Tongue Weight & WD Bars
We have a 2019 27' Tommy Bahama. We tow with a Cadillac Escalade and we have had zero issues thus far. Prior to the AS we had a Starcraft SOB that we pulled roughly 30,000 miles all over the US with the same truck. Again no issues. Then I subscribed to this forum and began to get worried with my truck ratings and loadings. My receiver hitch is factory installed as part of the Escalade tow package and is rated for 10,000 pounds with WD, 5,000 without. I have a Reese Cam Straightline hitch with 800# bars.
As I said, I was never concerned with truck loading until I began reading the forum. While I had the Starcraft I went to the CAT scales several times because it had a severe sway problem starting at 60-65 mph. I found out the tongue weight was far below the recommended 10-15%. In fact it was about 6-8%. I always felt the axle location was too far forward, taking all the weight off the tongue. We learned to repack the trailer putting as much weight forward and low as we could and that reduced the sway problem significantly.
I do not experience sway with my current setup. My concern is tongue weight and bar stiffness. As I said, the dealer outfitted the trailer with 800# bars. I bought a Sherline tongue scale to double check everything since I had such a problem with my previous trailer. The Airstream is the opposite. The tongue weight totally empty other than propane and batteries is about 800#. With water, propane, clothes, food, etc., and empty grey and black tanks it reads between 1,000 and 1,150 pounds.
This worried me since my receiver is only rated for 1,000#. I called the dealer and asked why the 800# bars and he said since the GVW of the trailer is 7,,500#, 10% would be 800# bars. Logical. But my loaded tongue weight is over 1,000. I monitored the scale as we were loading the trailer for a trip recently. Tongue weight starts at about 800# but moves up. Filling the water tank adds about 50# to the tongue weight. Hanging our clothes adds about 100. Loading food takes it up another 50-100#. Apparently everything we put in the trailer goes directly to the tongue, which is very weird.
This is a front bedroom trailer. The only thing we have in the front bedroom is our clothes and they aren't much. I have hoses and extension cords in the front storage compartment, but that is all. No heavy tools or anything else that would add so much weight The trailer is essentially empty - food and clothes and water, but definitely not overloaded. I plan a trip to the nearest CAT scales soon but in the meantime I'm wondering if I should swap the 800# bars for 1,000# or 1,200# ones. I've read about having a rig that is too stiff, stressing the trailer and popping rivets. As I staid, I've had zero issues thus far pulling the trailer, but we live in Michigan where grades aren't anything like Colorado. I'm tempted to keep what I have - why fix something that isn't broke. But then I don't want to break anything either!