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Discussion Starter #1
Just purchased a used Starcraft Pop-up Camper to pull behind our 2017 Pathfinder. Dry weight 3440. Overall weight of the trailer does not seem to be a problem, but this camper has a very heavy tongue weight. Just had a weight distribution hitch installed, which raised the rear 2" and smooths the ride. Also has trailer brakes with controller. BUT the installer said the tongue weight is at 600# - which is the max rating for the PF. This camper has a carrier area on the front that places the rear axle further back than most Pop-ups, resulting in this problem.

Just driving across town empty, it feels just fine and it looks good. But I'm now concerned about even a small amount of additional weight, like the weight of our bikes, added to the trailer. Does anyone here have experience with heavier TW, with WDH on their 2017 PF?

Thank you!
 

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That's heavy overall for a popup camper in general.

All you can do is install a WDH like you did and perhaps put your gear in the back of the camper to hopefully take some tongue weight away. Obviously put nothing in the camper that's going to make the tongue weight increase.

You are ahead of the game knowing what the tongue weight is. It varies so much between different campers.
 

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Welcome to the forum !

Do not move weight to the back before you weigh your trailer (loaded). Your tongue weight should be between 10-15% of the trailer's gross weight (loaded), less than that (too much weight at the back) will cause it to sway which is dangerous.

Take your loaded trailer to a scale, weigh the whole trailer (disconnected from the vehicle).
Once you know that you can go home and move cargo around (if needed) to get your tongue weight where you want it, you can use a good bathroom scale underneath your tongue jack.
If you set it around 12% with the stuff you know you always carry, that should give you room to add the occasional stuff without worrying about it.
Check the manual for the axle's weigh rating, you also don't want to exceed that.
Be aware that not all pup-ups are designed to use a WDH, the whole tongue can snap off, saw a case in popupportal.com

My pop-up is also one of the heavy ones and it has a cargo trunk at the front. I carry four bikes on the roof and added a hitch and cargo carrier at the back of the trailer to carry more stuff there. Finding the right balance is key for a smooth ride.
 

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Bathroom scales go to ~600lbs?

Must be a Canadian thing.

I'm kidding.
 
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600 is too much imo but I think the best place to put some of that weight is not on the very back or the front but inside the trailer right over the trailers axle if possible. This will not cause your trailer to sway as if you put it on the rear bumper. I think this is what PoManz was trying to say.
 

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As larry says, you will be surprised that moving some of your luggage to the rear inside of the camper will make a big difference in tongue weight. Better to take it out of the rear of the Pathfinder and into the camper. I am in the same boat (Rockwood 21ss). If you don't have a John Candy Canadian bathroom scale, you can do what I did for a year or two (use a 2x4 as a fulcrum to split the weight). I then purchased a Sherline trailer tongue weight scale which I used often at first, but now occasionally, to check tongue weight before I head out. Every once and a while go on a weight reduction rant and get rid of all the unused games and skillets.

Just make sure to keep the weight on the tongue at 10-15%. True story: I used my 5x10 utility trailer to help a neighbor pick up some drywall. While I was inside buying some drywall bits, he had the trailer loaded with 4x12 sheets. WELL, that was a wiggly ride home. I was ready for it because one time my dad signaled the backhoe driver to dump another load of gravel in the trailer and....
 

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Bathroom scales go to ~600lbs?

Must be a Canadian thing.

I'm kidding.
Measuring with a Bathroom Scale
An alternative method for measuring tongue weight is to use a common bathroom scale. If the tongue weight is expected to be less than 300 pounds, simply place the tongue or jack directly on the scale. You may wish to protect the finish of the scale by placing a small piece of plywood down first.
If the weight is likely greater than 300 pounds, you can use some boards and pipes to set up a test as shown in the diagram. Using this setup, take a reading off the bathroom scale and triple it to find your actual tongue weight.

Measuring Tongue Weight with Bathroom Scale


  1. Park on a level surface.
    To begin, make sure your trailer is parked on level ground and the wheels are chocked.
  2. Lay a 2x4 stud on the ground.
    Position a 2x4 or other sturdy board on the ground, directly below the trailer tongue. The board must be at least 3-1/2 feet long.
  3. Position a bathroom scale at one end and a block at the other.
    Place the bathroom scale roughly 2 feet from the trailer tongue, and a block or brick about 1 foot from the trailer tongue. Protect the bathroom scale with a small piece of plywood on top.
  4. Center the stud on two pipes.
    Insert two horizontal pipes -- one in the center of the bathroom scale and one in the center of the block.
    Measure the distance from the trailer tongue. Make sure the pipe on the scale is 2 feet from the center of the tongue, and the pipe on the block is 1 foot from the tongue.
  5. Rest the trailer tongue on a vertical pipe.
    Position a pipe vertically under the trailer tongue, and lower the trailer jack until the coupler is fully resting on the pipe.
  6. Read the scale and multiple by 3.
    Take an initial reading from the scale bathroom scale, and multiple it by 3. This is the tongue weight.

    (Bathroom scale reading) x 3 = (tongue weight)
 

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That is heavier than my 21' travel trailer and mine is not an easy tow. Before doing anything, I would weigh the trailer on a certified scale and get another tongue weight. May I ask what model popup you own?
 

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Does anyone here have experience with heavier TW, with WDH on their 2017 PF?

Thank you!
I just purchased an '18PF for the purpose of towing a Travel Trailer (fully loaded at 6000lbs). After several weighings at a Cat Scale (Get the free CAT Scale Weigh My Trailer App for VERY easy weighings) and find I am at the limit both in tongue weight (600-620lbs) as well as Gross Combined (11000lbs), and on several 200mile+ trips so far have no sway or any issues towing it... on a level road at speed it rarely gets above 1300RPM, but on hills, of course, it can stay around 3000rpm, but no worries except gas mileage (11.5mpg). I bought a bolt on 2" receiver for the bumper and put big plastic bin on it for the griddle, chocks, cords, hoses, etc. But be aware you should bolt or weld on a support made specifically for this purpose.. [ https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Produc...+trailer+bumper+support&qid=1613137133&sr=8-3 ] I had a neighbor cut/weld one for me, otherwise you run the risk of ripping off the bumper.

My forward pass-thru is usually fairly empty as it is all tongue weight. I even cut off the 30amp electric cord at the port and added plug/receptacles so I can stow the heavy cord on the bumper. It is a battle to consider weight balance but as long as you know the weights and stay under the 'limits' (which I presume has some fudge factor, but I don't want to get into an accident and have some lawyer figure out I was overweight) it should be safe. I also am forced to drive with fresh water empty as that tank is forward, and grey/black tanks with some weight in it to reduce tongue weight... I don't boondock, so I can top off fresh and empty grey when I get to camp.

I suggest getting the Sherline scale for the tongue weights - really easy to check before trips. The bathroom scale trick works, but such a PITA .
 

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I just purchased an '18PF for the purpose of towing a Travel Trailer (fully loaded at 6000lbs).
IMO for my way of thinking your over by 2000 to 1500 lbs. but I guess I'm over cautious. I traded in my Pathfiner for a half ton but I wish I had of got a 3 quarter or a 1 ton now. I tow a Rock Wood 26 footer at 5300 lbs dry weight and under some conditions as in high winds, passing trucks etc. even with a half ton I experience times that I feel IMO a need for something with more stability and payload capacity.
 

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IMO for my way of thinking your over by 2000 to 1500 lbs. but I guess I'm over cautious. I traded in my Pathfiner for a half ton but I wish I had of got a 3 quarter or a 1 ton now. I tow a Rock Wood 26 footer at 5300 lbs dry weight and under some conditions as in high winds, passing trucks etc. even with a half ton I experience times that I feel IMO a need for something with more stability and payload capacity.
How does pulling a fully loaded 6000lb trailer with a vehicle rated at pulling 6000lbs equate to being overloaded by 2000lbs?
 

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How does pulling a fully loaded 6000lb trailer with a vehicle rated at pulling 6000lbs equate to being overloaded by 2000lbs?
The 6,000 lbs rating only includes the driver. Any additional passengers and cargo carried in the vehicle must be substracted from that number. I don't think 2,000 is the right number but you might be slightly over.

This is for the 2015, rated for 5,000 lbs but see the note:

15877
 

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The 6,000 lbs rating only includes the driver. Any additional passengers and cargo carried in the vehicle must be substracted from that number. I don't think 2,000 is the right number but you might be slightly over.

This is for the 2015, rated for 5,000 lbs but see the note:

View attachment 15877
I see... I have an '18 rated at 6000lbs... it is my understanding that the tow rating is fully the loaded TRAILER which is close but under 6000lbs, but the passengers and cargo inside the Pathfinder affect the GVR and Gross Combined, and that is still under 11000, even with a full tank of gas, wife and dog and beer.
 

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How does pulling a fully loaded 6000lb trailer with a vehicle rated at pulling 6000lbs equate to being overloaded by 2000lbs?
The “Maximum Towing Capacity Weight” is indeed the maximum you must never exceed. However, it is unlikely you will ever safely tow a 6000 pound trailer.


You will probably exceed the cargo capacity of the Pathfinder first. You will also probably exceed the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Maximum as well.



The MTCW only applies when the tow vehicle has no passengers, luggage, or other equipment in it. Everything added after the vehicle left the factory subtracts from the specified capacity.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
 

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IMO for my way of thinking your over by 2000 to 1500 lbs. but I guess I'm over cautious. I traded in my Pathfiner for a half ton but I wish I had of got a 3 quarter or a 1 ton now. I tow a Rock Wood 26 footer at 5300 lbs dry weight and under some conditions as in high winds, passing trucks etc. even with a half ton I experience times that I feel IMO a need for something with more stability and payload capacity.
How does pulling a fully loaded 6000lb trailer with a vehicle rated at pulling 6000lbs equate to being overloaded by 2000lbs?
Most recommendations are 80% of towing capacity. So you would be 1,200 lbs. over.😁 I can not imagine pulling 6,000 lbs. with my Pathfinder.
I just purchased an '18PF for the purpose of towing a Travel Trailer (fully loaded at 6000lbs). After several weighings at a Cat Scale (Get the free CAT Scale Weigh My Trailer App for VERY easy weighings) and find I am at the limit both in tongue weight (600-620lbs) as well as Gross Combined (11000lbs), and on several 200mile+ trips so far have no sway or any issues towing it... on a level road at speed it rarely gets above 1300RPM, but on hills, of course, it can stay around 3000rpm, but no worries except gas mileage (11.5mpg). I bought a bolt on 2" receiver for the bumper and put big plastic bin on it for the griddle, chocks, cords, hoses, etc. But be aware you should bolt or weld on a support made specifically for this purpose.. [ https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Products-QP-SBSBU-Standard-Support/dp/B081BM1CS2/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=4"+trailer+bumper+support&qid=1613137133&sr=8-3 ] I had a neighbor cut/weld one for me, otherwise you run the risk of ripping off the bumper.

My forward pass-thru is usually fairly empty as it is all tongue weight. I even cut off the 30amp electric cord at the port and added plug/receptacles so I can stow the heavy cord on the bumper. It is a battle to consider weight balance but as long as you know the weights and stay under the 'limits' (which I presume has some fudge factor, but I don't want to get into an accident and have some lawyer figure out I was overweight) it should be safe. I also am forced to drive with fresh water empty as that tank is forward, and grey/black tanks with some weight in it to reduce tongue weight... I don't boondock, so I can top off fresh and empty grey when I get to camp.

I suggest getting the Sherline scale for the tongue weights - really easy to check before trips. The bathroom scale trick works, but such a PITA .
I just purchased an '18PF for the purpose of towing a Travel Trailer (fully loaded at 6000lbs). After several weighings at a Cat Scale (Get the free CAT Scale Weigh My Trailer App for VERY easy weighings) and find I am at the limit both in tongue weight (600-620lbs) as well as Gross Combined (11000lbs), and on several 200mile+ trips so far have no sway or any issues towing it... on a level road at speed it rarely gets above 1300RPM, but on hills, of course, it can stay around 3000rpm, but no worries except gas mileage (11.5mpg). I bought a bolt on 2" receiver for the bumper and put big plastic bin on it for the griddle, chocks, cords, hoses, etc. But be aware you should bolt or weld on a support made specifically for this purpose.. [ https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Products-QP-SBSBU-Standard-Support/dp/B081BM1CS2/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=4"+trailer+bumper+support&qid=1613137133&sr=8-3 ] I had a neighbor cut/weld one for me, otherwise you run the risk of ripping off the bumper.

My forward pass-thru is usually fairly empty as it is all tongue weight. I even cut off the 30amp electric cord at the port and added plug/receptacles so I can stow the heavy cord on the bumper. It is a battle to consider weight balance but as long as you know the weights and stay under the 'limits' (which I presume has some fudge factor, but I don't want to get into an accident and have some lawyer figure out I was overweight) it should be safe. I also am forced to drive with fresh water empty as that tank is forward, and grey/black tanks with some weight in it to reduce tongue weight... I don't boondock, so I can top off fresh and empty grey when I get to camp.

I suggest getting the Sherline scale for the tongue weights - really easy to check before trips. The bathroom scale trick works, but such a PITA .
Suggested towing is 80% of towing capacity. I can't imagine pulling 6,000 lbs. with my Pathfinder. It struggles at 3,800 lbs.😁
 

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I bought a 2015 AWD Pathfinder to pull a 3400 pound dry weight travel trailer. The TT tongue weight was specified as 340 pounds. Published tow rating for the AWD with factory tow package was 6000 pounds.

It was a struggle to get the two vehicles to work together. Rear of the PF was clearly overloaded. Weight distribution hitch adjustments helped, but were not enough. I became more experienced after a year or two and this is what I learned.

Actual weights while towing are what matter. Dry weight of the TT is a useless specification. Published tongue weights for TT’s are fictitious. Planning using published capacities and weights can only go so far and are often not accurate.

Use the weight stickers in the driver’s door frame, not published capacities. Published weight ratings are often wrong. It least they are confusing. For US vehicles there are a pair of weight stickers in the frame of the driver's door. The maximum towing capacity for my PF is shown as 5000 pounds. There are also axle and tire weight maximums. Do not exceed any of those maximum weight limits.

Commercial truck scales like the CAT Scales are cheap and easy to use. Get axle and total weights of your fully loaded tow vehicle and trailer in one weighing. Re-weigh only the fully loaded tow vehicle in a second weighing. Tongue weight is the difference between total tow vehicle weights of the two weights. Cost is approximately $30 for two weightings.

Actual weight of my travel trailer turned out to be 4300 pounds loaded for travel. Tongue weight was 950 pounds. 10% of 4300 pounds is 430 pounds (the minimum for safe towing).

I had to re-balance the travel trailer. I was able to get tongue weight down to 700 pounds loaded for travel and 500 pounds after consuming food and water on the way back. I get another 50 pounds off by loading food at the rear of the trailer. Put your bikes on a rack at the back of the trailer. It will lighten the tongue weight by approximately the weight of the bikes.

All my planning and upfront planning was out the window. 6000 pound towing capacity became 5000 pounds. Actual towed weight was 4300 pounds. Tongue weight is double the planned weight. The factory PF hitch is probably over loaded.

After towing for three years and a few thousand miles, I have replaced brake pads, wheel bearings, and rebuilt the transfer case. I have successfully made a few panic stops and pulled the TT up and down long steep mountain grades. I cannot always maintain 60 mph going up and don’t always feel safe going 60 down the other side; so, some good and some bad.

I drive 60 mph, sometimes 65. I often annoy other drivers in western states where two lane roads often have 75 or 80 mile per hour speed limits.

I would not recommend pulling a heavier TT. Emergency stopping and sharp cornering are OK, but stretched to the limit. Pulling a pop up is likely going to be easier on the engine and trans than a tall TT.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
 

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I see... I have an '18 rated at 6000lbs... it is my understanding that the tow rating is fully the loaded TRAILER which is close but under 6000lbs, but the passengers and cargo inside the Pathfinder affect the GVR and Gross Combined, and that is still under 11000, even with a full tank of gas, wife and dog and beer.
The full tank of gas is included in the 6,000 lbs rating, the wife, dog and beer aren't.
So, did you go to a scale with a your fully loaded trailer and PF (+wife, dog an beer) and got 11,000 lbs or was this a calculated number?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I really appreciate everyone's input. Thank you! This is a Starcraft 34RT, 2007. It has a toy carrier on the front, which pushes the axle back and increases the tongue weight. We only plan to haul bikes and some misc. camping gear, but the professional who installed the WDH said the hitch weight was right at 600# on their scale - which is the max rating for our 2017 PF. The design of trailer means that if I fill the propane tanks and load bikes, I'm 100+ pounds over the vehicles rating for the hitch weight. The overall weight isn't a problem. I had to tow it on some serious hills to get it home and the PF had no problem pulling up the hills. It's the tongue weight.

I'm heartbroken because I thought I had done my due-diligence on all of this in advance. But I don't feel good about putting my family and our stuff in this setup and traveling over mountain ranges -- which is mandatory as we live in the Willamette Valley and all camping means doing hills. So, as soon as we get the new title I'll have to sell it.

This TT is a rare find. It was sold by the original owner who had only used it a dozen times and stored it under cover. It's in excellent condition. It's a high wall with a slide, double sink, actual counter space and storage. It's all terrain, made to take off road a bit with sturdy tires. I got a great deal on it and was so excited. But the reality is that there is no way to put even our most basic camping setup on this rig, and feel confident that we can travel safely. Thanks for all your input! I've learned a lot through this.
 

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...and Gross Combined, and that is still under 11000, even with a full tank of gas, wife and dog and beer.
You're right at the max and it's safely worked for you and your specific usage. That's all that matters. I think this is great information and even better than you shared it with us. This is one of the few reports we've had with someone at the max and having no major complaints.

Big box shape travel trailers are the worst case scenario for any tow rig. Totally different animal than towing a boat, popup camper, flatbed trailer, etc.
 
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