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Is tongue weight and hitch weight the same?

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Old 07-20-2017, 08:00 PM
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Default Is tongue weight and hitch weight the same?

I'm looking at potential future tt's so I know how to spec out used trucks for payload and towing capacity. So I'm looking at some tt's with gvwr of 6200#'s and it says hitch 700#'s. Is the hitch weight shown the same as when people refer to tongue weight? I already own a wdh so figure 100#'s for that so I think I'd be looking at a dry weight of 7000#'s. Appreciate the input.
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Old 07-20-2017, 09:28 PM
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Is tongue weight and hitch weight the same?

Depends on who is using which term.


In trailer specs, tongue weight (TW) usually does not include a weight-distributing (WD) hitch, or any additional weight added to the tongue. When you add the weight of the WD hitch, and or any other weight on the tongue of the trailer, that's hitch weight.


But when reading the specs for a receiver hitch, the TW spec means hitch weight, or tongue weight plus the weight of a WD hitch, and plus the weight of anything such as bicycles riding on the tongue.


When doing the math to match trailer to tow vehicle (TV), you want to always use hitch weight, even though they ask for TW.


If your receiver has a max TW of 700 pounds, that's 700 pounds on the ball, including the wet and loaded trailer's tongue weight (not the trailer specs of dry TW), including the WD hitch and anything else mounted on the tongue of the trailer.


Tongue weight = hitch weight when you weigh the tongue of the trailer.


Two ways to determine actual hitch weight:


1] With a tongue weight scale


2] With two passes over a CAT scale, one with the trailer but without the spring bars tight, and another with just the tow vehicle. Using each scale ticket, add the weight on the steer and drive axle to get GVW. Subtract GVW without the trailer from GVW with the trailer and the answer is actual tongue weight, or hitch weight

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Old 07-20-2017, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by smokeywren View Post
Depends on who is using which term.


In trailer specs, tongue weight (TW) usually does not include a weight-distributing (WD) hitch, or any additional weight added to the tongue. When you add the weight of the WD hitch, and or any other weight on the tongue of the trailer, that's hitch weight.


But when reading the specs for a receiver hitch, the TW spec means hitch weight, or tongue weight plus the weight of a WD hitch, and plus the weight of anything such as bicycles riding on the tongue.


When doing the math to match trailer to tow vehicle (TV), you want to always use hitch weight, even though they ask for TW.


If your receiver has a max TW of 700 pounds, that's 700 pounds on the ball, including the wet and loaded trailer's tongue weight (not the trailer specs of dry TW), including the WD hitch and anything else mounted on the tongue of the trailer.


Tongue weight = hitch weight when you weigh the tongue of the trailer.


Two ways to determine actual hitch weight:


1] With a tongue weight scale


2] With two passes over a CAT scale, one with the trailer but without the spring bars tight, and another with just the tow vehicle. Using each scale ticket, add the weight on the steer and drive axle to get GVW. Subtract GVW without the trailer from GVW with the trailer and the answer is actual tongue weight, or hitch weight
Thanks for all the info it's gonna take me a minute to decipher all this. How do I know how much weight the wdh adds to the overall weight of the tongue? And just for my clarification the tongue is the part that connects to the ball, right? Yes I need to get this basic lol. So if per the trailer specs the dry weight of the hitch is say 600lbs that does not include the extra amount added by the bars for the wdh, right? And where do I find out what the receiver weight limit is? Manual? Sorry so many questions. I want to make sure I get this right so I can get the right truck for the future when we get a bigger tt.
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Old 07-21-2017, 12:01 AM
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Yes tongue wieght and hitch weight are perfectly interchangeable terms. I suppose we could create arguments that attempt to differentiate the two, but we could also argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
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Old 07-21-2017, 12:13 AM
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There's also a simpler way to get actual tongue weight. 1) Weigh the truck on a simple single platform scale. 2) Weight the truck with the trailer attached, but keep the trailer axles off the scale. The difference between the two numbers is your tongue/hitch wieght. If the weight of the hitch head really concerns you, leave it out when doing the solo weigh-in. Using this method you can leave the spring bars tight when doing the 2nd weigh-in. The bars don't change the total load on the truck, just the split between the axles.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by PerryB View Post
Yes tongue wieght and hitch weight are perfectly interchangeable terms. I suppose we could create arguments that attempt to differentiate the two, but we could also argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
A WDH is going to weigh over 100lbs (unless you have an Andersen) and that is all added to the truck's payload. And if you are using a tongue mounted bike rack that is another 100lbs. They are not interchangeable (imho) -- you need to work from the hitch weight.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Olotti76 View Post
Thanks for all the info it's gonna take me a minute to decipher all this. How do I know how much weight the wdh adds to the overall weight of the tongue? And just for my clarification the tongue is the part that connects to the ball, right? Yes I need to get this basic lol. So if per the trailer specs the dry weight of the hitch is say 600lbs that does not include the extra amount added by the bars for the wdh, right? And where do I find out what the receiver weight limit is? Manual? Sorry so many questions. I want to make sure I get this right so I can get the right truck for the future when we get a bigger tt.
The WDH specs will give you its weight. I wouldn't worry about what it adds to the tongue (yes - it is the part that connects to the ball). Just add it to the tongue weight (your 600lb example) to give you the hitch weight (how much weight is being carried at the receiver of the TV).

Look under the trucks receiver and there is a label telling your the weight limits (with and without a WDH).
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Olotti76 View Post
How do I know how much weight the wdh adds to the overall weight of the tongue?

Find an online source for a new hitch and use the shipping weight of the hitch. The weight of the WDH includes the weight of the adjustable shank, ball mount and spring bars not just the spring bars as you infer below.


And just for my clarification the tongue is the part that connects to the ball, right?

Right. Or more specific, it is the A-frame or pole that connects to the front of the trailer frame and includes the coupler that fits down over the ball.




So if per the trailer specs the dry weight of the hitch is say 600lbs that does not include the extra amount added by the bars for the wdh, right?

It doesn't include the weight of any of the parts of the WDH, shank, ball mount or spring bars.


Dry hitch weight or tongue weight is almost a useless specification. It is for a dry trailer with no options and nothing in it. Ignore dry trailer hitch weight or tongue weight and instead use 13% of the GVWR of the trailer to determine max tongue weight, then add the shipping weight of the WD hitch to get max hitch weight. If the trailer doesn't include GVWR in the specs, then use dry trailer weight plus the cargo carrying capacity (CCC) of the trailer.


And where do I find out what the receiver weight limit is?

On an F-150, the receiver weight limits are on a sticker on the frame of the receiver, under the rear end of the F-150. You'll probably have to crawl around under the back end of the truck to find it. There are weight limits for hitch weight (TW) as well as for max gross trailer weight, with and without a WDH.
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Old 07-23-2017, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by massspike View Post
A WDH is going to weigh over 100lbs (unless you have an Andersen) and that is all added to the truck's payload. And if you are using a tongue mounted bike rack that is another 100lbs. They are not interchangeable (imho) -- you need to work from the hitch weight.
If you use my weighing method outlined above, the WDH gets factored in.
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Old 07-24-2017, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by PerryB View Post
The bars don't change the total load on the truck, just the split between the axles.

Incorrect. The spring bars when properly tensioned distribute about 15% to 25% of total hitch weight off the truck axles and back to the trailer axles. So if your trailer has actual hitch weight of 900 pounds, only 675 to 765 pounds of that total hitch weight adds to the payload on the truck.


In rounder numbers, if total hitch weight is 1,000 pounds, 150 to 250 pounds is distributed back to the trailer axles, 150 to 250 pounds is distributed to the front axle of the truck, and that leaves 500 to 700 pounds on the rear axle of the truck.
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