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Calculate trailer towing capacity

by Tom Jones

Forum member Emmer asked for validation of her towing capacity before leaving on her first trip.

Here are the specifications for Emmer's rig:

Tow Vehicle

2005, Dodge Durango, 2WD, 4.7 SOHC Magnum. RearAxleRatio: 3.92 Wheelbase: 119.2 TV_GVWR: 6400 GCWR: 14000 CurbWeight: 4823 Class IV Tow package, Reese dual cam sway control hitch assembly rated for 1200 lbs.

Travel Trailer

Year: 2006 Coachmen Captiva 265EX GVWR: 6158 DryWeight: 4499 TongueWeight: 580 Length: appx 22 ft not expanded; 26.5 ft with rear slide out.

Here&'s the response showing the calculations:

Don't forget to add the weight of people, fuel, stuff and the tongue weight of the trailer to the curb weight of the tow vehicle. Also add the weight of any water, propane and stuff to the weight of the trailer. Our towing experts here also recommend giving yourself a 10% cushion, or 15-20% if towing in the western mountains.

Taking Emmer's specifications and making some assumptions:

Tow vehicle

Curb weight            = 4823 lbs
2 people               =  320 
Fuel                   =  180
Stuff                  =   50 
Trailer tongue weight  =  580
Total laden weight     = 5953 (GVWR = 6400)


Dry weight              = 4499 lbs 
Water                   =  400 
Propane                 =   80  
Stuff                   =  500 
Total weight of trailer = 5479 (GVWR = 6158)

Gross combined weight   = 5593 + 5479 - 580
                        = 10852 (GCWR = 14000)

(don't count the tongue weight twice.)

It would appear that Emmer's rig is OK and has some headroom for towing in the western mountains.