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Author Topic: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question  (Read 274 times)

Mike_Tucson

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I have calculated what my truck can tow (Titan SV, tow rating 9,400lb, payload 1,592).  I got weights from a scale and the numbers essentially match the above.  Going through my spreadsheet (passengers, trailer hitch, misc cargo) I have calculated I could tow damn close to 9,300 right at payload and CGVWR however, I am staying <90% of max.  I have found several toy haulers (Grey Wolf, Wildwood, Coleman) with GVWR that are under this 90%.  I have also seen a few where the UVW is in the ballpark of the above but, have higher cargo carrying capacity putting the GVWR above my tow rating/CGVW. 

In my spreadsheet I have calculated the total load (plus added misc for unknown/future) and I can still be below my 90% limit.  Question, can I legally tow a trailer just above my CGVWR as long as anytime I get on a scale I am under?  Trust me I want to stay under as much as possible for my own peace of mind.  I have looked for this question all over but, keep finding the inverse question being asked.  The fact that I have a spreadsheet and have actually weighed everything we carry, at least indicates how anal I am.....Mechanical Engineer, I am very comfortable with numbers and calculations.

Thoughts/opinions? 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 10:30:28 PM by Mike_Tucson »

scottydl

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Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 10:49:27 PM »
Yes (I think) if I understand what you are asking. My trailer's GVWR is around 11k#, but it weighs 9500# or less fully loaded... which is only number that really matters. Plus "legal" weights only come into play with commercial vehicles like semi trucks. With personal use RV's you don't stop at weigh stations, etc. so towing safely is the most important factor... which usually coincides with towing within your truck's limits. The GVWR placard can be a relevant guideline, but doesn't determine anything legally speaking... it's just the maximum that your trailer is rated to weigh.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Mike_Tucson

  • Posts: 3
Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2020, 11:22:09 PM »
Scott, yes that is a correct interpretation.  If I look at THs that have a higher GVWR but, make sure the weights stay <90% of my acceptable tow rating I think I can get better quality THs.  The Grey Wolf/Wildwood I am told are entry level with entry level quality (but, then again they are RV dealers paid by commission).  I might be able to expand my search a little. 

The other thing I want is to keep my loads low to maximize the tongue weight %.  My truck is limited to 941 lb tongue weight. 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 09:17:58 AM »
The only risk in what you propose is human failing.  The actual weight carried inevitably grows over time. If you keep that spread sheet up to date and hit the scales every year or two, you will be aware of any growth and can take suitable action, but too many of us grow complacent.  Life happens and our focus shifts elsewhere. Presumably your engineering background will make that particular failing unlikely, but you will want to keep reminding yourself about it.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

scottydl

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Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 01:41:25 PM »
The tongue weight could be more of a limiting factor, depending on how the trailer is set up and good much weight is up front. Sounds like you are taking that into account, and generally tongue weights fall into the 10-15% range. My loaded trailer is at about 13.5% (1280# of the 9500# total) so they certainly do get into the higher end of that range.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 01:43:27 PM by scottydl »
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Mike_Tucson

  • Posts: 3
Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2020, 10:04:49 PM »
Gary, I agree however, this particular failing could likely happen regardless of the GVWR.  If the rating were only 7775 lb (the Grey Wolf 26rr for example), my spreadsheet says I can load everything and stay under that.  But, come next year if I ignore my spreadsheet I could easily be both over the GVWR of the trailer but, potentially over the CGVWR of my truck/trailer.  It is a tough circumstance having bought a 1/2 ton not expecting to look at Toy Haulers in the future.  The options are limited and I will certainly have to carefully pick and choose the cargo.  The bigger irony is I have a 1/2 ton, looking for a Toy Hauler and have (2) rzrs...... but, numbers only say (1) at a time.....  Nor do I want to go camping with a 40 foot toy hauler or daily drive a dually. 

Scott, yes I have some concerns about the tongue weight being higher than my trucks specifications.  The manual specifically calls out 941 lb as max tongue weight.  Based on my payload, I can easily exceed that and keep below the payload and axle ratings (with weight distribution hitch at very least).  To get to the max tongue weight (using the 7775 lb GVWR from above) it is only 12.1%.  I suspect a technical writer (or lawyer) simply put that in as 10% of the 9,400 lb tow rating to help emphasize the max tow rating. 

Certainly towing with a 1/2 ton and remaining within the safety margins can be tough depending on your needs/wants.  I honestly thought it would be an easier task to find a toy hauler I could safely tow.  Once the calculations started, the options got slimmer and slimmer.

But, at the same time camping in a toy hauler is not worth the cost of a new truck and expensive toy hauler for me.  While the options I am left with are entry level, financially they make sense for how I will use it (less than 8 trips a year).  I considered renting but, my options are virtually nil unless I pay to have the trailer delivered and set up for me. 

A simple travel trailer is much simpler and I found many more options.  If I could get my wife to drive one of the trailers.......nope not going to happen.....

grashley

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Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2020, 10:45:56 PM »
Welcome to the Forum!   Yep, you sound like an ME.  Dad was one, too.

First, many of my normal Rules go out the window when someone like you really gets into the numbers and understands their meanings.  You clearly have done this.

Second, as Scott said, legal is not an issue in the US.  Canada, I believe, is more strict on non commercial vehicles.  Those weight limit numbers are generated by the manufacturers / engineers (even some ME!) for what they feel the vehicle can safely handle without undue wear on the vehicle / components and safely control - steering, brakes, suspension.

With YOUR background, if the real setup stays within weight limits according to your careful weights and calculations, you will be fine and better than many!

Thanks for asking!
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Progressive HW50C
Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4   TST TMS  Garmin 760
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 08:55:06 AM »
The various percentages mentioned here are merely rules of thumb, intended to provide usable estimates IN LIEU OF detailed measurements and analysis. If you actually take the measurements and thoroughly analyze the data, the so-called "rules" become more like warning advisories. 

The closet thing to a solid RULE is the RV tongue weight percentage.  Decades of experience has shown that an RV travel trailer needs to have at least 10% of its actual loaded weight on the hitch ball to keep the trailer tracking nicely behind the tow vehicle and avoid trailer sway. 12%-15% is even better for trailer tracking, but the increased weight on the very back of tow vehicle also negatively impacts tow vehicle drivability.   Even so, much depends on the specific tow vehicle. Those with soft suspensions and more flexible tires, e.g. sedans and SUVs, are affected more than heftier models like pick-up trucks.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

scottydl

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Re: Trailer GVWR higher than what I actually will tow - question
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 10:11:29 PM »
For awareness, our forum library has a good article on how to properly weigh your rig and calculate tongue weight: http://www.rvforum.net/joomla/index.php/26-towing-and-towables/186-weighing-travel-and-fifth-wheel-trailers
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012