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Manipulating Tounge Weight

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:38 pm    Post subject: Manipulating Tounge Weight Reply with quote

From: C-LionRay (Original Message) Sent: 12/26/2002 5:30 PM
I weighed the Sea Lion today and with 58 gallons of fuel and the typical gear for Sturgeon fishing the Columbia it came in at a very tidy 3250# Then I checked the tounge weight, 500#. This is right at my vehicles rating and I'd like to reduce the tounge weight. I am thinking I could just move the winch arm assembly back 3 to 6 inches.
Have any of you dealt with this issue? Am I on track? Is there a way to calculate the distance I need to move the boat back on the trailer?
Thanks in advance...
Ray on Sea Lion

From: Mike Sent: 12/26/2002 6:36 PM
Ray -

Sure, there's a way to calculate it, but you'll have to get NASA Bob on Cheers to figure it out. I think it will change quicker than you think, though - 3" might be plenty. I would go 1" at a time with it hooked up to the hitch and see what happens. (Geez - I hate to keep harping on the benefits of roller trailers, but it will make it easy to do!) Mine is a little heavy on the tongue for the Jeep, I think, but it tows so well I have never considered changing it. Maybe if you go a little at a time and see what difference it makes on the highway, you can find a good fit. If it takes more than a couple of inches, you may want to consider moving the axle ahead.


From: Mike Sent: 12/26/2002 6:46 PM
Ray -

Here's something interesting from the EZ Loader web site FAQ page. According to them, you have about twice as much tongue weight as you should. Durned if I know. Check out their FAQ, there is some other interesting info on there. (We also have them on one of our Links lists here.)

How much tongue weight do I need?

Assuming your vehicle's hitch will carry the load, the general rule of thumb is to have between 5% & 7% of the combined weight of the trailer and boat. As an example, if your boat weighs 4,000 pounds, and your EZ Loader trailer weighs 1,000 pounds, you have a total combined weight of 5,000 pounds. You then could have from 250 to 350 pounds of tongue weight. Remember that too little tongue weight will often cause 'fishtailing'.

From: Mike Sent: 12/29/2002 1:15 PM
Here's a good web resource explaining how to calculate tongue weight vs. trailer weight. (It was located by member Chuck S.)

FYI - I just used the old fashioned method to check my tongue weight (straddle the thing and lift with both hands and your legs). I would guess it to be right around 200# for my 22' Cruiser on a single axle, with 48 gallons fuel, the Honda 75 and 8 both hanging vertical, no water in the fresh tank, and a light gear load. I don't plan on making any changes to it, because it tows well, and isn't affected much by the weight distribution inside the boat when towing.

From: Fun Patrol Sent: 1/4/2003 8:18 AM

Just move the axle forward.


From: C-LionRay Sent: 1/5/2003 8:47 AM
What do I need to do to get it square so it tows right?
Is it o.k. to bend the brake lines or should I shorten them and bleed them?
I'm a little nervous about this as I haven't seen it done. Based on my calculations from the aforementioned web site I need to move the axel 15 inches (conservatively).

From: Fun Patrol Sent: 1/7/2003 8:42 AM

The brake lines should have a section of brake hose between the axle and the frame which will allow the axle to be moved.


From: Lynn Marie Sent: 1/20/2003 9:52 PM
I feel like I too have a problem with to much tounge weight. I tried the home cure a couple of weeks ago but gave up part way into the project since I didn't have big enough jacks, etc.
Now I'm glad I gave up. I stopped by the EZ-Loader booth for some good BS at the Seattle BS festival. The factory folks confirmed that I was probably tounge heavey but told me the best way to deal with it based on bunk location of the boat, which should not hang very far behind the bunks on the trailer, was to move the axle, not the winch stand. They feel moving the stand , while it may be easier, would put to much unsupported boat weight off the end of the trailer which might do hull damage.
They said that moving the axle is the simplest when done with the boat off of the trailer and could be done in a matter of minutes with two people. The procedure is to loosen the U-bolts which hold the axle in place and then use the tires, one man on each, and roll the whole thing fprward or aft as needed. They said that the axle assembly just slides along on the tube frame. After moving as needed you just tighten everything back up.
This really makes sence to me after looking closely at the trailers on the show floor. My guess is that if I had stumbled forward with my first attempt I probably would have pinched a bracke line or cut a light wire since they all come and go through wholes in the trailers tube steel frame somewhere iin the axle area.
I hope to work on this task in the next feo weeks or at least before the first major road trip up to the first 2003 cruise.
More to follow as I proceed. Sure wish I had one of those digital cameras to do this process justice.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:08 pm    Post subject: Similar situation Reply with quote

I just bought a 22 Cruiser on a nice double axle trailer and the tongue weight puts my rear axle on the bumper stops. My truck is rated for 5,000 tow with 650 max on hitch so I think my trailer set up is also out of whack. Has anyone determined a reference point on the CD22 Cruiser hull for centering the axle or axles to get in the ball park of a 250-300# tongue weight? As she sits right now the mid line between the dual axles is about 6" aft of the end of the cabin. Thanks in advance for any input on this!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac , Welcome to the C-BRATS site. Lots of good help here from good folks and nearly every and any thing you could want to know about C-Dorys.

As you probably know, there are lots of things that affect your tongue weight. Fuel load, water, which go into fixed locations, and then there is gear load, which is movable. You can take weight off the tongue by adding fuel, and water load, or increase the tongue weight by decreasing fuel and water or adding gear forward of the axle center. Both much easier than moving the boat position on the trailer.

Also, the position of the boat on the trailer is important in that you want to be sure the transom is supported. So, you can't just move the boat back any (unlimited) distance. Important -- Do you have a bunk or roller trailer?

Also important. Is your trailer (since you have a tandem axle) sitting level when hooked to your truck? That can affect your tongue weight too. If it is sitting with the tongue lower than the aft end of the trailer when hooked to the truck, your tongue weight will be more, AND your front axle will be carrying more weight so more bearing wear there.

Just sounds to me like your boat is farther back on your tandem than mine. My center between the axles is probably that far forward of the aft cabin bulkhead.

My tongue weight is about 400# loaded heavy for cruising.

Hope that helps some.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking out my back door at my boat (stored for the winter now), it looks like that's about where mine is. The first thing you should do is get an actual tongue weight on your boat. My boat and trailer gross weight is right around 4800 lbs. My tongue weight is about 465 lbs, which is a good ratio. What are you towing with? With a 5000 lb max load spec, I suspect it's a smaller truck. It's entirely possible your trailer is ok, and perhaps the truck is a little weak in the rear. If that's the case, there are always helper springs or air lift kits. Harvey is right, you want to make sure that your bunk boards are supporting the transom, so you don't want to move the boat back beyond that. Colby l
Just reread your comments. I think 250-300# for your boat and trailer is going to be a bit light. if the tongue weight is too light, you increase the possibility of fish tailing the trailer. I think you'll find most folks with the 22 are in the 400 lb range for tongue weight.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with all of the above. Depending on the trailer there are several options.
You need to weight the boat and truck and then the boat alone. Pretty good chance that may weigh close or slightly over 5,000 lbs.

Weigh the trailer tongue using a bathroom scale--or find someone who has a trailer tongue weight scale. In the below example multiply the bathroom scale weight by 3. The trailer should be level (using a level, or measure frame height.)

Be sure that you have tires less than 6 years old on the trailer--rot is the bane of trailer tires, not tread wear (usually)

I agree generally minimal tongue weight is 7%--if the boat and trailer is 5000 # that is 350#, 10% is the accepted general figure for most boats. Some go up to 15% usually with a 5th wheel type of rig.

What truck are you using? As others have suggested you may want to use helper springs or air bags to bring the capacity up--but don't exceed the rated capacity of the axle. Also remember that the trucks total weight capacity will include any gear, passengers (other than the driver). Same for the combined weight. `

I towed one of my 22's with a Honda Pilot--pretty much minimal type of tow vehicle for that weight. Now I have a Yukon XL--with capacity of 6800 lbs.

Trailer mods--some you can move the axels--must be kept in alignment--may be best to have a professional do this, if it means drilling holes in the trailer frame.

Also you can extend the bunk boards--use a T profile aft of the last trailer support for the bunk board. This means screw and glue a vertical oriented 2x4 under the 2x6 or 2x8 bunk.

Bob Austin
Thataway (Ex Seaweed) 2007 25 C Dory May 2018
Thisaway 2006 22' CDory November 2011 to May 2018
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T.R. Bauer

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what kind of tow rig you have, but it is of my opinion many of them are overrated by the manufacturer in the towing department even though they are rated to tow "x" pounds. You can thank the sales department for that. And with that said, it would not surprise me in the least if your hitch is rated for more than your truck....My 2015 Ford has a hitch rating of 11,800 pounds and isn't rated to tow that much. On the flip side of things, my E450 23 foot motorhome can tow about 12,000 pounds and has a 5,000 hitch on the back of it. I'd do some research as the hitch is only an indicator of what something can and should tow.

I would be surprised if your trailer is out of whack.....the boats are heavier than advertised. FWIW my center is right under the water fill and had near 350 pounds of tongue weight with full gas and an otherwise empty boat. When I got the boat, many years ago, I used the method Bob posted to get it, except with 2 scales.
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Marco Flamingo

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Since you are in WA, it might be quite easy to get all of your weights. Call the State Patrol and ask them if they have a time and location where a weigh station is closed. Even when closed, they keep the scales up and running. You can pull in and, with a little messing around, weigh your tow vehicle front axle, rear axle, each trailer axle, and even remove the trailer to get its total weight. Same with the vehicle without the trailer. Some numbers may seem goofy (like tongue weight reducing front axle weight).
Spend 45 minutes and write everything down. Now you have a starting point to the nearest pound.

You might be able to do the same at a commercial scale, but it will cost and they are usually located somewhere (like a gravel pit) that will have trucks coming through that have priority.

It is possible that moving your axle locations are what will give you the best handling and tongue weight. It might be no more complex that moving your bunks.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac, Mark is right on. But the scale does not have to be closed for you to go across. I have done it a couple of times on an open, working scale. I stop back and out of the way of any commercial traffic, and walk in and ask the scale house officer if I can go across. Have never been refused. I wouldn't tie up there scale though. I have been allowed every time I have asked, and I have always volunteered to not block commercial traffic, so it is wait until the line is clear, roll over the scale, slow enough to write down the front truck axle, the truck total, the rear axle, the trailer front, rear and then both, and then get out of their way. On closed scales I have weighed, unhooked and weighed the tongue weight (with a 4x4 cut to the same length as my hitch height), and weighed just the boat and trailer, unhooked from the truck.

SleepyC Moon

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