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Old 08-30-2019, 06:19 PM   #1
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How to calculate actual tongue weight?

I am considering adding battery(s) up front on my TT and was thinking of how tongue weight is actually calculated. I know as a rule of thumb the tongue weight is a percentage of the TT weight but I would like to know the actual weight. Last year I visited the CAT scale before a trip. The TT was loaded for the trip , less water. Steer axle 2500 lbs; Drive axle 2940 lbs, Trailer axle 3540 lbs - gross weight - 8980 lbs. I should have unhitched and re weighted, but there were a ton of truckers and I didn't want to hold them up. Any way of calculating with numbers supplied? thanks
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:04 PM   #2
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Normally people use truck scale to weigh the truck and trailer. Unfortunately I can't find a scale close enough that will allow RVers to use it. To get around this we kept track of the "stuff" that we packed into the trailer and I purchased my own tongue weight scale from Amazon. It cost me a $133, I felt it was the expense.
(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

I hope this helps!
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYJoe View Post
I am considering adding battery(s) up front on my TT and was thinking of how tongue weight is actually calculated. I know as a rule of thumb the tongue weight is a percentage of the TT weight but I would like to know the actual weight. Last year I visited the CAT scale before a trip. The TT was loaded for the trip , less water. Steer axle 2500 lbs; Drive axle 2940 lbs, Trailer axle 3540 lbs - gross weight - 8980 lbs. I should have unhitched and re weighted, but there were a ton of truckers and I didn't want to hold them up. Any way of calculating with numbers supplied? thanks
Not with only those numbers. Assuming those numbers don't include a weight distribution hitch attached, we would also need the weight of just your tow vehicle. If we had that, we could calculate it for you. If you had WD attached, we'd need the weight without it set up, plus your tow vehicle weight.


Don't worry about truckers waiting for a weigh. They don't own the scales or anything like that. You'll pay the same fees they will pay. They'll wait their turn just like everyone else. I've weighed my set up a dozen times and have never had a trucker waiting to get weighed. I typically just drive onto the scales, get my weight, then carry on my way. It's pretty quick.


Also, as BeerBrewer said, you can get tongue weight scales on Amazon or your favorite online seller. To use them, you just need to be on a relatively level surface and then sit the trailer tongue on the scale.
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:23 PM   #4
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No real way to calculate tongue weight. You have to weigh the rig.

Ken
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYJoe View Post
I am considering adding battery(s) up front on my TT and was thinking of how tongue weight is actually calculated. I know as a rule of thumb the tongue weight is a percentage of the TT weight but I would like to know the actual weight. Last year I visited the CAT scale before a trip. The TT was loaded for the trip , less water. Steer axle 2500 lbs; Drive axle 2940 lbs, Trailer axle 3540 lbs - gross weight - 8980 lbs. I should have unhitched and re weighted, but there were a ton of truckers and I didn't want to hold them up. Any way of calculating with numbers supplied? thanks
Make your own scale to weigh the trailer tongue.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:26 AM   #6
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Thanks, my registration on the TV indicates 4403 lbs. I weighted the components of the WDH and its 85 lbs, say 100 lbs - after seeing a few other threads I think i'm going to try the bathroom scale method. Looks like it's doable.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:03 AM   #7
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Up date: Used the bathroom scale method, water tanks empty but outfitted with equipment, it looks like 724 + 60 for the hitch. (784 lbs). With a full tank of water (840 + 60) 900 lbs. This seems like a lot of weight for a single axle trailer weighing less that 4000 lbs. I figure another 100 -150 lbs when adding food, clothes and stuff int he pickup bed. The TV has a payload capacity of 1600 so I should be ok. Thanks all for your advise.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:51 AM   #8
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Yes, you'll be fine with those wights.


A word of caution though: Your TV might not actually have that much payload capacity. The only way to know what your payload capacity really is would be to weigh it when it's got a full tank of fuel, then subtract that weight from your GVWR. That will give you the real payload capacity by the book.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:40 PM   #9
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Yes, you'll be fine with those wights.


A word of caution though: Your TV might not actually have that much payload capacity. The only way to know what your payload capacity really is would be to weigh it when it's got a full tank of fuel, then subtract that weight from your GVWR. That will give you the real payload capacity by the book.
The payload is determined by the mfgr with a 150# driver and 12/ tank of fuel, NOTHING else in the pickup.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:41 PM   #10
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Make sure to weigh the tongue at its tow height.
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:34 AM   #11
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If you can get to a CAT scale and following the procedure on this site....

https://fifthwheelst.com/

you should be able to determine within a few lbs, your actual tongue weight. Click on the link and when the page opens, look at the top of the page and you will see the 4 Step Weight Safety Plan. Obviously, start with step 1 and work your way through the procedure. This will involve THREE weighs at the scale.
1. Truck only
2. Truck with camper and W.D. hitch fully operational
3. Truck with camper and W.D. hitch released.

On the third one, you do not have to remove the W.D. hitch from the truck, just release the spring tension and leave it attached.

At most CAT scales, you pay $11 or so for the first weight. If you do the other two, within 24hr, the second and third weigh in are $2 each.......for a total of $15. Just make sure you tell them it's a re-weigh so they don't charge you full price for Number 2 and Number 3 weights.
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Old 09-01-2019, 06:48 AM   #12
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The payload is determined by the mfgr with a 150# driver and 12/ tank of fuel, NOTHING else in the pickup.
I wonder why manufacturers calculate payload and towing capacity using different parameters when the payload and towing capacities are so intertwined?

I was never able to find any detailed info on what parameters the manufactures use calculating their payload and GVWR numbers, but I did find and read the J2807 Towing Spec that they all follow. According to it manufacturers must include the weight of a full tank of fuel, 300 lbs for passengers and 100 lbs for hitch weight (hitch wt could be less for passenger vehicles). They also force the manufacturer to include the combined weight of all production installed options that have a projected sales volume of more than 33% and they must comply with EPA rules. So they aren't testing with bare bones vehicles, but it doesn't surprise me one bit that they'd use different standard for payload and towing capacity.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:02 AM   #13
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Are all the manufacturers using J2807 now? They were not several years ago.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BeerBrewer View Post
I wonder why manufacturers calculate payload and towing capacity using different parameters when the payload and towing capacities are so intertwined?

I was never able to find any detailed info on what parameters the manufactures use calculating their payload and GVWR numbers, but I did find and read the J2807 Towing Spec that they all follow. According to it manufacturers must include the weight of a full tank of fuel, 300 lbs for passengers and 100 lbs for hitch weight (hitch wt could be less for passenger vehicles). They also force the manufacturer to include the combined weight of all production installed options that have a projected sales volume of more than 33% and they must comply with EPA rules. So they aren't testing with bare bones vehicles, but it doesn't surprise me one bit that they'd use different standard for payload and towing capacity.

so the yellow door jamb sticker on my '19 ram that says "1324# "for the combined weight of cargo and occupants" really means the combined wt. of cargo and occupants after 300# of passengers and 1/2 tank of fuel ? confusing to me so I use the cat scale wt. with me and 1/2 tank of fuel of 5960# and subtract that from the 7100# max. the mfr gives to come up with 1140# remaining..
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