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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all and happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Does anyone have any insight on why I would be getting such a high tongue weight pulling this 20' trailer when it has a dry weight is 2,892lbs? The only weight beyond dry weight is about 2 gallons in the fresh water tank and the 6 gallons in the hot water heater. That's around 66lbs by my calculations and their location is very close to the tongue but that should be no where near the 600+lbs I calculated to be on the tongue. I went to a CAT scale today and I calculated the tongue weight to be 616lbs. As you all know the Ascent is rated for 5,000lbs and a 500lbs tongue weight so it's significantly over. I'm attaching some picts to show level. Any insight into why it's so tongue heavy and advice on how to pull 100+lbs off the tongue would be much appreciated!
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It's called balance. There's a lot of trailer in front of the axle and that retro style may contribute to some of that, too. You need more weight to the rear of the trailer to reduce your tongue weight to acceptable levels.
 

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^^^ yep. Weight you remove that's in front of the trailer's axle will reduce tongue load, and weight you add behind the trailer's axle will also reduce tongue load. So, moving weight from the front toward the back is win-win. If you can move 50 lb from the front to the year, you might get something like 100 lb reduction in tongue load. What you actually get depends on how far in front and how far behind the axle the weight was/is.

If the water/waste tanks are in front of the axle, they'll add tongue load. If they're behind it, they can reduce tongue load.
 

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Hi TimGee,

My single axle 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano 187RB is also tongue heavy. There is a pass through compartment in the front of the trailer that runs under the whole front end, but I can hardly carry anything in it at all. I've added a lot of weight to the bathroom, which runs across the whole back of the trailer. I carry ALL of my heaviest items in the bathroom, both in the shower pan and the lower shelf of the large closet.
I can now consistently get a tongue weight of about 425 lb. when my trailer is loaded to about 3,700 lb.
I use something called a physician's scale to measure my tongue weight. It can weigh up to 550 lb. I purchased it on Amazon after I returned the unit that you have. I returned the Weigh Safe as it would not give me consistent readings and it did appear to be accurate enough in the range, up to 500 lb., that we need to use.
This might be the link to the Physician's scale I purchased and that I am using.


I know that some others here on the forum have found the Weigh Safe good enough for them, and it is a nice hitch, but it wasn't working to my satisfaction.
 

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Hello all and happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Does anyone have any insight on why I would be getting such a high tongue weight pulling this 20' trailer when it has a dry weight is 2,892lbs? The only weight beyond dry weight is about 2 gallons in the fresh water tank and the 6 gallons in the hot water heater. That's around 66lbs by my calculations and their location is very close to the tongue but that should be no where near the 600+lbs I calculated to be on the tongue. I went to a CAT scale today and I calculated the tongue weight to be 616lbs. As you all know the Ascent is rated for 5,000lbs and a 500lbs tongue weight so it's significantly over. I'm attaching some picts to show level. Any insight into why it's so tongue heavy and advice on how to pull 100+lbs off the tongue would be much appreciated!

Where is the battery in that trailer? I don't see it on the tongue, so is it in a compartment up front accessed from the inside? Dry tongue weights from the manufacturer typically don't include the weight of the battery or a filled propane tank, but I don't know what the dry tongue weight is for your model trailer. And as was pointed out, there's lots of trailer in front of your axle. You may have no choice but to drain your water heater everyday before getting on the road, that, plus putting everything else inside the trailer behind the axle. Also, be mindful of your Ascent's cargo carrying capacity if you want to put stuff from the trailer into it. My 2019 Premium can carry 1,158 lbs of cargo according to the sticker inside the driver's door pillar, including people, cargo, AND tongue weight. By my calculations using the example in the owners' manual; my weight (220lbs); the hitch (22lbs); all of the stuff I normally carry for use in case of an emergency such as a tow strap, towing pintle, tool bag, jump starter, etc., plus what's in the glove box and center console, etc. (45lbs); Yakima towers and crossbars (16lbs); trailer tongue weight (368lbs), totals 671lbs, leaving me on average 487lbs to cover any passengers, luggage, cooler and it's contents, child seats, etc. Obviously I'm not going to be able to carry more than two adult passengers with luggage if I'm towing.
 

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You can use an ordinary bathroom scale to measure tongue weight by using leverage. Put the scale on the ground, a piece of wood on it, and put a support a couple of feet beside it equal in height to the scale plus wood. Put a beam across the two and put the tongue 1/2 way between the scale and support. The scale will read 1/2 the tongue weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi TimGee,

My single axle 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano 187RB is also tongue heavy. There is a pass through compartment in the front of the trailer that runs under the whole front end, but I can hardly carry anything in it at all. I've added a lot of weight to the bathroom, which runs across the whole back of the trailer. I carry ALL of my heaviest items in the bathroom, both in the shower pan and the lower shelf of the large closet.
I can now consistently get a tongue weight of about 425 lb. when my trailer is loaded to about 3,700 lb.
I use something called a physician's scale to measure my tongue weight. It can weigh up to 550 lb. I purchased it on Amazon after I returned the unit that you have. I returned the Weigh Safe as it would not give me consistent readings and it did appear to be accurate enough in the range, up to 500 lb., that we need to use.
This might be the link to the Physician's scale I purchased and that I am using.


I know that some others here on the forum have found the Weigh Safe good enough for them, and it is a nice hitch, but it wasn't working to my satisfaction.
Thank you Ken. I'm wondering if the weigh-safe is useful for me when 100lbs is a critical measurement for what I'm pulling. Thanks for the link on the scale. I probably will go that route. How do you use this scale in conjunction with your coupler? Do you protect it with wood as you weigh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can use an ordinary bathroom scale to measure tongue weight by using leverage. Put the scale on the ground, a piece of wood on it, and put a support a couple of feet beside it equal in height to the scale plus wood. Put a beam across the two and put the tongue 1/2 way between the scale and support. The scale will read 1/2 the tongue weight.
Great. I'll try that out. Thank you Merope. Now to find something stupid heavy to stick in the back. . . . .
 

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Great. I'll try that out. Thank you Merope. Now to find something stupid heavy to stick in the back. . . . .
I see my response above was inserted into your earlier post I was trying to quote. Here it is again the right way...

Where is the battery in that trailer? I don't see it on the tongue, so is it in a compartment up front accessed from the inside? Dry tongue weights from the manufacturer typically don't include the weight of the battery or a filled propane tank, but I don't know what the dry tongue weight is for your model trailer. And as was pointed out, there's lots of trailer in front of your axle. You may have no choice but to drain your water heater everyday before getting on the road, that, plus putting everything else inside the trailer behind the axle. Also, be mindful of your Ascent's cargo carrying capacity if you want to put stuff from the trailer into it. My 2019 Premium can carry 1,158 lbs of cargo according to the sticker inside the driver's door pillar, including people, cargo, AND tongue weight. By my calculations using the example in the owners' manual; my weight (220lbs); the hitch (22lbs); all of the stuff I normally carry for use in case of an emergency such as a tow strap, towing pintle, tool bag, jump starter, food & water, etc., plus what's in the glove box and center console, etc. (45lbs); Yakima towers and crossbars (16lbs); trailer tongue weight (368lbs), totals 671lbs, leaving me on average 487lbs to cover any passengers, luggage, cooler and it's contents, child seats, etc. Obviously I'm not going to be able to carry more than two adult passengers with luggage if I'm towing.
 

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More than likely you have a water tank in the rear of the trailer, you can use that or some jugs of fresh water to offset tongue weight. Can you post your scale receipts, honestly your Ascent doesnt seem to be squatting much for having over 600 lbs on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
More than likely you have a water tank in the rear of the trailer, you can use that or some jugs of fresh water to offset to guess weight. Can you post your scale receipts, honestly your Ascent doesnt seem to be squatting much for having over 600 lbs on it.
Here you go Ruben. The difference between the photos and the scale weights are that I dumped the grey and black tanks just prior to the weights. So there was 22 gallons of water right around the axle position in the photos and not reflected in the scale weights.

First Weight with Ascent and Trailer:
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2nd Weight with Ascent alone. (Missing my wife on this second trip so I added 144lbs to this)
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I calculated tongue weight as the following:

Ascent total weight = 4924lbs(4780 +144).
Ascent attached to trailer = 5540lbs.
5540lbs - 4924lbs = 616lbs tongue weight.
 

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Here you go Ruben. The difference between the photos and the scale weights are that I dumped the grey and black tanks just prior to the weights. So there was 22 gallons of water right around the axle position in the photos and not reflected in the scale weights.

First Weight with Ascent and Trailer:
View attachment 4296

2nd Weight with Ascent alone. (Missing my wife on this second trip so I added 144lbs to this)
View attachment 4295

I calculated tongue weight as the following:

Ascent total weight = 4924lbs(4780 +144).
Ascent attached to trailer = 5540lbs.
5540lbs - 4924lbs = 616lbs tongue weight.
You did it correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I see my response above was inserted into your earlier post I was trying to quote. Here it is again the right way...

Where is the battery in that trailer? I don't see it on the tongue, so is it in a compartment up front accessed from the inside? Dry tongue weights from the manufacturer typically don't include the weight of the battery or a filled propane tank, but I don't know what the dry tongue weight is for your model trailer. And as was pointed out, there's lots of trailer in front of your axle. You may have no choice but to drain your water heater everyday before getting on the road, that, plus putting everything else inside the trailer behind the axle. Also, be mindful of your Ascent's cargo carrying capacity if you want to put stuff from the trailer into it. My 2019 Premium can carry 1,158 lbs of cargo according to the sticker inside the driver's door pillar, including people, cargo, AND tongue weight. By my calculations using the example in the owners' manual; my weight (220lbs); the hitch (22lbs); all of the stuff I normally carry for use in case of an emergency such as a tow strap, towing pintle, tool bag, jump starter, food & water, etc., plus what's in the glove box and center console, etc. (45lbs); Yakima towers and crossbars (16lbs); trailer tongue weight (368lbs), totals 671lbs, leaving me on average 487lbs to cover any passengers, luggage, cooler and it's contents, child seats, etc. Obviously I'm not going to be able to carry more than two adult passengers with luggage if I'm towing.
Here's a few picts to show you the balance on the trailer.

Here's the battery placement. It's directly behind the axle on the driver's side. This is looking towards the hitch.
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Front interior of trailer:
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This is under the driver's side seat of the dinette. (fresh water and water heater).
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As you can see in the above photos appliances going from closest forward of axel to front of trailer are: Stove, inverter, fridge, sink, 250 BTU AC, Fresh water tank (20 gallons) and water heater (6 gallons).

The grey water tank (16 gallons you can see it below) and black tank (6 gallons - far 90 degree elbow in picture below) are directly aft of the axle. This picture is looking across to the rear from the driver's side of trailer (Bumper is on the right-side of photo:
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ouch. That is significantly too much tongue weight.
Kind of frustrating because the trailer only weighs 3096 lbs. So from what I'm hearing I have to play games with balancing weight. At 15% of gross weight the tongue weight should be 464 lbs. Was this trailer designed ass-backwards or is this common in the industry?
 

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Kind of frustrating because the trailer only weighs 3096 lbs. So from what I'm hearing I have to play games with balancing weight. At 15% of gross weight the tongue weight should be 464 lbs. Was this trailer designed ass-backwards or is this common in the industry?
It's common with single axle trailers, one of the big reasons we got a dual axle. My trailer empty has more tongue weight than when the tanks are full. Because we have 28 gallon tanks, the grey is between the axles and the black is behind the axles. The fresh is forward of the axles.

Do you plan on dry camping? If so, go to walmart and get the big water storage tanks in the camping section and fill a couple of them and place them in the rear of the camper, and leave the freshwater tank empty. If you aren't running propane during your trip to your site you can stow the tank in the rear as well. That should easily get you under 500lbs on the tongue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's common with single axle trailers, one of the big reasons we got a dual axle. My trailer empty has more tongue weight than when the tanks are full. Because we have 28 gallon tanks, the grey is between the axles and the black is behind the axles. The fresh is forward of the axles.

Do you plan on dry camping? If so, go to walmart and get the big water storage tanks in the camping section and fill a couple of them and place them in the rear of the camper, and leave the freshwater tank empty. If you aren't running propane during your trip to your site you can stow the tank in the rear as well. That should easily get you under 500lbs on the tongue.
Thank you Ruben. That sounds like a good plan. My wife thinks I'm over thinking this and we should just go for it and not worry about 116 lbs over tongue weight. . . . . . but that's coming from someone that used to follow The Dead. ;-)
 

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Thank you Ruben. That sounds like a good plan. My wife thinks I'm over thinking this and we should just go for it and not worry about 116 lbs over tongue weight. . . . . . but that's coming from someone that used to follow The Dead. ;-)
I mistakenly towed our camper with just the freshwater tank full and I felt every lb in the back and the nose of the ascent felt very light. So just pay attention to how the whole setup feels and after a few trips you will get it to where you are comfortable.
 

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It seems tanks are in varying places in different designs. The Heartland Edge M series, which is no longer made, has the tanks straddle the tandem axles, which makes balancing and towing it very easy, whether empty or full. Which is good, because whenever I stop by to pick it up, at least two tanks (often all three) are full, and we're going to a dump station during the trip to empty two of them.
 

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Today is June 22, 2020

Here’s why I returned my Weigh Safe adjustable hitch even though I thought the hitch was really very nice.

Frequently Asked Questions - Weigh Safe

06/22/20

MY GAUGE IS NOT READING ACCURATELY?

“It is important to know that “zero” is anywhere between 0 and 100 pounds. There is a dampener built into the gauge to protect it from spiking any time you go over large bumps or dips. With that being said, light-weight trailers and lighter loads with only a few hundred pounds (below 300lbs) will sometimes take a couple minutes to read the correct weight. Heavier loads (over 500lbs) will take the gauge less time to read the correct weight.

** Standing on your hitch is not an accurate way of testing the gauge”

Above is how that FAQ reads today, but on June 28, 2019 this is what I copied from that same FAQ.

“It is important to know that anything between 0-100 pounds on the gauge is considered “zero”. There is a dampener built into the gauge to protect it from spiking anytime you hit a bump or dip while driving which sometimes will make it slow to read the applied weight. Lighter loads of 300 pounds of tongue weight or less will sometimes take a couple minutes to read accurately whereas heavier loads with 500 pounds of tongue weight or more will usually read a lot quicker. It is also important to know that our gauges are accurate within +/- 50 pounds.”

I cannot find the +/- 50 pound reference on their Web site today.

Both of the quotes were copied and pasted directly from the Weigh Safe Website on the dates noted.

The photo shows how I set up the physician’s scale to weigh the tongue weight.

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To level my trailer, to measure the tongue weight, I use a piece of 3/4” plywood with a thin bit of laminate on the top as a baseboard. It serves two purposes. My driveway, where I can measure the trailer, is gravel, and I didn’t want the scale sitting on the gravel. I also needed that ~3/4” to get the trailer level.

I set the scale on the baseboard centered under the coupler, not the tongue jack foot.

I center 10 Lynx levelers on the scale and then put a piece of 4x4, centered, on top of the Lynx levelers.

That setup gives me the height I need for the tongue of the “A” frame to set level.

Each individual trailer will vary as to the correct height.

I set the tear weight and then lower the tongue onto the 4x4, snap a quick photo of the weight with my camera and then raise the jack again.

I do that three times and then average the results, which are all extremely close.

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I hope this helps you TimGee.
 
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