Car trailer tongue weight

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JPete

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Has anyone who hauls their Jeep on or in a trailer measured their tongue weight? My Winnebago has a limit of 500# hitch tongue weight which, according to the 10% tongue weight to trailer weight recommendation, would limit the total trailer weight with Jeep to approx. 5000#. Does this sound right or am I figuring it incorrectly?

My enclosed trailer weighs approx. 2500# and if I load a Jeep it would weigh approx. 6800#. The 10% rule would suggest a tongue weight of 650# which is more than spec. Any suggestions?

Thanks - Pete
 

John Canfield

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Pete - this is a similar issue I faced with our trailer.  Our tow capacity is 10,000 pounds yet Winnebago lists the max tongue weight as 500 pounds  :eek:.  It should be rated at 1,000 pounds to satisfy the 10% rule. 

Our trailer is 1,400 pounds, Rubi is 4,700 so we're dragging 6,100 pounds which means we should have 610 pounds on the trailer tongue.  I'm not going to break out in a sweat over 110 extra pounds, I'm more concerned about not going over 20,000 pounds on the rear axle.

This winter I'm going to order a trailer tongue scale to fine tune my trailer loading - the scale is in the $100 range - maybe I can recoup my investment by renting it out  :D.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I'm guessing the 500# is the weight carrying capacity? Above that, a Weight Distributing hitch should be used. Typically that would allow 1000-1500 lb tongue weight (depending on the hitch).  If the hitch doesn't list a higher capacity for use with a weight distributing hitch, ask Winnie about it  Maybe they think a WD hitch wouldn't be effective on an RV chassis. For example, sometimes the receiver is mounted on a frame extension (often true of gas chassis coaches) and that extension may be the limiting factor.
 

JPete

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I spoke with Winne and they indicated only that the max tongue weight allowed is 500#. I believe that they feel that any more would unbalance the coach. The hitch says it is good for 1000# tongue weight but states that the chassis mfg may have a lesser allowed weight.
Does a weight distribution hitch lessen the tongue weight or just shift the center of gravity of the coach/trailer combination?

Thanks

Pete
 

John Canfield

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Yup - our hitch is Valley and the tag on it says 1,000 pounds tongue limit.  I'm not worried about going 100-200 pounds over the Winnebago 500 pound limit, I'm much more concerned about keeping the axle weights within spec.
 

hes4all

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This winter I'm going to order a trailer tongue scale to fine tune my trailer loading - the scale is in the $100 range - maybe I can recoup my investment by renting it out  :D.

When you are on your yearly trip thru Idaho I'll rent it from you? Pay cash too?



Edit by John - fix quote
 

JPete

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Thanks for all the info. When I spoke with Winne it was obvious that they were being very cautious with what they were saying (probably due to liability issues) and were unwilling to discuss the issue and alternatives.
Thank you lawyers....
I guess that I will take John's approach and watch my axle weight and keep the tongue weight as close to the max as I am able.

Pete
 

zmotorsports

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A weight distributing hitch will help tremendously.  I am a big advocate of using them even on an air sprung suspension such as a large motorcoach.

Our trailer tongue weight is right at 1000 lbs with either the sand toys or just the Jeep loaded in it, 10k loaded weight.  With the weight distributing hitch and driving across the scales that weight is spread out and only notice a 625 lb. increase on the rear of the coach with the weight distributing hitch.

With the Jeep, our Harley and our son's Buell in the trailer it is sitting at 12.5k pounds with 1500 pound tongue weight.  Again, driving across the scales with WD hitch it only reflects about a 1000 pound change.

If only hauling the Jeep I load it straight in and keep the drivetrain pretty much centered over the trailer axles.  When hauling the Jeep and the bikes I load it in backwards which slightly moves the weight of the drivetrain to the rear of center of the trailer axles.

I highly recommend a weight distributing hitch as they also help control sway and smooth out the road a little as well.

Mike.
 

driftless shifter

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you can calculate tongue weight with a bathroom scale, a concrete block, a short plank and some math. i'm using a Wii to post, you'll have to google it.
 

John Canfield

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zmotorsports said:
...I highly recommend a weight distributing hitch as they also help control sway and smooth out the road a little as well.

From what I've read, that's not a good idea with an aluminum trailer due to the aluminum.

driftless shifter said:
you can calculate tongue weight with a bathroom scale, a concrete block, a short plank and some math. i'm using a Wii to post, you'll have to google it.

My buddy did something similar.  Me - I'll order a scale from Amazon  ;D.
 

zmotorsports

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John Canfield said:
From what I've read, that's not a good idea with an aluminum trailer due to the aluminum.

I cannot comment with any certainty pertaining to aluminum trailers as myself and those we travel to the dunes with have steel framed trailers.  That does sound logical though.

Mike. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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From what I've read, that's not a good idea with an aluminum trailer due to the aluminum.

Seems to me, if the aluminum is strong enough to be a trailer frame, it ought to be strong enough to handle the WD mechanism.

This question was asked concerning a Reese Straitline WD - see the answer here:
http://www.etrailer.com/question-11862.html
 

zmotorsports

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Gary RV Roamer said:
Seems to me, if the aluminum is strong enough to be a trailer frame, it ought to be strong enough to handle the WD mechanism.

This question was asked concerning a Reese Straitline WD - see the answer here:
http://www.etrailer.com/question-11862.html

Yep, according to the experts a WD hitch on an aluminum trailer shouldn't be of any concern.  Guess I learned something today already and it isn't even 8:00 am yet. :)

Thanks for that link Gary.

Mike.
 

John Canfield

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I don't remember what the rationale was for the assumed incompatibility between a WDH and the Featherlite.  Our Featherlite has a very short tongue area forward of the decking - I'm not even sure a WDH would physically fit.  In any case, the trailer tows like a dream - don't even know it's back there.
 
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