Total Weight

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Sep 18, 2005
Blytheville Arkansas
I've read as much as I can absorb on towing weight and I am thourghly confused by all the varibles that are talked about.  My question is---If my tow vehicle has gvwr of 8,600 how much can my total weight be when Mom and I start down the road. Thanks Bill
PS-I'm a high school drop out from the Ozarks so a number would be nice. ;D
Simple answer, ozarker.  It's 8600 lbs, the GVWR of the vehicle.  That's how much weight your vehicle can carry, whether it be passengers, gear loaded inside or on top, and the downward weight the trailer puts on the hitch.

The trailer's downward weight (called pin weight on a fifth wheel or tongue weight on a conventional travel trailer) is not the same as the total trailer weight. It is the portion of the trailer's weight that rests on the hitch - the rest of the weight is on the trailer's own axles and wheels and is not carried by the tow vehicle.  If you are asking "how heavy a trailer can I tow?",  we need to find out your tow vehicles tow rating or compute its tow rating from the tow vehicle's GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating).  The tow vehicle GVWR does not tell us anything about that. In a nutshell, we subtract the tow vehicle's actual loaded weight from the GCWR to determine how much weight it can pull down the road and stop in an emergency.

I know this is all a bit confusing, so please ask again if I have not made it clear.
Thanks for the reply Roamer, but what I want to know is how much my total rig (2003 chevy 1500 hd) plus 5th wheel, loaded with me and Mom in it is allowed to be, recommended to be, when we pull up on a scale right before we start down the road.

Give us a bit more:  cab configuration, rear end ratio, engine, auto or manual transmiission, and 2wd or 4wd.  From this, a person can tell the tow rating of your truck.  Given that F150s are fairly anemic tow vehicles, the rating is going to be critical and will eliminate towing a lot of 5 wheels based on the trailer's gross vehicle weight rating.  Things will also depend on whether you plan on towing in the mountain or Pacific west.

Anyrate give us the truck specs and we'll have a shot at it.
Bill, we can't answer your question without knowing one or other of the following ratings for your truck:

  • GCWR (gross combined weight rating).
  • Towing capacity.

Either of these two numbers, combined with the GVWR of 8600 lbs which you already gave us, will allow us to answer.
Hmm. I'm afraid you missed the point in my previous message.  The total combined weight of truck & trailer is limited by the Gross Combined Weight Rating of your truck. I can't tell you what yours is without knowing the exact configuration of your truck. Just 2003 1500HD is usually not sufficient - need to know the engine size, transmission (manual or auto), 4x2 or 4x4, rear axle ratio, cab type (regular, extended or crew) and pick-up box size (short or long) to look up a truck in the GM towing guide.  I don't know if a 1500HD has different configurations of all these things (probably not) if not that makes it somewhat simpler.

Example: A 2005 1500HD with crew cab, short bed and the 6.0L V8 automatic 2WD has a GCWR of 16000 lbs.  Yours is probably similar if it has the same engine and a crew cab. If it does not, all bets are off.
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