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Old 07-08-2009, 09:48 PM   #421
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They tell me that the belt sander races are really quite moving this time of year,
Put wheels on your portable generator, the belt sander can tow it along. You'll win first place for distance.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:24 PM   #422
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Has anyone weighed their bunkhouse's tongue?

I've weighed the trailer several times at CAT Scales, so I know what it weighs in total (about 7300 lbs loaded with full water and gear). But I've never disconnected the trailer from the truck while at the scale, nor have I ever weighed the truck without the trailer. Either of those methods would yield the tongue weight, which is a crucial measurement. I plan to do one of them soon.

Another method would be to buy an accurate tongue scale (such as the Sherline scale) but $150 or so is more than I want to spend just for a one-time measurement. The CAT Scale is just $9 per weighing.

Yet another method would be the old "bathroom scale method" but I don't happen to own a bathroom scale, nor the requisite 4x4 board, pipes, and bricks.

I'm asking because I'm curious how much tongue weight our trailer may have picked up as a result of modifications over the years. For example, we've added a Hensley hitch, and two AGM (group 24) batteries in the front compartment. We've also deleted a few things, and modified others, so it's hard to say where the tongue weight has ended up. I'd be interested to compare it to other Safari 30 bunkhouses, if anyone has accurately weighed theirs.
I came across my CAT scale receipts yesterday and this is what they recorded:

With trailer:
Steer axle--4,160 lbs.
Drive axle--4,660 lbs.
Trailer axle--7,180 lbs.
Gross weight--16,000 lbs.

Without the trailer:
Steer axle--4,440 lbs.
Drive axle--3,260 lbs.
Trailer axle--N/A
Gross weight--7,700 lbs.

This looks like the weight of our trailer loaded for camping is 8,300 lbs. I'm not too sure about the tongue weight. I can't believe it is 1,120 lbs. Could it be that much? I have an Equal-i-zer hitch with 1,000 lbs. bars.

I have since had the hitch system tweaked for this truck. The hitch was originally set up for my previous truck which had a stiffer rear suspension. This truck has a softer first spring with the remainder of the stack being the heavy duty springs. I haven't weighed the rig since having the hitch adjusted, but more of the hitch weight is shifted to the front axle. When the hitch shop tech raised the tongue jack I saw the rear fender opening sink first and then the front fender sank about a half-inch. The rig handles much better now than before.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:02 PM   #423
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Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate View Post
I came across my CAT scale receipts yesterday and this is what they recorded:

With trailer:
Steer axle--4,160 lbs.
Drive axle--4,660 lbs.
Trailer axle--7,180 lbs.
Gross weight--16,000 lbs.

Without the trailer:
Steer axle--4,440 lbs.
Drive axle--3,260 lbs.
Trailer axle--N/A
Gross weight--7,700 lbs.

This looks like the weight of our trailer loaded for camping is 8,300 lbs. I'm not too sure about the tongue weight. I can't believe it is 1,120 lbs. Could it be that much? I have an Equal-i-zer hitch with 1,000 lbs. bars.

I have since had the hitch system tweaked for this truck. The hitch was originally set up for my previous truck which had a stiffer rear suspension. This truck has a softer first spring with the remainder of the stack being the heavy duty springs. I haven't weighed the rig since having the hitch adjusted, but more of the hitch weight is shifted to the front axle. When the hitch shop tech raised the tongue jack I saw the rear fender opening sink first and then the front fender sank about a half-inch. The rig handles much better now than before.
I would suggest a little more "tweaking."

Your steering axle has less weight on it, with the trailer attached.

That weight should be the same or a little bit more, like a couple of hundred pounds, but never less.

When the weight on the steering axle is reduced, it's stability, to some degree, suffers.

Andy
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:16 PM   #424
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Wow...

Tom, Wow what all do you have in there!! You must haver her stocked well!!

I am currently out on a three week tour-da-US, currently in Colorado heading to Wyoming. I plan on weighing mine along the trip. We are doing a bunch of cool climate boon docking so I may be heavy as well carrying fresh water and all, but we travel fairly light. If we do not use it almost daily, we toss it or leave it at home.

(I was the bunkhouse across from you at the can opener this year, from Texas).
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:48 PM   #425
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(I was the bunkhouse across from you at the can opener this year, from Texas).
Yes, I remember you and your delightful wife and daughters. BTW, your daughters were very polite when they stopped by during the open house. It is refreshing to see that among young people today. You don't see it that often in metro-Atlanta any more, including my two boys .

My wife is somewhat of a pantry pack rat so there is no telling what she has in there. She uses the upper wardrobe between the 'fridge and bunk beds as a pantry and I swear I'd need a search party to come looking for me if I ever needed something in the back. Plus, she stocks up on soft drinks and bottled water under the sofa for every trip. Everything is organized and in bins, but she is loaded for the long term even though the longest trip has been for 9 days so far. And, unfortunately, we try to be prepared for anything, so we don't leave it at home under any circumstances.

I would have sworn the trailer weighed 7,300 not 8,300. But, you know how we loose gray matter after 45. Guess I was thinking axle weight. Glad I have a 3/4 ton diesel. I'm going to measure my spring bars, I may have 1,200 lbs. bars, but as I recall, I went up to the 1,000 and not the 750 that would have been recommended for Airstream's concept of the tongue weight. I'd really be interested in what Rich L's tongue weight is since he is used to full timing in his Bunkhouse.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:04 AM   #426
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I had weighed my Bunkhouse last year while on our two week “Civil War” trip. Following are the numbers:

Steer Axle: 3,400
Drive Axle: 5,420
Trailer Axle 7,020
Gross Weight: 15,840

The above numbers reflect full gas tank, full water, empty grey/black tanks, 3 children, 2 adults, 5 bikes on the roof. Overall, our trailer is not loaded with too many extras – Just the basics required for a couple of weeks of travel.

I know - It is way too little weight on the steer axle. Mid trip, I reduced one more link on the chain which improved handling substantially. Our local police department has portable scales to weigh overweight trucks. I have made arraignments to “borrow” them to fine tune the setup. I’ll report back once I get the weights.

Rick
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:19 PM   #427
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
I would suggest a little more "tweaking."

Your steering axle has less weight on it, with the trailer attached.

That weight should be the same or a little bit more, like a couple of hundred pounds, but never less.

When the weight on the steering axle is reduced, it's stability, to some degree, suffers.

Andy
These weights were last fall before I had the hitch adjusted. The weight difference on the front axle was a strong indication that I needed to adjust the hitch. The other of course was the sponginess of the the steering. When I had the bearings packed this spring I had the technician at the hitch/utility trailer dealer to adjust the number of washers in the hitch head to correct the angle of the head for this truck's suspension. Now when the tongue jack is raised it is visibly noticeable that the front fender well goes down. I have made one adjustment to the L-brackets since it was adjusted by the hitch shop. I steer with two fingers most of the time now like I did with my first tow vehicle.
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:31 PM   #428
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I'd really be interested in what Rich L's tongue weight is since he is used to full timing in his Bunkhouse.
Well, I can't tell you the unhitched tongue weight because I haven't weighed it that way on the truck scale. I can only tell you the weight that is being put on the trailer when hitched. But that's the weight you showed in your post, so we're comparing apples to apples.

The first time I weighed it with the new tow vehicle, in May, we showed 760 lbs of tongue weight on the tow vehicle. The second time I weighed it, last week, I showed 860 lbs on the tow vehicle, with a bit more equipment and my daughter sitting in the car, so the tongue weight probably didn't change much between weighings.

I'm not sure how you're getting 1,120 lbs on the tongue. The explanation may be that the weight distribution wasn't correct, as you mentioned. Since you have adjusted it, I'd weigh again and see if the load on the tow vehicle has dropped. You may find that more of that weight is now going to the trailer axles.

The other possibility is that you've got some extremely heavy objects in the storage compartments. Maybe you've got a ton of gold bricks that you forgot you were carrying? (Everyone knows that all Airstreamers are extremely wealthy.)
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:56 PM   #429
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Well one extremely heavy (in my mind) item is the mattress we got after the first camping season. It was all I could do to lift it with the original struts. I replaced the two 90 lbs. struts with two 120 lbs. struts (the largest I could find in the original length) and it still seems heavy to me. We also carry our folding camp chairs and a few (really few) tools in the front storage compartment. I may have still had the indoor/out door patio rug in the front storage compartment at the time I weighed it.

I get 1,120 lbs. but subtracting the weight of the truck without the trailer from the weight of the truck with the trailer. I also tried subtracting the truck's weight without the trailer from the 16,000 lbs. and then subtracted the trailer axle weight. I still came up with 1,120 lbs.

Maybe the next time I have the trailer hitched I'll take it over to the CAT scales and weigh it unhitched from the truck.

But I assure you there are no gold bricks in there. I keep those in the garage next to the Rolls. !!!
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:20 PM   #430
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Talking New to 30' Bunkhouse Forum

Hi All,

Just a quick note to say hello. Stumbled on this Forum looking for information and found a whole lot you 30' Bunkhouse owners -- COOL!

My husband and I (we have two kids 8 & 6) have a 2005 Bunkhouse that we bought in July of 2005 - I just laughed when I saw that all of you had the same exact problems with your new units that we did! At least I don't feel so bad now, I thought maybe our unit was just completed on a Friday before a holiday weekend and that was why it was so screwed up - LOL!

So... does this bunkhouse club just keep adding to this tread? That's what it looks like since I saw posts at the beginning from 2005/2006.

I'll be checking in from time-to-time. Glad I found you all!

Carolyn Rodgers
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:25 PM   #431
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We just keep adding to what has already been said.

You should get an email notification that some one has replied. If you don't get them, go to the CP and check the appropriate box.
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Old 08-03-2009, 03:05 PM   #432
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Smile

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We just keep adding to what has already been said.

You should get an email notification that some one has replied. If you don't get them, go to the CP and check the appropriate box.
Got the e-mail from the tread thanks! look forward to conversing with all of you more in the near future.

Carolyn
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:14 PM   #433
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There is a member of the Four Corners Unit of the WBCCI that owns a 2005 Bunkhouse. That's the only one I'm aware of in Arizona, but there may be others. The FCU member with one is also a member of this forum but hasn't posted in a couple of years.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:54 PM   #434
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Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate View Post
There is a member of the Four Corners Unit of the WBCCI that owns a 2005 Bunkhouse. That's the only one I'm aware of in Arizona, but there may be others. The FCU member with one is also a member of this forum but hasn't posted in a couple of years.

Hey Tom, You are right it has been a long time!
I'm still alive and still 'streamin...
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:15 AM   #435
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Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate View Post
There is a member of the Four Corners Unit of the WBCCI that owns a 2005 Bunkhouse. That's the only one I'm aware of in Arizona, but there may be others. The FCU member with one is also a member of this forum but hasn't posted in a couple of years.
We aren't members of the WBCCI, but we live in North Phoenix, AZ and have a 2005 Bunkhouse (have owned it since July 2005).

We JUST started posting here. I see someone else on the forum who lives in Chandler, AZ with bunkhouse -- we are practically neighbors!

Carolyn & Allen Rodgers
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:25 AM   #436
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Hey Tom, You are right it has been a long time!
I'm still alive and still 'streamin...
Glad to hear it!

My wife's family is having a family reunion in the Denver area and we were thinking of taking the Airstream and squeeze in a trip to the Grand Canyon. Is that doable or is it too far out of the way?
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:03 PM   #437
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Glad to hear it!

My wife's family is having a family reunion in the Denver area and we were thinking of taking the Airstream and squeeze in a trip to the Grand Canyon. Is that doable or is it too far out of the way?
"Doable" is relative term...

It's probably 10-12 hours.. to the North Rim.. 15 to the south from Denver.. I would recommend going to the north over the south.. much more remote and beautiful IMHO.

Denver to the Grand Canyon is not really something you squeeze in.. but I would highly recommend the trip it is well worth the time.. if you have a few extra days.. there also are a lot of fantastic things to see on the way....
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:28 AM   #438
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Thanks. I knew it wasn't close, but it is a lot closer to Denver than to Atlanta.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:42 AM   #439
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More Bunkhouse weight info

I had a chance to weigh my Safari 30 bunkhouse's tongue last week. A fellow at the Vintage Trailer Jam was kind enough to lend me his Sherline tongue scale. The tongue of the loaded trailer came to 870 lbs "dead" weight (meaning, without the weight distributing hitch connected to the tow vehicle).

In previous posts I've noted that on a truck scale we see about 760 lbs of weight on the tow vehicle when hitched up. I attribute the difference (110 lbs) to weight that is distributed rearward to the trailer axles when the weight distributing hitch is connected. But the difference could also just be differences in loading, since the weights were taken at different times.

This means we are perfectly within spec. 870 lbs is about 11.4% of the actual trailer weight, putting the trailer tongue weight in the commonly recommended 10-15% range for weight distributing hitches. If we loaded the trailer to GVWR (8400 lbs), we would still be at an acceptable 10.3%.

Minnie's Mate noted a tongue weight (per truck scale) of 1,120 lbs, which seems high, but still puts him at an acceptable ratio of 13.4% for his trailer loading.

This is not a big surprise. Airstream engineers these trailers so that it's difficult to go outside the recommended weight ratios. You have to work pretty hard to get outside the acceptable envelope. But anyone doing wholesale renovation or modification should be careful, because something as seemingly minor as relocating a closet or holding tank can have serious repercussions on weight distribution in the trailer.

On other thing that may be of interest, since it has been touched on in this thread: The front axle and rear axle weights on my SUV change in a non-traditional way due to the design of the tow vehicle. Unloaded, the front axle is within a couple hundred pounds of Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR, which indicates maximum axle weight), and the rear axle is about 1,100 pounds below GAWR. This is much like a pickup truck, where the rear end is very light until the truck is loaded.

When hitched up correctly, the front axle on my tow vehicle gets lighter by 100 lbs, while the rear axle gains about 900 lbs. Traditional wisdom is that this is unacceptable weight distribution. But in this particular case the vehicle is designed to take the bulk of the weight on the rear axle.

This is shown in the GAWRs for each axle. Here's how the weight distribution changes as the vehicle is loaded:

UNLOADED
FRONT/ REAR 52% /48% (very light in the rear)

GAWR
FRONT/ REAR 45% /55% (recommended ratios when loaded to max weight)

In short, some vehicles are not designed for 50/50 weight distribution when loaded, and so you should study your vehicle GAWRs to understand how the manufacturer has designed your vehicle to take weight.

Of course, the bottom line should be safe and predictable handling in all circumstances. Weigh your trailer and tow vehicle, and do the math. It's worth the effort.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:47 PM   #440
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One day when I have time I'm going to the CAT scales again and weigh the trailer without the truck to see where I am. On occasion, I will add things to the truck bed like satellite dish/tripod, grill, reclining chairs, various other camping paraphernalia, or golf cart. This makes a dynamic loading scenario nearly every time we head out. It makes weight distribution a moving target.
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