Right amount of trailer weight on the hitch
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  1. #1
    Junior Member respond2us's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    Good morning, all! Just got my trailer set up to pull behind my '06 Jetta TDI. I put both TW's on the trailer and took it for a spin yesterday to see how it pulled. The power was no problem...the car pulls it just fine. However, I noticed that the trailer seemed to be pushing the car forward and pulling it back slightly... pushing, then pulling...pushing, then pulling. Not a lot, just slight pulls and pushes.

    I wanted to see how much weight I had on the tongue, so I stopped and checked to see if I could lift the trailer off the hitch with the bikes on it. I could very easily. I estimate there's only about 25 lbs on the tongue. Is that too little weight? I'm not sure how much I should have for a good highway speed. I took it up to 60 yesterday and the push/pull didn't seem to stop at any speed.

    I figure there has to be a rule of thumb on this stuff, but have never heard it.

    Thanks for any help!
    Wife and I live near Tulsa, Ok. and we both have TW200's. They sure are fun!

  2. #2
    Member Shellmoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Lake Wylie, SC
    Trailer tongue weight should be 10% to 15% of the weight of the trailer.

    Here's a handy article


  3. #3
    Junior Member respond2us's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Thanks! Yep, I just found this article. I need to weigh my trailer to find out proper tongue weight.
    Wife and I live near Tulsa, Ok. and we both have TW200's. They sure are fun!

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  5. #4
    Member Lonesome Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Black Hills, South Dakota
    Generally speaking, if you have a small trailer that a car can pull, assuming its factory built, the trailer will be designed to put the correct percentage of weight on the tongue when its empty. If your just hauling 2 motorcycles, put them all the way to the front of the trailer. If your hauling two ATVs that weigh more, then you might have to move them back a little. I say this only because your pulling with a car. If your tow vehicle was a pickup, pulling the same size loads, it wouldn't really matter. You want your car trailer combo to be level if possible. Too much tongue weight will always be safer than too little. Again with lighter loads. Your situation yesterday could have ended much different (in the ditch) if you were pulling more weight. Basically, your trailer didn't know where to go, or how to track, because there wasn't enough tongue weight. It was trying to go different directions, but the car kept pulling it back to center. As already stated, with more weight on the trailer, the car might not be heavy enough to pull it back straight when it tried to wander. One more thing! You don't really need to the weigh the trailer if its "factory made." Most of the trailers made with the small tires only weigh 700 up to 1000. Doing the math, that's only 100 to 150 pounds of tongue weight. Therefore, if you had 200 lbs of weight, it doesn't matter. If you had 500 lbs of tongue weight it still doesn't really matter, but the tongue of the trailer is not designed to carry that much weight on it and your ride in the car would be much more harsh with bumps. Or it can also give you the feeling of a boat ride. There, I think I kicked this dead horse long enough! LD

  6. #5
    Senior Member rm_hm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Near Narrows Bridges, WA State
    It you hear a clunk on accel & decel it might be slop in the hitch

    With the trailer attached to the car and the car in park, walk behind the trailer and push/pull it. that will show you how much freeplay is in your hitch setup.

    I've got a gadget similar to this on my hitch


    You can also get hitches with internal cushions

    If your hitch and ball are all one piece, just ignore my rambling.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Leisure Time Larry's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Wet-ern Washington
    Typically, the 60/40 estimation will get you by for a ball mount towed trailer. 60% of the total weight (trailer + load) should be forward of the axle, 40% behind it.
    - Leisure Time Larry -
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