I have an 8000 lb trailer with 1400 lbs of tongue weight. I tried
lightening the tongue weight, but wasn't happy with the ride. I wanted
to install an aftermarket class IV or V but every aftermarket hitch
says it wont fit since the OEM is welded to the cross-member.
What are my options for increasing the tongue weight capacity of the
OEM hitch. I was shocked to see that even the hitch on a Denali has a
higher tongue weight rating - 1500 lbs. I certainly expected a much
better hitch on a 3/4 ton truck.
The trailer has a rated tongue weight of 1400 lbs. I'm assuming that's
for the trailer empty. The trailer also has a 2.5kw generator mounted
in a front locker, two propane tanks and a 27 series deep cycle battery
on the tongue, and a 60 gallon water tank mounted foreward of the front
axle. All are OE, factory installed.
Even empty, at 1400 lbs, I'm over the rating for the OEM hitch.
I'm using a WD hitch with 1200 spring bars and a cam anti sway system.
When I lessen the tongue weight by removing the two propane tanks, the
truck bounces. I understand the 800-1200 lb recommendation (10-15%),
but swaying isn't a problem.
I have a class IV bolted hitch on my '99 2500 and the max weight trailer
weight that I can pull is 10,000# draw, 1,000# tongue (weight distributing).
I don't think your welded hitch is a liability. Dodge says that you should
have a gooseneck or 5th wheel to tow over 10,000 lbs anyway. If your reading
the rated tongue weight from the stamped lettering in the tongue section,
that's the maximum amount of weight allowed on the tongue component only
regardless what kind of trailer that it gets welded to. It's not the typical
tongue weight of the trailer. The trailer certification placard should list
the GVWR (sometimes listed as GTWR) for the trailer. The GVWR or GTWR is the
gross vehicle (trailer) weight rating. It's the max allowed weight of the
trailer and everything in it. Your truck has the same type of rating that
can be found on the sticker inside the driver's door jamb. I recommend you
find a scale in your area and find out the exact weights you have for the
truck and trailer.
See: http://www.catscale.com/locator.shtml for CAT scale locations.
The last time I was on a CAT scale it only cost me $9.00 for two weight
readings. Talk to the scale operator about what you want to do before
beginning the weighing session so they know what you are up to. Always weigh
the truck full of fuel with driver. There is normally plenty of room to park
a trailer temporarily during a weigh session so you don't have to make an
extra trip home. CAT scales have three sections on their scales. As you pull
up on them they are sections 3, 2 and 1. Weigh the tow vehicle without the
trailer hooked up first on sections 1 and 2, front axle on 1, rear axle on
2, trailer somewhere else in the parking lot. Add the front and rear axle
weight together. This is the "unladen weight" of the tow vehicle. Now weigh
the truck with the trailer attached, packed like you are going on a trip,
spring bars set where you think they should be. Be sure ALL water tanks and
propane tanks are FULL and the generator and batteries are in place. You
need the front and rear axle weight of the truck and the front/rear axle
weight combination of the trailer. Put the truck's front axle on section 1,
rear axle of truck on 2, and both axles of the trailer on 3. Take the front
and rear axle weight of the truck (with the trailer attached) and add them
together. This is the truck's laden weight. Subtract the truck's unladen
weight from this figure and you have the trailer tongue weight. Add the
tongue weight to the trailer's weight (section 3 on the scale) and you have
the trailer's gross weight. The tongue weight of the trailer should be
between 10%-15% of the trailer gross weight. If it isn't you need to do some
adjusting. Be sure to check the sticker on the driver's door jamb for GVWR
(gross vehicle weight rating) and GAWR front and rear (front and rear gross
axle weight rating). Don't exceed any of these ratings.
1400# tongue weight should be fine. You are using a weight
distributing hitch with some sort of anti-sway, right? We haul a
6500-7000# trailer 200 miles every weekend with 1000-1200# tongue
weight and it hauls fine with the weight distribution package.
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