What a Weight Distributing Hitch Does for a Bigfoot 25 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-17-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
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What a Weight Distributing Hitch Does for a Bigfoot 25

Hi campers. I wanted to report on recently weighing my "rig" loaded as it is when I travel. My trailer is an 04 Bigfoot 25B25RQ. According to the official specifications it weighs 4660 lbs dry. It has a fresh water tank capacity of 45 gallons and a hot water heater capacity of 6 gallons. For this weighing I filled the fresh water system. The waste tanks were empty. One of the LP tanks was empty and one had 4 gallons in it.

My tow vehicle is a 2010 Ford F150 with the max trailer tow package and HD payload package. This gives it a maximum combined vehicle weight rating of 16,700 lbs with a maximum trailer weight rating of 11,300 lbs. I am using a WD hitch of the proper size for this size trailer.

PS I'll give you a free safety tip: Don't try towing an 11300 pound trailer with a Ford F150.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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You will note from the previous photo that I also haul an atv as well as a Yamaha generator. The atv weighs 850 lbs. The generator weighs 70 lbs. With extra fuel etc I am carrying a 1,000 lb pay load in the bed of the truck not counting my weight and the weight of the trailer tongue.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
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I did a series of weighings at a commercial truck scale at the Love's truck stop near my home. The scale is a platform about 80 feet long. That platform is divided into sections so that the weight of individual axles on the truck may be recorded. They charged me $9.50 for the first weigh then $1.00 each for two re-weighs. For my first weigh I had the WD hitch adjusted as per manufacturer's instructions.

I apologise. My computer shows the scale ticket right side up but when I upload it it gets turned sideways again.

The weights are:

3060 front axle
4620 rear truck axle
5680 trailer axles (with hitch cinched up)
13360 gross weight
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:25 PM   #4
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The next weigh was with the WD hitch loosened.

The weights were:

2960 front axle
4760 rear truck axle
5660 both trailer axles
13380 gross weight
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:33 PM   #5
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The scale weighs in 20 lb increments so the 20 lb discrepency is in the scale. The final weigh I unhooked the trailer and pulled away from it weighing the truck and trailer separately. The weight of the trailer included the tongue weight which was resting on the trailer jack instead of the truck hitch. The gross weight matched the first weigh.

The weights were:

Front truck axle 3340
Rear truck axle 3440 (no trailer tongue weight resting on truck)
Trailer by itself including the tongue weight 6580
Gross 13360
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:38 PM   #6
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According to all this the WD hitch when cinched up added 100 lbs to the front truck axle, removed 140 lbs from the rear truck axle and added 20 lbs to the trailer axle. The trailer has 920 lbs of tongue weight.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:44 PM   #7
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As you can see trailers weigh significantly more than the manufacturers specs. when loaded for travel. In addition to the fresh water I had items the cupboards, closets and storage compartments. The WD hitch probably weighs 100 lbs.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
.

PS I'll give you a free safety tip: Don't try towing an 11300 pound trailer with a Ford F150.
It would feel a lot safer if you got a set of airbags for that rear axle.

Thats why I never tow with less than a 3/4 ton. The rear springs on the newer 1/2 tons are very soft to give the truck a cushy ride when empty.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:42 AM   #9
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Hi Bruce,
It does not look to me like you are transferring enough weight with the WD hitch.
You are essentially not transferring any tongue weight back to the trailer axles, and your steer axle is still substantially lighter than it's unladen weight.
If I remember correct, Ford now specs to take the steer axle back to something less than unladen weight, but still be fairly close to it.
I would think that approx 3200-3250 on the steer axle with WD hooked up would be about right. That would also distribute a few more pounds back to the trailer axle.

Thoughts ? Where am I going wrong here ?
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to post the images and findings. Being that I'm looking at the 21 & 25 Bigfoot trailers, this helps with figuring real world loads and which way we may go. This is pushing us to the 21. How does your Ford 150 do for towing? Does it have the V8 or V6 Ecoboost? What kind of mileage do you get towing and not?
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:03 PM   #11
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Hi Bruce,
It does not look to me like you are transferring enough weight with the WD hitch.
You are essentially not transferring any tongue weight back to the trailer axles, and your steer axle is still substantially lighter than it's unladen weight.
I'm thinking the same thing.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:26 PM   #12
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They are correct. ReRead the hitch instructions. I think you will find that the drop in the tow vehicle hitch should only drop about 1" when you put the weight of the trailer on it. This should be done before you load the pickup. If you find where things should be set, I thing you will find the axle loads will be better. Also move as much cargo to the storage under the bed as you can this will allow the Bigfoot to carry the load and not the hitch. I tow my 25B25RQ with a 2004 Tundra.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DannyH View Post
Thanks for taking the time to post the images and findings. Being that I'm looking at the 21 & 25 Bigfoot trailers, this helps with figuring real world loads and which way we may go. This is pushing us to the 21. How does your Ford 150 do for towing? Does it have the V8 or V6 Ecoboost? What kind of mileage do you get towing and not?
Hi Danny, This truck is a 2010 model with the 5.4 L V-8 six speed automatic transmission and 3.73 axle ratio. It has plenty of power for this trailer and load. I tow from Missouri to the west coast two or three times a year. I have towed a lot in the Rocky mountains and the Sierras. Never any problem with power. My previous tow vehicle was a 2007 Ford F350 with a 6 speed manual transmission, the 5.4 v-8 and also a 3.73 rear axle ratio. Ford derates the horse power on the heavier trucks. I was pulling a 21' Bigfoot with it and it was under powered. It was unable to maintain highway speed in overdrive on a strait level road. This F150 will maintain highway speed in overdrive on a strait level road.

Fuel mileage towing depends on wind direction. Tail wind = 14 mpg. Head wind = 9 mpg. No wind 10.5 to 12 mpg. Slow down to 60 mph and bump that up 1/2 to 1 mpg. I generally drive from 64 to 68 mph when on the open highway.

I will confess to one instance in 2010 where I was west bound on I-80 in Utah west of Salt Lake City one evening. That road is very level and the traffic was light. I got distracted by my cell phone and looked down to discover that I was traveling 85 mph while just feathering the throttle.

The 21' Bigfoots are hard to pull and not balanced as well as the 25'. If you want to pull either one of these trailers with a Ford F150 it is critical that the truck be equipped with the "max trailer tow" package and it helps if it has the max payload package. Those trucks are very hard to find. I had to order mine.

Ford went to a different engine lineup in 2011. The old 5.4 L engine is not being manufactured now. I am very interested in the Ecoboost engine but I have never driven one. I am pleased with my truck with the exception that I now need a crew cab with 4 doors and a back seat. (because I have several new grandsons who will need to go places with grandpa in the future).

I visited my Ford dealer this week. They have seventy 2012 model F150 crew cabs on the lot. Not a one of them has the max trailer tow package. None of the surrounding dealerships have one either. In fact they all have the shorter 5 1/2 foot bed which an ATV will not fit in. When I ask about the possibility of ordering one set up like I need they advised that production of the 2012s has ceased and Ford is now taking orders for 2013 models. They would not give me a price to order one so I will be driving my old one for a while longer. I am trying to avoid the alternative of going back to a larger "Super Duty" 3/4 ton because they are very expensive and the only two engines available in those are a large gasoline engine which only gets 12 mpg (without a trailer) or a diesel that would get great fuel mileage but costs an additional $7800 dollars.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hugh in Montana View Post
They are correct. ReRead the hitch instructions. I think you will find that the drop in the tow vehicle hitch should only drop about 1" when you put the weight of the trailer on it. This should be done before you load the pickup. If you find where things should be set, I thing you will find the axle loads will be better. Also move as much cargo to the storage under the bed as you can this will allow the Bigfoot to carry the load and not the hitch. I tow my 25B25RQ with a 2004 Tundra.
I can cinch the bars up another link. I have run it that way in the past. The way I have them set now I am getting some visable bowing or flex when I tighten them. The trailer handles fine on either setting. Going another link tighter causes quiet a bit more bowing. These bars are rated for a trailer with a maximum tongue weight of 1000 lbs so they are correct for this trailer. I am a little concerned about putting that much more pressure on the dinky Ford receiver hitch.
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