As mentioned in my Dual LPG tank & 6v battery
thread, I extended the Hymer's pole tongue by 24" at the same time I started the other mods. I'm guessing this topic will draw some discussion about engineering/safety concerns, so I'm giving it a separate thread to be more searchable for others weighing
similar options in the future.
– Improved stability and more room on the tongue. I began thinking about stability on the way home from the dealer in Dallas. Between Fort Stockton and El Paso it got BIG windy. I’m guessing some gusts were 30-45mph. The combination of Texas’ generous speed limits for trucks and tow vehicles, the high winds and a “brand new” trailer I wasn’t yet familiar made for some white-knuckling moments. I slowed to 55mph but even that wasn’t slow enough when being passed by semis doing 70-80(!). Adding room on the tongue started as a secondary goal, evolving from the first.
– Tongue extension was about my last thought about how to improve stability. Other solutions considered:
- towing with a full fresh water tank (to add tongue weight and lower center of gravity)
- adding additional tongue weight
- adding a standalone sway control device
- adding a weight distribution hitch (WDH) with sway control
- just suck it up and hope my 7400lb tow vehicle could win any fight with a 2700-3400lb trailer
Filling the fresh water tank helped the one time I tried it. But later reading of another Hymer’s tank falling loose on the freeway, I put that idea aside as something else that needs improvement. I’ve got no experience with standalone sway control devices. I loved the Equal-i-zer hitch I had years ago on a 24-ft enclosed car trailer. But that and similar bar systems were better suited to A-frame tongues, requiring “pole tongue adaptor” hardware and creating interference issues for the trailer jack.
The Andersen hitch stands alone as the only WDH with sway control that doesn’t care if it’s mounted to a pole tongue. It doesn’t need the A-frame geometry or an adaptor to create it. But it would still interfere with the trailer jack. AND it would require removing more chain links than Andersen recommends to be fitted to the Hymer’s short tongue.
So… My primary reason for extending the tongue was to make room to accommodate an Andersen hitch as well as dual batteries/dual LPG tanks
and the trailer jack all at once.
Making the extension would have been a LOT simpler if there were a standard square tubing size for a telescoping fit inside
the existing 3x3 tube. Unfortunately there isn't. It turns out telescoping square tubing sizes are mostly limited to stop sign posts (too light) and trailer hitch receivers (too small). So I cut, sectioned and rewelded my own.
The 1/4x1" copper bar was left over from my battery
shunt bus thingie. It's being used for alignment as I weld and to draw heat away and keep me from burning through. (A more experienced welder could surely do without, but I'll take help wherever I can get it.)
After some hammer finish paint
, 1/2" grade-8 bolts, longer chains, longer electrical
connector and a new coupler (for electric brakes) it turned out like this...