Trailer Life Magazine Open Roads Forum: Am I on the right track???
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 > Am I on the right track???

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BeerBrewer

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Posted: 10/05/18 01:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've read that to safe that the tongue weight of TT should be somewhere between 9% and 15% on the total loaded trailer weight. Say for a 6000 lb trailer, its 9% tongue wt is 540 lbs and for 15% the tongue wt jumps to 900 lbs. Isn't that a lot leeway? I assume that its best to stay somewhere in the middle say 12%...correct or doesn't it matter that much?

Sadly, my truck only allows for 700 lbs of tongue wt, which isn't a lot. Lets say that I use the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch which weighs 50 lbs, so that only leaves 650 lbs for the actual trailer tongue weight. Now if I take 650 and divide it buy 0.12 that should equal my maximum trailer weight, which is 5,417 lbs. Now I understand that this number is solely based upon tongue wt and other factors apply to my max trailer weight. For instance my manual says that my truck can tow 7000 lbs (with a driver, a full tank of fuel and NOTHING else in the truck). Since 5,417 is less than 7000, it seems that tongue wt a more limiting factor.

Now assuming that that the average couple packs between a 500 and 1000 pounds of stuff into their trailers that I should be looking for a trailer who's dry weight is no more than 4400 lbs.

Lastly, assuming what I've read is correct and tongue weight should be between 9% and 15% afters its loaded, why do trailer manufacturers put the dry tongue wt in the brochure? Isn't it sort of meaning less? Also when shopping for a trailer I guess its good to know the max that a trailer can carry, but the more important number is the weight number shown on the door frame.

So am I on the right track?

donn0128

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Posted: 10/05/18 02:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dont asume a low number to justify a purchase. Always make your asumptions based on worst case. As for your particular case with such low hitch numbers Im guessing you have a smaller SUV? Regardless with this single number I would stick with a tent trailer.


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evanrem

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Posted: 10/05/18 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

if I'm not mistaken tongue weight can be increased with the addition of a WD hitch. I thought I read that somewhere in the Chevy tow guide.

Desert Captain

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Posted: 10/05/18 02:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tongue weight for a conventional TT {Toy haulers are whole different animal due to the extreme rear loading and should have even greater tongue weight} should be approximately 13 percent. Significantly less will cause or at least exacerbate sway which is to be avoided at all costs.

When computing your tongue weight ignore any reference to dry weights as they are worse than useless {see also "dangerous"}. Also, ignore the dry weight of the TT, instead use the TT's GVWR which will be far more accurate than any dry weight.

Simply put, get the rig weighed, adjust the psi of your tires accordingly and compute your towing weights from there. Chances are good that you will never be able to tow anywhere near your TV's rated "towing capacity {another nearly useless number} as you will run out of {TV} payload long before you reach the alleged towing capacity.

Adding a weight distribution hitch does not change your tongue weight numbers or hitch limits except that you now have an additional 100# to add to the equation. Properly set up they transfer {distribute} some of the weight from the rear axle onto the front axle of the TV.

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time2roll

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Posted: 10/05/18 03:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need tongue weight to increase trailer towing stability. As far as weight on the truck you need to stay under GVWR, RGAWR, and FGAWR. The weight distribution hitch will move some tongue weight to the front axle and some back to the trailer axles. Actual weight is what really matters. Generally if the trailer GVWR is within the tow rating you should be fine. If near max do not expect to carry much in the truck bed. On smaller trucks the frontal area can also sap the towing power to buck a headwind. Yes you are on the right track and forget dry weights unless you plan to transport empty trailers to the dealer.


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handye9

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Posted: 10/05/18 04:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's a link to a calculator that may help.

You are pretty much on track.

Note: Tongue weight is not a constant number. It fluctuates during every trip, and, it can be greatly affected by holding tanks. On average, about 12 percent of every pound you load into the trailer, will add to tongue weight. However, that depends on where (in relation to trailer axles) it gets loaded, and what gets loaded. My trailer, for example, has four holding tanks. The black and grey tanks are directly above the axles, and have little to no affect on tongue weight. My galley tank (35 gallons) is far forward of the axles, and adds about 200 lbs on my tongue weight. My fresh water tank (35 gallons) is in the rear end of the trailer. It takes weight off the tongue. During a camping trip, my tongue weight can be anywhere between 975 and 1200 lbs.

If you're NEVER going to tow with water on board, or with loaded holding tanks, you won't need to worry about this much, but, you should be aware of this possibility.


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BeerBrewer

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Posted: 10/05/18 04:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm not sure why the GVWR is so important, other that knowing how much you can pack into the trailer. For instance take to trailers that both have the empty or dry weight, but one can handle 2200 lbs or cargo and the other 1200 lbs doesn't necessarily mean you are going to pack more stuff. So I would think its better to look at the dry weight that is written on the door as a startling point. Oh course I agree that once you've packed the trailer that it should be weighed and checked against the trailers GVWR making sure your within limits....no??

My tow vehicle is 2006 Toyota Tundra and not an SUV. sorry I should have mentioned that.

I agree that the ultimate tongue wt should be based on what the trailer weighs plus what is packed into it and it should be actually weighed. I was just trying to back into an acceptable dry trailer weight, since that is how most are listed. You see I'm finding it impossible to find a used TT that my truck can safely pull....that the wife likes.

My goal was to find a used trailer that my truck can tow, so we can try-out RVing without dropping too much cash. Well that doesn't look possible now.
I wish I had an extra $50,000 so I could buy a new truck.

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Posted: 10/05/18 06:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"DRY WEIGHTS" only exist for that moment in time when the TT rolls off the assembly line never to EVER return again. While manufacturers all play games with their posted weights most do not include the weight of batteries, propane cylinders, AC units, awnings {basically anything that could be considered an option}. Dry weights have absolutely nothing to do with the actual weight of your TT in normal use.

The only person on earth who enjoys using dry weights is the unscrupulous salesman who is trying to sell you more trailer than you can safely tow. Bottom line, NO ONE tows an empty trailer.

Good luck!

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* This post was edited 10/05/18 07:22pm by Desert Captain *

Lwiddis

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Posted: 10/05/18 06:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The upper percentages, 13%, 14% and 15%, provide better sway avoidance. And towing at or near maximums isn’t fun or safe. That’s why the rule is buy or select the TT first then match a TV to it.


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spoon059

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Posted: 10/05/18 07:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

12-15% tongue weight for a good safe ride. Empty weights of a trailer are like lipstick on a pig... worthless.

Manufacturers put a dry weight because they want to sell more trailers. If you think you can haul their trailer, you'll buy it and they get a profit. By the time you figure out its a mistake, they've long since cashed your check.

5400 lbs still lets you buy a popup or a hybrid. Both are perfectly fine campers, as long as you don't want to full time or extended stay in them. Hybrids are NICE, I've got several camping buddies that own them. You get the benefits of a pop up (lighter weight, more ventilation, smaller size in storage or transport) and the benefits of a regular camper (easy set up, BATHROOMS, lots of space, etc).

Do it right the first time and buy an appropriate size camper for your truck. Otherwise you will be uncomfortable towing and quite unhappy. Good luck.


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