hitch and cargo carrier weight - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-23-2003, 09:59 AM   #1
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hitch and cargo carrier weight

Hi all, I just returned from my solo camping trip with a little egg called "Julenes Boston Bungalow". I took my Boston Terriers to a dog show and camped on the site. My Scamp is a 13 footer. Prior to this adventure I purchased a small (20 X 34) cargo carrier. I had hoped to use it for storage, like the basements in the big rigs. It is a lock top rubbermaid. I also put an x-pen, fencing ,on the carrier. While driving I felt that the hitch wanted to come off the ball, it made more noise then a previous trip and it swayed more. I was in the middle of a Florida thunderstorm in both directions. I want to keep the cargo carrier to get my generator off the ground and to lock it up when I use it boondocking. I guess I will need to carry the generator in the camper towards the front. Has anyone else had a sway problem with a carrier on back or was it just the weather? I think I need to put less weight on the carrier, hope that would be the solution....
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Old 06-23-2003, 10:32 AM   #2
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Carrier & Sway

Took me awhile to realize you had the carrier mounted in the back (like a trunk for the Scamp).

If you're storing only lightweight items and/or keeping it counterbalanced with plenty of stuff loaded forward of the axle (like filling the underseat storage of the bunks with pop) it's not a problem - BUT...

The problem is coming from the ratio of tounge weight to trailer weight. Ideally, you want the toungue weight to be around 10-15% of the trailer weight (for both items - that's whatever they happen to be at the time. ie 'as loaded')

Adding significant weight to the rear (a few bikes on a rack, a box with a generator & fuel etc etc) you're levering on the back and pulling some of the weight off the tounge so it's under that 10-15% mark. THAT is where the sway is coming from.
Options include:

Moving the box to the front (too much tounge weight isn't as big a problem)
Moving the heaviest items out of the box (at least on the road).
Moving lots of heavy crud to the front of the trailer. :)

If any of the above is in error, PLEASE someone make a note here about it. I, for one, would like to be sure that true safety information is as accurate as possible when it appears here.

mkw
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Old 06-23-2003, 10:55 AM   #3
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Right about the ballance

Mike is absolutely right about the weight shift.
I've loaded mine both ways and I realize that for the drive I must keep my heavy items inside and forward of the axle. No more swaying and much less bouncing on the hitch.<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ef72300a577dbox.jpg/>
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Old 06-23-2003, 09:20 PM   #4
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Scamp modifications

My wife and I had a 13 ft. Scamp for many years, should never have sold it but thats another story. A friend who also had one, and I spent many hours "improving" our units. One of the things we did is to remove the gas tank and build a box on the tongue, then re-mounted the tank inside of the box. The box was about 4 feet long, a bit wider than the tank and slightly higher. This then gave us extra storage for all that good junk needed, ie. jacks, tools, awning lights, etc. This then also put enough weight on the front that we were able to make and mount a bike rack on the rear without any sway or towing problem.
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Old 06-24-2003, 09:29 AM   #5
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too much weight in the rear is a problem. last trip, we had the waddle or sway. thought the sway bar wasn't working, NOT. we had loaded the trailer rear heavy. next day rearrange, by accident, and she pulled GREAT. So in hindsite it was a weight distribution problem.
weight to the front, Jana. Weight to the front.
just don't add so much to balance that the frame bends. that would not be a good thing. My new moto: Don't over load and keep it to the front.
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Old 06-24-2003, 03:18 PM   #6
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Safe Loading
It is important to keep weight low down and over the axle. In our diagram above the area for heavy items, such as awnings, is indicated in red, medium weight items can be loaded in the pink area, the rest of the caravan should be used for storing light items only.

And if the noseweight is ok: 50 - 75 kg.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ef8b1e1c30953e7793682fbefloading.gif/>
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Old 06-24-2003, 03:36 PM   #7
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Thanks for pulling that up again, Lex. :wave

That's a great diagram, and there's lots of new folks who have joined the board since the day of the previous discussion.
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:32 PM   #8
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hitch and cargo carrier weight

Thanks for all the good advise. I removed the Rubermaid box and replaced it with a smaller unit. I took the x-pens off and placed them on the bunk beds. The unit is now quieter and is less apt to sway.. I have very little weight in the storage area under the bunks, I could use these areas for additional storage. I will use the carrier mostly for the "truck" and for the generator when in use.
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Old 07-23-2003, 01:51 PM   #9
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The further to the rear or in front of the axle a particular weight is, the more effect it will have on sway. Same holds true for the tow vehicle, BTW. The absolute quickest way to induce sway is to put a large weight out on the trailer's rear bumper!

I rebalanced my truck (to compensate for the Scamp's tongue weight and all the stuf I carry in the pickup bed) by moving a bunch of heavy items (spare tire, hi-lift jack, spare parts) to the front of the truck and it all drives a lot better, both with and without the trailer attached. Of course, it helps that I have an older truck with plenty of space under the hood...

Pete in the RatHaus
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Old 07-23-2003, 09:58 PM   #10
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cargo weight

The main reason I bought the cargo carrier was to have a place off of the ground to put the generator and to lock it down. I have very little weight on the carrier now, but I do have some. Julie
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Old 07-24-2003, 08:48 PM   #11
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Julie, you might consider carrying the spare up front or in the truck when you have the genset on the back (presuming you have a spare). It may be possible to hang it underneath the Aframe or bolt it to the side (look at a boat ramp parking lot for side-bolting). Also, running with the water tank empty will make a difference (10g X 8 lbs = 80 lbs).

Pete in the RatHaus
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Old 08-06-2003, 04:37 PM   #12
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Hitch and Cargo carrier weight

:wave Hello again, I just returned from a one week trip to Roanoke Virginia from the Space Coast of Florida. The first day on the road the electrical plug came detached from the car and was beat up as I tooted down the road. I had to stop at an RV Dealer and get a new plug made.... Later, into the night I realized that it was not constucted correctly and the back lights stayed on all night as I slept with the generator on. The cargo carrier was fine, I only put the Rubbermaid Trunk on the carrier. When the generator was used I did cable lock it to the camper bumper. It was a nice trip, the camper handled well and was easy to tow. I had to have a pro park it for me as the site I was assigned was very small and had a camper on each side... I'll get it sooner or later!
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