Home brew tongue weight scale
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Thread: Home brew tongue weight scale

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    nikdfish's Avatar
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    Home brew tongue weight scale

    I have wanted an easier way to judge tongue weight (i.e. no bathroom scale & lever), but didn't want to pay for a $140+ scale. I finally put together a "budget" version that should at least get me in the right ballpark when I have concerns using a small hydraulic ram & a pressure gauge.

    I had looked at a few hydraulic rams, like those in a porta-power unit & ran across the Strongway hydraulic 2-ton mini ram sold at Northern tools (& Amazon). It is a small unit with a cylinder face area of 0.95 square inches (diameter = 1.10"). It is a bit under 6" tall & 1.5" across. I bought one for about $23 & also bought a 0-1000 PSI gauge with 1/4" threads for about $10.

    I removed the hydraulic quick connect fitting from the ram (it was tight!), extended the cylinder & added hydraulic fluid. I got the bubbles out & set the cylinder at about 1/2 extension (1.5" ?) then attached the gauge in place of the fitting. I made sure that the hydraulic fluid was level with the top of the hole when I attached the gauge to avoid adding air. The gauge was tightened until it was face up with the ram upright. A quick test in the vice showed the gauge respond to pressure & return to zero when the pressure was removed.

    The gauge readings are a little above the actual weight (5%) but good enough for my purposes. It was simple to use with a jack stand as support. Lowering the hitch with the trailer's screw jack until the jack foot was unloaded (off the ground) I was able to see the empty tongue weights of the small dump trailer (400 x .95 = 380 lb) & the 18' Aluma car hauler (150 x .95 = 142.5 lb).



    These are the pieces used (pics are from amazon):



    Last edited by nikdfish; 04-01-2018 at 02:36 PM.
    2010 JD 3038e w/305 FEL 2013 JD 1025R FILB 2017 JD x394
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    AlKozak's Avatar
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    Theoretically sound. The weight displayed will only be accurate if the piston/bore is exactly 1 square inch in area. If you know what it actually is, it's easy to calculate the actual weight from the PSI reading: PSI/area.

    Al
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    Nice work!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikdfish View Post
    I have wanted an easier way to judge tongue weight (i.e. no bathroom scale & lever), but didn't want to pay for a $140+ scale. I finally put together a "budget" version that should at least get me in the right ballpark when I have concerns using a small hydraulic ram & a pressure gauge.

    I had looked at a few hydraulic rams, like those in a porta-power unit & ran across the Strongway hydraulic 2-ton mini ram sold at Northern tools (& Amazon). It is a small unit with a cylinder face area of 0.95 square inches (diameter = 1.10"). It is a bit under 6" tall & 1.5" across. I bought one for about $23 & also bought a 0-1000 PSI gauge with 1/4" threads for about $10.

    I removed the hydraulic quick connect fitting from the ram (it was tight!), extended the cylinder & added hydraulic fluid. I got the bubbles out & set the cylinder at about 1/2 extension (1.5" ?) then attached the gauge in place of the fitting. I made sure that the hydraulic fluid was level with the top of the hole when I attached the gauge to avoid adding air. The gauge was tightened until it was face up with the ram upright. A quick test in the vice showed the gauge respond to pressure & return to zero when the pressure was removed.

    The gauge readings are a little above the actual weight (5%) but good enough for my purposes. It was simple to use with a jack stand as support. Lowering the hitch with the trailer's screw jack until the jack foot was unloaded (off the ground) I was able to see the empty tongue weights of the small dump trailer (400 x .95 = 380 lb) & the 18' Aluma car hauler (150 x .95 = 142.5 lb).



    These are the pieces used (pics are from amazon):



    Pretty neat setup. I have always SWAG'd the tongue weight but this can come in pretty handy and the best part is it looked very easy to use.
    Marlin and Robnik like this.
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    Another inexpensive way to measure tongue weight is a crane scale ($30-40). Hook one end on your FEL bucket and the other under the trailer tongue. Lift the trailer tongue a couple of inches with the FEL, and read the weight on the scale. Of course you need access to the front of the trailer with your tractor to do this.

    A crane scale with your FEL is handy for other things. For example, I've used it to weigh my loaded ballast box.

    Click image for larger version.

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    keane likes this.
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    nikdfish's Avatar
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    I needed to get the 3038e back out to the acreage for mowing, so it was a good time to check the tongue weight of it on the aluma car hauler.

    I put the tractor in the usual position on the trailer, lifted the rear feet & returned ramps to their storage postion. I then positioned the scale on a jack stand & lowered the jack until the support wheel was free of the ground.







    With 480 showing, 0.95x480 = 456 lb. actual tongue weight
    Kennyd, PaDave, RetiredDoc and 1 others like this.
    2010 JD 3038e w/305 FEL 2013 JD 1025R FILB 2017 JD x394
    RC2060 rotary cutter, BB2060 Box Blade, Strap-On Pallet Forks, Jinma 6" Chipper, Tarter 5' Tiller, TSC Middle-buster, Agri-Supply Keulavator,
    Caroni TC590 5' Finish Mower, TSC 6' Landscape Blade, TSC 6' Landscape Rake, TSC Post Hole Digger, Modified TSC Carry-All w/deck & casters

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