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Old 09-04-2011, 05:53 PM   #1
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Tongue Weights: A122, A126, A128 A-Frames

Just curious if anyone out there with one of these new A Series hard side Rockwoods has checked their tongue weight.

If I had a truck with higher rating (or a 4 door Jeep instead of a 2 door) I wouldn't have so much of a worry but I'm curious about how mine compares to others.

I weighed today and came up with about 300 - 320 pounds (estimating the amount over 300 since my scale topped out there).

I have the following: A full load of propane, battery, empty fresh water tank, and full Cassette Toilet Flush Tank and the equipment I have (A126 with standard features plus 20K BTU furnace, CO2/LP detector to get to that weight.

I tried removing the propane tanks and came up with 281#s.

Adding weight at the rear bumper reduces tongue weight at a 3 to 1 ration (add 3 pounds, takes 1 pound out of the tongue weight) so I figure it will be 5 to 1 at the best with cargo placed inside either in rear storage or behind the axle / on bed in back (estimating every 5 pounds of rear cargo averaging a reduction of 1 pound on the tongue weight).

I'm considering the following:

Moving LP tanks (securely shut off) into the rear of the camper during transit. This takes the my tongue weight down to about 260 or 275. Adding the additional weight of other items going along for the journey should also help get me to a more reasonable tongue weight for my TV.

My Jeep towed the A126 fine as it was delivered (at least 310 lbs tongue weight) but it was a little light on the front end (couldn't feel it, but you could visually see the smaller contact patch on the front tires of the Jeep). The trailer brakes make all the difference in handling when braking.

Anyone out there able offer any other advice?

I'm aware that I have to watch the loading of weight in the back of the camper. I'll be focusing on keeping the trailer weight to tongue weight ratio correct (10 - 15% of total trailer weight should = tongue weight).

Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:15 PM   #2
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in your case perhaps a wieght distributing hitch may be in order. You definately do not want the nose of your jeep light ... as it has a short wheel base, and could cause some real issues with emergency stops or driving over poor roads. The frame is beefie enough on the trailer, but im not sure about your vehicle, as my mechanic stated just the other day that some jeeps are now uni-body constructed.

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Old 09-13-2011, 03:53 PM   #3
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Being a Jeep enthusiast (and planning to tow our HW27 with a heavily modified CJ-8) I see your problems.

So long as you keep it balanced, and you gave the magic number for % tongue weight, I think your ideas will work.

A weight distributing hitch, though they are a real pain to set-up, would be magic for your combo.

Another idea - do you plan any off-road adventures in your Jeep? Put a winch on the front. Harbor Freight actually sells some very inexpensive but still dependable winches. They are HEAVY. It will weigh down the front of your rig.

And the last idea - a toad. Proabably overkill. Defenitley overkill dpending on the year of your Wrangler (which is not uni-body, silly non-Jeep people.) Toad's are basically a small wheeled unit you hook the trailer to and then to your rig, they have almost no tongue weight, but can be slightly squirelly if you don't pay attention trying to back up.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:48 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. The Wrangler JK is still a body on frame vehicle with solid axles as jeeplj8 points out.

I have considered a WDH and am researching and learning more and more daily. I'll look into the toad as well.

I gave some practice stops while out over the weekend. Granted they werent crazy true emergency practice stops. The trailer seemed to almost help the jeep stop under heavier stopping.

More time with the setup will help me get a better feel for potential add ons. I don't plan on offloading anything hard core but I have thought of the winch option as a way to get extra weight on the front axle.

Sometimes I wish I opted for the 4 door Jeep, but it's just not something I could make myself like.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:51 PM   #5
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I would think something like this should work just fine: Pro Series RB2 Round Bar Weight Distribution Kit with Shank, 600 lbs TW / 10,000 lbs GTW Pro Series Weight Distribution 49568

Jeep Wranglers have the back bumper very close to the rear axles, much more so than most vehicles. That geometry should try to lift the front end much less. But with a short wheelbased vehicle like the Jeep 2 door, you really want to get weight back on the front end even with a small trailer like an A Series or tent camper.

BTW, I used to tow a 1000 lb. tent camper with my 98 Wrangler, and I felt that was all that I wanted back there....but there again, I only have the 4 banger.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:00 PM   #6
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I'm looking at the Reese 400 single bar wd hitch. Any other recommendations? I have a better understanding of the wd hitch after some additional reading tonight.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeep4Two View Post
I'm looking at the Reese 400 single bar wd hitch. Any other recommendations? I have a better understanding of the wd hitch after some additional reading tonight.
The 400 lb. single bar should work, if you keep the tongue weight down around 300 lbs. Before posting the link that I did, I looked at the single bar WDH, but since you stated that your tongue weight may be over 300 lbs. because of the scale you are using, then thought maybe the 200 to 600 lb. system might be a better fit. The 400 lb. system should work fine, and would not put as much stress on your trailer or hitch.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:12 AM   #8
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That's exactly the thing I'm struggling with in my mind.

As I understand WD Hitches they are basically using the receiver part of the hitch on the TV as a fulcrum to create lift on the vehicle frame thereby redistributing the excess weight to the front axle of the TV and the axle of the trailer (reducing the weight on the TV's rear axle).

This shifting of weight has to happen by applying force somewhere and after extensive reading that seems to be at the vehicle receiver portion of the hitch.

Are there concerns with those dynamic forces at that connection point? I would imagine with the correct size and setup that there are not any worries.

I also think I agree about going with the heavier dual bar unit, for a couple reasons. Like you said you won't end up at the limits of the WD hitch unit as easily and those also have a lower cost for the round bar unit. There is a trunnion bar unit that's marginally more money in the Pro series as well.

I also checked the Jeep website and according to their build specs the hitch included in the factory tow package (that I have) is a Class V hitch. Seems like overkill for a vehicle that is only rated to tow 2000lbs (or 3500lbs in the 4door).

Bottom line is that I would not likely to ever exceed a tongue weight of more than 400 pounds. We will probably load the trailer as light as possible and also add some cargo to the Jeep's rear cargo area. I shouldn't need to shift more than 200-300 pounds so stresses shouldn't be too great in the hitch area.

I had to read last night for quite some time to gain an understanding of the physics involved in the WD hitch setup. That's just how I am. I have to know how it works
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeep4Two View Post
I also checked the Jeep website and according to their build specs the hitch included in the factory tow package (that I have) is a Class V hitch. Seems like overkill for a vehicle that is only rated to tow 2000lbs (or 3500lbs in the 4door).
I checked out 4 dr. Wranglers several years ago, and at that time the factory hitch was a Class II hitch. A class V hitch is a heavy duty model......even my F150 is only rated as a Class III/IV.

A Class II hitch usually comes with an 1 1/4" receiver....those hitches are made for carrying a bike rack, or maybe a single ware runner on a trailer. Jeep decided to put a 2" receiver to make the Jeep a little more versatile. Thinking back now, I am not even sure that they are rated for a WDH. There should be a sticker on your hitch something like "3500 maximum tow rating, 350 lb. maximum tongue weight". If it doesn't say anything about weight distributing figures, then you might need to call Jeep and see what their ideas on that are. Also, check out the owners manual.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:15 AM   #10
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The Owners Manual recommends using WDH for 'heavier loads' but mentions no specific numbers, so at the weight I'm at I'm in that category.

I'll look at the hitch tonight. I expect it's a Class III hitch (as I know it is a 2" Receiver). I'll be interested to see what might be stamped on it.

Thanks again for all the tips and suggestions!
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