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  • Camper tongue weight

    Just bought a Roll-A-Home camper and am starting to put together a list of camping needs. First question that comes to mind, is there an ideal tongue weight I should strive for as I load up the camper?

  • #2
    Re: Camper tongue weight

    Rule of thumb is 10% of total weight of trailer .

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    • #3
      Re: Camper tongue weight

      10% is a good starting point. A test ride will also help figure it out.
      sigpic
      Jeff
      2005 Yamaha RoadStar 1700 * 2006 Neosho Starlight Model 19 Tag-Trailer * 2009 Kompact Kamp Mini-Mate

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      • #4
        Re: Camper tongue weight

        Originally posted by almosthere View Post
        Rule of thumb is 10% of total weight of trailer .
        I never really understood the 10% rule of thumb. A Roll-A-Home wide bed model weighs 385 lbs empty. So, if one is towing this trailer empty from one location to another, the recommended tongue weight is approximately 38 lbs? Should one not tow the trailer empty? The reported empty tongue weight is 30 lbs.
        2011 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic, 1993 HD FatBoy
        2014 Aspen Sentry
        2001 Bushtec Turbo-II

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        • #5
          Re: Camper tongue weight

          Keep in mind ~ MOST ~ motorcycle trailer hitches are rated for approximately 50 pounds maximum tongue weight at the rear of the motorcycle ...

          G
          sigpic
          I've done so much with so little for so long ... Now I can do nearly anything with almost nothing.

          .

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          • #6
            Re: Camper tongue weight

            The distance from the ball or pin to the axle of the towed vehicle is a factor as well. The longer distance can allow for lighter tongue weights, but be very cautious when playing with the tongue weights.
            Richard

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            • #7
              Re: Camper tongue weight

              Our loaded TimeOut was often 600+ lbs loaded up for a month+ long trip. We never did 10%, usually 40, maybe 50 lbs. More important is balanced loading, side to side and front to back. Too light a tongue weight will cause swaying. Swaying can bring trucks with large RV trailers to the ditch, so think what it will do to you. If in doubt about your weight, start out slowly and increase speed gently to your highway speed plus some for passing speed. If swaying starts slow down gently until it stops. Shift the load and try again.

              Something else to watch is the hitch will bounce up and down as the bike and trailer move over the undulations in the road surface. This is not a problem on a straight line. If you are leaned over in a curve and the trailer bounces it will push down vertically, which is at an angle to the lay of the bike. Then it will bounce up vertically. Because you are leaned over this can cause the rear of the bike, at the hitch, to rotate in a circle. This is not sway but can be unnerving at highway speeds.

              Also keep the tires at a proper pressure. This will not be the sidewall recommendation. That is for maximum tire load, not what you have on board. Have the tires the same on both sides, tread and pressure. My Timeout was in the low to mid 20's and my Leesur-Lite is at 18. This gives even tire wear across the tread.
              sigpic
              Our Favorite Roads, Until the Next Trip!
              Follow The Adventures of Lemonade

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              • #8
                Re: Camper tongue weight

                Originally posted by lqqk_out View Post
                I never really understood the 10% rule of thumb. A Roll-A-Home wide bed model weighs 385 lbs empty. So, if one is towing this trailer empty from one location to another, the recommended tongue weight is approximately 38 lbs? Should one not tow the trailer empty? The reported empty tongue weight is 30 lbs.
                Reported manufacture tongue weight is usually pretty low. Once you add on a cooler, spare tire, it adds up.

                My Leesure-Lite is advertised at 17 lbs. I have a hard time trying to keep it at 50 lbs (my hitch is rated for 50 lbs max) with only putting light things in the front storage.

                --
                Gordon

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                • #9
                  Re: Camper tongue weight

                  That 10% is a great starting place.. but load distribution is where it's at. A lot of guys will have a dynamic load balance in the trailer they can move around to adjust the distribution, like a cooler, or a water bottles or something. I had a Thule bag I carried on top of my trailer that I could slide forward or aft to make it ride better. My first time pulling I took it out on the highway and it seemed fine till I hit some bumps, that caused the trailer to 'porpoise'.. very unsettling. In just a few minutes I was able to slide that bag forward a bit, like maybe 6" and that made all the difference in the world. I doubt my tongue weight changed significantly, but the weight over the axle changed quite a bit.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Camper tongue weight

                    There are other threads on this. It is a highly debatable issue! McHitch will not give me a rating on their hitch. Harley only says putting a hitch on voids the warranty. So, I am on my own! I will say I have had about 75 lbs of tongue weight when fully loaded. That is the sweet spot where it does not sway. I prefer it not sway rather than set some arbitrary weight amount. I know 75 is more than it should be, but it is what works best!
                    -- Jeff
                    2014 H-D Limited
                    2005 H-D Dyna Trike
                    2008 Roll-A-Home Camper

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                    • #11
                      Re: Camper tongue weight

                      Another way to think about it for those who ride solo and their hitch is mounted to the frame above the suspension .Even though it is a bit farther back it is still much less than the weight of a passenger. Unfortunately with CanAm Spyders the hitch is attached to the swing arm and all the weight is solid on the rear wheel and wheel bearing , not distributed across any other part of the bike. This also means if the rear tire hits a hole or expansion ridge all the tongue weight applied uncushioned to rear wheel and bearing .

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                      • #12
                        Re: Camper tongue weight

                        Originally posted by jkane13 View Post
                        There are other threads on this. It is a highly debatable issue! McHitch will not give me a rating on their hitch. Harley only says putting a hitch on voids the warranty. So, I am on my own! I will say I have had about 75 lbs of tongue weight when fully loaded. That is the sweet spot where it does not sway. I prefer it not sway rather than set some arbitrary weight amount. I know 75 is more than it should be, but it is what works best!
                        McHitch hasn't been arourd for a few years. I seem to recall reading that the owner passed away.
                        Anyways I purchased a McHitch back in 08/2015. Before I purchased the hitch, I spoke with someone there named Todd Sappenfield. I asked him about the capacities of the hitch. He told me:
                        40 lb tongue weight
                        400 lb trailer weight

                        HitchDoc also reports a 40 lbs capacity for tongue weight.
                        2011 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic, 1993 HD FatBoy
                        2014 Aspen Sentry
                        2001 Bushtec Turbo-II

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                        • #13
                          Re: Camper tongue weight

                          My Denray hitch is rated for 50 lb. For liability, I know they are sure it isn't going to break at 51 lb. and and probably are rating it 20% less than what they are sure it will take. I did have one setup on the Mini Mate when I put a 7' tongue on it where I hit 90 lb. of tongue weight. All that extra length just asked to be filled lol. Anyway, I am running a 6' tongue now with a tongue weight of 60-65 lb. and a trailer weight of 450-500 lb. I've been very comfortable with this set up for the last few trips, approximately 10,000 km.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Camper tongue weight

                            I have a MCHITCH that came off my 2012 Limited. Should fit 2009 to 2013. looks almost new 1/2 price..... $125.00 free ship to continental U.S, High quality!
                            2012 Limited Harley Davidson +09 Aspen classic
                            ( WIFE MADE ME BUY THEM BOTH)
                            The only time you can have too much fuel.............is if your on fire!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Camper tongue weight

                              Originally posted by dan1551 View Post
                              I have a MCHITCH that came off my 2012 Limited. Should fit 2009 to 2013. looks almost new 1/2 price..... $125.00 free ship to continental U.S, High quality!
                              The McHitch is a well made hitch. The other advantage the McHitch has over some of the other ones is if you are interested in running a rear shock on your motorcycle with a remote reservoir (ie Ohlins), it will fit with this hitch.
                              I run an Ohlins HD-357, and they wouldn't fit with my Bushtec hitch.

                              Good luck with the sale.
                              2011 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic, 1993 HD FatBoy
                              2014 Aspen Sentry
                              2001 Bushtec Turbo-II

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