Tongue weight or hitch weight - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-16-2012, 02:02 PM   #15
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Name: Alan
Trailer: '07 Escape 17' Plan B
Illinois
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To much is when the front wheels come off the ground and then no steering. Unless you are on a tractor with individual rear brakes. The first scenario usually crushes the axle bearings of the tug. (but not the tractor)
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:35 PM   #16
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I went through this thought process before I selected my trailer and before I added a back porch for a 109 LB generator.

The best thing you can do is mosey over to the nearest service center attached to your car's dealership. Get into a prolonged conversation with the head service guy about towing weights. It is important for you to understand what your TV's limitations are. You may find, for instance, that your trailer & TV when "fully loaded" is over the weight limit for your TV.

You owner's manual and info on your door panel should give you your GVW and GVWR.

Then find a public scale. Your TV's service center can refer you to the scale that they use.

I'd bring the trailer there and get:
  • a total weight for the TV together with the trailer
  • the total weight of the trailer
  • the weight of the trailer behind the tongue

You should:
  • weigh the trailer infront/behind the axle
  • weigh the trailer fully outfitted, placing your luggage in the same area of the trailer when underway for a trip
  • weigh the TV fully loaded for a trip (equipment, luggage, people, pets, etc)

Do not have your sway bars/distribution system attached to your TV when weighing. Either leave this equipment home or set it to the side, off the scale.

It is also important to make sure that the trailer is perfectly level. As you noted if the tongue is raised too high or low, there will be a difference in the weight distribution.

The staff at the public scale will help you place your TV and trailer on the scale.

What I did is:
  1. weigh the TV and trailer together
  2. move the TV forward and weigh the tongue section and the trailer.
  3. move the TV & tongue section forward (off the scale) and wiegh the trailer

Some subtraction and addition stuff will yield your tongue weight, the trailer axle weight, your car's weight behind the axle (don't forget to subtract the weight of the people sitting in the 2 front seats) and the GVWR (everything)!

I believe that the tongue weight should not be less than 10% of the total trailer weight.

On the other hand, you'll need to know if you have too much weight forward and may want to consider moving heavier supplies and clothing to the rear of the coach when underway. Or ... pack less stuff
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:38 PM   #17
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Maryland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCDave
too little tongue weight is - at least in my simplistic view - FAR more dangerous than too much! (not sure there is such a thing as too much!) Too little tongue weight, however, is way too easy to achieve!
Yes, there is such a thing as too much. When the tongue weight is enough to cause damage to the hitch or the frame of the trailer... That is when it is too much. I have seen cracks form on trailer frames where the a-frame meets the body of the trailer. This is usually due to excessive weight on the tongue (and a weak frame). I haven't had this happen on any of my trailers, but I have seen plenty of pics online...

The funny things is that in European countries, they often tow with FWD cars with as little as 4% tongue weight. The main concern is sway... But they tend to tow at lower speeds than we do, so sway is less likely.
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:44 PM   #18
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Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane P.
I went through this thought process before I selected my trailer and before I added a back porch for a 109 LB generator.

The best thing you can do is mosey over to the nearest service center attached to your car's dealership. Get into a prolonged conversation with the head service guy about towing weights. It is important for you to understand what your TV's limitations are. You may find, for instance, that your trailer & TV when "fully loaded" is over the weight limit for your TV.

You owner's manual and info on your door panel should give you your GVW and GVWR.

Then find a public scale. Your TV's service center can refer you to the scale that they use.

I'd bring the trailer there and get:
[*]a total weight for the TV together with the trailer[*]the total weight of the trailer[*]the weight of the trailer behind the tongue


You should:

[*]weigh the trailer infront/behind the axle[*]weigh the trailer fully outfitted, placing your luggage in the same area of the trailer when underway for a trip[*]weigh the TV fully loaded for a trip (equipment, luggage, people, pets, etc)


Do not have your sway bars/distribution system attached to your TV when weighing. Either leave this equipment home or set it to the side, off the scale.

It is also important to make sure that the trailer is perfectly level. As you noted if the tongue is raised too high or low, there will be a difference in the weight distribution.

The staff at the public scale will help you place your TV and trailer on the scale.

What I did is:[*]weigh the TV and trailer together[*]move the TV forward and weigh the tongue section and the trailer.[*]move the TV & tongue section forward (off the scale) and wiegh the trailer


Some subtraction and addition stuff will yield your tongue weight, the trailer axle weight, your car's weight behind the axle (don't forget to subtract the weight of the people sitting in the 2 front seats) and the GVWR (everything)!

I believe that the tongue weight should not be less than 10% of the total trailer weight.

On the other hand, you'll need to know if you have too much weight forward and may want to consider moving heavier supplies and clothing to the rear of the coach when underway. Or ... pack less stuff
Just to clarify... The GVWR is the max weight for your car/truck, passengers, cargo, and tongue weight. If your vehicle has been given a GCVWR (gross combined vehicle weight rating), then that would Include the full weight of the trailer as well.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:54 PM   #19
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Florida
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From my reading of European travel speeds they don't seem different from the USA. I believe the statement about European speeds is an American myth.

I just read 76 European user reviews, typically towing trailers that weigh 2500 lbs or more with 4 cylinder cars. Speeds varied from 55 to 70 mph, most in the 60-65 mph range.

I just drove 700 miles thru CA at 55 mph, the speed limit for trailers, and in all states my tires limit me to 65 mph. Not unlike the major European countries for trailer speed limits.

As well I tow with a tongue weight that is no more than 8% of the gross weight. I do now use an anti-sway bar but I have previously towed the same trailers and others without a sway bar and have never seen any sway.

I suspect that every person that tows a Scamp 16 with an Outback probably has less than 10% tongue weight.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:47 PM   #20
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Name: Daniel A.
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British Columbia
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Normally anything between 10-15 % is fine for tongue weight.
To measure properly the tongue must be weighted at the level it is pulled at.

If your frame can't handle that then you have a different problem.

Cathy my view is your fine as long as your TV can handle it.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:37 PM   #21
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Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
POBox 1267, Denison, Texas
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Daniel, there is another question. The tongue weight should be taken with the tongue as it is hitched up.
(By the way, our TV capacities are fine. It's the trailer capacity that is limiting. We can move weight to the TV if necessary.)

And the hitch is supposed to be level. We used a scale to get the tongue weight when the trailer was level according to the bubble levels on the exterior. Whether that is where the tongue actually is when we have it hitched is another question. I understand that the WDH bars should be parallel to the ground and ours appeared to be parallel. What else do you look at to see if you are properly level?

I am miffed at the fact that the sellers had a tow vehicle hitch receiver that was four inches lower than ours. So how could we both be hitched up properly if we hitched in exactly the same manner? Same number of chain links. Does the Equalizer hitch just automatically level out things? I hardly thought so. My impression is that someone has to get that straight, but ours looks level. We will have a close look at the bars again to see if that is the case for sure.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:35 PM   #22
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 RB and Bigfoot 21RB
British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
Yes, there is such a thing as too much. When the tongue weight is enough to cause damage to the hitch or the frame of the trailer... That is when it is too much. I have seen cracks form on trailer frames where the a-frame meets the body of the trailer. This is usually due to excessive weight on the tongue (and a weak frame). I haven't had this happen on any of my trailers, but I have seen plenty of pics online...
It is just SO easy to add/reinforce the frame (incl tongue) of a trailer, and the tug shouldn't suffer - provided that it was not purchased from Toys R Us!

I am contemplating chopping the entire tongue off my Bigfoot 21 and adding a couple of extra feet to it so I can have a good-sized tongue box to hold extra batteries and a good-sized inverter generator. Somehow I just don't think my Silverado 3500 will notice. Extra steel for the lengthened frame, plus weight of genny plus weight of the box itself and a couple more batteries may add a total of a couple of hundred pounds - most of which will be carried as tongue-hitch weight - IE mostly on the hitch

I`d have to move the propane tanks further back (to the front wall of the trailer which is - relatively - where they are now), then put the generator in front of the tanks (and run the genny on propane), then put the batteries in front of that. I`d have to build the box to match the curve of the front wall of the trailer, so the Bigfoot "nosecone" would fit properly. Makes room for some extra "stuff" though, so it seems like a good idea. Probably switch to a power tongue jack while I'm at it. No decisions yet, but it is within the realm of possibility. I'll likely decide after Bonneville when I take the genny in the back of the truck and then decide if I'd rather have it trailer-mounted, or retain the option of leaving it home for the other 50% of the trailer`s tasks.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:49 PM   #23
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Name: Daniel A.
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Once you hook up measure the distance to the ground and use that as your tongue distance to ground point.
As you already know depending on how high or low you place the tongue to scale it, it changes.

The WDH will pull things into line and you will have a link or two left.
So yes that would be level, I've hooked my trailer up and pulled the trailer out of the carport clearly not level, then hooked the WDH bars on and it goes level.

The bubble levels on the trailer are only for camp ground purposes.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:07 AM   #24
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One more ingredient to consider. The tongue weight can vary, depending on where/how you measure it, all other things equal. I bought a Sherline scale seen here sherline scales - Bing Images
some people will place it under their jack stand into the hole to measure and raise the trailer. I found the most accurate place to be in the coupler itself, that is the place where it attaches to the tow vehicle. Measuring the same trailer at these 2 different locales gave me a 50# difference,
so get the right scale and use it properly.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:19 AM   #25
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Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane P. View Post
. . .
Do not have your sway bars/distribution system attached to your TV when weighing. Either leave this equipment home or set it to the side, off the scale. . . .
To each his or her own. The WDH changes the distribution of tongue weight on the tow vehicle and I want to know what it is. FWD vehicles are often operating close to their tire's capacity and I think it's appropriate to know the "going down the road" weights. Further, even my single arm WDH rig weighs about 55 pounds and the anti-sway bar is another 10 pounds or so that is part of the GVWR/GCWR that I want to account for.

Given enough time (no one honking at you to hurry up at the scales) I suppose you could measure the tow with the WDH both hooked and unhooked up.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:13 AM   #26
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Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Missouri
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Three trips across the scale: tow vehicle alone. TV and TT, with weight dist not hooked up, and finally, TV and TT with WD hooked up.
By getting a combined weight w/o WD and again WD, you can tell how well setup you are regarding distributing weight fwd to the steer axle and rearward to the trailer axle.

It's generally considered good CAT scale etiquette to pull off the scale and get out the way to disconnect your weight bars, then pull back around for another reweigh.
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:38 AM   #27
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Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
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George, we did all of those weighings and a couple more that we threw out. No one was ever at the scales when we were but we went off to remove the WDH for another weighing.

The 19' Escape was fully loaded for travel. 3060 lbs. I added the axle weights for the TV without the WDH and subtracted the weight of the unhitched TV to get a tongue weight of 440 lbs. So 3500 total. The TV weight was just over 5000 and since we have a 6300 GVWR, that leaves us more capacity for additional items than the trailer does. I would like to get a couple of portable solar panels and will probably just put them in the TV. No reason to have them in the trailer anyway.

Jim, we do use the Sherline by placing it up in the coupler but we were on such an unlevel site that our number was way off at 362. I had measured the height at which we were hooked up but then found that I came up with a different measurement later for it. Very inaccurate when on gravel or dirt and also a slope. We will have to do the Sherline weighing again to see if we come close to the 440, which I assume is correct. I would like 11-12% on the tongue, don't know why except that I often see 10-12 or 10-11 and 440 is above that. We are taking some items out of the front box which has the batteries. Don't know what those batteries weigh but I know it is plenty, two 6Vs.

The weighing was very easy as we just lined up the axles on the first three scales, no moving of anything to get the three weights. Front and rear TV axles and trailer axles. Went to Love's, formerly Flying J.

We also had changed the chain links after measuring at the wheel wells with and without a WDH. The weights showed that the WDH was working with 280 lbs going from the TV rear axle to the trailer (100) and to the TV front axle (180).

Thank you for your suggestions, Daniel, Jane, Steve and all. It is good to get that checked out and see that everything is within the capacities and basically where expected.
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