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Old 01 October 2003, 12:16   #1
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Trailer nose weight

Can anyone tell me if there is a definitive answer to the question of correct nose weight for a rib trailer. My trailer seems very well balanced and light to pick up at the front, and has a nose weight of 20kgs. I've heard it's supposed to be nearer 50-75kgs! My 4 metre Searider and engine weigh 220kgs. The trailer is an Indespension Coaster Swing 1. Should I adjust the axle position to increase the load on the nose as I do feel the trailer bounces around a bit? Will this cure the bouncing?
Thanks for your help.
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Old 01 October 2003, 13:08   #2
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Phil,

I'm not sure what you mean by bouncing. If you mean literally bouncing up off the road then I would check the tyre pressure as it may be too high for the weight you're carrying. My trailer does that when its empty.

If however you mean its sways from side to side, than that would seem to indicate too little weight on the tow ball. The 'tongue' weight, I think they call it - (The weight taken on your cars tow ball), should be 10% - 15% of the GROSS weight, (Boat plus trailer). You have about 10% of just the boat weight - how much does the trailer weigh? Moving the axel further back will add weight there but it probably won't take much. An inch or so at a time and see!

If it is 'swaying' that is the problem, the other thing that can cause it is the car you are using. Ideally the tow ball point should be above the rear axel of your car, so the more your car body work sticks out at the back, the less suitable your car is for towing. Thatís why 4 x 4 cars are good for towing in this respect. Their rear axel is back close to the rear of the car.

Anyway, if you do choose to move your trailer axel, it's not difficult. Just a few spanners, but you may want to take the boat off first. My boat ways just over the ton.... I suspect you could almost lift yours off!


I donít think you will need as much as 50 -75 kilos tongue weight for your boat though, just the 10% - 15%. Also check the maximum tongue weight allowed for your car. Maximum on my Jeep is 120 Kilos, (Even though it can TOW 2.3 Tonnes!) Since my boat and trailer weigh 1.4Tonnes, I couldnít quite allow 10% even. I moved my axel forward about 4Ē to decrease excessive weight in my set-up! Still tows OK though!

Hope that helps

Mike C
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Old 01 October 2003, 15:58   #3
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I had this problem and I wanted to know this answer earlier this year with reguards a Trailer Tent I purchased.

If you look in your car handbook under the spec's, it should give you a good indication what nose weight your car can handle (mine was 55kg-110kg's).

I just experimented within this range to find out what the best balance was.

It worked for me!

Andy G
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Old 01 October 2003, 17:23   #4
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Good point about the tyre pressures, Mike - hadn't considered that. I just set them at what the Indespension manual says i.e about 33psi, but of course this trailer can take a much heavier boat than mine so it's probably worth reducing them a bit. The trailer doesn't actually jump off the road, it's just a bit lively! This is my first boat, however, so maybe some movement is the norm(?)and I'm perhaps over-reacting. I must say it doesn't sway at all and I tow it with the new Range Rover which doesn't even break sweat with a 4m rib on the tail!
My immediate observation is that trailering a boat around with a heavy outboard hanging off the tail is far from ideal, particularly given the state of a lot of our roads. Even when I ratchet the engine down against a block of wood the strap still manages to come loose allowing the engine to bounce against the wood. Anyway, thanks for your helpful comments, chaps.
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Old 01 October 2003, 17:34   #5
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Plenty of nose weight helps stops the trailer developing a good old wag at speed - and if you ever get a really good one of those going you'll find that three lanes of a motorway are just a little on the restrictive side of aequate! Also plenty of nose weight means you are relying less on the claw of the hitch to keep it in place on the ball. If its light at the front balance it off with kit and fuel tanks forward for travelling distances at speed. We used to tow one of our caravans with a full 5gallon container of water right up the front to keep it stable-fine with it bloody lethal without it!
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Old 01 January 2005, 13:17   #6
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I've responded to this thread rather than create a new one, since it's pretty much on the same subject despite being old.....

In a week or so, I have a nice journey to Hull from Milford with the boat behind - this should be ok, but I need to sort a few things out first.

When I towed the boat from Hull, it was brand new, and the fuel tank which sits built into the console was empty, also, there was no aux engine fitted to the stern end. Towing like this seemed ok because we had quite a heavy 3.5 ton flatbed commercial truck that we were towing with which would probably have reduced any hint of sway.

Towing the other way is a slightly different matter because this time, I'll be using my van instead which weighs less, plus there is fuel in the tank and an aux engine hanging over the back.
At the moment, I have around 80 litres of fuel in the tank (roughly 80kg of weight just ahead of the axle) which is nearly full - the aux engine probably weighs less than half that, but is hanging over the stern of the boat possibly helping the balance.
When the boat was new, lifting the front of the trailer was easy.... it wasn't light, but it wasn't heavy (not sure how to explain that one)..... now everything's on it, lifting the front by hand is quite heavy, so I am guessing I am around the 60+kg mark which is about right assuming the info above in this thread.

The question here, is who travels with their ribs full of fuel? - is it ok to travel long distance with a full rib of fuel?
If I syphon out the tank, I am only allowed to store a few litres in the garage, which means finding alternative places to store small amounts of fuel..... also, by emptying out the tank, I may need to remove the aux engine to increase the weight on the nose of the trailer again - far from fun!!

I know the trailer is good for all this weight (well it's plated for it) but what's the general consensus? - any useful ideas would be more than welcome please

Thanks,

-Alex
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Old 01 January 2005, 13:27   #7
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Alex, what are the numbers involved here... what's the dry weight or gross weight of the rig? What's the fuel capacity? And what's your van rated at for towing?
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Old 01 January 2005, 13:34   #8
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Richard, Dry weight of the rib is approx 380kg, plus console, battery, engines etc... I'd probably guess around 650 to 700kg all in without fuel which can max out at 90litres which is around 100kg I suppose. The trailer is rated to carry 950kg, gross of 1100 on the plate (150kg for a trailer?!) and the van is plated for 1300kg trailing braked and has kerb weight of 1500kg when there's nothing in it (I have about 200kg of equipment always in the back).
You have me intruiged now, so I will put it on the weighbridge at work asap to find out the exact figures.... (probably in a week or so).

Thanks,

-Alex
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Old 01 January 2005, 14:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Davies
This is my first boat, however, so maybe some movement is the norm(?)and I'm perhaps over-reacting. I must say it doesn't sway at all and I tow it with the new Range Rover which doesn't even break sweat with a 4m rib on the tail!
Phil, have you got an adjustable tow hitch on the rangie, like one of those ones that can be moved up and down, think I ve seen one on a disco? If your tow hitch is currently set too high, being a baby rib the nose will be up in the air! A mate of mine once towed mine with his UN style Nissan patrol and the bow on mine was skywards and bounced around a fair bit.
(The height of the tow hitch may have absolutely nothing to do with it though!)

Alex
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Old 01 January 2005, 14:51   #10
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Alex, from those figures, 90litres of fuel (which should weigh less than 90kg) is fairly marginal against the total weight of the boat (less than 10%). Given that siphoning and storage is awkward and dangerous for that quantity, my choice would be to leave the petrol in the tank.
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