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Old 04-20-2015, 05:47 AM   #1
The Cyclops OP
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trailer question

I have a popup camper and I am wanting to extend the front to add an area to transport a dirt bike. I am thinking that extending the tongue will lighten the hitch weight, but then adding a couple of hundred pounds will bring it back to around the 10% of total weight mark. Am I correct? Below is an image of what I am talking about, mine is just a single axle and the length I will be adding will be more like 3 or 4 feet. Thoughts? For some reason it seems backwards that extending the tongue would reduce hitch weight, then I think fulcrum length and it seems correct.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:35 AM   #2
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mock up

You could mock it up in wood (2x4 etc), load the bike, so you could then measure the tongue weight with a scale.
A lot easier than building it to find out in needs to be longer or won't work at all.
jmo
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenstone View Post
You could mock it up in wood (2x4 etc), load the bike, so you could then measure the tongue weight with a scale.
A lot easier than building it to find out in needs to be longer or won't work at all.
jmo
I had actually thought about building a complete scale model, I think you have talked me into it!
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:38 AM   #4
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you could work it out on a pocket calculater.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by the_gr8t_waldo View Post
you could work it out on a pocket calculater.
I did some calculations and came up that the tongue weight would be reduced only 50 pounds with a 4' extension. Thats not enough to help much, actually only offset the weight of the material. Does this sound right? I figured a 200 pound tongue weight, 12' between the fulcrum (axle) and old hitch point and 16' to new hitch point. 200x12/16=150. These are approximate distances as the trailer is at another location right now, but fairly close.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:55 PM   #6
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You are adding weight to the front. Not taking any off the back.
And you think the front will be lighter?

OK, so there is some leverage going on as well. But do you plan to always keep that extension empty? Probably not or you wouldn't be adding it. So there goes the tongue weight.

You could get deep into the engineering of it. But I see this being a little tongue heavy if you run it as-is. Shifting a little weight to behind the axle (A water tank or something) should put it closer to in balance without having to move an axle or anything like that.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by broncobowsher View Post
You are adding weight to the front. Not taking any off the back.
And you think the front will be lighter?

OK, so there is some leverage going on as well. But do you plan to always keep that extension empty? Probably not or you wouldn't be adding it. So there goes the tongue weight.

You could get deep into the engineering of it. But I see this being a little tongue heavy if you run it as-is. Shifting a little weight to behind the axle (A water tank or something) should put it closer to in balance without having to move an axle or anything like that.
I figured I would have to try and offset some, I was just trying to figure out how much. Its odd in the pictures I have seen of these trailers the axle seems to be in the same spot as mine, yet they add all that extra up front. Here is another example
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:00 PM   #8
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Every now and then, I will see a homemade toy hauler on CL. I think there is a build thread here somewhere too. Take a standard popup camper, take off the axle and secure it to a flatbed trailer.

The problem you are going to have with your current pop up is the axle rating and over loading that rating.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:43 PM   #9
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The net result is going to be adding weight to the tongue, and it's going to be a good bit. Will it be too much? Hard to say. The ones you see made like that from the factory have the axle a little further forward than what you'd have to compensate for the extra load capacity.

My guess is you can safely add enough room for ONE fairly light bike and not going over capacity assuming you have at least a 500 pound capacity hitch. Remember that hitches are rated for both overall tow weight AND tongue weight and you need to be within spec on both.

If you have a trailer with the axle fully underneath (ie. no wheel wells), you can probably do whatever you need and just move the axle enough to compensate for the changes. Well, that's assuming the axle you have is also rated for the additional weight. Many campers are built with the absolute minimums to save costs, so you might want to check that as well.

Most accurate and easiest way to check all this is if you have a truck stop close by. Drive your tow vehicle to the truck stop, pay the $12 to weigh. Go home, hook up camper (and remember not to change anything signicant, like adding another passenger the second time through!) and go weigh again (and you may get by with the second weigh for free as a "re-weigh"...many places charge truckers ONCE PER DAY on the same truck so they can go make changes and come back through without paying again). Assuming you get just your tow vehicle on the truck plate and your trailer on the trailer plate, you can easily do some math to know how much your trailer weighs and how much tongue weight you have.


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Old 04-21-2015, 04:00 PM   #10
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One thing about trying to balance a rig like that with a fixed weight over the axle and a variable weight up front is the possibility of ending up with zero to negative tongue weight when you're not hauling the bike. You really need a sliding axle bogey to keep things properly balanced.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:49 PM   #11
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I had an extra 3' added to my 15' Jayco (done by a custom trailer shop) to haul 1 bike, the added rails were extended back to the axle, and the wheels and tires were up graded for the extra weight. I added weight distribution bars for the extra tongue weight. It tows nice.



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