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Trailer builder question about tonge weight?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Shady Brook, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    Is there any regulations regarding tongue weight from a legal point of view when building a trailer?

    I ask because I purchased a trailer that I was told could haul a full size bobcat ahead of the axles and still not give excessive tongue weight due to the axles being spaced apart in the rear with a dump bed over the axles. I knew it would be heavy, but was assured that they have had no problems with them.

    Well I cracked the frame nearly in half only hauling a small utility tractor. The operations manager said it was not built properly and needed added reinforcements. The tongue weight was checked by the manufacturer and showed 875 lb's with the trailer empty and no reinforcements added. I assume the added steel would get it near 900 lb's. This trailer is designed as a lawncare landscaping trailer for 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks. It does not seem reasonable to ask a 1 ton or smaller truck to haul this trailer, let alone haul one with a Bobcat a head of the axles.

    I want to know if I have legal grounds to say this trailer is built improperly and should not be on the road due to the nature of it's construction.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    The max tounge weight is 10-15% of the trailers gvw. With the axles spread apart makes it horrible for turning you should have gone with a triaxle trailer.

    I don't know how big your bobcat is its gotta be a small one if you want it forward of the trailer axles. If the machine weighs 6000lbs its gotta be over the trailer axles.

    The trailer hitches on the truck is only held on with 4 bolts. Look at the hitch capacity it should say maximum tounge weight.
  3. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    Yeah, the trailer ate the two rear tires in 6 weeks. The tongue is like 22% of the trailers weight. I have a heavy duty hitch on my Dump truck, but it still puts to much weight on my rear axle, and robs me of payload. What about the other guys he sells the trailer to who are using a standard 6,000 lb, 600 lb tongu hitch to haul a piece of heavy equipment? What happens when the hitch is torn off the truck, and someones family is killed. Seems like there must be some legal ground to get out of this deal.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    A 6k / 600 trailer is properly built, it's always been my experience that 10% of GVWR is tongue weight, but you're saying 20%?

    Now keep in mind it is not the trailer mfg's or the seller's responsibility that you have the proper vehicle OR hitch to tow it with.
    Agreed, they shouldn't sell a 5,000 pound tanker to someone who intends to pull it with a VW golf, but it's not their responsibility.
    No, if you buy the trailer and you kill a child, that is your problem, I can't sue bmw because their car goes too fast... :laugh:
    And if the truck looks capable, how would they know?

    So, I assume you're using at least a Class-IV hitch, here are the specs:

    Class IV: Pulls up to 10,000 lbs. GVWR and even more if rated such. TW is 1,000 and up.
    Class V: Indicates a heavy-duty frame-mounted hitch designed for towing over 10,00 lbs.
    Not sure where goosenecks fit in...

    But a Class-III may not be enough (UP to 5k / 500), and if the hitch isn't heavy duty enough, it tears up the frame.

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