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Most of you that read my tech articles have or probably are towing a trailer with some sort of tow vehicle designed for that purpose. There are also a growing number of my readers and racers who do not read these tech articles that are towing with vehicles that are not designed for the tongue weights of race car trailers.

Let’s start at the basics. There are many theories out there about how much tongue weight is enough or too much, and why it matters. I’ve talked to several manufacturers over the last few years about percentages of actual trailer weight that should be on the tongue of the trailer to make it as stable as possible. The numbers they gave me are very similar. Most will tell you the length and height of the trailer will make some difference, but a general rule is that you need to have 12% to 17% of the actual trailer weight on the tongue (coupler).

Take a basic 26-foot enclosed trailer with empty weight of about 5,000 lbs and add in 3,000 lbs for a car, 500 lbs for fuel and tools, and let’s say 500 lbs for a scooter and generator, etc. It would now weigh about 9,000 lbs (gross trailer weight). That means you would probably need to have 960 lbs to 1,200 lbs of tongue weight to get balance correct on the trailer axles.

Now take your basic 26- or 28-foot stacker with two cars in it. Same distance from front axle to trailer coupler, but the trailer weight is probably 9,500 lbs empty and 17,000 when loaded. That means the preferred tongue weight should be 1,600 lbs to 2,890 lbs! Now we have a different ballgame.
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