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Old 11-08-2012, 04:28 AM   #1
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Hitch loading

I'm new to travel trailering, and was shocked to discover that I was putting on a hitch load of about 630 pounds. I have a U-Haul hitch rated at 500 pounds max. Do you think I have a problem with overloading, or am I probably Ok?

Thanks for your comments.
Vern.
Bozeman, Montana
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #2
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Vern, is it a weight distrubution hitch or just a bumper hitch? Is that the printed hitch weight or did you have it weighed?????

Regardless, you may want to consider upgrading.....


PS - we have travled to Yellowstone a few times and just love (LOL) landing at the Bozeman airport!
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:26 PM   #3
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Yes, you have a problem.

Hitch failure can be a catastophic event often ending VERY badly. Overloading your hitch will also nab you a fine if you ever got pulled into a weigh scale as can happen here in BC.

Hitch weight can also vary depending on how you load your TT. After a couple years people get complacent (read sloppy) and forget to consider all the factors when it comes to loading your TT before a trip. Hey, we're all excited to get going, right?

It's best to get a hitch heavier than you need. Remember to factor in the ability of your tow vehicle to handle that hitch load as well. My advice is to get an RV place to recommend what size/type hitch you should get.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:24 PM   #4
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Nana & Poppy

Yes, we do love our Bozeman. Beautiful country.

My U-Haul hitch fastens to the truck bumper (which is rated for a load of 1000 pounds), and it has steel supports that go under the truck and attach to the frame.
I weighed my hitch using a bathroom scale, a 5-foot 2x4, and some wood blocks. I propped up one end of the 2x4 on some blocks (creating a fulcrum), then supported the other end of the 2x4 on my bathroom scale. Then I put the trailer tongue down one foot from the fulcrum.
Then I multiplied whatever the scale said by 5. In this case, it came out "about" 630 pounds, and I was shocked. Needless to say, I started shifting weight in my trailer.

Thanks for your comment.
Vern.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:37 PM   #5
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Thank you Wanderer.

Speaking of beautiful country, my wife and spent all of July exploring British Columbia including Vancouver Island. Yes, we went to Butchart Gardens (did I spell that right?). Gorgeous!

Here's what I thought might be the case: if a hitch is rated at 500 pounds, they must account for the trailer experiencing bumps on the road. As the trailer hits the bumps, its tongue must bounce up and down on the hitch. So even if you load a hitch at 500 pounds, bouncing down the road can put maybe twice that load on the hitch. Therefore, considering safety margins, the hitch might be designed to fail at, say, 2000 pounds. If that is the case, then maybe a load of 630 pounds on a 500 pound hitch isn't so bad. I'd just need to take it easy on the bumps.

However, having said that, thank you for the warning about BC checkups. When we went through BC in July we had a slide-in pickup camper. Now we have our Coachmen TT.

Best regards,
Vern.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:07 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Vern;3156]Nana & Poppy

My U-Haul hitch fastens to the truck bumper (which is rated for a load of 1000 pounds), and it has steel supports that go under the truck and attach to the frame.
QUOTE]


Can you post a picture of that set up????
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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Is this what it looks like??? What Trailer/model do you have?
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:34 PM   #8
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Here is a widely accepted method for using a bathroom scale to weigh your tongue weight.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vern View Post
Thank you Wanderer.

Speaking of beautiful country, my wife and spent all of July exploring British Columbia including Vancouver Island. Yes, we went to Butchart Gardens (did I spell that right?). Gorgeous!

Here's what I thought might be the case: if a hitch is rated at 500 pounds, they must account for the trailer experiencing bumps on the road. As the trailer hits the bumps, its tongue must bounce up and down on the hitch. So even if you load a hitch at 500 pounds, bouncing down the road can put maybe twice that load on the hitch. Therefore, considering safety margins, the hitch might be designed to fail at, say, 2000 pounds. If that is the case, then maybe a load of 630 pounds on a 500 pound hitch isn't so bad. I'd just need to take it easy on the bumps.

However, having said that, thank you for the warning about BC checkups. When we went through BC in July we had a slide-in pickup camper. Now we have our Coachmen TT.

Best regards,
Vern.
Aside from "using some of the safety margin" it is illegal everywhere to do this. If you get pulled over by a DOT inspector (which does happen regularely) and they ask to see the TT tongue hitch specs as well as the hitch specs they'll nail you.

If your hitch ever failed for any reason you can bet your bottom dollar that your insurance company would look at these numbers as well.

For what a new hitch is worth, as well as the peace of mind I would replace it.

For interest sake, this months issue of the Good Sam 'Highways' magazine has a great article on hitch failure.

BTW, yes you spelled Butchart correctly. I'm glad you enjoyed BC! We've been out your way as well and in fact will be through there going to Yellowstone again next May/June.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:53 PM   #10
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Thanks for the drawing Nana and Poppy. I'll give this a try myself!
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:25 PM   #11
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Nana & Poppy

I don't think that I could photograph it (the truck's trailer hitch) unless I could hoist it up. But I might see if I could sketch it and send it as a bmp if someone could tell me how to post such things.

I saw in your post that you had sent a drawing, but I don't see any attachment. Maybe I don't have all the right buttons turned on?

My TT is a 2013 Aspen Trail by Coachmen. It's nice, but I'm having lots of fun adding cabinets . . . . to the rear, of course. Gotta reduce the tongue weight.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #12
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No, I'm not doubting that my hitch is overloaded. I was just explaining my rationale for questioning whether it was a safe overload. I understand your cautions, and I thank you.
I haven't seen any documentation telling what the max tongue weight should be for that particular Coachmen hitch. Where we went over the limit (I am guessing) is that we have the queen bed up front, north-south, so we can walk on both sides of it. Then we added a latex mattress needed because of our ages. Can't sleep on a hard surface anymore.

I stopped my membership with Good Sam after last year's (2011) jaunt. We expected that since we were Good Sam members, we'd get a discount at all the GS campgrounds we stayed at. We traveled from Bozeman, MT to Florida, and back again. Not one GS campground would give us a discount. They all said that the discount was already in their low price.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vern View Post
Nana & Poppy

I don't think that I could photograph it (the truck's trailer hitch) unless I could hoist it up. But I might see if I could sketch it and send it as a bmp if someone could tell me how to post such things.

I saw in your post that you had sent a drawing, but I don't see any attachment. Maybe I don't have all the right buttons turned on?

My TT is a 2013 Aspen Trail by Coachmen. It's nice, but I'm having lots of fun adding cabinets . . . . to the rear, of course. Gotta reduce the tongue weight.

What model Aspen Trail.....?????
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:08 AM   #14
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Nana & Poppy

I have the model 1900 RB. I could be wrong, but I think the RB means Rear Bathroom. Anyway, the bathroom is in the rear.

I see that you have a Toyhauler. I was limited to 25 feet overall so I could fit my TT into my "barn". This model is 24' 8", leaving about 1/2" when I close the overhead door.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:57 PM   #15
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On your 1900RB - your dry hitch weight is 504 pounds, this does not include any propane/tanks, water in holding tanks or any other incedentials you may load in front of the axels. My husband would love for me to only have 150 lbs tongue weight after load, that being said you really should consider upgrading your hitch!

Yes we have a Toyhauler which is 34'8" and our dry hitch is 1362 #'s...so we have one long heavy trailer. We store our TH in a barn (about 45 minutes away) and right now can't get it in 'cause another stored trailer is spread into two spots! We may spend the weekend moving it around on our property and covering it up!

Anyway, please consider upgrading your hitch as you were overweight without a pound of "stuff" in your trailer! Also let us know if you are using a weight distribution hitch, what mfg/model and weight limits!
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:18 PM   #16
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No, I'm not doubting that my hitch is overloaded. I was just explaining my rationale for questioning whether it was a safe overload. I understand your cautions, and I thank you.
I haven't seen any documentation telling what the max tongue weight should be for that particular Coachmen hitch. Where we went over the limit (I am guessing) is that we have the queen bed up front, north-south, so we can walk on both sides of it. Then we added a latex mattress needed because of our ages. Can't sleep on a hard surface anymore.

I stopped my membership with Good Sam after last year's (2011) jaunt. We expected that since we were Good Sam members, we'd get a discount at all the GS campgrounds we stayed at. We traveled from Bozeman, MT to Florida, and back again. Not one GS campground would give us a discount. They all said that the discount was already in their low price.
That's weird because we always get our Good Sam discount. I would report those campgrounds to Good Sam because that is NOT what is supposed to happen. I do know that the parks will not allow double discounts though. If you have AAA or something else you can't combine discounts.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:05 PM   #17
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I have to agree with Gordon and Laura, we mostly camp in State campgrounds, but IF we go "high class" with full hook-ups we always go to GS and we always get a discount!

I would drop GS a line and let them know they lost your membership beacuse X-Y & Z GS campgrounds did not honor any discount! There are some restrictions, such as holiday weekends, is that possibly what you encountered?????
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:24 PM   #18
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No, I'm not doubting that my hitch is overloaded. I was just explaining my rationale for questioning whether it was a safe overload.
Sorry, I'm really not trying to be hard-nosed here but this is a safety issue which not only affects your safety but that of other motorists on the roads.

NO amout of overloading can be considered 'Safe'. That is why they put limits on hitches. Please realize that there are other factors to consider with hitch safety, not just loading. Age, maintenance, wear and tear and more all have a bearing. If you have a problem in one of these areas while you are overloaded you're just asking for trouble.

OK, I'm getting off my soapbox now.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:01 PM   #19
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Everyone:

I hear you loud and clear. A hitch upgrade it is. It's always a good thing to ask others who know something about the topic, because I sure don't. Thank you all.

Yes, I was pretty mad at GS, and I did call their main office when I returned from our excursion. They know about the problem.

I can appreciate storage problems for big rigs. When I started looking this last July, I looked for TTs using two criteria: It had to have the bed in a North-South position and it had to be 25 feet long or less. Luckily, they made one. Actually, they made two but the other one was just too darn expensive.

Regarding load distribution hitches, I don't think mine qualifies. Is that something I should consider in the upgrade?
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:06 PM   #20
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Certainly! These are hitches that use a couple of bars with attached chains for equalizing the load better. They also give some sway control as well. These type of hitches are essential with a trailer of your size and weight.

Glad to hear you're upgrading.
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