Author Topic: Tongue Weight - What it should be  (Read 910 times)

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Offline nomad

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Tongue Weight - What it should be
« on: April 15, 2014, 06:11:37 AM »
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  • Below is my PERSONAL study and experience. Use it with your own risk! You are warned!

    After many hours and days of searching and asking throughout the Internet to get the idea, tips and opinions about the ideal tongue weight for a trailer, I have learned that most the info is come from the “word of mouth” sources, rather than a calculated scientific method. Some trailer manufacturers even put in their owner manuals an unscientific method of how to set up the tongue weight (10 - 15% of trailer weight), and of course, people believe in these information.
    And here is my PERSONAL experience about the tongue weight.
    The weight of the trailer has nothing to do with the tongue weight setup. The rule 10% or 15% of the trailer weight is just a myth.  The main tongue weight is just the differential weight between the weights of the front and the rear section of the trailer with the axle location is the leverage point.
    Using the bathroom scale to set the tongue weight is the easiest method with the following conditions.
    • The trailer is on its own two tires.
    • The tongue is parallel with the ground.
    For now, I don't know what the ideal tongue weight is, but I have a hunch idea, it will be fine for me at 30 lbs. Of course, I don't forget to think about the balance of the trailer when it is climbing up hill, the steeper the hill is the lower the tongue weight will be. In the USA, I have not known any hill that's labeled more than 6% grade. Wind is another factor that can reduce the tongue weight, but who would like to pull a trailer at 80 MPH and/or against a 30 MPH or even stronger wind speed. With that philosophy, wind is not my personal concern at all. :)
    Anyone who has pulled a trailer will know that the heavy tongue weight will affect your rear tire's life, and I have to agree with that, but I wouldn't want to have a very low tongue weight at 6% grade. At this time, I will stick with my hunch, which is ~30 lbs. :)
    Please share your experience to everyone!
    Happy pulling!
    Nick
    2010 Electra Glide Ultra Limited

    Offline nomad

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    Re: Tongue Weight - What it should be
    « Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 04:44:57 PM »
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  • Today, I have some more thoughts about what other factors will contribute in the rear tire wearing issue, and below is my junkie analysis. :)

    The factors that may cause the rear tire to wear faster must be the weight that press on the rear tire. That weight is the combination of weight that comes from the trunk/saddle bags/passenger plus the tongue's weight plus the trailer's tires' friction that's generated from the trailer's weight. Of course, the friction is varied based on the trailer's weight.

    Let's say we have several trailers that have the same tongue weight, but different in trailer weight and all trailers will be pulled with all the same bike model that have the same tire brand and size.  I think the rear tire of the bike that pulls the heaviest trailer will wear faster than the other.
    I don't forget to take the trailer's aerodynamic shape factor into the consideration, but I have knowledge to calculate this part, for sure. :(

    What do you think?  Share or ask your question.

    This is just for fun, as I am not physicist, scientist or mathematician at all.
    Nick
    2010 Electra Glide Ultra Limited

    Offline Steppenwolf

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    Re: Tongue Weight - What it should be
    « Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 07:26:10 PM »
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  • Well this an off the wall question. With the a/c unit on the right side of the trailer and weighs more do you think that might affect handling?But I guess since it is inside the trailer during transit it will be fairly close to the middle..mmm..I come up with some crazy thoughts :)
    Well I would try and not go over the gvw  tire rating on the rear tire and then see what the trailer tires will allow. I don't know what kinda tires are on the trailer but I might look into a good set that you might see on a factory built trailer.Just thinking about your safety a little ><
    1980 Yamaha XS 1100 SG

    Offline nomad

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    Re: Tongue Weight - What it should be
    « Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 09:02:24 PM »
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  • Thanks Bill!
    :)
    2010 Electra Glide Ultra Limited

     

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