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Old 12-20-2009, 07:51 AM   #1
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Hitch weight of '77 land yacht center bath

Airstream's website says the hitch weight of the 31-foot 77 international with center bath is 710 or 715 (depending on whether twin or double bed in back). In 1978 and 1979, the hitch weight is only 545 for the 31-foot international with center bath. I know the layout at the front end of the trailer on the 77 is a little different, but is it different enough to account for such an increase in hitch weight? Or is something else causing the 77 to have a higher hitch weight?

Also, do the excella models generally weigh more as well?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:09 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Airstream's website says the hitch weight of the 31-foot 77 international with center bath is 710 or 715 (depending on whether twin or double bed in back). In 1978 and 1979, the hitch weight is only 545 for the 31-foot international with center bath. I know the layout at the front end of the trailer on the 77 is a little different, but is it different enough to account for such an increase in hitch weight? Or is something else causing the 77 to have a higher hitch weight?

Also, do the excella models generally weigh more as well?
I did an extensive weighing series in 2006 on the Sovereign (links on my signature) when I was towing with a 3/4 ton Dodge van.
Weight on the tongue at that time was 660 lbs.

I did another weighing series earlier in 2009 while "dialing in" the Hensley for use on my current 2005 Excursion gasser tow vehicle.
Current weight on the tongue (including the Hensley) is 860 lbs.

I do not think the published weight of 545 lbs from Airstream is real world.
Note that I have a Sovereign, not an Excella.

I am certain that AS did not include several of the "extras" in the published weight - need to add items such as an Air Conditioner, Propane, Spare Tire, etc.

You will not really know what your tongue weight is until you take it to a scale and go through a dozen or so weighs. I urge you to do so to insure your Tow Vehicle is adequate and set up properly. It will only cost around 20 or so dollars if you take the time to do the weighs all in one session. Sunday morning seems to be a slow time at the truck scales here in Houston.

There are a couple of recent posts regarding the weight and accuracy of truck scales. I urge you to use the "search" function and come familiar with the whys and hows of scaling.
See this thread in particular:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...-in-17984.html

Until you know for sure what the actual weight on the tongue actually is it's best to assume the most conservative number. Figure a 800 lb tongue load when deciding on a Tow Vehicle until you know FOR SURE what the actual "ready to tow it down the road" weight is. In no instance should safety be compromised by utilizing a too small or under rated vehicle to tow the vehicle - regardless of the distance to be towed.

Be safe...
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Airstream's website says the hitch weight of the 31-foot 77 international with center bath is 710 or 715 (depending on whether twin or double bed in back). In 1978 and 1979, the hitch weight is only 545 for the 31-foot international with center bath. I know the layout at the front end of the trailer on the 77 is a little different, but is it different enough to account for such an increase in hitch weight? Or is something else causing the 77 to have a higher hitch weight?

Also, do the excella models generally weigh more as well?

Thanks for the help!
The Excella models, usually weighed more that the International model.

That also increased the tongue weight.

Another factor in "how much tongue weight" does my Airstream actually have, is the possible axle condition.

As an example, if the rubber rods in the front axle have failed, the tongue weight would increase, since more weight would be on the rear axle, altering the fulcrum.

The rubber rods, can harden as well as soften. What may happen to one axle's rubber rods, may not happen to the other axle rubber rods.

There is an article of how to check the axles, in the Airstream Central section of this Forums.

It's always best to measure the tongue weight of your Airstream, before and after it's loaded for travel.

Andy
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:47 AM   #4
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Excella's typically will weigh more, they have more options on them as well as a few upgrades. According to my 1975 owners manual a center bath twin has an empty tongue weight of 650# with the double being 690# The empty weight of the trailer is listed as 4975# which does not include any options or variable weights. They give you a whole list of items and options that will change the weight and balance of the trailer. As an example: Vista Views add 64# to the axle weight and 8# to the tongue weight while filling the water heater adds 102 # to the axle weight, but takes 11# off the the tongue weight.

The best bet is to get it all loaded up and head for a Cat Scales and get some real world numbers.

Aaron
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post

As an example, if the rubber rods in the front axle have failed, the tongue weight would increase, since more weight would be on the rear axle, altering the fulcrum.

Andy
Good point Andy, one I never thought of.
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:22 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I've been looking at different models and have noticed on Airstream's website that the 1977 models have the highest tongue weight. I don't see why 1978 and 1979 models would have less, but they do based on Airstream's figures. Again, I am just looking at the Airstream specs, and found the difference from one year to the next interesting...
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. I've been looking at different models and have noticed on Airstream's website that the 1977 models have the highest tongue weight. I don't see why 1978 and 1979 models would have less, but they do based on Airstream's figures. Again, I am just looking at the Airstream specs, and found the difference from one year to the next interesting...
The simple "exact" location of the axles, furniture, appliances, etc. can make a huge change in tongue weight.

Also keep in mind that thoise weights are for an "unloaded empty" trailer.

How you load the payload changes tongue weight.

A full or empty water tank, makes a difference as well as holding tanks.

Traveling with a "full" fresh water tank, lowers the center of gravity, which helps the stability of the trailer.

Andy
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Old 12-24-2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Good points. Thanks Andy!
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:43 AM   #9
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The simple "exact" location of the axles, furniture, appliances, etc. can make a huge change in tongue weight.

Also keep in mind that thoise weights are for an "unloaded empty" trailer.

How you load the payload changes tongue weight.

A full or empty water tank, makes a difference as well as holding tanks.

Traveling with a "full" fresh water tank, lowers the center of gravity, which helps the stability of the trailer.

Andy
To the above list you can add the weight of the LPG in the bottles, such as, for example 2 40 pound bottles, will add 80 pounds to the tongue weight, or close to it.

Additionally, for those coaches so equipped, the weight of the spare tire carrier, and the spare tire and wheel, will add tongue weight.

The "only" way to get a proper answer, for each owner, is to load the trailer as they normally would for travel, and then weigh the tongue.

How much weight another trailer of the same year and length may have, depends on several things. Therefore a "ball park" with very wide margins for error answer, is the best that a person could hope for, but should keep in mind, that what someone else may have for tongue weight, basically has nothing to with their Airstream.

Andy
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:32 PM   #10
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Many years ago I had a 14' outboard boat and trailer. The trailer was fairly light weight but adequate for the boat. Unfortunately I loaded the empty boat with camping supplies and other stuff for a two week fishing vacation. The axle on the trailer failed on the way up to the lake and I learned a lesson. Airstreams have a lot of room inside and they are easy to overload. Particularly weight/balance because you have both static loads (furniture, appliances, etc.) and dynamic loads (holding/water tanks, food in the refridge, canned goods in the cabinets and gear) Where all this leads depends on where all these changing weights are loaded, either in front of directly over or behind the axles. That's what will influence the overall tongue weight. Going to the scales to check tongue weight will give you a static picture based on how the trailer was loaded at that time (full or empty water and propane tanks, etc.) I would go with a calculation based on a full dynamic load ahead of the axles and empty behind the axles. Why? Because worse case scenario thats what might be the case if you just dumped tanks and did not have a full water tank. If a full front load tongue weight is within max tolerance for your tow vehicle and trailer you should not have a problem. The tank layouts for A/S vary with the model, water weighs 8.2 lbs. gal and propane weighs approx. 4lbs per gallon. 60 gallons of grey/black water would add 492 lbs to the gross weight of the trailer and depending on the tank location will either add or subtract from the overall tongue weight in proportion to their location. Its very easy to change the dynamic balance of your A/S...but there should be enough tolerance for safety in the basic desigh if you are aware of the consequeces of adding an additional 75 or 80 lb battery or small generator up forward or storing a full ice chest or spare tire in the back.
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