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Author Topic: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question  (Read 795 times)

sgiven

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Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« on: March 09, 2017, 01:28:56 PM »
I'm about to buy my first travel trailer and Iíve been looking at a lot of different brands. Iím pretty sure Iíll be getting a KZ Escape 231 BH. It has a Dry Weight of 3,760 lbs and a GVWR of 4,800 lbs.

My question is, the specs list the ďdry hitch weightĒ as 540 lbs. Iím under the impression that a safe tongue weight is in the range of 10-15% of the gross trailer weight, and because Iím getting close to my max payload on the truck, Iíd prefer to keep that closer to the 10% mark. This "dry hitch weight" is already over 14% of the Dry Weight.

So what does this mean then? Will the weight distribution hitch do anything to push the weight off the hitch? Will I have to try to load up the rear of the trailer with all my gear to balance it out? I completely understand the importance of having weight on the tongue, I would just like it to be a little closer to the minimum.

Just wondering if anyone could offer their thoughts on this. Thanks.

donn

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2017, 01:39:15 PM »
To be safe, use the 14% of GVWR number.  Since the dry hitch weight is that, you can be pretty sure it will remail around 14% no matter what the true weight might turn out.
BTW if your already maxed out at the advertised dry number guaranteed you will be way over once you add the basics, like battery, propane, WD hitch etc. Not to mention things like people to your TV, food, clothes, bedding, pots and pans.
Think smaller lighter or more TV.

sgiven

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 01:50:01 PM »
To be safe, use the 14% of GVWR number.  Since the dry hitch weight is that, you can be pretty sure it will remail around 14% no matter what the true weight might turn out.
BTW if your already maxed out at the advertised dry number guaranteed you will be way over once you add the basics, like battery, propane, WD hitch etc. Not to mention things like people to your TV, food, clothes, bedding, pots and pans.
Think smaller lighter or more TV.

Hi, Thanks for the response.

I understand what you're saying, and I've already accounted for people, luggage, fuel, etc. and I'm close to but not maxxed out.

I would assume that if I loaded up the rear of the trailer, it would become more balanced and I could get a little less payload on the truck while still maintaining a safe 10% or so. Or likewise, I'm wondering if a similar effect can be achieved with a properly adjusted WDH.

donn

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 01:55:17 PM »
Sorry if I did not make myself clear.  It aint going to work out like you want.
You can fudge all you want, but at the end of the day, unloading the tongue by trying to overload the trailer behind the axle is only asking for trouble.  Mfgs design a specific tongue load for a reason.

sgiven

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 02:10:40 PM »
I'm not talking about overloading anything or fudging anything. It will all still be within specs. I'm just talking about loading my luggage in the rear of the trailer. If I was talking about just a big empty box trailer, I could pile most of the load in the back and leave a minimum 10% tongue weight, and that would be just fine. How is this any different?

I guess it's just not so certain to me that the "dry hitch weight" that the manufacturer states is a "minimum" because its not stated as such. As far as I can tell its just a simple report on the stock tongue weight as it comes.

FastEagle

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 06:46:55 PM »
OK, I post about this a lot. I guess I should write-up a ďcannedĒ answer

The trailer manufacturer publishes a recommended tongue weight because itís part of the vehicle certification process.

Here is the paragraph the manufacturer must comply with.

ďOn RV trailers, the sum of the GAWRs of all axles on the vehicle plus the vehicle manufacturer's recommended tongue weight must not be less than the GVWR.Ē

If it must be ďnot less than GVWRĒ itís not a dry weight. Itís a recommended weight combined with the total GAWR weights to insure it equals GVWR.

Since 2007 fully charged propane systems are part of the trailerís GVW as it leaves the factory.

Once a consumer signs on the dotted line and becomes the trailerís owner the tongue weight becomes 100% their responsibility.

The RMA has a PDF document that outlines how to weigh and balance your trailerís loads to insure enough weight is on the tow vehicle to insure safe traveling.

You may find chapter #4 in this document very helpful. Weight and balance is all the way at the end of chapter #4.

 http://www.mcgeecompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/complete-manual.pdf
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grashley

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 07:21:26 PM »
I'm a bit confused about what you have.  First, the dry wt is useless.  Nobody ever goes camping in an empty camper.  Work from the GVWR, which you thankfully provided.  With a GVWR of 4800#, expect the hitch weight to be a MINIMUM of 480#.  As FastEagle stated, the dry tongue wt is a government required number.  If your calculations say you can handle a 540# hitch wt, you will be fine.  It will likely be less.  As you said, how the TT is loaded has a big impact on hitch weight.

Make absolutely sure you do have a minimum 10% hitch wt.  Less causes towing and handling issues.

Another concern for me is axle / tire capacity.  As FastEagle stated, dry hitch wt plus gross axle weight rating must equal or exceed GVWR.  This dry hitch wt is unusually high for this weight trailer, making me wonder if the axles and / or tires are undersized.  For a 4800# TT and a 500# hitch wt (keep the math simple), the axle must be rated at 4300# minimum and tire load rated at 2150# each.  Since they upped the hitch wt, I suspect the tires or axles do not meet this number.  That spells real trouble if you load the TT to GVWR and keep the hitch wt to 500#.  Something will be overloaded!  For me, this would be a MAJOR concern.

This may be an example of how cheap can the manufacturer go on tires and stay legal.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2017, 11:16:51 AM »
What Grashley says. The dry weight and dry tongue weight don't relate to anything of practical value and you can't make any meaningful conclusions from them. Estimate that the tongue weight is 10-12% of the actual loaded trailer weight, and assume that the loaded weight will be the same as GVWR until you've made a few loaded trips and then get to a scale.

Holding the tongue weight down can be counter-productive. 10% is the minimum for safe handling and more is better. The MORE tongue weight, the LESS tendency to sway.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

sgiven

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2017, 08:26:12 AM »
OK. Thanks everyone for the advice.

Wireman134

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2017, 05:40:13 PM »
 Sum mfg may only list UVW which should be dry axle plus dry hitch weights. I suspected 3,760lbs. is not dry axle weight rather Unloaded Vehicle Weight and your hitch weight will only go up from 540lbs. Just go by GVWR of 4,800lbs and figure 12% for hitch weight.
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FastEagle

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Re: Manufacturer Tongue Weight Question
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2017, 08:56:44 PM »
This is verbatim from the regulation the trailer manufacturer was required to use to establish the recommended/published tongue weight for your trailer. "On RV trailers, the sum of the GAWRs of all axles on the vehicle plus the vehicle manufacturer's recommended tongue weight must not be less than the GVWR. If tongue weight is specified as a range, the minimum value must be used." It was not set to a "dry" weight or the GVW or the shipping weight. It directly points to GVWR.

 By saying that, the trailer manufacturer is implying that the recommendation will work. The owner will just have to balance the loads to make it work. I'll bet the trailer builder can make it work in a computer model. If not they will just change the CCC until a value works.

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