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Old 06-15-2003, 08:14 PM   #1
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Question Tongue weight, how determine?

A week ago, I picked up an abused '73 Sovereign. It came sans the WD bars, although it has the attachments on the two parts of the tongue "A-frame" to attach bars. There is an anti-sway bar, but nothing on my hitch to which to clamp it. I have an F250 Super Duty 4x4. I used a straight (no drop down) bar with a 2 5/16" ball. The trailer and truck were level...and I drove the 70 miles to my house -- carefully. I stopped after thirty miles at the first tire store on my route to put four new tires on it, 'cause the two on the front axle were riding on the bias ply!
I have two questions (for now): How do you determine the tongue weight? Are pieces and parts of old WD hitches available, or should I be thinking an entirely new rig.
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Old 06-15-2003, 08:45 PM   #2
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It should be 10-15% of the total weight of the Airstream. One way to do it is pull it onto a scale and weigh the trailer by itself. Then hook it up, and weigh just the tandem axles of the trailer. Subtract the tandem weight from the total weight and that's your tongue weight.

Camping World has a special tongue weight scale for around $79.

I have the same A/S as you and I think mine is around 650#.

Unless you can find used parts, it is cheaper to buy a whole new hitch. Buying parts and building cost more.
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Old 06-15-2003, 09:04 PM   #3
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Airstream has a page on their website with factory weights - http://www.airstream.com/airstream/p.../weights-1.pdf

Note the pdf estension. You need Adobe acrobat reader to load it.

According to them, the '73 Sovereign (31') has a tongue weight of 485 or 490 lbs (rear bath twin or double), or an incredible 695 or 730 lbs (center bath, twin or double).

I presume these to be dry weights.

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Old 06-15-2003, 09:46 PM   #4
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I agree with everything that has been posted here. My only .02 is that the tongue weight should be in most cases closer to the 10%. As it is now, almost 500lbs is a pretty substanial weight when towing 5000lbs. 750lbs (being 15%) seems a bit high for me. Then again, I am kind of conserv...

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Old 06-17-2003, 09:41 AM   #5
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Thanks all,
Looks like I need to scrap the remaining pieces of hitch and buy a new one in the 500# range. I appreciate your replies.
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Old 06-17-2003, 01:08 PM   #6
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You really want to look into 750# bars. If you run a hitch weight too close the limit of the tow bars, they have no overrun capacity to cover the added load when the trailer and the tow vehicle dip in relation to each other such as in a bump or dip in the road. Running with tow bars that are way over the actual hitch weight will make for a VERY uncomfortable ride in the tow vehicle.

A good rule of thumb is about 250# over the posted hitch weight. My Bambi is listed at 500# hitch on a 4500# Gross Trailer weight and I tow with 750# bars adjusted just over 1/2 way up thier max travel. This levels the rig, loads the torsion bars and makes a nice ride.

I also agree that buying a new hitch would be the way to go. You don't know the history of the hitch and as has been mentioned, the cost between parts and a whole new one, can be minimal or even less.

Good luck
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Old 06-17-2003, 04:45 PM   #7
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Lightbulb

Good point, David. I plan on converting this trailer to all-electric. Occasionally (rarely), I will probably want to put my 5000 watt Coleman generator on the tongue, where the propane bottles now sit. Thus, I need to prepare for the added weight on the tongue/hitch for those occasions. Thanks again.
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