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Old 02-17-2022, 07:53 AM   #1
jeb
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Exceeding tongue weight

Our Ultimate Advantage came with a 10K hitch, but says only a 500# tongue weight. I'd never paid much attention to it over the years as the things we towed never exceeded any listed max's. But we have a new enclosed trailer that is over the 500# tongue weight by 300 pounds. So I go to researching what it takes to beef it up.



Called e-trailer, they don't offer anything over 5K/500. Called Lichtsinn, no joy, said call Winn. Got right through to Winn, which surprised me, but they told me to call the chassis builder, which is Spartan. I've always been impressed with the service folks at Spartan. Very knowledgeable folks. They said (and I agree) that tongue weight is always 10% of pull weight. I've been installing and using trailer hitches on my vehicles for a lot of years and have never seen that not be true. The rep did some checking and assured me the hitch is good to 1000#'s tongue weight, especially since I'll be using a WD hitch with it (I know that adds to the tongue weight).



I crawled under and looked at the hitch yesterday. It's massive, looks like something from the RR industry. And the frame is, of course, equally impressive since it's a DP.



So I'm getting comfortable with the idea of pulling the trailer with no mods, but figured I'd post this as a sanity check.
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Old 02-17-2022, 11:44 AM   #2
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If you could get confirmation from the Spartan rep in writing, I’d think you’d have your ducks in a row.
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Old 02-17-2022, 04:59 PM   #3
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The tongue weight of a trailer can be altered significantly either + or - by the loading of the weight distribution of the trailer.
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Old 02-17-2022, 05:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Charlie View Post
The tongue weight of a trailer can be altered significantly either + or - by the loading of the weight distribution of the trailer.
Thanks, that's true. But to get under 500 (which I would not be able to do anyway), I'd be at less than 10% on the tongue.
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Old 02-17-2022, 06:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeb View Post
Our Ultimate Advantage came with a 10K hitch, but says only a 500# tongue weight. I'd never paid much attention to it over the years as the things we towed never exceeded any listed max's. But we have a new enclosed trailer that is over the 500# tongue weight by 300 pounds. So I go to researching what it takes to beef it up.



Called e-trailer, they don't offer anything over 5K/500. Called Lichtsinn, no joy, said call Winn. Got right through to Winn, which surprised me, but they told me to call the chassis builder, which is Spartan. I've always been impressed with the service folks at Spartan. Very knowledgeable folks. They said (and I agree) that tongue weight is always 10% of pull weight. I've been installing and using trailer hitches on my vehicles for a lot of years and have never seen that not be true. The rep did some checking and assured me the hitch is good to 1000#'s tongue weight, especially since I'll be using a WD hitch with it (I know that adds to the tongue weight).



I crawled under and looked at the hitch yesterday. It's massive, looks like something from the RR industry. And the frame is, of course, equally impressive since it's a DP.



So I'm getting comfortable with the idea of pulling the trailer with no mods, but figured I'd post this as a sanity check.
I kind of wonder how they rate those hitches, on my old F350 the hitch is only rated for 500 lbs dead weight tongue weight but with a weight distributing hitch setup it jumps to 1,250 lbs. tongue weight.
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Old 02-18-2022, 11:52 AM   #6
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Interesting it's that much difference. Thanks for posting that.
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Old 02-23-2022, 04:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeb View Post
Our Ultimate Advantage came with a 10K hitch, but says only a 500# tongue weight. I'd never paid much attention to it over the years as the things we towed never exceeded any listed max's. But we have a new enclosed trailer that is over the 500# tongue weight by 300 pounds. So I go to researching what it takes to beef it up.

Called e-trailer, they don't offer anything over 5K/500. Called Lichtsinn, no joy, said call Winn. Got right through to Winn, which surprised me, but they told me to call the chassis builder, which is Spartan. I've always been impressed with the service folks at Spartan. Very knowledgeable folks. They said (and I agree) that tongue weight is always 10% of pull weight. I've been installing and using trailer hitches on my vehicles for a lot of years and have never seen that not be true. The rep did some checking and assured me the hitch is good to 1000#'s tongue weight, especially since I'll be using a WD hitch with it (I know that adds to the tongue weight).

I crawled under and looked at the hitch yesterday. It's massive, looks like something from the RR industry. And the frame is, of course, equally impressive since it's a DP.

So I'm getting comfortable with the idea of pulling the trailer with no mods, but figured I'd post this as a sanity check.

I have a similar situation with the Hitch rates significantly higher than the max tongue weight. The hitch is a separate manufactures part attached to the chassis by the RV MFG. In my case my chassis is a Chevy 4500 but there was an extension attached to the GM frame. The hitch is attached to the extension.


May help if you think of plunging a 50A extension cord into a regular 20A 110v outlet using adapters. Would you have the ability to run 50A load?
Same with your 10k hitch bolted to a 500# frame.
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Old 02-23-2022, 05:01 PM   #8
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A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. The real problem is that the weakest link may not be obvious. The hitch may be labeled with a max capacity and tongue weight, but the hitch manufacturer has no idea that it is going to be bolted to a frame 10 feet behind the vehicles rear axel. That is a pretty healthy lever.
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Old 02-23-2022, 06:28 PM   #9
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Some time back, we came up with a similar situation with our 2008 Journey on a freightliner chassis. My feelings were the same as yours. Everything looked ultra tough. This might just be the same sticker Winnebago puts on all units. I suspect ours might be due to the rear axle rating.
Rear Axle rating 19,000 lbs
Actual Hitch has 1,000 lb rating stamped on it.
Winnebago added the 500 lb sticker near receiver.
Even though our RV had 4,000 lbs to spare before reaching GCWR, we figured the hitch load, around 800 lbs and rear axle load about 18,520 lbs.
We decided to just do the bulk of road travel with minimum water in fresh water tank and keep holding tanks as empty as possible.
Seemed to work for us.
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Old 02-23-2022, 07:48 PM   #10
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I think you biggest problem is liability if you are involved in an accident and somebody finds out that you exceeded the tongue weight.
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Old 03-02-2022, 06:30 AM   #11
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Winnebago rates them based on the load the house of the coach already puts on the frame along with the grade of steel they used for the frame extensions and basement sub frames they mounted everything too. I've see too many coaches were the damage from overloading the hitch was not to the hitch mount but to the basement sub frame where they put a sheet metal cross member across the chassis to support the house. You can often see them with stress cracks where the cross member for the house and basement passes over the chassis. You may also note a hump developing in the floor inside the coach above that cross member. This was mostly on Class A coaches made in the 1990's to early 2000's.
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Old 05-08-2022, 11:01 AM   #12
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I suspect the 500# rating is to prevent rear axle overloading and affecting handling.



Quote:
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I think you biggest problem is liability if you are involved in an accident and somebody finds out that you exceeded the tongue weight.

Will you reference an actual proved case of that, in the United States? To the best of my knowledge, some Canadian provinces are the only places that actually have such laws in force.
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Old 05-08-2022, 12:47 PM   #13
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All states have negligent towing/operation laws, which state that you must comply with vehicle manufacturers specifications.. Law enforcement agencies may not routinely ticket negligent towing violations, but if negligence can be proven in a court of law, it may invalidate your insurance coverage, should an accident occur. Just because you weren't ticketed does not releaved you from civil liability, much like a wrongful death lawsuit. A negligent person may not be found guilty of murder but can be sewed in civil court for wrongful death due to negligence.
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Old 05-09-2022, 08:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
I suspect the 500# rating is to prevent rear axle overloading and affecting handling.






Will you reference an actual proved case of that, in the United States? To the best of my knowledge, some Canadian provinces are the only places that actually have such laws in force.
I do not have a case reference. With that said, if you are involved in an accident and some smart lawyer finds out that your trailer or load exceeds any one of the manufacturers specifications you most likely will have a problem. It's common sense.
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Old 05-10-2022, 07:53 AM   #15
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I suspect the 500# rating is to prevent rear axle overloading and affecting handling.

Will you reference an actual proved case of that, in the United States? To the best of my knowledge, some Canadian provinces are the only places that actually have such laws in force.

My Class-C has a similar load limit warming ticker on the back of the RV near the Class-3 receiver. When i asked Coachmen I was informed that the limit was because of the way the frame of the Chevy 4500 was extended under the coach and the frame was not intended or designed to support the full load of a Class-3 hitch and loading.




RE legal: I was asked to review a case, that involved personal injury when a utility trailer was overloaded, the driver lost control and jacknifed resulting in the vehicle that was following (motorcycle) ran into the hitch area of trailer. One rider was seriously injured. The utility trailer was confirmed as being overloaded above the identified max load rating. There will be some significant money involved by the time the case is resolved. Unlike another case i worked on, at least this did not involve a fatality.


Wondering why so many feel that there needs to be a threat of legal action before they will follow the guidelines provided by the engineers involved in vehicle load limits. Oh well I can just continue to collect my fees for Expert Testimony on more cases as they come up.
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Old 05-16-2022, 04:22 AM   #16
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"Wondering why so many feel that there needs to be a threat of legal action before they will follow the guidelines provided by the engineers involved in vehicle load limits."

I completely agree Roger. The only thing that comes to mind is ignorance or indifference.
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