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Old 02-24-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
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Tongue Weight - How To Measure

I'm sure this has been asked before but I can't find it. How does one measure tongue weight? I don't think our bathroom scale could handle it <g>. I tried our local Dept. Of Highways truck scale and they wouldn't do it. Outside of purchasing a very expensive scale, I'd like to hear from anyone who has some experience with this. We have a 2009 Toyota Tacoma crew cab with towing package and rear-end air bags and an Escape 19. We are not using a WDH.

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Old 02-24-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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Re: Tongue Weight - How To Measure

I don't know if you have seen but you offset the weight with a piece of wood for the bathroom scale method.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:23 PM   #3
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Re: Tongue Weight - How To Measure

Here is how you do it with a bathroom scale: E Trailer.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:28 PM   #4
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Re: Tongue Weight - How To Measure

I run across the scales when they're closed. The digital wieght reading displays operate 24 hours. Truckers will sometimes go over the scales to check weights at the start of a trip so the they don't get burned 500 km into the trip.

I would run over the scale trailerless. Then "go around the block", hook up the trailer, (without moving, or adding/removing anything from the truck) and going over the scale a second time. Record all you axle group weights and do the math latter. What you don't want to do is stop and unhook the trailer on the scale. Blocking access to the scale is not so good. Think about the stealth method.

Anymore scale questions, email me.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:23 PM   #5
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Tongue Weight - Tandem Axles

Something I learned is relevant to those with tandem axles. When weighing the tongue you need to be sure the trailer is level. When you have a torsion axle you can get an incorrect reading by having the tongue too high or too low. I am not sure it this applies to single axle trailers?
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
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Re: Tongue Weight - How To Measure

I would like to know more about how to measure the tongue weight utilizing the commercial truck scale. Please provide the "math" to get this done.

Doug
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:00 PM   #7
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Re: Tongue Weight - How To Measure

You said you are not using WD right ?
When you go to the CAT scale, weigh your truck and trailer together. The CAT scale has three platforms. Steer axle, drive axle, and trailer.
Pull off the the scale, and drop your trailer in the parking lot. Go back on the scale and weigh the truck by itself.
You will pay about $9 for the first weigh, and another $1 for the second weigh ( if done within 24 hours ).
Let's say your drive axle weighs 3500 pounds with the trailer hooked up. And then it weighs 3000 pounds after you dropped the trailer off. Hitch weight is 500 pounds.

You will also see how much weight is coming off your steer axles when you are hitched up ( which may convince you to buy a WD hitch ). And you will see how much weight is on your trailer axle(s). If you have, lets say 3000 pounds on the trailer axle, and 500 pounds of tongue weight, you know your gross weight of the trailer is 3500.

Then if you have a WD hitch, you also need a weigh with the trailer hooked up without the bars in play, and another weigh with the bars in load carrying position. From all of this, you can set everything up correctly and know where you are regarding whether you are within the limits of axles, tires, and hitch components.

EDIT: In my opinion, a Tacoma pulling that trailer would benefit from a WD hitch.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:30 AM   #8
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Go here:

Sherline Trailer Tongue Weight Scales

Where to buy, how to do it, why to do it.
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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Anyone coming to the June rally own a Sherline TW Scale? I'd like to borrow it and weigh my 15B. I think we're packing light, but I'd like to have the facts. Thanks.
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:38 PM   #10
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I will have mine with me.

baglo
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:52 PM   #11
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Excellent! I'll look for you. Jim
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:32 PM   #12
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If you have the interest, you might get both weights. We had a Sherline and also had a truck scale tongue weight and they differed somewhat.

As FudgeBrownie says, the idea is to be level. You may not be exactly level or in exactly the same place when using a Sherline as when hooked up. Hopefully the weights will be close.
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:29 PM   #13
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I don't see how one could use the Sherline while hooked up.

I have the trailer level (but it's on a sloping driveway). I place the scale on a jack and lift it at the ball receiver until it is supported by the scale. Reads 320 #. I will do it again when I'm loaded for the next trip, and it will be on the street ( which is level ). I don't expect much difference if I've loaded the trailer properly.
If you are going to get a Sherline, get one with a gauge that reads to 1,000# or less, rather than 2,000#, which is less accurate and harder to read at the low end of the scale.
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I don't see how one could use the Sherline while hooked up.

I have the trailer level (but it's on a sloping driveway). I place the scale on a jack and lift it at the ball receiver until it is supported by the scale. Reads 320 #. I will do it again when I'm loaded for the next trip, and it will be on the street ( which is level ). I don't expect much difference if I've loaded the trailer properly.
If you are going to get a Sherline, get one with a gauge that reads to 1,000# or less, rather than 2,000#, which is less accurate and harder to read at the low end of the scale.
I've read that the torsion bar suspension on the 19' influences weight measurements on non-level surfaces. On a driveway sloping downward toward the street, raising the tongue to level the trailer twists the torsion unit upwards and I believe that applies additional downward force on the tongue making it read heavier than it is. Weighing it again on a level surface will tell if this is true or not.
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:40 PM   #15
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A Sherline is used when not hooked up which is why I was referring to trying to be level in both instances.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
I've read that the torsion bar suspension on the 19' influences weight measurements on non-level surfaces.
Got ya. I am weighing a 17 with single axle, so it's not an issue for me.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:10 AM   #17
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I raise my front and place the Sherline under the ball couple on a cinder block and slowly lower the front onto the jack to get my reading. I do this several times as the Sherline, once pressure has been placed, will give you a reading, even after more pressure is exerted. Thus once I receive 2 more similar numbers I record. I also keep the trailer fairly level once it is on the scale for accuracy also.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:34 AM   #18
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No, you don't weigh the tongue when the trailer is level using the Sherline or any other method. You weigh the tongue at the measurement of when it's being towed. Hook up the trailer to the tug, park in a level spot. Get a tape measure and measure from the ground to the top of the ball on the coupler. Unhook, use the Sherline (etc.) when the coupler is at the exact measurement. NOW you have an accurate tongue weight when towing.

Remember, the fulcrum takes affect. If you tow tongue down (or up) you will have a different tongue weight than if level. And I believe if you're going through all the effort to get a weight, you want it to be accurate.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:59 PM   #19
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Donna, fudge brownie's information on having the trailer level for the tongue weight came from Reace (and so did mine, and from elsewhere).

I am sure you agree that the hitch set-up should be as level as possible. Reace has shown people that if they move the tongue up an inch or down an inch, they will get a very different tongue weight. The idea is to be level.

Using your directions, a person with an unlevel hitch would measure it and then use the unlevel measurement to get a second bad tongue weight. You would be putting your stamp of approval on an unlevel hitch. You are assuming that the hitch is level when it may not be. You have been doing this too long and you know too much.

If someone has a Sherline or can borrow one, it is a good opportunity to compare a Sherline scale weighing with the trailer level on level ground to the tongue weight obtained at truck scales. If the two weighings differ greatly, it likely indicates that something is up, or down, literally.
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:52 PM   #20
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In my case the ground is not level, but the trailer is ( as per the gauge on the side of the trailer ). So, I place the Sherline on my jack and lift it until I have a reading. Basically, I'm taking the weight off the blocks that the tongue rests on and placing that weight on the scale. I may raise the tongue 1/4 inch, doing that.
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