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An 'At Home' way to calculate the tongue weight of your trailer  

March 4, 2016. Paul Lugin (Windswept, Yankee #245) and your webmaster had an exchange of emails regarding his trailer. Paul commented that he calculated the tongue weight on his trailer using 'the bathroom scale and the graduated beam method'. This technology seemed like something that needed to be shared in our group. Thanks to Boat US for their help in this presentation. http://www.boatus.com/magazine/trailering/2013/June/tongue-weight-diy.asp

Every trailer owner needs to know the weight of the trailer tongue on the hitch. Too little tongue weight leads to swaying and fish-tailing at highway speeds. Too much and the tow vehicle can become difficult to steer.

Your tongue weight should be 7-10 percent of the total loaded trailer weight.

You can go to a trailershop or a truck scale place and get it done by a professional - maybe for a small fee. Or, in the Dolphin tradition you can do it yourself.

Here's how.

Weighing the tongue weight of your trailer "The At Home Option"

Most bathroom scales max out at 300 pounds, so when measuring the tongue weight of (loaded) tandem-axle trailers that weigh more than 3,000 or so pounds, you risk wrecking your scale. Our loaded trailers are typically in the 6-7000lb range. To protect your scale, you need to set up a beam to spread the weight between a nice hard brick or concrete paver, and your scale. You'll also want two short lengths of pipe to act as pivots and a short piece of 4x4 to rest on the beam to keep the tongue level.

Step One:
First, chock the trailer tires. In order to accurately measure the tongue weight, you'll want to set your beam up in a simple ratio of 3-to-1, or 4-to-1 if it's a heavy trailer. For a 4 to 1 ratio, you'll need at least a 4-foot-long beam. Set one end on the brick and the other on the scale. Place one piece of the pipe crosswise to the beam on top of the brick to act as a pivot. Do the same with the other piece on the scale.

Step Two:
Mark the beam one foot over from where it rests on the pipe closest to the brick. This is where you'll rest the tongue of the trailer on an additional block of wood. The goal is to get the tongue to rest level as it would on the trailer hitch.

Measure three feet over from the first mark, and center the other piece of pipe crosswise under the beam at this point. Place the tongue of the trailer on the first mark. You've now distributed the weight so that more is on the brick than your scale. In fact, three times as much weight is on the brick, compared to the scale, so to get an accurate reading, simply multiply what the scale says by four. There's the tongue weight!

This system assumes that you are starting with weight distribution on the trailer that 'mostly' loads the axle(s).

Marionette's trailer fully loaded is about 6400lbs - so a target tongue weight of about 500-600 lbs is in order. An interesting, if over the top, anaysis of Marionette's weight and her trailer is here. http://dolphin24.org/weight.html



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