New 17B tongue weight...?? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-30-2017, 07:30 PM   #1
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New 17B tongue weight...??

I picked up my new 17B earlier this month and drove down from Chilliwack to Petaluma (just north of San Francisco). Trailer towed like a dream - loved the trip back getting acquainted with it. It's a wonderful, high quality little trailer! I added a lot of bells and whistles to the base trailer - the weight listed on the export papers is 2900lbs - specs list the "unadored" weight at 2400lbs - ~ dry hitch weight of 250lbs.

I am using a weigh safe trailer hitch ( https://www.weigh-safe.com/ ) and the scale showed the tongue weight around 460-480 lbs... Figured the scale must have been defective as very little was loaded in the trailer on my drive back - at 2900lbs weight I figured the tongue weight would come in around 300lbs since little was added and what was, was behind the axle on the return trip.

I just used my brother's tongue weight scale and it comes in around 460lbs!

Where is this extra weight coming from? I have about 50-60 lbs of gear in the storage box and the black water tank (forward of axle) was empty. Couple blankets and pillows in the small front dinette storage benches...

I'm interested in hearing others experiences here. I tow with a 2014 Highlander XLE rated at 500lbs tongue weight and did not think tongue weight was going to be an issue. I have read so many folks towing with highlanders.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!!
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:52 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new Escape!
Have you loaded up the trailer yet with cooking items and dishes, tools, clothes, whatever? If not, there is not much sense in worrying about the tongue weight until you see what it is when loaded with everything you intend to use. That may change things and you can adjust from there.
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:56 PM   #3
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That does seem high. My 2011 17B with more stuff in the front & full propane tanks ran between 325 - 345 lbs tongue weight with a trailer weight of 3010 - 3100 lbs. Not sure what they changed, but that is quite a jump.
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:58 PM   #4
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I agree... I am puzzled...? I expected the TW to come in around 350-375 loaded up. To be continued...
I'm curious if the axle was moved back in the new models?
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:03 PM   #5
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I agree... I am puzzled...? I expected the TW to come in around 350-375 loaded up. To be continued...
I'm curious if the axle was moved back in the new models?
No reason to do that and that would require a new mold. (on edit, I guess it is a new mold, but no reason to move the wheel wells ).
Mine is years old now. Runs 320-340 on the tongue and about 3,200 trailer. I don't have a front storage box and do have one on the rear with not much weight in it. I tend to load my beer cases up front, under the dinette to maintain 320 tongue weight.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:09 PM   #6
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Would having the high lift axle affect tongue weight?
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:14 PM   #7
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Would having the high lift axle affect tongue weight?
Don't think so. Wheels are still the pivot and are in the same place. I have high lift axle, BTW.
And, I tow with a RAV4 which has 350 lb. tongue max.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:23 PM   #8
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My recollection from previous threads is that that hitch scale you have isn't accurate, particularly at low weights.
It's also possible that your brother's scale is not working properly. If it is a Sherline, it's supposed to be stored upright and it's not supposed to be lifted or carried by the top. Otherwise, I have no idea how your tongue could be that heavy.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:24 PM   #9
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Could it be that my hitch ball is too low? I was told at the factory to measure from the belly band back and front and the front should be 1" - 1.5" higher that the rear. My measure shows the front ~ 1" higher than the rear when hitched.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:25 PM   #10
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Think I need to take it to a public scale to get the right measure
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:26 PM   #11
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Does the storage box add much weight?
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:34 PM   #12
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Am I correct that the 17B fresh and grey water tanks are located behind the axles?
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:39 PM   #13
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I have never concerned myself with the grey and fresh tanks. I just weight the tongue and sometimes shift weight forward to ensure enough tongue weight.
If you do take it to a public scale, best ask what the accuracy of the scale is. It could be + or - 50 lbs. or more.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Think I need to take it to a public scale to get the right measure
Yes, in case something is not right in the weighings. That will give you a better idea as to whether yours are correct.
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I'm curious if the axle was moved back in the new models?
The spec tongue weight did not change significantly, and the floorplan didn't change... so it seems very unlikely that the axle position changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parfsten View Post
Would having the high lift axle affect tongue weight?
No - as explained above - assuming that the trailer is in the correct pitch attitude (that is, level, rather than nose up or down).

Quote:
Originally Posted by parfsten View Post
Could it be that my hitch ball is too low? I was told at the factory to measure from the belly band back and front and the front should be 1" - 1.5" higher that the rear. My measure shows the front ~ 1" higher than the rear when hitched.
If the ball (and so the trailer tongue) is too low, the tongue weight will be higher; however, not enough to account for the magnitude of what is being described here. Also, that's a bizarre recommendation for a single-axle trailer; single-axle trailers should be level, or slightly nose-down (since it's not practical to be perfectly level).

Quote:
Originally Posted by parfsten View Post
Think I need to take it to a public scale to get the right measure
Yes, a measurement with more certainty would help. The tongue weight is very low compared to the range of truck scales, so any tongue weight determined there will not be very precise, but it should still be informative.

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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
If you do take it to a public scale, best ask what the accuracy of the scale is. It could be + or - 50 lbs. or more.
The normal precision for highway scales used for commercial vehicle enforcement is 10 kilogram (or 20 pound) increments, and they are normally calibrated to within that range. Privately operated truck scales (such as the CAT chain) may be set to read a little high, since the scale company guarantees that truckers will not get overweight fines if their scale shows a legal weight... I would build in a margin of error if I were in their position.

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Am I correct that the 17B fresh and grey water tanks are located behind the axles?
The fresh water tank is behind the axle on all models, so filling it lowers the tongue weight.
The grey waste tank is ahead of the axle(s) on all models, essentially at the centre of mass so the amount in the tank makes little difference to tongue weight.
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by parfsten Could it be that my hitch ball is too low? I was told at the factory to measure from the belly band back and front and the front should be 1" - 1.5" higher that the rear. My measure shows the front ~ 1" higher than the rear when hitched.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
If the ball (and so the trailer tongue) is too low, the tongue weight will be higher; however, not enough to account for the magnitude of what is being described here. Also, that's a bizarre recommendation for a single-axle trailer; single-axle trailers should be level, or slightly nose-down (since it's not practical to be perfectly level).
I agree. At my orientation, Dennis told me my trailer (single axle) should be level or slightly nose down.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:10 AM   #17
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I know Karen... I though it was strange too. Commented that I had always been told even or slightly lower and he said that was not the case. I think I'll shoot for even!
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:15 AM   #18
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Hi Glen, What type of scale do you use to measure your tongue weight? I'm off to a public scale in the next few days and hope to get the straight scoop on my tongue weight - weird that it is coming in so high on both the scales I used.
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:26 AM   #19
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Mine is Sherline scale.
Google 'Sherline towing guide' for good info.
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:59 PM   #20
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You will find on the etrailer.com web site a description on how to use a bathroom scale to measure tongue weights ... complete with drawings. For a previous trailer, I went to a public scale and got the weight of the trailer .... I parked only the trailers wheels on the scale. Since I had already measured the tongue weight (unhitched and under the coupling ... not under the jack) .. I just added those two figures together to give me total trailer weight. I wanted 11% tongue weight so adjusted a few items to achieve my desired results. This was for a cargo trailer, about the same size as my 17A, that I towed from Seattle to Alaska. Worked perfectly.

I just bought a Sherline Scale and intend to "calibrate" it with my bathroom scale. I bought the 1000# model and the dial is hard to read small weight differences. If my Sherline and bathroom scale are in close agreement, I'll have more confidence that both are reading correctly and accurately.

My trailer 17A is still new to me and I intend to measure my tongue weight somewhat frequently to get a "seat of my pants" feeling for my proper tongue weight and then check it less frequently. I bought the Sherline for the convience factor.

Years ago, I found that my boat weight would increase dramatically over time. I'd swear that I hadn't brought much on board but there it was. Weight gain can come in with the many small items you bring on board everyday - an ounce at a time. You may think that the balance goes out with the garbage but for me it was always accumulative.

Wonder how many check their tongue weights monthly, annually, every start of trip or when ever?

Tom
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