Bigfoot 17 longer tongue - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-15-2019, 08:44 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 17ft 1983
British Columbia
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Bigfoot 17 longer tongue

Well, I finally got tired of being unable to drop my tailgate with the trailer connected to my truck. Also reckon that reversing will be a little more predictable with longer tongue. I'm pretty good at backing up my boat, and other trailers, but find this 17ft trailer being so wide for its length to be a bit vague until it's off to one side.

Without any true rationale I decided 15" would be the ideal amount of extra length. I cut off the coupler just in front of the jack mounting plate. Welded in a length of 3x3x1/4 tube. Plated over those welds with some 2x1/4 flat bar. Plated the bottom with some 5x1/4 flat bar. I used my 230 volt flux core machine at home so welds aren't beautiful but are plenty strong. When I have time in the near future I'll take it to work, grind off the paint and do another pass with our 480 volt Miller using 25/75 gas. That will give me a nicer finished bead, but for now its solid and serviceable. I forgot how smokey fluxcore wire is!


Heading out camping this weekend at Lac Le Jeune, so 'll try to remember to follow up with impression on whether the difference is noticeable between just providing clearance for tailgate......
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Old 08-15-2019, 09:12 PM   #2
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I wanted to do the same with mine, but never di. The only downside I could see for me was that it would take up more of my somewhat limited driveway. I think you'll like what you did.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:06 PM   #3
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It occurred to me that a hitch extension (like those used with truck campers) might be a solution if you have more tow vehicle than you need. Then it could be removed for storage.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:09 PM   #4
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fold away tongue

Nice install. Will that lower the weight on the tongue?
I have been thinking about adding some tongue length to the Snoozy which is already a little longer than most because it is on a boat trailer. One thing I was thinking about doing was adding a fold away tongue so it wouldn't be so long when stored. Wondering if anyone has experience with them and movement when towing. Just thinking out loud.
Thanks, Doug
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dbensen View Post
One thing I was thinking about doing was adding a fold away tongue so it wouldn't be so long when stored. Wondering if anyone has experience with them and movement when towing.
Thanks, Doug
Or a telescoping one. This might be easier to make while being strong. Early Olivers have this style, and one cross bolt is all you have to remove to pull it apart. That feature also acts a a good theft deterrent. Plus, a telescoping one can easily be adjusted for length.

Long tongues, that allow opening the tailgate while hooked up, are very nice.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:20 PM   #6
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I have a fold away Fulton hinge on my boat trailer and while it is fairly robust, I wouldn't add it to any trailer I pull on forestry roads as I believe a solid tongue is less likely to have issues with the stress that results from vibration and dynamic loading on gravel.

I have way more tow vehicle than needed, and zero concern with tongue weight ( 3500 Cummins diesel) but did not want to do an excessively long draw bar as moving your ball (pivot point of trailer and truck) farther back from your rear axle really changes towing characteristics.
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:01 PM   #7
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Also, the suggestion of a telescoping tongue is a great one. In my case I wanted to retain my A-frame jack which would prevent the passage of a long telescopic tongue. We have a long driveway so it's not an issue.

The boat however JUST fits in the garage and the addition of the hinged tongue allows me to keep my workbenches at the back with about 2 ft of working room on either end of the boat. The hinge works fine but makes me hesitant to tow it long distances, where I think I'd feel more comfortable with a telescoping design. I may consider that as a winter project.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:42 PM   #8
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Mike,

I don't see why you couldn't either make a new mount for the jack, that set it off to one side and a bit rearward, to clear a telescoping tongue, or get a jack that mounts on the side of the tongue. The Oliver style sets the jack back and to one side, while Black Series brackets it onto the outside of the tongue rail. If you can't move it back, because of the propane tank, then outside is fine.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:10 PM   #9
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The short answer is I don't have a need on the Bigfoot trailer to have the tongue collapse or swing for storage space, so I prefer the simplicity of a rigid, welded tongue. We have ample storage length in our driveway.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowballCamper View Post
It occurred to me that a hitch extension (like those used with truck campers) might be a solution if you have more tow vehicle than you need. Then it could be removed for storage.
Lengthening the drawbar rather than the trailer tongue is bad for towing stability. In general you want the rear-axle-to-ball distance as small as possible. Truck campers often tow boats, which are naturally more stable than travel trailers.

The OPís solution is the better one.

If itís just about tailgate clearance, a removable tongue jack is another possible solution. Google Jack-E-Up.
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:28 PM   #11
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Nice job. Should make backing easier.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:15 AM   #12
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I had a top-wind tongue jack, and it needed to be replaced. I figured a side-wind would be easier to wind, so I bought one. It is easier to wind, but now I can't drop my tailgate all the way. With the top wind, I could easily get it open by keeping the handle rotated back toward the trailer. With the side wind, which can only be installed with the handle on the truck side, I can get the tailgate down all but about 2". That works for grabbing stuff, but I know I'm going to end up with a dent on my tailgate.

Nice mod, though. My only real trailer experience is with my Bigfoot, so I don't have anything to compare it to. Other than the tailgate thing, I don't have any issues. But since I'd eventually like to spruce up the exterior, and my tongue (like the rest of my frame) has a lot of superficial surface rust, I've considered getting a new one put on there. If I do that, I guess I should consider a longer one.

I can paint the rest of the frame with POR 15 or something, but the tongue would be tough since it has moving parts.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:01 PM   #13
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You could install a folding sidewinder. I have one. It tucks alongside the frame out of the way.
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:57 AM   #14
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interesting....

not knowing how much of that 15" extension you actually needed to drop the tailgate...it occurs to me that another fix would have been a longer stinger...looks like your truck would have handled the little extra weight/leverage easily.


another factor/result with a longer stinger is that the trailer would more closely follow the truck around corners...at the start of the turn the ball moves in the opposite direction of the turn...a longer stinger amplifies this effect (greater distance between the rear wheels and the ball...


I found this out sort of by accident when I had to tow my 26 foot boat with a new vehicle once...late on friday afternoon all I could find was a longer than I wanted stinger....I had to buy it and planned on cutting it down the following week....I never did...the boat was way easier to move around corners (followed the trucks tire tracks way more closely...never had to swing way out at intersections to avoid hitting the inside curb with the trailer wheels)


I started towing boats too and I can relate when you say towing/backing up the BF seems like a real challenge compared to boats...with a boat you can see your wheels clearly and detect the start of a turn right a way....not so with that big flat slab of FG 8 feet wide....
I somewhat solved that problem by affixing targets on the trailer...just two pieces of black elec. tape...when the rig is in a straight line, sitting in the truck I can just barely see both targets in my rear view mirrors...as soon as the trailer starts moving to one side or the other I see it INSTANTLY in my mirror(s)...and can "chase" the trailer a lot better (before it gets too far out of alignment)


I also put a target at the center of the trailer...with a target stuck to the inside of my rear window...used as reference points when I'm backing up to hook up the trailer
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