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Old 05-08-2014, 01:16 AM   #1
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Tongue weight and batteries

Howdy All,
Newbie here needing some help. Thought I had it "all" figured out for our first pop-up tent trailer trip in our new Rockwood Premier 2516G. Joke is on me!
Given our desire to dry camp, and based on the manufacturer's dry tongue weight of 296 lbs, I had installed dual propane tanks and two deep cycle 6volt batteries (wired in series) on the tongue. But instead of being at 500 lbs the tongue weight is now 580 lbs and our 2011 Highlander is rated for 500 lbs tongue weight. Batteries weigh 65 lbs each and full propane tanks weigh 38 lbs each.
Is the best thing to trade in the two batteries for one (and if so what type of battery?), carry an extra battery in the tent trailer, and go down to one propane tank? Played with the idea of mounting the batteries on a custom made platform on the rear of the trailer but upon further reading this seems like a bad idea (vibration decreasing battery life, accident possibilities, perhaps even illegal in some states).
Sure do appreciate any help and advice you can give as we plan on leaving Tuesday.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:29 AM   #2
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Is that 580 loaded ready to go?

If yes, go camping, have fun. You eliminate one battery you'll have to go with a really small battery to hit 500. One battery and one tank would do it.

But honestly? That 80 pounds isn't going to be a problem. Might make it sag an extra inch or so when hooked up.

Now, if it's 580 not fully loaded, then you need to load it and reweigh.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:42 AM   #3
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The 580 lbs of tongue weight is not with a fully loaded trailer but I don't think we're too far off from traveling weight. I moved 60 lbs of items from the front storage locker to the inside of the pup closer to the axle to see if it would make a difference and it didn't budge the tongue scale at the hitch place. So, based on this, I think the rest of our packing (which is lighter stuff) wouldn't make too much of a difference.

We have a nice WDH which makes the towing feel great. I'm curious that you think we're okay being 80 lbs, 16%, over the Toyota specs.

Reckon' I could also take off one propane tank to get us to 542 lbs. but we're still over weight.

Thanks again for your help and quick response!
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:59 AM   #4
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Reason I think you'll be ok, is that 80lbs is the difference of the family dog. When you're talking something designed to take the forces a hitch is, if it breaks over 80lbs then it would break over the second pothole you hit.

So 80lbs over, no big deal to me. Now, the weight police will be here by morning, I'll get drug over the coals over such blasphemy, but reality is, it's not the end of the world. Plus with a WDH it's not like it's going to sag.

Set as much as you can after the axle. If it's in front of the axle then it still contributes, on top of it's neutral. But behind, it subtracts. Pots, pans, clothes, food, everything you can in the back floor. If you can get 100lbs of stuff behind the axle I'll bet you can nearly offset that 80lbs.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:53 AM   #5
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What type of WDH do you have and what is it rated for? I don't know much but the WDH transfers some of the tongue weight off of the hitch and onto the TV axles. My TT has a tongue weight of nearly 700 lbs and my Silverado receiver is only rated for 500 lbs. With the WDH I am able to handle 1000 lbs tongue weight.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlong View Post
What type of WDH do you have and what is it rated for? I don't know much but the WDH transfers some of the tongue weight off of the hitch and onto the TV axles. My TT has a tongue weight of nearly 700 lbs and my Silverado receiver is only rated for 500 lbs. With the WDH I am able to handle 1000 lbs tongue weight.

I agree, "most" vehicle hitches (at least supplied by the vehicle manufacturer) have a dual rating. Look in the owner's manual. For example from my 2013 Silverado it states:
Vehicle Series Hitch Type Maximum Tongue Weight
1500 Weight Carrying 363 kg (800 lb)
1500 Weight Distributing 499 kg (1,100 lb)

Are you using a hitch scale to measure the weight? My 228BH comes with a 382 lb hitch weight from the factory, I added two deep cycles (106 total weight) and two propane cylinders, and even with a full gas can on the little bike deck, my Sherline scale shows 510-515 when loaded. (Dealer told me that one propane tank (empty) was included in the weight from the factory.)
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:23 AM   #7
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Heavy tongue weight causes another problem, decreased payload capacity. You need to look that up for your vehicle, because even if you get at 500 or below, you might not have enough payload capacity left over for your passengers and their luggage. In other words, there's a difference between how much weight your tow vehicle can pull versus how much weight it can have bearing down (tongue weight + passengers + luggage and other items).

Here are the ideas I'm exploring to decrease tongue weight:

1. Mounting batteries inside the camper behind axle (must use sealed box that vents to outside)

2. Fiberglass LP tanks

3. One 30 lb. LP tank instead of two 20 lb. tanks. Looks like the 30 lb. will still fit without hitting the bunk slide.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:39 AM   #8
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SKnight, your reasoning makes sense to me. Thanks so much for explaining!
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlong View Post
What type of WDH do you have and what is it rated for? I don't know much but the WDH transfers some of the tongue weight off of the hitch and onto the TV axles. My TT has a tongue weight of nearly 700 lbs and my Silverado receiver is only rated for 500 lbs. With the WDH I am able to handle 1000 lbs tongue weight.
I have a Fastway e2 WDH rated for 600 lb max tongue weight and 6,000 lb max trailer weight. The vehicle as well as the hitch receiver are both rated for 500 max loaded tongue and 5,000 max trailer weight. Thank you for your thoughts.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by f5moab View Post
I agree, "most" vehicle hitches (at least supplied by the vehicle manufacturer) have a dual rating. Look in the owner's manual. For example from my 2013 Silverado it states:
Vehicle Series Hitch Type Maximum Tongue Weight
1500 Weight Carrying 363 kg (800 lb)
1500 Weight Distributing 499 kg (1,100 lb)

Are you using a hitch scale to measure the weight? My 228BH comes with a 382 lb hitch weight from the factory, I added two deep cycles (106 total weight) and two propane cylinders, and even with a full gas can on the little bike deck, my Sherline scale shows 510-515 when loaded. (Dealer told me that one propane tank (empty) was included in the weight from the factory.)
Interestingly enough, the 2011 Toyota Highlander manual does not have a dual rating. My guess is because it's not what I would call a "real" truck. I read online before I purchased it used that it is a Camry on stilts! I thought that was funny as well as accurate. It uses the Camry unibody frame vs a true truck frame.
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