Balancing heavy weights behind the axle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-19-2017, 01:07 AM   #1
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Balancing heavy weights behind the axle

We would like to put 130 lbs worth of bikes at the back of the trailer using a bike rack that is around 70 lbs. So the total weight of to the back of the trailer is increased by about 200 lbs. Since this weight is added to the back of the axle, the tongue weight is now decreased by at least 150 lbs.

What are some strategies to increase the tongue weight by 150 lbs to counter the rear weights? Simply load cinder blocks towards the front of the trailer and hope that the axle and frame will hold?

Or maybe we shouldn't be loading such heavy weights at the back?
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Old 08-19-2017, 02:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jacqueline in BC View Post
Or maybe we shouldn't be loading such heavy weights at the back?
+ 10 on that thought . Haven't heard of anyone having any good luck with that much weight on the rear of FG TTs.
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:26 AM   #3
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Somewhere on this forum are pictures of the ingenious bike rack that Floyd designed and built for the front of his Scamp.
His bike rack solved 2 problems , hauling bikes and not overloading the backend of the trailer
When we camp with our grandkids we put their bikes in the bed of our truck.
I would not cantilever an addition 200 lbs off the back of my trailer.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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Careful doing that, you could seriously decrease the stability of your unit. It's much better to add the weight forward of your trailer axle if your unit is strong enough to carry it. Put your bikes in the tow vehicle if possible. Otherwise try to distribute the weight forward and aft of your trailer axle.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:27 AM   #5
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Unless you have a lot of detailed information and the math ability of a professor, experimentation and observation is really the only way(weigh?) to determine the effects .
Your trailer is not an exact balance scale .
Variables include such things as number of axles and their placement fore and aft. Oddly, tongue attitude has a greater than expected effect on tongue weight.
You might start by weighing the tongue at the right attitude then adding a known weight to the back (such as a family member or a stack of concrete blocks), then observe the tongue weight again.
That might give you a reasonably accurate ratio to work with.

Within reason and capacity, more tongue tongue weight is better than less and a slight down attitude is better than an up.
On tandem axles, level is more important than on singles to accomplish evenly shared weight on both. But for tongue weight,as you lower the tongue you concentrate more weight on the front axle and also shift the balance point forward at the risk of overloading the axle.

Now I am getting confused !!
What was my point?? OH yeah! It was that observation works better than calculation for those with limited information or limited abilities to interpret it.!

Anyway.... My front rack has worked well for me but you must still be aware of tongue weight and the possible need to balance your load, and/or enjoy the effects of increased tongue weight where tolerable.

The good news is that RV trailers once set up and balanced tend to stay balanced, unlike utility trailers.

Hey! how about a rack on each end made from light weight material, then you can distribute the bikes front and rear for balance?
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:29 AM   #6
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x10 on don't do this ....

x10 on don't load up the rear of the trailer excessively. If you search YouTube you'll see some pretty graphic demonstrations from Australia on the dangers of overloading a travel trailer aft of the rear axle.

I have a single axle Bigfoot trailer and I would definitely not consider hanging 200+ lbs off the back end. I had to do a full blown emergency stop last summer when some yahoo pulled out of a laneway in front of me and promptly stalled his engine. I was very glad that my tow vehicle (base F150 XLT 4WD) and trailer were well under their weight limits.

You don't mention what trailer you have and what tow vehicle. If you have spare GVW capacity in the tow vehicle I'd load that up first.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:43 AM   #7
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Our trailer is a 17' Bigfoot and the TV is a Tacoma double cab. The bikes can go into the truck bed for now but we are close to the weight limit. The trailer can still take a couple hundred pounds. I guess bikes on the tongue is the way to go!
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:08 AM   #8
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It shouldn't lessen the tongue weight by 200 because the axle favors the rear...it'll change though...but won't need 200 on the tongue to counter it. If the axle were centered front to rear(and none are)things would be difficult.
Do you remember as a child on a teeter totter what would happen when the chubbier kid slid further towards the light one? Skinny could hold him or her up.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:09 AM   #9
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Remember your high school physics?
Think of you trailer as simple lever with the fulcrum (axle) in themiddle.
Measure the distance from axle to the bike rack, and axle to the hitch ball.
For accuracy you can use a plumb bob and make chalk marks on the driveway if it is level. But for this purpose, close is good enough.
Now, what ever weight you add at the back will reduce the weight at the hitch in the inverse ratio of the distances.

You can reduce the effects of the bikes at the rear, by draining the fresh water and grey water tanks, if they are behind the axle. Or by shifting interior stuff forward.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:51 AM   #10
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I vote to keep them in the bed of the truck. First it is kindest to the bicycles- less bouncing and they're up and away from road spray. Second, it is lighter and simpler- no heavy rack required, just a fork mount. Third, it's convenient- allows you to park the trailer and take the bicycles to another location for riding.

Putting them on a tongue rack isn't the answer if you're already close to the payload rating of your truck. The extra weight on the tongue is centered on the ball, which is well behind the rear axle of the truck. The lever effect means it will affect the rear axle load more than the same bicycles, minus the heavy rack, in the bed over the axle.

A bike rack on the back is potentially bad for stability, requires shifting other weight forward, and adds a lot of dead weight (receiver hitch and rack) beyond the weight of the bicycles themselves. They're more likely to get banged up and dirty back there, too.

Splitting them is a good suggestion, but double the trouble and expense.

In my opinion, if you're that close to the limits of your truck, the gain you'll achieve by relocating the bicycles to the back or the tongue (or both if you split them) isn't worth the trouble and cost. Better to start planning for a bigger truck in the not-too-distant future.

One other interim alternative not yet mentioned is to put the bicycles inside the trailer over the axle. A number of people have rigged up fork mount systems inside their trailers. It has negligible effect on stability and tongue weight, and it keeps the bicycles out of weather and away from covetous eyes. Your Bigfoot should have enough open aisle space to put at least two inside. Of course, it does make it hard to use the trailer en route.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:55 AM   #11
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I think any such plan to add that much weight to the rear would have to include beefing up the trailer's frame. These frames seem to have enough problems just supporting the camper shell, which is pretty rigid and doesn't load the front or rear unduly since its weight is pretty evenly distributed overall. 200 pounds on the rear is completely different and far out of any design specs. Might be best to remove the whole frame and replace it with a heavier duty model.

Seventy five pound bikes would be difficult to lift very high over the tongue. You might want them low and mount the propane high. You could also carry propane in the TV, though that might make some folks nervous, even if its much safer than gasoline.

Or you could use a van as your tow vehicle and just roll the bikes inside using a narrow ramp.

Good luck, john
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Linck View Post
...Seventy five pound bikes would be difficult to lift very high over the tongue...
You could always lift the five pound bikes one at a time...

Seriously, my bike and my wife's together weigh less than 60 pounds! Lifting one at a time is no big deal as high as I can reach. But that does raise a secondary point: some bikes are a lot heavier than others. Avoid steel-framed cruiser bikes at all costs!
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:07 PM   #13
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The rack on my trailer is made from a pair of boxfan legs smaller and thinner than 1/2" thinwall conduit. Hardly heavy. Also the full amount is not actually transferred to the ball.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:51 AM   #14
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On my previous trailer I had 4 bicycles mounted on the rear of a double axle trailer. At low speeds everything was fine but with road irregularities the bouncing around and the seesaw effect created amplified swing. I now have 2 bicycles mounted on the front of my Bonair Oxygen and everything is fine. I must say that my tow (AUDI Q5) is still far from its maximum load.
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