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How to Determine Trailer Tongue Weight for Selecting Weight Distribution System

Question:

We have tried to determine the actual loaded tongue weight of our 30 ft trailer with a published tongue of 800 lbs. We used two methods and found different results. First, When using a tongue weight scale we purchased from etrailer we get values in the range of 1275 with a few outlier readings at 1300-1400 lbs. Second, we weighed the combined trailer/truck unit by weighing each truck axle and the trailer axles at a scale and totalling the weight followed by weighing the truck only and subtracting its weight from the total. This method gave us values 1300 when the combined unit was weighed with the equalizer bars in place, but 1500 when the combined unit was hooked up with a ball only. Several questions, First, if obtaining tongue weight at a scale using the subtraction method should the hitch be equalized, or not? Second, what hitch might you recommend between the blue ox 2000 and the blue ox 1500. My truck has a class V receiver. I want lots of hitch but dont want a harsh ride from too high rated tension bars.

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Expert Reply:

I tend to think the tongue weight (TW) scale's measurement will be more accurate than the result from using the truck scale, but in practice since the figures are not that far apart I would not worry about a 100-lb swing in TW readings. All weight distribution/sway control (WD/SC) systems operate well over a specified range of TW so a minor variance is not an issue in selecting one.

For purposes of measuring your loaded trailer's TW to select a new WD system you want to measure the loaded trailer WITHOUT the bars in place. The ideal is that your fully loaded trailer TW, plus the weight of any cargo in the truck that sits behind the rear axle, falls in the middle of the system's range. For instance, if the trailer TW is 1200-lbs and you have a 100-lb cooler in the back of the truck then your total TW is 1300-lbs. In this scenario a system rated for between 1000- and 1500-lbs would be perfect.

Blue Ox's USA-made SwayPro # BXW1500 for 2-inch hitches would be an excellent choice. All you need to add is the hitch ball, such as 2-inch ball # A-90.

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