Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    12

    Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    Hi i welding a cargo trailer and i just wonder how long can the tongue off the trailer can be some people say long is better because it will help when backing up and parking but how much is long ? i wonder is there some standard measure for this ? the trailer i making is 5x10ft and the the tongue i was planing to do was 3ft long {not counting whats going underneath the trailer} but now i think a 5 ft be way better the trailer is made of 3 inch by 1/4 angle and the tongue is 4 inch by 1/4 C channel and i got a bull nose hitch like a triangle shape also wonder this is better or i should run a brace in the middle and use a square base hitch that mount on a square tube?
    THX.
    Last edited by ROOT PASSS; 07-14-2019 at 02:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Illinois
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    8,771

    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    Find a manufactured one and try it, and if you like it , duplicate it. Double axles seem to be easier for many backing up.

  3. #3
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    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    "Most utility trailers" have a 4' to 5' tongue and you set the axle on a trailer at 60% front/40% rear of the load area, you don't count the tongue.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Lockhart,Tx (BBQ capitol of the world)
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    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    Tongue length is not as important as the distance from the hitch to the axle center line.
    You must include the tongue length in the 60/40 rule.
    If you load a trailer using the 60/40 rule but do not include the tongue length on a trailer
    with a 5 foot long tongue it probably won't sway but if you increase the tongue length to
    10 feet it is almost guaranteed to sway because of the lack of weight on the hitch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    2,101

    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    If I recall right, you want 10 percent of the trailer weight to be on the tongue...which you can adjust to some degree by raising or lowering the tongue / hitch.

    CoG on a utility trailer is gonna depend on how you load the trailer, but on a boat trailer or something like that, your CoG is more stationary...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    1,380

    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    Your tongue should be long enough to accommodate enough room to jackknife with some degree of success.

    I build outside the lines so I've been told

    I like a long,, narrow, tongue that has enough length in the members to allow for half of the vehicle width. Four feet+.

    The tongue should be designed so that the towing vehicle can jackknife without hitting the trailer corner, and to turn as tight as possible.

    I was getting antsy, and had to pull it around before it was fully finished

    Name:  tongue length1.JPG
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Size:  203.9 KB This necessitates using an adjustable style coupler. Throw the stamped pre-angled coupler in the garbage, it won't work for this.

    Name:  tongue length2.JPG
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Size:  224.1 KB I can get into places easier than most trailers built.


    There are no stability issues. Some might think there are, but it's just not true. The coupler, and axles, form a triangle......a 3point system of support. Simple geometry that isn't affected by stickout on the floor crossmembers. You can hang your tongue off the front of the floor, or set it up so's it's behind the front of the floor...……..same same.....it's just a triangle as far as weight distribution is concerned.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    1,380

    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    Your tongue design will affect weight distribution.

    First off...……….throw the 60/40 thing out the window too

    Once you get your basic frame done, do a mockup.

    Name:  tongue length3.JPG
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    Place everything that's gonna go on top of that frame approximately where it will be, once it's all welded up. Floor, any sides, rails, etc.

    Get a scale, and place it under the tongue.

    Name:  tongue length4.JPG
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    Name:  tongue length5.JPG
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    Move your axles, or axle points, accordingly...…...to get to about 10-13% empty weight on the tongue. You always use empty weight when figuring tongue weight, and weight distribution. If the trailer is loaded evenly, it will transfer off about this % weight to the tongue every time. It's how it's done. This trailer scaled at 2400# empty weight, the 300# tongue weight allowed me to move the axles rearward a bit more....better handling.

    Modern trucks have higher hitch capacity...….adjust your tongue weight accordingly.

    7000# total weight (trailer and load), will transfer off exactly 13% to the tongue.
    Last edited by farmersammm; 07-14-2019 at 10:42 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    On small trailers, like a 5' x 10', a bit longer tongue makes it easier to back up. With a short trailer and a short tongue backing up with mirrors is heck for us old folks. By the time you can see the trailer in one mirror it's nearly too late to recover with subtle steering. Longer tongue gives you a little more time to react.
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    12

    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    Thank you all for the info i now have i better idea of what i need to do... Special thanks to Farmersammm you help me a lot whit the pics and your explanation thanks again for taking the time to explain in detail you not only answer my question but i learn more, now i understand way better how the trailers work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    97

    Re: Welding a cargo trailer 5x10 questions

    Other than the weight distribution requirements I have seen guys do this when deciding on tongue length. They measure from the ball on the hitch to the outside fender of the truck and add a little length so that if you accidentally jackknife while backing you won’t damage the truck.
    Just my 2cents.
    Learning to weld, one arc at a time.

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