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Old 01-13-2016, 07:47 PM   #1
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New to RV'ing confused on truck class and GCWR

So long story short I landed up at the local RV show and left with a 39' travel trailer.

The facts/numbers.

Truck
GVWR - 9,500 lbs
GCWR - 20,500 lbs
GAWR FRT - 4,800 lbs
GAWR RR - 6,200 lbs
Max Tongue Weight - 1,500 lbs
Convention Hitch Max Trailer Weight - 13,000 lbs

However, the owners manual also shows this, WD Hitch Max Trailer Weight - 18,000 lbs

Trailer
GVWR - 11,155 lbs
Dry Weight - 8,795 lbs
Hitch Weight - 995 lbs

Truck GVWR + Trailer GVWR = GCWR
9,500 lbs + 11,155 lbs = 20,655 lbs - This is more than truck's GCWR of 20,500 lbs. Which I'm okay with 155 lbs over but how does the manual say that I can pull 18,000 lbs with a WD hitch then or even 13,000 lbs with a standard ball hitch but yet 13,000 + 9,500 puts me over GCWR.. I don't quite understand this.

I already have Hellwig helper springs and the Reese strait line (their dual cam model) weight distribution hitch (RP66130 - 15,000 lbs GTW, 1,500 lbs TW) is on the way so that will help me alot I think.

This brings me to my truck weight class. If my combo weight might be 20,655 lbs (GCWR) then I should probably be in weight class 8 (21,001 - 26,000 lbs) even though the truck's GCWR isn't this high (just to be safe)?

I only plan on towing like once a month during the summer months (and its ~72 miles highway) until next year where I'll get a permanent camping site. I just want to safely go camping with the family and not land up with tons of fines.. *sigh*

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:27 PM   #2
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Total weight of Truck + Trailer as scaled should not exceed GCWR of Tow vehicle. In your case 20,500 lbs. ( Scaled weight of both not the weight rating) This rating is important when towing as the two vehicles become one unit. Short answer...thumb:
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
I only plan on towing like once a month during the summer months (and its ~72 miles highway) until next year where I'll get a permanent camping site. I just want to safely go camping with the family and not land up with tons of fines.. *sigh*

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Fines ??
The only fines will be for over a axle/tire load rating.....or your state registration numbers if any.

Your using trucks GVWR plus trailer GVWR as a GCWR and talking about 26000 lb weight class trucks. Have you by chance been reading your state commercial vehicle regulations. If so they don't apply to your private use truck pulling a non commercial trailer.

Sounds like you have a 2500 GM with a 9500 GVWR and a 6200 RAWR. The 6200 RAWR covers the trucks tires/wheels and rear suspension.
These trucks rear axles can weigh in the 2700-2800 lb range which leaves around 3400 lbs for a payload.

You no where close to being overloaded with a 11500 GVWR trailer that may weigh in the 10k-10.5k range.

Before adding any aux suspension help load up make a short trip and then make that decision.

Looks like a good matching combo.
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:54 PM   #4
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You're worried about fines. I'd be worried about the safety of my family. I'm not making a judgement, just reminding people about what is truly important: safety.

Owner's manuals are too often just more marketing dept information and can be way off.

Go weigh that thing. It's a small amount of money to be sure you are OK. I spent $10 to weigh my rig, and I knew beforehand that I wasn't close, but it's really great conficence to know that I am well under my limits at 4820, 4800, and 5100 for the front, rear, and trailer weights, and well under GCWR.
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Old 01-13-2016, 11:06 PM   #5
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Good wdh and you're 2500 will pull the trailer fine. If you're really concerned, get a 3500 drw. I tow my 9200lb 37ft TT with my 2500 and there is absolutely no problems
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Old 01-13-2016, 11:55 PM   #6
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I'd get a Hensley Arrow or Pro Pride hitch for that long of a TT. They cost a lot new but if you can find a used one then it's well worth it. I'd have no problem towing that TT with my Ram 2500 CTD with 9600lb GVW. But I'd for certain make sure I had the best WDH I could find. Even with a DRW that TT will create some issues if not properly setup.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:36 AM   #7
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No way in HE!! I would tow a TT that LONG with any 2500. Too much tail for the Dog.
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Old 01-14-2016, 07:12 AM   #8
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While it is a lot of trailer behind the truck, with my equalizer 4pt dialed in I've had no problems going through mountain passes and getting passed by truckers or inclement weather. I can assure you I know how steady my set up is now after several different trailers and having tow vehicles that had no business pulling them
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:34 AM   #9
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Towing 101


Quote:
The facts/numbers.

Truck
GVWR - 9,500 lbs
GCWR - 20,500 lbs
GAWR FRT - 4,800 lbs
GAWR RR - 6,200 lbs
Max Tongue Weight - 1,500 lbs
Convention Hitch Max Trailer Weight - 13,000 lbs

However, the owners manual also shows this, WD Hitch Max Trailer Weight - 18,000 lbs
GVWR of the truck is probably your limiter as to how heavy a trailer you can tow without being overloaded. But it might be the max tongue weight of your receiver hitch.

Crawl under the truck and look up at the frame of the receiver. Find the sticker that tells max WC and WD tongue weights. With a good WD hitch, the tongue weight max WD might be your limiter.
Quote:
Trailer
GVWR - 11,155 lbs
Dry Weight - 8,795 lbs
Hitch Weight - 995 lbs
Dry hitch weight percent of dry trailer weight is a good indicator of the percentage of wet and loaded tongue weight you will have. Average tongue weight percent is about 12.5%, which is about what you can expect with that trailer. If you load the trailer to about 10,500 pounds, then you’ll have tongue weight of about 1,300 pounds. Add another 75 pounds for the weight of a good WD hitch and you can have total hitch weight of about 1,375 pounds. That’s less than the 1,500 pounds max hitch weight your hitch can have, so you’re within your hitch limits.

Truck GVWR of 9,500 pounds minus 1,375 hitch weight = 8,125 pounds max the truck can weigh before you tie onto the trailer. That means you cannot haul all the tools and people and campfire wood you might want to haul without exceeding the payload capacity of your truck.

That 8,125 pounds max weight on the 4 pickup tires is probably your limiter. Use the CAT scale religiously if you don’t want to be overloaded.

Quote:
Truck GVWR + Trailer GVWR = GCWR
Not exactly. That counts tongue weight twice. More exact would be truck GVWR plus trailer combined GAWR = GCW. GCW should be less than the GCWR of your tow vehicle.

Quote:
9,500 lbs + 11,155 lbs = 20,655 lbs - This is more than truck's GCWR of 20,500 lbs. Which I'm okay with 155 lbs over…
But 20,655 minus tongue weight of 1,375 is 19,280, or well below the 20.500 max.

But the GCWR is an indicator, not a limiter. The GCWR tells you how much weight your drivetrain can PULL without overheating anything in the drivetrain, and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic when climbing steep grades. But in cooler weather and towing on the plains, you can tow heavier with no concerns – provided you watch the gauges and don’t allow anything to overheat. The automagic tranny temp gaauge is the most important gauge to watch closely and don’t allow the tranny to get too hot. But also keep an eye on the coolant temp gauge.

Quote:
… but how does the manual say that I can pull 18,000 lbs with a WD hitch then or even 13,000 lbs with a standard ball hitch but yet 13,000 + 9,500 puts me over GCWR.. I don't quite understand this.
You’re assuming that GCWR is a limiter. It’s not. Ignore the “tow rating” which is based on the GCWR and be concerned with the payload rating, or maybe the hitch rating. The payload rating is the GVWR minus the weight on the 4 tires of the wet and loaded tow vehicle. If you don’t exceed the payload rating, if your drivetrain doesn’t ovedheat when towing, and if you have enough power and torque to satisfy your druthers, Then your trailer is not too heavy for your tow vehicle.

Quote:
I already have Hellwig helper springs and the Reese strait line (their dual cam model) weight distribution hitch (RP66130 - 15,000 lbs GTW, 1,500 lbs TW) is on the way so that will help me alot I think.
The helper springs will mask the symptoms of being overloaded – i.e., the headlights blinding oncoming drivers at night, and they will help hide the squat that 1,375 pounds of hitch weight will have, but they won’t do anything to fix your overloaded status. The Reese Strait-Line WD hitch will control trailer sway under most conditions, but it won’t do anything to fix an overloaded hitch or the rear suspension of your tow vehicle.

Quote:
This brings me to my truck weight class. If my combo weight might be 20,655 lbs (GCWR) then I should probably be in weight class 8 (21,001 - 26,000 lbs) even though the truck's GCWR isn't this high (just to be safe)?
Nah, you’re confusing GVWR and GCWR. Truck class is determined by GVWR, not GCWR. Your so-called three-quarter-ton pickup is a class 2 truck, such a GM and Ram 2500, with GVWR between 8,600 and 10,000 pounds. A class 1 truck such as the F-150 and GM 1500 has GVWR less than 8,600 pounds. So-called mid-sized or compact pickups such as the Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado are less than a class 1 truck.

Quote:
I only plan on towing like once a month during the summer months (and its ~72 miles highway) until next year where I'll get a permanent camping site. I just want to safely go camping with the family and not land up with tons of fines.. *sigh*
You shouldn't have any reason to get a ticket and fined if you limit the weight in the truck so it doesn’t exceed 8,125 pounds before you tie onto the trailer.

Quote:
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Weigh your wet and loaded truck to see where you stand. If it grosses more than 8,125 with you and all the people, pets, tools, campfire wood, WD hitch, and a full tank of gas before you tie onto the trailer, then get rid of some weight on the truck.

Then after you tie onto the wet and loaded trailer, weigh the rig again. Add the weight on the front and rear axles and be sure it doesn’t exceed 9,500 pounds.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
but how does the manual say that I can pull 18,000 lbs with a WD hitch then or even 13,000 lbs with a standard ball hitch but yet 13,000 + 9,500 puts me over GCWR.. I don't quite understand this.
You don't HAVE to max out the truck. Your actual truck's weight will be somewhere between the curb weight, and 9500. You can, by the book, tow to up to 18,000 lbs IF your truck is not loaded to max, you're still under all your axel weights and payload limits. For instance, hauling a flat bed trailer full of steel pipes.

Most TTs will eat up your payload or rear axle limits first, because 12% of 18000 is 2160. 12% of total TT weight on the tongue is recommended for stability and sway control.

If your max tongue weight is 1500, then the heaviest TT you can tow with 12% on the tongue is 12,500 based on that limit. There may be other limits that are exceeded sooner (GVWR, Axle ratings, Payload).
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
GVWR of the truck is probably your limiter as to how heavy a trailer you can tow without being overloaded. But it might be the max tongue weight of your receiver hitch.

Crawl under the truck and look up at the frame of the receiver. Find the sticker that tells max WC and WD tongue weights. With a good WD hitch, the tongue weight max WD might be your limiter.


Dry hitch weight percent of dry trailer weight is a good indicator of the percentage of wet and loaded tongue weight you will have. Average tongue weight percent is about 12.5%, which is about what you can expect with that trailer. If you load the trailer to about 10,500 pounds, then you’ll have tongue weight of about 1,300 pounds. Add another 75 pounds for the weight of a good WD hitch and you can have total hitch weight of about 1,375 pounds. That’s less than the 1,500 pounds max hitch weight your hitch can have, so you’re within your hitch limits.
Truck GVWR of 9,500 pounds minus 1,375 hitch weight = 8,125 pounds max the truck can weigh before you tie onto the trailer. That means you cannot haul all the tools and people and campfire wood you might want to haul without exceeding the payload capacity of your truck.

That 8,125 pounds max weight on the 4 pickup tires is probably your limiter. Use the CAT scale religiously if you don’t want to be overloaded.


Not exactly. That counts tongue weight twice. More exact would be truck GVWR plus trailer combined GAWR = GCW. GCW should be less than the GCWR of your tow vehicle.

9,500 lbs + 11,155 lbs = 20,655 lbs - This is more than truck's GCWR of 20,500 lbs. Which I'm okay with 155 lbs over…
But 20,655 minus tongue weight of 1,375 is 19,280, or well below the 20.500 max.

But the GCWR is an indicator, not a limiter. The GCWR tells you how much weight your drivetrain can PULL without overheating anything in the drivetrain, and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic when climbing steep grades. But in cooler weather and towing on the plains, you can tow heavier with no concerns – provided you watch the gauges and don’t allow anything to overheat. The automagic tranny temp gaauge is the most important gauge to watch closely and don’t allow the tranny to get too hot. But also keep an eye on the coolant temp gauge.
Quote:
… but how does the manual say that I can pull 18,000 lbs with a WD hitch then or even 13,000 lbs with a standard ball hitch but yet 13,000 + 9,500 puts me over GCWR.. I don't quite understand this.

You’re assuming that GCWR is a limiter. It’s not. Ignore the “tow rating” which is based on the GCWR and be concerned with the payload rating, or maybe the hitch rating. The payload rating is the GVWR minus the weight on the 4 tires of the wet and loaded tow vehicle. If you don’t exceed the payload rating, if your drivetrain doesn’t ovedheat when towing, and if you have enough power and torque to satisfy your druthers, Then your trailer is not too heavy for your tow vehicle.

The helper springs will mask the symptoms of being overloaded – i.e., the headlights blinding oncoming drivers at night, and they will help hide the squat that 1,375 pounds of hitch weight will have, but they won’t do anything to fix your overloaded status. The Reese Strait-Line WD hitch will control trailer sway under most conditions, but it won’t do anything to fix an overloaded hitch or the rear suspension of your tow vehicle.


Nah, you’re confusing GVWR and GCWR. Truck class is determined by GVWR, not GCWR. Your so-called three-quarter-ton pickup is a class 2 truck, such a GM and Ram 2500, with GVWR between 8,400 and 10,000 pounds. A class 1 truck such as the F-150 and GM 1500 has GVWR less than 8,400 pounds. So-called mid-sized or compact pickups such as the Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado are less than a class 1 truck.



You should have any reason to get stopped and fined if you limit the weight in the truck so it doesn’t exceed 8,125 pounds before you tie onto the trailer.



Weigh your wet and loaded truck to see where you stand. If it grosses more than 8,125 with you and all the people, pets, tools, campfire wood, WD hitch, and a full tank of gas before you tie onto the trailer, then get rid of some weight on the truck.

Then after you tie onto the wet and loaded trailer, weigh the rig again. Add the weight on the front and rear axles and be sure it doesn’t exceed 9,500 pounds.
Thanks for all that.

I thought once you have a trailer, you have to get a truck weight class sticker for the combination weight of the truck and trailer. Which I would need to be in class 7. No?

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/dv...rms/mv-70s.pdf
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Old 01-14-2016, 02:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublejz View Post
I thought once you have a trailer, you have to get a truck weight class sticker for the combination weight of the truck and trailer. Which I would need to be in class 7. No?

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/dv...rms/mv-70s.pdf
Pennsylvania weight class has nothing to do with the normal use of the phrase "weight class" of a truck. There are only eight normal classes of trucks, 1 thru 8, then the extra-heavy-duty off-road classes of 9 and 10. Class 1 is a so-called half-ton pickup. Class 8 is an OTR tractor for an 18-wheeler rig. Any truck between those two weight classes are in classes 2 thru 7, with 2 being a so-called three-quarter-ton truck, 3 being a so-called one-ton truck, etc.

I use the term "so called" because the names have not been accurate for years. A three-quarter ton truck would have a payload capacity of 1,500 pounds, but lots of modern half-ton pickups have more than that. Some new F-150s have payload capacity in excess of 2,000 pounds, but we don't call them a one-ton truck.

Only folks familiar with the unique requirements of PA can respond accurately to your questions. PA has 25 classes of trucks, and the PA class determines the license plate fees the state will collect. Those classes do not apply anywhere except in PA.
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