Fulton Swing Tongue Failure – What To Do Now?

Fulton Swing Tongue Failure
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Last Updated on October 24, 2021 by Mesbah Sakib

Your Fulton swing tongue is broken. And you can’t seem to find out what the reason for this is. Well, don’t worry, we have the perfect guide to help you out. So let’s check it out!

Before that let’s see what causes a Fulton swing tongue failure?

Your Fulton swing might’ve failed due to the wrong bolt grade. Or the mismatch of weight or position of the boat can be the reason. Moreover, this might’ve happened due to corrosion, hairline cracks, or a lack of welding.

Now, these are just the reasons why your swing tongue is failing. To know the solution to each one of these problems, jump right ahead!

Does Fulton Swing Tongue Fail?

Yes, the Fulton swing tongue can fail. This might happen before the trip, during the trip, or after the trip. Therefore, it’s better to do a thorough check of the Fulton hardware before you leave. 

Even when it fails you can fix it most of the time, by tweaking a few things. But if it snaps or breaks, you might consider installing a Fulton swing tongue

How To Tell If Your Swing Tongue Is Not Working?

Now you’re on a fun boat trip with your family. And you have the right camping gear and the right tarp. However, your trailer’s Fulton swing tongue fails. Sucks, right?

At times there’s nothing wrong with your swing tongue in the first place. The damage basically happens when en route. 

But there are times you can clearly see the swing tongues not working. So, how to tell if your swing tongue is not working?

Basically, the signs are pretty visible. The hinges might be loose or the bolt might not set in place. Moreover, at times the position of the boat might even flex the swing tongue. And even there might be corrosion or cracks on the structure. 

Well, these are some ways you can tell your Fulton’s swing tongue is not working. We have the solutions to this and many more such problems down below. So keep on reading. 

Reasons Why Your Fulton Tongue Swing Is Not Working

Now there might be a few areas you need to check in order to pinpoint the problem. Or it might be due to problems with the boat position or its weight. There might be problems with the hardware or the bolt and so on. 

So, let’s have a look at what to do when this happens. As you can see more than 50% of your problem can be seen before hitting the road. 

Therefore, check with the solution below to fix your Fulton swing tongue failure problem!

Wrong Bolt Grade

The first reason why your swing tongue might fail is due to the wrong grade of bolt. At times, it might not just fail but can snap and break. 

This is the most common problem faced by people using grade 8 bolts. This is because the grade 8 bolt is very hard and brittle to apply. And thus due to the constant flexing and twisting, it might fail or break. 

Solutions 

Now to fix this problem, you need to change your bolt grade. A 5-grade one will be the perfect attachment here. But only if your trailer falls under the weight limit of 4450!

And we have some of the best ones for you! Check out these 5-grade bolts.

Image Product Price
ONESTOCK 3/8 ONESTOCK 3/8″ x 12″ Fully Threaded Carriage Bolts with Nuts & Washers Check Price
Wanyifa Titanium M5 M6x12 Button Torx Head Bolt Screw Wanyifa Titanium M5 M6x12 Button Torx Head Bolt Screw Check Price

You can use these to fix your swing tongue!

Now if the bolt has snapped you can easily take these out. But if it has not then you need to start by removing the nut. After that take your 8-grade bolt out of the casting of your swing tongue. That is the metal case on the swing tongue. 

Apply a light layer of grease onto the area that folds. Then take your 5 grade bolt and place it in the casting. And then tightly secure it with a 5-inch nut. After that torque it to 75-foot pounds. 

Now, move your swing tongue front and back to make sure it moves correctly. And then voila, you’re done!

Boat Position On The Trailer 

At times, the position of the boat itself might cause the bolt to snap. And not the grade of the bolt itself.

Sometimes, the boat might not be positioned at the center. And this might flex the bolt on some level. Or you might have the boat placed too close to the hinge. Thus putting an added amount of pressure on the hinge and the bolt.

Solutions

Now when you’re placing the boat on the trailer you need to keep a few things in mind. First, make sure that it is placed in the center and is aligning with the end of the trailer bow.

To understand if your boat is placed right, here’s a guide you can follow- 

  • First, see if the boat stays afloat all the way to the bow stop. If it does then you might’ve backed it too far down.  
  • Now if your boat is floated on the back third of the trailer, then do this. Back it a little further to position it correctly. 
  • After you’ve figured the right position it’s better to mark where the waterline falls. In this way, it’ll be easier when you take your boat out next time.

Now, maintaining this will help you out a lot!

Weight Capacity Mismatch

Sometimes the weight might cause the swing tongue to fail. And this excess pressure can cause the bolt to break. Or even can cause the hinges to flex. At times these hinges might be even broken if too much pressure is put on them.

Therefore, you need to adjust the bolt strength according to your boat!

Solution

To avoid this weight mismatch situation, we have a quick guide for you. So when considering the weight of the swing tongue, you should have about 10% more. That is when you take into account your boat and trailer. 

We take this additional weight to avoid the trailer from moving sideways.

For example, let’s say your boat weighs 1000 pounds. And your trailer weighs about 600 pounds. In this case, adding 10% to your weight will be 1760 pounds. Therefore a swing tongue of 2000 pounds will work great!

But if you use too little weight then your swing tongue might break. In that case, you need to replace the swing tongue. 

Moreover, it’s better if you don’t place your assault pack and rucksack on the trailer. This will put an added pressure on your trailer. And will add up to the trailer weight.  

Now take your swing tongue and attach the casting. Mark the spots where the holes are with a marker. After that, take it out and drill the four holes onto your tongue.

Then attach it again and put in the bolts that came with it. After that, following the manual torque it to the exact measurement!

Also to help you out a little more, here’s a quick guide!

2×3 or 3×3 Trailer Tongue

Total Trailer Weight (Pounds)Maximum Tongue Load (Pounds)Maximum Pivot Length (Inches)
500050024
470047027
420042030
380038033
350035036
320032039
300030042
280028045
260026048

3×4 Trailer Tongue

Total Trailer Weight (Pounds)Maximum Tongue Load (Pounds)Maximum Pivot Length (Inches)
750075027
700070030
650065033
600060036
550055039
500050042
450045045
400040048

3×5 Trailer Tongue

Total Trailer Weight (Pounds)Maximum Tongue Load (Pounds)Maximum Pivot Length (Inches
900090027
820082030
745074533
680068036
625062539
580058042
535053545
500050048

Besides, matching the weight capacity, you must also check the swing. Do this before and after you tow your boat. In this way, if there is a problem, you can detect it beforehand!

Hardware Check

It is very important to check your hardware before and after you take a trip. Your casting and hinges are the main parts keeping the swing tongue in place. 

Now, there is a chance that the nuts holding the bolt might be loose. You might also be missing one or have one that’s pretty damaged. 

Therefore it is important that you check and make sure these are perfectly installed. 

Solutions

Now, if the bolt is loose you need to tighten it. Take your wrench and torque each bolt to 75-foot pounds.  

Furthermore, follow the Fulton trailer swing tongue instructions to get the right measurement. 

On the other hand,  if you’re missing a nut then you have to purchase one. Depending on the grade of the bolt you can get yours. 

Moreover, if you have a sheared or defective bolt it’s best if you replace yours before the next trip. So, how to do a bolt-on trailer spindle replacement?

First, take off the damaged bolt from the swing tongue and the casting.  After that treat any rough edges with paint. This will prevent your hardware from rust and corrosion. 

Then take your new bolts and place them in.  Similarly, torque it to 75 foot-pounds and attach the nuts. And there you go, all done!

Adjustment Of Trailer Hitch 

At times even when everything is right with your trailer, the swing tongue might fail. This is not because of the problem with your trailer. But with the ball that it hooks on. Therefore you need to adjust according to that. 

Solutions

Now, to find the right size of trailer ball, you need to check the trailer itself. On the top portion of the trailer, you’ll find the size written. 

For example, it might say a class 2 hitch. It is basically the ball-shaped thing it is used to tow the trailer. Therefore to perfectly fit the ball, the hitch size needs to be a 2 inches ball! Otherwise, you will have your trailer tongue stuck on the ball.

Therefore, before hitting the road, make sure your trailer is connected to the right-sized ball. 

Hairline cracks

This is another reason why your swing tongue might snap. These cracks might appear due to stress or fatigue on the swing tongue. 

These at times might not be invisible to the naked eye. But look for discoloration or scratch-like lines. 

Solutions

Now to fix these cracks we’ll need to weld the spot. Start by cleaning the area with soap and water. Or use any other cleaning solution of your preference.

After that, gently swipe a needle across the crack. This will get any dust out of those cracks. Now it’s time to weld it. However, if you need help you can contact a professional. And they can help you out in exchange for an amount. 

Place your welding bead on the cracked spot. Now take your 1-millimeter cutting disk blade and start grinding off the excess. After that, take a grade 40 buffer and smooth, file it out. And once there are no harsh uses you’ll be done.

To find some of the best cutting discs in the market, you can take a look at these items down below!

Image Product Price
4.5 4.5″x.040″x7/8″ Cut-Off Wheel Check Price
Diablo 4-1/2 in. x 0.040 in. x 7/8 in. Thin Kerf Metal Cut-Off Disc Diablo 4-1/2 in. x 0.040 in. x 7/8 in. Thin Kerf Metal Cut-Off Disc Check Price

However, check if the hairline crack is too deep and goes across the swing tongue. If it does then it’s better to do a trailer tongue replacement. This is because even if you repair it, there’s a high chance it’ll crack again!

Corrosion

At times, the edges might scrap and the paint might wear off. These are now exposed to moisture, thus they might corrode and rust. Therefore you need to cover it because corrosion can be quite dangerous.

If it already is rusty, you need to clean it before you repair it.

Solutions

Now to clean off the rust you first need a brush and remove the loose rust. Then take a lint-free rag and clean the area.

Then using sandpaper and the rusty area. After that, wash it with soap and water. Wait for it to dry and paint over the affected area. 

This should be enough to keep the rust away. Moreover, if you notice the color wearing off in places, it’s better to give it a good layer of coat. This will prevent the spot from becoming rusty. 

Porosity

There might be porosity in the casting of your trailer. And thus doing a die penetration might help to detect cracks as well. 

Die penetration will show cracks long before it’ll become visible to the naked eye. However, the internal casting defects will not be shown.

Solutions

Now to do the die penetration, you basically need liquid paint or spray paint. But first, you need to clean off any dirt or oil from the surface. Then you can apply your penetrable paint. For this, you can either spray it or apply it using a brush. 

After that, you’ll have to wait for about 10 minutes to complete the process. Then remove the excess paint with a clean, dry towel. And use a spray cleaner to clean the surface. However, apply the cleaner on the towel and then use it. Do not spray directly on the surface. 

Now, take your developer and apply it. After that, inspect the surface for any cracks.

Improper Welding On The Crack

The lack of welding can cause your swing tongue to fail. Suppose you welded the cracking a month ago. But then the crack opened up again. In that case, the welding done before might not have been executed properly.

Solutions

In that case, you might consider welding it again or buying a new one. You can follow the improper welding section to see how to weld on the swing away trailer tongue. But before you do that, here’s a quick tip.

If your Fulton swing tongue is old, it’s best to switch to a new one. Plus the newer one will be much beefier and the bolts will be thicker. Therefore, it’ll be much more durable. And so, there will be fewer chances of your swing tongue failing!

How to Avoid Fulton Swing Tongue Failure

You can avoid tongue swing failure by doing a thorough check before hitting the road. Here’s a list of things to inspect:

  • Jiggle the bolts to see if they are loose.
  • Check the swing tongue to see if there are any visible cracks.
  • Check if the trailer ball is or the right size. If not, fix that first.

Now if you’ve checked all these, you’re good to hit the road!

FAQs

Question: What should you do if your trailer starts to swing?

If your trailer starts to swing sideways, let go of the accelerator. But don’t press the brakes, or make any sudden turn. Slowly reduce your speed and keep your sterling straight. This movement sometimes happens due to strong winds or buffering of large cars. 

Question: What happens if the trailer tongue is too high?

If the trailer tongue is too high, it becomes difficult to keep the car under control. Even taking a turn becomes quite the challenge and the brakes too sometimes become unresponsive. This happens because the rear tires become overloaded. 

Question: What types of hitches are allowed?

Here are some of the most common hinges that are allowed. There are bumper, gooseneck, and pintle hinges which are really good. Moreover, there is also the weight distribution one and the 5th wheel one!

Conclusion

That basically concludes our segment on Fulton swing tongue failure. Besides fixing your swing tongue you must also check it regularly. And you’ll basically be able to keep your swing tongue in pristine condition!

Also, a great tip to help you out a bit more. Aligning your trailer with your car also helps to lessen the damage on your swing tongue. Therefore, next time adjust your trailer ball before you hook it to your car!

This is it! Until next time!

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