Question about Travel Trailer Weights

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brclark82

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So as I?m looking at travel trailers I?m trying to get my head wrapped around a few different things. I will use real world numbers on a possible option we are looking at but we are 6-8 months away from a purchase so it may not even be a finalist once we get down to it.

These numbers are from the mfr site:
Shipping weight- 8548 lbs
Carrying Capacity- 1952 lbs
It doesn?t state this but then I?m assuming that means the gross weight is 10,500 lbs
Hitch weight- 1150 (this is question #1, is that hitch weight at shipping weight or at gross weight? And if shipping weight can I assume the same percentage at gross weight?)

Also, are any fresh/gray/waste capacities factored in any of the weights?
If I carried a fresh water tank with 50 gallons of water does that take up 400 lbs of my carrying capacity?

Fresh/gray/waste capacities are 60/60/30
 

darsben

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Hitch weight is figured at 10 - 15% of real weight of trailer. It can be affected by how the trailer is loaded. For example only; if you were to put 500 lbs of cement on the rear bumper of the trailer it reduce the hitch weight by 50-100 lbs. but if you put the 500 pounds on the tongue of the trailer it would make your hitch weight  400-500 pounds higher.

From the 1952 you have to subtract anything you put in or on the trailer, water, propane, dishes, and anything you place in or on the trailer.
 

brclark82

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darsben said:
Hitch weight is figured at 10 - 15% of real weight of trailer. It can be affected by how the trailer is loaded. For example only; if you were to put 500 lbs of cement on the rear bumper of the trailer it reduce the hitch weight by 50-100 lbs. but if you put the 500 pounds on the tongue of the trailer it would make your hitch weight  400-500 pounds higher.

From the 1952 you have to subtract anything you put in or on the trailer, water, propane, dishes, and anything you place in or on the trailer.

So in other words the hitch weight will always be the unloaded (or shipping) weight because there?s no way to know what the weight will be once loaded. That?s makes sense. I come from the boating world where 10% tongue weight is a closer estimate and 13.5% seemed high (it would have been 11% at gross weight).

Also, I figured I would have to subtract the weight of water in the holding tanks as well but just wanted to confirm that.

Thanks
 

xrated

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brclark82 said:
So as I?m looking at travel trailers I?m trying to get my head wrapped around a few different things. I will use real world numbers on a possible option we are looking at but we are 6-8 months away from a purchase so it may not even be a finalist once we get down to it.

These numbers are from the mfr site:
Shipping weight- 8548 lbs
Carrying Capacity- 1952 lbs
It doesn?t state this but then I?m assuming that means the gross weight is 10,500 lbs
Hitch weight- 1150 (this is question #1, is that hitch weight at shipping weight or at gross weight? And if shipping weight can I assume the same percentage at gross weight?)

Also, are any fresh/gray/waste capacities factored in any of the weights?
If I carried a fresh water tank with 50 gallons of water does that take up 400 lbs of my carrying capacity?

Fresh/gray/waste capacities are 60/60/30

Shipping weight will not include propane, battery or batteries, and maybe a couple of other things I'm not thinking of right now, so probably plan on that number going up by a couple hundred pounds or so.  Cargo Capacity is a total of everything that is put in or on the trailer....which may include dealer installed items like propane tanks, battery(s), maybe a spare tire if it doesn't come from the factory with one, a second A/C unit that is dealer installed, etc.  As far as hitch weight goes, a good ballpark figure is to use 12-13% of the weight of the trailer....all the way up to GVWR for it.  Of course the way you load the trailer.....front biased, rear biased, or fairly well balanced...AND how much weight you add will determine the final tongue weight....and that may change a bit on every trip, depending again, on how, where, and how much you load it.  Normally the fresh water, the gray water, and the black tank contents count against the cargo capacity.  So if you are carrying that 50 gallons of fresh water when you leave the house, and you use lets say half of it, you are still at 400 lbs of water weight.....just in a different location.....fresh water tank to gray or black.  Then if you dump it before you leave, now you are dealing with 200 lbs of that 400 original water weight.  Most trailers will have the GVWR on the safety sticker that is required on the trailer and once you get the trailer home, or on the way home, it's always a good idea to find a CAT scale and get things weighed so that you know exactly what you are dealing with.  Doing the 3 weigh system, you can get all the number you need to know exactly what you've got as far as GVW, Front and rear axle weight, GVCW, tongue weight....and those numbers will be for both the truck and the trailer.  Here is an excellent source for the procedure on how to do the weighing of your truck/trailer......and using the CAT scales are usually around $15 total for all three weights if you do them within 24 hours of each other....    http://fifthwheelst.com/  When you go to this site and the page loads, click on the "4-Step Weight Safety Plan" at the top of the page and read and follow those steps.  You'll be well on your way to getting things figured out with the trailer/truck weight thing.
 

FastEagle

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Officially, since 2007, the propane system & the number bottles - full - are included in the trailer's UVW. UVW, dry weight & shipping weight all refer to the weight of the vehicle as it left the factory. If the battery was installed at the factory it's included in the UVW. Anything added by the dealer before the sale is completed must be deducted from the CCC label if the combined weight is over 100#. All onboard water, black, gray or fresh is considered cargo. If an owner has options added by the dealer, insure at PDI that the cargo label has been updated by the dealer.

This is an excerpt from the 2007 CCC standard: "The weight of full propane tanks must be included in the RV's UVW and the weight of on-board potable water must be treated as cargo."   
 

xrated

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FastEagle said:
Officially, since 2007, the propane system & the number bottles - full - are included in the trailer's UVW. UVW, dry weight & shipping weight all refer to the weight of the vehicle as it left the factory. If the battery was installed at the factory it's included in the UVW. Anything added by the dealer before the sale is completed must be deducted from the CCC label if the combined weight is over 100#. All onboard water, black, gray or fresh is considered cargo. If an owner has options added by the dealer, insure at PDI that the cargo label has been updated by the dealer.

This is an excerpt from the 2007 CCC standard: "The weight of full propane tanks must be included in the RV's UVW and the weight of on-board potable water must be treated as cargo." 

Thanks for clearing that up.  :D
 

brclark82

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FastEagle said:
Officially, since 2007, the propane system & the number bottles - full - are included in the trailer's UVW. UVW, dry weight & shipping weight all refer to the weight of the vehicle as it left the factory. If the battery was installed at the factory it's included in the UVW. Anything added by the dealer before the sale is completed must be deducted from the CCC label if the combined weight is over 100#. All onboard water, black, gray or fresh is considered cargo. If an owner has options added by the dealer, insure at PDI that the cargo label has been updated by the dealer.

This is an excerpt from the 2007 CCC standard: "The weight of full propane tanks must be included in the RV's UVW and the weight of on-board potable water must be treated as cargo." 

Awesome info, this is exactly what I was looking for.

I will be well within my trucks ability and probably won?t ever get anywhere near the total ccc for that trailer with what I will be using it for I was just curious what it all meant.

I appreciate the help.
 

kdbgoat

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Interesting reading:

http://www.trucktrend.com/how-to/towing/1502-sae-j2807-tow-tests-the-standard/
 

sadixon49

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First, your right, the gross weight is your calculated 10500#. The shipping weight, also called UVW for unloaded vehicle weight, plus the cargo capacity, gives you the gross vehicle weight.
At 1150#, I assume the tongue weight is listed at gross vehicle weight, as 1150# divided by 10500# equals 10.95%, just about right.
 

brclark82

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kdbgoat said:
Interesting reading:

http://www.trucktrend.com/how-to/towing/1502-sae-j2807-tow-tests-the-standard/

This is some very interesting reading, thank you for that link.

With how stringent these tests seem I think its odd that my 3/4 ton diesel sticker says payload 2400lbs but also lists max 5th Wheel tow rating as 13,500lbs.  Doesn't it seem that 13,500lbs on a fifth wheel hitch would be over the vehicles payload before you added 150lbs for the driver, 150lbs for the passenger and 100lbs for optional equipment like the article states?

More realistically a 13,500lb 5th wheel with average additional payload would be close to 3100+ lbs.

I'm not asking if my truck can tow a 13,500lb 5er I'm just saying it's odd that it can be advertised this way. Why go thru all those crazy requirements of the engine and drivetrain only to leave out the biggest obstacle to max towing ability (payload)? 
 

Joezeppy

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brclark82 said:
This is some very interesting reading, thank you for that link.

With how stringent these tests seem I think its odd that my 3/4 ton diesel sticker says payload 2400lbs but also lists max 5th Wheel tow rating as 13,500lbs.  Doesn't it seem that 13,500lbs on a fifth wheel hitch would be over the vehicles payload before you added 150lbs for the driver, 150lbs for the passenger and 100lbs for optional equipment like the article states?

More realistically a 13,500lb 5th wheel with average additional payload would be close to 3100+ lbs.

I'm not asking if my truck can tow a 13,500lb 5er I'm just saying it's odd that it can be advertised this way. Why go thru all those crazy requirements of the engine and drivetrain only to leave out the biggest obstacle to max towing ability (payload)?
You are absolutely right and while it's legally not false advertising, the way these numbers are advertised frequently get people into trouble. Both the truck salesperson and the RV salesperson will quote the towing weight only and tell you that you're fine.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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There is no standard definition for the Tongue weight the RV manufacturer lists on his website or brochure.  Some are merely estimates while others may use the actual weight of a base model as it leaves the factory.  The estimate may be based on UVW (shipping), GVWR, or even some "typical" loaded weight.  Even if you know how the manufacturer came up with the tongue weight figure, the one you find on a dealer lot may or may not be the same because of differences in options or trim packages.  Bottom line is that the tongue or pin weight (5W) shown in advertising is meaningless.  Best to just ignore it and do your own estimate.


The working estimate we normally use is 10% of the trailer GVWR.  The actual weight should be 10-12% of the actual loaded trailer weight, so the working estimate is fine as long as the trailer isn't overloaded.    The only time you need be concerned about estimate vs actual is if the estimate is very close to the tow vehicle max.    Even then, if the estimate is that close, you should be thinking either "more truck" or "less trailer".

Please look up Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) in the RVForum Glossary - it explains the standardized weight terminology.  Basically, the feds standardized CCC back on June 2, 2008 and defined it as any and all cargo carried in the trailer or vehicle. Any tanks are measured when empty, except for fuel tanks which are measured when full.  "Fuel" includes the engine fuel tank (gas or diesel) and any propane in an onboard tank.  Fuel weight is therefore included in the UVW.

There are many helpful definitions and explanations in the RV Glossary. And some more in the forum Library.
 

xrated

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brclark82 said:
This is some very interesting reading, thank you for that link.

With how stringent these tests seem I think its odd that my 3/4 ton diesel sticker says payload 2400lbs but also lists max 5th Wheel tow rating as 13,500lbs.  Doesn't it seem that 13,500lbs on a fifth wheel hitch would be over the vehicles payload before you added 150lbs for the driver, 150lbs for the passenger and 100lbs for optional equipment like the article states?

More realistically a 13,500lb 5th wheel with average additional payload would be close to 3100+ lbs.

I'm not asking if my truck can tow a 13,500lb 5er I'm just saying it's odd that it can be advertised this way. Why go thru all those crazy requirements of the engine and drivetrain only to leave out the biggest obstacle to max towing ability (payload)?

That is mostly true for a 5ver, but those numbers don't specifically refer to a 5ver camping trailer/RV.
What about the guy that has a flatbed type utility trailer that he hauls equipment on...either a 5ver or gooseneck.  With that type of trailer you can load that equipment in different places on the trailer....forward of the axles, behind the axles, or even centered over the axles.....and have a very different pin weight as a result of where the equipment is loaded....and all with the same exact piece of equipment.  5ver camping trailers are more of a "fixed" position load, meaning that you can't vary the pin weights much.  The exception to that of course are the toy haulers that have totally different pin weights depending on how the are built and whether or not you've got an empty garage or let's say 3000 lbs of toys in it.  Most toy haulers will be lighter on pin weight when loaded than when empty.  That would be comparable to loading that equipment trailer with the load behind the center of the axles.
 

brclark82

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Yeah I suppose that?s true. With a pin weight closer to 15% that would make it 2025lbs and then you could tow it and have room for maybe the weight of the hitch and one person. And while the 2400lb payload is specific to my truck the 13,500lb tow capacity is generic and there are trim levels with a few hundreds lbs more payload than mine too.

All very interesting stuff to learn about. Thanks for the info.
 

FastEagle

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
There is no standard definition for the Tongue weight the RV manufacturer lists on his website or brochure.  Some are merely estimates while others may use the actual weight of a base model as it leaves the factory.  The estimate may be based on UVW (shipping), GVWR, or even some "typical" loaded weight.  Even if you know how the manufacturer came up with the tongue weight figure, the one you find on a dealer lot may or may not be the same because of differences in options or trim packages.  Bottom line is that the tongue or pin weight (5W) shown in advertising is meaningless.  Best to just ignore it and do your own estimate.

The RV trailer manufacturer MUST establish a recommended/published tongue weight. It is a mandatory standard they must meet for vehicle certification. The standard reads - in part - like this. The vehicle manufacturer's recommended tongue/hitch weight, when added to the total vehicle certified GAWR weights MUST not be less than GVWR.

My reference is in accordance with FMVSS 571.120 paragraph S10.2 - "On RV trailers, the sum of the GAWRs of all axles on the vehicle plus the vehicle manufacturer's recommended tongue weight must not be less than the GVWR."

When purchased the owner is 100% responsible for the tongue/hitch weight.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Fast Eagle accurately relates the relevant FMVSS, but the tongue weights shown in the brochure or website are rarely the FMVSS "recommended tongue weight".  In other words, it is NOT a recommendation by the manufacturer.    The "standard" used in the FMVSS calculation is almost always 10% of the GVWR, i.e. the axles carry 90% and the tongue 10%.  That's the same 10% described by myself and others elsewhere in this topic.
 

FastEagle

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
Fast Eagle accurately relates the relevant FMVSS, but the tongue weights shown in the brochure or website are rarely the FMVSS "recommended tongue weight".  In other words, it is NOT a recommendation by the manufacturer.    The "standard" used in the FMVSS calculation is almost always 10% of the GVWR, i.e. the axles carry 90% and the tongue 10%.  That's the same 10% described by myself and others elsewhere in this topic.

To comply with vehicle certification the vehicle manufacturer MUST apply the FMVSS standard I referenced earlier, which clearly calls for the vehicle manufacturer to apply their recommended tongue weight. There is nothing in the standard that tells the vehicle manufacturer how they should come by their recommendation. You just can't read something in there that doesn't exist. Remember, it's a certification requirement. Owner's are 100% responsible for their operational tongue weights. There are numerous recommendations from RV membership organizations and the like. Hardly any of them have the same recommendations. Without a scaled weight you just don't know. 

I've researched a lot of recommended tongue weights from different RV trailer manufacturers, both 5th wheels and TTs. They are normally in the lower end of acceptability. Probably not realistic for owners that don't scale & balance their trailer's cargo loads. 
 

Joereese2

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Kinda hijacking this thread but I have a related question.  Just sold my 3500lbs camper and bought a larger one which weighs 5500 and is considerably taller ie: ground clearance.  When towing with my 2wd half ton GMC the trailer is butt high, I'm wondering if it's safe to turn my insert for my weight dist hitch upside down to set it up higher. At some point in my life I heard that wasn't a good idea ? I guess because of the stress of the welds? Opinions ?
 

SeilerBird

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Joereese2 said:
Kinda hijacking this thread but I have a related question.  Just sold my 3500lbs camper and bought a larger one which weighs 5500 and is considerably taller ie: ground clearance.  When towing with my 2wd half ton GMC the trailer is butt high, I'm wondering if it's safe to turn my insert for my weight dist hitch upside down to set it up higher. At some point in my life I heard that wasn't a good idea ? I guess because of the stress of the welds? Opinions ?
You really need to start a new thread rather than hijacking this one. You will get a lot more replies.
 
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