Hitch setup analysis--F150 & Bigfoot 25B25RQ - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-08-2013, 06:25 PM   #15
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I agree that once the manufacturer has established the locations of all of the components, substantial change in mass distribution is tough... and piling cargo at the rear end is not good for stability. I'm not sure which photos on Bigfoot RV's page correspond to which model (I think only image 14 is the 25B25RQ, and 24 to 28 are the 25B25FB ), but it looks like all of the big appliances (including furnace and water heater) of the 25 footer are already near the middle of the trailer; that's good, but doesn't leave much room for improvement.

The only thing that seems obvious as a candidate mass to move from the very front to nearer the axle is the battery. On a small egg there's not much choice in location that doesn't cause other stuff to be moved, but on a 25B25RQ is there room below the floor, outboard of the frame, ahead of the wheels on either side for a battery box?

The battery may only be 60 pounds, but if it could go from 90% hitch weight to 10% hitch weight that would be about 50 pounds of the hitch with zero loss of functionality... and without harm to stability. From photos on the manufacturer's website, it looks like a 25B25 has the bottom of the floor at about the top of the tires, which would be about 28" off the ground. That seems like enough height to put a battery under it and leave sufficient ground clearance, as long as the battery is close to the axles.

Propane is the other built-in thing on the tongue, and an underfloor permanently mounted tank (like a typical motorhome) could be closer to the middle, but that's essentially never done on a trailer (for a couple of reasons that I can think of).

Another way to reduce tongue weight is to extend the tongue, leaving everything where it was, except the coupler which moves forward. The increased distance from ball to trailer mass improves stability. Unfortunately, a meaningful change would require too much extension to be practical. If a trailer is 15 feet from axle to coupler with 15% tongue weight, then it would take over 7 feet of extension to get it down to 10% , and 2 feet of extension would only get it down to 13% (if I did my math right). It's not a huge potential, it would be far from trivial to do, and it has other consequences (e.g. to maneouverability).
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:43 PM   #16
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Excellent analysis. I agree completely about the 3/4 ton upgrade. I' e owned half ton trucks and even with upgraded springs and shocks I found myself wishing I has a 3/4 ton. I now drive a one ton and for some years found myself wishing I had a 3/4 ton, but as time goes on, I find the durability of the 4x4 1-ton suits me even though their is fuel economy hit for turning the dual wheels and heavier drive train. When in doubt, going up a size is always wise. I never want to get stuck or break down.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:24 PM   #17
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My previous truck, which I drove for 25 years (and my son is driving now), is an F100. I thought that this F150 with the towing package, 4 wheel drive, and 3.73 limited slip rear end was a fairly significant upgrade compared to what I was used to...

Derek
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:13 PM   #18
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Brian,
I suspect a larger truck is coming for the Bigfoot. However reducing the propane load is easy to do. We've traveled for 6 years with only one 20 lb tank and never run out.

We start every year's travels with a full propane tank and probably fill it every 1-2 months. With propane readily available one tank is no more a problem than gasoline.

For the last couple of years we've carried a 1 lb tank as a back up, enough to carry us for a day or two.

In our case to improve the effective of tongue weight I recently shortened the ball distance to the axle by about 5%. A valuable savings with a tow vehicle with limited tongue weight capacity. A small change but in the correct direction.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:55 PM   #19
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Have you priced trucks lately? The equivalent of my truck in an F250/F350 would be in the $50,000-$60,000 range. That's new, of course, but still...

Have you priced college lately? If you aren't poor, rich, or manage to land a great scholarship you are going to pay for it all yourself. Gone are the days that kids could work over the summer and save enough for tuition. My monthly room/board/tuition cost is more than what some pay for their mortgage. And, my second kid will be there after next year.

No, there is no new truck for at least 6 years. If there is a way to make this one work safely for now, that is what is going to happen even if there are compromises involved.

Derek
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Johnson View Post
Have you priced trucks lately? The equivalent of my truck in an F250/F350 would be in the $50,000-$60,000 range. That's new, of course, but still...

Have you priced college lately?

No, there is no new truck for at least 6 years. If there is a way to make this one work safely for now, that is what is going to happen even if there are compromises involved.

Derek

You can make your truck work. You have it. Why buy another truck? Make it work. It is simpler and easier, and you have already demonstrated good sense by analyzing the weigh distribution. Few people have the sense to do that. Seriously, you deserve kudo's for that!

I'd be particularly careful though, use great tires, and drive slower than a heavier duty TV if you are on the borderline of it's capacity.

I recommend tire pressure sensors for both TV and Tow. I've been in touch with a company, Orange, that is designing a sensor set for vehicles with more than 4 wheels.

I'd suggest one 6 lb aluminum propane tank. Fluid weight adds up fast. I've used these small tanks while boating and they don't run out unless someone leaves one on. Shut off at the tank.
They are easy to carry when refilling. There are 10 lb aluminum versions also.


Amazon.com: Worthington 299494 6-Pound Aluminum Propane Cylinder With Type 1 With Overflow Prevention Device Valve: Patio, Lawn & Garden


There are also fiberglass propane tanks available now that weigh less and some show how much propane remains. They are certified for 10 years now. The reviews show some issues though.

Ragasco Clear View 20lb Composite Propane Tank - Propane Tanks for your Gas Grills, Patio Heaters and more - Amazon.com

This one has a steel liner.

Amazon.com : CoMet Lightweight 11lb Propane Cylinder Gray Wave with Level Gauge : Grill Parts : Patio, Lawn & Garden


Someone else mentioned you can reduce the size of your battery. Why not do that and add a small solar panel to help keep it topped up?

You are close enough to meeting your limit that you can make it work and still carry some water. As Norm said, Look at everything you don't need with an eye to tossing it out or replacing it with something lighter.
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:53 PM   #21
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There has been a new SAE standard for rating towing capacity that all major truck makers agreed to. Yes they have been "Grossly" over rating them..
But only Toyota is using it. But because of Ford's decision to use them only as they release newly designed models GM, Ram and Nissan are following. Shame on FORD.. Here's a link to SAE J2807
http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130211/OEM03/302119913#
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:00 PM   #22
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Derek,

Just for perspective, a young man in Newfoundland won a full scholarship for Memorial University in St Johns, NL, the province's best. Tuition is $4,000 a year, affordable and part of the reason NL has the highest post high school education rate in the world.

In fact the entire scholarship amounted to $70,000 plus a good summer job.
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:37 PM   #23
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Good article--thanks.

The towing capacity and how it is measured should be standardized and mandated. Government regulation that help consumers make informed choices in the marketplace are a good thing.

Derek
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:50 PM   #24
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Norm,

So, you are trying to depress me?

My son is going to Eastern Washington University, the least expensive of all of our state schools. The yearly cost with tuition and room/board is approximately $18,000. I pay $1,600 a month. Over the past several years the State of Washington has reduced its contribution to universities by over 50%, so tuition has risen faster than usual.

For whatever reason, and in spite of our encouragement, my son has chosen to be an average student and therefore there are no scholarships. Our local community college is an option, but it is mediocre. I want him to at least experience going away to college to see if it is for him and to see if it helps him to mature. Time will tell...

I do see students such as the one you mentioned because I have taught high school physics for the past 24 years. When my kids were little I imagined that they would be in that sort of position, but it just didn't work out that way. Maybe lousy parenting, maybe poor genetics, who knows--you tell me how to motivate every kid and we will have solved many of the world's problems.

Derek
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:55 PM   #25
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If you guys like we can start a new thread on the cost of college but let's return to where we belong, thanks. That thread may start a whole new perspective on things.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:37 AM   #26
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Another way to reduce tongue weight is to extend the tongue, leaving everything where it was, except the coupler which moves forward.
As you said, this isn't really a very practical method to alter tongue weight - the amount by which the tongue must be lengthened is enormous compared to the change in the tongue weight.

And don't forget that you then need to add a lot of extra strength to the whole front of the trailer to compensate for the extra leverage of the longer tongue. That extra strength is needed all the way back to the main frame of the trailer - let's say to halfway between the front cross-member and the axle. There is absolutely no way that a tongue can be safely extended just from the exposed section forwards (in front of the body) - doing that just reduces the strength, however much steel gets added. The critical place for tongue strength is right at the front cross-member, under the front of the body.

So once you've added the extra strength a longer tongue needs, you've probably added back a lot of the tongue weight that you were trying to reduce.......
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:20 AM   #27
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regarding the tongue weight percentage, I'm not sure I'd get too carried away with trying to reduce it much. 840 pounds, which is your measured tongue weight is 12.7% of the trailer weight, which is pretty much in the sweet spot ( IMO ) for a trailer of this design.
Regarding propane tank weights, my 20 pound tanks weigh approx 17 pounds empty, so being the math genius I am, that comes out to 37 pounds full.

And yes I agree that this all is the bane of 1/2 ton trucks: limited load capacity. If we look at much of the marketing done by the OE's, we see them bragging about tow capacities and showing a boat being pulled. Since boat trailers are typically set up with lighter tongue weights, they can brag a higher tow cap that does not really translate directly for a travel trailer or cargo trailer.
I get a lot of flack for the following, but I stick to this idea anyway: once we move into a 3/4 ton or one ton, or a one ton with training wheels, it, in my mind becomes a no brainer to go all the way to the one ton dually. The 3/4 ton trucks on offer right now do not ride any better empty than a one ton, due to the rear suspension design, so you might as well go on up to the 350/3500 series to gain the capacity. Adding the training wheels adds not only stability when loaded, it obviously raises the tire load capacity substantially. The downsides of the dually are having to buy two extra tires when the time comes, and some would argue they are not as good in snow. Empty, the snow issue can be true, I have found, but some added weight in the bed helps in the that regard. Anyway, kinda going off on a tangent. To the OP, if you are wanting to stay as close to limits as you can with the truck you have, then yes, shaving tens of pounds off here and there where you can probably makes sense.
Is it an option to try to sell the truck you have, and use that money to buy a different truck, with more capacity ? Sometimes there are deals to be had on used trucks, it's mostly about being patient and being ready to jump all over it when it comes available.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:10 PM   #28
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Armchair engineers,

Here are a couple of my favorite tongue weight photos:

The horse trailer tongue is hinged up and down so the tow vehicle ball does not bear any of the trailer's weight. These trailers are designed to be pulled behind a full size car such as a Lincoln or Cadillac.

The flat bed trailer tongue has an 9 1/2 foot extension u-bolted under the existing 3 1/2 foot long tongue. The total length can be adjusted by loosening the bolts and sliding the extension forward or backward. As configured in the photo the total tongue length is extended to around 10 feet. The trailer weighs 320 lbs and the ATV weighs 900 lbs. The coupler bears very little weight because of the leverage of the longer tongue. This puts no additional stress on the frame of the flat bed trailer or the receiver hitch.
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tongue weight 2.JPG   IMG_3946.JPG  

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