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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did a quick tape measurement of the bottom of the hitch ball compared to the bottom of the coupler of the trailer. I haven't hooked it up yet but it looks like once hooked up the trailer will be 17 inches high on the front and 21 inches high on the rear. It is 8' long so it has a 4 inch tilt basically. The hitch ball thingy already has somewhat of a rise. Looks like 3-4 inches. Should I got back and ask for maybe a 6 inch lift or is the 4 inch tilt of the trailer nothing to worry about. I would think it would put more weight on the hitch that way. Also not sure when hooked up what it will be. It may end up being only 2-3 inches as my car wasn't level.
 

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The short answer: Always best to get the trailer to ride level, but because your trailer and bike are relatively light and the angle is not severe, you should be OK. And remember - you read that on the internet. ;)

The long answer: It's not the angle so much as how much weight the trailer puts on the tail of the car. Even though the gross weight of the trailer can be well within your car's limits, too much weight on the hitch may cause the front end of the car to lift and that will negatively influence handling.

You need to do two things - check the tongue weight of the loaded trailer and compare that to your car's specs, if you can find them.

Park your car on level ground. Attach the the trailer to the car then measure the height of the LOADED trailer at the hitch point. Remove the trailer from the car and using a bathroom cobble up some blocks of wood to place the trailer hitch on the scale at exactly the same height it was when it was connected to the car. That's your tongue weight.

Where the weight (your bike) sits on the trailer makes a big diff. If the bike is centered over the trailer's axle, there won't be much weight on the hitch regardless of the angle. You may be able to move the bike rearward to balance the weight. Even thought the angle when attached will be the same and the gross weight will be the same, this can reduce the tongue weight.
 

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You'll be fine.
 

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If you do not have enough weight on the hitch, the trailer will weave around on the highway. It can be very dangerous at high speeds. You can lose control-- esp if you have a light tow vehicle. Do a search on Google on "trailer sway".
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So from what I'm hearing as long as I'm within my tongue weight (it's 200 pounds for the hitch; car doesn't have specs for tonque weight) it may even be better to have more weight on the rear of the car.

So the next question then when deciding where to mount my Condor wheel chock I ordered from Motowheels is where to put it? Do I just put half the bike in front of the axle and half behind it?

The one thing I can see is this might making loading a bit more challenging as the height of the trailer will be higher in the rear and once you get on the trailer it'll be going downhill a bit.
 

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If you have a receiver type hitch, you can always get one that raises the ball.
 

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Re: does trailer bed have to be level

I had the same issue with my hitch on the GTI. The trailer sits lower in front than in the back when attached to the hitch. I have towed this way and have had no trouble in my particular set up. This forward tilt does pose a problem loading and unloading, however, so I purchased an adapter that I insert into the 1&1/4 inch receiver that converts it into a 2 inch receiver, as I couldn't find any tall 1&1/4 arms . Attached to this adaptor I have a much taller arm ( which can be found in the larger receiver size) and connected attachment ball which allows the front of the trailer to be higher and securely attached to the hitch FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING THE BIKE ONLY. Once I have the bike loaded I lift the trailer off this converter and put the shorter (lower) arm that came with the hitch
back in the receiver and reattach the trailer. I have found this easier than trying to back the bike "up" the trailer to get it off, and it makes the incline less acute when pushing the bike onto the trailer.
I do not leave this adaptor on when actually towing because the longer arm would exert greater torque on the receiver hitch during acceleration and deceleration. Something I don't want to test.
In terms of where to put the bike on the trailer I am not sure, but my thought would be to place the bike so that it is exerting some tongue weight (ie: not completely balanced on the axle but somewhat forward of it). The weight of the load will help to keep the trailer attached to the ball. The trailer I use comes with a preplaced chock and rail for the bike. In this configuration my bike does sit forward of the trailer's single axle when loaded so that more of the weight is in front of than behind the axle. I suppose you could overdo this: if you had a very heavy tongue weight and a very light vehicle you might take too much weight off the front wheels of the car by the downward force in the rear. When in doubt call the manufacturer, that's what they do for a living and should be able to give you a straight answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You mean the manufacturer of my car? The one that says I shouldn't be towing with my vehicle at all? :)

Unless the hitch maker can provide some advise.
 

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As a rule of thumb..

When your trailer is loaded, you should be able to lift the trailer-coupling of the hitch using one arm only, maybe helping a little with your other arm.

We´ve had three bikes on one trailer and had absolutly no problems with this easy way of checking how much weight is taken up by the cars hitch.

And that you also read on the internet.

//amullo
 

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I agree with Amullo, easy test is the arm lift for small trailers. (bikes,small boats,utility,etc.) You'll most definitely want it level or you will have issues loading/unloading your motorcycle. You should be able to find adaptors to readily accomodate your needs.
Another thought on the subject:
Nothing frustrates me more than waiting for a "wingnut" who doesn't have a clue how to back up a trailer, especially at boat launch ramps. So to any trailer owners out there if you can't back it up please sell it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's gonna be fun backing my trailer into my driveway the first few times. I bet the hedges on the entrance to the driveway are gonna get trimmed. :)
 

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smegtheprez said:
So to any trailer owners out there if you can't back it up please sell it.
I find an easy way to "do it right" is to put my hand on the lower part of the steeringwheel and place it upside down. that way, it seems like MY brain works "wrong" and i do it right. Always turn the wheel in the "opposite" direction as you would just backing up your car.

Or just think about where you want the hitch go go isn´t that hard. But if you´ve never done it, take your car and trailer to an empty parking lot and practice 90 degree and 45 degree backing up. That is what your gona be using 90% of the time you back up. It takes a few tries to get it right, but once you understand how it works, then you´ll be able to do it anytime.

I learned in the miltary while backing the trailer in between trees, ruts and alot of vehicles.. That way, you learn right quick. Or the LT is gonna try his new screaming tecnique on ya! :alien: :cool:

//amullo
 

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But at least you have the correct "practice field" your driveway.
I don't suspect there will be too many others lined up in back of you to get in.

Better set some money aside form new hedges...
 

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I have always been taught you want 10% of the trailer weight on the tounge. Some RV manuals I have read through say 10-15%, but that can get heavy if your trailer/load is big enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My trailer weighs like 300 pounds. The 916 with a full tank of gas maybe 450 or so. If I add a 5 gallon fuel tank on the trailer also maybe 30 more pounds. I'm guessing what fuel weighs. :)

So that means 780 pounds total. The max tongue weight for my hitch is 200 pounds.
 

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So you're in there...10% of 780 = 78lbs on the tounge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well I can easily right now tonight go do the tongue weight test without anything installed. I don't have my ramp yet or chock yet so I can't do a fully loaded test. Seems to me the best thing to do is maybe try to get the trailer somewhat level. Maybe slightly downward in front by an inch or two. Not 4 like now. I can verify that when I hook it up and make sure it's really level. If it's still 4 inches I'll see if I can exchange my receiver for a taller one. Then when I have the level I want I can do the weight check unloaded and then put the bike a little ways forward of the axle. Looking for some "correct" "standard" way. Although the scale idea I like.
 

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I've made at least 6 trips across the u.s.of a. towing trailers from 8 to 40 foot long. the tilt of the bed has no affect on how it will tow, only how it loads/unloads. having the center of gravity ahead of the axels is your real concern as to towability. I had not heard the 10% rule before, but that sounds correct to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You mean by center of gravity making sure to have more of the weight ahead of the axle? THE bike should be slightly forward of the axle.
 

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yes, there should be more weight ahead of the wheel than behind. that 10% rule would give you 75-80 pounds of weight on the hitch given what you quoted. if the hitch has too little weight, the trailer will tend to sway, and can get out of control faster than you can imagine. recently a family lost control of thier SUV and trailer not far from where I live. the tail wagged the dog and pulled both truck and trailer off the freeway. totalled both and a child died.
be carefull when moving your trailer by hand, it is short and the load is fairly tall making it easy to tip over backwards if you lift the tongue too high. and, yes that is a "ask me how I know thing". beyond exceeding your hitch weight limits for tongue weight or pointing your headlights to the sky, I would advise always to err on the side of too much weight rather than risk having too little.
as to the slope of the trailer bed, remember that when loaded it will sit flatter due to the weight of your bike on the springs.
 
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