Trailer Hitch Drop Length? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old May 30th, 2013, 09:22 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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Trailer Hitch Drop Length?

I need to get a trailer hitch to pull a boat trailer. I have the standard receiver thats sits right below the rear crossmember. How much drop does the trailer hitch ball mount need to have in order to work with most trailers? It seems that most boat trailers are pretty low to to the ground so I assume I would need to get a hitch with significant drop in order for the trailer to ride parallel to the ground. I hope my explanation makes sense... I'm looking at getting a used trailer so I need to get the hitch before the trailer. If I already had the trailer I wouldn't be asking this question.
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  #2  
Old May 30th, 2013, 10:36 PM
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I'd say the 1st thing to ascertain is, "what is the level height measurement of the boat trailer hitch" ?

From there determine the offset receiver ball hitch needed to keep the trailer level while in pull. You may want to install air bag levelers in your rear coil springs, I love mine & they still work great after 10+ years.
You may want trailer brakes too, it's no fun being pushed by a load.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 12:55 AM
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Carl Jonsson
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Only problem is.. I'm planning to buy a used trailer so I don't know the level height of the trailer until I'm there to pick it up... at which point I will have already bought the hitch... which may or may not fit the trailer I'm picking up...

Just wondering of there is a standard or common height?
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:38 AM
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Not really. With no lift, probably 4in drop would be sufficient for a lowish trailer. If you are really worried, I would get the kind that has the adjustable drop so you can position the ball where needed.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 06:28 AM
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You really won't know untill you back ut to the trailer with a load on it. If you are buying a used one it won't matter till you get the boat on it. At that point you can estimate what height you wlii need baised on how your truck squats under a load. I have 3 trailers I pull and have to use 2 different hitches. My boat trailer rides much different than my other 2.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 08:11 AM
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To measure the coupler height, you will measure from the ground to the bottom edge of the coupler. Do this on level ground with the trailer level. On the truck, you will measure from the ground to the top of the receiver opening, again with truck level on level ground.

If the truck is taller, then you will need a drop equal to the difference. If the trailer is taller, you will need a rise equal to the difference. You will most likely need a drop.

It is best to have the trailer level, but up to an inch or so, up or down, is fine.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 09:43 AM
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Are you buying a trailer from such a remote place you can't check the height, go get a hitch, then go back and get the trailer?
You have several options if that's the case:
Ask the seller how high off the ground the tongue is when level.
Buy several at Walmart or Tractor Supply or Northern Tool and return the ones that aren't right.
Take a wild guess and get a second hitch after you get it home if the one you choose isn't right.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 10:10 AM
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I like Tom's idea because you really won't know till you have boat, trailer all together. Till then it's just guessing. On my boat I have a 3.5" turned upside down so it raises the hitch ball up 3.5" so it will tow right. On my flat trailer I have a 3" drop to lower it so it will tow flat. Hope this helps
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  #9  
Old May 31st, 2013, 12:54 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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I would prefer an educated guess which is why I posted here.

I'm going to pick up a 4" drop hitch and see if that works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antichrist View Post
Take a wild guess and get a second hitch after you get it home if the one you choose isn't right.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manimal View Post
I would prefer an educated guess which is why I posted here.

I'm going to pick up a 4" drop hitch and see if that works.
To make an educated guess it would help to know if you're truck is lifted, what size your tires are, and how high the top of the receiver is off the ground currently. The more information you can give us the more "educated" we can pretend to be.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:49 PM
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I like the idea of buying multiple drops and then taking the unused units back to Wally World.
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  #12  
Old May 31st, 2013, 06:38 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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Stock tires and wheels and OME suspension which I have been told raises it about 1" compared to stock suspension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishEH View Post
To make an educated guess it would help to know if you're truck is lifted, what size your tires are, and how high the top of the receiver is off the ground currently. The more information you can give us the more "educated" we can pretend to be.
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  #13  
Old June 4th, 2013, 09:25 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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Here's what I have figured out so far. My hitch height is 22.637". A 4" drop would give me a 18.637" coupler height and a 6" drop would give me a 16.637" coupler height. I called about a trailer on craigslist today and it had a coupler height of around 16" so If I were to purchase it I would need a 6" drop.

I found this to be a helpful resource.
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