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Old 02-05-2015, 06:10 PM   #15
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Was searching "across the pond" and found this video on YouTube about trailer balance. It was very educational.
http://youtu.be/9P0ajgaZgDg
Cheers...
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:16 PM   #16
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One needs to be careful putting loads at the rear end of the trailer. We found that despite a 13.4% tongue weight, the 50 amp power cords in the rear storage area caused some tail wiggle. Heavy weights should be best carried over the trailer axles or the the tow vehicle.
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Old 02-06-2015, 10:02 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by switz View Post
One needs to be careful putting loads at the rear end of the trailer. We found that despite a 13.4% tongue weight, the 50 amp power cords in the rear storage area caused some tail wiggle. Heavy weights should be best carried over the trailer axles or the the tow vehicle.
One needs to be careful putting loads at either end of the trailer. Most probably, a heavy tongue weight does not offset the heavy weight of the 50 amp power cords in the rear storage area, but may amplify the "wiggle" towards an uncontrollable sway.

Heavy loads should be concentrated near the trailer axles for stability, and it may be more important for longer trailers. Perhaps this is why Airstream states in the Owners Manual tongue weight "MUST NOT EXCEED 1,000 lbs".
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Old 02-06-2015, 10:37 AM   #18
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Perhaps this is why Airstream states in the Owners Manual tongue weight "MUST NOT EXCEED 1,000 lbs".
I would not worry about an obscure warning in the manual. These manuals are written by marketing/legal teams, not engineers, hence they are meaningless. Has Airstream provided any proof that exceeding the 1000# causes a problem? I will bet you hundreds of people on this forum are exceeding the 1000# rating (just do a search) and I have yet to hear of any problem. I personally consider such warnings fear mongering.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:38 AM   #19
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In my school of thinking I always considered the 10-15% number as a "best practice" used by the trailer industry for trailers with the "A" hitch setup. I really don't believe it has any direct connection to the structural strength or limitations of the trailer frame components. It has more to do with balance and the ability of the trailer to be stable when towing.

Now on the other hand hitch weight does have a relationship to the TV hitch components and for all intents that number has some direct safety ramifications if exceed.

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Old 02-06-2015, 12:30 PM   #20
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The Airstream a-frame has relative strength. Not the same as a full frame trailer. Will depend on year and model etc. don't push luck IOW
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:20 PM   #21
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My concern is not so much the effect of heavy loading on the strength of the A-frame, although that is certainly a consideration, but rather the effect of heavy loading at either or both ends of the trailer on yaw stability (sway).

Simply put, a heavy load moving sideways, and pivoting on the axles, at the ends of the trailer is harder to reverse than a lighter load. At some point, under certain other conditions, it may become uncontrollable sway.

I don't know why my Airstream Owners Manual states tongue weight "MUST NOT EXCEED 1,000 lbs but it's a goal I try to achieve, with stability under adverse conditions in mind.
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Old 02-06-2015, 02:15 PM   #22
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My wild guess is that it would have more to do with the strength of the coupler than anything else. The frames seem pretty stout unless there is severe rust issues. It could also be as simple is the porpoising is much harder to control with extreme tongue weights.
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Old 02-06-2015, 03:25 PM   #23
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Is it safe if the trailer's hitch weight is more than 15% of it's total weight?
There is no "one" correct answer to your question since there are many different types of trailer construction. Some of the old trailers have a single pipe down the center for the tongue. Other trailers "A" frames vary from 3" chanel to 5" tubes, or heavier material. A thousand pounds of payload may bend the frame in one trailer and be perfectly fine in another.

The only failures of frames that I have seen have been cracks in metal or welds pulling loose. I suppose most of these failures have been primarily caused from overloading, thought some are undoubtedly from other types of abuse.

I would recommend following the manufacturers written instructions, rather than taking the advice of us trailer jockeys.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:01 AM   #24
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The 10,000 pound GVW of the Classic would imply support for up to 1,500 pounds of tongue weight if the industry suggested 15% rule is applied.

When I towed the new empty Classic to our storage unit from the dealer's lot (about 20 miles on secondary roads to allow for much lower speeds), the trailer was really wiggly despite full propane tanks and basically no fluids in the water related tanks.

For that trip, I had an adjustable height ball for the trailer on the truck as the ProPride was still enroute to my location and I did not trust the dealer to install the ProPride.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:12 AM   #25
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The 10,000 pound GVW of the Classic would imply support for up to 1,500 pounds of tongue weight if the industry suggested 15% rule is applied.
But your Airstream Owners Manual doesn't support that suggested 15% rule, on the contrary it states:

"Warning: The tongue weight should he approximately 10%
of the trailer’s total weight, but MUST NOT EXCEED 1,000 lbs."
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:13 PM   #26
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But your Airstream Owners Manual doesn't support that suggested 15% rule, on the contrary it states:

"Warning: The tongue weight should he approximately 10%
of the trailer’s total weight, but MUST NOT EXCEED 1,000 lbs."
I believe the manual also states:

"Equalizing Hitch Load Distribution
--
When a trailer is hitched up properly to a tow vehicle with a load equalizing hitch, approximately 1/3 of the trailer’s tongue weight will be on the trailer’s axles and 2/3 will be transferred to the tow vehicle, 1/3 of this weight transfer will be carried by the front wheels and 1/3 by the rear wheels of the tow vehicle (See diagram), ---"
--
I would tend to disregard both the 10% specification and the 1/3, 1/3,1/3 distribution.
IMO, neither of them is based on good towing stability principles.
--
However, I would follow the "MUST NOT EXCEED 1,000 lbs" specification.
So if one wanted to tow with 15% tongue weight percentage, the TT's GVW would need to be limited to 1000/0.15 = 6667#.
--
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:50 PM   #27
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Trailer hitch weight limit of 1000# is religion to some but others consider it a recommendation and concern themselves with payload, tow ratings and GCWR.
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