Re: Trailer Tongue Weight Question

Lars S. Mulford (
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 08:16:19 -0400

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Wm. Longyard wrote:

> Having said that, you shouldn't
> go for excessive tongue weight though. Again, because you have a
> front wheel drive vehicle, tongue weight (which uses the rear
> wheels of any vehicle as the fulcrum) will tend to lift your
> driving and steering front wheels off the ground. DANGEROUS.

East Coasties & Web Gang:

I can share a story about this. Our P15 "Always" (which is back in our
hands now) is a 1994 and sits on a Garges trailer. I think 1994 was the
first year that IM went with Garges, as for at least part of 1993, I
think a Pacific trailer was used. Anyway, I found the Garges extremely
heavy in tongue weight, well over 100lbs and perhaps close to 150lbs. I
have never been really happy with this trailer because getting tongue
weight reduced has been a real chore. The tongue is quite short and
adjustments we made never did bring the tongue weight down below
100lbs. This brings me to my story:

I was towing "Always" with our tow vehicle, a front wheel drive 1993
Pontiac Bonneville that was equipped to tow and had adjustments to bring
the overall power up to 222hp. Never a problem towing anything with
this car until this "incident" which I attribute to too much tongue
weight. I was cruising down the Rt. 13S bypass around Salisbury, taking
the boat to the Eastern Shore of VA and decided to stop along the way
for something to eat. It was raining lightly on the bypass. When I
exited the bypass on a curved exit ramp (and I was going the posted
speeds on the ramp) I began to feel the front end "scrabbling" (is the
only way I can describe it) for traction. I slowed even more but found
that when applying the brakes (even with anti-lock, which may have been
more a hindrance than help at this point) I had no steering input. I
was getting really nervous and had visions of us going off the exit ramp
and into a ditch. I was able to slow the car and gradually bring it
around the exit ramp but the car fought me the entire way. I stopped at
the Dennys nearby and drove circles in their back parking lot to see if
I could duplicate this and it sure did. This really blew my mind, as
the Bonneville is not a light car and a good chunk of its weight is

After that, I loosened the winch mast and pushed it back a few inches
and that helped, but I don't think I ever got the tongue weight under
100lbs. I will check it again today and see what the tongue weight is.

"Sea" ya!

--Lars S. Mulford, President East Coast Potter Association (ECPA) Come visit us at "Forgive, and live. Life is worth the challenge of living." --LSSM "Love is good; Love hurts; Love sustains; Love remains." --LSSM