Tongue weight and total towing weight?

Discussion in 'Boats, Motors, Trailers and Towing Rigs Forum' started by Go.Fish, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. Go.Fish

    Go.Fish Active Member

    How do people figure out their total weights and calculate where to position the boat on their trailers? I'm noticing the new boat seems to bump and bounce a bit different and would like to figure out if the position is right?
    I'm in Vancouver. Do any sort of businesses have scales to use? What about contacting the CVSE?

    Advice appreciated
  2. fish brain

    fish brain Active Member

    agentaqua likes this.
  3. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    on many trailers - you can also adjust the arm where the front winch crank attaches- if the trailer is not normally used for that boat. That adjusts how far you can slide the boat up on the trailer - and affects the tongue weight. Storage of fuel and other weight in the boat can also affect tongue weight.

    If you want to check total weights - drive up to a commercial weigh scale - they'll weight you for a slight cost. Maybe weight the whole combo - then disconnect the trailer for a 2nd reading - that way you know how much your boat/trailer weighs (and your truck, as well).
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  4. Sir Reel

    Sir Reel Well-Known Member

    Very dangerous if you don't have the correct tongue weight. It can cause you to loose control of the trailer. I did the bathroom scale trick and worked great.
  5. Trophy

    Trophy Active Member

    Tip....the winch isn’t a tie down, hard on the winch expensive to replace.
  6. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Another trailer-related issue to watch for - is bearings.

    Freshwater is much more forgiving than saltwater - but if you frequently launch/retrieve in SW - EVERY TIME you pull the boat - put a couple squirts of grease on the buddy bearings - to squish-out the saltwater. Check your bearings (and tie-downs) after about 20 mins of hwy travel. Feel to see if any of the bearings are getting warm....
    Chuck likes this.
  7. Chuck

    Chuck Active Member

    Boat still bounced even when I got it all the way to the front roller. Now I also use a strap to hold front down as well didn't like just using winch as it isn't a tie down. Extra strap on bow now and works much better and I am more comfortable with it.
  8. Crow

    Crow Active Member

  9. Rayvon

    Rayvon Active Member

    A good way to stop any bounce is to put an eye bolt in your trailer and add a chain ,turnbuckle and hook.Pull up with your winch and then attach the hook and tighten with the turnbuckle,works great .Put the eye bolt in the best position to stop any bounce.
  10. ryanb

    ryanb Active Member

    The grease idea is terrible. If your bearing buddies are properly packed you won't be losing grease. By adding more you are going to overfill and blow out the rear seals, then you will have real water problems. Unless I misunderstood what you were suggesting?
    trophywife and fishin solo like this.
  11. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    It's an observation based on experience. Lost a wheel once - bearing melted the spindle - was following suggested protocol wrt greasing - wasn't enough for SW immersion. You can see on those buddy bearings when the grease is filled and the spring (in the centre of the hub) is compressed fully. I wasn't suggesting emptying a tube and blowing seals - but rather a couple squirts to squish-out the SW before it gets inside the hub.
  12. profisher

    profisher Well-Known Member

    I use a turnbuckle as well...hard fastened to the trailer win h arm and a snap hook to the boat. I didn't need any chain as the turnbuckle is long enough to reach on its own. Makes for a solid connection up front.
  13. Tidal Chaos

    Tidal Chaos Active Member

    As grease gets warm and used in the bearing race it will solidify and weep from the race, putting a few pumps in every trip will replace what solidifies and push the small amount of water out. I pull a 12000 lb boat and have been greasing every trip to the ramp and haven't lost a bearing since, tow from Nanaimo to Ukee mostly, the seals are more for keeping water and dirt out as well as keeping grease in, unfortunately the grease will work its way out around the seal and helps keep water and dirt out, too much grease won't blow the seal out as much as it will push past the seal and get all over drums/rotors.

    You should have 10% of your weight on your tounge and truck, majority of weight balanced over axles, if boat bounces then too much weight is behind your centre point.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  14. Go.Fish

    Go.Fish Active Member

    Hmm guess I need to make a trip out to a commercial scale or find something nearby to borrow, I don't even own a bathroom scale haha.
    It's a North River on an EZ Loader trailer, its snugged up to the power winch up front. Assuming the trailer and boat were sold as a package new but forgot to ask previous owner. There's really no point in moving the position of the winch setup until I know the tongue weight. It almost seems a little heavy up front, the rear plastic coated bunks are protruding about 10" from the transom of the boat and there's definitely no give when I try to pick up the tongue while disconnected so it likely at least not tongue light.
    No worries about bearings so far on this, it has oil bath bearings. First time I've had oil bath and thinking won't be going back to grease.
    I blew 2 trailer bearings on the other boat a few weeks ago, standard grease filled hubs with bearing buddies. I had to source a new part from and axle company in Langley and the guy said one of the most common reasons for failure on greased hubs is people put too much grease in them blowing out the rear seal as mentioned. Whenever I grease bearing buddies I stop the moment the spring STARTS to compress, mostly because I've noticed if they're overfilled then grease spits on the side of the boat...
  15. pescador

    pescador Well-Known Member

    When I got my current boat 6 years ago it took 2 seasons to dial in the weight and balance. Ultimately it came down to 2 things. Tow vehicle wheel base and tongue weight. I was experiencing bucksawing when I hit road bumps occasionally and sometimes sway at higher speeds. Often the sway was caused by the “bow wave” caused by a passing truck. Not very comfortable. I weigh my rig every chance I get. I keep a log of weights stopping at closed truck scales on the highway on the Island where they seem more plentiful. I weigh each axle separately and then tongue weight. What I noticed was my tongue weight was about 8% of total weight. I shifted a few things in the boat and increased that to approx 12%. One thing that helped was mounting a new spare at the winch upright and a few other tweaks on the boat itself. That change was the most impactful. Secondly there is a formula used by manufacturers in the US (I don’t think it’s a reg) that says distance between trailer last axle and the hitch ball must not be greater than 2.5 of the wheelbase of the tow vehicle. In my case I was 3 inches short meaning the need to buy a new tow vehicle. Wheelbase is your leverage to control sway. I also bought one of these to weigh my tongue for longer hauls.
  16. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Active Member

    You never said what kinda boat, trailer or tow vehicle.
    Extra tongue weight won hurt anything unless the vehicle can't handle it, grvw and such. Will wear the ball and coupler out sooner.
    bigdogeh likes this.
  17. fish brain

    fish brain Active Member

  18. mbowers

    mbowers Active Member

    Tongue weight should be 5-7% based on
    Better to be a little heavy than too light. One aspect that is overlooked is the air drag on the trailer. If you have a lot of air resistance with a big cabin, that will generate a lot of drag which will cause a torque around the wheels that lessens the tongue weight. As speed increases, tongue weight decreases. So while you might have enough tongue weight at 50kph, it might not be enough at 120 kph.. Big boat going fast = go big on tongue weight..

    The key is to figure out what the rig weighs first. Then you can get tongue weight correct. I was shocked to find my rig was about 30% heavier than boat builders number.

    One easy option for increasing tongue weight is to bolt on another spare tire or other accessories near the coupler. A 50lb spare tire rig can easily add 45lbs to the tongue weight without having to move the boat or axle..
  19. Capilano

    Capilano Active Member

    5-7% tongue weight is not enough. GM recommends 10-15% as does my own truck owners manual. I would rather believe the auto manufacturers then some freelance Basspro writer. That said, there are a lot variables involved, but I would never tow any trailer - boat, utility, RV without a minimum of 10% tongue weight. If you have ever seen a trailer swaying or porpoising (many examples on YouTube), that is an easy way to tell that that weight distribution is way off and or the tow vehicle is not rated for the weight it is attempting to tow.

    Also in general, don't anyone be mislead about the advertisements that xx vehicle is rated to tow xxxxx lbs. A good example would be a 1/2 ton pickup that is advertised to pull 10,000 lbs. Most of these trucks will run out of payload capacity and GVWR long before they hit that advertised rated tow rating. What those advertisements don't tell you is that every vehicle has a different true tow rating and GVWR.

    To achieve these advertisement numbers, the manufacturers use carefully stripped down vehicle models that are barren of any options, no floor mats, no passengers, minimal fuel, no spare tire etc. Also the trailers they use for testing are not boat or RV trailers and are usually long, low, double axle and the weights they use are carefully positioned on the trailer.

    I always tell people to check that yellow and white sticker for their truck - usually on the drivers side door jam. It will list the GVWR and also state to the effect: The total weight of people and cargo should not exceed xxxx lbs. My owners manual says: The GVWR is the total permissible weight of your vehicle. including driver, passengers, vehicle, options and cargo.

    Best is to go to the scale with a full tank of gas, expected passengers, cargo etc. Subtract this weight from the GVWR on the sticker and what you have left is remaining payload. You may be surprised with how little payload is left for trailer tongue weight.
  20. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Active Member

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