(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
The Andersen 'No-Sway' Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) revolutionized how weight distributing hitches work.
They did away with the traditional spring bar style weight distribution mechanism.
It was replaced with a much simpler to use chain mechanism, seen below.
This results in a much lighter, silent, and easier to use setup that deserves a hard look.
The above 'Pros' highlight just some of the advantages of the Andersen WDH.
All in all, this is simply a better design.
Choose The Right Andersen WDH Part Number
There are several part numbers available for Andersen 'No-Sway' Weight Distribution Hitches.
Because of this, before you can make a purchase, find out which kit is right for your trailer and tow vehicle.
Keep reading below to learn more about this great hitch.
When it comes time to buy, see the section on choosing the right part number.
Testimonial By Kelly
UPDATE: I am pretty hard on my stuff.
With my Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch, as of July 2019, I have already flubbed the following:
- Bent the triangle plate (stunned I didn't get a photo)
- I almost destroyed one of the urethane springs (the red part)
How did I accomplish these feats?
Triangle plate: I raised my electric jack, not noticing that the plate got caught on the metal leg of the jack.
The result was the triangle plate was bent and had to be replaced. That's one strong jack. Don't make this mistake.
The spring: One day I had to fully unassembled the hitch.
I re-assembled the hitch incorrectly, placing the giant washer on the wrong side of the urethane spring.
When I got to my destination, I noticed the spring was swollen. The nut had pushed through part of the spring.
Getting it out was 'fun'. But once out, it sprung back into shape! Oops. Mind where you place the big washer, duh!
No Spring Bars To Deal With!
If you've had to deal with heavy, awkward, loud, dirty weight distribution bars (like Camp Addict Kelly LOATHINGLY did until August of 2018), then you will understand the simplicity and convenience of the bar-free Andersen weight distribution hitch.
Below is a video by Andersen showing the benefits of the Andersen No-Sway Weight Distribution Hitch over traditional designs that use a spring bar.
Please note that this video was produced when this hitch first became available and a few things have changed since then.
- The rack is available in either a 4 inch or an 8-inch drop/rise, and
- It is compatible with frame sizes from 3 inches to 8 inches.
Andersen Benefits Over Traditional WDH Designs
How Traditional WDH's Work
A traditional weight distribution hitch uses spring bars to provide the force that transfers weight from the rear axle of the tow vehicle to the front axle.
This bar is connected to the hitch head assembly, as well as to the trailer frame.
These two connection points make noise (creak, groan) whenever movement of the hitch assembly happens (most pronounced in turns).
Most traditional WDH manufacturers recommend lubricating certain parts of their hitches to help reduce this noise.
Reduce. Not eliminate.
However, the major cause of this noise is the friction between the parts that DO the sway control.
You should NOT lubricate that part.
The friction IS the sway control mechanism, so you cannot grease these points or you will lose sway control.
Follow your manufacturer's instructions on WHERE to lube, so you don't lube the wrong part.
So you just have to deal with the noise. Fortunately, this is not an issue with the Andersen hitch.
No Spring Bar Weight Ratings To Figure Out
Because the Andersen WDH doesn't use spring bars (which come in different weight ratings) it is MUCH easier to figure out what kit you need for your trailer and tow vehicle setup.
An Andersen weight distribution hitch kit with a given hitch ball and shank size will work for trailers up to a certain weight.
This means you don't have to mess around figuring out what size spring bars you need as there are none.
Another win for Andersen!
How An Andersen WDH Works
The Andersen 'No-Sway' Weight Distribution Hitch uses a different mechanism to transfer the weight distribution forces.
Its unique chain and spring design results in no noise while providing both weight distribution and sway control.
Take a quick look at this video by Andersen that further explains the difference between their hitch and a conventional WDH:
Andersen WDH versus Conventional WDH
The Anderson hitch design not only results in quiet operation, but it also reduces the porpoising that many traditional WDH's suffer from (as shown in the above video).
Did we mention it's lightweight?
Heck yes, it is!
This weight distribution hitch comes in under 60 pounds, which is incredibly light for this type of hitch.
By reducing the clunky, heavy, cumbersome weight distribution bars most competitors use, Andersen takes the hassle out of connecting and disconnecting a WDH while eliminating the associated weight of the bars.
With this system, you don't have to store bulky, greasy, heavy bars that traditional systems use.
Two Ways To Hitch And Unhitch
The Andersen weight distributing hitch manual explains one method to hitch and unhitch your trailer to your tow vehicle.
The key to the 'Andersen way' of doing this is to use the included socket to tighten or loosen the 1 1/4" nut that provides chain tension.
This requires you to 'work' against the chain tension, which isn't that big of a deal, but there is an easier way!
The below videos show how you can raise your jack and then use your fingers to loosen and tighten the 1 1/4" nut as needed.
No socket necessary!
However, this does require more use of your tongue jack (called a jockey wheel in the below videos because they are from Down Under), which is one of the negatives we point out with a traditional weight distributing hitch that uses spring arms.
This is a real pain if you have a manual tongue jack.
However, if you have an electric tongue jack, it is as simple as pressing a button.
The point is, with the Andersen WDH you have choices in how you hitch and unhitch.
You don't have to use the tongue jack excessively if you don't want.
The choice is yours (one that you don't have with a spring arm style hitch).
Easy Way To Hitch Up With Your Andersen WDH
Easy Way To Unhitch With Your Andersen WDH
Don't Believe The Internet!
If you look hard enough online to find 'issues' with the Andersen WDH, you will find claims of this:
The 'inability to provide enough weight distribution with certain tow vehicles'.
Many of this negative 'press' comes from people who have never laid eyes on an Andersen hitch, never mind ever used one.
Or, it evolves from people who improperly installed their Andersen hitch.
Always install (or have installed) any weight distribution hitch per the manufacturer's instructions.
Don't use the instructions 'Bubba' on some forum gives out.
And if you run into any issues, or have any questions, please contact Andersen.
They know what they are doing, have awesome customer support, and they don't bite. Unlike Bubba in the forum.
The Andersen system is a weight distribution hitch WITH sway control.
For the sway control component, the hitch uses a cone assembly (made of brake liner type material) that the ball assembly sits in.
As the trailer turns (due to sway, etc) the ball will attempt to rotate in the brake liner.
This causes a great deal of friction, which limits the turning motion.
The tongue weight of the trailer pushes the ball into the friction material, aiding in the anti-sway setup.
Here is a video from Andersen that further explains the anti-sway friction material and how it works with the ball itself:
Andersen Anti-Sway Friction Cone Explained
A few more high points of the Andersen weight distribution hitch include:
No Lubrication Necessary
One of the several advantages of the Andersen WDH system is that it doesn't require any lubrication.
Therefore, you don't have to worry about messing with grease or accidentally rubbing up against a greased part.
DO NOT GREASE THE BALL OR COUPLER!
Grease will decrease the anti-sway abilities of the Andersen 'No-Sway' WDH.
Since the ball and coupler move together, there is no friction and no need for grease.
Andersen also has great customer support.
Andersen Customer Service Email
If you have any questions regarding the use of Andersen Weight Distribution Hitches, contact Andersen at: email@example.com
Not only can you pick up the phone (or send an email) to get answers to your questions, but Andersen tries their best to answer frequent questions on both their website and their YouTube channel.
For example, here is an easy to understand video that shows you what to do when your hitch was disconnected at an angle and it's time to reconnect:
Fixing Triangle Misalignment With Andersen WDH
Compatibility Issue With Certain Atwood Couplers
The Atwood 88007, 88010, 88555 and 88600 couplers (the very front end of your trailer - what attaches to the hitch ball) are currently incompatible with the Anderson ‘No-Sway’ Weight Distribution Hitch.
All other Atwood couplers work fine.
(Affected models are most commonly used on Airstream travel trailers, so if you don't have an Airstream, you should be in the clear. But do double-check!)
Because of the unique design of these Atwood couplers, when they are combined with the Anderson weight distribution system there is a potential issue.
Some couplers can become unlatched over time (due to wear on the internal latch system).
Anderson is currently working with Atwood to come up with a permanent solution. See Anderson's official statement here.
Below is an example of where the Atwood coupler part number can be found (click to view larger image):
Taking Measurements to Find the Right Andersen Kit For Your Trailer
Andersen weight distribution hitches come in several different part numbers.
They fit different sized trailer frames, different coupler ball sizes, different tow vehicle receiver sizes, and different height variations between the trailer and the tow vehicle (drop/rise).
It may seem complicated, but it isn't.
It's a simple, 3-step process to figure out which Andersen WDH kit (part number) you need to know:
1. What size hitch ball does your trailer use? There are two choices - 2" and 2 5/16". One of these two numbers should be stamped on your trailer's coupler (the part that attaches to your tow vehicle's hitch). See the picture below for an example.
2. How much drop or rise is there from the bottom of your trailer coupler (when your trailer is leveled and parked on level ground) and the top of your tow vehicle's receiver? Anderen's standard drop/rise height (the size of the 'rack' that comes with the WDH kits) is either 4" or 8".
3. What is the height of your trailer frame at the front of the trailer? This determines the size of the bracket you need. You have to make sure you purchase the correct bracket size so there is no 'play' between the bracket and your trailer frame. Standard frame sizes include 3", 4", 4 3/8", 5", 6", 7" and 8" frames.
Andersen WDH Fitment Guide
The Andersen WDH Fitment Guide (PDF) walks you through this easy, 3-step process and even gives you diagrams showing you what to measure!
Andersen Hitch Bracket Hack!
The Andersen WDH Fitment Guide (PDF) says:
If you need a 3",4",5",6" bracket, BUT the measurement to the top of your trailer frame (when trailer is level, parked on level ground) is less than 18 inches, you need to contact them to get a custom bracket.
Not so fast! The 'custom' bracket is available via Amazon (Andersen part number 3369 raised 3/4/5/6 bracket).
Use it as a replacement for the bracket that comes in the correct kit that otherwise fits your needs.
Which Andersen WDH Part Number Do You Need?
There is one more item to take into consideration - the size of the receiver opening your tow vehicle has.
Most vehicles will have a 2" opening, and this is the size that Andersen WDH comes standard to fit.
However, some heavy-duty trucks will have a 2 1/2" receiver opening, and some even have a 3" opening.
See 'What Size Hitch Receiver' directly below.
What Size Hitch Receiver?
The Andersen hitch 'plugs' into your tow vehicle at the trailer hitch receiver (pictured below).
The 'rack' (what Andersen calls the part that directly attaches to your tow vehicle) that comes with an Andersen WDH system is designed to fit the standard-sized 2" receiver openings.
However, your vehicle might have a larger receiver opening.
Make sure you order the correct fitting part.
Andersen hitches come standard with a 'rack' to fit a 2" receiver opening.
This will fit most standard hitches (Class III and Class IV hitches - learn about hitch classes in the weight distribution hitch guide).
You may have a Class V hitch, which might have a 2 1/2" or a 3" receiver opening.
The Andersen kit numbers 3394 and 3398 (see below for information on all available Andersen kits) fit a 2 1/2" receiver (and have a 2 5/16" ball), so this is one option if your tow vehicle has a 2 1/2" receiver.
The other option is to buy the kit you need and buy another 'rack' that is sized to fit your receiver.
Andersen offers 'racks' that you can buy separately.
This allows you to use any of their weight distribution kits without having to use a receiver adapter.
Using an adapter is generally a bad idea as it lowers the weight you can tow with your setup.
You NEED a 'rack' that fits your receiver!
See the below section that discusses available Andersen kits to find the part numbers for the racks designed for 2 1/2" or 3" receiver openings.
Putting It All Together - Choosing Your Andersen WDH Kit Part Number
Now that you know the ball size, receiver size, the drop/rise, and the height of your trailer's frame, you are ready to pick which Andersen WDH kit part number you need.
The last step is to figure out the weight of your trailer - both the gross trailer weight (GTW) and the tongue weight (TW).
The gross trailer weight (also known as gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR) can be found on a placard on your trailer (see below pictures for examples).
The tongue weight can be found by weighing your trailer.
Once you know the gross trailer weight and tongue weight, you can choose the right Andersen weight distribution hitch kit for your setup.
Use the two charts below to find your ball size, drop/rise, frame size and the correct weight rating that match up to what you have calculated.
Click on the corresponding part number to see pricing information.
There are two tables below - one that shows part numbers for kits that fit 2" receivers, and one for kits (there are only two) that fit 2.5" receivers.
If you purchase one of the kits that fit a 2" receiver but have a larger receiver, you can purchase separately a rack to fit either a 2.5" or 3" receiver opening.
(Andersen doesn't offer an off-the-shelf kit that comes without a rack so that you can purchase one for a larger receiver separately - i.e., you have to purchase a 2" receiver version and buy an additional rack.)
The following Andersen WDH kits fit a 2" receiver (click on part number to view price on Amazon):
10,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
10,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
14,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
14,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
14,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
10,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
10,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
14,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
14,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
14,000 GTWR, 1,400 TW
* (In pounds) GTWR = Gross Trailer Weight Rating. TW = Tongue Weight
The following Andersen WDH kits fit a 2.5" receiver (click on part number to view price on Amazon):
16,000 GTWR, 1,600 TW
16,000 GTWR, 1,600 TW
* GTWR = Gross Trailer Weight Rating. TW = Tongue Weight
Need To Fit A Larger Hitch Receiver?
Need a rack to fit a 2.5" or 3" receiver opening?
If one of the above available kits (2.5" receiver only) doesn't fit your needs, you can purchase one of the below racks and use with any of the other Andersen WDH kits by using the new rack in place of what comes with the kit.
The below racks are available in either 4" or 8" drop/rise. (Click on part number to view price on Amazon)
Installing Your Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch
The initial setup of an Andersen WDH is pretty simple, especially when compared with a traditional WDH setup.
There are no washers in the hitch head to mess with. Also, you don't have to adjust the bracket height to get things dialed in.
All in all, the setup with an Andersen is a pretty simple process, as shown in this video:
Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch Installation
Optional Frame Bracket Attachment Methods
One of the problems that bolt-on frame brackets can have is they could 'walk' from their initial installation position.
Therefore, we suggest solidly mounting the bracket to the frame by bolting them.
Andersen suggests to help with securely holding the frame brackets to the frame you use one of two methods:
1) Drill a hole into the frame (per the installation instructions PDF) to allow the set screw to 'screw' into the frame itself, or
2) Add a 2-inch weld to the lower backside of the outer bracket (again, per the installation instructions) to 'lock' the bracket to the frame.
Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch Features and Specs:
- Made in the USA
- Kits with 2" balls: Up to 10,000-pound trailer and 1,400-pound tongue weight
- Kits with 2 5/16" balls: Up to 16,000 pounds and 1,600-pound tongue weight
- Andersen racks come with either a 4" drop/rise or an 8" drop/rise. Custom sizes are available directly from Andersen if you need more drop/rise
- Hitch ball included! Two sizes: 2" or 2 5/16"
- Can use the trailer hitch ball without the weight distribution hitch, so if you have a lighter trailer you need to tow, you don't need to purchase additional towing hardware
- Lightweight - entire hitch assembly weighs under 60 pounds
- No noise - the Andersen chain system is virtually silent (and requires no grease), unlike the traditional weight distribution spring bar used by competitors
- Andersen's Motion-Dampening™ system uses urethane springs to greatly reduce the tendency of weight distribution hitch equipped trailers to porpoise (bounce) as they go over dips and bumps.
- Anti-sway technology uses the tongue weight of the trailer to 'clamp down' on the ball, which is in a friction cone. This stops dangerous trailer sway from happening.
- Easy, one-pin disconnection of the WDH mechanism from the tow vehicle. No heavy, ungainly bars to deal with and figure out where to store.
- Grease free weight distribution hitch. The Anderson hitch doesn't require lubrication (in fact, grease can cause it to not operate correctly - so DON'T use grease!). This eliminates greasy parts you have to deal with, which means no more accidentally getting grease on your clothes.
- Lifetime warranty
He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.