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Old 01-15-2014, 04:32 AM   #1
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Load distribution balancing to achieve tongue weight

I am in the process of setting my travel trailer up for solar power. I just ordered two 240 watt pannels, a charge controller, inverter and two 200AH AGM batteries.

my question for the trailering gurus is this, what happens if my tounge weight is greater than the 15% reccomended ?

depending upon where I locate my batteries, my tounge weight could go up by as much as 200 lbs.

This is not an issue IRT to the truck itself, as it will not make me go over my payload or gross vehicle weight rating, gross combined weight rating, rear axle gross weight rating, maximum loaded trailer weight rating, or maximum tounge weight for my reciever.

How would it affect handling if the tounge weight went up by another 5 or 6% to 21% total? will it adversely affect handling, trailer sway etc.? ccurently the trailer handles well pulls easy with the F150

I would rather mount the batteries on a welded steel frame on the tounge, but if its going to through the handling out of whack, then I will have to locate them elsewhere.

comments???
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:13 AM   #2
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More is better. Handling will probably improve.

Bruce
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:42 AM   #3
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More is not always better.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:47 AM   #4
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More is not always better.
I didn't say that. In this case, it appears to be.

Bruce
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:02 AM   #5
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More is better to a point. That amount shouldn't hurt. Do a temporary install and take the trailer for a drive. If it still pulls good go for it, if not find some other place for the batteries.

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Old 01-15-2014, 11:38 AM   #6
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Are you saying you are already at 15%? Have you weighed your TT? What is the length and weight of the trailer?

It's always stated that you should be between 10-15%. Being too low has obvious consequences like potential dangerous sway. I couldn't find anything by googling that would say why being over 15% is a problem, other than saying it's harder on the TV brakes, suspension and drivetrain and can cause handling problems but there's no further or detail info. Assuming you don't exceed the TV payload capacity, the receiver rating isn't exceeded, have correctly sized WDH spring bars, have the WDH adjusted to restore weight back to the steer axle, blah, blah, another percentage point or two may be okay.

Some of the larger TTs have tongue wts. around 17%. Our 29' TT with a 7K lb. GVWR has a tongue wt. slightly under 15%. Our fresh water tank is under the pass-through at the front. A full load of water would be 320+ lbs. and put us over 15% and that's with just one battery up front and basic camping stuff, sewer stuff, etc. We are also only 200 lbs. under the GVWR. A full tank of water would also put us over the GVWR. A 2nd battery would cut into the remaining CCC.

So, if you haven't, I would load up your TT as you would for camping and go to a scale. Then calculate your tongue % and also compare the actual TT wt. to the GVWR so you know exactly where you're at. You wouldn't want to exceed the GVWR. You can also check the actual payload capacity of your F150 at the same time.

One option might be to install the batteries inside closer to the axles using vented battery boxes or sealed batteries (under dinette seating, in bathroom lower cabinet, etc.). I've also read about some owners mounting the batteries under the frame just ahead of the axles. But then, this could force you to add a lot more copper depending on how you run the wiring.

Perhaps getting a Sherline tongue scale would help to keep an eye on it.

Some say you can load your trailer up heavier towards the front or rear to bias the weight. But in reality, I think that's easier said than done.

I'd really like to hear someone say why being over 15% is a problem because I've wondered about that and never seen any real explanation.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:58 AM   #7
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I would add tongue weight before tail weight, which can cause sway. Have fun.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:35 PM   #8
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Do you have any sort of load distribution hitch fitted?
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:29 PM   #9
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ALLCON,

thanks for the replys and thoughts Sorry I am several time zones different from you so my answers and replies will be a little late.

To answer some of the questions that were posed: the trailer weights have all been checked on a local scrap yard scale and compared to the vehicles ratings per a TT weight calculator that I found on this forum. and as stated in the first post nothing will be exceeded with my full load out for camping.

trailer weight loaded for bear 3293 lbs
weight of solar cells, batteries and charge controller/inverter 308 lbs
estimated weight of aluminum rack for solar panels 30 lbs
estimated weight of steel rack for batteries 40 lbs

If I put the batteries on the tounge, the tounge weight will rise to approximately 20%. Without actually mounting the batteries i will not know the actual tounge weight, but the current tounge weight + the 200 lbs for the batteries (weight of batteries with weight estimated for a steel rack). would put it at 20% give or take

The only questions i cannot answer is the length of the trailer. This is a european trailer and its length is not listed in feet or meters in the name. If I measure the box of the trailer then it is a 14' trailer if I measure from the very back of the trailer to the very tip of the tounge then it is a 19' trailer.

WDH currently I have not been using one and the trailer tows smoothly up to 75 MPH. It is one of the things I was considering getting if needed with the addition of the solar system.

So far 2 months into my first travel trailer I have towed it from Yokosuka to Osaka (about 400 miles) with some friends to "test" my new TT out. It towed fine, even when crossing the hakone mountain range area, no wiggle/sway, no bouncing or jumping. My average tow speed was 60 MPH, with a couple of runs up to 75 to test handling and tracking.

sory at work now will continue this later.

Ken
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:50 PM   #10
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If when you do get it all together and there is the merest hint of instability, the only thing to do is to stop and sort out what is wrong. Recent thread here (I think) about a member writing off his TT because the balance was all wrong and the tow vehicle not a good match for the TT
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:00 PM   #11
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For a 19' tt do you have a single axle or two?
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:48 PM   #12
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I would say with the amount of tongue weight you will have (in lbs.) you really need to use a WDH. Without one, with that amount of wt. hanging out the back of the truck, it will make the front of the truck light and combined with a nose-heavy trailer, it may be potentially unsafe.
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:18 PM   #13
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Sorry out skiing for the last couple of days

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superslif View Post
For a 19' tt do you have a single axle or two?

Superslif,

Single axel

That is part of the question, do you measure a trailers length by the length of the box, or by total length including tounge?

Its a european made unit, and when I bought it there was no "length" listed in the name or description, so I measured the total length 19` and if you subtract the tounge length, then its 15`

kenn
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by myredracer View Post
I would say with the amount of tongue weight you will have (in lbs.) you really need to use a WDH. Without one, with that amount of wt. hanging out the back of the truck, it will make the front of the truck light and combined with a nose-heavy trailer, it may be potentially unsafe.

MyRR,

then I should probably make a battery box, mount it, load the trailer with all items and then test drive it. If need be then get a WDH.

Thanks
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