What Is A Weight Distribution Hitch?
A weight distribution system consists of a modified hitch ball mount built with weight distribution bars that run from the receiver to the trailer tongue. They are designed to evenly spread out the total weight of the load over all four wheels of the tow vehicle. The control brackets provide additional support to fight trailer sway and help ensure that towing is done safely.
How Does A Weight Distribution Hitch Work?
A WD hitch fits into a tow vehicle’s receiver hitch just as a standard tow ball mount, but rather than just a ball mount and hitch ball, the hitch has two sway control brackets. The connections hold two spring bars that angle out toward the trailer tongue and attach to the trailer’s frame with adjustable locking brackets that wrap around the trailer tongue. The spring (trunnion) bars push up on the trailer’s tongue, countering the weight of the trailer tongue. The bars work on minimizing sway caused by side winds, excessive speeds, or sharp maneuvers.
Review of the Fastway E2 Hitch
The Fastway E2 weight distribution hitch has brackets that can be mounted 24 - 27” along the trailer tongue from the hitch ball. While some weight distribution systems use chains to connect the sway bars to the tongue, this bracketing system avoids them for more stable brackets. The bracket system allows for the trailer and tow vehicle to act as one when having to reverse. In addition, the hitch system will ensure that the front wheels of the tow vehicle stay firmly planted on the ground to spread the loaded trailer’s weight evenly over the tow vehicle.
The hitch is offered in either trunnion or round bars, and although the trunnion bars offer better ground clearance. The E2 comes in 6,000 - 12,000 lb weight ratings with or without the trailer ball. The system is built so that there are no chains that have to be removed every time you back up. The unit weighs less than a pound, so it is easy to secure to the trailer without straining your back, as heavier WD hitches can do.
The rigid brackets are easy to fasten and secure and are adjustable to different trailer tongue heights. Since the steel spring bars are made of alloy steel with a powdered coated finish, they hold up under all kinds of inclement weather. The color is black (the only color offered), so you can forget about hooking up the pink hitch your five-year-old thinks you should have because it is her favorite color.
The Fastway’s system fits into a standard receiver hitch and is offered with different sizes of adjustable ball drops so it can accommodate different kinds of trailer couplers. The WD reduces the sag a heavy trailer tongue has on a ball, providing built-in sway control. The E2 provides better traction for the front wheels than any airbag system, and since a lot of trucks and SUVs are FWD models, you can see how important it is to provide as much traction as possible when attempting to tow a load.
The E2 offers a 10-year warranty on the hitch and a one-year limited warranty on the flash ball mounts. The warranty process is simple and can be done online by answering a few questions concerning how the trailer is used and submitting a claim.
The Fastway hitch is distributed by Progress Manufacturing out of Provo, Utah. (The company also makes the more expensive Equal-i-zer weight distribution hitch). These folks have been in business for over 75 years, so they have good experience in all things relating to trailers. The company employs about 175 workers, and the fact that it is US-based gives the unit a check on “the things we like” side of the equation.
The E2 is the lesser expensive of the two weight distribution systems the Progress Mfg makes. For more information on the Fastway E2 weight distribution hitch system, see the manufacturer’s website. For pricing information, see Amazon.
Specs of the Fastway E2 Weight Distribution Hitch
- Good Budget Option
- Effective integrated sway control
- Light and easy to install
- Not necessary to remove during reverse
- No backing or turning restrictions
- Hitch Ball is optional, so you don’t have to buy it if you don’t need it.
- Only two points of contact
- Tends to be noisy due to bracket connections
- Ball is extra and increases the price
How To Connect the Fastway E2 Weight Distribution Hitch
While installing any weight distribution hitch is relatively easy, you do need to perform the following steps. Assuming that you have inserted the E2 hitch into the hitch receiver, you should
Raise the Trailer Coupler Using a Jack.
You should park the tow vehicle and trailer on level ground. Using a tongue jack, raise the height of the coupler over the height of the hitch ball. Doing so will allow you to maneuver the tow vehicle under the trailer coupler.
Line the Tow Vehicle’s Hitch Ball Under the Coupler.
Back your tow vehicle up to the trailer couple in as straight a line as possible.
Lower the Tongue Jack and Secure the Coupler Latch.
You need to lower the trailer tongue jack stand so that the trailer coupler sits around the trailer ball. Ensure that it stays secure by engaging the coupler latch.
Secure the Brackets To the End of the Spring Arms
The metal brackets will slide onto the end of the spring arms and lock into place with an L-shaped pin secured by a nut and cotter pin. The bracket should stand at a 90-degree angle to the spring arm.
Remove The Upper Bolts And Raise the Bracket.
You need to remove the two upper bolts on either side of the hitch so the bracket sides will sit on either side of the trailer tongue. (You may have to raise the spring arms to do so. Once the brackets are at the proper level, insert the locking bolts and tighten them. You do not want any play, so ensure that the brackets are locked at the proper depth. Repeat the process for the other side so that the brackets on either side match).
Lower the Trailer and Tow Vehicle
Lower the tongue jack so that the base is raised to towing height (road towing height) and secure it.
Add Safety Chains Or Other Equipment
Any safety chains, braking systems, and wiring harnesses should be connected or installed at this time. If you’re using safety chains or cables (most states require them), crisscross the chains/cables in an X pattern beneath the tongue to the trailer. The chains will act as a backup should the WD hitch fail. Inspect all wiring connections and spot-check all trailer tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals to ensure they work correctly.
A Word Of Caution
As good as any weight distribution hitch is, it is no substitute for safely driving a towing vehicle or staying within the gross trailer weight rating. A weight distribution system does not mean you can overload a trailer frame beyond its weight limit. In addition, sudden maneuvers or excessive speeds are never safe, no matter how much steering control or weight distribution the Fastway E2 provides.