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Old 04-03-2015, 06:06 PM   #1
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TT axle and tires below GVWR, is this a problem? Normal?

NOTE: I posted this in the TT section and got little help, someone suggested I post here

I've been shopping for a small travel trailer for a while and have noticed the axle rating is less than the GVWR. The tires are also less than GVWR. The trailer runs close to max load. Should I be concerned and avoid these trailers?

There are two trailers I really liked. Both made by Forest river.

1. Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup 16BHS:

GVWR exactly 3917 pounds
Axle is 3500 pounds.
Hitch weight is exactly 417 pounds.
3500+417=3917

the weight sticker said:

Dry weight is 3212 pounds per the weight sticker.
This trailer has a 32 gallon fresh water tank, 267 pounds per the sticker. So 3479 pounds with just water.

So with a battery and propane, gear, food, and luggage you are well over 3500 pounds. That doesn't leave much margin in the GVWR and exceeds the axle ratings and the tires as well. Tires are 14" Load C 1760 pounds each for 3520 total.

2. Coachmen 17BH

GVWR 3626
Axle is rated 3315 pounds according the decal on the axle. I crawled under this one.
Dry weight is 2900 pounds
Hitch weight 406
tires are 13" load D rated for 1710 each, 3420 total

33 gallon fresh tank on this trailer, 275 pounds.

Is this normal? Should a trailer this weight have a higher rated axle and tires? Seems to me they are underrated components on this trailer. Don't you want more margin in a trailer? Seems like running maxed out is unwise?
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:04 PM   #2
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Some TT, even class A motorhomes for that matter, are near maximum weight allowances before personal items are added.

The two you referenced have GVWR ratings that make sense if you maintain the hitch weight prescribed.
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:22 PM   #3
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Its normal for RV trailers unlike most commercial trailers.

The 1st trailer with a 3917 GVWR may have a 500 lb hitch weight which leaves 3417 on the axle. The 500 lb hitch weight is carried by the tow vehicles rear tires.

2nd trailer with a 3626 GVWR may have a 450 lb hitch weight. That leaves 3176 lbs on the trailers axle.

A multi axle trailer tires slide sideways around corners so more reserve capacity is better. Single axle trailers don't have those "shear" forces at work so more reserve isn't a big deal IMO.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:44 PM   #4
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I would insist on an upgrade on the tires for sure, and maybe upsize the wheels also if space if available.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:53 PM   #5
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I

The 1st trailer with a 3917 GVWR may have a 500 lb hitch weight which leaves 3417 on the axle. The 500 lb hitch weight is carried by the tow vehicles rear tires.
I appreciate your input. I'm new to trailers, not new to trucks and fancy myself a decent shadetree mechanic.

With the situation above, my concern is that it still has 3417 pounds on the tires. The tires are rated for 3410 at max inflation. That seems too close for comfort. All tires lose pressure slowly over time. Say I'm down a few PSI and now the tires are overloaded and start to run hot. That's how people have blow outs no?

I would prefer the tires had more capacity, then it doesn't have to be 100% perfect all the time. I feel like you would need to check the pressure constantly, with no margin for error.
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:26 PM   #6
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I would insist on an upgrade on the tires for sure, and maybe upsize the wheels also if space if available.
Joe
This is what I'm thinking too.

Will the dealer agree to this or will I have to do this at my expense? I would assume the dealer is not going to admit there is anything wrong with the trailer as configured.

Is there a DOT rule (or similar) on tire weight ratings and GVWR?
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Old 04-04-2015, 08:26 AM   #7
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The mfg and thus the dealer are ok with the ratings--just barely. The only leverage you would have is to walk away if they won't help with a tire upgrade. A replacement set of that range/size should be under $500, and the dealer would have the old tires (or you would) to sell.
13s/14s are going to spin somewhat faster than 15s--keep that in mind. How many single axle boat/popup trailers have you seen on the side of the road with a wheel/tire missing? When a single-axle tire fails, there is no second tire to bear some of the load on that side.
I would not back off on gaining some overcapacity with the tires.
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:37 AM   #8
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I was looking at tire sizes. Going from 13" wheels/tires to 14's will add about 2" to the diameter of the tire. I will have to make sure they fit.
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:04 PM   #9
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Trailer tires must meet the GAWR of the axle, not the GVWR of the trailer - because hitch weight that is part of the GVWR is not carried on the trailer tires.

So if your trailer tires have enough weight capacity to handle the GAWR of the trailer, then the dealer (or the trailer manufacturer) probably will not replace the tires with something with more weight capacity.

Back in 2000, my 5er had the same problem as your TT. The tires covered the GAWR but not the GVWR. On the first long trip, I blew out two of the ST205/75R15C trailer tires. I wanted ST225/75R15D or E trailer tires, but that meant I also had to buy new wider wheels. Southwest Wheel has good trailer wheels for about $40 each, so I ordered 5 of them. Then I mounted ST225/75R15D Cooper ST tires (no longer available). The bigger tires rubbed the top of the wheelwell lining on rough ground or when I hit a chughole, but not enough rubbing to damage the tire or the trailer. So I drove it that way. No more trailer tire problems for the next 100,000 miles or so on that trailer

My current TT came with enough weight capacity tires to cover the GVWR. But more weight capacity if better, so I replaced the ST205/75R14C with ST215/75R14C. The stock wheels were okay for the bigger tires, so that was not an expensive project.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:22 PM   #10
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The dealer said they would make me a deal on a set of bigger tires. That is reassuring.

However, I called Coachmen directly and they said they don't know if a bigger tire would fit.

She said multiple times the "the government tells us what size tire and rating to use.".
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:26 PM   #11
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She said multiple times the "the government tells us what size tire and rating to use.".
That's sorta true. The Feds tell them the minimum weight capacity of trailer tires they must use. And they must be "trailer" tires, either light truck (LT) tires certified to be suitable for all-position service, or "special trailer" (ST) tires designed specifically for trailer service.

All-position service includes steer axle, drive axle, and trailer axles. Most LT tires are not certified for all-position service, so ignore those that claim you want to run LT tires on your trailer. The most popular LT tire certified for all-position service is the Michelin XPS. But all the other popular Michelin LT tires such as the LTX are NOT all-position tires, so don't mount them on your trailer.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImagineIF View Post
Some TT, even class A motorhomes for that matter, are near maximum weight allowances before personal items are added.

The two you referenced have GVWR ratings that make sense if you maintain the hitch weight prescribed.
Our 2002 Dutch Star DP had a CCC of 663#'s at delivery before we load anything aboard so yes it does happen, more often on older units as people are becoming more aware of the issue!
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:28 PM   #13
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Saying the govt. made me do it is rather disingenuous IMHO. In both the cases you provide, the mfgrs. are simply trying to get away with the least capable running gear they can for their bottom line. If a buyer buys one of those units and is careful not to overload the trailer, maybe everything will work out fine. But, ST tires are well known to be problematic even under the best conditions, so I believe the running gear should be at the next level up.
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