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Old 01-16-2020, 02:02 PM   #1
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Payload math / weight distribution hitch

I am hoping to buy an Airstream trailer in the future and I would like to tow it with my motorcycle in the back of my truck. (if this does not work, I need to find out before I get my trailer) So I can't do a physical example.

My truck, 2016 F150 with 3.5 ecoboost says I have payload of 2,170.

My Motorcycle is 700lbs (with full tank and bags loaded with normal items)
My self and passenger 400 lbs

That leaves me 1,070 pounds for the tongue weight and any other stuff I have in the truck. Also i'm worried about the rear axle load with the bike center of gravity just in front of the rear axle.

Also, I only have 6.5 foot bed, so I would need to drive with tailgate down or off. So I would need to extend the hitch back a little

Questions.
1) Does the tongue weight go down with a weight distribution system? i.e. does it distribute the tongue weight to all the axles including the trailer?

2) If I extend the hitch away from the truck, what does this do to the calculations?
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:16 PM   #2
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I am definitely no expert but as I understand it a WD hitch transfers load not weight plus you have the weight of the hitch itself which can be close to 100 lbs. I encountered a similar problem. Extending the hitch puts a tremendous amount of strain on it. Think leverage. Not a good idea. The hitch weight on my trailer approached 1000 lbs with the trailer loaded. You need a 3/4 or 1 ton long bed.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:20 PM   #3
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Welcome. There are countless threads and posts about calculating weight issues and you would do well to use the search function and do some reading. You will notice a lot of disagreement and some really wrong posts. Learning about this is a challenge.
And you are to be commended for wanting to learn this before you get yourself in a mess.

1. Weight distribution hitches do transfer some tongue weight from the traile axles tot he truck axles. The idea is that the hitch makes the two vehicles one, thus redistributing weight. If the tongue wt. is 1,000 lbs., two thirds (roughly) axles to the truck axles and 1/3 to the trailer axles. So you subtract 667 lbs. from your truck cargo allowance. Also you have to subtract the hitch assembly wt., any extra things mounted at the front of the trailer and any options added to the truck that don't appear on the weight sticker(s) on the truck drivers door frame. Do you have a tune or a truck topper? You will probably find there are lots o/f things you want to have in the truckótools for example. Airstream don't have a lot of storage, so a truck takes some of the stuff that won't fit. 2,170 lbs. seems like a lot of cargo wt. for a 1/2 ton truck, so check the numbers carefully.

2. You want the tongue to be as close as possible to the truck without compromising the ability to turn the truck (especially backing) and not hit anything like a truck bumper on the tongue. The weight distributing hitch tries to project weight forward to the truck axles plus the closer it is to the rear axle, the more stable the rig is. You can extend a hitch assembly backward with the proper attachments, but you will lose some stability and change the weight calculations. How to quantify this into numbers is for engineers. The more expensive hitches like the Pro Pride do a better job of projecting weight forward and provide stability, but cost several times more. Whether they can be extended further back to give you more space is something to check with hitch manufacturers. My first hitch was an Equalizer and with it I could lower the tailgate all the way. The one I have now does not allow that and I have to rest the tailgate on the tongue and sometimes put something soft on the tongue so I don't damage paint or put a dent in the tailgate. Of course, to load/unload a motorcycle you will have to unhitch anyway.

Note that Airstream hitch weights as stated by the manufacturer are often wrong. I have seen very different weights cited in different Airstream promotional materials, usually less than reality, perhaps by several hundred pounds.

Assuming you are a human, you will probably underestimate what you will carry and overestimate what the rig can hold.

When you do more research, you will find there are people who recommend adding a safety factor of as much as 20% (i.e, derate the cargo capacity of truck by 20%). But SAE several years ago recalibrated tow weights and some manufacturers follow those recommendations and lowered their tow weights, some did not. See if your Ford is SAE rated. Just like some people recommend buying a 3/4 or 1 ton truck or even a Peterbuilt, others will tell you you can tow with a Subaru Brat. The motorcycle certainly complicates your decisions. There are also aftermarket truck modifications like air bags and an extra leaf spring that can help a bit, but you will still have axles and all other running gear made for a lighter weight.

You are right to be concerned about the weight on your rear axle. Also you should check what the weight ratings are on your truck tires. A Vespa weighs a lot less than a motorcycle, but if you have a motorcycle, you probably will not want to be seen on a Vespa. It is a lot easier to use the truck to get around and not worry about bringing a third vehicle with you. Your alternative is a different truck (a possibility many people, including me, have had to deal with when they buy a fairly heavy travel trailer.

Good to do your research and you will spend too many hours scratching your head wondering if you got it right. You also have to decide what trailer you want, what you can afford, what fits your lifestyle and so on. You may have to get a lighter triller than you want, or get a bigger truck, or leave the bike at home, or otherwise have to accept some limits. Everyone has to accept some limits, so you will not be alone.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellG View Post
I am hoping to buy an Airstream trailer in the future and I would like to tow it with my motorcycle in the back of my truck. (if this does not work, I need to find out before I get my trailer) So I can't do a physical example.

My truck, 2016 F150 with 3.5 ecoboost says I have payload of 2,170.

My Motorcycle is 700lbs (with full tank and bags loaded with normal items)
My self and passenger 400 lbs

That leaves me 1,070 pounds for the tongue weight and any other stuff I have in the truck. Also i'm worried about the rear axle load with the bike center of gravity just in front of the rear axle.

Also, I only have 6.5 foot bed, so I would need to drive with tailgate down or off. So I would need to extend the hitch back a little

Questions.
1) Does the tongue weight go down with a weight distribution system? i.e. does it distribute the tongue weight to all the axles including the trailer?

2) If I extend the hitch away from the truck, what does this do to the calculations?
1( The definition of tongue weight is the weight of the trailer bearing upon the hitch ball. Tongue weight does not change when using weight distribution hitch. Leverage is used to change the distribution of load on the axles , shifting load from rear tow vehicle axle to the trailer and t v front axle.

2( Extending the hitch, either by making the hitch ball mount longer or using an extension, will reduce the leverage effect of the weight distribution, so will not work as it should. And it will put more torque force on the hitch receiver than it is designed for. I think you would need to change to a higher class/heavy duty hitch.

Having the heaviest part of the load of the bike in front of the rear axle is a good thing. That would add some of the weight onto the front axle.
Edited>>>>

ps: Making a sharp turn with the tailgate down, especially when backing up, is a good way to damage both vehicles. Take the tailgate off, keep the ball mount as short as possible. As long as load spec's of both vehicles are not exceeded it can be done.
But IMO, I would get a truck with a longer bed.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:20 PM   #5
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You need to determine the size of the trailer you are interested in before anyone can give you good advice. A Basecamp, Nest, or Bambi/Caravel will not be close to overloading your truck given the numbers you provided. If you are looking at a 27í or bigger, you are very likely to be over your limits. 23í - 25í will be at the margin.

Figure that out and you will have solid info to make a good decision. And yes, remove the tailgate... sharp turns already get close to the trailer with the truck, guaranteed to make contact if the tailgate is down.
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:21 AM   #6
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700 pounds is not much more weight than 2 or 3 additional occupants and gear.

Will there be only 2 people traveling with gear, or will you need to have more people capacity in the vehicle when towing? This factor alone will make or break your math.

Secondly, are you wanting to travel loaded or light? Some people bring 300 pounds of tools and a generator and fuel, and food and liquids for 2 weeks. Others add solar and bring a weeks worth of clothes and shop for food on the road.

The "I have room so I may as well bring it" mentality can set you on your way to be overloaded, motorcycle or not.

Lastly I seem to remember an AS owner who removed the tailgate and added a net tailgate for travel with the bike in the truck bed. Seemed like a decent compromise.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:56 AM   #7
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Trailer weight calculator

https://www.ajdesigner.com/apptraile...utionhitch.php
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:37 AM   #8
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f150

So your towing an Airstream with a F150 and want to carry a 700lb motorcycle and your have a short bed. Simple answer is don't even try. Your tailgate will strike your trailer,and your got all of that weight that you will have trouble stopping. If you have an accident they will hang you out to dry. Your running on the edge of safety. I made the jump to the Ram 2500 6.7Cummings and haven't had any regrets or problems.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:19 AM   #9
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payload math / WD hitch

fwiw, I have the same setup and a motorcycle I would love to bring with me. Ours is a 27FB Globetrotter and, tongue weight is about 300 lbs higher than the brochure claims. From the payload number you have to subtract everything you put in the truck, including yourselves, and the tongue weight. No way you will have enough capacity. Also, I haul my bike in the truck (without the trailer) and you would need to remove the tailgate. That means all your stuff including the ramps you would need, would have to be well secured. But most importantly you would exceed your payload capacity.

We are very happy with our F150 Platinum Eco and it tows our AS really nicely, but it doesn't stop it as well as I'd like. Next TV will be bigger.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:33 AM   #10
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You might be interested in reading my article on the exercise we did in choosing a tow vehicle for our Int'l 25 Airstream.

https://www.marriedwithairstream.com...-your-trailer/
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:20 AM   #11
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Easy.
Ride the bike have DW drive truck! I just can't figure the same issue with a boat and Airstream.
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:55 PM   #12
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocco52 View Post
I am definitely no expert but as I understand it a WD hitch transfers load not weight plus you have the weight of the hitch itself which can be close to 100 lbs. I encountered a similar problem. Extending the hitch puts a tremendous amount of strain on it. Think leverage. Not a good idea. The hitch weight on my trailer approached 1000 lbs with the trailer loaded. You need a 3/4 or 1 ton long bed.
Thanks, I hate to have to buy a bigger truck but I am worried about the payload issue.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocco52 View Post
I am definitely no expert but as I understand it a WD hitch transfers load not weight plus you have the weight of the hitch itself which can be close to 100 lbs. I encountered a similar problem. Extending the hitch puts a tremendous amount of strain on it. Think leverage. Not a good idea. The hitch weight on my trailer approached 1000 lbs with the trailer loaded. You need a 3/4 or 1 ton long bed.
Thanks, I hate to have to buy a bigger truck but I am worried about the payload issue.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:49 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by LSGAirstream View Post
fwiw, I have the same setup and a motorcycle I would love to bring with me. Ours is a 27FB Globetrotter and, tongue weight is about 300 lbs higher than the brochure claims. From the payload number you have to subtract everything you put in the truck, including yourselves, and the tongue weight. No way you will have enough capacity. Also, I haul my bike in the truck (without the trailer) and you would need to remove the tailgate. That means all your stuff including the ramps you would need, would have to be well secured. But most importantly you would exceed your payload capacity.

We are very happy with our F150 Platinum Eco and it tows our AS really nicely, but it doesn't stop it as well as I'd like. Next TV will be bigger.
Well, if the actual tongue weights are that much higher, then I have no hope. I had assumed they were rated at a fully loaded rating (with proper weight over t
the axles etc.) If that's not the case, then I can't haul the bike.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:15 PM   #16
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You might be interested in reading my article on the exercise we did in choosing a tow vehicle for our Int'l 25 Airstream.

https://www.marriedwithairstream.com...-your-trailer/
nice read
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:56 PM   #17
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All good advise...I also had an F150 platinum EB; actual payload on the doorjamb sticker was 600lbs less then the dealer told me it would be during purchase process...Sticker said 1039lbs. I drove for 2 years pulling our 25' AS with Kayaks and a generator, before understanding I was way over payload actual specs for that truck. Not sure what size AS your looking at, but if larger then a 25', you should consider a 3/4T or 1T IMHO... Still not sure about the bike...
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:49 PM   #18
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Payload math / weight distribution hitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellG;
Thanks, I hate to have to buy a bigger truck but I am worried about the payload issue.

Iíll keep this simple for ya.

Motorcycle, airstream with 750-1250 lbs on the tongue when loaded, people, stuff, safely margin, control, engine, braking, non-white nuckle driving, maybe a topper to keep stuff dry in the back, no tail wagging the dog syndrome, 50í + in total train length....

You will regret trying to force a 1/2 ton platform to accomplish ALL of the above.

3/4 ton maybe (I have one, moved up from a 1/2 ton platform after 30k miles of towing). But only maybe. Iím maxed out on payload with my 3/4 ton - and I donít carry a motorcycle. I would need another leaf on the rear axle / 1-ton SRW (not dually) with an additional 800lbs of payload to load a bike and be comfortable.

Just get a 1-ton and be done / donít look back. It all looks ok on paper and in theory until you get in and try to drive a (practically speaking) overloaded 1/2 ton with a 50í+ train weighing in at over 15 or 16,000 lbs through the mountains.

Iím at 54í and 17,500lbs wet rolling down the road here in the Rocky Mountains with my 30í international. Zero stress. Driving the rig is a pleasure. My wife shares towing duties.

Getting to your camp site should be fun not stressful. A 3/4 or 1 ton is a completely different animal than a 1/2 ton. Been there, done both.
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:09 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocco52 View Post
I am definitely no expert but as I understand it a WD hitch transfers load not weight plus you have the weight of the hitch itself which can be close to 100 lbs. I encountered a similar problem. Extending the hitch puts a tremendous amount of strain on it. Think leverage. Not a good idea. The hitch weight on my trailer approached 1000 lbs with the trailer loaded. You need a 3/4 or 1 ton long bed.
The word Load means a mass that has weight.
There is only one thing to measure and it is measured in pounds.

Tongue weight is ideally spread to all axles. Don't worry about payload, worry about F&R GAWR when towing.

Scales are the only way to know, but educated guesses can be made for the purpose of getting a truck or trailer. My F-150 is the 3.0L; the diesel eats up axle payload (GAWR)'cause it so heavy (payload = 1394#). The scales tell me that with my 28' trailer attached, each truck axle was 500# under the limit.

With your F-150, you may find that your bike fits. Mine doesn't.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:06 AM   #20
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Someone has figured it out.

TV alone No WD WD set

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