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Old 08-05-2017, 02:02 PM   #1
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Name: Jacqueline
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British Columbia
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Measuring tongue weight

Hi all,

We are trying to measure the tongue weight of our Bigfoot 17G. It is currently parked on our mostly leveled driveway with 6000lbs stabilizer jacks.

We're just wondering if we can simply perform the following steps:

1) release the tongue jack (the stabilizers will hold the trailer in place)

2) put a high capacity scale under the tongue

3) re-engage the tongue jack

4) release the stabilizers

5) read the weight on the scale

6) success!

Would the above steps work?

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacqueline in BC View Post
Hi all,

We are trying to measure the tongue weight of our Bigfoot 17G. It is currently parked on our mostly leveled driveway with 6000lbs stabilizer jacks.

We're just wondering if we can simply perform the following steps:

1) release the tongue jack (the stabilizers will hold the trailer in place)

2) put a high capacity scale under the tongue

3) re-engage the tongue jack

4) release the stabilizers

5) read the weight on the scale

6) success!

Would the above steps work?

Thanks!
Jacqueline,

I suggest making sure that the wheels are properly chocked and then removing the stabilizers before doing anything with the tongue jack. That way you can evaluate how stable the arrangement is before operating the tongue jack and introducing a scale.

You can introduce a jack stand under the tongue next if necessary, followed by a scale (or board; see link below) under the tongue jack.

The link below includes two methods to use a bathroom scale.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-...ue-weight.aspx
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:19 PM   #3
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You don't need the stabilizer jacks to weigh the tongue.
Jack up the tongue. Place the scale under the tongue and lower the tongue jack to get the weight. The trailer should be level when getting the weight.
I use a Sherline.
I don't advise doing what I did here as it was somewhat wobbly using the bottle jack to raise the scale. But if the scale is on a secure platform, you can just lower the tongue onto the scale.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:38 PM   #4
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Go here for a simple way of checking trailer weight using a common bathroom scale:

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-...ue-weight.aspx
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:07 AM   #5
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Name: Duane
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concrete blocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Minimalist View Post
Go here for a simple way of checking trailer weight using a common bathroom scale:

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-...ue-weight.aspx
It appears that the concrete block (cinder block) is shown in the wrong position. You would never try to support any weight that way with it. The block should be positioned with the webs up or vertical. This is where it's strength is.

Also anytime you use a "cinder block" to support something there should be a piece of plywood etc. between the block and a concrete driveway, metal scale, frame of a vehicle etc. I would never put one block on top of another without something in between.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Minimalist View Post
Go here for a simple way of checking trailer weight using a common bathroom scale:

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-...ue-weight.aspx
I used this method earlier this summer to measure my tongue weight. Came up to 297 lbs (99 lbs on the scale, X3)

Lately I went to a truck scale and had the trailer weighted. Tongue weight came up at 300 lbs (truck scale doesn't have the precision of a bathroom scale for lighter weights like this).
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuaneQ View Post
It appears that the concrete block (cinder block) is shown in the wrong position. You would never try to support any weight that way with it. The block should be positioned with the webs up or vertical. This is where it's strength is.

Also anytime you use a "cinder block" to support something there should be a piece of plywood etc. between the block and a concrete driveway, metal scale, frame of a vehicle etc. I would never put one block on top of another without something in between.
Nor would I place cinder blocks on their side as shown. They can carry greater weight stacked vertically. Yet, the method still applies.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:42 PM   #8
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Name: Bruce
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Tongue Weight

My experience:
Sherline is the best as it is convenient and requires no modification. Bath scale with fraction lever will work fine, too, just not as convenient. Stabilizers need to be retracted so they do not bear any of the weight and throw off the measurement. Trailer should be level. Jack up the tongue enough to insert the scale on top of a stabile spacer block, then lower the jack so the coupler engages the scale. This way if anything does collapse, the tongue jack will serve as a backup and catch the load. (Keep fingers out of where coupler and scale come together.)
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Old 08-09-2017, 10:34 AM   #9
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Tongue weight with weight dist hitch

I use a weight distribution hitch which about 70 pounds. I am wondering if I should include that in the tongue weight since it too rides on hitch mount.
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:31 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by flaco View Post
I use a weight distribution hitch which about 70 pounds. I am wondering if I should include that in the tongue weight since it too rides on hitch mount.
Dave,

No, once you change from a weight-carrying hitch to a weight distribution hitch you basically aren't dealing with tongue weight in the conventional sense.

Edit: The tongue weight is used to determine the appropriate strength of the springs for the WDH.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:28 AM   #11
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Thanks CivilGuy

I got the appropriate WDH (trunion bars and chains for 300-500 lb tongue weight) so thanks Mike for the clarification. I am now reassured. I will carefully load the RV then measure the tongue weight first to make sure it is well under the my 350 limit but at least 10% of RV weight then hook up the WDH. Thanks again!
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:09 AM   #12
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Name: Bruce
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Tongue Eeight and WDH

I believe the weight of the WDH should be included in tongue weight for comparing with specified max tongue weight for the TV. Some of this may be transferred to the front of the TV if the WDH is being utilized for that purpose and not just anti-sway, but the TV is definitely feeling some or all of this weight when the RV is hitched up.
Generally the tongue weight should be 10-15% of the RV weight. My TV owners manual also says that the tongue weight should be close to the maximum tongue weight to improve stability and minimize sway.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceW View Post
I believe the weight of the WDH should be included in tongue weight for comparing with specified max tongue weight for the TV. Some of this may be transferred to the front of the TV if the WDH is being utilized for that purpose and not just anti-sway, but the TV is definitely feeling some or all of this weight when the RV is hitched up.
Generally the tongue weight should be 10-15% of the RV weight. My TV owners manual also says that the tongue weight should be close to the maximum tongue weight to improve stability and minimize sway.
Agreed, the weights add up. If a person had a trailer with, say, 300 lb tongue along with a 90 lb WD hitch, this would exceed a 350 lb hitch weight capacity and could damage the receiver or (more likely) its mounting attachment points. WD will relieve some pressure off the rear suspension but not off the receiver or where it bolts onto the underside.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:19 PM   #14
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Measuring tongue weight

Receivers are either rated for WDH or not. Check the label. Some Class III hitches are and some aren't. If it's rated for WDH it's safe to assume the frame attachment can handle the forces.
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:52 AM   #15
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Ocean City, NJ
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Just wondering. What happens when two people are standing in the front of the trailer. It could easily be twice the rated weight. Would it damage the WDH?
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:47 AM   #16
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Static load (stationary) does not apply, fortunately. The hitch rating is for a rig in motion, with wind resistance and such taken into account. But if you are worried, you can always drop the jack when you park.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:42 PM   #17
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Name: Bruce
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WDH Rating

The WDH rating has mostly to do with the appropriate spring lever force applied by the WDH to the tow vehicle to shift weight toward the front axle. They're generally quite robust and adding a couple of hundred lbs while parked certainly wouldn't cause any damage. I think most of the smallest models are rated at 600# anyway.
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