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Author Topic:   trailer question?
k joseph posted 10-17-2002 07:15 PM ET (US)   Profile for k joseph   Send Email to k joseph  
i am leaving for fla form maine this weekend and have some concerns about the severe tail wagging going on...the boat is a 22 revenge and my vehicle is a 97 tahoe...i have towed locally a few time this summer and it has been a problem..
marina said to first check tounge weight and that i should bea able to lift the tounge with a bit of effort, but there is no way that is possible..i know i can adjust the the winch a bit but i would like a few ideas what to look for and consider for the long haul.. thanks
Buckda posted 10-17-2002 07:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Joseph -

you mean to say that you can not lift the tongue at all? If so, you probably have too much tongue weight - even though your vehicle can probably handle the weight - it's not appropriate for the journey on which you are about to embark. The "tail wag" is a dangerous situation at highway speeds and you should sort it out ahead of time...for safety and liability reasons.

Can you give us a little more information about the set-up? Is it possible for you to move the boat further back on the trailer? I'm sure there are people here who can help you sort this out rather efficiently. Also - check out the excellent article on trailering your whaler in the Reference section of this site.


counterstrike posted 10-17-2002 07:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for counterstrike    
You should have to struggle lifting your 22' by hand. Too much tounge weight could cause you to lose control of the vehicle as well.
Your best bet would be to have a "profesional" trailering outfit balance your vessel on the trailer for you,(as long as your vehical can hold the tounge weight)Also ask to have all the Tires, Rims, bearings, brakes, and lighting Checked Over before you embark. (carrying a spare tire and bearings is always a good idea)
lhg posted 10-17-2002 07:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Trailer fishtailing is ALWAYS caused by light tongue weight. Assuming the boat is properly located on the trailer, meaning the base of the transom is at the last cross member/keel roller, the only way to increase tongue weight is move the wheels back. On most trailers, this is easy to do, as they are fully adjustable front-to-back. If the boat needs to be moved forward on the trailer, do that first.

Your rig probably weighs 4500-5000 lbs, so you would need about 450-500lb on the hitch ball. With this heavy a need, you wouldn't be able to lift it, even if it is too light.

To move the wheel carriage back, you should get the boat off the trailer. Then mark the current position of the carriage, and then 1" increments back, on each side. This is so you can slide the wheel carriage back, keeping it parallel. Have a second person with you, who can lift the rear of the trailer a little, making it easy to tap (with a hammer) the wheel carriage frame back. I would move the wheels back about 6" as a start. Then try towing. Keep moving them back until the trailer is rock solid behind you. A truck like the Tahoe should be able to handle the tongue weight without a load distributing hitch addition.

Another thing I have found that affects fishtailing and tongue weight, is the height of the hitch ball, relative to the trailer.
The more the hitch is dropped down, the more stability you have with a given wheel location. This throws more wieght on the tongue, and a high hitch ball "rocks" the boat back, decreasing hitch load. Think of it like a teeter-tawter. So be sure your trailer frame is always parallel to the ground, or even sloping down a little to the hitch.

Montauk posted 10-17-2002 07:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Montauk  Send Email to Montauk     
How far does your Tahoe squat when the trailer is hooked up. Does it sit fairly level or is the front of the Tahoe up in the air? Usually severe tail wagging is a sign that a Hottie is interested in you, however in this case you might want to have the shock absorbers checked on the 97' Tahoe. Tail wagging is associated with the tonque being light, I can barely lift the tonque on my Montauk but it tows great at all speeds to 85 mph. Tongue weight should be 10-15% of the weight being pulled. Do get it figured out before leaving or you will be in for a rough trip.
Buckda posted 10-17-2002 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I defer to LHG's opinion and greater experience, and stand by my advice - get if fixed before you go. Better safe than sorry.

Capt_Tidy posted 10-17-2002 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Capt_Tidy  Send Email to Capt_Tidy     
Single axle rig? I've always had duals on the trailers growing up on the farm... and never had a sway problem except when really empty.

I was going to suggest that you could always add water if you are bow-down to see if it helps to add weight to the hitch... but this could be a really dumb suggestion. 1 gallon = 7.8 pounds.

k joseph posted 10-18-2002 05:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for k joseph  Send Email to k joseph     
thanks for these opinions and ideas. this is of great interest to me at the moment..there is no question that i will have "professionl" people investigate this situation and do what needs to be done...
Today is spent preparing the boat (and myself) for a road trip..i will let you guys know what i find out at the end of the day
super7 posted 10-18-2002 08:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for super7  Send Email to super7     
K, I haven't towed my 22 revenge for a couple of years but nothing has changed so here it goes. I don't know my exact trailer tounge weight but I do know I can not lift it now nor when we bought it used in 1987. I've out of shape now(6'2 230), but I'm still used to doing things the hard way. Anyway she's been towed behind a our old full size bronco, my 94' 1/2ton 4wd suburban and a friends 3/4 ton pu. The thing that remained constant was the hitch height, the frame remained quite level to the ground. Your tahoe should also be fairly level check the ball drop to the trailer also how high is the mileage on your truck check your springs and shocks. With good tounge weight your hole rig should look level(balanced) if the front is high on the truck even the steering geometry is out of its designed position and so is your weight on your front wheels to keep the rig straight. So, you want to treate everything like a big package. And between your tahoe with the 22 on back or my suburban they are both pretty big packages. Also, there is good reading in the ref section about this subject.

good luck thats just my .02

Tony Immers

rapidrobert posted 10-18-2002 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for rapidrobert  Send Email to rapidrobert     
In addition to the other excellent advice on this subject, don't forget to check tire inflation pressures!
k joseph posted 10-19-2002 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for k joseph  Send Email to k joseph     
here is what i have found out through asking many questions to qualified professionals. the tounge weight should be heavy that there would be no way i could have lifted the trailer..approx 250 - 300 lbs. i had to replace 4 tires and rims and bearings..then after taking the test ride it seems to quite a bit better..minimal from what i could the conclusions are that the difference in weight between the 2 twins vs the single may have contributed or perhaps the bait well was filled with water or even the wind under the bimini ( mostly rookie error) anyhow i am set to leave later this eve and will touch base upon my arrival in fla!
Jerry Townsend posted 10-19-2002 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
k joseph - I have not been on-line for about a week and realize that you have already solved many of your problems. But stability is largely dependent on the hitch load and the recommendation is 5 to 10 percent of the total towed load for a single axle and somewhere between 5 to 7 percent of the total towed load for multi-axle trailers.

Other things that can affect lateral stability include tire pressure, alignment - make sure the tires are wearing evenly and the trailer is tracking true. Typically a little difference in the load is not going to make much difference because the weight of the boat is much larger. Going from twins to a single will typically add more tongue weight and make the tow more stable. Obviously, going from a single to twins will decrease the tongue weight and could lead to a stability problem.

Check to make sure your trailer axles are square by having the same distance from the hitch to the axle/frame intersection on each side of the trailer.

There is a good discussion regarding trailers in the REFERENCE section of the forum. ------ Jerry/Idaho

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