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Old 04-23-2013, 01:40 PM   #1
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Low factory tongue weight

Our new trailer has a factory UVW of 5,237 lbs and factory (ie., "dry") hitch weight of 514 lbs. I have not seen these figures on a label on the trailer anywhere and they come from the brochure. I have not had our TV and trailer into a scale yet so don't know actual numbers.

The tongue weight is slightly under 10% which is on the low side of the recommended percentage of UVW of 10-15%. The axles on the trailer are noticeably set back in the fore/aft direction and I would expect the tongue weight to be more than the published amount. We have a rear kitchen. Maybe this partly accounts for this? Of course, the tongue weight will be a bit higher after the propane tanks and battery (we have one) are mounted.

Am wondering if our tongue weight is detrimental at all to the handling of the trailer? This is how the factory designed it though.

I have noticed a lot of bounce in the rear, especially compared to our last TT. Things in the cabinets & drawers get bounced all over, just on a short 30 minute trip. We have Equa-flex suspension and am not sure if this improves the bouncing or perhaps makes it worse? Am thinking about possibly adding shock absorbers but am not sure how the trailer will behave in view of the low tongue weight. I don't see how we could load our TT differently to shift weight to the front if we wanted to because I can't see much weight in the food, dishes, clothes, etc.

The spring bars in our WDH are rated 800 lbs. Does this in any way affect the bounce of the trailer at the rear?
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:21 PM   #2
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Light tongue weight is going to make it want to bounce around on your ball.
Question: where is the storage on your trailer? I am wondering (not knowing the trailer) if they have the storage such that it adds weight to the tongue.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:42 PM   #3
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Good point, the pass-through storage is in the front. Not much weight - BBQ, folding chairs, outdoor carpet, hose, and some smaller odds and ends. The leverage effect adds more weight to the tongue than if were closer to the axles. The battery and 2 tanks are much heavier than the items in the pass-through I would think. A trip to the scales will tell all.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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The weights in brochures are based on estimates by engineers. There should be a tag that has the actual weights when the trailer was shipped from the factory. My 5er has a silver tag near the door where the control switch is for the front landing jacks. I also have a sticker inside one of the kitchen cabinets. Take a look around the inside of all your cabinets for this sticker.

Also, unloaded weight is a useless number unless you plan on never putting anything into the trailer. For weight calculations, I suggest you use the GVWR of the trailer as that is the maximum weight allowed for your trailer.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myredracer View Post
Of course, the tongue weight will be a bit higher after the propane tanks and battery (we have one) are mounted.
You cannot tell what's going on until after you have the propane tanks full and the battery(ies) mounted on/in the trailer. We also haul at least a few gallons of fresh water so we can flush the pottie when on the road. After you have the truck and trailer wet and loaded for the road, then two trips though the CAT scale - one with the wet and loaded trailer and one without the trailer - will give you all the info you need to compute gross trailer weight and percentage of wet and loaded hitch weight.

If your percent of hitch weight winds up at less than 12% of gross trailer weight, then the first thing I'd do is move that heavy toolbox full of tools to the "basement" storage area in the front of the trailer. Also move that floor jack to the basement. You do haul a floor jack, in case of a flat on the trailer, right? I also haul a 2'x3' piece of 3/4" thick plywood to use as a jack base in case I have to change a trailer tire in a wet and muddy barrow ditch. More than 30 years RVing experience taught me a few things.

Quote:
Am wondering if our tongue weight is detrimental at all to the handling of the trailer? This is how the factory designed it though.
Tongue weight definitely affects handling of a TT. You want a minimum of 10% and preferably 12% or more wet and loaded hitch weight before you hook up the spring bars of your weight-distributing hitch. But don't be guessing what it might be until you have the trailer wet and ready for the road. Then the CAT scale can tell you where you stand.

Quote:
The spring bars in our WDH are rated 800 lbs. Does this in any way affect the bounce of the trailer at the rear?
Yes, if you don't have the spring bars adjusted to put about 25% of the wet and loaded tongue weight on the front axle of the tow vehicle and another 25% of the tongue weight on the trailer axles, leaving about 50% of the tongue weight on the rear axle of the tow vehicle.

The 800-pounds rating of your spring bars sounds about perfect for your TT that has a dry weight of 5,237. With 12% wet and loaded hitch weight, that gives you a max wet and loaded trailer weight of up to 6,667 pounds before you'd need to buy heavier spring bars for your hitch. And I suspect your trailer is not going to gross over 6,667 when wet and loaded for the road.

But use a tongue weight scale, or two trips across the CAT scale, to determine tongue weight. Truck GVW = weight on the two truck axles. Truck GVW with the trailer minus truck GVW without the trailer = tongue weight (hitch weight).

Trailer axle weight plus tongue weight = gross trailer weight.

Be sure your wet and loaded tongue weight is at least 10% of the wet and loaded gross trailer weight.

If your wet and loaded tongue weight is not distributed about 25/50/25, then read up on how to adjust your WD hitch to get closer to those ideals.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:22 PM   #6
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I finally found the factory UVW and hitch weights on the back of a cabinet door - 5,480 & 580 lbs. So that already makes the tongue percentage a little better. We have elec. stab. jacks and elec. tongue jack so that will have increased the trailer weight a bit. I am planning on installing a trailer tongue box in the front so that will add some weight. Will have the sewer fittings, chocks and other misc. "dirty" stuff in it. The only outside storage is the standard pass-through up front. Am missing the small extra outside compartment our last TT had.

No floor jack. Could get one in there at the moment with the lego blocks and sewer stuff. Do have a couple of bottle jacks though.

Am definitely planning a trip to a CAT scale. Have the procedure all figured out. Read here the other day that the call button can be really high and making a 6' long pole can really help. Looking forward to seeing what the actual payload of our truck is as well.
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