Understanding towing capacity

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Hazardmatt

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May 8, 2021
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Hi there

out of my element here so asking for help, wife and I are looking at a starcraft RT 36, I love that it has the front deck to put my ATV on. I figured my truck would be fine but doing some reading I’m unsure? It’s a 2017 ram 1500 outdoorsman, with the hemi. I’m fearful the tongue weight may be high with the ATV on the front deck? How can I calculate this sort of thing?
Thank you!!
 

donn

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Honestly you can't.
Now, load the truck,like your going camping and drive it across a set of scales. Be sure to get front, rear and total weights.
Now, look at the trailers GVWR. Use 15% of the trailers GVWR as tongue weight. Add that to your trucks scaled total weight. Do you fit under or over the trucks GVWR? Now, what is the load capacity of that front deck on the trailer? Does your ATV weigh under that number?
Definitely never believe anything a salesman tries to tell you. All they are interested in is Making the sale, which is a commission check in his pocket. They will lie to you to close the deal
 

steveblonde

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With a front mount deck how heavy is the atv. My "guess" is most of the weight of the atv will go directly on the hitch as the deck is fwd of the axles
 

Hazardmatt

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With a front mount deck how heavy is the atv. My "guess" is most of the weight of the atv will go directly on the hitch as the deck is fwd of the axles
That is my fear, they list the trailer as having a hitch weight of 460 which is fine, but my ATV is nearly 700lbs...
 

scottydl

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Yeah that's a pretty unique trailer and "toy" placement... opposite of most toy hauler trailers, where the extra stuff is loaded in the rear instead of over the tongue. Published trailer hitch weights are almost always lighter than reality, so that's probably 500+. Then add nearly the entire 700# ATV plus anything else in the truck, and I'm fairly certain you'll be well over your payload (cargo carrying capacity) and/or max tongue weight allowance for your truck.

But we don't like to guess around here... so get all the weights you can (check the loading stickers inside the driver's door or frame) and let us know what they say. Or post a photo.
 

56safari

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Go to www.engineersedge.com. There is a formula for determining tongue weight that will help you determine the impact of your ATV on the trailers tongue weight. The formula uses some data you may not have. If you have the total weight and tongue weight of the trailer or have weighed the trailer, use that info plus 120 lbs per axle to get a real close to actual result for the trailer without the ATV. Then load in the location and weight of the ATV. If the ATV is loaded sideways, the weight added point will be the center line of the ATV.

Here is the link Trailer Weight and Balance Equations and Calculator | Engineers Edge | www.engineersedge.com

PM me if you have need more info.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Given the huge size of that front deck, I'd guess that a good chunk of the ATV weight falls on the trailer axles rather than the hitch (think of it as a bridge), but still less than 50% of the ATV weight. You are probably looking at 450-500 lbs in addition to the empty tongue weight. That likely brings the total up around 1000#. That's probably more than the Ram's receiver is rated for without WD, but ought to be within the Ram payload if you haven't loaded too much stuff ad extra passengers in/on it. You need to learn your Ram's payload (cargo capacity) and GVWR, and you need to estimate what else the Ram will be carrying. If you have an 80# dog and a 120# wife, that all counts toward the total loading.
 

steveblonde

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From what i can gather from some limited research its as i thought every pound of that atv will transfer to weight on the hitch. So unloaded its 500 load up the 700lb atv and its 1200lbs. The only real way to find though is test it and scale it at the dealership. Most dealers will have a portable scale that measures up to a couple thousand pounds. Or buy something like this


 

Lou Schneider

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From what i can gather from some limited research its as i thought every pound of that atv will transfer to weight on the hitch.
If you can't follow the excellent link 56safari provided above, the basic formula is weight will be distributed based on the inverse of the ratio of the distance from the load to the axles and to the hitch.

For example, if you put 500 lbs directly over the axles, the axles will carry all of that weight. Put it halfway between the hitch and axles, half of the weight will be on the axles and half will be on the hitch. If you put it 1/3 forward from the axles, 2/3 of the weight will be on the axles and 1/3 will transfer forward to the hitch.
 
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