Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.
The wife and I retired this year and purchased a 2016 Cherokee V6 4wd Limited edition with the tow package with the intention of purchasing a travel trailer to realize a shared dream of camping along the Pacific Coast and probably beyond. After much research and dealer visits, we set our sights on Gulfstream's Vista Cruiser 19erd. With the options we want, the 19erd has an UVW of 3300 lbs, a GVWR of 4150 lbs, and a hitch weight of 380 lbs. All within the limits of our Cherokee.
However, while doing research and reading your article/post, I read the following: "A WDH is also significantly heavier than a drawbar and needs to be part of your tongue weight calculation." Doh! After reading your recommendations, I am committed to purchase and install everything; I want all the safety and prevention I can get. But when I look at your recommended WDH on trailer.com, I see a shipping weight of over 100 lbs. If I add that to the listed tongue weight of the 19erd, we will be 30 lbs over the Cherokee's 450 lb max. Please tell me that we can work out a WDH with a sway prevention feature and remain within the Cherokee towing limits.
One thought is, since the going in tongue weight of the 19erd is well over 10% of the GVWR, is it possible to load the trailer in a way that the weight of the WDH can be offset so the tongue weight can be maintained below 450 lbs?
Are there any other solutions you can recommend other than buying a different TT? We've looked long and hard to find a TT with a walk around bed, an interior height that doesn't require hunching over (I'm a tall one), and a dinette that can sleep a couple of grandkids in sleeping bags; all within reasonable Cherokee weight limits. The 19erd is uniquely qualified in this regard... or at least we hope it is.
Thanks again for providing such a valuable service to this community.
10-12% (up to 15% depending on where you look/ask) of GVW on the tongue is normal. Showing 380lbs listed tongue on a 3,300 trailer sounds like "they" split the difference and also put a little bit of slop inthe calculation to support wet weight (with water/fluids) rather than just dry weight. A little bit front-to-back or vice versa difference in loading the trailer can dramatically shift the actual tongue weight.
The range of weight on the tongue is both for vehicle capability (not overloading suspension) as well as trailer handling. Too light and too heavy both affect handling, but the sweet spot is going to depend on both the towed vehicle and the towing vehicle. You might find out that in your particular case 300, 350, or 400lbs on the *trailer tongue* is what works best for you.
Also, nature of the beast, WDH is going to alter the weight distribution (hence the name
). Using some made up numbers, a 5,000lb trailer with a 500lb tongue weight, and a 100lb WDH might "shift" 150lbs forward so you have 150lbs on the front axle and 450lbs on the rear axle. In that case, you'd have "less weight" on the tongue, but still be over max towing weight.
WDH doesn't give you any additional GVWR or GCVWR, but it does alter how weight is distributed, mostly so you aren't squatting the rear and lifting the front, but also so you don't overload the rear GAWR.
Note that a Class-III hitch is generally rated for 6,000/600lbs "weight carrying" (normal towing) and 10,000/1,000lbs weight distributing. Class-IV gives you 10,000/1,000lbs weight carrying and 14,000/1400lbs weight distributing. You'll, of course, break something on the Jeep long before you get to the point of breaking the hitch.
Max towing weight and max tongue weight are just simplications of GAWR, GCVWR, GVWR, and hitch capacity. If you max out the trailer to 4,150lbs and add a 100lb WDH, you are still less than 4,500lbs towing and the WDH is going to shift some weight to the front keeping your tongue and rear axle weight under control.
Poor phrasing and clarity on my post. The hitch IS heavier, and it DOES add weight to the tongue. But, it lets you move that weight around.