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Old 07-09-2012, 03:22 PM   #1
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Please help us understand our weight issues!

We're getting ready to take our first long trip in our new 29' travel trailer. We take seriously the weight recommendations, so we loaded our trailer with everything we think we need, and then took it to a scale to be weighed. We thought that would clear everything up, but now we only have more questions.

We understand GVWR (ours is 6695) and dry weight (ours is 5122). That leaves us with a cargo weight of 1573. BUT, we also know that we need to consider our other weights, such as fresh water, including the water that goes into the Hot water heater, and the propane.

We need to calculate in traveling with 20 gallons at most of water (166 pounds). The water heater is 6 gallons (49 pounds). And we have 2 30# propane tanks, each holding about 7 gallons of propane. We realize that we should only fill these up to 80% capacity, but for calculating purposes we'll figure 2 tanks x 7 gallons would weigh about 60 pounds. We're basing these calculations on the fact that water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon, and propane weighs 4.2 per gallon.

So far, so good. It looks like we have a net cargo weight of around 1298 pounds. With our TT loaded, the scale weighed it at 5980 lbs. So it appears okay. Unless we're missing something. Can you verify that we're okay?

We are absolutely positive our tow vehicle is good for this amount of weight, so we don't have any concerns there.

Now comes the part we really don't understand. Axle weight. When we weighed the trailer alone, it said this:
Steer axle 840 lbs
Drive axle 5140 lbs
Trailer axle 00 lbs
Gross weight 5980 obs.

When we weighed the truck alone it said this:
Steer axle 3740 lbs.
Drive axle 3040 lbs.
Trailer axle 00 lbs.
Gross weight 6780 lbs.

When we weighed the truck and trailer together, it said this:
Steer axle 3560 lbs.
Drive axle 3920 lbs.
Trailer axle 5280 lbs.
Gross weight 12,760 lbs.

The specs on our trailer said the GAWR for each axle is 3500.

Can you help us figure out if the axle weight is within limits?

We think we're okay, but we just need to make sure because we'll be doing some mountain driving, and safety is a big concern to us.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! :-)
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and kudos to you for taking such pains to understand the safety aspects of your loading.

All of your early calculations sure look good to me but I'm not a TT guy so will defer to our experts who I'm sure will chime in soon.

Best of luck.

Rick
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddleddd View Post

With our TT loaded, the scale weighed it at 5980 lbs. So it appears okay. Unless we're missing something. Can you verify that we're okay?

We are absolutely positive our tow vehicle is good for this amount of weight, so we don't have any concerns there.

Now comes the part we really don't understand. Axle weight. When we weighed the trailer alone, it said this:
Steer axle 840 lbs
Drive axle 5140 lbs
Trailer axle 00 lbs
Gross weight 5980 obs.

When we weighed the truck alone it said this:
Steer axle 3740 lbs.
Drive axle 3040 lbs.
Trailer axle 00 lbs.
Gross weight 6780 lbs.

When we weighed the truck and trailer together, it said this:
Steer axle 3560 lbs.
Drive axle 3920 lbs.
Trailer axle 5280 lbs.
Gross weight 12,760 lbs.

The specs on our trailer said the GAWR for each axle is 3500.

Can you help us figure out if the axle weight is within limits?
Trailer weighed 5980, it SAYS steer tire - 840, but is probably tongue weight. It SAYS drive axle - but is probably BOTH axles. Then hooked to TV, the trailer axle says 5280 - PROBABLY both trailer axles total with the weight Distribution hitch attatched (thats why it is more than alone). Divide by 2 axles and average is 2640. GAWR trailer is 3500 x 2 = 7000 lbs. MAX! GVWR on trailer is 6695, or 5 lbs less anyway.
As long as your tow vehicle GCWR is above 12760 and GRAW (gross rear axle) is above the weighed 3920, you are good.
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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RickO & NFlcamper..... First let me say that I was afraid nobody would answer my posted question because it is so long. Thanks to you both for wading through it! :-) I'll show these responses to my husband tomorrow, and we'll take another look at the numbers. Yes, I think the weight axle readings we got must have been for 2.....
Makes sense. Thanks so much for your welcome and generous advice.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddleddd View Post
Now comes the part we really don't understand. Axle weight. When we weighed the trailer alone, it said this:
Steer axle 840 lbs
Drive axle 5140 lbs
Trailer axle 00 lbs
Gross weight 5980 obs.
So the hitch weight was 840 pounds, the weight on both trailer axles was 5140, and the gross weight of the trailer was 5980. Since your trailer's GVWR is 6,695, you can still add another several hundred pounds of stuff in the trailer without the trailer being overloaded.

Quote:
When we weighed the truck alone it said this:
Steer axle 3740 lbs.
Drive axle 3040 lbs.
Trailer axle 00 lbs.
Gross weight 6780 lbs.

When we weighed the truck and trailer together, it said this:
Steer axle 3560 lbs.
Drive axle 3920 lbs.
Trailer axle 5280 lbs.
Gross weight 12,760 lbs.
So the front axle weight decreased with the trailer tied on. That indicates you need to tighten up the WD hitch.

Rear axle increased by 880 pounds. That's more than the 840 pounds hitch weight, so there's a bit of leveraging going on. Or else you changed weights in the truck or trailer between those weighings.

Trailer axles increased by 140 pounds, so maybe you had the WD hitch partially tightened, but it was not anywhere near set up right.

With a properly set up WD hitch, the 840 pounds hitch weight should be distributed about 210 pounds (25%) to the front axle, 210 pounds to the rear axle, and 420 pounds (50%) remaining on the ball. Ideal weight distribution would be one third of the hitch weight to each point (33/33/33%) but that's really difficult to achieve, so I'm satisfied with 25/25/50%.

Mine is 35/21/43%, so it's not set up perfectly yet. But I just made a 4,000 mile trip with that setup and it towed great.

Quote:
The specs on our trailer said the GAWR for each axle is 3500.

Can you help us figure out if the axle weight is within limits?
Your combined GAWR is 7,000 pounds, and you had only 5,280 pounds on the combined axles. So trailer axle weight is no problem at all.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:57 AM   #6
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SmokeyWren......excuse our very tardy reply. Thanks so much for your excellent advice (and putting it in terms we can understand!). We sat down together and reviewed everything, and we understand the weight distribution info you described. Also, the suggestion for tightening the WD hitch.....my husband appreciated that suggestion. So now we're ready to go on our first long trip, and we plan to get the trailer loaded and then have it weighed again. Hopefully we can achieve as close to the 33% x 3 proportions you suggest. Thanks SO much!
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:28 PM   #7
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All the theoretical calculations in the world are great
and some, like Smokey, really understand and can explain it

The instructions I got were (assuming TV GCWR etc is suffecient):
1) set up your tow vehicle as if your were ready to tow,
2) measure the front and rear wheel wells to see what the normal stance is
3) load the trailer as if you WERE going camping
4) hook up the trailer with WD hitch
5) adjust hitch such that the wheels well height is close to what it was
6) weight it at a cat scale to verify your settings and safety margin
7) adjust as needed

course I'm a suthern boy that likes things simple
have fun and just tow slowly and carefully until you are comfortable with your setup...

and hook up and walk around at least twice to critically check what you WILL forget
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