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Old 01-23-2011, 09:47 AM   #1
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hitch/tongue weight question

Hi --

I am configuring a Hitch Hauler platform with some storage boxes, and will also be carrying my two bicycles;I've got a piggy-backed bike+hitch-haul setup. shown here:



My trailer hitch says that the max tongue weight is 500 lbs (Hitch brand is "Ford" so who knows who made it.)

I'm not quite sure how to interpret the max load information: whether it applies only to towing situations, or whether this is also the safe upper limit for a static load like a cargo rack (seems like the max would be lower then, but it has been too many years since I slept through physics class to attempt drawing vector diagrams...).

Having not weighed anything yet, I'm guesstimating -- generously: hitch haul + bike rack = 100lbs, bikes = 80lbs, and stuff = 120 lbs, for a total of 300 lbs on the hitch. Does that seem safe?

Thanks,

GreyDawg
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:51 AM   #2
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Re: hitch/tongue weight question

I use the 500# as maximum static weight on the hitch. 300# is very safe.

Mike
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:54 AM   #3
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Re: hitch/tongue weight question

Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: hitch/tongue weight question

I should add:

If you have an extended van, be careful with quick manuvers. You will have extra weight way out at the end of the van - way past the rear wheels - and it can act as a pendulum and make the rear want to keep moving.

In other words, drive it like a truck, not like a car.

Mike
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: hitch/tongue weight question

I cut the weight limit in half or a third. Remember the load is not on a ball hitch close to the back of the van, but the center of the load is sticking out 1' to 1.5' from the back of the van.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:50 PM   #6
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Re: hitch/tongue weight question

Good point about the torque. My estimate of 300 lbs is generous; I suspect that reality will be closer to 200 lbs, and I have incentive to keep it below 250 lbs.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:55 PM   #7
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Re: hitch/tongue weight question

You can safely put 500# of stuff on your hitch haul as long as it's secured well.

The only precaution I would advise is keeping as much weight toward the front of the platform (van front), rather than the back. The further back it is, the more gravity torques the hitch. The hitch can safely do 1000# with a weight distributing hitch, which essentially changes the torque.
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