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Author Topic: Tongue weight of a flat towable  (Read 373 times)

WinterAdverse

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Tongue weight of a flat towable
« on: June 10, 2017, 11:45:36 AM »
I have searched the forum and unfortunately have not found a good answer to my question about tongue weight. I understand that the general rule is 10% of the weight of the towed vehicle and also that that is probably an adequate estimate. I have read somewhere that a flat towed vehicle does not contribute anything to the tongue weight. My thinking is that there are 2 different forces involving a towed vehicle: the horizontal inertia of the vehicle being dragged behind the motor home or pushing the motor home when slowing down or stopping and the vertical force of the weight on the hitch. If assuming the towed vehicle is riding on 4 wheels with minimal resistance and the tow bar is set up to provide minimal vertical pressure, and an auxiliary braking system is in use to minimize the forward motion when necessary, how do I accurately figure how much weight there will be on the tongue?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 01:18:18 PM by WinterAdverse »
2017 Thor Hurricane 31S
Towing 2013 Honda CRV
Home - Western SD

Alfa38User

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Re: Tongue weight of a flat towable
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2017, 12:12:41 PM »
You don't have to!!. Your "trailer" is riding on the four rubber tires basically located on the 4 "corners" and usually does not require the 10% tongue weight to prevent sway and help good towing behavior. It has been found that some towed vehicles may need to have the wheel caster* adjusted upwards a bit though to alleviate any 'wandering'.

The minimum of 10% tongue weight is a requirement for trailers which do not have the tire configuration that helps prevent sway. Note that the tow bar itself should be level, not sloping up or down. You may need a drop hitch in some cases where the hitch bar slopes upwards too much.

*caster is the adjustment on the steering mechanism that helps the vehicle steering to return to centre after turning a corner.

Not sure I explained that very well but... FWIW
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 12:19:16 PM by Alfa38User »
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver (parked!)

"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

Stephen S.

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Re: Tongue weight of a flat towable
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2017, 03:31:12 PM »
Although some will not agree with this definition, I'll stand by it. To me the difference between a trailer and a wagon is that a trailer puts a percentage of its weight on its tongue, while a wagon will sit on its own wheels. Shifting cargo in a trailer changes tongue weight, shifting cargo in a wagon does not change tongue weight.

Simplified: Little Red Flyers are wagons. Wheel Barrows are trailers.

Trailers should have 10%~15% of their weight on the tongue/hitch to be stable at high speeds. Wagons roll on their own wheels, with stability depending on its suspension. The only weight of a wagon on the towing vehicle is half of the hitch bars.

A toad with 4down is a wagon. You don't have to worry about cargo capacity of the TV axles, only pulling ability, and most important, stopping ability.
Stephen S.
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'99 Winnebago Chalet
2002 VW Beetle
2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Home town: Mableton, GA

NY_Dutch

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Re: Tongue weight of a flat towable
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2017, 06:31:20 PM »
Stu and Stephen have it right, but if you want to put a real number on it, my ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/braking system weighs 40 lbs. Since it's supported about equally at  both ends, the actual tongue weight is about 20 lbs. Some tow bars weight more and some less, but the bottom line is the weight is inconsequential.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

WinterAdverse

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Re: Tongue weight of a flat towable
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2017, 08:02:39 AM »
Thank you all for your replies. I now feel a lot more comfortable regarding my tow vehicle. I am using a Blue Ox tow bar and base plate and also the Blue Ox Patriot II braking system. Thanks again.
2017 Thor Hurricane 31S
Towing 2013 Honda CRV
Home - Western SD