Tow Ball weights

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 21, 2002 at 01:00
ThreadID: 773 Views:1786 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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Can anybody give me, in simple terms, the best way to go about calculating the tow ball weight of my camper trailer. I can recall reading somewhere that it was able to be ascertained by driving your vehicle and trailer onto a weigh bridge and weighing the vehicle only then the vehicle and trailer and using that info to do the calculations. But i'm not really sure. How does everybody else go about working it out or am I being unnecessarily concerned.
Regards mark wilson
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Reply By: Mal Try - Thursday, Feb 21, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Feb 21, 2002 at 01:00
Mark, Depending on what the weight is you can use a set of bathroom scales. If it exceeds the capacity of bathroom scales courier depots have larger capacity scales. The method: Place your trailer on a flat surface and level it front to rear with the jockey wheel. Chock the wheels. Place the scales centrally under the towing hitch. Cut a piece of timber (say 75x50mm pine) to fit neatly between the tow hitch and the scales. While someone holds the timber in place, slowly wind up the jockey wheel until it is no longer bearing any weight. The reading on the scales is the weight the tow ball carries.
But yes, you are probably being unnecessarily concerned unless you are packing everything in the front of it or your wheels are in the wrong place. let me know ow you go. Mal.
AnswerID: 2163

Follow Up By: Mark Wilson - Thursday, Feb 21, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Feb 21, 2002 at 01:00
Thanks Mal
I'll give this a try and let you know how I go. I can remember rewading that the tow ball weight should be about 10 to 15 per cent of the weight of the trailer. Thanks for the speedy response. When you think about it its common sense really isn't it?

Regards Mark Wilson
FollowupID: 762

Follow Up By: Mark Wilson - Friday, Feb 22, 2002 at 01:00

Friday, Feb 22, 2002 at 01:00
Your suggestion worked a treat. The process was simple as I requested, and accurate. The only additional thing I had to do was to cut a piece of 12 mm chipboard to act as a plate for the top of the bathroom scales as the original 70 x 50 mm prop seemed to push into the scales and jam them after about 60kg was measured. All up it took about 5 mins to do and for those that would like to know the tow ball weight was 102 kg. A check with the compliance plate on the tow bar of the Discovery shows a maximum of 120kg allowable so thats one less worry that I now have. Thanks again Mal, what a terrific forum for getting first rate practical accurate advice.
Thanks Mark Wilson
FollowupID: 764

Reply By: Steve - Thursday, Feb 21, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Feb 21, 2002 at 01:00
The generally accepted weight on the tow bar has been about 50 lbs to 75 lbs, sorry about the old specs, this is the weight that is measured on a scale at the hitch and at the coupling height, by a bathroom scales or a butchers scale, same as you hang the meat on ! Its not high tech, but clearly does not put a huge load on the bar in a standing position. The drama unfolds under way as the weight is transfered forward and backwards under acceleration and braking on to the towing vehicle, and this is something that you will have to work out yourself with adjustments on weight distribution in the trailer to suit your driving/ handling preference ! Loading the towbar above this will transfer weight to tow vehicle and stress the rere suspension components and cause unnecessary wear..

Hope this helps you somewhat !
AnswerID: 2168

Follow Up By: Greg Harewood - Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at 01:00

Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at 01:00
FYI - 50 lbs = 18.66kg , 75 lbs = 27.99kg
FollowupID: 770

Follow Up By: Greg Harewood - Friday, Mar 01, 2002 at 01:00

Friday, Mar 01, 2002 at 01:00
Steve’s direct response to me regarding my post: You are such a genius! Imagine i had no idea what a kilo weighed in lbs!
My response to Steve: My pleasure Steve - those who live in the past need all the help they can get.....

Sorry Steve - you have misunderstood my post - I, personally, have no idea what a pound is in kilos so I did the conversion - I provided the information to make it easier for people to comprehend your informative post without having to do the conversion themselves - sorry if I offended you. Cheers Again Greg Harewood
FollowupID: 807

Reply By: Nigel - Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at 01:00

Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at 01:00
In case anyone is wondering, the weighbrdige method goes like this: Drive your vehicle off the weighbridge leaving your trailer on it while still attached to your vehicle and take a reading. Then disconnect the trailer from the vehicle and make sure the jockey whell is on the weighbridge and take a second reading. The ball weight is the second reading minus the first reading. Cheers
AnswerID: 2175

Reply By: Keith - Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at 01:00

Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at 01:00
Just another tip to add to Nigel's comment: while at the weighbridge with the trailer loaded ready for a trip, weigh the trailer's left hand wheel (with the RH wheel off the bridge), then the same with the RH wheel. This will tell you whether your load is balanced. It's probably not too important for a trailer, but for my 2.2 tonne 6m tandem caravan, I found a considerable difference. I then adjusted the load to achieve a reasonable balance left to right. Also, check the total weight of loaded trailer when attached to the vehicle to make sure it doesn't exceed the manufacturers GTM which is usually specified on the build plate.
AnswerID: 2181

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