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Poolie727

Trailer Hitch question

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Been saving my dollars and finally am about ready to start looking for my first (14') jon boat and trailer. Of course before I can get a boat I need to install a trailer hitch on my truck. My question is, is there a general height that the ball mount should be off the ground? I have a Tacoma pre-runner that sits off the ground at bit and I'm wondering if I need to get a ball mount that hangs down a little or not.

Man I'm excited to finally have a little cash reserve and hope to pickup an end of season deal on a boat.

Thanks,

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If you are putting a receiver hitch on then you can get lots of different drop downs for it.

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Yep, it's going to be a receive type hitch. I'm just trying to get the right one to begin with. Because if I can possibly buy the wrong one I will... I have a natural talent for that kind of stuff :-)

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Don't buy the drop until you get the boat.  Install the hitch then find the boat and measure how far from the ground to level the trailer.  Next, go to the truck and see where that is in relation to the hitch.  Then you will know how much drop you will need.

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The key to getting the correct receiver drop down is in knowing what you need to get the trailer frame level with the ground below it. This varies depending on how low the reciever end is under the back bumper and how much the weight of the trailer deflects your rear suspension down when it's mounted on the hitch.

Mount the hitch and measure from the bottom of the hitch to the ground. Get the trailer level and then measure from the bottom of the coupler to the ground.  That difference is part one of the equation. Then set the trailer onto the hitch or the step plate of the bumper to weigh down the back end of the vehicle and measure the distance again from the bottom of the receiver to the ground. Subtract the differences and that will tell you the amount of drop you need.

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I would say if your truck is factor height (4x4 are a little higher then 2WD), a normal 2WD you can get the normal drop and I usually turn it upside down and mount the ball that way the ball sit just below where a ball mounted on the bumper would be. I do that with 2inch balls. But with my 1 7/8 ball I just keep it the normal drop the same and mount it and it comes down a little. I do that because 1 7/8 trailers are smaller and you usually don't put a lot of weight on them so you don't have to worry about it hitting the ground and the smaller trailers are usually lower to the ground. While a 2 inch trailer, I use a 16 foot open trailer from time to time to haul wood, vehicles, etc.. so that extra height helps when loaded down. That is about the receiver.

You can get the receiver and ball for $25 at Walmart, Bass pro, etc..

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If you want it perfect then do like the others say wait until you get the trailer, but then you wont be able to tow it since you don't have a receiver.  The downside is if you have a high (lifted) truck and get a 4-8 inch drop receiver is if you get rid of that truck the next truck may not sit as high.  But if it is about factor height then your normal 1-2 inch drop is fine.  I have had my receivers with me through 3 different trucks, so they will last longer then your truck.

The hitch is pretty easy. You can pay $500 or so for a one piece under bumper hitch, which is you have to look around and get one that comes up to the bottom of the bumper. You don't want to have a gap between the hitch and bumper, that doesn't look very great and you lose some clearance, if you were to go off road. Hitches are very easy to put on because their is holes already in the frame of the truck just for that reason to add a hitch. Then hitches have predrilled holes so all you have to do is put the hitch up and slide the bolts through the holes and tighten the nuts. That is the hard thing because a class III one piece hitch is about 40-50lbs. I think the easiest way, I haven't had any problems with mine and I have towed some heavy things (for my truck) in my Dodge Dakota Quad Cab, and that is I have the Walmart custom hitch. It was only about $150-less or so. It has numerous blots and holes in it so you can adjust the height and width so it fits perfectly with your vehicle. If I had a full size truck I would have gone with a solid one piece and go with a higher class rating then what I have. But for mid-compact truck or suv this hitch will do it's job because it is rated for the same weight as the truck.

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Thanks for all the input. Since I really need to just take my best guess on the height because I'll be driving somewhere to pickup boat/trailer and won't know the actual height till after the fact. I wandered over to one of the Tacoma website and found that for my Pre-Runner which is basically a 4 wheel drive suspension with 2 wheel drive and sits a little high, most people on that forum say they use a 4" drop hitch for most trailers and is generally the right height.

Poolie

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BassNBiker,

May I suggest visiting a professional trailer hitch shop and ask for their input?

You can then follow their suggestions and not have any problems if you apply their input into your calculations.

I had a hitch added to my SUV by a hitch shop and it is one of the best investments I have made.  No problems and the boat tows beautifully.

Good luck.  ;)

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