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Old 08-14-2011, 06:11 PM   #1
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I read an interesting thread on another forum about the actual weights on the steer, drive, and tag axles compared to the axle weight ratings and legal limits. It seems that there is a Federal law that limits the weight on any one axle to 20,000 pounds with a 34,000 pound limit if two axles are within a certain distance. It seems that many bus conversions (MCI, Prevost, Wanderlodge, etc.) are having some problems with this.

Assuming that those weight limits actually are the law, do other DP rigs suffer from the same problem, or is it just those with stainless steel sides?

David, kb0zke
Mercury Mountaineer towing mpg 181(both sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 40'
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:57 PM   #2
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I'm not sure where you got your info. Bus conversions almost always have tag axle, so they can and do weigh well above the 34k number you mentioned. As long as any single axle is no more than 20k lbs, they are golden. Heck, my non-tag coach is exempt from the 34k limit because its wheel base is long enough. But I'm still pushing 20k on the rear axle.

What has been a problem is the non-tag coaches. High end rigs of 40 feet were having difficulty staying under the 20k limit for the rear axle and they have had to re-layout the rigs to move weight forward,e.g. move battery compartments to the middle of the coach instead of the rear. That's one of the reasons that 42-43 foot models became popular. The extra 3 feet makes room for a tag without costing storage bay space, and the tag increases the weight limit by as much as 20k lbs. Plus the interior floor plan is 2-3 feet longer as well.

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Old 08-14-2011, 07:16 PM   #3
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Monaco and possibly other manufacturers were building coaches with a 23K# rear axle.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:04 PM   #4
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Gary, I wasn't as clear as I should have been. The 20,000 pound limit is for an axle, and the 34,000 pound limit is for a pair of axles that are 40" or less apart. Neither number is a gross vehicle weight.

Part of the discussion was whether or not a DP with tag axle could have the drive axle over 20,000 pounds even if the drive and tag together were under the 34,000 pounds. Some said yes and some said no. To add to the confusion, some were wondering whether this 34,000 pounds was meant to apply to an RV, or whether it was more for the larger trucks with tandem duals.

Some people reported being turned away from certain toll roads because there is a scale at the toll plaza and they were too heavy.

I guess the lesson for me is to not buy a DP that is so heavy. Judging by some of the prices I've seen, and the comments, I'm thinking that some of those rigs must be priced by the pound.
David, kb0zke
Mercury Mountaineer towing mpg 181(both sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 40'
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:40 PM   #5
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RV's do not fall under certain laws set by DOT. RV's are not a commercial vehicle unless it is bought with that intent and used as such. Most 5 axle tractor and trailers are limited to 12,000 pounds on the steer axle. Some DPs have a front axle rated for 14,000 pounds. This does not mean it is overloaded. Some trucks are rated for 20,000 pounds on the steer.This is spec'd at the time of build and ordered as such. Wheel base is subject to "bridge laws" and almost all 50 states are different. The distance between a set of tandems in the US is different in Canada, and it goes on and on. I have a 42ft with a tag, and as of now I am not worried about what it weighs, I am concerned about my favorite two things on my coach. That is the two front tires, I will not scrimp on those what so ever. I am amused about what can be repeated as truth and what even the DOT can understand about the weight laws of America. I was a truck owner for years and covered 48 states and Canada with overweight, overwidth, and overlength and overheight loads, and sometimes a combination of all at the same time. And even now I hear camp fire engineering that says to let your steer tire pressures down so it will ride better on a 40 ft DP! Sorry, I'll step down now. Thank you
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