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Old 05-22-2017, 06:23 AM   #1
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16' Sport Tongue Weight Surprise.

We have a new Sport and had time to weigh the tongue this weekend. I was a bit surprised. Our Airstream dealer recommended an Equalizer 400 lb max hitch weight, 4000 lb max trailer weight. The Sport has a GVWR of 3500 lb so we should be well under the capacity of the hitch. Weighed the tongue, lightly loaded with no water on board, at almost 400 lb. Added about half tank of fresh water and exceeded the 400 lb max hitch weight significantly.
So we can't haul any water without overloading the hitch or we have to add unneeded weight to the rear on the trailer.
Anyone else have this issue?
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:10 PM   #2
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Hitch weights

Weight specs for travel trailers are usually based on an empty weight in order to be consistent. Why your dealer didn't recommend a heavier weight distribution hitch is a question you need to ask them. The solution is simple since most manufacturers sell different weight capacity tension bars for their hitch. I'm not familiar with the Equalizer brand, but the dealer should be able to swap out the tension bars. Maybe you can ask for a more experienced technician to show you proper installation and to verify the correct tension bar. I have the Blue Ox weight distribution bars and use the bars rated for 750lbs. I have a 2017 Bambi Sport 16. With a 6 cylinder Highlander as the TV, the ride is smooth and secure with max gear, water & propane. Good luck and please report back.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:20 PM   #3
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Most folks on here won't be surprised as we all have made the same discovery....

One thing I wanted to say is that I would be very careful adding weight to the back of the trailer. That can cause an unstable towing situation.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:34 PM   #4
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I specifically asked the dealer about the low rating on the max. hitch weight. Next size up was 500 lb. max. hitch weight and 5000 lb. GVWR. Dealer explained that the larger capacity hitch would over stress the Sport suspension and it would be better to go with a hitch that closely matches the trailer's GVWR which is 3500 lb. Specs say the trailer's hitch weight with battery and full propane is 350 lb. So I can only add 50 lbs. to that before I've exceeded the max. on the hitch. Catch 22.
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Old 05-23-2017, 04:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airabel View Post
We have a new Sport and had time to weigh the tongue this weekend. I was a bit surprised. Our Airstream dealer recommended an Equalizer 400 lb max hitch weight, 4000 lb max trailer weight. The Sport has a GVWR of 3500 lb so we should be well under the capacity of the hitch. Weighed the tongue, lightly loaded with no water on board, at almost 400 lb. Added about half tank of fresh water and exceeded the 400 lb max hitch weight significantly.
So we can't haul any water without overloading the hitch or we have to add unneeded weight to the rear on the trailer.
Anyone else have this issue?
We have a 23 FB that has a GVWR of 6000 lbs, though we are always at 5300 - 5500 when on the road with full water and propane. We check it at the CAT scales several times a season to verify any changes due to different loading considerations/trip length. We have used an Equilizer hitch for over 30,000 miles with great success. The hitch dealer suggested we go up slightly to be sure we had sufficient sway control. We have 10,000 lb bars and have not noticed any problems. Since joining this Forum I have learned to add "YMMV" to my posts!

Sae travels!
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Old 05-23-2017, 06:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by WestieHouse View Post
We have a 23 FB that has a GVWR of 6000 lbs, though we are always at 5300 - 5500 when on the road with full water and propane. We check it at the CAT scales several times a season to verify any changes due to different loading considerations/trip length. We have used an Equilizer hitch for over 30,000 miles with great success. The hitch dealer suggested we go up slightly to be sure we had sufficient sway control. We have 10,000 lb bars and have not noticed any problems. Since joining this Forum I have learned to add "YMMV" to my posts!

Sae travels!
"10,000 lb. bars" for a 5500 avg. tow wt.???
What's the logic??

Trailer Trash goin on the road soon, with the tin can shed.
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:10 PM   #7
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I found the same situation that you have on my Bambi 16'. The Tongue Weight came in around 450lbs.

My Bambi came with the Equalizer system (500 lb) and it beat up my Trailer as well as my car as I was driving. The ride was bumpy and I would go into the trailer and it was amazing what was moved around.

I have since switched out for the Blue Ox system (500lb bars). I cannot explain the difference in the ride. Very smooth, the inside of my trailer does not look like someone shook it and put it down, and my car was much happier.

I find this subject really important for everyone who is searching for a Trailer. I almost purchased the 19' and the 22' thinking I was "just" on the tongue weight, not realizing that I would be adding in another 100 lbs to it.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:12 PM   #8
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Our TV is a 2011 Toyota 4runner, tow capacity 5000 lb. max tongue wt. of 500 lb. The first thing I noticed while towing our new Sport with the Equalizer hitch was how smooth and stable the ride was. Better ride than with our trade-in trailer with a ball hitch and 200 lb. tongue wt.
Trailer interor was just as we left it too. Just wish we could haul a little water from time to time.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:52 PM   #9
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Oops, no logic. Just an additional and incorrect zero in my post. Thanks for catching my error. I intended to state 1,000 lb bars.
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Old 05-27-2017, 07:38 PM   #10
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Tongue wt up to 15% of Gross wt should be no problem. Load on the water. IMO
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Old 05-27-2017, 08:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airabel View Post
-- snip -- dealer recommended an Equalizer 400 lb max hitch weight, 4000 lb max trailer weight. -- snip --can't haul any water without overloading the hitch.
The dealer may have been attempting to give you the softest TV to coach connection. An Equilizer is easy to hook up, hard to setup and quite stiff = transfers shocks to coach. The tongue weight does not specifically overload the hitch, you just may not be able to transfer as much weight to the front axle as you might wish. Takes a bit of tuning to identify the parameters. There is a Reese thread that suggests using lighter bars with stiffer TVs. Seems to work. It's all complicated, but lots of folks figure it all out and you can too. Keep asking questions. (Note, if your TV receiver can not support more than 400#s, you have a different problem and should consider a full Class III hitch ~ 600#s.)

Spend some time on the Equalizer threads to gain an understanding of the adjustments possible on your hitch. Also weigh the rig at a CAT or similar scale. Need the "ready to travel" hitched and unhitched weights for front and rear axles on TV as well as the coach axle. Also need the hitched weight with and without the Equilizer engaged.

There are several approaches to rig setup. One is to have equal loading on rear and front TV axles without overloading their max capacity. This takes full weight transfer. Another is to use the WDH to return the front axle to the unhitched loading. This takes less weight transfer and the logic is that the unhitched loading is representative of the original vehicle design assumptions. It's mentioned in some TV manuals under towing. However, the approach only works if the rear axle is not overloaded.

So, maybe you can run with a full water tank and the 400s.

Absolutely do not add weight in rear to counter weight the tongue. As to why - Investigate moment arm discussions ..... hazard of bicycles or gear boxes on the back of coach. Add weight as close as possible to the axle and as low as possible in the coach. TV loading should be positioned in front of rear axle and as low as possible.

Good luck with your research. Pat
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:05 AM   #12
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We took a Memorial Weekend trip into the Black Hills. Loaded the Sport and TV up (except no water ) and tongue weight was 375 lbs. The trailer rode like a dream, no bounce and no sway. When we stopped for the day, trailer inside was just as we left it. Table cloth and stuff still on the table. So I'm very happy with the ride and probably won't be changing anything.
I did notice that the the connected TV and trailer are not level. Trailer sets up a little high at the hitch. Other than the rear of the trailer setting a little low in the rear and less ground clearance at the sewer pipe, is this an issue? The only way to correct this is to get a longer drop hitch and it's a long one as is.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:26 PM   #13
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I wonder if you towed it with a full water tank if it would sit level?
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:31 PM   #14
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The literature tongue weight for our 2013 25FB International Serenity was 833 pounds.

At the dealership we installed the Hensley Arrow hitch, filled the propane and fresh water tanks and had my briefcase on the bed. Tongue weight was 1,150 pounds. The Hensley Arrow was within it's limits. We kept the Hensley hitch in storage when we traded for our 2014 Classic and installed a ProPride hitch (second generation Jim Hensley design).

After the initial solar modification with four 98 pound Lifeline 300 amp-hour 6Vdc AGM batteries mounted behind the propane tanks, the tongue weight was 1,375 pounds. When we went to a 168 pound 600 amp-hour lithium battery installed under the front sofa, the tongue weight dropped to 1,175 pounds.

Our 23D has a 968 pound tongue weight with a fully loaded weight of 6,068 pounds when camping ready re-using our original Hensley Hitch.
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Old 11-22-2018, 09:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 650b View Post
Weight specs for travel trailers are usually based on an empty weight in order to be consistent. Why your dealer didn't recommend a heavier weight distribution hitch is a question you need to ask them. The solution is simple since most manufacturers sell different weight capacity tension bars for their hitch. I'm not familiar with the Equalizer brand, but the dealer should be able to swap out the tension bars. Maybe you can ask for a more experienced technician to show you proper installation and to verify the correct tension bar. I have the Blue Ox weight distribution bars and use the bars rated for 750lbs. I have a 2017 Bambi Sport 16. With a 6 cylinder Highlander as the TV, the ride is smooth and secure with max gear, water & propane. Good luck and please report back.
Hi 650b:

I'm looking at getting a 16 sport and pulling it with a BMW X3. The RV dealer is recommending a blue OX as well. Do you use a brake controller? If so which one?
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Old 11-22-2018, 10:42 AM   #16
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Snip...."Most folks on here won't be surprised as we all have made the same discovery...."

^
YES

Never base weights on what AS states.
ie...our stated 860, loaded...1200.

It's better to add 1000lb and have 500lb wiggle room when loaded.
The dealer should have stressed that.
A properly set up 5000lb hitch would not over stress the trailer.

Bob
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Old 11-22-2018, 10:56 AM   #17
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Hi 650b:

I'm looking at getting a 16 sport and pulling it with a BMW X3. The RV dealer is recommending a blue OX as well. Do you use a brake controller? If so which one?
FYI the post you quoted is from mid-2017, and 650b has only one post to his or her credit.

FYI
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Old 11-22-2018, 11:09 AM   #18
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IMHO, you should always use a class III hitch
why go cheap? no savings

you should try to get the lowest capacity WD bars that are above your max weight. If you go too high a WD bar capacity, the drive will be very hard and rough.

just like a home AirCon unit, you need to match the AC with the home capacity
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Old 11-22-2018, 11:22 AM   #19
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I realize this is an old thread too, but I’ll add my tongue weight on an empty, new, 22 sport and a 2018 f150 was low like 7% so I will need to add weight. I predict once water is added it will be in the sweet spot.

So I was surprised the other way around with too low a tongue weight.
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airabel View Post
We have a new Sport and had time to weigh the tongue this weekend. I was a bit surprised. Our Airstream dealer recommended an Equalizer 400 lb max hitch weight, 4000 lb max trailer weight. The Sport has a GVWR of 3500 lb so we should be well under the capacity of the hitch. Weighed the tongue, lightly loaded with no water on board, at almost 400 lb. Added about half tank of fresh water and exceeded the 400 lb max hitch weight significantly.
So we can't haul any water without overloading the hitch or we have to add unneeded weight to the rear on the trailer.
Anyone else have this issue?
I too at am a loss to understand why the Sherline tongue scale is reading 470lbs! Very little has been placed in the camper and no water. On the A frame is the Tekonsha Prodigy RF brake controller and the brackets for the blue ox WD. Maybe together they weight 20 lbs? Could the Sherline tongue scale be off?
I would not worry so much it if were not for my TV's 440lb tongue weight limit. I suspect the WD will move some weight but how much? What would 1/2" of wheel well change (increase at the rear wheel) = in weight distribution forward?

I should take it to a CAT scale I suppose. Anyone else understand this better?
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