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How to Calculate Total Tongue Weight with Truck Bed Camper Attached  


I have a 1998 Chevy K2500, complete with the 454 engine. I haul a 2017 Wolf Creek 850 camper on this truck. I also have a 2002 Maxum 2100 SR boat that I would like to tow while carrying the camper. The boats dry weight is about 3500 pounds. If you include 50 gallons of gas, a few hundred pounds of gear, and the weight of the trailer, Id estimate the load being about 4500-5000 pounds no, I dont know exact weights. I know the tongue is a little on the heavier side, I figure about 15 of the trailer weight, so 5000 x 0.15 = 750. The trailer has surge brakes. I have the Torklift superhitch and a 21-inch super truss extension to get to the back of the camper. Ive read that youre supposed to take into account the weight behind the rear axle of the truck when calculating the tongue weight for the WDH system. Not sure how that would come into play with the camper. My question is, would it be better to opt for the 1000 pound WDH system, or just stick with the 800? Do I need to consider something even heavier? Sway has never been an issue with this boat, but the ability to back up with the WDH system engaged, as well as allowing the surge brakes to function are two of my biggest concerns. My main concern, though, is to put as little weight on the rear axle when using the camper/boat. I know without a WDH system I will be exceeding the rating of the rear axle, and pushing the rating on the tires. Thoughts and recommendations are welcome. Thanks!


Expert Reply:

You are correct in that the loaded ready to tow tongue weight (TW) of the boat/trailer and any cargo stored behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle will need to be accounted for when determining the total tongue weight (TTW) needed to choose the correct weight distribution system.

The tongue weight of a boat trailer is usually lighter than most trailers as the engine is over the rear axle therefore, I speculate the tongue weight of your boat/trailer to be about 10% of the gross trailer weight (GTW). In regards to how the weight of the truck bed camper over the rear axle affects things, this will be a bit more tricky to determine. There is not an easy way to to find out how much downward force the truck bed camper has on the rear axle of your tow vehicle but based on the size and layout of the camper, our resident engineer estimates this to be about 40% of the total weight of the camper.

Therefore, 40% of the camper's weight is 800 lbs and 10% of the boat's weight is 500 lbs which leaves you with a TTW of around 1,300 lbs. For a weight distribution system that will fit into the 2" receiver tube opening of part # TLE1521 and will be able to handle 1,300 lbs of tongue weight, I recommend using Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution System part # EQ37140ET along with the Pole-Tongue Adapter for Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution Systems part # EQ95-01-5950. This system will not affect the surge brake actuator on your boat trailer. As far as reversing goes, as long as you do not jackknife the trailer then you will not need to worry about disengaging the spring bars.

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