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Old 06-10-2024, 04:37 PM   #1
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2018 28' Flying Cloud
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Tongue Weight & Load Balance Approach

Hello,

I can use some practical/safety advice for load balance and tongue weight for towing a 2018 28í Flying Cloud RBT with a GMC Sierra 2500HD (incl. an E2 Hitch Trunnion Style weight distribution system). Please note that my approach may be different than what most people probably do when planning a trip but for a few different reasons I cannot easily have the rig fully loaded for an initial weigh-in and possible re-weigh for this important exercise.

My plan is to first weigh the TV and FC at a commercial scale to get the individual TV and FC axle weights (this weigh-in will be unloaded on both TV and FC axles). Also, I will be listing and weighing the gear we plan to bring on our trip separately (in between this step and the next step below).

Later, I will hook-up the rig and do the actual gear placement within the TV and FC - adding the individual gear weights to the above unloaded weights. Of course, I will be abiding by payload limitation specs and load distribution considerations for the TV and FC Ė rear/front/side-to-side. Once I get to this point, I will then use an e-Trailer Tongue weight scale to get the actual tongue weight to see if Iím in the 10% to 15% of the FCís loaded weight.

Again, this may seem a bit unorthodox for some but seems to be my easiest approach as I donít have everything nailed down yet and donít want to leave addressing this needed exercise too close to trip departure.

I would appreciate any insight to this approach as I hope that in the end I wonít miss anything that could be as safety concern for us and others.

ps... kinda new to this aspect of and detail of towing and hope I gave enough general information. Otherwise, please let me know if there is anything missing.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 06-10-2024, 05:32 PM   #2
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Looks like you have a good plan. Something many donít consider is where they put the weight and how important it really is. You can achieve proper TW in a seemingly infinite number of combinations of weight distribution but you need to centralize it as close to the axles as possible. The pictures below both have the same center of gravity position ( TW% determines the CG) but the centralized one will tow better.
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Caution! Most advice given here is nothing more than a subjective opinion. Please reference the vehicles owner manual for instruction on towing and hitch use which is based on physics, facts, and research.
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Old 06-11-2024, 06:03 AM   #3
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Thanks I agree with centering as close to the axles as possible.
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Old 06-11-2024, 07:10 AM   #4
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Maybe Iím not tracking, but it seems like a fair effort (weighing your rig at a scale, then computing weight added by gear) before you get TW with a scale.

Why not just wait till your gear is stowed in the trailer and get the actual TW at that point?

Like I said, I may be misunderstanding your objective here. If I was going to spend the time at a Cat scale anyway, Iíd just do the traditional three pass system and plug my numbers into one of the popular spreadsheets.
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Jenkins View Post
Maybe Iím not tracking, but it seems like a fair effort (weighing your rig at a scale, then computing weight added by gear) before you get TW with a scale.

Why not just wait till your gear is stowed in the trailer and get the actual TW at that point?

Like I said, I may be misunderstanding your objective here. If I was going to spend the time at a Cat scale anyway, Iíd just do the traditional three pass system and plug my numbers into one of the popular spreadsheets.
Agree; you already know the "Mfg" weights/limits on the stickers. Key not to go over those numbers when loaded. Important you will see here, is the "payload" number; not to be exceeded. That number on your TV driverside door jamb...is a not to exceed number to stay under. Weigh your tongue when loaded.
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Old 06-11-2024, 09:20 AM   #6
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And then there is the old saying, "ignorance is bliss". Lucky for many of us before all this good advice was available, we basically hooked up and went. We bought our first, very used 1971, 27' thirty years ago loaded three kids, dog and six months worth of crap and hit the road with a 1/2 Suburban with a very small V8. [35mph top speed in the mountains]. Florida to Oregon and back. We had weight distribution and sway control and found out six months later when we got home, it was hooked up totally wrong.
Three Airstreams later and a 2500 diesel, all is well. Follow the advice of the experts from the beginning and everyone will be safer. Have fun!
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Old 06-11-2024, 09:47 AM   #7
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Doesn't Sound Right to Me

You don't state if you will separately weigh tongue and axles when you weigh the trailer; same for truck for both axles. If you have plenty of payload to spare, your strategy may work, but if you have plenty of payload, why bother.

With your plan, anything you add to the trailer will either add or remove tongue weight and you won't know how much is added to the axles; same for truck.

If you weigh all axles separately, maybe you could do free body diagrams and calculate the fully-loaded weights, but this gets complicated with WD.

My first trip after a bunch of changes, I stopped at a CAT scale on the first day, made very minor changes.

Just my 2 cents.

Mark
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MSL View Post

My first trip after a bunch of changes, I stopped at a CAT scale on the first day, made very minor changes.

Just my 2 cents.

Mark
Exactly. And those changes may not have done much either.

Generally scales are a waste of time and money unless you consistently over load your vehicle and are always at or above maximum weight ratings.

If you stay within a few hundred pounds of your standard water tank, LP and battery, unloaded tongue weight, you can't be over weight otherwise. If you start seeing very high tongue weights, then a scale might be good, or stop carrying so much stuff you don't need.

If your trying to pull a 30 foot camper with a F150, your going to be over loading your truck, period. So the scale does not help, either. If your in an F250 and your tongue weight is around 1000-1100 then you are probably just fine, and well within your truck's limits. Go camping. Or go scale it, and then confirm it's fine, and go camping I guess.
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Old 06-11-2024, 02:48 PM   #9
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I would not over think things here, nor be OCD about it all. Keep most of your packed items over the axles or forward of the axles. Don't pack your lead anvil collection in the far rear or far front of the trailer. You will be fine. The weighing of a full trailer can wait until a more convenient time.
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Old 06-11-2024, 09:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Scott S View Post
I would not over think things here, nor be OCD about it all. Keep most of your packed items over the axles or forward of the axles. Don't pack your lead anvil collection in the far rear or far front of the trailer. You will be fine. The weighing of a full trailer can wait until a more convenient time.
Agreed, your trailer has a GVWR of 7600lbs about 6600lbs (I don't know exact payload or dry weight of your trailer) of that is used up by the trailer, another more then 300 lbs is fresh water if you travel with that tank full(which can only be in one spot). So with less then 700 lbs to put anywhere in the trailer it's hard to make a huge difference when towing with a 2500.
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Old 06-12-2024, 10:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Starlight Mike View Post
And then there is the old saying, "ignorance is bliss". Lucky for many of us before all this good advice was available, we basically hooked up and went. We bought our first, very used 1971, 27' thirty years ago loaded three kids, dog and six months worth of crap and hit the road with a 1/2 Suburban with a very small V8. [35mph top speed in the mountains]. Florida to Oregon and back. We had weight distribution and sway control and found out six months later when we got home, it was hooked up totally wrong.
Three Airstreams later and a 2500 diesel, all is well. Follow the advice of the experts from the beginning and everyone will be safer. Have fun!
Ignorance is bliss...Ignorance can also be dangerous! Towing a TT at highways speeds, with undersized or overloaded TV is not wise...not for the person towing, nor the others on the road should something happen. Think many of us started out not understanding how important Mfg. limits are, or ignoring for what ever reason. I know I was that way. This Forum helped me understand what to look out for to be safe while towing my AS. Others, may want to cast caution to the wind...until something happens, but not a smart way to travel for anyone. IMHO, of course!
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Old 06-12-2024, 12:29 PM   #12
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Hi All,

Truly appreciate all the responses and I will take them close to heart. I’ll try to give additional context below since you’ve taken your time for this. Addressing from top down:

1. Why not just wait till your gear is stowed in the trailer and get the actual TW [tongue wt.] at that point? The closest CAT scale to me is 181 miles round trip. I thought about this since I can get individual loaded axle weights (steer, drive, trailer), weigh the TV separately, and then calculate the TW but it would cost me significant time/gas/mileage. The I95 DMV weigh station is somewhat closer but only give gross weights TV and TT. I thought it may be easier option to do the math based on being unloaded, make “take” decisions, and then decide where to safely place things for weight distribution, payload and use a tongue weight scale.

2. Paying very close attention to payloads and planned to weigh tongue again once the gear is stowed. Did read that when using a tongue weight scale the trailer needs to be level – hopefully this is correct when it comes time to do.

3. When it comes to the old saying "ignorance is bliss" we were there until planning for this upcoming trip. Have taken the FC on a couple of long trips we just went with the WD system and didn’t come close to exceeding any payload numbers on FC or TV. This next trip will be close to 8k miles round trip so ensuring safety as much as possible now that we have some experience - but just started realizing the dynamics of tongue weight with the needed extra gear.

4. Are using scales worth it? I believe from the original approach above, I can get some piece of mind that my weights are in line with the TV door stickers (not all vehicles will weigh the same given optional equipment, etc.) and with the TT (just have the brochure to go by and would need to assume it is accurate for the model you have).

5. Less about OCD and more about safety paranoia lol.
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Old 06-13-2024, 07:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picketoaks View Post
Hi All,

Truly appreciate all the responses and I will take them close to heart. Iíll try to give additional context below since youíve taken your time for this. Addressing from top down:

1. Why not just wait till your gear is stowed in the trailer and get the actual TW [tongue wt.] at that point? The closest CAT scale to me is 181 miles round trip. I thought about this since I can get individual loaded axle weights (steer, drive, trailer), weigh the TV separately, and then calculate the TW but it would cost me significant time/gas/mileage. The I95 DMV weigh station is somewhat closer but only give gross weights TV and TT. I thought it may be easier option to do the math based on being unloaded, make ďtakeĒ decisions, and then decide where to safely place things for weight distribution, payload and use a tongue weight scale.

2. Paying very close attention to payloads and planned to weigh tongue again once the gear is stowed. Did read that when using a tongue weight scale the trailer needs to be level Ė hopefully this is correct when it comes time to do.

3. When it comes to the old saying "ignorance is bliss" we were there until planning for this upcoming trip. Have taken the FC on a couple of long trips we just went with the WD system and didnít come close to exceeding any payload numbers on FC or TV. This next trip will be close to 8k miles round trip so ensuring safety as much as possible now that we have some experience - but just started realizing the dynamics of tongue weight with the needed extra gear.

4. Are using scales worth it? I believe from the original approach above, I can get some piece of mind that my weights are in line with the TV door stickers (not all vehicles will weigh the same given optional equipment, etc.) and with the TT (just have the brochure to go by and would need to assume it is accurate for the model you have).

5. Less about OCD and more about safety paranoia lol.
End of the day, it's your decision's. When I loaded up my AS and my F250 for one of our first trips, to the max with 95lb Champion generator, inflatable, 2man kayak, 2 BBQ grills, extra propane bottle, and everything I could think of, including stowing can goods in AS and case of wine, I did the scales. Always keep that data in my AS. Since then, I have reduced my camping gear, including getting 45lb Honda generator, but really we just went thru both the AS and the load we carry in the truck quite a bit. I am quite a bit under my max payload and scale ticket I have from 6 years ago, but I intend to get another weighing this trip just know for sure how far under. Some folks here have their own scales...I will just go to the CAT scales at some point.
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