Real life tongue weight of gutted amerigo - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-29-2016, 03:44 PM   #1
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Real life tongue weight of gutted amerigo

1973 amerigo, gutted.

We got to talking about just how much the metal frame and shell might weigh, and Paul took our bathroom scale out there.

Surprise!

With 1/2 ply on the floor (for working purposes, our real ply will be 5/8 marine) and the rest gutted, no tanks or batteries, the tongue weight was 95 pounds.

95 pounds.

So at this point, the shell weighs about, what 1000 pounds? Roughly 10x the tongue weight?

Will update as we progress, planning to get it on a truck scale as soon as we can.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:40 PM   #2
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Were you expecting more weight? Or less? Just wondering.

FWIW, my Lil Hauley's dry weight is about 1200 lbs. That's the molded body, the frame, and the axle.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:46 AM   #3
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More! Expecting much more. The PO advertised the entire trailer, stuffed, weighed 1350, which I didn't believe and likely isn't so, but he claimed the tongue weight was 350! Which I also didn't believe. He towed it with the exact same tow vehicle as ours, so I figured it'd work (mountains, shore, wherever, he'd taken it there and had photos to prove it--hard to miss the brown trailer!) --

A 1000 pound shell, frame (and of course, axle forgot to mention that...) and a 95 pound tongue weight is WAAAY less than I was expecting. We have LOTS of leeway for the interior 1/4" plywood walls (ab about 21 pounds per sheet x 10 or 11) and our ice chest, water, etc. We have a maximum tow capacity of 3500, tongue at 350, so I think we just might make it. again.

SteveV on FGRV posted last year a sales brochure that said the amerigo was (at the time) the lightest 16' trailer available. Maybe it IS going to be pretty light! No wonder the thing towed so great coming home...

BEST
Kai


Showoing the PO TV, the trailer--after all, why shouldn't it be light? It's full of air!
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai in Seattle View Post

A 1000 pound shell, frame (and of course, axle forgot to mention that...) and a 95 pound tongue weight is WAAAY less than I was expecting. We have LOTS of leeway for the interior 1/4" plywood walls (ab about 21 pounds per sheet x 10 or 11) and our ice chest, water, etc. We have a maximum tow capacity of 3500, tongue at 350, so I think we just might make it. again.

BEST
Kai
As your rebuilding it keep in mind that your max tow capacity for your vehicle is not the biggest weight rating factor that you need to watch carefully - the one even more important is what ever the trailers axle is rating for, as well as the trailers tires.
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:17 PM   #5
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Right. When we buy new tires we'll make sure we get ones that can handle enough weight (plus extra). We don't know what the axle was rated at, but it's been on the trailer a while (we're the 3rd owners at least with that axle) and so far, so good. It's not the kind that sags out. It was evaluated over the winter at Machinists, Inc. in Seattle and was judged to be sound and useful by the metal guys there. (Where Paul used to work.)

Good points, seriously. We have a good discussion about these amerigo axles on FGRV, in case anyone wants to investigate further. Bob Miller had a lot to say, as did SteveV and others as well--that was when we decided to get ours checked out.

Thanks!

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K
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:22 PM   #6
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I ran my FG-16 across the scales & it weighed right at 2200 lbs before I started restoring it. My bathroom scale was maxed out @300lbs but I think the tongue was close to the 350 lb weight.
That was with a dual fridge, oven/cook top, sink, gas heater, power converter (that weighed a ton!), Thetford toilet, full dual propane tanks, optional bunk bed, spare tire & an empty freshwater tank.

If I had to guess, before gutting it yours was probably close to 1900 - 2000 lbs. The brochure lists the standard model w/o options was weighing 1710 lbs and having 200 lbs tongue weight.
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:45 AM   #7
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The weight of fiberglass trailers is often higher than the title weight. Our 16 ft scamp has a title weight of 1550 lbs. I added pressure water, two 20 gallon tanks for fresh and grey water, a 12 gallon black water tank, a microwave, a bath stool, and some composite flooring. I weighed the trailer at a gravel yard with empty tanks and no food or clothing. Weight on the trailer tires was 2060 lbs and with the trailer unhitched it weighed 2250. That puts the tongue weight at 190 lbs which is pretty close to 10%. We have pulled the trailer through the Rockies and Appalachians. We have covered over 14,000 miles in less than 3 years with no complaints as to how the trailer pulls. Our tow vehicle is a 2013 Ford Edge and I find little difference going down a freeway at 67 mph with or without the trailer.
I guess the 10% tongue weight rule is a good idea.
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:58 AM   #8
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And remember that tongue weight is hugely variable with the location of the heavy items in the build-out. Your trailer frame is essentially a teeter-totter with the axle at the fulcrum, but off-center. Although the total weight is the total weight, the tongue weight can vary tremendously by layout and whether the heavy stuff (fridge, water heater, and water tanks) are fore or aft of the axle... and how they balance each other's weight over the axle. The size and number of propane tanks alone can make as much as a 70lb difference in tongue weight.

I've found over the years that a tongue weight closer to 15% is just about ideal, provided that it doesn't overload the rated hitch load.

So you'll have a lot of control over how much tongue weight you choose to have depending on how you balance the weight of the tanks (water, holding, and propane) and appliances.
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:58 AM   #9
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This amerigo had the fridge right on the wheel well (axle) and the stove just in front of it, plus two big marine batteries and 2 propane tanks on the front vee...but they're off right now and some won't be going back in.

I've been thinking hard about what to replace where, and how it'll affect the overall weight distribution and balance...

Thanks Steve, for weighing yours "loaded!" Probably very close to what ours was.

I don't expect it to stay this light, of course.

That is a fairly heavy tongue weight...interesting ratio on the amerigos. So maybe the PO wasn't as far off as I thought he was.

We'll get 'er weighed when she's rolling...wonder how much extra weight the decals we have planned will add!
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