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Old 02-15-2024, 11:27 AM   #1
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Is Hitch Weight Included in Tongue Weight

OK, I may be overthinking this, but I have a question that I don't believe I've ever seen asked or answered regarding the actual hitch device weight, like of a Blue Ox or a Hensley or whatever. The brand doesn't matter.

1.) We know that the tongue weight of the camper must be included in the payload of the tow vehicle.

2.) We know that the hitch weight much be included in the payload of the tow vehicle.

3.) We know that we should have between 10% and 15% tongue weight with reference to the total weight of the camper.

BUT, does the hitch weight, let's say the Blue Ox Sway Pro, get factored into the tongue weight of the camper?

My example is this. My camper is a 23FBT, with a loaded weight of 5824 pounds and a measured weight tongue weight of 650 pounds. This means that my tongue weight to trailer weight percentage is approximately 11.2%, which is good. BUT, I also use a Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch, and it weighs approximately 88 pounds. If this counts toward tongue weight, then my tongue weight would now be approximately 738 pounds, giving me an approximate tongue to camper ratio of 12.6%.

The reason I'm asking is that I'm adding a Fiamma bike rack and two 34 pound bikes on the back. That's about 90 pounds off the back, bringing trailer weight to 5914 pounds and decreasing tongue weight, meaning I will need to pack my camper differently, putting more of the stuff up front.

I haven't installed and measured it yet, but if the rack and bikes decrease tongue weight by 50 pounds, and the hitch counts toward tongue weight, then 600 / 5914 would still put me in the 10% tongue weight range, with minimal adjustments in cargo locations needed to be made.

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Old 02-15-2024, 11:41 AM   #2
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Yes...

Research carefully the addition of any added weight to the rear of the AS.

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Old 02-15-2024, 12:00 PM   #3
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We've been down this rabbit hole before. I'm not going there again. I've done all the math minutia. Rather than hashing it out, just weight it on the cat scales (minimum of the 3 pass method) and you'll have what you need. As above, compensating for tw or receiver weight by adding weight to the very aft of the trailer is a bad idea.
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Old 02-15-2024, 12:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
As above, compensating for tw or receiver weight by adding weight to the very aft of the trailer is a bad idea.
That's not at all the reason for adding a bike rack. Adding the bike rack is for carrying bikes. The only reason I'm wondering about the hitch weight is to find out if I'm still high enough on the tongue weight after adding the bike rack & bikes.

Who in their right mind would go out and spend $4000 for two bikes and a bike rack to just try to minimize tongue weight? Tongue and cheek, of course!
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Old 02-15-2024, 12:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by sbreech View Post
That's not at all the reason for adding a bike rack. Adding the bike rack is for carrying bikes. The only reason I'm wondering about the hitch weight is to find out if I'm still high enough on the tongue weight after adding the bike rack & bikes.

Who in their right mind would go out and spend $4000 for two bikes and a bike rack to just try to minimize tongue weight? Tongue and cheek, of course!
That really wasn't my point. If your concern is too light tw after adding bikes and rack to rear, and you compensate by adding some load up front, you're loading both extreme ends. This strategy promotes yaw inertia, which could lead to uncontrolled sway. Not as big an issue on a 23 as a 30 footer, but still a consideration.
And no, when calculating trailer tw (coupler weight) the head of the hitch is not on the calculations. The portions of the hitch mounted to the A frame do count.
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Old 02-15-2024, 07:20 PM   #6
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The weight of the hitch counts as part of the payload, but not as part of the trailer's tongue weight. The hitch is attached to the truck. It is not attached to the trailer's tongue.
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Old 02-16-2024, 07:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbo View Post
The weight of the hitch counts as part of the payload, but not as part of the trailer's tongue weight. The hitch is attached to the truck. It is not attached to the trailer's tongue.
Just playing the devil's advocate.
Let's assume you have an empty truck. The maximum tongue weight is 500# ( just for example because it's common)
My trailer has a tongue weight of 4990#.
If I use a 100# WD hitch how is that not added to tongue weight? I'm now over the allowable tongue weight???
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Old 02-16-2024, 07:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
Just playing the devil's advocate.
Let's assume you have an empty truck. The maximum tongue weight is 500# ( just for example because it's common)
My trailer has a tongue weight of 4990#.
If I use a 100# WD hitch how is that not added to tongue weight? I'm now over the allowable tongue weight???
OK. I see where you are going. The hitch head DOES count toward the HITCH WEIGHT rating, not tongue weight. Those are similar but not exactly the same. Hitch weight is how much weight the hitch is rated for. In your example the 500# is the HITCH WEIGHT rating. That is the maximum the hitch can carry, and includes BOTH the trailer's tongue weight AND the hitch head weight.

Payload = amount of weight the tow vehicle can carry.
Hitch weight = maximum weight you can put on the hitch (does not go into calculations done for sway).
Tongue weight = how much weight the tongue of the trailer weighs (goes into calculations done for sway).

The hitch head's weight counts against payload rating and hitch weight rating, but not tongue weight.

The problem is that a lot of people use the terms "tongue weight" and "hitch weight" interchangeably. They are not the same.
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Old 02-16-2024, 08:01 AM   #9
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What most of us call the “tongue weight” or “tongue load” rating for a tow vehicle is actually the static vertical load rating of the TV receiver. (But pretty much everyone including manufacturers just calls it the tongue weight/load rating.)

The static vertical load on the receiver is calculated by adding trailer tongue weight (if a trailer is being hitched up) to the weight of any device inserted into the TV’s hitch receiver. So yes, the entire weight of the WD hitch including the “hitch” portion counts against both tongue weight and payload (but it only gets added in once, as part of the tongue load, which then must be subtracted from the payload rating to yield remaining payload capacity.)

It’s easier to see how this works by using a different example that doesn’t involve a trailer. Instead, imagine a situation where a cargo carrier or motorcycle hitch rack is being mounted into the TV’s receiver. To determine the “tongue load” in this scenario, the weight of the cargo carrier or motorcycle hitch rack is added to the weight of the cargo or the motorcycle being transported. In other words, the device inserted into the receiver counts against tongue load, too.

This is why using a WD hitch on smaller tow vehicles is often counterproductive. As long as the tongue load of the trailer is below the rating of the TV, it’s generally unnecessary to use a WD hitch and doing so can even result in exceeding the TV’s tongue load and/or payload rating. At minimum, it reduces available payload capacity, which is often in short supply.
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Old 02-16-2024, 09:07 AM   #10
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Hi

First off, "tongue weight should be between 10 and 15%" is not a hard and fast rule. You can very much be in trouble within that zone. You also can be just fine outside that zone. There are a lot of other factors that come in.

Hitch weight does not add to the stability of the trailer. In that sense it does *not* add to tongue weight.

Hitch weight most certainly adds load to your tow vehicle. I must be included there.

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Old 02-16-2024, 09:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbo View Post
The weight of the hitch counts as part of the payload, but not as part of the trailer's tongue weight. The hitch is attached to the truck. It is not attached to the trailer's tongue.
Ah, the rat hole is in sight! Just read Bobbo’s post over and over again. Read it out loud…..to yourself…..and it should sink in.

My suggestion would be to load it up with your bikes and anything else you plan to bring camping. Go to the scales and get an accurate reading of things and….then I would ask, “how does your trailer handle when you tow it?” The percentage of tongue weight to total trailer weight is an estimate. If they say 12%, then try to stay close to that. As long as you are stable and using a good WD hitch, you will be fine. Don’t “over think” this as you mentioned in the OP.
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:37 AM   #12
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I thought bike racks ( or anything) mounted to the rear was verboten due to separation issues?
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Im2bent View Post
I thought bike racks ( or anything) mounted to the rear was verboten due to separation issues?
OP states he is installing a Fiama rack. They are approved by AS (or so I read).
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:42 AM   #14
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I thought bike racks ( or anything) mounted to the rear was verboten due to separation issues?
OP states he is installing a Fiamma rack. They are approved by AS (or so I read).
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Old 02-16-2024, 12:10 PM   #15
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I'll be right back...going to get some popcorn. This is going to get interesting...again!
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Old 02-16-2024, 12:11 PM   #16
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Yes where would the weight of it go?
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Old 02-16-2024, 12:12 PM   #17
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You may be asking for problems
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Old 02-16-2024, 12:24 PM   #18
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Any reduction in tongue weight, downward force on the ball, is a reduction in trailer stability.

I was thinkin' yesterday while driving at speed in high winds, that air under the trailer will reduce TW with speed **2. So there is a lot more lift at 70MPH than 60MPH. So if you take a few 100lbs off the TW due to lift, and you are light on the tongue to begin with, there's your sway event.

The Fiamma rack is frame mounted - but light. We had one Bionx electric, battery removed, and my 25lb bike. That is taken right off the tongue, in the worst possible place (farthest from axles). Option is just to pedal a bike.

Also the rear axle of the TV is the "steer" axle of the trailer.
If you load all 4 axles equally you get 2x4K R4K F4K lb. (using a 27 - 30ftr as example)
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Old 02-16-2024, 01:39 PM   #19
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Any reduction in tongue weight, downward force on the ball, is a reduction in trailer stability.
...
Short answer first. Yes, I think, sort of. But it's not a rigid set of numbers, I think.

I haven't worked all the vectors, but here goes anyway ...

There are two types of stability: static and dynamic. Static stability is when things tend to stay as they are or return to status quo. Take your hands off the yoke of a well trimmed Cessna, and it will tend to hold the same pitch and yaw.
Dynamic stability, from groundschool memory, is the tendency to return to a nominal condition when a perturbation happens. Put a marble in the bottom of a bowl, and push the marble a little, it'll wallow about but tend to come back to the low spot in the bowl.

Instabilities are the exact opposite. A trailer could be fine statically (i.e. absent action from an outside force it happily sits behind the truck), but still be dynamically unstable.

So the things you mention, IMO, typically tend to reduce the dynamic stability.
The outside forces can come from a whole bunch of things: turbulent air from the tow vehicle, swales, potholes, or expansion joints in the pavement, a pressure wave from oncoming traffic, or the turbulence of a slight crosswind when it sweeps around trees, fences, houses, or small changes in terrain. Semi trucks occasionally get tossed on their sides by thermals, for that matter, and thermals are often invisible - not every strong thermal has a dust devil for a tell.

I don't think the aerodynamic forces at speed "reduce" tongue weight directly, but I do think that the standard deviation for most of the forces involved rises with speed. This is especially true for yaw forces, and when you combine the swales in pavement with the natural frequencies of suspension damping and any weight distribution (or lack of it) ought to exacerbate any pitch/yaw or roll/yaw coupling in the system.
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Old 02-16-2024, 04:11 PM   #20
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Seems like most overthink this. Hitch weight is not included in tongue weight. As an example, when I use my trusty Sherline scale to measure the tongue weight of our 25’ FC RBT, the hitch is not part of the tongue. To be more specific, the scale is measuring the downforce the tongue exerts on the scale. This is no different than if I stand on the scale. Of course my scale always seems to be a little lighter than my doctor’s!!

It’s not as complicated as it can be made out to be. At least not in my mind, but as my wife reminds me, not everyone thinks like I do!! LOL!!
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