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Old 08-21-2016, 08:08 AM   #1
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Maxed Out Towing Capacity

Last week I stopped in a Pilot Travel Center and weighed my fifth wheel on their CAT scale. I unhooked and weighed just my RV. My total weight was 16,800lb fully loaded except for my fresh water tanks which I estimate would be an additional 800lb. My truck is rated to handle 17,100lb.
My questions are does being over my trucks towing capacity by 500lb make me unsafe and are there options for increasing my trucks towing capacity?
Ive read about adding air bags, which the article stated adds 5000lb to your towing capacity.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:26 AM   #2
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What is the GVWR of your truck? That is the magic number that CANNOT be altered without completely re-engineering in your vehicle.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:15 AM   #3
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I don't think being overweight necessarily makes you unsafe as long as you are aware and careful however in a panic stop you will go further than if you were not overweight and your truck will suffer more wear per mile than it should. Suspension and brakes especially will need more maintenance.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:51 AM   #4
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There's more to it then just being over gross combined weight. You need to get your individual truck axle weights when FULLY loaded (water, gear, people, food etc.) for a trip. You could end up being well over your rear axle capacity and not know it, or over your trucks gross weight but still within it's gross combined weight.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:58 AM   #5
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Most of the time the towing weight is determined by the rear gears. If you have 3.73 and go to 4.10 you will get an increase in tow ratings. It's not a safety issue but a mechanical issue. It'll take more work to tow over the ratings as far as cooling is concerned.
Payload in the truck is what really matters. If the trucks under it's GVWR and you're over your tow rating then no biggie as far as safety is concerned. You'll just have to watch your wear and tear on the truck closer. When they change the gears for the tow rating, everything else stays the same. I.E brakes, suspension, cooling, etc.
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Old 08-21-2016, 12:20 PM   #6
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What is your truck? A SRW (single rear wheel)?

If it is, with your Tradition DRV you should probably be in a Dually. With the DRV, your loaded pin weight is around 20% of the trailers GVWR.

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Old 08-21-2016, 03:34 PM   #7
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How long have you been towing this rig? If its been a couple of years and thousands of miles, you have your answer. I've often wondered if the % truck accidents attributable to towing over the stated weight rating exceed those of trucks towing within or below the stated rating.
Personally, I think being over a few hundred pounds is safer than going down the road updating folks on facebook about your trip.
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Old 08-21-2016, 04:16 PM   #8
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File the weights away in the data file, and use your judgement. Obviously, you have been driving the rig... Does it feel unsafe? If not.... Rock on.
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Old 08-21-2016, 04:55 PM   #9
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You have a 2015 Sierra 2500----

You post 'total' at 16,800 but is that total for TRAILER (axle plus pin weight)
Max Two Rating of 17,100# is MFG. Marketing Ploy that is for a base model with 150# driver and 20#cargo
You will run out of payload capacity, most likely trucks GVWR and maybe RAWR long before reaching that magical max tow rating number

Post all of your weight ticket numbers
Truck F/R axle weights......hitched and un hitched
Trailer axle weights

How much is on trucks rear axle hitched up/un-hitched?
What is trucks GVWR and the Axle weight ratings.plus rear tire max load ratings.

Adding air bags do NOT change trucks capacity numbers/ratings..........
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigaugone View Post
Last week I stopped in a Pilot Travel Center and weighed my fifth wheel on their CAT scale. I unhooked and weighed just my RV. My total weight was 16,800lb fully loaded except for my fresh water tanks which I estimate would be an additional 800lb. My truck is rated to handle 17,100lb.
My questions are does being over my trucks towing capacity by 500lb make me unsafe and are there options for increasing my trucks towing capacity?
There are two weight ratings you should be concerned with. GCWR and GVWR. Don't confuse the two. GCWR relates to pulling power. GVWR relates to the amount of weight you can haul on the truck tires.

Your tow rating of 17,100 is not a hard and fast weight limit. The tow rating is the GCWR of the truck minus the weight of the empty truck with nothing in it but a skinny driver. If you don't exceed the GCWR of your truck, then you'll not overheat anything in the drivetrain when climbing normal interstate hills and mountain passes. And you'll not be the slowpoke holding up traffic when climbing those hills and passes.

You can increase the GCWR of your truck by replacing the gear ratio with "shorter legs" to give your drivetrain more leverage when pulling hard. For example, if you have 3.73 ratio, you could replace the ring gear and pinion with a 4.10 or 4.30 and increase your pulling power. Or you can stay away from hills and mountains so you won't need the additional pulling power.

Quote:
Ive read about adding air bags, which the article stated adds 5000lb to your towing capacity.
Someone is mixing up their apples and their oranges. Towing capacity (how much weight your truck can PULL) will not change by adding air bags or other items to beef up the suspension. Air bags will not change your GCWR and tow rating one pound.

[change subject from GCWR to GVWR]

You cannot increase the GVWR of your tow vehicle at a reasonable cost. GVWR minus the weight of the truck = payload capacity. Payload capacity is probably your limiter as to how much trailer you can tow without being overloaded. You cannot increase payload capacity by adding air bags, but you can mask the effects of being overloaded with air bags.

The big effect of an overloaded tow vehicle is a squatting rear end, with headlights aiming at the stars. Pump up the air bags in the rear suspension and you can bring the rear end of the truck back up to normal, and bring the headlights back down to earth. You'll still be overloaded but you won't be waving a red flag in front of every LEO on the highway.

Based on your numbers, your problem is not GCWR (tow rating) but is GVWR (payload capacity).

To help your overloaded truck live a longer life, you need a full set of gauges, and then drive by those gauges. Tranny temp, coolant temp, and oil temp. and some insist on a differential temp gauge. Know the temp red lines, and don't exceed them. For example, the red line for automatic tranny sump temp is 225.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:03 AM   #11
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Hopefully when you dropped your trailer on the scales the landing gear was on the drive axle pads? Could be tad higher than actual pin, but close. Wasted work otherwise.

Full of fuel, loaded with all travel gear and passengers.
At the CAT scale you get 2 tries for $16. It's usually easier to go inside first rather than reach the squawk box.
There's also a CAT app. "Weigh my Truck" that works at most scales. It locates scales for you too.

1. truck & trailer.
2. truck only on same pads. Drop trailer around on the side by scale bay in designated area.

Subtract 2 from 1 and determine the true pin weight. #3____
Compare results to B pillar numbers listed as Max. cap. passengers and equip. payload, (tire pressure sticker). #4_____

subtract 3 from 4 = if it's + you're good. If it's - you got some splain'in to do.

You read the scoop on the bags.

worksheet:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf step_1_fifth_wheel_cat_scale.pdf (102.8 KB, 18 views)
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Old 08-22-2016, 04:27 PM   #12
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Kinda related but not exactly. Does the vehicle weight found on vehicle registration include fuel and driver? I'm getting close on pin weight, people, dogs ect. so wanted to clarify please.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:08 AM   #13
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Load the truck as if you were going to be traveling. Full fuel, tools, people, pets, toys, etc. Subtract the weights on the scale from the GVWR, GAWR (rear axle weight) from the corresponding numbers on the door pillar. The differences are the amounts you should be at or less when you add the trailer.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:54 AM   #14
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The differences are the amounts you should be at or less when you add the trailer.
Correct but the wording might be confusing to newbees..

The difference between GVWR and the actual weight of a wet and loaded tow vehicle (TV) that has single rear wheels, on the 4 tires of the SRW pickup, is the maximum remaining payload available for hitch weight.

The difference between rGAWR and the actual scaled weight on the rear tires of the wet and loaded tow vehicle (TV) tells you the remaining weight you could add to the rear axle of the TV without exceeding the weight capacity of the third member.

Any well-designed TV should run out of GVWR before you run out of rGAWR when towing a properly-loaded tandem-axle trailer, so I tend to ignore rGAWR and concentrate on GVWR and payload capacity. (Payload capacity = GVWR minus the weight of the TV.)
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