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Old 10-29-2007, 12:25 PM   #1
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Tongue Weight

As part of my review of my rigs towing configuration I have started to think more about the tongue weight. I know that having to little tongue weight will contribute to instability towing. What is less clear to me is if additional weight is problematic (assuming an adequate weight distribution system).

In reading old threads, I found one story about where the ice cooler was located impacting tow quality. I would prefer to be rigged up so that such a small change in cargo would not impact me. For example, just changing the amount of water in my fresh water tank (located in the front) might make a considerable difference...... On the other hand, if I intentionally kept the front heavy would that cause other problems that I am not thinking of?
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
As part of my review of my rigs towing configuration I have started to think more about the tongue weight. I know that having to little tongue weight will contribute to instability towing. What is less clear to me is if additional weight is problematic (assuming an adequate weight distribution system).

In reading old threads, I found one story about where the ice cooler was located impacting tow quality. I would prefer to be rigged up so that such a small change in cargo would not impact me. For example, just changing the amount of water in my fresh water tank (located in the front) might make a considerable difference...... On the other hand, if I intentionally kept the front heavy would that cause other problems that I am not thinking of?
The heavier the tongue weight, to a point, the better.

In your case, traveling full of water (30 gallons= 240 pounds) plus full LPG tanks (60 to 80 pounds) is a plus asset.

If your trailer, 68-24 had a tongue weight of about 700 plus pounds, it would tow like a dream, "provided" that the proper rating hitch was used, and a reasonable tow vehicle (not super heavy duty) was used.

Andy
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
As part of my review of my rigs towing configuration I have started to think more about the tongue weight. I know that having to little tongue weight will contribute to instability towing. What is less clear to me is if additional weight is problematic (assuming an adequate weight distribution system).

In reading old threads, I found one story about where the ice cooler was located impacting tow quality. I would prefer to be rigged up so that such a small change in cargo would not impact me. For example, just changing the amount of water in my fresh water tank (located in the front) might make a considerable difference...... On the other hand, if I intentionally kept the front heavy would that cause other problems that I am not thinking of?
Rodney,

I am working on just that issue ater having weighed my Overlander earlier in the year. Reference: tow vehicle 1/2 ton Suburban 2wd, Reese Dual Cam HP w/1000lb bars, 5280lb trailer weight, of which 520lbs in on the tongue. Water tank about 1/2 full, propane full, trailer is travel ready with clothes, stuff, and food, but no alcohol yet...
The trailer tows very well, excellent indeed, with one exception: passing vehicles at high speed. ( vehicles passing me, that is) My favorite travel speed is about 65mph, or just below. ( 100kmh) Occasionally I hit 70mph, ususlaly when I don't pay attention much, or when I don't use teh cruise control.
I do not feel sensitivity to wind, uneven roads, speed, corners, uphill or downhil, it tows great, with the above mentioned exception.
On a recent trip to Austin TX, I brought tools - and stopped numerous times to make hitch adjustments, without much improvement. I finally said some bad words and just kept towing.
Funny thing is, in California, most trucks and buses drive at about 60-65mph, with few exceptions. Out of stae is when my rig really acts up, with 18wheelers often going 80mph. I can't feel the bow wave so much as I can feel being sucked in by the truck while it is passing me.
It was recommended to me to use leighter weight bars, and increase tongue weight to improve the efficiencey of the Dual Cam HP. Right now I am working on relocating 2 batteries to the tongue of the Overlander, which would make an increase of 130lbs. It would decrease the axle weight by almost that much, making a positive change to the percentage of tongue weight to axle weight. Or so I hope. A much neede spare tire will increase this weight by approximately another 50lbs. We will seelater in the year how that affects my tow. New weight bars will be ordered soon, budget permitting.

Of course you could always add water ballast to the front of the trailer and figure out how it affects your towing. Then get rid of it along the way and evaluate.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by uwe
... 5280lb trailer weight, of which 520lbs in on the tongue...
The trailer tows very well, excellent indeed, with one exception: passing vehicles at high speed....
uwe this reads like a classic description of 'feeling the yaw' forces.

no doubt you know these things, but i'll point out the obvious.

520/5280 is barely 10%.

given the axle position on your unit that seems like a significantly insufficient tongue load.

750-800 lbs would seem ideal.

and should noticeably reduce the rotational forces that passing bow waves produce.

also your current w/d bars MIGHT flex enough for the full 'cam' effect IF the tongue mass was closer to 800 lbs.

of course there are issues with excessive tongue mass, like frame flex, axle ratings, tv balance, braking response, turning control and so on...

with only a 500lb tongue many don't use w/d bars...

2 simple out-rigger friction struts might actually perform better with overtaking semi-trucks and your current trailer weight distribution....

but more tongue mass sure seems like the first step for dealing with bow waves and yaw.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
As part of my review of my rigs towing configuration I have started to think more about the tongue weight. I know that having to little tongue weight will contribute to instability towing. What is less clear to me is if additional weight is problematic (assuming an adequate weight distribution system).

In reading old threads, I found one story about where the ice cooler was located impacting tow quality. I would prefer to be rigged up so that such a small change in cargo would not impact me. For example, just changing the amount of water in my fresh water tank (located in the front) might make a considerable difference...... On the other hand, if I intentionally kept the front heavy would that cause other problems that I am not thinking of?
The question that rises is whether the increase hitch weight is compensated for by your equalizing hitch. Obviously you don't want to be in a nose low situation with the trailer since if you are in a tandem wheel arangement, your front tires of the trailer would be carrying a higher portion of the trailer weight. You don't want the tow vehicle squatting down in the back since your front wheels of the tow vehicle would have less weight on them which could again affect handling.

I know on my SOB I normally would have to adjust links on my Reese hitch to compensate for either a situation where I was carrying water or if the tow vehicle was carrying a lot of rear weight. In the case of the Reese it was fairly easy to work with since I just adjusted the chain links needed to keep the trailer and tow vehicle level.

Jack
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:14 PM   #6
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I agree with 2air' about the weight of your hitch being too low. Nothing can prevent the force of a passing big rig from hitting your trailer. In Arizona the speed limit for everyone is 75 MPH, I get passed by a lot of big rigs. It is how your setup reacts to them that makes the difference. The more you can make the TV and the TT act as one unit the better. The HA hitch is the best you can get for doing this, but your DC should work well also. What keeps the DC in line is keeping the cams into the detents on the arms. With lighter arms you should be able to apply more pressure on the arms then you can with the ones you have. Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
I agree with 2air' about the weight of your hitch being too low. Nothing can prevent the force of a passing big rig from hitting your trailer. In Arizona the speed limit for everyone is 75 MPH, I get passed by a lot of big rigs. It is how your setup reacts to them that makes the difference. The more you can make the TV and the TT act as one unit the better. The HA hitch is the best you can get for doing this, but your DC should work well also. What keeps the DC in line is keeping the cams into the detents on the arms. With lighter arms you should be able to apply more pressure on the arms then you can with the ones you have. Good luck!
Thanks for the good luck wish.
I tried increasing the tongue weight by adding ballast to the front of the trailer, which if course also raised the gross weight of the trailer. I took it to a point where I had to add one entire chainlink to level the truck/trailer combo. It did not make a noticeable difference. However, I refuse to believe that a much praised product like a Reese DC HP would fail to perform for me...I will do due diligence and continue making things "right" before giving up on it.
Sorry Rodney, no intent on hijacking your thread.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
Sorry Rodney, no intent on hijacking your thread.
Not at all, my question was anwsered fine and your comments are certianly germaine to the intent of the thread.
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