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Author Topic:   Tongue weight
Perry posted 03-23-2003 12:09 PM ET (US)   Profile for Perry   Send Email to Perry  
The tongue weight on my trailer (16' Dauntless) is so heavy, It takes two people to lift it. Does anyone know how heavy it should be? I'm thinking of moving the axle forward a bit to make it lighter. Any comments?
jimh posted 03-23-2003 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you are inclined to a scientific approach to the solution to your problem, please see:

Perry posted 03-23-2003 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Thanks for the link to that article Jim but I'm a firefighter not an engineer. It's a little too technical for me. The boat weighs around 2200lbs loaded and has a single axle EZ-loader trailer. Should I assume that the hitch weight be around 200 lbs?
Jerry Townsend posted 03-23-2003 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Perry - for a single axle trailer, the recommended tongue weight is 5 - 10 % of the load. Therefore, with a 2200 lb load, you 200 lbs is certainly in the ball-park and should be fine.

In the event that you need to make a change to achieve a proper tongue weight, let me know via e-mail and I will help you. ---- Jerry/Idaho

Perry posted 03-23-2003 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Thanks Jerry, check your mailbox.
simonmeridew posted 03-24-2003 08:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
I second Jerry Townsend's post. 200 pounds is good. Don't go too light on tongue or your trailer will sway on curves, wear out towing vehicle and trailer tires and perhaps even cause pant soiling. You may be able to lift a barbell that weighs 200 pounds, but a trailer tongue is awkward and can feel heavier than it is. You can put a scale under the tongue jack for direct weighing, or play with fulcrums if too much weight for your scale. If the boat trailered well in the past, leave the axles alone
Perry posted 03-24-2003 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Well I put a bathroom scale under trailer at the hitch and it weighed over 350 lbs. The boat and trailer are less than 3 months old and it makes me wonder why the dealer set it up with such a heavy tongue weight. I pull the boat with a Ford Ranger and I would like to lighten the tongue wieght. The boat when loaded and trailer weigh 2800 lbs. 5% of that would be 140 lbs and 10% would be 280 lbs so 200 lbs seems like a good weight. I'm thinking about moving the axle forward about 6 inches and weighing it again.
jimh posted 03-24-2003 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What is your tow vehicle? For many modest towing rigs dropping 200 pounds on the bumper might be a bit much.

I have been towing about 4000 pounds and the tongue weight is just over 200 pounds. It tows fine.

Perry posted 03-24-2003 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Jim, as stated above, I tow the boat with a Ford Ranger. It has a 4 cylinder with 5 speed but I had 4.10 gears (3.45 was stock)and after market shocks installed. Do you think I should lower tongue weight to around 150 lbs?
JoeH posted 03-24-2003 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoeH  Send Email to JoeH     
Would it be easier to move the boat back? Depending on your trailer configuration you might be able to move the bow stop aft and at least see how far you need to move everything to make enough of a change to be worth your time. Joe
Perry posted 03-24-2003 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Joe, the wintch is as far back as it can go so moving the boat back is not an option. That would have been my first choice.
Sal DiMercurio posted 03-24-2003 11:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Moving the boat back is only an option if the bunks still support the transom.
Do "NOT" allow the transom to be "un"-supported by the bunks.
The transom must be supported by those bunks or your gonna screw the boat up.
Jerry Townsend posted 03-25-2003 12:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Perry - Reducing your hitch load to 150 pounds could work - it is on the "light" side but again, it could work. In general, the larger the hitch load, the more stable the vehicle/boat system will be. But your current 350 pounds is a bit overkill.

Your winch stand is all the way back. Where is your transom relative to the end of the trailer?

Your only solution is moving the axle and just off the cuff - I don't know if 6 inches is too much or not. It depends on where the CG of the boat/contents is. Be VERY cautious here though, in that moving the axle 6 inches forward might put the CG of the boat/contents behind the axle which raises the hitch and could cause major problems. Take it easy - an inch at a time - at least until you know how the thing is responding.

You can solve your problem via either of two ways - trial and error - or taking some measurements and making some calculations. The choice is yours - as I mentioned, I will help you make those calculations as you desire. But don't sell yourself short - you don't have to be an engineer to use that program. ------- Jerry/Idaho

Perry posted 03-25-2003 02:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Sal, the bunk boards do extend beyond the transom but like said the wintch is as far back as it can go. Jerry, I think I will move the axle up a couple inches at a time till I get the tongue weight in the right ballpark. Thanks for your help guys.
alvispollard posted 03-25-2003 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for alvispollard  Send Email to alvispollard     
You should be able to easily lift it. You should have a trailer rental shop move your wheels if moving winch does not do it. Tires will wear wrong if off even slightly.
blackdog posted 03-28-2003 10:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I have the same boat and trailer and I can’t move my trailer tongue either so I assume my tongue weight is well over 200lbs. One advantage is the boat is very stable when parked in the driveway on the trailer and the tongue will not pop up and break the Skeg off the out board. I can also climb aboard, walk around and work on the boat unhitched. I believe the USCG recommends a tongue weight of 7% to 15% of trailer weight so 300 lbs is fine. As mentioned above if tongue weight is too light you may experience the trailer fish tailing or the “tail wagging the dog” Better to have more weight bearing down on the hitch instead of pulling up on the ball, if it pops off when towing……..

** Support the Transom with the end Trailer**


jimh posted 03-28-2003 01:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I would be very interesting in a citation wherein the United States Coast Guard has recommendations on trailer tongue weight.

Can we have a pointer to the URI if online?

blackdog posted 03-28-2003 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
You are correct Jim. Let be more specific or accurate- Should Have Typed USCGA instead of USCG. Information was presented in the Basic Seaman Ship class. I ‘ll see if I can dig up the text.


triblet posted 03-29-2003 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
USCGA does say 10-15% for Class I and II
hitches, 15% for Class III and IV. (I just
checked my copy of the USCGA text). I think
that's on the high side. I'm running about
6-7 % so I can move it around by hand, and
so it doesn't lighten the front wheels so
they lock way before the rears (not an issue
on the current truck with ABS, but a big
issue on the previous truck.). Run as light
as is stable. Chapman says 5-10%, and I'd

If you CAN move the axle on the trailer,
that's FAR easier than moving the boat on
the trailer. I've done it in under an hour.

If all the math jimh pointed you at in the
second post bothers you, move the axle two
inches forward and reweigh. After that you
should be able to guestimate the second move.

Do make sure your transom is supported.
It's both the heaviest (motor) part and
strongest part of your boat.

Finally, in amongst the launch ramp follies
today (it was the opening day of salmon
season), I saw an Outrage 24 sitting on a
really nice set of bunks -- four by sixes,
with the boat on the four inch side.


Perry posted 03-30-2003 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
Yesterday, after a day of fishing, I moved the axle on the trailer forward 2 inches, put boat on trailer and weighed it. The tongue weight went from 370 lbs to 320 lbs. I put boat back in water and moved the axle forward 4 more inches. The tongue weight went down to 220 lbs. I made sure measurements were exact to heep the alignment straight. 220 lbs makes it 8% of total weight. The trailer is still stable when driving, I can lift the tongue and I can also walk around in the boat while it is garaged and on blocks. Thanks for the input guys.

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