Oddly heavy tongue weight on Bigfoot 17cb - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:50 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Evan
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 6
Oddly heavy tongue weight on Bigfoot 17cb

My wife and I just bought our first Bigfoot. We are hoping to pull the 1995 17CB with a healthy 99 Toyota 4Runner. However after a weigh in at my local scale, I found a tongue weight of 650lbs. It’s a hair under 20% of the total trailer weight. I checked out the “trailer weights in the real world” and the tongue on this trailer is heavier than the heaviest 17’ listed on the sheet... by 150lbs. This doesn’t seem normal.

To make things worse, the fresh water tank is mounted In front of the axle with about a foot and a half between one another so if I were to tow with any fresh water, the tongue would only get heavier...

There are two batteries, two 2 20lb propane cylinders and the fiberglass cover on the tongue of the trailer and is almost entirely empty with the only weight added to the rear of the trailer. There’s no AC either

Anybody have any insight or suggestions?
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:50 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Pull one of the propane tanks. Two batteries are unusual. Sounds like someone installed the 6V golf cart batteries. Depending on the age of the batteries, you can go back to a group 27 RV battery.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:16 PM   #3
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Name: Kelly
Trailer: Trails West
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if you have the funds you could upgrade to Lithium batteries, they weigh less and for the same physical size will give you more battery capacity. But you will have other issues to deal with such as you can't use your current charging system, lithium is different. I won't go into it here, that is up to you to research and get help from the battery company. A lot of people give great reviews for the Battle Born Batteries that have built in protection for various things that could go wrong. The price is very competitive and often beats the competition.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:58 AM   #4
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Name: Walter
Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B
SW Virginia
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That is surprising. With 2 batteries and 2 20 lb propane tanks on the tongue of my 2002 17cb the tongue weight was 410 lb, about as expected. I have no idea why yours would be so much heavier. My batteries were 12v form 24.

Past owner of 1995 13' Casita, 1994 16' Casita, 2012 Parkliner, 2002 17' Bigfoot.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:14 AM   #5
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Two Group 24 marine/rv batteries would weigh about 88 lbs. Two 6 volt golf cart batteries would weigh about 126 lbs. So which batteries does the OP have.

Two full 20 lb propane tanks weigh about 77 lbs.

Of course, where they are mounted on the tongue will make a difference as well.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:31 AM   #6
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Two 20# LP tanks is typical for a BF 17, so that would not account for the large difference. I’m not sure about the usual number, type, and location of battery(-ies).

How did you determine the tongue weight? Was it level?
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:58 AM   #7
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
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To get a true tongue weight, the trailer must be disconnected from the tow.
There is a way you can use a bathroom scale, a plank, and fulcrum to measure it. (how's your high school physics?)
but, on a platform scale: get the total trailer weight by itself.
Then hitch up, and with the car wheels just off the scale, get the trailer axle weight.
The difference would be your approximate hitch weight.
CAUTION: Do NOT hold the brakes on. That can cause the scale pull sideways and give a false reading.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:21 PM   #8
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Name: Evan
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OK the batteries are 12v marine deep cycle. Has a united battery sticker on it but the part number dp24 make me think its a battery made by deka. Just weighed one on a bathroom scale and it read 42lbs even with two of these it would not explain the weight difference as compared to other trailers.

I have 3/4 of a tank of propane and the other cylinder is empty.

The previous owner had Bigfoot install a fiberglass propane and battery cover put on. Im not sure what a cover would weigh but I still don't think an extra battery and fiberglass cover would make 150-250lbs. Im not even sure if they came with one from the factory or not in '95.

I did see some signs of leaks around the trailer in the upper front corners. there was some spots of very slight discoloration in the wallpaper likely from the clearance lights but the paper is still attached and the walls aren't warped or bulging from delamination or anything. No weak spots in the floor, anywhere. I pulled up some of the linoleum on the forward starboard storage area underneath the dinette seat where I had seen some water stains on the bottom inch or two of the paneling from but it and the plywood floor was all dry and in good shape. I think that was likely from wet blocks or gear being thrown in there and or possibly water leaking in from outside the door seal. I pulled out a a body mount bolt and it was dry but had a small bit of rust and corrosion on the surface on it but it doesnt seem as though it has been standing in water for any period of time. The bolt was dry and i got some dry sawdust that came out from the hole probably from the drill bit. All of that considered I don't think I have a water intrusion issue especially considering how much water would have to be trapped in the walls and floor to make up even 50 lbs.

Does anyone know exactly what type of insulation bigfoot used in '95? ive seen in some of the brochures say expanded polystyrene but im not sure.

Has anyone ever effectively lengthened their tongue of the trailer or re-positioned their axle to decrease their tongue weight?

I will drive to the scale again and weigh it once more. Before I had only the rear axle of my truck on the scale and I unhitched the trailer off of the scale and figured the difference
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:51 PM   #9
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I'm going to guess you measured wrong. At 650 pounds, your rear suspension would likely be completely bottomed out. My 98 bottoms out if a fly lands on it...
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:56 PM   #10
Name: J
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Well the lack of an A/C will add a little to the tongue weight, as it sits a small way behind the axle. But not much. I vote for a re-weigh. You can do it at home with the bathroom scales and a 4x4.....

We made a longer tongue for Casitas way back when. Didn't actually lower the tongue weight but made it super stable..
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:27 PM   #11
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Name: Evan
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Ok! just got back from the scales. I used a different method of using the scale this time. Instead of having only the trucks rear axle on the scale and unhitching and placing the jack outside of the scale, I put the trailer on the scale and placed the truck's axle just off the scale and unhitched and came up with 450 this time. 14% of the mostly unloaded gross trailer weight. That sounds more appropriate. Not sure if it was my earlier method or bad math or a combination of both

ZachO ive been pulling the bigfoot with a 95 f350. You should look into some Old Man Emu springs for your sag. They make all sorts of taller springs and or stronger coil springs for our 4runners
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:10 AM   #12
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Good to hear!

Thanks Evan. Back when I cared to spend more money on my vehicles...I was up on all that stuff, so I'm familiar with most of the options. I know I need new leaf springs, but I also knew, when I bought my trailer, that even with new leaf springs, I'd still need airbags to keep the back level. Not being able to afford both, I went with just the airbags, which are acting as a bandaid for my worn out springs.

The pickups have leaf springs and shocks, where your 4Runner has coils, right? Anyway, you're right, the EMU springs would be a great upgrade and I may do that at some point. For now the airbags do the job.
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