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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This weekend, I picked up a newly purchased teardrop trailer (no more than 1000lbs) with my FJ. Now, I know that an FJ isn't a "towing vehicle", but it's what I have, and with a trailer this light, I'm not too worried about it.

So on the seller's neighborhood streets and on the concrete highway, things were smooth as anything.

But when I got off onto the city streets by my house, a bumpy, patched lot, Man oh man did this trailer bounce around like mad. It feel like it was going to bounce off the hitch (it didn't, thankfully). The trailer felt stable, in the sense that it didn't feel like it was wheel bounce like many trailers do.

I thought perhaps that it was the height of the ball mount, since the trailer is pretty low to the ground. But it was tongue bouncing with a 4" drop and a 6" drop. The trailer still angles up a bit, even with the 6". (Like I said, the trailer is loooooooowww)

Is it simply having too little tongue weight? Do I need a lower drop? Something else I'm not thinking about?

Thanks!
Jake
 

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Is it simply having too little tongue weight? Do I need a lower drop? Something else I'm not thinking about?

Thanks!
Jake
My guess.
Tongue height depends, is the tongue close to level when hitched to the FJC or at a pretty good angle?

If you can easily pick up the tongue of the trailer (while it is not attached to the FJC), then it probably has too little tongue weight. I like to have the tongue weight between 200-300 lbs. I usually guesstimate this by if i can easily pick it up, too light, if i can't pick it up, too heavy. If i can just barely pick it up, just right :)
This can be achieved rearranging items in the trailer, or using lead weights in the appropriate spot in the trailer.
 

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^^^ Yep, need more tongue weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback, @Layonn!

I didn't think about the weights. I guess that's an easy enough test by putting some weightlifting plates in the front of the trailer.

But yeah, I can relatively easily pick up the tongue (and hell, move the trailer around) when it's not hitched up. That's mainly because the complete weight is less than 1000lbs :)

In case your interested, or if you'd like to see how low we're talking about... here's a few pics :)



 

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That thing is pure awesomeness.

Weightlifting plates work well. Tractor supply stores sell tractor counter weights that you hang off the nose of the tractor to keep it down, they are cheap and work well too.

I think you might just need a really big drop hitch, and maybe a lift for the trailers suspension :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, it's pretty cool. It was custom build by an architect with an eye for detail and used only once. Pretty amazing build. And I'm not done yet :)

I think I'll start with by trading in my 6" drop for a bigger one (which I assume they make... hilarious to imagine). Hopefully that helps level/balance. I was towing it empty when I brought it home, so hopefully when we pack up to head to the campground in a few weeks, it'll ride better from the equipment.

Is there an easy way to test for how much weight is at the tongue? Would a trailer/hitch shop have such equipment?
 

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Yeah, it's pretty cool. It was custom build by an architect with an eye for detail and used only once. Pretty amazing build. And I'm not done yet :)

I think I'll start with by trading in my 6" drop for a bigger one (which I assume they make... hilarious to imagine). Hopefully that helps level/balance. I was towing it empty when I brought it home, so hopefully when we pack up to head to the campground in a few weeks, it'll ride better from the equipment.

Is there an easy way to test for how much weight is at the tongue? Would a trailer/hitch shop have such equipment?
They make very big ones for all the guys running 12" lifts on their domestic pick up trucks and still need to tow, :lol:

Speaking of, i need to get one for my land cruiser now that i have a high clearance rear bumper.

My guess is that a trailer store would have a way of testing tongue weight.
 

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Make sure you have the correct sized ball for the trailer as well.

DEWFPO
 

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That trailer looks great. The builder in me would love to see it in person.

I would prefer to add the weight to the outside of the trailer frame, maybe something that bolts to the frame behind the jack. Fifty pounds close to the hitch will have more effect than fifty pounds placed further back. Will you be carrying a spare for it ?

Plenty of drops available and there are also the adj. drop hitches too.
Amazon.com: Master Lock OTT Receiver Hitch Ball Mount - Class III/ 9.25" Drop/ 8" Rise/--: Automotive

Amazon.com: Reese Towpower 21141 Adjustable Ball Mount: Automotive
 

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Another thing that I always do with the hitch mounts is to shove them all the way into the hitch, mark where the pin will go through and drill a new pin hole. By doing this, the ball will be closer to the vehicle which reduces bounce, reduces rattling of the mount and (in the case of heavier tongue weights) reduces the leverage acting on your hitch and bumper.
 

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With a trailer that light, a bathroom scale should work to weigh the tongue. If it really is ~1000 pounds total trailer weight, tongue weight should be at least 10% of that, or 100 pounds. With my 2000 pound boat in tow, tongue weight at 250 pounds, nothing bounces at all. When I rented a U-Haul trailer, when I towed it empty, it bounced like you describe. Loaded it up with gear toward the front of the trailer and no more bounce. FJs tow relatively well.
 

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Is that a water tank on the tongue? If it is tow it with that full and see how it acts. Only issue with tongue mounted tanks tho is that they are usually full only on the way out and empty when coming home.
 

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I pulled a trailer full of household goods from Illinois to Montana without a problem, as others have said, the weight in the trailer has to be balanced for a smooth ride....Norm
 

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Had A small utility Trailer that would go InSANE When running empty. Got the Tongue to near level an simply mounted a spare to the front And havent had any issues since. You should have the tongue as close to level as possible.
 

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I have two trailers, one is a tandem car trailer and the other is a light weight utility trailer. I know that when I pull the utility trailer empty, it will bounce around quite a bit on a bumpy road. Same goes with my tandem trailer, which has stiff leaf springs rated to haul 7500 lbs (I use my F-150 to haul that trailer, not the FJ). I never attributed the bounce to tongue weight but rather the spring rate of the trailer's axle on an unloaded trailer. Now your teardrop trailer's suspension should be matched to it's weight but I'd say at least check the trailer's tires to make sure they're not over-inflated.

Now what you might be noticing is what I discovered a few years back. My factory hitch receivers on both the F-150 and on the FJ have a little play with two of my hitches. The result of the play in the hitch receiver was the annoying sound of the hitch jiggling around in the receiver. Especially over bumps. So what I did was make a shim out of aluminum coil. The shim basically wrapped all the way around the hitch as far back as the hitch goes in the receiver. I drilled a hole through the shim so the hitch pin would pass through. It was tight getting it in there (WD-40 helps), but the result was MUCH less noise from the hitch moving around in the receiver. The empty trailer still bounces around but that movement is not as obvious and I don't have the noise of the hitch jerking around. More tongue weight would have an affect on a loose hitch by giving it more downward pressure, thus reducing the jiggling hitch. But if your trailer is factory weighted and the springs and tires are well matched to its weight, you might be hearing the noise of the hitch. I'd suggest grabbing the hitch without the trailer on it and give it a good jerk up and down. If there's play in the hitch receiver, you might want to consider shimming it. Worked great for me and I've been putting the same shim in for years now. Really reduced the noise. Obviously, check the ball and make the trailer hitch is tight on the ball (and greased). Level is also important since the trailer will bounce up and down. If the hitch is higher or lower than the trailer, a bounce push or pull on the hitch. Level will pivot up and down transferring less energy into the towing vehicles frame. Much like the "bump-steer" effect.
 

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Speaking of teardrop trailers, check out this neat offroad trailer. It's the Overland Teardrop trailer (Adventure Trailers). The only thing I wonder about with these teardrops is why they don't make access to the kitchen amenities through the living space inside. I can understand not using the stove but access to the shelves and cargo from the inside would be nice.

 

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My factory hitch receivers on both the F-150 and on the FJ have a little play with two of my hitches. The result of the play in the hitch receiver was the annoying sound of the hitch jiggling around in the receiver. Especially over bumps. So what I did was make a shim out of aluminum coil. The shim basically wrapped all the way around the hitch as far back as the hitch goes in the receiver. I drilled a hole through the shim so the hitch pin would pass through. It was tight getting it in there (WD-40 helps), but the result was MUCH less noise from the hitch moving around in the receiver.
A little duct tape around the ball mount will get 'er done too
 

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A little duct tape around the ball mount will get 'er done too
You know I'm a big fan of duct tape. But there's a lot of force on the hitch though and the duct tape might get squeezed out. That's why I used aluminum.
 

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Speaking of teardrop trailers, check out this neat offroad trailer. It's the Overland Teardrop trailer (Adventure Trailers). The only thing I wonder about with these teardrops is why they don't make access to the kitchen amenities through the living space inside. I can understand not using the stove but access to the shelves and cargo from the inside would be nice.

Many trailers like this also have storage on the sleeping compartment side of that wall. In addition, that wall is really necessary for lateral structure so it doesn't fall apart and collapse like a deck of cards. When you pack everything into such a small container, you have to make lots of sacrifices.
 

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Speaking of teardrop trailers, check out this neat offroad trailer. It's the Overland Teardrop trailer (Adventure Trailers). The only thing I wonder about with these teardrops is why they don't make access to the kitchen amenities through the living space inside. I can understand not using the stove but access to the shelves and cargo from the inside would be nice.

Those are nice. It looks like you could even mount a RTT up top for more folks to sleep.
 
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