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I weigh my tongue weight using a state DOT scale on the nearby highway. If the weigh station is not being operated by the Washington State Patrol at the time they don't mind a person using it. I drive my Ascent across, without trailer, get its weight, then hook up the trailer then drive across it a second time. With the Ascent parked on the front scale platform I get a second weight for the Ascent, which now includes the tongue weight, and the second platform weight is of the trailer, minus the tongue weight. Now, someone is probably going to state that it might not be the most accurate way to do it, but with a tongue weight of approximately 365 pounds, which closely matches what the manufacturer states it should be (325 lbs dry) with a full propane tank and a battery, it works for me.
 

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Tongue Weight - Thought of the Day

With the problem of knowing the tongue weight of a travel trailer still on my mind, I had some time yesterday, July 4, 2019, to ponder on that topic.

I know that electronic scales use load cells connected to the appropriate electronics and some computer programming to yield the weight of an object.

I did some research on load cells and even researched making DIY electronic scales using a load cell and Arduino computer on YouTube. There are many videos on this topic on YouTube, just search for DIY electronic scale.

That got me to thinking, “Why hasn’t someone put a scale, using a load cell, into a tongue jack?” The tongue jack would not have to be electrically powered, as the electronics could be in the control box along with a power source/battery, display, computer and required electronics and then just hooked up to the tongue jack when a weight reading was desired, so that even a simple crank-type tongue jack could have a scale built in that was accessible via an umbilical cord.

The ‘computer’ could be coded to take into account the fact that the tongue jack is behind the coupler using some simple lever formulas, so it could be quite accurate.

I also searched for tongue jacks with scales, and I actually found two that already exist, or did exist at one time.

The SeaSense Tongue Weight Scale Jack 800lb, Swing up Trailer Jack with Built in Scale by SeaSense was one that I found.


I can’t tell if it still exists, and it didn’t get very good reviews, but someone was trying. It is also the wrong type of jack for a travel trailer.

The other is/was the Rieco-Titan Weigh Station.


Because that unit can weigh up to 4000 lb. of jack weight, and the type of gauge they are using, it probably would not be great for trailers with tongue weights of 500 lb. or less, but, again, someone had tried.


I just wanted to share my tongue weight thought of the day, as we as a group, are still trying to find a way to check tongue weight, that actually works, without having to go to some kind of public scale.
 

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Here's a horrible sketch of what I plan on doing to weigh mine.
688


I plan on using the trailer jack to lower it onto the scale hook, until the jack is just off the ground.

Though I have 3 cinder blocks on each side, I'd adjust with the quantity that is best suited for my trailer height.

I will be using a big (thicker) one of these, with fender washers top and bottom of the 4x4 to hang the Crane off of.
689


With the Crane Scale already being highly accurate, and with it being able to swing on its hook for direct weight transfer without the friction of a piston based setup, I think it should be highly accurate and a very cheap setup that stores well (scale inside, cinder blocks outside near my shed).

Not very portable, but great to weigh at home before a trip.
 

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Have you thought about a means to make the Crane Scale height a bit more adjustable than the height of a cinder block?
Either a very long threaded eye hook with a big wing nut on the top, or using half blocks and full blocks.
690

691


Alternatively, if I was weighing a lot of times and a bunch of trailers, I would probably make an A-frame setup out of 4x4's and use a piece of black pipe across it. I would use an adjustable hinge and straps across the bottom maybe. That would also allow a lighter and easier to transport setup, which could probably be used on the road as well.
692


We carry the same things, every trip, with the only usual exception being whether we take the electric grill or the propane one, and, they're the same size and weight... or maybe 20 pounds more or less clothes, so, I don't plan on using this setup much. We pretty much pack the same places in the trailer every time (not many options, lol... back closet and bathroom, and front underside storage and on the front bed), and virtually the same stuff every time.

And finally...
Using a regular piece of chain to hook the scale to the top eye hook would also allow changing height by using a different link in the chain.

That's all I've got, short of a more expensive (but very lightweight) one made out of PVC sheets and a piece of black pipe.
 

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Just chiming in to say I appreciate all of the information here - including the dead horse beating. People who aren't that experienced with towing could totally misread somethings and do something unsafe / blow themselves up.

We have been towing almost 3 years now, but with a truck (GMC 2500HD) and trailer (Forest River Evo 27 thing that is about 9000 lbs GVWR). It is about 80 - 85% of the tow capacity of the truck, which is gas, not diesel, and SUCKED going up the hill to Tuolumne meadows - haha - we made it fine and no temp issues, just slow.

I'll be going with the same numbers for the Ascent, likely - I'll find a trailer with a GVWR that is about 80 - 85% of the capacity of the Ascent, so not more than 4200 lbs or so. If I see something FABULOUS that has a higher GVWR due to big tanks or something, I might consider that because we almost always tow with just 1/2 a water tank full, and dump tanks empty and our sites are always close to a dump station. Still a big maybe, I don't like having to be paranoid when towing, even just a mile down the road to dump.

I have not yet found my "perfect" trailer in this range, although the Winnies get close. I'll keep searching...
 

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So sorry. I forgot to post this.

Here's my idea for leveling adjustments. Like mentioned earlier, a loooong hook bolt, a wing nut or crank (see pic) on top of the fender washer, and a couple nuts (and wrench) on top to use to prevent the hook bolt from spinning when you turn the crank.

695


Alternatively, threaded rod and a coupler can turn a short hook bolt into a long one.
 

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Discussion Starter #108
Just chiming in to say I appreciate all of the information here - including the dead horse beating. People who aren't that experienced with towing could totally misread somethings and do something unsafe / blow themselves up.

We have been towing almost 3 years now, but with a truck (GMC 2500HD) and trailer (Forest River Evo 27 thing that is about 9000 lbs GVWR). It is about 80 - 85% of the tow capacity of the truck, which is gas, not diesel, and SUCKED going up the hill to Tuolumne meadows - haha - we made it fine and no temp issues, just slow.

I'll be going with the same numbers for the Ascent, likely - I'll find a trailer with a GVWR that is about 80 - 85% of the capacity of the Ascent, so not more than 4200 lbs or so. If I see something FABULOUS that has a higher GVWR due to big tanks or something, I might consider that because we almost always tow with just 1/2 a water tank full, and dump tanks empty and our sites are always close to a dump station. Still a big maybe, I don't like having to be paranoid when towing, even just a mile down the road to dump.

I have not yet found my "perfect" trailer in this range, although the Winnies get close. I'll keep searching...

I think if there is one thing we have found for certain, is there is no perfect. There is a matter of what compromises you are comfortable with given the towing restrictions. I realize in order to go further north than Georgia or South Carolina we will probably need to use a truck or large suv, and I am okay with that I never intended to drag a trailer up into the mountains at any rate at least not at this time.
 

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Will do, I've been meaning to give a full report of my use of the app, just haven't got around to it yet.

DashCommand is another good app that I'm looking into.
Sigh, getting not sure where.
Dash command removed the temp PIDs when it connected. Scanning didn't find ones.

Torque shows this, which is just slightly off from engine oil temps.

746

747


ActiveODB for Subaru is out of date, but shows this (mid left)
748
 

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Sigh, getting not sure where.
Dash command removed the temp PIDs when it connected. Scanning didn't find ones.

Torque shows this, which is just slightly off from engine oil temps.

ActiveODB for Subaru is out of date, but shows this (mid left)
I've been trying to figure out their "methods" for determining transmission temps. I fear it's not coming from an actual sensor but from an algorithm. When I monitor transmission oil temp and coolant temp, the readings are exact and change together. This is not good.

Digging into this now for an explanation.

Do you know have a reliable PID list for the Ascent? The first thing to try is to manually enter the Subaru PID codes into Torque.
 

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Would be nice if cars could put up a "diagnostic screen" on the infotainment for such purposes to show every sensor reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #113
I would be surprised if the infotainment system had access to that part of the ecm. There are aftermarket modules that can do that with an android head unit, such as the idatalink module, but I wouldn't do it on our Ascent, the infotainment works pretty well as is and my wife would hate it. Some kind of aux monitor though would be nice for use while towing. Maybe if we can create enough demand then someone will build or modify an existing platform to suit our needs.
 

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Would be nice if cars could put up a "diagnostic screen" on the infotainment for such purposes to show every sensor reading.
I would be surprised if the infotainment system had access to that part of the ecm. There are aftermarket modules that can do that with an android head unit, such as the idatalink module, but I wouldn't do it on our Ascent, the infotainment works pretty well as is and my wife would hate it. Some kind of aux monitor though would be nice for use while towing. Maybe if we can create enough demand then someone will build or modify an existing platform to suit our needs.
The infotainment system may not be able to monitor the sensors but an Andriod based dashcam can. That's exactly what I'm currently working on with apps such as Torque. Very close, I can monitor virtually all of the data with the possible exception of the transmission temperature which requires a specific PID. Working on that now as time allows. But virtually everything else is already readily available and anyone can have this right now.
 

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Not that it’s ever enforced, but...

§ 46.2-1054. Suspension of objects or alteration of vehicle so as to obstruct driver's view.
It shall be unlawful ... (i) to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth with any object or objects, other than a rear view mirror, sun visor, or other equipment of the motor vehicle approved by the Superintendent, suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield ... (ii) to alter a passenger-carrying vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's view through the windshield

All those people with a gps or phone suctioned to the windshield are criminals!
 

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Discussion Starter #116
Not that it’s ever enforced, but...

§ 46.2-1054. Suspension of objects or alteration of vehicle so as to obstruct driver's view.
It shall be unlawful ... (i) to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth with any object or objects, other than a rear view mirror, sun visor, or other equipment of the motor vehicle approved by the Superintendent, suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield ... (ii) to alter a passenger-carrying vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's view through the windshield

All those people with a gps or phone suctioned to the windshield are criminals!
I am pretty sure an aux camera and or GPS or other vehicle monitoring device would fall into that exception of approved by the superintendent. In any case it isn't a primary offense to have something in your line of sight. If it was there are quite a few vehicles with criminally placed A-Pillars.
 

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Yep the gps exception is a great defense if you’re ever charged with cell phone use. The camera would probably fly as well as long as that’s the only thing displayed.

Back to the main story though..
I just got an OBDLink mx+ and using carbridge to display the data on my head unit. It’s not great looking but it does a decent job and I’m still fiddling with the layout. I wish I had it when I was towing.
 

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I found the CVT temp listed within Torque is actually coolant temp, not CVT temp.

I did translate the above codes to Torque params, but never got it working. Here is the thread with my research.


Haven't had a chance to get back to research!
 

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Not that it’s ever enforced, but...

§ 46.2-1054. Suspension of objects or alteration of vehicle so as to obstruct driver's view.
It shall be unlawful ... (i) to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth with any object or objects, other than a rear view mirror, sun visor, or other equipment of the motor vehicle approved by the Superintendent, suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield ... (ii) to alter a passenger-carrying vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's view through the windshield

All those people with a gps or phone suctioned to the windshield are criminals!
So far with the Ascent, I've been stopped by the police three times, twice in VT and once in CT, each time for going only about 5 mph over the speed limit (my big red Ascent might as well have a target painted on it). I think they just wanted a closer look at the car since they all asked about it and I never even received a written warning. Each time the cop clearly saw my dashcam and my radar detector. None said a word about them. Both are carefully mounted away from the windshield so as not to obstruct the view, not to mention not to affect the Eyesight cameras. If they were mounted on the windshield it may have been different, but I've previously used both a radar detector and a GPS mounted directly onto my windshield since the '90s and I've been pulled over in several States more times than I can remember. Never once was either mentioned.

That same law is on the books in my state (VT) and yet no cop has ever said anything to me, nor do I have any issues getting the car State inspected. So many people use GPS and smartphones for navigation these days, and dashcams are quickly becoming very popular. I don't think these laws are enforced unless there is some sort of a gross violation.
 

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I found the CVT temp listed within Torque is actually coolant temp, not CVT temp.

I did translate the above codes to Torque params, but never got it working. Here is the thread with my research.


Haven't had a chance to get back to research!
That's exactly what I suspected. Now to find the way to custom enter the Subaru transmission temp PID into Torque or any other such app to get the actual temperature if at all possible.
 
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