Reducing tongue weight on a 21’ by LOADING differently - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-22-2016, 06:11 PM   #1
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Question Reducing tongue weight on a 21’ by LOADING differently

Reducing tongue weight on a 21’ by LOADING differently

Hi all

We will have a forthcoming 2017 - - - 21’ Escape. (will order when ordering opens)

Tug is a Acura MDX with factory tow package. 5000 lb max, 500 lb max tongue weight.

AWD, and 300 hp (10% more than the peppiest Highlander)

Prodigy P2 proportional brake controller.

Will get ETI to install the e2 Fastway WDH with built in sway.
They recently said "that one is best for the 21'" (that they sell)

Have ordered a Shureline LM 1000 scale, and will be very careful about measuring & watching tongue weight.

Az Jack (and many others) say their 21’ loaded is about 4,200 gross.

No, I am not going to change the tug now… so don’t try to convince me to.

Numerous people tow with a Highlander, and that has the same max weight capacity (5,000 & 500) as our tug, and 10% less horsepower. (270 hp vs our 300 hp V6)

Will be getting dual 6v batteries in the 21’ (they are in rear dinette seats, i do believe, on the 21’)

will be getting factory installed solar.

so those things put some weight at the back.

We also try to minimize towing with full black & grey tanks any distance… (even though we do mostly boondocking….. I just do the research to find a close by RV dump to dump ASAP after heading towards home)

Will rarely have a bike rack on the 21’ Escape, however.

QUESTIONS:

one) Wanted to get some clever ideas about how to reduce our tongue weight (* * if need be* * )

Of course how I load the stuff… but… any clever ideas?

two) Where is the fresh water tank located? I know the amount of water in that can (?) reduce tongue weight, depending where it is.

three) on our MDX the hitch receiver is about 17” off the ground (to the center of the receiver)… I assume the e2 Fastway can be set up by ETI to account for this, and make the ball the right height for the 21’ Escape?

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate this forum, and all the good people on it.

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Old 02-22-2016, 06:18 PM   #2
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Does your Acura specifically list a 500# max tongue weight? The Highlander specifies max trailer weight at 5000# and total weights of trailer, cargo, passenger, and vehicle (GCVW) but it makes no mention of max tongue weight. Since safe tongue weight can range up to 15% a trailers that weights 5000# could have a safe tongue weight as high as 750#.

With the WDH you will be moving weight off the tongue and onto the front wheels, so it all gets complex. Strangely Toyota says a Highlander only needs a WDH if the trailer weight is over 5000# - which would therefor be over the max weight. I figure they copy and pasted that out of some other manual.

We're planning on a 21' next year too, so I'll be in the same situation as you.
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Old 02-22-2016, 06:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoer View Post
Does your Acura specifically list a 500# max tongue weight? ...
Yes, indeed.

I have a WDH with our 17' Casita, and i LOVE it... the WDH is, to me, an important thing, for a bunch of reasons. But that is a different debate, for a different thread.

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Old 02-22-2016, 07:26 PM   #4
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The fresh tank is in the rear, so if you travel with it full it should reduce your tongue weight. Skip the front storage box that should save a lot of weight, but be careful, too light will result in sway.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:33 PM   #5
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I don't think that there is an tongue weight problem with the 21'. Should be easy to have 10-15%.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by float5 View Post
I don't think that there is an tongue weight problem with the 21'. Should be easy to have 10-15%.
It's easy to get up there - no problem getting high enough. I think the problem to be avoided in this case is going too high in tongue weight. 15% of 4200 pounds would be 630 pounds... way too high for the tug.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:48 PM   #7
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yeah I'm hoping to be about 11% ..... 11% of 4200 is 462 lbs.

and yes the WDH will "lighten" the hitch weight, sort of.... but still I want to be in a good zone.



i think (?) i will get the front storage box, but only put light-ish things in it....

I also have never ever used more than 1/2 a bottle of propane on any trip.... so maybe the changeover 2nd one could be mostly empty..... Hmmmmm

or maybe even remove it, if need be......
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Where is the fresh water tank located? I know the amount of water in that can (?) reduce tongue weight, depending where it is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The fresh tank is in the rear, so if you travel with it full it should reduce your tongue weight.
All Escape fresh water tanks are located under the floor, behind the axle(s), up in the step up in the floor in those models having that step. The 21' floor doesn't step up, but the front of the tank (as I recall) is roughly where the frame steps up, around the back of the wheel wells (fender openings). That puts it maybe one-quarter as far from the effective axle location (midway between the two set of wheels) as the coupler, so the amount water in that tank reduces the tongue weight is about one-quarter of the weight of water. For example, 30 US gallons or 250 pounds of water in the tank takes roughly 62 pounds off the hitch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Skip the front storage box that should save a lot of weight, but be careful, too light will result in sway.
With a published dry hitch weight of 360 pounds (of only 3140 pounds of dry and empty trailer), it seems like it would be hard to end up with less than about 10% tongue weight unless excessive load is hung on the back bumper... but some people do that
That 360 pound spec is presumably without the storage box, because it is optional.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by thoer View Post
With the WDH you will be moving weight off the tongue and onto the front wheels, so it all gets complex.
Load is transferred, but all the mass stays in the same place. Hitch weight limits apply to the load on the hitch before the WD system is applied, so in that sense it is simple to know whether or not you are within the limit.
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
three) on our MDX the hitch receiver is about 17” off the ground (to the center of the receiver)… I assume the e2 Fastway can be set up by ETI to account for this, and make the ball the right height for the 21’ Escape?
Receiver heights are normally measured to the top of the receiver opening; the amount of "rise" or "drop" of a ball mount is how far the mounting surface for the ball is above or below the top of the opening. So that makes the MDX receiver height 18".

A 21' needs (by coincidence) about a 21 inch ball height. That's to the top of the ball, so allowing for a ball about 3" tall (so the base of the ball is 18" off the ground), you would need zero rise (or drop), which should be no problem at all.
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:06 PM   #11
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thanks everyone for all the great info.....

it sounds as if I'll be OK...... (?)

I have read many threads here.... I seem to recall that some 21' owners measured around 500 lb actual hitch weight.... some a wee bit less.....



will search again for threads....
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:25 PM   #12
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My Escape 21' weighed 500# on tongue and 3800 over the axles, combined was 4300#. The GVWR capacity is 4400# for the trailer. I travel with the fresh 50% full and the black empty and this weight was returning from Osoyoos with 2 weeks of "stuff" in the camper. My Escape 19 had a tongue weight of 400#, both trailers had the front storage box option which weighs maybe 45# and another 100# of cargo. But if you eliminate the front box, you have nowhere to carry you power cord, plastic levelers, water hoses, wheel chocks, shovel.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:21 PM   #13
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You should have no trouble keeping the tongue weight below 500# if you pay attention to how you load it and weigh it often to figure out what needs to go where.
My 2014 21' with options, full propane and no water weighed 3600# total when I picked it up.... 3220# on the axles and 360# on the tongue.
Most of us 21 owners get into the 500# tongue weights because the underbed storage is so darn useful.... oh ya - that front box
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...html#post47134
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:58 PM   #14
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Our 21's weights have been similar to those reported above. Even though our tug is rated to tow 6100 pounds, we, too, have to be careful to keep things within all the various capacity limits (for us it's the tug's GVWR that's toughest to manage).

We have the front storage box (and really wouldn't like to be without it) but we keep lightweight things there (hoses, lightweight folding furniture, lightweight wheel chocks, etc.). Heavier stuff (Anderson levelers) we learned to store further back. I agree that you could get by with one propane tank -- or at least one that's not very full -- it does seem to last and last.

Good luck to you LosAngeles -- we promise you're going to have a blast with your new Escape, and we'll see you out there.
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:00 PM   #15
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Saw one trailer where the guy had replaced one of two propane tanks with a version of a 5 gallon bucket where he kept his tools.
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:13 PM   #16
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I just refilled my second propane tank today.
Not sure how much use a bucket of tools would be if I ran out of propane in the middle of the night, 60 miles up a gravel road.
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Old 02-23-2016, 02:43 AM   #17
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thanks again everybody for all the great info.

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Old 02-23-2016, 11:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
thanks everyone for all the great info.....

it sounds as if I'll be OK...... (?)

I have read many threads here.... I seem to recall that some 21' owners measured around 500 lb actual hitch weight.... some a wee bit less.....



will search again for threads....
You can download an Excel spreadsheet of "Trailer Weights in the Real World" at my website. This was started by Frederick Simson at the Fiberglass Trailer Forum when he took a set of scales to rallies. He has retired, no longer has access to the scales, and gave me permission to make it available (and to add individual supplied weights). There are a few Escape 21's on the spreadsheet. Steve LaBroad provided an addition that lets you filter by different factors, then find averages, etc.
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:23 AM   #19
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We have been on the road about a month. We have filled three propane tanks in that time, always after I noticed that the regulator had switched to the other tank. I appreciate that the propane switches to the other tank rather than leaving us to get cold during the night. so I would be reluctant to have a single propane tank. YMMV.
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:33 AM   #20
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random thoughts:

- its not like the car explodes with a hitch weight of 501lb

- U shaped dinette would allow convenient inside tail storage

- I have a hard time getting my tongue weight to 500 (all twice that I have measured). No front box, usually bike on back and full fresh h2o

- my truck bed usually has the heavy stuff, so the relatively cramped underbed area is light weight stuff


ymmv
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