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  1. #1

    Tongue/bolt question?

    I want to bolt 2 tongues together vertically. another words the main tongue would be above the shorter tongue piece with the coupler attached.
    There are only 2 grade 8 bolts attaching the coupler to the tongue, and only 1 long grade 8 bolts attaching the opposite end of the tongue to the wishbone/trailer side rails, along with 1 u bolt. So would using 1/2 grade 8 bolts be secure enough to attach the 2 tubes together?
    look at the diagram, thanks...

    the length of the bottom tube has yet to be determined. could be any where from 14 to 16 inches.

    this is for a single ski trailer. the trailer itself is rated for 1200+ pounds, and the tongues are heavy wall tubing.


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    How much overlap length between the two tongues?

    Will you be through-bolting the entire thickness of both tongues, or just bolting the two closest surfaces together?

    I would suggest running the bolts right through the full thickness of both tongues, and inserting some material inside the tongue sections to prevent the bolt tension from distorting or crushing the tongue tubing.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    How much overlap length between the two tongues?

    Will you be through-bolting the entire thickness of both tongues, or just bolting the two closest surfaces together?

    I would suggest running the bolts right through the full thickness of both tongues, and inserting some material inside the tongue sections to prevent the bolt tension from distorting or crushing the tongue tubing.
    no. the shear strength of the bolt plays a more important role than compression of the mating surfaces...
    just the 2 surfaces will be clamped together.
    When the coupler is attached there is no spacer inside the tube to prevent crush.
    the overlap is 14-16 inches, plenty of room for even 4 bolts.

    I would say this is also very similar to the hitch attached to the vehicle with only 4 bolts holding up the hitch assy.


    the ball mount height is at its max @ 5". I still need another 2.25-2.5, so by moving the coupler down effectively gives me this...to keep the trailer level with the 12 Aluminum wheels and radial tires.

  4. #4
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
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    You do realize they make drop-hitches, correct?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Hydrotoys View Post
    You do realize they make drop-hitches, correct?
    Hey mark!, i could not find a "drop" coupler...
    I have a ball mount that is a 5" rise...

  6. #6
    SurfRider's Avatar
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    With that much overlap (1 ft+), you are probably ok. But make sure you backup both sides with huge panel washers. I would be most concerned with the flexing where the bolts are on the tube itself, but over that distance you will probably be ok. Your first hand-drawn picture looked like less than 6 inches and I would have said that was a no go. What would really be much better is if you welded it, but of course you would have coat it well so it won't rust down the road.

    I would disagree about bolting thru the whole tube. You are much better off "clamping" the two mating surfaces together. That will prevent any side to side or forward/backward movement of the two tube if you only had bolts going thru them (even if you tried to come up with some sort of tubing inside).

    If you are using high grade bolts, I think it would be very unlikely for them to snap with the weight of a single pwc & trailer. 1/2 would be more than thick enough. I think you can even pick up grade 10 at Home Depot for not much more. The only thing would be to keep an eye on if the metal starts to buckle or fatigue after time. If it were welded, that that would connect the two tubes at the most ridged parts and would prevent that.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SurfRider View Post
    With that much overlap (1 ft+), you are probably ok. But make sure you backup both sides with huge panel washers. I would be most concerned with the flexing where the bolts are on the tube itself, but over that distance you will probably be ok. Your first hand-drawn picture looked like less than 6 inches and I would have said that was a no go. What would really be much better is if you welded it, but of course you would have coat it well so it won't rust down the road.

    I would disagree about bolting thru the whole tube. You are much better off "clamping" the two mating surfaces together. That will prevent any side to side or forward/backward movement of the two tube if you only had bolts going thru them (even if you tried to come up with some sort of tubing inside).

    If you are using high grade bolts, I think it would be very unlikely for them to snap with the weight of a single pwc & trailer. 1/2 would be more than thick enough. I think you can even pick up grade 10 at Home Depot for not much more. The only thing would be to keep an eye on if the metal starts to buckle or fatigue after time. If it were welded, that that would connect the two tubes at the most ridged parts and would prevent that.
    thanks, I agree. the nissan coupe is low. so this is an attempt to square away the trailer height. Freaked me out when I originally installed the hitch and lowered the trailer last season via smaller wheels and still needed a 5" rise for the ball mount. I had these aluminum wheels on the shelf and the larger wheel just makes the trailer go over rough spots in the road and ramps so much better.
    if anytime in the future the vehicle gets swapped out, then ill just install the other tongue/tube...

  8. #8
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pale Rider View Post
    ...the shear strength of the bolt plays a more important role than compression of the mating surfaces...
    The bolts you would be using to connect the two tongue sections together will be stressed in tension, not shear. The only shear load on those bolts would be from the towing and braking, and I don't think that is the biggest concern.

    The forces to worry about are the up and down flexing and twisting that occurs as the rig travels down the road. Wheel bounce and trailer flex will end up flexing the tongue, as will tongue weight (however modest it may seem).


    just the 2 surfaces will be clamped together.
    Where the two sections first overlap at the front end of the original tongue, that area will normally be under compression from the tongue weight. When the trailer bounces, that can change to tension. At the rear of the new section, the joint will normally be under tension, alternating to compression when the trailer flexes.

    Bolting just the two adjacent layers together means that the tube sides and other top/bottom layer of the square tube are not sharing the load at the joint. That means the flat surfaces immediately adjacent to the bolt/washer will flex. Over time it may lead to cracking.


    Where the coupler is attached there is no spacer inside the tube to prevent crush.
    The coupler bolts are horizontal, I expect. So they are supporting the load through shear, which is the strongest aspect of both the tongue and the bolts.

    the overlap is 14-16 inches, plenty of room for even 4 bolts...
    The bolt at each end will be doing almost all the work. Any you put in the middle will have a minor effect on strength.

    Putting long bolts right through the entire sandwich, with spacers inside both tongue sections, would provide greater strength. And that would also make it easy to detect any stress cracks, since they would be on the outside of the tongue sections where you could see them easily.

    Another option is to use a pair of large U-bolts to clamp the two tongue sections together. That would provide plenty of clamp force and spread the load across the full cross section of the tubes. Then one or two short bolts to clamp the inner layers together will keep the sections from sliding forward or back.




  9. #9
    SurfRider's Avatar
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    That sucks that the tow vehicle is that low! Wow. You know that you can get drop hitches with more drop/height, right? You can get 6, 8 or even 11 inches. Look at this page for some examples. http://www.redtrailers.com/ListItems.asp?cat=36 Or do you have the really small receiver on the vehicle (class I or II, e.g. less than 2 x 2 inch square)? That might be a better alternative than to start playing with the trailer tongues. On my truck, I have the 2" drop upside down so that it raises it about 3/4" rise instead.

    The other thing is that you can get is a ball that has a rise on it. I had to get a 2 5/16 with an additional 1" rise on my car trailer because on tight turns, the coupler on my trailer was hitting the frame of the weight distributing hitch and I was afraid that it could cause it to pop-off. It reduced the total towing rate from 10,000 lbs to 8,000 lbs, but that is fine for that unit. Here check these puppies out. http://www.trailerhitches.com/hitch-...4294923752.cfm That might be your answer...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SurfRider View Post
    That sucks that the tow vehicle is that low! Wow. You know that you can get drop hitches with more drop/height, right? You can get 6, 8 or even 11 inches. Look at this page for some examples. http://www.redtrailers.com/ListItems.asp?cat=36 Or do you have the really small receiver on the vehicle (class I or II, e.g. less than 2 x 2 inch square)? That might be a better alternative than to start playing with the trailer tongues. On my truck, I have the 2" drop upside down so that it raises it about 3/4" rise instead.

    The other thing is that you can get is a ball that has a rise on it. I had to get a 2 5/16 with an additional 1" rise on my car trailer because on tight turns, the coupler on my trailer was hitting the frame of the weight distributing hitch and I was afraid that it could cause it to pop-off. It reduced the total towing rate from 10,000 lbs to 8,000 lbs, but that is fine for that unit. Here check these puppies out. http://www.trailerhitches.com/hitch-...4294923752.cfm That might be your answer...
    that`s exactly it. when switching from the E250 van to the car, it was simple as swapping to an 8" wheel. Throw the 12`s back on and there is the height differences. I`m already utilizing a 5" rise, any higher and it will stress the 1 1/4 class I/II hitch tube a lot more. There stronger pieces and more choices with a classIII hitch 2 in. tube. I have collected many of those over the years. I ordered this hitch and the suggested ball mount from etrailers. The first ball mount was to low, even the 5" in on the low side of things.

    I appreciate all the info, this is just a temporary thing. if it works temporarily, thats cool, if not then back to the drawing board...
    K447> I understand what your saying. I would think that even welding the joint along the 2 tubes will have the same weakness`s as using the bolts. that all the working load would be applied to only those 2 contact surfaces... Thanks...

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