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How to determine actual tongue weight when trailer shopping?

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Old 07-31-2015, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default How to determine actual tongue weight when trailer shopping?

Do the RV dealers normally have tongue weight scales so I can verify the tongue weight before I buy a travel trailer? I a little afraid to trust the RV dealer with anything, especially how big a trailer I can safely pull. I have 1695 payload on my 2wd '15 scab, and I want to keep the tongue weight at 850 or less. Yes I know the RV manufacturers list the tongue weights, but I want to see it for myself. "Trust but verify"
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:34 PM   #2
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I think the best u can go by is what the brochure list for campers, but u can pretty much bet a 850 tongue weight will be 1000 pounds loaded and ready to camp, I've not weighed mine but on the cat scale and gauges by rear axle weight it's heavy lol
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:37 PM   #3
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One thing to keep in mind if u bought a 5.0 they have 8.8 rear end for some reason, so regardless of payload u may be high on rear axle weight, dunno why ford went to a 8.8 were they used to be 9.75 which is one heavy duty rear end but I'll tellya the 8.8 is a beast look at all the mustang racing with them
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:52 PM   #4
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If you assume 12% of the trailer weight on the hitch and want to arrive at 850 lb on the hitch, just divide 850 by 0.12 and you will arrive at the maximum trailer weight: 7083 lb

If you want to do a worst case of 15% of the trailer weight then 850 / 0.15 = 5667 lb max trailer weight.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:32 AM   #5
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I think everything is based on guesses and assumptions until you get out a scale and measure it. It would be a great dealer if they pulled out a tongue scale and weighed it for you. But I suspect most would not for fear that the scale would tell a different story than the salesman.

If you're serious, you could buy a scale yourself. They're not cheap, but it's cheaper than buying a new truck if you get yourself into too much trailer.

Here's an example.
Amazon.com - Sherline LM 1000 - Trailer Tongue Weight Scale
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:52 AM   #6
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Well a bathroom scale would work for smaller trailers. Here is one that goes up to 440 lb. You could buy two...
Amazon.com: Eatsmart Precision Plus Digital Bathroom Scale with Ultra Wide Platform and Step-on Technology, 440-Pounds: Health & Personal Care Amazon.com: Eatsmart Precision Plus Digital Bathroom Scale with Ultra Wide Platform and Step-on Technology, 440-Pounds: Health & Personal Care
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:56 AM   #7
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If a dealer doesn't have a scale, that tells you something.
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:01 AM   #8
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Even so, the scale can only give you empty numbers. What you really need is ready to camp numbers. Only you can know how you will load your trailer and truck. Using 12=15% of the gross trailer weight is pretty conservative.
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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Buy or borrow a scale. If you buy one get the type that goes over 1000#s. There is a method to weighing useing a bathroom scale and some lumber to get a weight. You can google the bathroom scale method and some vids should pop up. I did this with mine and it worked well but probably not the easiest to try with multiple trailers.

Good luck.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:26 PM   #10
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Even if you haul a Sherline tongue weight scale around with you, you'll only get the tongue weight of an empty/unloaded/dry trailer on the dealer's lot.


Better is to assume 12.5% to 15% of the trailer's GVWR will be the tongue weight. Use 12.5% only if you're lucky so your wet and loaded TT doesn't have more than the average percent of tongue weight. Use 15% to be fairly certain your wet and loaded tongue weight will not be more than that.


Example: Trailer GVWR = 7,000 pounds, times 0.15 = 1050 max tongue weight.


850 pounds max tongue weight divided by 0.15 = 5,667 pounds. So a TT with GVWR of 5,667 is your limit.


Note that the Sherline model LM1000 is limited to not more than 1,000 pounds of tongue weight. But Sherline also makes the model LM2000 and LM5000. with 2,000 or 5,000 pounds max tongue weight. Mine is the model LM2000, which works fine to show me the 650 pounds tongue weight of my small TT. But it will also work to show me the tongue weight of a neighbor's huge TT that has tongue weight way over 1,000 pounds.
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