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Old 05-26-2018, 04:52 PM   #1
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1987 25' Sovereign
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CAT Scale weigh, Help!

So we finally managed to get the 1987 25' Sovereign to a CAT scale attached to the TV (2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee HEMI w/Factory Tow).

These are the numbers we got:
1st weigh TV with WD connected to Airstream:
Pad 1 (TV and me onboard @ 220bs) 6420 lb
Pad 2 (Both AS axles) 4900 lb. Total 11320 lb.

2nd weigh Tongue on Pad 1 and Airstream on 2, TV on 3 disconnected.
Pad 1 Tongue 1140 lb !!!! The distribution bars were resting next to the tongue base.
Pad 2 AS axles 4660 lb
Pad 3 TV with wife @ 135lb and attached hitch 5420 lb.

I had a cow because AS specifies a hitch weight of 700 lb for the MY and the GC limit is 720 lb.
Also, @ 1140 lb tongue weight is a whopping 20% of total weight.
Is there anything wrong with those numbers?
Help, we may have to move up to a heavy duty just for the payload and tongue weight.
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Old 05-26-2018, 05:13 PM   #2
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Yep, what a shocker. But your TW may be close to published it is likely heavier than 700 alone. See below though.

What you have is called payload. That is whatever you have attached to the front portion of the AS and what you have loaded inside plus the extra’s or aftermarket items you may have. Tank fluids, WD system, etc... is not part of the TW base numbers.

You did not state what you have in or outside of the AS.

I would say you are over the limit with the Jeep GC.

Upgrade time ?
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Old 05-26-2018, 06:14 PM   #3
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Hi

Your trailer is .... errr....30 years old. Is it 100% stock? Has somebody added bigger this or that over the years? ( like bigger batteries).

AS tongue weight numbers over the years have varied from "a bit low" to "way low", when compared to the real world on a loaded trailer. Expecting them to come out right on the money on a "loaded for camping" trailer ... not so much.

For real fun, weight your hitch and bars, also weigh what's in the front of the trailer. I'd bet you come up with a couple hundred pounds that would not be in the AS estimate. Next thing to check: Did AS fill the propane tanks or their estimate in 1987? How big were the stock tanks back then?

To really know what sort of shape your Jeep is in - weight the front and rear axles without the trailer. They weight them again with the trailer hooked up. Compare the numbers you get to the rated numbers on the axles.

Bob
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:08 PM   #4
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CAT scales

To really see what the deal really is you need to have the TV front axle on pad #1, TV rear axle on pad #2, and the trailer axles on pad #3.


Do this 3 times.


Once - all set up as ready to tow.
Again - with WD bars undone
Last - really just need the TV axles on pad #1 and pad #2 - unhitch / drop the trailer on pad #3 (or in the lot somewhere) - you want your TV individual unladen axle weights.


Sounds as if your rear axle may be overloaded....................at a minimum.



What does the TV tire / payload sticker (driver's door frame) have for payload? That includes tongue weight............
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:21 PM   #5
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As noted above you need three weights..👍
TV alone.
TV & AS w/o WD.
TV & AS with WD set for travel, loaded for camping.

Bob
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:04 PM   #6
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One other thing about the tongue weight. It sounds like you weighed the trailer with the trailer jack lowered onto one pad, with the wheels on another pad.

There is a difference between the weight on the jack, and the weight on the hitch ball of your tow vehicle. It's because of the distance between the two. The coupler is a little farther away from the axle, and as a result it sees a little less of the weight.

On my modern trailer, the distance is only 6 or 8 inches, so the weight difference isn't much. How far between the two on your trailer?
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Old 05-27-2018, 06:04 AM   #7
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Trailer is stock, I believe.
Like some else said the propane tanks are the 30lb, but were they loaded or not when AS published the specs?
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:14 AM   #8
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Something seems odd, all right. Our 87 Sovereign TW at a rally loaded for camping came in right at 750#. That’s with full 40# propane tanks.
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sphere Guy View Post
Yep, what a shocker. But your TW may be close to published it is likely heavier than 700 alone. See below though.

What you have is called payload. That is whatever you have attached to the front portion of the AS and what you have loaded inside plus the extra’s or aftermarket items you may have. Tank fluids, WD system, etc... is not part of the TW base numbers.

You did not state what you have in or outside of the AS.

I would say you are over the limit with the Jeep GC.

Upgrade time ?
Yep the constantly present 900# Gorrilla called Payload. People buying into the smaller and lower to the ground will work better.
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Old 05-27-2018, 11:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
As noted above you need three weights..👍
TV alone.
TV & AS w/o WD.
TV & AS with WD set for travel, loaded for camping.

Bob
🇱🇷

... and the AS alone should be at Robert's #1 above & it should have the hitch on th AS- not on the GC - as you stated on your 2nd weighing - i.e.: your hitch & bars need to be complete on the trailer for total TW/HW - unless I misunderstood that you kept your WD Hitch Head coupled to the Tow Bar on the GC. That could be another 20-50 lbs. on the TW/HW not counted in your weighing.



However, and as SSquared said - the TW/HW is out further than the tongue jack, & the actual TW/HW will be a different wt. due to the added length of that fulcrum point at the ball on tow bar point. So you need the weigh the trailer of TW/HW & it's total weight with the complete WD/AS hitch assembly on the trailer.



IMHO you'll be better off getting the TW/HW on a level pad/driveway/street at home with the WD/AS hitch attached as if ready to tow by using a Sherline or similar tongue wt. scale to get the actual complete TW/HW. The tongue scale will be set up to sit under the WD hitch's contact point in the hitch receiver of the TV.



That way you can play around with how & where you load your gear, fill-level of tanks up front vs. behind the axles, etc. to see if you can get a better balance to pull some unneeded wt. off of the hitch. You may be doing a Lucille Ball in "The Long Long Trailer" movie with her rocks & boxes of jam/etc. up in the front of their trailer in the movie - but with your gear - & thereby pushing more wt. on the hitch of the TV.



Also, if you have holding tanks in various points in the trailer (LP, fresh, grey, black), then typically run with some full, !/2, empty etc. - then their locations & fill state (read wt.) can shift the TW/HW around depending upon relative locations to each other & fore & aft of the axles.


Your AS will be significantly more than the factory stated TW/HW, but you can do some adjusting of it by where & how you load & fill-up the trailer's tanks. As others have stated also - if there was significant remodeling - say, if you or a PO used regular heavy construction grade plywood, OSB or particle board for new floors, cabinetry, furniture, etc. - then your AS would be heavier than when new with lighter marine plywood in those items.



For example, our 1960 Avion T20 factory TW/HW is listed in the manuals as only 285#, but it weighs in with the Sherline scale as 545# wet & loaded (no grey tank, black was at 1/4 full at the rear bath behind the singe axle), with full 2x 30# LP, a modified 27 gal poly fresh tank & elec. pump at the front wall (tank lighter than the original 20 gal. with air pump, offset by more water), plus my Tekonsha Prodigy RF brake controller mounted on a 12" x 18" x 1/8" steel plate on the tongue, manual tongue jack (not electric), plus our 160# Hensley Cub WD/AS hitch assembly, & stuff stored under the front dinette. So it just about doubled the TW/HW of the trailer with that 260# weight gain over dry/empty & no options factory TW/HW.



I can probably reduce that TW/HW somewhat when I mount bikes/rack & spare on my T20 bumper, but your tandem axle AS may not get as much fulcrum/see-saw effect out of weight items' movement & changes in fill levels. Check with other owners of the same AS model, plus look into your AS's history on mods, then play with it a bit.


Also on the GC - you need to look at all of the GCWR vs. the actual total of the loaded TV+AS, the GVWR vs. GC Curb Wt. (includes full fuel/fluids & 150# driver) plus you-over-150#+wife/passengers+gear in &/or on the GC+TW/HW, & the same as divided between the F & R axles of the GC on it's GAWR for F & R axles. You have to be within all of those limits - in addition to just the TW/HW & towing capacity ratings of the GC.



Happy Memorial Day & Good Luck!

Tom
///////
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertone139 View Post
So we finally managed to get the 1987 25' Sovereign to a CAT scale attached to the TV (2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee HEMI w/Factory Tow).

These are the numbers we got:
1st weigh TV with WD connected to Airstream:
Pad 1 (TV and me onboard @ 220bs) 6420 lb
Pad 2 (Both AS axles) 4900 lb. Total 11320 lb.

2nd weigh Tongue on Pad 1 and Airstream on 2, TV on 3 disconnected.
Pad 1 Tongue 1140 lb !!!! The distribution bars were resting next to the tongue base.
Pad 2 AS axles 4660 lb
Pad 3 TV with wife @ 135lb and attached hitch 5420 lb.

I had a cow because AS specifies a hitch weight of 700 lb for the MY and the GC limit is 720 lb.
Also, @ 1140 lb tongue weight is a whopping 20% of total weight.
Is there anything wrong with those numbers?
Help, we may have to move up to a heavy duty just for the payload and tongue weight.
There is nothing wrong with the trailer!
There are two primary problems with your methods.
1. Balance - it is up to you to add payload to the trailer correctly, so that tongue weight is what it should be. Balance the load over the axles.
2. The way you measured tongue weight is completely wrong, creating an error in your measurement. When you lifted the hitch above the ball you took weight off of the front trailer axle. That weight from the front axle was redistributed onto the jack foot and the rear axle of the trailer. Think about how a class 2 lever works.

If you would have pulled the tow vehicle forward and let the jack down to level the trailer, the weight would have been lower, much closer to what you expected.
When weighing tongue weight accurately the trailer MUST BE LEVEL so that each axle has about equal load, then either use a scale at the hitch (not the jack foot) or use the three step method at the Cat Scale. Measuring at the jack foot, can be close but is not as accurate as measuring at the ball location.
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertone139 View Post
Trailer is stock, I believe.
Like some else said the propane tanks are the 30lb, but were they loaded or not when AS published the specs?
"30# propane tanks" don't weigh 30 lb, they hold 30 lb of propane.

Steel "30#" cylinders weigh about 24 lb empty, aluminum ones are about 17 (the original tare weight of the empty cylinder is stamped on the collar)
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Old 05-27-2018, 02:34 PM   #13
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Our 1988, 25' Excella, center bath weighs 6300 lbs loaded, adds 800 lbs to the truck weight when hitched, and carries 5500 lbs on the trailer axles. When I weighed I left the hitch receiver on the truck so it did not count in the weight added by the trailer. 2 full propane bottles, 2 batteries, and no spare tire. I have never gotten a tongue weight for the trailer sitting by itself. I think if I were you I would try to do the CAT scales again or/and buy a Sherline scale.
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Old 05-27-2018, 02:50 PM   #14
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I had another thought about the weight-on-jack measurement you have. When you lifted the coupler up above the ball and pulled your truck forward, did you leave the trailer nose-high? If the tongue jack is lifting the trailer above level, especially with older stiffer torsion axles, you may be carrying more weight on the tongue jack and rear axle and less on the front axle than would be the case with the trailer level. This is a possibility in addition to several of the others mentioned (weight method, jack weight vs coupler weight, etc.)
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