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Old 06-18-2007, 05:05 AM   #1
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Hi, I am looking at a Fleetwood Elkhorn 8R which is a designed for short bed truck. It's weight full loaded is supposed to be about 2700ibs. I have a Dodge 2500 4x4 with the cummins. I would also like to pull a small utility trailer or a small 2 horse trailer behind it. It appears that I will be way over my spec'd GVWR but seems like alot of folks are with this type of set-up. Any thoughts on this? Trying to figure out if I can go with this set up or if I need to do something different.
Thanks, Phil

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Old 06-18-2007, 12:44 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Seattle area, WA
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Welcome Phil!
Is your truck a short bed? Is your quoted full loaded weight off the RVIA label that's attached to the camper? The answer to those questions will affect the answers you get.

Only you can decide whether you are comfortable with being overweight. As you've noticed, most truck camper owners are overweight and I haven't seen a rash of accidents due to overloaded trucks so it's probably not a big problem. I'm a little over on my truck, but I've got a dually. My camper has a listed wet weight of 3277 lbs and I can tell you that I always go over 4000 lbs when I'm going camping. I've even been up to 4500 lbs. It's truly amazing how quickly all that gear weight adds up. But if you travel with the water tank empty or nearly so and minimize the amount of gear you bring, then you can keep the weight down.

To find out what your true weight capacity is, take your truck to some scales with full fuel and normal gear/passengers loaded. Make sure to get seperate weights for each axle. Subtract your combined weight from the GVWR that's listed on the door jamb to find out what Dodge allows.

Notice I said "Dodge allows" because for non-commercial use there's really no legal limit in most states.
Assuming the Center of Gravity of your proposed camper is above the rear axle, then you can assume that all the camper weight will be on the rear axle. So assuming the back of your truck weighs 3000 lbs empty and the camper with minimal gear weighs 3000 lbs, then you'll have 6000 lbs on your rear axle headed down the road.

What are your tires rated for? That should be your biggest concern because it's so easy to overload the rear tires on a single rear wheel truck when loading a camper. That's where I draw the line for excessive overload - if the tires are overloaded then I'm not going there.

Another consideration is what you want to tow, because you need to add the tongue weight to your loaded rear axle weight. You might find it hard to do what you want to do with your current truck and camper choice. If you had a dually, then there'd be no problem. Or you might need to pick a lighter camper.

Check those weights and run some numbers and let us know how it turns out.


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Old 06-19-2007, 11:57 AM   #3
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If you bought the truck new, you should have the cargo loading capacity and COG page. My Dodge 3500 dually was rated at 2700lbs cargo with a COG (center of gravity) just ahead of the rear axel (according to Dodge's loading page). My Lance was 3200lbs empty and the truck was able to "hold" the weight without a problem. With the camper loaded, the truck was still slightly higher in the rear. The biggest issue for me was the service brakes were not adequate, IMHP, to handle that much weight. I added an exhaust brake that helped provide the additional braking above 25MPH. When I had the camper on the truck, I drove very conservatively and took care to give myself plenty of room to stop. That left room for plenty of jerks that would jump in front of my and remove my breaking room. I really never felt completely at ease while driving the truck with the overload condition. I also have never heard of a specific case of an accident due to overloading.

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Old 06-22-2007, 11:49 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I'm still researching the weights etc but looks like it should be doable if I'm careful about not loading too much etc stuff. The tires are rated for 3200 each so I'm making sure I make it under that limitation for sure. Not sure if there are other E rated tires that are rated higher? I still need to figure out how much trailer weight I will have. It's a tandem axle and it is pretty small so I don;t think it has that much tongue weight.

The exhaust brake is a good idea. I will look into that option.

Thanks for the feedback. It's very useful.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:08 AM   #5
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I don't know if Firestone still makes their Steeltex tire, but they had a 3415 lb rating in the LT265-75-16 size. Back in 2000 that was the highest rated tire available.

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Old 07-06-2007, 07:56 AM   #6
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Above all else you want to be sure you aren't exceeding your tire ratings on the rear axle. Fill it up and weigh it unloaded, then do so again with the camper loaded. See what your rear axle is at. On a single rear wheel truck you're gonna be limited to about 6800 lbs on an E-rated 16" or 17" tire.

If you end up over that, your only real choice is to go to 19.5" wheels and tires. They're pricey, but you could get a 245/75-19.5 G-rated tire that will be good to 9000 lbs.

BTW since you said you wanted to tow a small trailer, you'll need to work your tongue weight into those figures too. So let's say you're at 6000 lbs on the rear axle all loaded up. Now add the trailer and see what happens. You'll probably be close, but not over.

I had a 2000 Lance 1030 that I had on three different Dodge duallies. The camper, all full of gear, water and food was 4500 lbs. I had 7400 lbs on the rear axle of my dually with the camper loaded. Then I added a trailer to that (with the necessary 48" Torklift extension) and my axle weight went up almost 2000 lbs due to the "lever effect" of the hitch extension. I was surprised, but I wasn't over the tire ratings.

I've since sold the Lance and have a 5th wheel now, but I'll admit I'd like another Lance sometime.

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Old 11-01-2007, 07:29 AM   #7
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The BFGoodrich 285/75QR16 All Terrain T/A KO is rated for;Load Index 123 = 3472lbs ( 1578kg) per tire 3750 lbs. at 80 psi
This is what I put on my truck at they have been real good for me because I didn't want to spend the big money for the 19" rims & tires.


Dale & Ellen
2011 Arctic Fox 1150 Truck Camper,2005 Dodge 3500 4X4 Dually W/Cummins, Ranger XP & more...
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