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Senior Advisor

Wanted - telescoping tongue design

I want to modify the tongue on a couple of my gravity wagons so the tongue telescopes and is easier to hook up in the field when loaded.  I have some telescoping tongues, but none of them seem easy to build in my shop.  Any designs or ideas you can share for a nice winter project?

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Wanted - telescoping tongue design

We have an old homemade tongue that has held up fine for over 30 years. It is simply a pipe inside a pipe, with the inner pipe being the front.  The pipes overlap ~ 3 feet and a 3/4" vertical hole is bored through both so that a common machined 3/4" drawpin will pin them together. This hole is near the front of the larger back pipe so that you have lots of overlap behind the hole. A 4" piece of 3/4" pipe was then welded on top of the tongue, centered over the hole using a drawpin. This pipe holds the pin vertical while you back up or pull forward to line up the holes. Later, we opened up the holes in the inner pipe to 1" so the holes would line up even if the tongue was angled a bit because of uneven ground. If going down a bumpy road, it would be a good move to put a clip in the bottom of the pin after it drops in place or someday you may end up pulling it apart if the pin jumps out, something that hasn't happened, but I can picture it! Not as convenient as a store-bought tongue, but extremely strong and cheap and easy to build.

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Wanted - telescoping tongue design

After looking at the tongue, (it now is attached to a deer blind), I see that the pin is not a drawpin, but actually is about a foot long piece of 3/4" shaft with a handle welded on the top and the bottom tapered to a blunt point, to help it "find" the hole.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Wanted - telescoping tongue design

Easiest to build one I have seen, that stays tight over time is on my brother's gravity wagon.


His tongue is square tubing, with another square tubing that fits snugly into it.

A reinforcing plate about 1/2 inch thick, and 4 inches square is welded to the outside of the outer tube, and the inside of the inner tube, where they will overlap.

Assemble the tubes in the collapsed position, and drill a 1 inch hole through the tubes and reinforcing plates. 
Rig up a spring-loaded pin, to drop through these holes, to hold the tongue in place.  You must either make a sort of 'clevis' on the top of the outer tube, so the pin won't want to wobble cockeyed, or drill the hole all the way through, and have the pin long enough to go all the way through both sides of the square tubes.

Simple to make, hard to explain, but very little wobble after 10+ years of use, and when it does wobble out a little, we can just ream the hole to 1 1/4 inch or so, and be good for another 10+ years

 

My gravity wagon has two round tubes that telescope into each other.  The inner one has a large piece of flat iron welded to it, and a large 'hook' attatched to the outer tube, that is spring loaded, to grab the flat iron.  This has the advantage of being able to swivel, if need be, like when crossing a terrace.  Built properly, the way mine is, it will not unhook with use, but it seems like it is getting a little 'loose' faster than the design on my brother's.  It will be a fairly simple matter to build the hook up with weld and make it 'tight' again, but his wagon is older, and is still much tighter.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Wanted - telescoping tongue design

What does anyone use for a block to prevent the tongue from coming apart?

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Senior Contributor

Re: Wanted - telescoping tongue design

 I have one with two round tubes. to keep them from coming apart when unlatched the inner tube has a strap of metal in a V shape welded to the rear. This V shaped simply catches on a bolt through the outer tube. The longer the V shaped strap is the farther the hitch will extend.  Patrick

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Wanted - telescoping tongue design

We have one like that, and the other one simply has a slot in the outer pipe, and a bolt on the inner pipe, with a bushing that runs in the groove.  The length of travel to the telescoping part is the same as the length of the groove.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Wanted - telescoping tongue design

Oh, and the busing that rides in the groove is bolted in, so you can separate the tongue halves, if you ever would want to.

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