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Old 08-12-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
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Additional tongue weight

Sorry for the duplicate thread... not sure which place would work the best...


First off I have a 36'4" trailer weighing 8500 lbs total when loaded. I have roughly 900 pounds of tongue weight.

Took the camper for a week at the races in Knoxville Iowa and in the state of Iowa on the less traveled highways I seemed to bounce/porpoise a fair amount. The trailer has also been wanting to wonder a little and wiggle.

I am wanting to add tongue weight to the trailer to help cure these little issues. Just wanted some others thoughts here. I work at a sheet metal fab house and can have some things cut out on the laser.

What I am thinking of doing would be to cut two pieces out of 1/2" thick steel that would lay across the top of the A frame of the tongue and match up. I would then mount the propane and such to the new plates. If I do the total of 1" plate I would gain 250LBS in that area.

I have plenty of cargo capacity on truck and trailer so none of that is a concern to me. What are your thoughts of adding weight to do this, as I really can't move anything around on the inside...

any pros/cons you guys see?
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:43 PM   #2
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What kind of WDH are you using, and the spring bar capacities ??

A 900 lb. tongue weight on an 8500 lb. trailer ain't bad.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:49 PM   #3
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I have a 1000 pound setup from E2 which is very similar to the equalizer brand hitch... I just think with the extra length I should be needing more weight...

I thought this weight was fine originally but signs are telling me otherwise.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:01 PM   #4
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With a full size (heavy duty actually) I'd say that's your sign right there. Rear of trucks like that can handle a lot of weight. Before going all out on fabrication, you might try readjusting your hitch head angle and/or head height. Take some of the angle out or even try lowering the head some. I'd start with the angle.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:32 PM   #5
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Agree with JohnIII about adjusting the hitch head angle. You may not have enough weight distributed to the TV front axle. Do the fender measurements as outlined in the instruction manual, or better yet head to some CAT scales. You need weights with the truck alone, truck and trailer, both with and without the spring bars in place. Leave all passengers and cargo in the exact same position each time across the scales.

If a the head assembly angle needs to be adjusted, do it with minimum air in the airbags.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:42 PM   #6
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I am not a fan of airbags.
You have a 2500 truck and a 900 lb hitch weight.
The payload on the truck is 2200 to 3200 lbs isn't it?
A properly set up WDH should be more than enough to give you a smooth ride and full control.
You shouldn't need bags at all. Why do you have them? Please read the owners manuals for the truck and the WDH.
Try the tips the others mentioned.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:18 AM   #7
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MtnGuy, I have weighed measured the truck/trailer loaded, unloaded hitched w/d, hitched wo/d and un hitched... I have had it set up within specs of the hitch, I have adjusted to add more torsion and less torsion with no ride difference. The only difference would be a little more sway with less torsion which is a no brainer since the sway control of the hitch is dependent on the friction of the bars on the saddle brackets... Which is why I am lead to believe that the overall tongue weight of the trailer seems a bit low. For example, the Coachman Freedom Express is 3" longer and very comparable in weight but has 300-400 lbs of extra tongue weight. I am at the lower end of the target zone of the 10%.

Overall I am confident that my hitch is setup properly and my truck is more than capable for the task at hand. So I am confident in saying that it's not the hitch... I did replace the shocks before a few weeks ago and this is the first trip with them. They are a bit on the stiff side. I replaced the rear to a softer shock yesterday and it definitely helped the unloaded ride, I will fill in on the towing sometime tonight/tomorrow when I take the camper to it's sleeping hole...

Twisty, I am a HUGE fan of air bags! I am a huge fan of air bags because I rarely carry the same load camping... One trip the back will be full of coolers with beer and ice, then next it may have fire wood, the next it may be empty, next nothing but clothes, fishing gear.... What I am getting at is my weight is never the same, I like to be able to compensate back to the original stance. I also plan to install a leveling kit on the truck and will need the rear to return to the stock height to keep me level. The camper isn't the only other trailer I pull either... Yes I have a WDH on this trailer, but not on the bobcat trailer, stock trailer or flat bed...

Air bags a GREAT tool as they allow you to resume your stock stance with varying loads. They also increase spring rate which in return prevents truck sway which would be magnified into the camper possibly causing an accident.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:24 AM   #8
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How about building something that you could gradually add weight to the tongue, instead of the adding 250 lbs. all at once ?? Maybe try 50 or 100 lbs., and see how the trailer does. If you dry camp a lot, an extra battery might be advantageous, and add another 50 lbs. to the tongue.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:28 AM   #9
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I am thinking of doing just one 1/2 plate which would be just over 120LBS once I have all the holes cut for the brackets and such to go through the top and holes for wiring and propane to come through...

I had that same thought, that maybe starting with 250LBS would be a bit aggressive. I like the idea of the plate up front for mounting things to regardless of if it helps/solves the issue at hand. I would also some day like to add a mount for a flag pole that would also serve as a bike carrier, and having the plate up there would give me the base for that!
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:29 AM   #10
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It sounds like you have done your homework on it so far and have experience towing, so no need to tell you your business.
Your original idea goes in the right direction for what you want, but you are doing something that would take some work to undo ( I realize your situation and that you are capable but it's still work to cut off, clean up and repaint).
Not sure of your set up, but have you considered putting a tool box on the a frame? You could store all of your set up aides there, ie leveling blocks, wood, wheel chocks etc. Maybe you could beef up your DC electric system by adding a new battery tray and second battery?
Just throwing some ideas at you, if your gonna add weight it may as well be functional.
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