 (10/2013 build)
    2012 Silverado LTZ Crew Duramax 2500HD
    2700/16K Pullrite Superglide

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