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Old 08-01-2015, 06:45 PM   #1
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Tongue weight problem

Well, I suppose this is never easy.

LilBea weighed 1300 even, on the nose on the way home. Which works out great for the Volvo, which will tow a 3300 lb trailer *with* brakes (all details on Volvo below). But she's only supposed to have a 165lb tongue weight, and LilBea just weighed 220!

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/m...icture9043.jpg

Bea has a 2" hitch, and Volvo factory receiver (still waiting for this to be installed) is class II and has 2" drawbar, so that all lines up. She has the battery and propane tank on the front. The battery weighs around 25lbs probably. Not sure yet about the LP, or how much gas is in there.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/m...icture9052.jpg

I hate to think we would have to move the battery and tank to travel (plus we couldn't recharge battery...) but are there any other options? Bea has front dinette and a porta potty under one front cabinet (not an absolute necessity), but there is no heavy stuff stashed up front.

Any thoughts?

Ellpea
(grinding teeth)


Deets on the V70:

GVW 4690 lbs
Curb weight 3380-3595 lbs
Permissible axle weight, front 2330 lbs
Permissible axle weight, rear 2470 lbs
Max trailer weight w/o brakes 1100 lbs
Max trailer weight w/brakes 3300 lbs
Max tongue weight 165 lbs
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:01 PM   #2
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Our Lil Bigfoot tongue weight managed to stay well under 200 lbs fully packed.


There's a couple of way to help your tongue weight problem:
When you start packing stuff in be sure to minimize what goes in front under the front seats & dinette. Save that space for light things like clothing, bedding and linens. Or better yet, don't use it at all.

The Biggie: Have the battery relocated to the left under bed seat, just aft of the sink counter. It doesn't need much rewiring because the wire from the battery already goes there. That will take weight off the front as well as put some slightly behind the axle. That's about 50 lbs.


Your bedding, Flat screen TV and what ever stuff you put in the rear over bed cabinet will also help. We even added shelves over the side windows with more stuff. And a 1/2 full water tank will also help.


But moving the battery helps a lot. Wait until you get it packed and ready before you get frustrated on the tongue weight.



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Old 08-01-2015, 07:03 PM   #3
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Move some stuff inside the egg to the back. Do you have a fresh water tank? If it is in back filling it up will help. If it is ahead of the wheels towards the front, empty it.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:08 PM   #4
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There is a water tank under the back dinette, and it's currently empty...

So 1/2 tank of water and moving the battery might solve this problem????
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post

So 1/2 tank of water and moving the battery might solve this problem????

It might.. and it might create another problem.

You are not going to like this reply.. it gets a little complicated. If, in your attempt to get the tongue weight under the limit for your tow vehicle, you get it too low (i.e. somewhere below 10% of the total trailer weight), then you might have problems with sway or the like. It could cause a wreck.

IMHO, in general, you should not go below 10% of the total trailer weight on the tongue.. and if that amount is over the tongue weight limit of your tow vehicle, then you need either another tow vehicle or a way to increase the limit on your current tow vehicle (such as WDH or air bags in the rear springs). Your dealer should be consulted in this case.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:48 PM   #6
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Weight transfer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
There is a water tank under the back dinette, and it's currently empty...

So 1/2 tank of water and moving the battery might solve this problem????
It will all help. But the battery is the big one and it is very easy to do. All of that extra tank cover stuff may also add a few unnecessary
lbs on the front.

I think that the front jack on yours also removes with a simple clamp. I take the one off of my Hunter for clearance reasons, 3 nuts and 3 minutes, it weighs about 6-8 lbs.



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Old 08-01-2015, 07:59 PM   #7
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Volvo towing

IMHO Gordon is on the right track at trailer weight of 3300 lbs and tongue weight at 220 you are already deep into trailer sway territory. Decreasing the tongue weight to 165 is a disaster looking for a place to happen. Maybe there is a mistake in the 165 lb tongue weight limit ? I can't imagine a trailer weight limit at 3300lbs with a 165 tongue weight. Lee
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
The battery weighs around 25lbs probably.
I agree with Bob, the battery will easily weight between 50-65 lbs, relocating it will be the easiest way to balance the tongue weight
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:14 PM   #9
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Ell[peas Lil'Bigfoot trailer currently weighs 1300 lbs. empty and dry. The 3300 lb figure is the towing limit for the XC-70 TV.
Ellpea can add up to 300 lbs and still have a 165 lb tongue weight at 10% of total weight.


The Lil Bigfoot's water tank is right against the back edge of the wheel well and adding water for ballast will not create that Polar Rotation Moment issue so may know and love.


And we have done the dance on XC-70's towing specs. twice in the past 2 weeks. It is what it is, no mistakes, misprints or conspiracies to sell pick-up trucks involved.



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Old 08-01-2015, 08:14 PM   #10
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Things that can help.

How many inches does the tow vehicle drop when the tongue is put on the ball?

The effect of the tongue on the tow vehicles springs can be reduced a little by pushing the ball support in beyond it's normal pin position and drilling a new hole for the ball support pin. The goal is to get tongue weight as close as possible to the tow vehicles rear axle.

I marked the ball support and brought it to the local welding garage and they drilled the hole for $5.

What are your tow vehicle tire pressures? What is normal for your tow vehicle.

Where did you measure the weight of the tongue? Was it at the location of the ball?
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:15 PM   #11
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There have been endless discussions on this regarding Volvos. I don't know WHY they have these restrictions, but this one does. 165 lbs, no mistake.

Will be careful about overloading the rear. We're getting a good brake setup, and the hubby has around 50 years of towing experience... race cars and boats, and various 18 wheel set-ups. This is the first RV.
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:18 PM   #12
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There is a good discussion on Volvo tongue weight here. Max Tongue Weight for Hitch
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:19 PM   #13
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Bob, just a reminder, mine is a V70, not a XC70 (cross country model). The XC is *slightly* more beefy than mine.

Norm, can't yet answer your question, the receiver has not yet been installed. Can guarantee the tire pressure on tow vehicle will be perfect, hubby is just that way...
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
There have been endless discussions on this regarding Volvos. I don't know WHY they have these restrictions, but this one does. 165 lbs, no mistake.

Will be careful about overloading the rear. We're getting a good brake setup, and the hubby has around 50 years of towing experience... race cars and boats, and various 18 wheel set-ups. This is the first RV.
Well then it seems there is little more to say.. except.. err on the side of too much tongue weight rather than too little. Too much might cause your TV to bottom out, or wear out the suspension components sooner. But too little could make your trailer sway or disconnect from the TV resulting in the loss of the trailer, tow vehicle, and more. Always stack the odds in your favor.

I would love to know what your husband thinks of this discussion.. it might be: "well, duh!". LOL
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:35 PM   #15
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I went to talk to a service manager at an RV place who told me the same thing the Volvo service manager told me.
PLUS!! He looked up the VOlvo and thinks that the hitch is bolted to the plate UNDER THE BUMPER...not to the car frame.

They both also said that a WDH would solve a good deal of the problem....
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:41 PM   #16
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Sorry I added an "X", I'll try to catch that in the future.


Norm mentioned, but skipped over, a point. Often we weigh using the bottom of the jack, the ball is a bit further out and the weight on the ball itself will be a little less.


In looking at the 740 spec. it has a very similar issue, maximum tongue weight is only 200 lbs with a 3000+ towing limit. Must be something in the corporate philosophy, or something we haven't guessed about yet.



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Old 08-01-2015, 09:43 PM   #17
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I went to talk to a service manager at an RV place who told me the same thing the Volvo service manager told me.
PLUS!! He looked up the VOlvo and thinks that the hitch is bolted to the plate UNDER THE BUMPER...not to the car frame.

They both also said that a WDH would solve a good deal of the problem....
Liz,
I would trust the Volvo resources over an RV place.

For one thing, these Volvos DO NOT HAVE A FRAME.

They have a UNIT BODY CONSTRUCTION (explains hubby Ron, the former Volvo dealer). Therefore, there is no way the receiver can be hitched to a frame (evidence your RV guy does not know what he's talking about).

Secondly (as people here have instructed us), the Volvo takes a Class II hitch. There is no WDH for a Class II.

Thirdly, Volvo strictly recommends against a WDH. Ron says this is because of the unit body construction. A WDH *would* distribute the weight, some of it forward to the front axle, but it would do so by putting undue distress on the rear construction of the vehicle.

The upshot is that it is all very confusing, and you really can't listen to just one source. Doing what you (we) are doing and researching among many informed resources before coming to a sensible decision is IMHO the right way to go.

Best,
LP
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Old 08-02-2015, 02:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
Liz,
I would trust the Volvo resources over an RV place.

For one thing, these Volvos DO NOT HAVE A FRAME.

They have a UNIT BODY CONSTRUCTION (explains hubby Ron, the former Volvo dealer). Therefore, there is no way the receiver can be hitched to a frame (evidence your RV guy does not know what he's talking about).

Secondly (as people here have instructed us), the Volvo takes a Class II hitch. There is no WDH for a Class II.

Thirdly, Volvo strictly recommends against a WDH. Ron says this is because of the unit body construction. A WDH *would* distribute the weight, some of it forward to the front axle, but it would do so by putting undue distress on the rear construction of the vehicle.

The upshot is that it is all very confusing, and you really can't listen to just one source. Doing what you (we) are doing and researching among many informed resources before coming to a sensible decision is IMHO the right way to go.

Best,
LP
The RV guy said the same thing as the Volvo service manager. ONly he told me the hitch could not be bolted to a frame, but ito a plate under the bumper. So they were in a agreement. (Am I misreading your post?)

They both also mentioned a WDH.... But clearly I will have to look more deeply into that!

I do take comfort in knowing that the exact same vehicle is rated for a tongue weight of like 185 in the UK. The same vehicle.

What I really want to know is how much wiggle room we have here...

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Old 08-02-2015, 06:57 AM   #19
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I don't think it's quite accurate to say that unibody construction vehicles don't have frames. They do have stress-distributing and weight-carrying members. They usually appear as tubular structures that are welded together with the passenger compartment into one solid unit.

Whatever the "plate under the bumper" is, if it is meant to be an attachment point for a hitch, it is surely connected to structural frame members in some fashion. My (unibody) Pilot has a cross member spanning the rear frame rails just behind the bumper, and the receiver tube is welded to that.

Whether any hitch is rated for use of WDH is a separate question. The factory-integrated hitch on my Pilot is designated Class III, so WDH may be an option, though for somewhat vague reasons, Honda does not recommend it.
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:15 AM   #20
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The more I am learning and thinking about weight distribution hitches, the less I like the whole concept. Think of it this way: put 200 lbs on the back bumper (ball), then take a long lever (a 2x4), bolt it where the hitch mount goes. Then grab the end of it and keep lifting until the bumper is at the same height as without those 200 lbs. Now you get an idea of the forces bending the frame, or the unibody, as well as that long lever. The trailer frame becomes that long lever when hitched up. Are the attachment points strong enough for this? Then think about pulling in your driveway, with a dip at the road side. Now you are not lifting only those 200 pounds, but the whole back end of the tow vehicle.

Lots of questions, and I would say that the Volvo engineers should have the last word on what the frame (unibody) can bear.
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