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Old 04-22-2011, 05:08 AM   #1
CaptMark's Avatar
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Garage Loading / Weight & Balance?

Now wrapping up my first week of coach ownership, as I start to think through things, I've got dozens of questions...

As a pilot and yacht captain, I constantly think about weight and balance when loading up aircraft and boats.

I've started a list of things that I'm going to want with me on the coach, i.e. scuba gear, folding bikes, kayak, grill, lawn chairs, pop-up tent, golf clubs, etc..

The basement on my coach will without a doubt hold it all from a capacity point of view.. I'm wondering about weight..


Is there a practice where heavier items should be stored closer to the axels for additional support? Will the coach handle differently if I've got a thousand pounds of gear/stuff in the belly?

Starting with a totally empty coach, I'm trying to load her up once in a logical and orderly manner..

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

1997 Tropi-Cal 235
South Florida

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Old 04-22-2011, 05:40 AM   #2
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You definitely don't want to put anything really heavy behind the rear axle. Of course, with a diesel, there won't be much room to store stuff there anyway.

The best thing you can do is have the coach weighed on all 4 corners. You can either do that when empty (or nearly empty) so you will know ahead of time how balanced the coach is left to right and how much capacity is left on each axle. Of course, you will have to weigh the coach again after loading to see how you did. I used this method with our motorhome when it was new, and I had to quickly redesign the tool box I was building so it would fit into a compartment farther forward because the front axle had more available weight capacity than the rear.

The other option is to take your best shot and load it the way you think it should be loaded then weigh it. If necessary, you can redistribute the load afterward. If you use this method, you may get close enough that you will need little or no redistribution and you may not have to reweigh.

Having 4-corner weights after loading will also enable you to more accurately set your tire pressures using the load/inflation recommendations provided by your tire manufacturer.

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Old 04-23-2011, 08:13 PM   #3
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You may not notice any weight from a handling or performance point of view, but it is wise to try to balance the load as much as possible and to make sure no single axle is overloaded. Your 97 Tropi-cal probably has a front engine, so the storage will be from the front axle back, and the rear axle will be about 2x the carrying capacity of the front. Try to achieve a reasonably even side-side weight distribution. As Paz said, the coach may be unequal even before you load it, so getting a pre-load test weight is a good idea. But you can also load her up and see what gives, then adjust accordingly.

The side with the generator is often heavy, as is a side that has a slide if the opposite side does not.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:54 PM   #4
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on our lil bus
try to weigh it empty first.
no water, just fuel and propane
then you know with a doubt.

i keep the heaviest items centered and to the rear of the basement, which is in front of the rear axle by about 5 feet
then i went and weighed it and found i could move items to the front to put more weight up front, and take some off the rear.

if i put an item that weighs 30 lbs on the one side i try to compensate on the opposite side, just like on the boat. and keeping low as possible for cg

side to side weighing is a BIG plus, having the real weights on all four wheels is a just wonderful
each coach is different.
after you get all the required stuff aboard..... you will know if your good or need to move things around
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