Tongue weight - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-03-2011, 08:49 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Ray N View Post
Jim,
You got me curious, so I just weighed the tongue on my EggCamper; I got 281 lbs. It's pretty empty except for a fairly heavy memory foam mattress on the bed, which probably helps lower the tongue weight.
Ray
So what do you think it will be loaded? What do you have on you tongue? Just one battery and no propane?
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:02 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'm curious, have you checked your tongue weight on the Outback. The listed tongue weights for 16' Scamps here on the forum all exceed 200#. I feel if Subaru changed their brochure number to 400# it would open up a lot more customers.
Yup one of those is mine - the 2280 & 240 tongue = 2520 lbs. Although the total weight is well within the tow cap the tongue is not. And it is the one draw back to the Outback that I pointed out when you sent me a PM asking about how well the Outback towed the 16'. Remember?

That weight was taken with the trailer fully loaded with a months worth of camping equipment/food/clothing etc and I had not done a great job of packing up the trailer and stowing from the quick/short shift of campgrounds from the night before. I had also moved a bike that in the past was carried in the trailer to the roof of the car so my tongue came in a little higher than what I have gotten when weighed in the past. Actually packed things up a little better going out of that meet and reweighed it on the way out of Oregon and I was down to about 210 (give or take 10lbs due to scale limits). If I where to put some water in the trailer I could get it down to 200 without much trouble but I would rather have it heavy rather than light on the tongue.

Of note is I do not carry any rear passangers and I do not normally carry a great deal of stuff in the back of the car -use to carry a dog only but not currently - only occasionally carry bikes on the roof now - so the trailer in a normal tow situation is the only weight on the rear of the car. Did talk to my service manager about this prior to towing and he did not have any concerns about it. In fact he tows with his as well and has the same situation. Was told that the tongue rating outside of NA is higher and its the same car -true or false I dont know but so far after 4 years of towing I have not had any issues with it and so far the wear and tear seems no different than the Outbacks I owned in the past but did not tow with. I suppose only time will tell. Is it safe - well all I can say to that is that I do know that while pulling a fulling loaded trailer the Outback does stop the whole set up really well -actually better than I expected - had to actually test that out on a very steep hill at high speed one day! One of those worse case tests that I would like to repeat any time soon.

As I have stated many times here if you are looking for the perfect tow vechile for a 16' trailer that meets all your vehicles specs the Outback would not be my first choose. I had the Outback prior to the trailer and I will be looking for something else with a greater tongue limit when the time comes to replace the Outback.

Having said that it does not mean that that the Outback is not meant to tow - it is meant to tow but as with all vehicles within in its tow specs just as all the other vehicles you may be considering are. There are a number of trailers here that do fall well within its tow specs but few of them are 16'. If one happens to own a trailer that does fall within its specs you could not ask for a better all round vehicle as I mentioned in my PM it is a great car to own if you are a skier as it out performs most other vehicles in the snow and if you happen to live within a big city and need to find a parking space when not towing you cant bet it.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:39 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'm curious, have you checked your tongue weight on the Outback. The listed tongue weights for 16' Scamps here on the forum all exceed 200#. I feel if Subaru changed their brochure number to 400# it would open up a lot more customers.
" changed their brochure number to 400lbs."???
I think Subaru is telling us what the Outback can safely tow, stop, and control!
God forbid that they would plug some higher numbers in there just to appeal to a "bigger" market.
P.S.
My son has a 1998 Subaru Outback with factory tow package that tows my '77 Trillium 4500 (150 lb tongue; 1400 lb/ 1900lb total). On weight subject: from what I'm reading in the forum, fiberglass trailers have gotten a LOT HEAVIER since they first started coming out. I wonder why?
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:49 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
So what do you think it will be loaded? What do you have on you tongue? Just one battery and no propane?
That's right, just the one battery that came with it and nothing else. I don't think it would go up much loaded because we don't usually pack a lot of stuff for our (usually) short camping trips. I will put a few gallons of water in the tank just in case we need to use the toilet. Since I tow with a pickup truck we put most of the heavy things in the back of the truck, including an ice chest to supplement the little fridge in the EggCamper. Anything that goes in the camper I try to distribute evenly between front and back to keep the balance the same.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:36 PM   #33
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Subaru is nice TV; weight distribution systems double the tongue weight possible and with a 3500 lb tow rating it is all you could need for most of the light weight fiberglass units.
Subaru specifies no WDH for the Outback. Their recommendation (at least for the 08 models) is 200 tongue limit (8% - 11%), no WDH, 2700 lbs with trailer brakes. Very stable tow vehicle but I would not tempt fate and exceed the manufacturers specifications.

John
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:49 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
" changed their brochure number to 400lbs."???
I think Subaru is telling us what the Outback can safely tow, stop, and control!
God forbid that they would plug some higher numbers in there just to appeal to a "bigger" market.
P.S.
My son has a 1998 Subaru Outback with factory tow package that tows my '77 Trillium 4500 (150 lb tongue; 1400 lb/ 1900lb total). On weight subject: from what I'm reading in the forum, fiberglass trailers have gotten a LOT HEAVIER since they first started coming out. I wonder why?
If you are pulling a 1900 lb trailer and mine is 2200lbs the fact your t/w is 150 and mine is 350 is the difference. I'm saying the total weight should be the safety factor, in stopping and pulling and with 2700lbs with electric brakes, the OB would be fine and safe. But the fact that more of that weight is transferred in my trailer vs other to the rear end via t/w. I'm sure you can carry more than 200 lbs in the back, so why can't you carry 400 lbs on the tongue? Everything I have read indicates t/w for non sway to be a minimum of 10% to a max of 15% for the trailer to tow properly. Subaru either should increase the t/w limit or decrease the total weight. A trailer that weighed 2700lbs with a t/w of 175# would sway, the same trailer with 350# t/w would not.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:54 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Ray N View Post
That's right, just the one battery that came with it and nothing else. I don't think it would go up much loaded because we don't usually pack a lot of stuff for our (usually) short camping trips. I will put a few gallons of water in the tank just in case we need to use the toilet. Since I tow with a pickup truck we put most of the heavy things in the back of the truck, including an ice chest to supplement the little fridge in the EggCamper. Anything that goes in the camper I try to distribute evenly between front and back to keep the balance the same.
So yours with water and food in refer maybe 300# which is fine. Add another battery and small propane, you are up to mine, close to 400#. What if you had a generator with that one battery, which is what Jim Palmer promotes in his all electric model. That generator added to your battery would push you to the limit of 375#
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:57 PM   #36
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I keep reading about the magic 10 to 15% tongue weight but no where have I found a justification. European tongue weights are usually less than 10%.

I guess I don't understand how tongue weight reduces sway of the trailer. I say this hoping for an explanation.

We have towed a 2134# axle weight trailer with only 175#s of tongue weight and had no sway. We do have very stiff tires on the tow vehicle (40#s) and very stiff tires on the trailer (45#s).

Does the higher tow tongue weights prevent trailer rotation around the ball?

If anyone knows why, I'm seriously intersted.

Norm
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Old 03-03-2011, 03:13 PM   #37
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here is an article on sway
http://ezinearticles.com/?Trailer-Sway-101&id=172638
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:15 PM   #38
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Thank you Jim,

Not much on the why. I understand that side forces on the trailer, natural or created wind, can overcome the side friction of the trailer's tires causing the body of the trailer to slide sideways. Reaction by the driver can cause this to become an oscillation and a rollover.

I still don't understand what tongue weight does for the tow vehicle or the trailer, other than further load the rear tires. I do not see how this significantly counteracts the sway potential of the trailer.

In a small measure, extra weight on the rear wheels does help the rear wheels resist side forces from the trailer when the trailer gives an off access push on the rear of the tow vehicle.

Obviously the heavier the tow vehicle the lower the ability of the trailer to push the rear of the tow vehicle sideways due to higher friction between the tire and road.

An equally important factor is the distance of the ball from the rear axle. The strength of fifth wheels is that all weight is over the axle.

I know someone has the answer to the right amount of tongue weight and 10 to 15% may be a good value; I just don't know why.

Norm


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Old 03-03-2011, 04:35 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Everything I have read indicates t/w for non sway to be a minimum of 10% to a max of 15% for the trailer to tow properly. Subaru either should increase the t/w limit or decrease the total weight. A trailer that weighed 2700lbs with a t/w of 175# would sway, the same trailer with 350# t/w would not.
Some might say that going with general recommondations rather than the manufactures recommondations can lead to incorrect conclusions. As has been stated by more than one person here, Subaru recommondation žs 8 -11%. As also stated previously the Outback is not designed the same as a truck or most other SUV's which may well account for the different specs. Subaru is not know for not caring about safety -do a google on Subaru and safety awards and you will find they have won *lots* of them.

I tow at about the 10% mark and sometimes a little less and I can tell you if I stay within the speed limit I have never had a sway issue. Only sway issue I ever had and all be it a very minor one at that - just the feeling it was going to start a wag was when I was traveling on a freeway and decided to go way way over the speed limit and hit a bump. It corrected quickly with a light tap. Cant tell you though how many times I have seen set ups on the freeway with far more serious sway issues than what I have ever had. Funny that people with the big trucks and no doubt a higher tongue rating and more power than my Subaru seem to just keep driving with the trailer wipping around at the back looking very much like an accident waiting to happen.

I feel your frustration in trying to find that one great affordable all round tow vehicle. I'm also glad though that you found out what your trailers tongue weight was before you purchased that Outback you were seriously considering a few days ago. But it seems to me that its a bit off the mark to keep suggesting that the Subaru is not safe for towing under the manufactures specs, unless of course you have some solid evidence involving a Subaru that can support such claims. If you do know of such an accident then I as I am sure the many others here who tow with Subaru's would like to hear the details.
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:51 PM   #40
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About tow vehicles, consider the Toyota Highlander with 5000 lb tow and 500 tongue capacity.

I have toyed with the idea of a VW TDI Jetta or Passat. Andy at Can-Am RV in Ontario told me he could put on a custom hitch receiver and it (the receiver) would tolerate up to 700 lbs tongue weight with a WD hitch. But unless I come across a great deal on a preowned VW I can't afford to experiment with this idea at the moment.

About the 10% tongue weight rule, I can only guess where it came from. Maybe someone figured it was a safe amount that could not easily be offset by idiotic trailer loading. Many trailers have fresh water tank in front and black tank in rear, so when the family heads home with empty fresh tank and a full waste tank... you get the picture. If tongue weight were only 100 lbs to start with, the wrong loading might make tongue weight zero or less.

I remember one time I had a little open utility trailer (dry tongue wt maybe 40 lbs on a 400 lb trailer, hey 10%!) and had to haul a long steel piece... it was longer than the trailer and stuck out the back a couple feet. I drove without incident for 3 hours. All of a sudden that trailer started whipping back and forth wildly, and it scared the *&$%^* out of me! The trailer loaded that way was slightly heavier on the tail than the tongue. I was young and innocent then... now I would never do that.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:03 PM   #41
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I was young and innocent then... now I would never do that.
Hehe Its funny how we to have to "been there done that" to really learn it! My lesson learned was to remember I have a trailer in tow and keep my speed down when on the freeway.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:33 PM   #42
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I guess I did everything backwards, since I had my car FIRST, and was (am) unwilling to subject my daily driver to loads it wasn't originally designed to endure. I looked at Kia's stated limits ('97 Sportage 4cyl/4x4/ stick), and bought a trailer that is well within these limits. That was five years and about 25,000 tow miles ago. The only thing I've replaced on the Kia is the rear shocks, and those only because I thought I could see a bit of "sag" there- no "bottoming out". But since they were the original shocks (car mileage: 160,000) it was probably just replacement time. Saving my rear end (in more ways than one!) is one of the reasons I keep the tongue weight down.
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