View Full Version : Tongue Length?

03-08-2013, 06:03 PM
Disclaimer: This isn't a a thread about Gene Simmons or "gee, you must have been popular with the ladies. ." :)

Have a PS197 ('07) on a single axle MC standard trailer with a swing-away tongue. Here's the part where you get to make fun of me. . . pulling with a Toyota Sienna. Yeah, cool boat and dorky tow vehicle. But a new vehicle isn't in the cards just now. . . I want to wait until I can afford an Audi Q7 TDI (have three kids--need the extra seating row).

The Sienna actually does great for our 25 mile trips to the lakes, but it's at the ramp we run into challenges. In particular, we have to get the back of the van into the water pretty far. . .in fact the waterline nearly to the front tires. And even then, I can't float the boat off. I have to power it off and it takes more that just a gentle bump of the throttle.

Question. . . could I lengthen the tongue on the vehicle side of the pivot? Was thinking if I added 8" to 12" that'd probably give me the extra buffer I need, but not sure if this would be problematic or risky in some way. I can see where more length could make it more prone to bending under the same load, but perhaps could also reinforce against that with extra steel plating on the sides. Thanks in advance for the advice.

03-08-2013, 06:31 PM
Seems like the problem is that the ramp is too shallow, not your van or the trailer. I doubt an extra 12" of tongue would make a difference.
**That's what she said!**

Is there another ramp you could launch at? Our Mastercrafts have to sit up higher because you can't lift the prop out of the water like a outboard lower unit can.
At least if it is that shallow, the water is not over your door sills when you back in.

Double D
03-08-2013, 06:31 PM
Sounds like your problem is the ramp.


How low is your hitch and how close is your prop guard? If your slanted to far forward the angle of the boat may not allow it to slide off. If its low you may try to get a different ball mount, raising it up higher, of air shocks on the vehicle. Just make sure your prop guard still has some clearance. Not sure the problem is in your tongue.

03-08-2013, 06:45 PM
I agree it sounds like the ramp is not steep enough but you could use an extender like this http://www.trailerhitches.com/hitch-accessories/receiver-adaptors/receiverextenders.cfm I would not want to haul long distances with this but it should give you some extra room. I've seen them up to about 24 inches.

03-08-2013, 07:46 PM
Thanks for all the great feedback. The ramp is a shallow angle and the car does sit low. But I do use a mount with an 8" rise so the trailer sits perfectly level. We have a steeper ramp elsewhere but the challenge there is that my tires tend to spin (ramp's in awful shape). At any rate, we always manage at the shallow ramp--just wish we had the float option. I will look into the extender. . .and keep saving for the Q7!

03-10-2013, 10:41 AM
Wow, with an 8" rise, that pretty much throws out the suggestion of going higher.
Extreme extensions put more pressure on the mount and frame.
A tongue extension would do the same. Take a look at the lowered recomended tongue weights with an extension. If it was just at the ramp you might slide by but 2' is going to change the distance you have to drive in by less than 2'.

The Sienna's low ground clearance is also not helping.
Maybe a $3k truck stored nearby to launch? We have several trailer boaters that leave an old truck attached to their boat an drive in with their car. They get to the lake faster, with better milage than towing.

03-10-2013, 12:41 PM
Sucks your ramp options are such extremes.

The extender lowers rating for sure. Agree you would only want to use at the launch and not for the 25 mile commute.

Another option (if the 2' doesn't get the job done) may be to have a trailer shop make a 8-10 foot extension you can clamp on when you launch. Could be pretty simple. You should be able to fit a 10' pipe in the van down the middle.

Or maybe something could be made to bolt in place of the swing away tongue for launching.

03-10-2013, 02:47 PM
Before I spent any money on extreme presidential engineering, I would buy a $500 1/2 ton truck and just use it for boat launching.

03-11-2013, 04:47 PM
The Sienna's low ground clearance is also not helping.

That really nails it!

The Sienna tows fine over the road for our distances and pulls at two (2) of the three ramps we use without the least bit of strain or drama. It's just that at one of those, we really have to get the back end of the van into the water--tail pipe is under as is the bumper.

Even getting in/out of the driver's seat means getting wet and we still have to power launch, which is the part I don't love. Of course, an inboard just makes it that much harder given the height off the ground to clear the prop.

03-11-2013, 05:17 PM
Have the same problem here in OZ with shallow lakes and ramps. Mastercrafts do sit pretty high on the trailer and need a fair amount of water to float them off. (compared to the smaller locally made hulls here) I would not extend your towbar but as suggested earlier maybe look at a removable trailer extension. In the short term, as long as there is no one waiting at the ramp, try chocking your trailer tyres hook a rope to it and tie to your van. Let your trailer ease down the ramp and launch your boat. Reverse for retrieval. Bit of a muck around but end of the season for you and gives you time to think about the situation if it is only one of the places you launch. Have fun.

88 PS190
03-11-2013, 06:41 PM
I would not try to launch or retrieve a boat attached to a rope. Too many variables for loss/damage/death.

I had one area I launched that I would air down the tires on the trailer for a few inches of drop.

Otherwise I'd be checking for other ramps.

03-11-2013, 07:48 PM
Thanks again for the ideas--there is a third ramp that's just right but the furthest away. Soon as the water temp is good again, that'll be our default as it's got a great sandbar. Until the Audi is in the cards!