weight help

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Feb 26, 2006
We have been looking at 5th wheels for a few months and have finally came to agreement on one that should fit our needs. It is a Forest River Sierra 285 RG mid profile. The ship weight of the trailer is 7850 and a pin of 1460 according to the brochure. I have a Dodge 3/4 ton with the hemi and a 4:10 rear gear short bed. Reading all this weight stuff on the forum is a little confusing to me. This will be our first trailer so I want to make sure of the weights. My truck has a 8800 gvwr and a 17000 gcwr. I weighed my truck at a cat scale with full tank of gas and us in it. Came in at 3920 front and 3000 rear axles= 6920. Estimated hitch 150# would =7070. That should leave me 1730 for pin weight. TV and trailer would be 14920, that should leave me 2080 for gear. So do you think I have this figured right or am I missing something? I think I would be within all my weight limits. I do not to overloaded not having any experience with anything of this size and weight. Also any comments pro or con on sierra 5th wheels would be appreciated. Thank You.

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Mar 14, 2005
west Los Angeles
According to the brochure, that Sierra 285RG has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 11,420 lbs.  Use that number for the towing weight of the trailer.

Your truck needs a tow rating.  It is probably in your owners manual but, I will assume you have a 2006 2500 5.7L V8 with a 4.10, quad cab, and tho you did not say, 4wd.  Trailer Life's tables give its tow rating as 10,850lbs.  You are already overweight, even without a safety factor in the ratings.  If you allow a 10% safety factor,  your truck should tow a trailer with a GVWR of less than 9,765 lbs.  If you want to tow in the mountain and Pacific west, make that 20% and 8,680 lbs!

In short, you should be looking for a lighter trailer or a Dodge with a 5.9 turbo diesel, say in the 3500 line.

In regard to your analysis, you are correct, with a heavy 5er, to look at GCVWR of the truck, and Gross Rear Axle Weight rating in relation to pin weight, but if  you cannot pass the basic trailer GVWR vs. truck tow rating test in the first place, those analyses are premature.

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
Looking to buy a new home
Your analysis is OK but you are assuming more accuracy/truthfullness in the brochure numbers than is typically the case.  I suspect you will find the trailer's "as delivered" unladen weight is somewhat above 7850. The "brochure weight" does not include ANY options, any propane, and of course any gear you load on board.  Check carefully on "options" - anything listed on the price sticker other than "standard equipment" is extra weight and often it amounts to 200-500 lbs. If you have the usual pair of 30 lb tanks, there will be 60 lbs of propane onboard when the tanks are full.

Furthermore, your pin weight will go up dramatically when you add some load to the trailer. That 1460 is definitely going to increase to somewhere around 1760 and maybe even much more if your actually load in anywhere near that 2080 lbs. of your gear allowance.

Your truck's tow rating is the 17,000 lb GCWR minus the truck's loaded weight of 7070 or 9930 lbs. You have some modest capacity left for the trailer, which probably weighs at least 8000 lbs and more likely around 8200 plus gear. So yes, you have room for some gear but not a lot. And that's with no safety & performance margin at all.  The performance of most gas-powered trucks gets pretty wimpy when they get anywhere near their GCWR weight. [Diesels, in my expereince, perform well right up to the limit.]
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