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Old 03-01-2016, 05:22 PM   #1
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Tongue weight

Someone once said there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers. I may put that to the test here. I am confused. Lets say a trailer weight is 4800, with a capacity of 1200, bringing the total to 6000. Tongue weight 480 pounds with no load. Optimum tongue weight 10-15 %. That would be from 600 to 900 pounds. So-----I load the trailer and the tongue weight is 600. Ok so far??. if I use a WD hitch, I am taking some weight off the TV, so the actual amount of weight on the TV would be less than the 600. Does the 10-15% actually mean how much weight you are putting on the TV, or does it mean the weight before a WD hitch? In the example above, would one use a hitch with only SC and not any WD, or WD and SC? I have researched a lot of the forum threads about hitches, etc, but have not found one that answers my not stupid question. Thanks all your experts.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:10 PM   #2
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I would say it has everything to do with your TV.
How much does it squat without WD?
Is the hitch height correct? With and without WD.
Are you using 600 pound spring bars on the WD?
Is this a tandem axle trailer?
Is the trailer loaded tongue heavy? Better if it is to a point.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:11 PM   #3
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Weight distributing hitch takes weight off rear axle and puts it on the steering axle, instead of 900 lbs on rear axle , you tighten the hitch and put say 400 lbs on the steer and have 500 on the rear, keeping everything level is the name of the game....
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:31 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone-Looking at a Serenity 23FB. I have no tow bars yet, looking at the ProPride P3. That would be four tires on trailer. So, if I am reading right, lets use the 900 pound example, it would leave the weight on the tongue of the trailer, just distribute some of it to front axel of TV? That stands to reason. I know part of the setup is to make sure everything is level. Will be pulling with 2013 F-150 EcoBoost.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:56 PM   #5
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Here is how I understand it: Tongue weight is constant and does not change with the application of weight distribution bars. What the bars do is change the effect of tongue weight on front and rear axles. Hence, tongue weight of your trailer should be 10% to 15% of your gross trailer weight BEFORE the application of weight distribution bars.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:27 PM   #6
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WD takes weight from the tv rear axle and moves it to the tv front axle and the trailer axle. So the tv ends up loaded slightly less than the actual tongue weight of the trailer when the weight bars are tightened.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:49 PM   #7
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If you go with a Propride or Hensley, you add about 100#s over most other weight distribution hitches. The force projection hitches weigh 160-180 lbs. The 23FB starts at less than 500 on the tongue, but builds quickly to 600+ as you add water, gear and the hitch. If you assume 600, that makes the trailer 5400. Add 160 for the hitch and that makes the total 760. If 20% goes to the trailer rear axle, that is still about 600/5700 and gives you higher than 10%. A 10% ratio is supposed to give you a stability speed of 65 mph, which is the maximum the Goodyear Marathon tires are rated to handle. Then if the general consensus is correct, you have that force projection hitch to eliminate the sway under all but the most extreme conditions. Good luck with your investigations. Pat
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:11 PM   #8
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We reused our Hensley Arrow from the traded in 2013 25FB when we acquired the 2015 23D in July 2015 (the trailer was built in the last week of September 2014). The listed tongue weight in the Airstream literature is 720 pounds. After extensive modifications and the Hensley installed, the tongue weight is now 968 pounds. That is just under 16% of the actual total loaded weight for camping with everything including the kitchen sink.

It tows well behind the same tow vehicle we initially used for the 25FB, a 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI diesel. The 25FB numbers were excessive for the Mercedes ratings when the 25FB was loaded for camping. We acquired a 2012 Ram 2500HD with Cummins which is now towing the 2014 31' Classic using a ProPride hitch.

The Hensley Arrow was Jim Hensley's first design, the second design is the ProPride. The ProPride is easier in some ways to use, but was not really on the market when we acquired the 25FB in October of 2012.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoWhereTowed View Post
Someone once said there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers. I may put that to the test here. I am confused. Lets say a trailer weight is 4800, with a capacity of 1200, bringing the total to 6000. Tongue weight 480 pounds with no load. Optimum tongue weight 10-15 %. That would be from 600 to 900 pounds. So-----I load the trailer and the tongue weight is 600. Ok so far??. if I use a WD hitch, I am taking some weight off the TV, so the actual amount of weight on the TV would be less than the 600. Does the 10-15% actually mean how much weight you are putting on the TV, or does it mean the weight before a WD hitch? In the example above, would one use a hitch with only SC and not any WD, or WD and SC? I have researched a lot of the forum threads about hitches, etc, but have not found one that answers my not stupid question. Thanks all your experts.
The definition of tongue weight is the weight of the trailer's tongue where it bears on the hitch ball, nothing else. Google it.

Tongue weight is not the amount of load on the vehicle.

The load on the tow vehicle, I call it hitch receiver load, consists of trailer tongue weight + weight of the hitch ball + the weight of the hitch ball platform + the portion of weight of the sway control that is not permanently attached to the trailer.

PP and HH type hitches are attached to the trailer, so I suppose there could be an exception, those type hitches are considered part of the trailer's tongue weight. BUT, the definition says "where it bears on the hitch ball".

No matter how you distribute the tongue weight, tongue weight is always constant.

There is another issue when you select the weight distribution bars. Weight of cargo that is loaded behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle should be added to the hitch load to determine the correct strength of the weight distribution bar.

add edit:
Most tow vehicles' owners manual call the load on the hitch "tongue weight". Trailer manufacturers call the weight of the trailer tongue "tongue weight", but do not address the weight of the hitch ball and platform or weight distribution. Different things that are called the same thing. That's what makes it confusing.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:22 PM   #10
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Thank you all very much. Lots of great information here. Very helpful in helping to solve my question
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