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Old 11-30-2022, 10:11 AM   #1
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10-15% tongue weight

Is it better to use 10%, 15%, or split the difference and use 12.5% ?

I am guessing the more weight on the tongue decreases the chances of sway, is there a downside to more weight on the tongue?
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Old 11-30-2022, 10:36 AM   #2
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It is an average estimate. You will have to use your own vehicle and trailer to find the sweet spot.

The key being less than 10% you are usually to heavy in the rear which can increase sway. If you are are over 15% it will not hurt anything assuming you are within ratings on your vehicle.

The goal is to have the tow vehicle and trailer both riding level with appropriate weight on each axle. Again this will depend on your combination. This will ensure you do not overload any single axle, give you the best braking and keep your headlights pointing where they should.

While this does not apply very well to camp trailers since they are typically relatively fixed weight, here is how I load my equipment trailers. I will move the load forward just until I see the rear of the truck start to move down.

For my current pick up I have a 20,000 lb rating with a 2000 lb tongue weight. My equipment trailer is rated for 14,000 lbs and weighs about 3000 lbs. I have not idea what the empty tongue weight is, I never weighed it. When I load my RZR (~1300 lbs) I can put it anywhere I want on the that trailer as long as I am not fully behind the axles. I can park it all the way on the front of the trailer giving me well over 25% with no noticeable change in performance and the truck is still close to unloaded ride height. If I load heavier vehicles like cars/tucks/equipment I move just far enough froward to see the rear end of the truck move down.
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:02 AM   #3
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Depends on the trailers axle placement. The farther rearward the less TW needed. Boat trailers can get by easily with 10% even though the bulk of the weight is near the rear with their motors.
TT's really need as much as you can get since most are barely 10% from the factory.
The downside to heavy TW is overloading the OEM recover and the trucks GVWR, CCC or axle rating and needing a bigger truck.
The upside is the TT will generally tow better.
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Old 11-30-2022, 12:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airboss68 View Post
Is it better to use 10%, 15%, or split the difference and use 12.5% ?

I am guessing the more weight on the tongue decreases the chances of sway, is there a downside to more weight on the tongue?
I'll mirror previous comments;

As far as the trailer stability is concerned, the more tongue weight the better.

BUT

You need to know what the impact of that tongue weight is on your tow vehicle. That said, it's a bad idea to reduce tongue weight to deal with a payload shortfall from using an inadequate tow vehicle.


Each trailer is different but I would consider 10% bare minimum and always aim for 12% or more. I'm very happy at 15%


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Old 11-30-2022, 12:51 PM   #5
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Agree - the weak area is the receiver and you do not want to over load it. But more weight in front is usually a lot better. There is a video that shows this. A video is worth 1,000,000 words.

I am seeing trailers with spread axles now for the last 4 to 5 years. Salesman say these trailers tow better. They are probably lying as salesmen should not be believed.

I will look for that video and post it if I can find it. I found this video.

https://youtu.be/06_lbECEqSg
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Old 11-30-2022, 05:37 PM   #6
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Spread axles are a gimmick. Yeah they may help the TT tow better but thats only because most spread axle TT have a 10% or less TW from the factory. What they do in most cases is put the axles close to the center or thereabouts of the TT. That creates a low OEM TW allowing for less capable tow vehicles to tow it. On paper anyways. By spreading the weight of the TT over a longer axle spread in theory it should help the TT track better.
BTDT with a Northtrail back in 2010. Towed like a pig. Factory TW was between 9%-10%. I loaded the crud out of the tongue as much as I could and the TT still wandered back n forth all day long.

Spread axle spacing really put a strain on the axles when in tighter turns like backing into sites or other tighter turning conditions.
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Old 11-30-2022, 05:48 PM   #7
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I agree with how well or easy is it to turn. I can see breaking the suspension on a tight turn. I saw my 5th wheel tires get all whopper jawed when I turned it sharp with a F-450. I can't imagine what that turn would have done with spread axles.
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Old 11-30-2022, 06:13 PM   #8
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And on trailers, not only is tongue weight important, so is axle placement..
Built and towed many trailers and was a trailer dealer (enclosed trailers)
Design and weight placement has a lot to do with handling..

Having seen some trailers with axles placed at 50/50 and towed horrible, Tongue weight wont cure bad design.

using the 40/60 axle placement makes a big difference..

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Old 11-30-2022, 06:43 PM   #9
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Spread axle spacing really put a strain on the axles when in tighter turns like backing into sites or other tighter turning conditions.

I've seen two bumper pulls spread axles bust the chains off the weight distributing hitch while the owner was trying to get backed into their spot. Pretty scary.
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Old 11-30-2022, 08:28 PM   #10
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One thing I will tell you is I think wheelbase is a big deal. I tried to tow a 26.5' travel trailer with a vehicle with a 122" wheelbase and had terrible sway. I switched to a vehicle with a 145" wheelbase and with the exact same set-up the trailer tracked great with zero sway.

One thing I do not know how to equate to better towing is weight of the tow vehicle. The vehicle with the longer wheelbase naturally weighed more. In this case about 1,000 lbs.
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Old 12-01-2022, 08:30 AM   #11
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I've seen two bumper pulls spread axles bust the chains off the weight distributing hitch while the owner was trying to get backed into their spot. Pretty scary.
Damn, that would be scary! Nobody tells these owners that with a WDH, you lose turning radius, or some of them just don't pay attention.
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Old 12-01-2022, 03:05 PM   #12
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Damn, that would be scary! Nobody tells these owners that with a WDH, you lose turning radius, or some of them just don't pay attention.
That's why our "normal process" is for me to remove the bars while the wife checks in at the office. If it's a 30 second check in at the gate, I leave the bars on until I see where I have to back into. If it's tight, I remove the bars before backing.
Always have to remove them before i back into my driveway at home. 90 degrees, narrow street, you know the drill.
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Old 12-01-2022, 03:22 PM   #13
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Depends on the trailers axle placement. The farther rearward the less TW needed. Boat trailers can get by easily with 10% even though the bulk of the weight is near the rear with their motors.
TT's really need as much as you can get since most are barely 10% from the factory.
The downside to heavy TW is overloading the OEM recover and the trucks GVWR, CCC or axle rating and needing a bigger truck.
The upside is the TT will generally tow better.
Trailmanor's are prime examples of axle location and sway. They locate the axle(s) well to the rear of center on the unit, so far back that sway bars are never needed. The caveat is wdh's are usually necessary,, the tongue weight on a 3200 lb camper is knocking on 500 lbs. One can easily handle their campers with a 6 cyl. truck.or properly equipped SUV, but that hitch weight has to be addressed.
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Old 12-02-2022, 07:00 AM   #14
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I view the 10-15% as a target.
You "fire for effect" then adjust accordingly.
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