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Properly Weighing a Travel Trailer


ekim

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I spoke to someone at Smart Weigh today and was asking about getting a travel trailer weighed. I specifically asked if they do the following:

 

1) Weigh the tow vehicle TV

2) Weight the TV and travel trailer (TT) with the weight distribution bars WD bars connected

3) Weight the TV and travel trailer (TT) with the weight distribution bars WD bars disconnected

 

I was informed that only #1 and #2 are done and that establishing the tongue weight by doing #3 is unimportant because there is no need to establish the actual tongue weight. It's only important to establish the weights on the axles and tires in the "as towed" configuration.

 

I always believed that establishing your tongue weight was an important and valuable part of the the process of setting up a travel trailer. Now I'm being told it's not really important or I was somehow confused by what the person was telling me.

 

Can anyone out there set me straight?

 

Has establishing the tongue weight somehow become less important?

 

Can you establish the tongue weight with just #1 and #2 above?

 

 

Thanks!

 

- Mike

 

 

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In my opinion, knowing the tongue weight would be most important if you are near the weight rating of the hitch. Most hitches have a rating for maximum tongue weight and maximum trailer weight with and without weight distribution. This is usually stamped on the hitch or on an attached plate.

 

I also think it is best to get the weight of each wheel so that you know that the load is even distributed and none of the individual tires is overloaded.

 

...Can you establish the tongue weight with just #1 and #2 above?...

If the tow vehicle is weighed alone and then weighed again with the trailer connected but the trailer not on the scale, then the difference would be the tongue weight.

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While it could be an issue for the hitch, the traveling weight is only impacted by the hitched up rig as ready to go. If you really want the tongue weight, it really isn't that difficult to weigh for yourself and the time/cost of Smart Weigh would go up dramatically if they spent the time to do what you have in mind.

meastung.jpg

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In my opinion, knowing the tongue weight would be most important if you are near the weight rating of the hitch. Most hitches have a rating for maximum tongue weight and maximum trailer weight with and without weight distribution. This is usually stamped on the hitch or on an attached plate.

 

I also think it is best to get the weight of each wheel so that you know that the load is even distributed and none of the individual tires is overloaded.

 

If the tow vehicle is weighed alone and then weighed again with the trailer connected but the trailer not on the scale, then the difference would be the tongue weight.

 

Good point on being near the max. I agree. In my case I believe I'm at 1150 vs 1200 max so I'm always looking for ways to double check my measurements.

 

 

I'm not sure you can get the tongue weight by just looking at the TV with no trailer and then with the WD bars hooked up. You need to somehow account for the tongue weight that's transferred back to the TT axles when the WD bar is engaged. For example with my setup I believe it transfers 400 lbs back to the TT, but that weight still counts ( I think) toward the tongue weight on the hitch.

 

 

 

While it could be an issue for the hitch, the traveling weight is only impacted by the hitched up rig as ready to go. If you really want the tongue weight, it really isn't that difficult to weigh for yourself and the time/cost of Smart Weigh would go up dramatically if they spent the time to do what you have in mind.

meastung.jpg

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to post up an example of how to address doing the tongue weight independently.

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...I'm not sure you can get the tongue weight by just looking at the TV with no trailer and then with the WD bars hooked up. You need to somehow account for the tongue weight that's transferred back to the TT axles when the WD bar is engaged. For example with my setup I believe it transfers 400 lbs back to the TT, but that weight still counts ( I think) toward the tongue weight on the hitch...

Your probably correct about the tongue weight. I've seen a calculator that uses the distances from the hitch to the vehicle and trailer axles, upforce of the spring bars and tongue weight to determine the weight transfer to the tow vehicle and trailer. If you know the weight transfer to the tow vehicle axles and trailer axle, you may be able to work the equations back to get the actual tongue weight. Unfortunately a quick search did not come up with the formula.

 

If you want to get a tongue weight every time you load up, an easy way to get the tongue weight with less hassle than the bathroom scale method is to get a Sherline tongue weight scale.

 

Another option if you will be in one place for awhile and can get some others interested to share the cost is to rent a set of scales for a week. Then you could get all the weights that you want the way you want them.

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