Trailer Weight

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sc_surveyor

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Joined
Sep 30, 2012
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45
Location
Moncks Corner, SC near Charleston
We're completely new to camping and looking at getting a travel trailer. We have a 2013 Ford F-150 with a maximum loaded trailer weight of 9500 lbs. I'm trying to determine what would be a safe dry weight of trailer and hitch weight combined.  Don't want to overload the truck. Would 6500 lbs. be to much? I know there are lots of factors to add in. There will be the two of us and a spoiled dog. Thanks for any and all information.
 
Welcome to RV Forum.

OK, you have a tow rating of 9500 lbs on that F150.  We generally reccomend keeping the trailer Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) to 90% of the truck tow rating which means that you should limit yourself to trailers with a GVWR of 8550 lbs or less.

If your truck is a normally apirated engine (no turbo- or super-charger) and you will be towing in the Rocky Mtn. or Pacific West, your should make that GVWR 80% of the tow rating to allow for the alitudes and grade encountered out here.  Limit your trailer GVWR to7600 lbs or less.    All diesels are turbo-charged and relatively immune to altitude miseries and can stick with the 8550 lb limit.

GVWR is the unladen trailer weight + the cargo carrying capacity.  The number can be found mfr spec sheets in their brochures and on the traIler itself on the DOT plate found on the left sidewall toward the front of the trailer.
 
What Carl said.  Ignore dry weights, watch GROSS weight.  Stay under that, and all will be well.  Keep the 10-20% discounts in mind.
 
Thanks for the replys, Carl and Frizlefrak. We live on the East Coast, don't think we will make it out to West, but one never knows.  We will probably keep the GVWR less than 7600 lbs.  We will make it out to the mountains here in the East, 5000' +/-. Thanks again, that really gives us some solid numbers to look at.
 
Frizlefrak said:
What Carl said.  Ignore dry weights, watch GROSS weight.  Stay under that, and all will be well.  Keep the 10-20% discounts in mind.

There is one situation in which the dry weight might be more significant than the GVWR. The difference between GVWR and dry weight is the carrying capacity. There are some trailers (Puma 259-RBSS e.g.) that have a carrying capacity exceeding 4600 lbs. It is unlikely that they will ever be loaded to near the GVWR.

Joel
 
Great Horned Owl said:
There is one situation in which the dry weight might be more significant than the GVWR. The difference between GVWR and dry weight is the carrying capacity. There are some trailers (Puma 259-RBSS e.g.) that have a carrying capacity exceeding 4600 lbs. It is unlikely that they will ever be loaded to near the GVWR.

Joel

True.  Some trailers are rated at a higher carrying capacity.....axles, bearings, etc are beefier.  Good thing to watch.  Nobody is gonna load one that heavy......although I could bring extra beer & bratwurst then.  :)
 
This is one of the few reason I don't even consider dry weight. Because I don't know of many people that drag around a empty RV without water, propane, etc.  ;)
 
Thanks for the additional replies.  Every bit of information helps.  The loaded weight with full tanks, camping supplies, food, etc are all taken in when one uses GVWG? Does anyone have an average weight for cloths, food, cooking supplies, and etc that a couple would carry in a trailer?
 
sc_surveyor said:
Thanks for the additional replies.  Every bit of information helps.  The loaded weight with full tanks, camping supplies, food, etc are all taken in when one uses GVWG?

No.  The unladen/shipping weight of a trailer is supposed to only include the trailer and all standard manufacturer-installed equpment .  Dealer-installed equipment is not included in the figure. Neither are fluids, water, wastewater, or propane -- they are included in cargo.

Does anyone have an average weight for cloths, food, cooking supplies, and etc that a couple would carry in a trailer?

Not really.  I really do not recommend trying to create a cargo manifest of gear that you might carry -- it usually degenerates into a game of kidding yourself.  Unless you are into hauling toys like ORVs or dirt bikes, just rely on the margins we give you.  After a year or so, you might weigh your unit on a commercial scale.  (See our library for the procedure.)
 
Does anyone have an average weight for cloths, food, cooking supplies, and etc that a couple would carry in a trailer?

Well that tough. Best thing I can say I start off at 7,200# empty trailer (dry weight suppose to be 6,588#) last time I scaled it I was at 7,760# (loaded, water and everything) it might even be a bit more today. But GVWR of the trailer is 8,500#
 
sc_surveyor said:
We're completely new to camping and looking at getting a travel trailer. We have a 2013 Ford F-150 with a maximum loaded trailer weight of 9500 lbs. I'm trying to determine what would be a safe dry weight of trailer and hitch weight combined.  Don't want to overload the truck. Would 6500 lbs. be to much? I know there are lots of factors to add in. There will be the two of us and a spoiled dog. Thanks for any and all information.
With a 1/2 ton truck, you should pay the most attention to trailer tongue weight and/or truck payload capacity.  My personal experience:
-  The manufacturer listed dry weight at 5800# but it went to 6300# when all options were added in.  Then I added 700# of water and gear to get to a 7000# travel weight.  My 5.3L gas with 6-speed is also rated for 9500# and had no problem, even pulling the toughest mountains in PA.
-  BUT:  My tongue weight went from 580# (glossy sales literature)  to 630# (as shipped) to 850# (on the road after gear and water).  Notice how much gear loaded near the front of the trailer loads up the tongue.
-  Tongue weight, driver weight, passenger weight, furry friend weight, gas, and tools must all be counted against your truck's payload capacity.  Most 1/2 tons are in the 1500# payload range.  In my case I was running down the road within100# of my truck's GVWR.

With that tongue weight, I really had to play around with the WDH to get the right combination of handling and weight distribution.  And I had to upgrade to LT tires to get rid of some uncomfortable squirm.

So all in all, I would say my rig was right at the limit for a 1/2 ton.  If you stay below those weights and you only pull a few thousand miles a year, you should be OK.  If you go heavier or drive further, over time you will probably pay a price in higher truck maintenance / repairs.



 
A travel trailer puts about 10% of its actual weight on the hitch, which means it is carried by the truck. A 5W puts more like 20-25% of its weight in the hitch. Your truck needs enough payload capacity to carry the weight on the hitch plus any weight you place inside, e.g. passengers, gear, the hitch itself, etc. You do not have to count the weight of fuel in the truck, though.

Ignore the dry weight when looking at trailers - use the GVWR as the weight estimate until you can get a scaled weight. If the brochure only shows a dry weight, add in the carrying capacity to get an estimate of the gross weight. Your actual weight may come in much less, but you will know you are safe.
 
We have found what appears to be a good deal on 2011 trailer that has a GVWR of 8600 lbs.  90% of the trucks towing weight is 8550 lbs. Would we be pushing it to much if we got a trailer with a GVWR of 8600 lbs.?  Would rather not try to get it, if it's going to be to much to pull safely.  I'm also going to check the tongue weights to be sure that we will be safe there.

Thanks for all the help and replies. Hope I'm not bugging everyone to much on this.
 
sc_surveyor said:
We have found what appears to be a good deal on 2011 trailer that has a GVWR of 8600 lbs.  90% of the trucks towing weight is 8550 lbs. Would we be pushing it to much if we got a trailer with a GVWR of 8600 lbs.?  Would rather not try to get it, if it's going to be to much to pull safely.  I'm also going to check the tongue weights to be sure that we will be safe there.

Thanks for all the help and replies. Hope I'm not bugging everyone to much on this.

Subject to one exception you should be good to go with That 8600-lb unit.  That exception is towing in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific West.  The altitudes out there will adversely affect a gasoline-powered, normally aspirated engine.  If you plan to tow in that area, and your truck is not turbo-charged, an 8600-lb trailer will be too heavy.  Keep your trailer to a 7600-lb GVWR limit.
 
And don't fool yourself into thinking you will get exceptional fuel economy towing either.  My frugal brother bought a new Eco boost this past spring, and he is towing one of those small ultra lite Jaycos and is still only able to manage 10 MPG. Heck  I can best that on my worst days with my dually diesel pulling 13000 pound fiver.  If you have one of the Eco thingies don't expect much.  If it a normally aspired V8 expect lower yet when towing.
 
Carl, Thanks for the additional input.  Donn, gas milage will just have to be what it's going to be. Knowing it will not be the best while pulling. If we get the trailer, will have to get the proper hitch,load leveler, and sway bars.

Thanks 
 
sc_surveyor said:
We have found what appears to be a good deal on 2011 trailer that has a GVWR of 8600 lbs.  90% of the trucks towing weight is 8550 lbs. Would we be pushing it to much if we got a trailer with a GVWR of 8600 lbs.?  Would rather not try to get it, if it's going to be to much to pull safely.  I'm also going to check the tongue weights to be sure that we will be safe there.

Thanks for all the help and replies. Hope I'm not bugging everyone to much on this.
That's dead on the GVWR of my TT, SC_surveyor.  You'll be OK if you stay east of the Rockies, as others have mentioned. As I noted earlier, you may need to upgrade to LT tires if you feel that uncomfortable squirmines when being passed on the highway.

If the initials of the TT you are looking at happen to be NT, stop by the Heartland forum and the folks there will be happy to help you out.
 
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