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Old 06-08-2014, 08:17 AM   #1
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Default Cargo to tongue weight relationship

Haven't been able to take my trailer and Harley to scales yet but was wondering how much weight does adding about 1,000 pounds of motorcycle and gear to the cargo area take off the tongue. Is there a percentage, for example 20% of cargo weight is reduces the 1,000 pound tongue weight to 800?

I realize that the length of trailer and location of wheels and cargo affect the number but is there a rule of thumb?
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Old 06-08-2014, 04:58 PM   #2
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Good question Mark. I'd like to scale mine also, but haven't made it happen.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:31 AM   #3
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No "rule of thumb"...it is all based on the fulcrum effect caused by the trailer's axles. In fact, your Harley, even though it weighs 1,000 lbs, is probably making your tongue weight less than without it. The overall trailer is 1000 lbs heavier, but, being behind the axles, think teeter-totter, is lifting the trailer's tongue into the air as opposed to pushing it down. That is one of the things that makes toy haulers more difficult to keep their tongues heavy enough to remain stable. People look at all the empty space and "load 'er up" only to find that most of that weight is behind the axles and they don't have enough tongue weight to keep the trailer stable.

But, to get back to the "no rule of thumb"...the closer the weight is moved to the ball of the hitch, the more the weight is applied to that ball. The further from the ball, the less that weight is applied until you pass the axle(s) of the trailer at which point the weight you add actually becomes a negative weight on the ball and it is all based on distance...hence, "no rule of thumb".



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Old 06-09-2014, 09:39 AM   #4
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That's what Mark is asking. If we have the same trailer, loaded similarly, we should be able to give a percentage estimate of what adding 1,000 lbs behind he axle relieves from the tongue.

I've had more than that behind the axles and I was a long way from becoming unstable.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:04 AM   #5
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Unstable is a relative term... It may be stable under most normal towing conditions, but, what about emergency maneuvers? That is what the 12-16% of GVW on the tongue is meant to provide. Less than that is considered light enough to be "unstable" under some conditions. Adding weight behind the axle is going to lighten the loading on the tongue; that's a fact of physics. If your tongue weight is still in the acceptable band of percentage of GVW, then you are good to go, if it isn't, then it is considered "unstable" no matter how many miles you may have managed to tow the rig. Another physics fact is the amount can only be determined by knowing the distances involved in the fulcrum lengths and the exact placement distance on those legs of the fulcrum. So, "rule of thumb"? Nope. The only "rule of thumb" I've ever heard bandied about is that if you placed weight in the trailer, directly over the axles, then in that theory, 80% would go on the trailer's axles with 20% added to the tongue, but, again, that isn't a hard and fast rule because the fulcrum point isn't actually a "point", but, is spread across the distance of the axle to axle center points and introduces more mathematics to the equation. I've never seen any math the supports even that rule of thumb, because logic dictates that if you placed that weight directly over the fulcrum point it would have no appreciable effect on the tongue weight as all the weight would be born on the axles; perfectly balanced. Any shifting of that weight, based on distance from the balance point is going to create a sliding scale of positive and negative numbers regarding the effect on tongue weight. There is no "rule of thumb" to be used; only actual weight readings taken on scales can tell you. Even the big rigs know that the only way they can be sure of a safe load is to weigh the rig and that's how the CAT scale company stays in business. Part of the reason why big rigs trailer wheels are at the end of the trailer is so that they don't have to worry about load balance; all they have to worry about is gross weight since, even as the trailer is emptied, the 5th wheel is designed to support more than half the gross weight. So sorry, there is no method of reasoning away a weight or balance worry short of actual measurement of the conditions present on your trailer...and it has to be yours. Even "similar" can be a wide range of variables. How many canned goods to each person carry? Where are those canned goods? How much water and where is located? What other shifting loads might there be? If you both carried bottled water in a forward storage bay, are they both the exact same distance from the tongue?

There isn't a "feel good" rule of thumb for weight. You either trust your gut and go with it, or, you haul your "normal" rig to the scales to find out the truth.



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Old 06-09-2014, 11:10 AM   #6
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Sigh.
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Old 06-09-2014, 02:22 PM   #7
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Ok, let me rephrase the question. Has anyone weighed their Fun Finder XT 276 toy hauler tongue weight empty and then re-weighed after loading a motorcycle or similar weight cargo?
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:11 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure that's what you asked the first time.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:16 PM   #9
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Actually, that's not what he asked the first time

His original question:
Haven't been able to take my trailer and Harley to scales yet but was wondering how much weight does adding about 1,000 pounds of motorcycle and gear to the cargo area take off the tongue. Is there a percentage, for example 20% of cargo weight is reduces the 1,000 pound tongue weight to 800?

I realize that the length of trailer and location of wheels and cargo affect the number but is there a rule of thumb?


Even if someone answers your last question about their weights, you won't be able to realistically apply the answer to your particular circumstance for all the reasons I've listed above The only way that you can find out if your numbers are going to work is to load up and get your weight.

Sorry if it appears that I am trying to rain on your parade, but, if you are trying to ascertain whether your plans are safe or not, the only way to tell is to weigh your rig. If you are just hoping for something that might make you feel better, then maybe someone will post their numbers. I'll stay out of it now I'm trying to make sure you are safe as opposed to thinking you maybe safe and finding out later that you guessed wrong.



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Old 06-09-2014, 08:47 PM   #10
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Ok then, please disregard my question.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S
Ok then, please disregard my question.
I called over to the local scale and am going to try and do it on Saturday morning. I have a 4x4 F-250, so I'm quite a bit heavier in the truck dept (6,300 versus right at 5,000 for a 2wd 150), but it should give us a general idea. I plan on picking it up, adding about a half tank of water (how I normally travel), swinging by the scales, going home, picking up the bikes and then rescaling. I will be a little light on weight, so I might fill up the tank all the way. Thoughts?

I will try and talk them in to letting me drop the tongue to get a better idea on both the trailer and the unloaded truck weight distribution, but I can probably find that info on line. I also have a WDH, and haven't given much thought as to how that would effect the load, but I plan on doing it the same way both times.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:30 AM   #12
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Ok, I found some more info -

Weight Information as my truck comes outfitted.

Trim Curb Weight 6,625 lbs (Moooo!)
Base Trim Weight - Front 3,821 lbs 58%
Base Trim Weight - Rear 2,804 lbs 42%
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #13
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I weighed my last trailer (Work and Play 18EC), both with and without the weight distribution hitch.

(Don't know why I can't get table numbers to line up, sorry)

Front Rear Trailer Total wt
WDH 3140 3900 5020 12060
W/O WDH 2780 4440 4840. 12060

Wt shift +360 -540 +180

Tongue weight was 1,260 pounds

This was with the trailer empty, no bike in back. I don't have the numbers with the bike in the trailer.

As you can see, the weight distribution hitch moved 540 pounds off the rear truck wheels, which I thought was pretty good. Btw, the truck-trailer combo worked great all through the Rockies.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:25 AM   #14
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The Eco Boost is an awesome motor. I almost bought one when I got the 250. What changed my mind? I knew I wouldn't have been able to leave that motor alone. There's too much power waiting to be uncapped, and I'm a hot rodder by heart.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:03 PM   #15
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Got it weighed today. First pass was straight from where I store it. All tanks empty, propane full, battery and typical things left in (blankets, lawn chairs etc).

2nd pass with two bikes (940 pounds) and full water tank.

By loading it up -

it put 4% on the steer axle - 140 pounds - 3,900 total
it lost 80 pounds, -2% on the rear axle - 3,800 total
I added 1,420 pounds for a total of 6,700 pounds on the trailer axle.

If I added 36 gallons of water that should be 288 pounds. If I round the bikes up to 1,000, I'm about 200 pounds short of what the scales say I added.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:48 AM   #16
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So if I am interpreting this right, adding 940 pounds worth of bikes (behind the axle) and 288 pounds of water in front of the axle, you actually added about 650 pounds to the cargo area, in balance. If this 650 pounds took 80 pounds off your rear axle that's about 12% change. I'm not exactly sure how that relates to the tongue weight as the weight to the axle is higher than the weight to the tongue, due to leverage I guess.


That's actually good information to know. Thanks for posting.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:03 AM   #17
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One thing to keep in mind; he didn't actually measure what the total tongue weight was in ralation to the GVW of the loaded trailer. 10 to 16% of GVW on the tongue is required for stability with 12-14% being ideal. You can probably massage that out of his figures; I haven't actually looked that closely at them except to note that he didn't quote an actual tongue weight; only that his loading actually lightened the rear axle load (a good indicator of tongue weight, but, not reliable since he's using a WDH which skews the numbers). Depending on which WDH he's / you're using, adjustments can usually be made to load that 80 lbs. back to the rear axle, or even a tad more to keep the net tongue weight in the proper range.



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Old 06-15-2014, 11:35 AM   #18
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From weighing my old trailer I found that my tongue weight of 1260 added 1240 pounds to the rear wheels using my WDH. That's just about pound for pound. So adding 1,000 pounds to my cargo area will lighten my tongue about 120 pounds. The advertised tongue weight is 870 pounds, add 200 pounds for battery, propane and miscellaneous the tongue weight should be an estimated 1070 pounds. Take off the 120 and the tongue should be 950. With an estimated total weight of 7500 X 12.5% my set up should be right where it should be at 950 pounds.

It would have been so much easier to just go to the scales but at least I got to practice my math skills.

I will weigh mine when I am loaded up in about 3 1/2 weeks. But for now my question is answered. Thanks

Ps. Yes Webslave, I know my milage and weights may vary 😄
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