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Confused about tongue weight

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Old 02-26-2012, 10:39 PM   #1
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Default Confused about tongue weight

I have an enclosed 6x10 cargo trailer that I use to haul dirt bikes to the races. The axle is pretty far back so i dont have a lot of freedom to move the cargo around in order to manipulate the tongue weight. Totally empty, the trailer is 1025 and the tongue weight is just about 300 pounds. Loaded down the trailer weighs about 2300 pounds but the tongue weight is almost 600! The stock hitch that comes with the standard tow package is only rated at 500, correct? Even if it's rated higher, shouldn't the tongue weight only be 10-15% of the total trailer weight?

Am I missing something?
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:14 PM   #2
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Thats correct on both accounts. Not sure if I would worry about 100lbs. JMO. If you were at say 750+ I would think about some form of WD. Really too bad they don't make an after market reciever with higher non WD ratings. But I guess the way it's tied into the bumper must limit it somewhat.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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Actually, I just checked ford.com and according the brochure, my 2012 platinum came with a class IV hitch with is rated up to 10000 GTW and 1000-1200 tongue weight.

If that is correct then I am only about halfway to the max tongue weight but what do I do about the ratio of GTW to tongue weight? Is it that critical to be at 10-15%?
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MXD
Actually, I just checked ford.com and according the brochure, my 2012 platinum came with a class IV hitch with is rated up to 10000 GTW and 1000-1200 tongue weight.

If that is correct then I am only about halfway to the max tongue weight but what do I do about the ratio of GTW to tongue weight? Is it that critical to be at 10-15%?
The 10000/1200 is when you are using a WDH with spring bars.

Are you SURE about the tongue weight numbers on you trailer? What method did you use to get those numbers.

Those are extremely high numbers on the unloaded trailer.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:56 PM   #5
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The receiver is rated at that pound, but the bar and ball determine the actual weight. Check the ratings on bars, and use a heavier bar, and you should be golden.

Another thing to consider about tongue weight, the more weight you put on the ball, the less weight on the front axle. Believe me when I say this, You don't want a light front end, it isnt fun. I used to drive an 18 wheeler hauling lumber and the moron who bought the trucks got a city truck with a short wheelbase, which meant moving the 5th wheel all the way back to make room for the headache rack. That truck was a handful on gravel and rain. I had to bump steer it when going around the yard.

Hook your trailer up empty, measure the front wheel opening, and then load up your trailer and measure the opening again, this will give you an idea on the tongue weight, it if goes up an inch, you should be fine, anything over than that, I would rebalance the trailer load.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:16 AM   #6
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I got that weight by using an actual scale designed for trailers.

So, does a wd hitch allow you to exceed the 10-15% tongue weight rule (since i am currently at about 20-22% with no cargo left to shift around) or does it just help you when 10-15% is enough to sag the truck to a dangerous level?

The other option I considered was to add weight up under the floor at the rear of the trailer to try to get the tongue weight down to about 12%.

Last edited by MXD; 02-27-2012 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Loaded down the trailer weighs about 2300 pounds but the tongue weight is almost 600!
That's 26 percent wet and loaded hitch weight. No good on tag trailer. You are talking about a tag trailer, right? Move the heaviest cargo to the very back of the trailer, and put only lighter stuff in front of the trailer axles.

If you can't achieve no more than 15% hitch weight, then you need to move the trailer axles forward a foot or so. That's no big deal to a competent welding shop or trailer manufacturer.

However, I wouldn't worry much about 600 pounds hitch weight - assuming your receiver, ball mount and ball are all rated for at least 600 pounds WC. You probably won't be overloading the tow vehicle in any way, and too much percentage of hitch weight is not necessarily bad if nothing is overloaded. If the trailer tows good when loaded with 600 pounds hitch weight, then it's not emergency time. But I would plan to have the trailer axles moved forward soon.

Last edited by smokeywren; 02-27-2012 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:26 AM   #8
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I'm impressed you went through the trouble of getting a tongue scale.

Sounds like the only thing you can do is shift any load items you can to the back of the trailer.

You are also need to look at getting some type of weight distribution hitch setup. That will help shift some of that weight around - some onto the front wheels and some back onto the trailer wheels.

Very interesting, as Ive never seen a trailer with that much tongue weight unloaded.

Anything you can put in back of the trailer behind the wheels will help offset the tongue weight.

Your receiver hitch without a weight distribution setup is only rated to 500#. A WDH is a must.

Can you post a pic if the trailer from the side? Is it one of those v-nose setups?
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:35 AM   #9
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This is a stock photo of the same trailer I have. There isn't much room behind the wheels. It's impossible to load 2 dirt bikes in there without the weight being in front of the wheels.




Last edited by MXD; 02-27-2012 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:07 AM   #10
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I believe the 10-15% is a guideline. With under 10% tongue weight, trailer sway is becoming an increased issue, so you should never go there.
But: the high end of this guideline - the 15% - really is just that: a guideline. As long as you don't go over the trailers GVWR, axle ratings, the trailer tongue rating itself as well as the trucks tongue weight rating, you should be fine. I have seen trailers sold that were at 20% tongue weight EMPTY, specifically several popup campers fall into that category.
But in your case, you are over the tongue weight rating of the truck, so you should either move weight around in the trailer, have the trailer axles shifted, or add a good WDH.
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