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Old 06-20-2014, 11:30 AM   #1
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Newbie - TT Max Weight Question

Hey everyone, I am new to the forum and fairly new to TTs. I bought my truck prior to the thought of purchasing a TT - my wife went camping last weekend with some friends and is fired up about purchasing an RV. We have 2 sons (11/5) and a dog.

I am getting confused with the different weights listed and some of the online calculators, what I want to know is what would be the maximum trailer weight that I can pull (I will add a safety factor as I won't max out my capacity), or maybe someone can give me an "RV Weight for dummies" version. I haven't started looking at TTs and don't plan on buying a new truck anytime soon, I would imagine at least 1 trip a month, probably 2 at the most. I will be using weight distribution/sway control so any advice on those as well would be great. Most of the TT sites I have looked at show an Unloaded Vehicle Weight, Dry Hitch Weight, and some show a GVWR for the trailer. Hopefully I have given enough information about my truck.


2013 Black RAM 1500 Express | Special Edition Truck | RAM Trucks- Ram 1500 Express Special Edition crew cab short box - 5.7 Hemi, 3.55 gears, 6spd trans, 4x4, tow package, 4/7pin connections, heavy duty transmission cooler. GVWR - 6900lbs, Max payload 1660lbs. Max tow published for truck is 10,350

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Old 06-20-2014, 12:11 PM   #2
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You are wise to want to get it right. First a couple of things to keep in mind: Trailer weights are almost always wrong. Their 'dry weight' often doesn't include air conditioners, awnings, jacks, etc. Best is to tow it to a scale and weigh it. Check the axle ratings on the trailer. Many trailer makers put undersized axles on that can't really handle a typically loaded trailer. Also load truck with all the 'toys' and people you'd take on a camping trip and weigh it. You'll find out how much reserve you have.

After gathering information on various trailers, I'd use this calculator to help you decide.
Travel Trailer Weight Calculator
If you don't understand some of the acronyms used in the calculator, you can find many web sites that explain them.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:39 PM   #3
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The numbers you need are found on the door jam of your truck and at a scale where you need to weigh your truck to get it's actual weight.

"GVWR - 6900lbs, Max payload 1660lbs. Max tow published for truck is 10,350"

Max tow is a number that you would only get to, if you were towing a 4 wheeled farm trailer where the tongue weight was only that of the connecting hitch and the trailers front weight was supported by the trailers front wheels. OR if you towed a truck connected by a tow bar.

GVWR - the manufacturers limits for your trucks max weight with passengers, fuel, and any other things you carry in the truck INCLUDING the tongue weight of your trailer.

Max Payload 1660lbs - the max you can carry in the cab, bed and tongue weight combined BUT only takes into consideration a 150lb driver! So, anything you weigh over 150lbs must be deducted from this weight.

GVWR minus Max Payload should = trucks weight, BUT doesn't include any options added to the truck. Therefore, the max payload isn't an exact number for all these trucks since they are not all optioned alike. GVWR minus trucks actual weight (WITH full tank, driver, passengers, and anything in it like tool box, tools or topper) = your payload. This will be your limiting factor. It will let you know what the max tongue weight can be.

You need to locate your trucks GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) on the door jam, it is what your truck is rated - total weight of truck and trailer COMBINED! Take the total, and subtract the trucks actual weight (remember - truck, fuel, family, tools and all) to get the trailer GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating - NOT dry weight) you will be looking for.

You will need to look for a TT that has a GVWR (the Max it can weigh) that is less than what is left on the CGWR of the truck, remember your family grows, not shrinks each year! Most people are shocked to find out that they need a smaller trailer, or a bigger truck to be within manufacturers guidelines. Sure you will see others exceeding the limits, BUT - do you want to put your family at risk?
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:23 PM   #4
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usually the GCWR is not on the door jam, just the GAWR and the trucks GVWR.
The GCWR is found in the owners manual.
The hitch weight on most travel trailers is 12 to 15%, so use 15% of the trailers GVWR and add this weight to the weight of the truck, it needs to be at or under the trucks GVWR, if you are ok ere, then check your GCWR to make sure that you are at or under that weight, which is the total of the truck scaled weight and the trailers scaled weight.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:20 PM   #5
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Looking at the 2013 Ram Body Builders Guide http://www.rambodybuilder.com/2013/d...ammlup1500.pdf
shows a 10xxx lb tow rating with 3.92 gears.

Your trucks 3.55 gears has up to a 8800 lb tow rating (see page 7).

GCWR isn't placarded on our trucks nor is it a requirement. Your truck shows to have a 14150 lb GCWR from the builders guide.
Your truck won't have any issues pulling a 8xxx lb trailer but you will have to watch hitch weights on those small 3900 lb RAWR/P tires.

I recommend weighing the trucks front and rear axles separately with all the folks and dogs and gear you will carry in the truck when towing. Then you have some numbers to figure the trucks max load carrying ability and can make a decision on how much hitch load you want to deal with.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:50 PM   #6
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Everything the guys above said. Probably restating a number of things but this is how I would get some quick numbers.

For a quick estimate of how much you can tow I would load your truck up with all of the stuff you plan to carry (DW, kids, dog, bicycles, extra propane tanks, etc) and head over to a weigh scale.

Weigh the truck front axle, rear axle and total weight. At some point you will have to add about 150 lbs for the reciever and tow bar you will have to add to tow the trailer.

1) Add the 150 lbs to the total weight of the truck and subtract that from the GVWR. This is the amount of additional weight you can carry.

2) Add the 150 lbs to the rear axle weight and subtract that from the GAWR - rear. That will give you the amount of extra weight you can add to the rear axle.

Take the less of the amount left from the GVWR (1) calculation or the GAWR (2) calculation and divide that number by 0.15. That will give you a recommended approximate GVWR for a trailer you can safely pull.

As a final step you can check the estimated weight of the trailer added to the total weight of the truck plus the estimated weight of the hitch (150 lb) and check to see if it is at or less than the GCVW.

Note: The 150 lbs is a guess. You can look around for a more precise number if the numbers get really tight.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:54 AM   #7
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Satisfy your wife.
Happy wife, happy life.
She will not like you if you get less trailer then her friends.
I have seen it to often.
Be safe and happy camping.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:30 PM   #8
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So I hit a CAT scale today, full tank of gas ( I have a 32 gallon tank upgrade....)and me in the truck - nothing else - front axle 3160, rear axle 2480 - total 5640 - Andersen WD hitch (with sway and bounce control) 60lbs.

2 TTs currently shopping: Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite 2703WS and Rockwood Windjammer 2809 - we think rather than bunks we would like the boys to have beds (although 1 is a U shaped dinete and the other a sofa) for us it makes sense, plus I found out the RV my wife was in was the 2703WS. What yal think...I am pushing it with these 2 floorplans???

Thanks for your help
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swanny297 View Post
So I hit a CAT scale today, full tank of gas ( I have a 32 gallon tank upgrade....)and me in the truck - nothing else - front axle 3160, rear axle 2480 - total 5640
So that already limits your capacities by more than 600 lbs. from your first posting info. About 1000 lbs left to go and you have to add wife, kids, dog, and the trailer tongue weight.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:14 AM   #10
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I've been in similar situation same truck and slightly larger trailer (flagstaff classic superlite GVWR=8650) and I have 2 more kids. The truck has plenty of engine. But its rear suppesnsion is the weak part. When I would hitch up, the truck would sag its ass way low. I did do about 8000 miles in that combonation, for two years, then this year I upgraded to a 2500 with diesel power. Huge difference in the two trucks. But my truck is not a daily driver, and when its empty it beats your body up, so having a light duty truck if daily driver I think is an important consideration. Another interesting difference between 1500 and 2500 with same trailer, the weight distribution hitch on the 1500 truck make a terrible amount of noise while on the 2500 it makes very little noise, i believe this is do to the softer susppension on the 1500 and more articulation the hitch has to go through on account of it.

The two campers you suggested have about 1000 pounds less than mine and i had more passangers. So I'm confident you could make either combination work. You have to manage what you take. For example keeping water to a minimum and fewer toys in the back of the truck (bikes etc).

FYI towing with that truck and trailer combination my typical MPG was 8. I believe greatest factor is the wind resistance that tall trailer has and weight is less a factor. Also this is my second Forest River Product and I have been pleased with thier products. My two biggest issues are: in the first camper the workers left a bunch of loose staples in the cavity of the ceiling and this shorted out electrical and took multple trips to dealer to figure out problem. In my second camper 3 of the 4 tires have failed me in less than two years, not road stuff but total failure.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:52 PM   #11
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Isn't to fix the weight issues on the back axle is the W/D system. To distribute the weight evenly across all axles?
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:18 PM   #12
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A weight distributing hitch helps shift a little weight towards the front, but it doesn't increase capacity. Tires, axles, and BRAKING are all still the same, regardless of spring bars, chains, and the W/D hitch. The weight of the W/D hitch is over 100-200 lbs.

Just sayin' --- You can't fool Mother Nature and her laws of physics.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:23 AM   #13
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That makes sense. Maybe that's why I didn't get a degree in physics. Lol. But you must agree someone with little knowledge would think lifting weight off the back end and distribute it evenly would allow more weight to the rear of the truck. But at the end of the day the total weight doesn't change. I get it now.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:45 AM   #14
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A W/D hitch can't lift the weight off the rear axle, it actually uses the rear axle as a fulcrum to lever some of the downward force from the bumper hitch to the front with spring bars. The hitch is pulled up, pivots on the rear axle, and pushes down on the front axle. While it makes the TV level out a bit and stop startling raccoons and waking birds in the trees with the headlights, it's not a real solution to being over axle or tire weight capacity.
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