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Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows The ins and outs of setting up a show trailer and getting it to and from the engine show. Please be fully aware of our web site Terms of Use Disclaimer as you read. Safety first!

Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows

balancing a trailer


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  #1  
Old 04-06-2002, 08:41:14 PM
David Greenwalt
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Default balancing a trailer

Howdy, I am building a 5 foot x 14 foot flatbed trailer with double axles. I would like to hear your guys advice on the best way to balance it out. The engines I am putting on it will be permanently mounted. They are a 6hp F/M Z, 2hp F/M Z, 2hp F/M Z dishpan, 1-1/2hp JD E, 2hp Stover, 1-3/4hp Associated Choreboy, and two 92 Maytags. All advice will be appreciated and considered before I mount the engines. Thanks, David.
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2002, 09:11:09 PM
Bill Garman
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

I would want at least 100 lbs. tongue weight. If a 2 axle trailer is ballanced with no tongue weight, it could wander bach and fourth; sometimes violently. I learned this the hard way, the load that I had ballanced evenly on the 2 axles started swaying as I went down a hill; lucky for me that I had 2 lanes to straiten it out as it tried to put me in the ditch. Also lucky for me that I had only gotten up to around 35 M.P.H.
  #3  
Old 04-06-2002, 09:50:11 PM
Dave Showerman
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

I once hear that a simple bathroom scales can be used to find out how much "tongue weight" is being applied. Good luck, Dave in Holt.
  #4  
Old 04-06-2002, 10:16:18 PM
Joe Morris
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

Dave has the right idea. I balanced a tandem trailer for a 10 H.P. IHC M. that way, I loaded the engine on the trailer put a pair of bathroom scales under the jack then , With a comealong I slide the engine back until I got about 150 lbs at the front, trailer always pulled easy with no swaying.
  #5  
Old 04-06-2002, 10:55:17 PM
zig
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

What about a single axle ? Do you do it the same way ? Thanks, Zig
  #6  
Old 04-06-2002, 11:37:01 PM
Al Hettich
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

I have built and towed many trailers with many different loads. A good rule to use is at least 10% of the total trailer/load weight must be on the tongue. If the load is tall you may need 15% to allow for washboard situations. Towing on concrete highways can cause a "porpoising" action which is very dangerous, and can only be avoided with tongue weight. Do not overload the tow vehicle, or the hitch rating, but the more tongue weight the better it will tow. Al
  #7  
Old 04-06-2002, 11:55:50 PM
Glenn Karch
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

I like 2 or 300 pounds tongue weight. It makes things quite stable. You will soon learn by experience by how much your towing vehicle squats when the tongue weight is OK
  #8  
Old 04-07-2002, 12:01:27 AM
Justin
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

I found that to be true about the more tongue wait. I bought an old 6x14 trailer from a freind's father, who used it logging. I fixed it up and built a new deck. This trailer is tandem axle and the axles look like thay are farther back than they should be. But my 3/4 ton chevy handles the wait good, and follows, and takes corners with the truck great. It also backs up good, very so turnig when backing. But I heard that is true about trailer with axles farther away from the hitch.
  #9  
Old 04-07-2002, 12:28:32 AM
Tom Marshall Jr.
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

Hi Dave: With 2 axels you are in the 7000 to 10,000 Lbs. range. When you are done you need 600 Lbs tongue weight on your tow unit without a load hitch. Some states may require a load hitch for your trayler .You will half to adjust your engines to get this ,No tongue weight and the dog will wag his tail all the way to the show making you a very nervous driver. Find a friend with a old grain scale and go from there Good luck Tom
  #10  
Old 04-07-2002, 07:03:46 AM
David Greenwalt
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

Thanks guys, this is the info I was looking for. I have hauled a lot of scrap metal, and I knew about the tongue weight. But that was with a single axle trailer and a small truck. This is the first double axle, and first trailer over 8 foot long, I have owned. I was told by a couple of local people that with a double axles I would never have to worry about fishtailing, and that didn't sound right to me. So I thought I'd better head over here to smokstak where the experience is. I think I'll put my big engine over the axles, and balance out the trailer with my smaller ones. I put a 5000 lb hitch on my F-150, and I am roughly estimating the total engine weight around 2500 lbs., so with 250-300 lb tongue weight I should be okay. I didn't realize how much cast iron engines will add on weight as they get older, will be nice to just hook up and go . Thanks
  #11  
Old 04-07-2002, 09:24:43 AM
Pete
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

Just make sure you don't exceed your designed tongue weight. On most stock pickup bumpers,,,,where the ball is mounted on the bumper, the tongue weight is very low. Your owners manual will tell you what the tongue wt. is. We've all seen trucks going down the road with the bumpers bent down badly. Basically, if your tongue wt. is 200lbs, and your riding around with 400lbs on it, you're asking for trouble. And never ever exceed the maximum gross vehicle wt. your truck is designed to pull. If you're ever involved in a serious accident,,,you leave yourself wide open for a major lawsuit. I am going to pick up a Reid engine in a few weeks and I'm going with my friends Ford F-250 because if I try to pull it with my Dodge Dakota, I'm exceeding the max gvw by about 1000lbs. Most of all,,,,,the best advice I can give you, is, every so often, when you're hauling your prized engines to a show, pull over off the road where its safe, and check your load. You'd be amazed at what you'll find sometimes. Like, that chain that loosened up, or your electric brake connection came loose, or maybe one engine slid into another. I've had stuff like this happen to me and it only takes a minute to check things and be safe. Good luck with your towing adventures. It is alot of fun and boy, those engines do look pretty going down the highway!! It sure draws some attention!!!
  #12  
Old 04-07-2002, 09:54:54 AM
David Greenwalt
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

Hi Pete, I know what you mean. That's why I had a Class III 5000 lb hitch put on my truck. I don't trust bumpers either. I even paid the guy that sells them the extra 20 dollars to put it on, to make sure it was right. He even showed me something I didn't think about, when he bolted to the frame he used thick metal bars instead of washers to spread the stress along the frame. If I had bought a used one and put it on, I would more than likely just have run the bolts through the holes with regular washers, and they could have pulled through. I am going to take these engines off the carts, make some nice skids, and bolt them through the floor. So I won't have to worry about them coming loose. If I do this right, should have a nice looking display that's ready to go at a moments notice. Even though I try to plan my shows, sometimes a friend will call and say there's a show tomorrow, and then I have to scramble to get everything loaded and tied down. Later.
  #13  
Old 04-07-2002, 11:42:53 AM
Al Hettich
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

Hi David. Sounds like you are on the right track. The 10% rule is real close. If that is too much for your tow vehicle, your simply trying to haul too much, get a bigger truck. Also some swaying can be caused by tires that are too light for the load. DO NOT tow a trailer with too little tongue weight! It will kill you and your passengers and other drivers around you. Then we will all get your engines, or what is left of them. And we probably can't take any better care of them than you. Al
  #14  
Old 04-07-2002, 04:21:35 PM
Randy Hart
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Default Re: balancing a trailer / Sway bars !

Guys, I have towed my 2,750 lb Bulldog all over and once while in a hurry I left Portland ( in the rain ) and all but lost it on an on ramp.. I started to speed up to get with the trafic and the rear wheels broke loose and the load started to pass me ! I pulled over under a bridge and installed the sway bars ! I have seen the reese hitch head and bars at auctions many times and sold for very little.. if you consider the loss of life or equipment it's a good investment ! Randy Hart Ohio
  #15  
Old 04-07-2002, 06:22:37 PM
Jim Tremble
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Default Re: balancing a trailer / Sway bars !

Randy

They work VERY WELL !!!!!!! Stops the whip.

Another thought for you guys, if you have weak springs on the tow vehicle and are not exceeding the 150-200 lb. tongue weight and not exceeding the capacity of the hitch, consider an equalizer hitch. Takes some of the load off of the truck and makes everything level. Go to your local RV shop and inquire on this.

20+ years experience on this subject. Ran a RV shop in Montana for 17 years.

Jim
  #16  
Old 04-07-2002, 11:22:26 PM
James Orsborn
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

David go to www.sherline.com/lmbook.htm. They sale a scale to check the tounge weight. But they a lot of useful info on trailing, hitchs,figuring weight, etc. Hope you find all your ans. here. James


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  #17  
Old 04-08-2002, 08:46:25 AM
David Greenwalt
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

Thanks James, I bookmarked that sight and will use it now and for future reference. I would like to thank each of you individually for taking the time to answer me, but that would take up the whole page on smokstak, so a big thanks to all of you. I know these aren't rare and valuable engines, but they mean a lot to me, and I want to do this up right. It says a lot for the caliber of people in this hobby who will answer a question for a Maytag, or a simple one like balancing a trailer, as readily as they would answer a question for a really expensive engine. Thanks again.
  #18  
Old 04-09-2002, 11:56:33 PM
Roger, Northwest, CO
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Default Re: balancing a trailer

James thanks for the site link. I read it all and will be adjusting my engine trailer and hitch. Have a few big hills here in Colorado to go up and down when traveling to shows.
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