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Can you offer a solution to my question/problem? I want to extend the the length of the tongue on my trailer, for two reasons:

  1. Allow far more clearance for turning when backing the trailer, and allow backing to be to less sensitive to turning inputs in general.

  2. But primarily to reduce the existing tongue weight of the trailer, which is excessive.

Given that I know (physically measured with gauge) the current tongue weight of my trailer, is there a way I can calculate the percentage (%) reduction of the tongue weight per 12" (1 ft.) increase in the length of the tongue?

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't follow the question, making the trailer tongue longer is going to make turning easier? Also, you are going to add material to your trailer to increase its length but expect the total weight to decrease? $\endgroup$
    – J. Ari
    Jun 26, 2017 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Ari try and hold a broom upright balanced on the palm of your hand, then try with something shorter of similar weight. Also the wheels will be holding most of the weight and the weight on the tongue depends on the lever action. $\endgroup$ Jun 27, 2017 at 7:37

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the calculation is actually very simple, if you multiply the tongue weight by the length of the trailer from wheel center to tongue (assuming single axle), that quantity is constant.

so say you want a 25% reduction,

       (1-.25) * tongue weight * new length = 
           tongue weight * current length

or new len = 1.33* old len

note you do not want the tongue weight less than about 5% of the total weight as it may become unstable on the highway. (ok for a trailer you never haul fast though)

btw for those who aren't familiar, it is much easier to back a longer trailer.

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The best way to control the tongue weight is to have the axle(s) central under the load bed. Then making sure you have the 5% or whatever the amount can be achieved by controlling the load or moving the axle back past the centreline during construction.

Then a long tongue (drawbar) helps reversing if the turning circle of the towing vehicle is smaller than the turning circle of the trailer.

Very short trailers (trailer axle to hitch shorter than wheelbase of towing vehicle) are difficult to reverse : long ones are easy (trailer axle to towing hitch longer than wheelbase of towing vehicle) - of course this does depend on the skill of the driver :)

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