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Old 08-31-2012, 08:07 AM   #1
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Tongue waggin'

After it was mentioned in another thread, I went online and ordered one of these:

Amazon.com: Sherline LM-5000 - Trailer Tongue Weight Scale - 5000LB: Home Improvement

I thought it would be a cool gizmo to have. I suppose I could take it to a dealer and actually measure pin weight on a 5ver. How would you do that? I suppose you need some kind of jig/rig to do that, right?

Measuring a TT would probably be easier, you wouldn't need any other hardware.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:30 AM   #2
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I dont think I would use one of those (Tri-Pods) to place the gauge on. Most of them are only to Help take the (Bounce.shimmy,movement) out of the 5/W neck! Youroo!!
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:34 AM   #3
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Yeah, I'm thinking something heavy guage would have to be fabricated.

I did notice that my dealer moves things around with a forklift, so maybe that would be an easy way. You may still need some way to hold things in place....
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:26 AM   #4
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Could you place the scale on a steel plate or block of wood on top the the hitch and then set the pin on the scale?
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:28 PM   #5
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At best, you'll be able to determine the dry pin weight...you'll still need to make an educated guess what it'll be when the camper's loaded. You can look where the storage areas are in the floorplan to help estimate. The main area is the basement of course...the question is if there's much storage areas on the opposite side of the axles. FWIW, our rear kitchen floorplan was 15% pinweight when unloaded and still 15% when fully loaded.

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Old 08-31-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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"At best, you'll be able to determine the dry pin weight"
Why couldn't the pin be set on the scale when the scale is on the hitch b4 hitting the road for a trip?
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:35 PM   #7
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I was only following the OP's comment of taking it to the dealers and measuring pin weight of what's on the lot.

After you own the camper, it just as easy to stop and get numbers at a CAT scale.

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Old 08-31-2012, 02:36 PM   #8
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This might work.

Back the truck under the pin slightly off set so the pin will drop on the plate pivot instead of the pin slot. Lower the pin with the landing gear until the scale will just fit under the pin while sitting on the plate pivot line.

Use double sided foam tape to temporarily secure the scale to the plate and carefully continue to lower the pin onto the scale.

As the pin/scale/plate takes up the weight of the camper's pin, the gear feet will "just" leave the ground. Leave the gear so that a piece of paper can fit under both feet (just in case the pin moves and pops out. (yes, this would be bad so make sure it is stable as weight is SLOWLY added to the pin).

Take your reading.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:45 PM   #9
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Here is the same item just rated for 2000 pounds which might be a better fit for smaller campers.

Sherline LM 2000 - Trailer Tongue Weight Scale 2000lb - Amazon.com
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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...
If I bought a scale and had it in my hand I would weigh my own tongue/pin b4 I hitched up to travel.
It didn't even occur to me to get the dry weights of rigs on lots... but then why would anyone do that anyway? Dry weight is meaningless...
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twisty View Post
...
If I bought a scale and had it in my hand I would weigh my own tongue/pin b4 I hitched up to travel.
It didn't even occur to me to get the dry weights of rigs on lots... but then why would anyone do that anyway? Dry weight is meaningless...
This is true. However, the ratio of dry weight to hitch weight (tongue or pin) will most likely remain close after you load it with your gear. Some floorplans on the same frame will have heavier front end loads than others.

The location of tanks, slides, and the kitchen will to some extent determine whether that particular floorplan will be towable with your tow vehicle. While you may have the total camper weight in your mas tow range, if the pin/tongue load exceeds your truck's GVWR you will be just as boned.

Compare the "dry" weight to the "dry" pin/tongue weight; then determine the percentage you can expect. Transfer that ratio to the weight you plan on towing the rig at and you can get a pretty good estimate of your final payload hit.

Travel Trailer Example:

Dry weight 8000 pounds
Dry hitch 950 pounds.

The ratio is 11.875%. If the GVWR of that camper is 10000 and you tow at that weight while maintaining the same ratio, your pin load should be close to 1,187.5 pounds

A similar size model with the kitchen in the rear may have a dry weight of 8000 pounds BUT a dry hitch weight of 750 pounds.
That is a ratio of 9.375% At 10000 pounds and the same loading you might be closer to 937 pounds.
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twisty View Post
...
If I bought a scale and had it in my hand I would weigh my own tongue/pin b4 I hitched up to travel.
It didn't even occur to me to get the dry weights of rigs on lots... but then why would anyone do that anyway? Dry weight is meaningless...
Uh, how about to know what you are buying? How about to assure yourself that the weight quoted by the dealer or manufacturer is correct? How about knowing how much you have left for your stuff?
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Uh, how about to know what you are buying? How about to assure yourself that the weight quoted by the dealer or manufacturer is correct? How about knowing how much you have left for your stuff?
The way I was taught was to use the maximum the camper can weigh and to use the min max safe ratio of total weight to hitch weight to calculate if I have enough tow vehicle for the camper I am looking at. Anything LESS is my safety buffer and better fuel economy towing.

The example I stated before goes like this for a travel trailer:

DRY wt - 8000
DRY tongue wt - 800 pounds (10%) unloaded

Max gross weight 10,000 pounds

The minimum safe tongue weight is 10% of total travel Trailer
So when fully loaded the minimum tongue weight will be 1,000 pounds

The optimum tongue wt for handling (sway and control) is 13%
So I should target a fully loaded camper for a tongue wt of 1300 pounds

The MAXIMUM tongue weight is 15% so the maximum safe tongue would be 1500 pounds.

If my tow vehicle does not have the payload after I put my family and "truck gear" in the truck to carry 1300 pounds, I don't have enough truck to pull that camper.

Available payload is only ONE of many things you should look at when shopping for a new camper and you do not intend to replace your truck.

Combined weight and individual maximum gross weights are also very important. Wheel base is another factor; but there is only a "rule of thumb" for that.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:20 PM   #14
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Uhhh...
You list
2012 Keystone Outback 29RET
2012 Crossroads Sunset Trail 25RB
2013 Surveyor Sport 189
In your sig line.
Are you looking to add to the stable?
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twisty View Post
Uhhh...
You list
2012 Keystone Outback 29RET
2012 Crossroads Sunset Trail 25RB
2013 Surveyor Sport 189
In your sig line.
Are you looking to add to the stable?
No. Looking to replace my Outback with a 5ver. I might get rid of the Sunset Trail too. It's hard to get family to want to go camping.

I really like the Columbus 320. The 365 is nice too. Hard to get info without getting a dealer involved.
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