Tongue Modifications that Decrease Clearance - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-19-2019, 07:43 PM   #1
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Name: Justus
Trailer: Hymer Touring GT
Illinois
Posts: 158
Tongue Modifications that Decrease Clearance

Is there a consensus on how tight an angle you should be able to make with your trailer hitched up? I'm referring to bumper pulls in this case, not 5th wheels.

For the past three evenings I have been trying to think of a way to mount a spare tire to my Hymer Touring GT. For the life of me I can't come up with any solution other than mounting it vertically in front of the battery and propane tank. This thing doesn't have clearance to mount it under the tongue; doesn't have the tongue length to side mount it; has no underbody frame to speak off for a BAL hide-a-spare; and has an integrated bumper unsuitable for mounting. I really don't want to carry it in the rear storage compartment or in our TV.

The diagram attached (not to scale!) shows a typical A-frame tongue, my pole tongue setup, and a modification I'm tossing around. It ignores the length of your hitch shank. Suffice to say every 1" that the hitch(not counting the ball) protrudes past the bumper adds about 2.5. I'm aware of the downsides of a longer shank.

It looks like a typical A-frame tongue forms a 50 angle, allowing the TV and trailer to be oriented up to 65 apart. The limitation is the angle of the tongue. Attached is a photo of an owner modded jack-mounted spare, which would significantly reduce this angle. Is 65 an accepted industry minimum or just a standard?

My trailer has a pole tongue with a battery and propane tank. The propane tank is the larger object, projecting about 13" from the tongue. The tank limits the angle. (I know it's round; I treated it as a square for simplicity.) I calculated the max difference in orientation as 64.

I want to add a vertical spare tire mount right in front of the battery. The spare will be 26" in diameter; on a 3" tongue, 11.5" will hang off either side. I think it will take up about 7" of tongue length. This will reduce the max orientation difference to 60.

Outside of backing up, will I ever notice the loss of mobility? Is it dangerous or otherwise not recommended to do stuff like this?
Attached Thumbnails
Jack-mounted tire.jpg   Trailer Turning Clearance.png  

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Old 07-19-2019, 09:38 PM   #2
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Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
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well, both my casita 16 pulled by a tacoma, and my escape 21 pulled by an f250 can make a U turn as tight as the truck can at full steering stop.

where I get into trouble is trying to backup while in a sharp turn. With the F250/E21 combo, i simply can't get it to straighten out without going a few feet forward first. obviously, going backwards, you can make it bend more than is 'safe' and my bumper contacts the propane tank cover first.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:08 PM   #3
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Trailer: Black Series HQ19, Oliver LE2
Smith Valley, Nevada
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Justus,
In my opinion, most trailer tongues are too short. Often, the truck will contact the trailer body first and do some serious damage if not careful. Second, the jacks are too far forward. This means interference with the truck tailgate that can prevent one from opening the tailgate while still connected. And third, the tongue is a highly stressed part of the trailer frame. Putting two batteries, two propane tanks and then a spare tire on it adds a lot of tongue weight and stress.

Given the limitations you've identified, it seems the picture you provided is the only practical option. As John pointed out with the turning radius, there probably won't be any problem unless you need to back up to get turned around. I know I have had to back up a number of times to get turned around, and every bit of additional angle I could get was valuable. Fortunately, I can bring the truck's bumper clear over to the tongue without damage or contacting the body.

On my new trailer, I'm considering carrying the trailer spare in the bed of the truck so I can add bikes to the rear of the trailer. For me, that would be better than carrying the bikes in the truck. I know you don't want to do it, but maybe the tire in the truck will turn out to be the best plan. Just lay it flat and all the way forward. Then pile your gear on top of it. When you get home, put it away with the rest of your stuff.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:25 PM   #4
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I'm running an 12" towbar on my current rig, because that lets the truck tailgate drop without hitting the tongue jack. but it also gives me quite a bit more clearance in tight turns. I think its this one,
https://www.etrailer.com/Ball-Mounts/Curt/D-26.html
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:52 AM   #5
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John,

Yeah, that is an option. But clearly works best with a heavy duty truck and a relatively light trailer. If a WDH must be used, it becomes a problem.

My toy hauler had a 100 gallon water tank in the front and I had to run a WDH on my 1 ton Ram if the tank was full. I couldn't open the tailgate and I hated that. Running a longer drawbar was not in the cards with the WDH.

My friend is running a bar about 18" long to keep his bumper away from the trailer body while maneuvering. One of the first things I look at on a trailer is the tongue configuration.
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:15 AM   #6
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My solution was to put the spare in the trailer under the permanent bed. While it does take up storage space, most of what I need to store is smaller and can fit elsewhere. It also has the added benefit of keeping it out of the sun.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:45 AM   #7
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Sacrilegious I know - but I've pretty much stopped carrying a spare for the trailer. It's been decades since I've had a blowout on the road and we are rarely more than an hour to a tire repair. Tires and roads and services and 12v compressors were different in the 60s. Today the tires are better (and I can affords better tires :-), roads still have plenty of hazards but are generally much much better, and 12v air compressors are common and affordable.

I do carry a small 12v air compressor in case of slow leaks. The compressor allows me to get the trailer and leaking tire to the tire shop with no risk and minimum inconvenience.

And I do have a full size spare for the tow vehicle as I need it to get the flat tire to the repair. Again; in my experience, I haven't had a total tire failure in a couple of decades so I reevaluated the need to carry a trailer spare at all.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:46 PM   #8
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I just fixed a puncture on my CRV on Wednesday. I guess it all depends on where you drive. In my case I'm atleast 5 miles from pavement.
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:50 PM   #9
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Name: Justus
Trailer: Hymer Touring GT
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Thanks for the feedback, many good points made. Foremost: Does it even matter or will it hit the trailer body first? And I don't know, but it's something to check for next time I have it home.

Handling with a simple drop hitch is less than ideal, but adequate. Most of the problem seems to be in the rear suspension; the ride gets awfully bouncy with the trailer attached. (Separately I am looking at sumosprings to help this issue.) I worry that any method of extending the hitch will degrade handling since it increases the lever arm that the trailer is acting on.

There are options for the spare tire, but I'm more curious about cutting into my turning clearance. Whether it's another propane tank, a spare tire, or a little storage box, something is going on that tongue. This trailer has no shortage of storage space (though limited to 700 lbs); it's issue is that so much storage is concentrated behind the axle. I just don't think it's possible to have the trailer loaded up for travel and still be balanced. I want permanent weight added far forward to counteract that.
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Old 07-20-2019, 03:04 PM   #10
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Justus,
I noticed that the axle was positioned pretty far forward on the Hymer. It does look like something you'll have to consider.
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Old 07-27-2019, 02:04 PM   #11
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How to figure this out

The easy way to figure this out is to hook up the trailer. Jackknife it to the max. Have somebody watch for you!!! Then take a tire and position is in various positions to see what fits. Easy Peasy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justus C View Post
Is there a consensus on how tight an angle you should be able to make with your trailer hitched up? I'm referring to bumper pulls in this case, not 5th wheels.

For the past three evenings I have been trying to think of a way to mount a spare tire to my Hymer Touring GT. For the life of me I can't come up with any solution other than mounting it vertically in front of the battery and propane tank. This thing doesn't have clearance to mount it under the tongue; doesn't have the tongue length to side mount it; has no underbody frame to speak off for a BAL hide-a-spare; and has an integrated bumper unsuitable for mounting. I really don't want to carry it in the rear storage compartment or in our TV.

The diagram attached (not to scale!) shows a typical A-frame tongue, my pole tongue setup, and a modification I'm tossing around. It ignores the length of your hitch shank. Suffice to say every 1" that the hitch(not counting the ball) protrudes past the bumper adds about 2.5. I'm aware of the downsides of a longer shank.

It looks like a typical A-frame tongue forms a 50 angle, allowing the TV and trailer to be oriented up to 65 apart. The limitation is the angle of the tongue. Attached is a photo of an owner modded jack-mounted spare, which would significantly reduce this angle. Is 65 an accepted industry minimum or just a standard?

My trailer has a pole tongue with a battery and propane tank. The propane tank is the larger object, projecting about 13" from the tongue. The tank limits the angle. (I know it's round; I treated it as a square for simplicity.) I calculated the max difference in orientation as 64.

I want to add a vertical spare tire mount right in front of the battery. The spare will be 26" in diameter; on a 3" tongue, 11.5" will hang off either side. I think it will take up about 7" of tongue length. This will reduce the max orientation difference to 60.

Outside of backing up, will I ever notice the loss of mobility? Is it dangerous or otherwise not recommended to do stuff like this?
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Old 07-27-2019, 02:22 PM   #12
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Broke a rear light on my F150 backing up our Casita. The Casita has a very short A frame up front. Longer makes backing up easier.
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Old 07-27-2019, 06:30 PM   #13
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Just for info, some province's in Canada require trailers to have a spare available. I have known a few people that have gotten ticketed for not having one.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:22 PM   #14
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Name: Justus
Trailer: Hymer Touring GT
Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc Riezebos View Post
Just for info, some province's in Canada require trailers to have a spare available. I have known a few people that have gotten ticketed for not having one.
Ontario must not be one! I purchased the trailer from Sicard RV in Smithville, ON and they did not provide spares with these.
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