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Old 06-18-2013, 10:10 AM   #1
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1982 34' Limited
Harrowsmith , Ontario
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How's my weight distribution?

I visited the local CAT scale Friday evening and got these results:
Steer axle: 3120 lbs
Drive axle: 3340 lbs
Trailer axles: 4980 lbs

I'm using a Reese Dual Cam with 500lb bars. As you can see, the front axle is a bit lighter than the rear but I'm not sure if it is enough to worry about.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Brad
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:35 AM   #2
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Need more info........

Do you have the TV axle weights with WD off and just the TV axle weights with no trailer attached?
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
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Hi there BradB. I'm no expert (which is why I'm having a lot of fun flaunting my Rivet Master status which basically means I'm a bit of a blow hard in this forum) :-) but I'm not afraid to share an uninformed opinion which is likely to have questionable value! Now that the intro is out of the way.....

It's hard to know what those numbers mean in isolation. Is that set of numbers a single weighing ticket with your TV and TT hooked up w/WD applied? I think you need to compare that with a few other measures to know what's actually happening.

Take this with a grain of salt (ref. my intro!) but i think you also need to know your TV weights without the trailer attached (steer and drive axles), the weights of your TV and TT without WD applied to see how the tongue weight affects your rig, then with WD applied, possibly in multiple increments (whether more/less chain links or jack adjustments depending in your hitch).

With those you can start to see specifically where you're moving weight and how much - are you restoring the TV's front axle close to its original weight without the trailer, etc.

If you can, post pics of the ticket(s) you have from the scales and you'll get some terrific insights from folks much smarter than me!

Last - to my eye, your photo of your rig looks like the nose of the trailer is a little high such that your trailer isn't level when towing (or being weighed at the scales). That can skew things too but I know photos don't always really represent what's happening. When connected, measure each corner of the trailer from the belly pan to the ground (assuming you're in level ground) and see how close you are at all 4 corners.

Keep working at it! I'm still trying to dial mine in. I'm not "wedded" to the numbers, but it's actually a bit of a fun challenge for me to try to get this right and to understand how different pieces affect the whole system. Good luck!
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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Afraid I don't, all I got was the entire rig. I'll work on getting that done shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7GenTex View Post
Do you have the TV axle weights with WD off and just the TV axle weights with no trailer attached?
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:47 AM   #5
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Here's the ticket, I'll have to get another with just the TV it seems. This was initially an exercise in getting the trailer registered and plated which has proven to be far more difficult than I had expected. To get a plate, they wanted it weighed - now how was I supposed to take it anywhere without a plate I'd like to know !

Ticket is TV and trailer together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Hi there BradB. I'm no expert (which is why I'm having a lot of fun flaunting my Rivet Master status which basically means I'm a bit of a blow hard in this forum) :-) but I'm not afraid to share an uninformed opinion which is likely to have questionable value! Now that the intro is out of the way.....

It's hard to know what those numbers mean in isolation. Is that set of numbers a single weighing ticket with your TV and TT hooked up w/WD applied? I think you need to compare that with a few other measures to know what's actually happening.

Take this with a grain of salt (ref. my intro!) but i think you also need to know your TV weights without the trailer attached (steer and drive axles), the weights of your TV and TT without WD applied to see how the tongue weight affects your rig, then with WD applied, possibly in multiple increments (whether more/less chain links or jack adjustments depending in your hitch).

With those you can start to see specifically where you're moving weight and how much - are you restoring the TV's front axle close to its original weight without the trailer, etc.

If you can, post pics of the ticket(s) you have from the scales and you'll get some terrific insights from folks much smarter than me!

Last - to my eye, your photo of your rig looks like the nose of the trailer is a little high such that your trailer isn't level when towing (or being weighed at the scales). That can skew things too but I know photos don't always really represent what's happening. When connected, measure each corner of the trailer from the belly pan to the ground (assuming you're in level ground) and see how close you are at all 4 corners.

Keep working at it! I'm still trying to dial mine in. I'm not "wedded" to the numbers, but it's actually a bit of a fun challenge for me to try to get this right and to understand how different pieces affect the whole system. Good luck!
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #6
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Without empty weights on the truck the scale tickets don't mean much. However from the picture you are far better off then most.

Just to check one more thing I would measure the trailer frame height front and rear. If they are within 1/2 in. that is about as close as any hitch head will get you. The thing to remember is tongue high equals heaver tongue weight and tongue low equals lower tongue weight. You do not want to be lower in the front. This is a function of the Airstream axle type.

A quick means of checking the truck with another trip to the scales is to measure the fender height down through the center of the wheel and mark that height on a piece of masking tape on the fender while hitched. Now unhitch and remeasure. When unhitched the front fender does not want to be noticeably lower than when hitched. If it is say more than a 1/4 lower you may want to tighten up on the WD bars. What you are after here is not to remove so much weight off the front axle as to effect the steering geometry of the truck while towing.

After a second look.

Your bars look to have NO Load on them at all and they are up TOO close to the frame. Tilt the hitch head rearward to push the bars lower at the trailing end gaining additional chain links between them and the frame. The bars should have some bend to them if the are transferring any load to the front axle of the truck. This is not a 5 min. job so be prepared for some work.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:29 PM   #7
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Nice rig. I am a little surprised that a 31' is that light on the axles.

I agree with Howie. You probably need to go through the Reese setup procedure using front fender heights to adjust your WD. Reese calls for 5 links between the chain holders and the bar. I have my hitch head tilted all the way back and use 4 links because I need a little more WD. Your truck looks a little up at the front to me, but hard to tell. You will need some big wrenches or sockets and a cheater bar.

Weight is good. But hard to get. Use the fender distances first to set it up, then check the WD on the scales if you want.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:26 AM   #8
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Thanks. It tows very nicely, hardly even know it's there!

I'll take it to a flat parking lot this weekend and do some measuring to see what's up. Then I'll see what the hitch needs based on that.

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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
Nice rig. I am a little surprised that a 31' is that light on the axles.

I agree with Howie. You probably need to go through the Reese setup procedure using front fender heights to adjust your WD. Reese calls for 5 links between the chain holders and the bar. I have my hitch head tilted all the way back and use 4 links because I need a little more WD. Your truck looks a little up at the front to me, but hard to tell. You will need some big wrenches or sockets and a cheater bar.

Weight is good. But hard to get. Use the fender distances first to set it up, then check the WD on the scales if you want.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:28 AM   #9
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HowieE - just to be clear about "you do not want to be lower in the front" - are you meaning the front of the truck or the tongue of the trailer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
Without empty weights on the truck the scale tickets don't mean much. However from the picture you are far better off then most.

Just to check one more thing I would measure the trailer frame height front and rear. If they are within 1/2 in. that is about as close as any hitch head will get you. The thing to remember is tongue high equals heaver tongue weight and tongue low equals lower tongue weight. You do not want to be lower in the front. This is a function of the Airstream axle type.

A quick means of checking the truck with another trip to the scales is to measure the fender height down through the center of the wheel and mark that height on a piece of masking tape on the fender while hitched. Now unhitch and remeasure. When unhitched the front fender does not want to be noticeably lower than when hitched. If it is say more than a 1/4 lower you may want to tighten up on the WD bars. What you are after here is not to remove so much weight off the front axle as to effect the steering geometry of the truck while towing.

After a second look.

Your bars look to have NO Load on them at all and they are up TOO close to the frame. Tilt the hitch head rearward to push the bars lower at the trailing end gaining additional chain links between them and the frame. The bars should have some bend to them if the are transferring any load to the front axle of the truck. This is not a 5 min. job so be prepared for some work.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:45 AM   #10
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Brad

your trailer should sit level or just slightly higher than level. You do not want the tongue lower this places more weight on the front trailer axle and will contribute to sway.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
The thing to remember is tongue high equals heaver tongue weight and tongue low equals lower tongue weight. You do not want to be lower in the front. This is a function of the Airstream axle type.
This is completely unintuitive to me. I would have thought the opposite: trailer leaning "forward" with the front end of the trailer lower than the rear, would put more weight on the tongue.

Can someone explain this? It might help explain a couple of other things for me -- for instance, why I'm measuring a different tongue weight (much heavier) than I think I should be. I'd like to understand the mechanics behind this.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:28 PM   #12
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With most trailers your thought would be correct. Airstreams do not use a spring set that equalizes the weight between the axles rather each axle is completely independent. Thus if the trailer in lower in the front end weight is removed from the rear axle and thus that weight has to be carried somewhere. All of it on the front axle and with the rear end hanging out there some will be removed from the tongue adding even more to the front axle.

This is why it is very important to have an Airstream running level. Either deviation, higher or lower will cause poor results.
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