Fellow Sunline Campers
I was helping out a fellow forum member and the topic of TT weight and balance came up. The question was how do you load the camper and keep tongue weight from getting to heavy or not heavy enough? That is a good question as floor plan and where you can store “stuff” dictates how tongue weight goes higher or lower.
The camper we where discussing was a T2499 and since this is a very popular model I thought I would create a post of it as it may help others as well. This is a rear living room camper where there is not a lot of storage aft the TT rear axles. There is a lot of storage space forward of the axle. The good part of this layout is, the kitchen which can have heavy weight is right over the axles. And weight between the axles is neutral to the TT tongue. Doesn’t add or subtract from tongue weight. However the front bedroom and front pass thru cargo hole can hold a lot of weight that is hard to offset by things in the back of the camper.
Folks with front kitchen layouts and rear bedroom, have heavy front loading TT’s as well. The kitchen is sitting right up front where that heavy weight goes to the tongue more then the axles. However they have a rear bedroom with generally a large cargo hole under the bed that can be loaded to offset the heavy front kitchen.
For stable towing and natural low sway characteristics of a TT, having tongue weight at 13 to 15% of the TT Gross weight creates that stable towing. 10% is the bottom end for TT and I do not recommend going that low as depending on your layout if you are using a conventional type anti-sway hitch, one wrong gear move or empty propane tank can shift you into the 9% range quickly. Even if you have a high end hitch like a Hensley, Pull-Rite or Pro-Pride they still should have 10% on the tongue.
To help folks with the T2499 layout I have done some math for you. On the attached diagram you can see the floor plan with weight numbers for all the storage areas. Sorry for the fuzzy floor plan image, it was the only one I could hunt up and blow up to type on it.
The red arrows represent places where camping gear can be loaded. Under each text box is a symbol . For example:
+0.67 # T
The Pass Thru Cargo hole is the front storage area. The + 0.67 # T means that for every 1 # of cargo you multiple it by 0.67 and that is how much weight is added to the TT tongue. So 150# of camping gear X 0.67 = 100.5# added to your base tongue weight.
And for subtracting tongue weight,
- 0.31 # T
The farthest rear over head cabinet above the couch is behind the rear axle, so it reduces tongue weight. The - 0.31 # T means that for every 1 # of cargo you multiple it by 0.31 and that is how much weight is reduced at the TT tongue. So 30# of camping gear X 0.31 = 9.3# subtracted from your base tongue weight.
If you happen to own a Sherline tongue scale, you can do the weight and balance in your own yard without a lot of math. However looking at the diagram below still helps to know where certain storage adds or subtracts and by how much from tongue weight.
If you do not have a Tongue scale, ( they cost about $120) you can use a bath scale and weigh each large arm full or hand full of gear you load and write down + or – to the tongue weight. Exp: Carry out a box full of dishes. You and the box step on the scale, weight the dishes and you. Write it down. Then put the dishes away and then step on the scale with the empty box again. Write it down. Then later subtract the 2 and that is the weight you added.
Then you can determine if it added to tongue weight or subtracted and how much cargo you are adding to the TT. Sunline did us a favor they put the base weight of the camper the day it left Sunline on a sticker for us. They call it Unloaded Vehicle Weight. If your dealer or prior owner added any options that is not in that weight.
Hope this helps and if anyone has question on any other models, if you get me some dimensions I’ll do the math for you or show you how to do it yourself.
Also here is the tank locations on a T2499 and a few fact-toids on the T2499
A filled fresh tank adds 150# to the TT tongue.
An aluminum sided 2004 T2499, with power tongue jack, filled propane, battery, slide out cargo draw, Reese DC mounted and no camping gear in the camper has a tongue weight of 780#. Since I’m getting ready to sell mine I weighed it.
Also to note, the area locations and adds/subtracts are approximate. The math is done by added weight to the center of the storage area. In a camper the storage areas are small enough that shifting the weight left or right will not change the end results that much.
It is also recommended that after loading up your camper and setting your WD hitch, you head to a local scale and weight the entire camper and TV. And there is a certain way to do that so you cam get the most value from the numbers. There is no substitute for actual scale weights. However while at home, we can estimate to get you in the ball park at least.
Hope this helps and happy camping.