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Old 03-23-2012, 07:12 PM   #1
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Weight-distributing hitch, CAT scale, tongue scale, new tow vehicle and RV

Okay, folks, I have the almost new pickup and RV in my sig. Before I hit the road with a wet and loaded trailer, I wanted to see how much wiggle room I have without being overloaded.

F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew Lariat 6.5í bed 4x2Ē 3,15 axle: GVWR 7,100, GCWR 14,000, tow rating 8,400. With Leer topper and Rhino spray-on bedliner and me, full of gas, it weighs 6,040 on the CAT scale. Add two dogs and a toolbox full of tools and it weighs 6,270 before I tie onto the trailer. And Darling Wife isnít in there yet.

Skyline Nomad Joey 196S has a GVWR of 5,600 pounds, and weighs 4,130 with all options and full of butane, but no water or dishes or other camping stuff yet. Sherline trailer tongue scale says the hitch weight at the ball is ~650 pounds, which is a lot more than the "normal" 12 percent.

Without the ďspring barsĒ of the WD hitch attached, the CAT scale says:
3,040 front axle
3,880 rear axle

6,920 GVW compared to 7,100 GVWR
3,480 trailer axles

10,400 GCW compared to 14,000 GCWR


But nobody travels without the WD hitch hooked up, so letís hook it up right and weigh it again:

3,280 front axle
3,520 rear axle

6 800 GVW compared to 7,100 GVWR
3,620 trailer axles

10,420 GCW compared to 14,000 GCWR


So the WD hitch actually transferred 240 pounds of hitch weight from the rear axle to the front axle, transferred 140 pounds from the rear axle to the trailer axles, and left 290 pounds of hitch weight on the rear axle. It would be hard to improve on those numbers.

But weíre not home free by any means. Only 300 pounds more payload until the pickup exceeds the GVWR. Darling Wife is almost half of that. So we have to hope that adding stuff into the camper will not add nuch hitch weight. The black and grey water tanks are behind the rea axle, so it won't be a disaster if we can't find a dump station on the road. The refrigerator/freezer and large closet are behind the trailer axles. So loading those up should reduce hitch weight. But the basement storage and the fresh water tank are in the front, so we must remember to not put heavy stuff in the basement, and haul only enough fresh water to flush the pottie when on the road.

The proof in the pudding will be what the CAT scale reports about halfway into a long RV trip. Stay tuned.
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Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:33 PM   #2
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What rating of spring bars did you get?

I just bought a #800 Reese WD hitch. My new tt (picking up next week) has a dry hitch weight of 520 lbs. TV has a hitch cap. of #1100 with a WD hitch. I have 3 small outside storage areas. The one behind the rear wheels I hope I can use for tools and heavier items. I'm thinking I'll be at 650-700 lbs when loaded....
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superslif View Post
What rating of spring bars did you get?
I already had the WD hitch for my 7k cargo trailer. Reese StraightLine dual-cam with 800# trunion bars. It seems just right for the 5.5k Joey.
Here's one that's close to mine:
Strait-Line Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion Bar - 10,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66083
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren
Okay, folks, I have the almost new pickup and RV in my sig. Before I hit the road with a wet and loaded trailer, I wanted to see how much wiggle room I have without being overloaded.

F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew Lariat 6.5’ bed 4x2” 3,15 axle: GVWR 7,100, GCWR 14,000, tow rating 8,400. With Leer topper and Rhino spray-on bedliner and me, full of gas, it weighs 6,040 on the CAT scale. Add two dogs and a toolbox full of tools and it weighs 6,270 before I tie onto the trailer. And Darling Wife isn’t in there yet.

Skyline Nomad Joey 196S has a GVWR of 5,600 pounds, and weighs 4,130 with all options and full of butane, but no water or dishes or other camping stuff yet. Sherline trailer tongue scale says the hitch weight at the ball is ~650 pounds, which is a lot more than the "normal" 12 percent.

Without the “spring bars” of the WD hitch attached, the CAT scale says:
3,040 front axle
3,880 rear axle

6,920 GVW compared to 7,100 GVWR
3,480 trailer axles

10,400 GCW compared to 14,000 GCWR

But nobody travels without the WD hitch hooked up, so let’s hook it up right and weigh it again:

3,280 front axle
3,520 rear axle

6 800 GVW compared to 7,100 GVWR
3,620 trailer axles

10,420 GCW compared to 14,000 GCWR

So the WD hitch actually transferred 240 pounds of hitch weight from the rear axle to the front axle, transferred 140 pounds from the rear axle to the trailer axles, and left 290 pounds of hitch weight on the rear axle. It would be hard to improve on those numbers.

But we’re not home free by any means. Only 300 pounds more payload until the pickup exceeds the GVWR. Darling Wife is almost half of that. So we have to hope that adding stuff into the camper will not add nuch hitch weight. The black and grey water tanks are behind the rea axle, so it won't be a disaster if we can't find a dump station on the road. The refrigerator/freezer and large closet are behind the trailer axles. So loading those up should reduce hitch weight. But the basement storage and the fresh water tank are in the front, so we must remember to not put heavy stuff in the basement, and haul only enough fresh water to flush the pottie when on the road.

The proof in the pudding will be what the CAT scale reports about halfway into a long RV trip. Stay tuned.
What are your axle weights of the truck without the trailer attached?
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by steeleshark2 View Post
What are your axle weights of the truck without the trailer attached?
I don't have that info for this report when the GVW was 6,270 with two dogs and a toolbox. I do have it without the dogs and toolbox when the GVW was 6,040:

3,200 front axle
2,840 rear axle
-------
6,040 GVW
====
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren

I don't have that info for this report when the GVW was 6,270 with two dogs and a toolbox. I do have it without the dogs and toolbox when the GVW was 6,040:

3,200 front axle
2,840 rear axle
-------
6,040 GVW
====
Yeah, your front axle should read close to the same with and without the trailer. That is a way to tell when your hitch is setup correctly.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by steeleshark2 View Post
Yeah, your front axle should read close to the same with and without the trailer. That is a way to tell when your hitch is setup correctly.
Then mine's not bad. 3,200 on the front axle without the trailer attached, and 3,280 with the trailer and WD hitch cinched up.

Only 3,040 with the 650 pounds of hitch weight but without the WD spring bars tightened, so a weight-carrying (WC) hitch reduces weight on the front axle. I quess that's why towing with a WC hitch makes the tow vehicle seem "squirrely".
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:59 PM   #8
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Then mine's not bad. 3,200 on the front axle without the trailer attached, and 3,280 with the trailer and WD hitch cinched up.

Only 3,040 with the 650 pounds of hitch weight but without the WD spring bars tightened, so a weight-carrying (WC) hitch reduces weight on the front axle. I quess that's why towing with a WC hitch makes the tow vehicle seem "squirrely".
Exactly, without the normal weight on the front, you will induce sway by not being stable in the TV. That is why we all need WD hitches when carrying trailers as much as ours weigh. Based off of your numbers, you are good to go with the WD hitch and spring bars attached with sway control if you just keep an eye on your loaded weight and pack to the back of the trailer. You are about 15% tongue weight which is starting to get on the high side. You will be close to the max of the GVW. The only other thing you can do is not have a full tank of gas (means more stops). When you checked your hitch weight, did you make sure the trailer was level instead of tilted forward? A trailer tilted forward will show more hitch weight on the scale and on the truck.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by steeleshark2 View Post
When you checked your hitch weight, did you make sure the trailer was level instead of tilted forward?
Based on my eyeball, the trailer was level when I weighed the coupler on the Sherline trailer tongue scale. But next time I'll use a 4' carpenter's level on the trailer floor to be certain.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:18 PM   #10
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I plugged in a few of your numbers, but the "unladen/solo" & "laden/solo" axle load values are missing. Just copy and paste (and correct) this for the missing scale ticket and you'll see how it checks against itself (and shows any minor scale discrepancies). The only other addition would be pics of the rig taken on level ground showing hitch rigging, and a farther one with the rig filling the picture (from the side).

The most impressive Internet hitch-ups, we might say, have been with the above where other brains & eyes are checking numbers and hitch adjustments over our shoulder.

(The ever-handy Ron Gratz chart [rv.net]):

TV Adjusted solo/unladen weight:

FA =
RA =

Weighing #1 -- TT attached and Weight Distribution Activated

Let Front Axle Load be "FA1" 3280

Let Rear Axle Load be "RA1" 3520

Let TT Axles Load be "TT1" 3480

Then, while in same position on scales, take
Weighing #2 -- TT attached and Weight Distribution Not Activated

Let Front Axle Load be "FA2" 3040

Let Rear Axle Load be "RA2" 3880

Let TT Axles Load be "TT2" 3620

Then, drive off scales and drop TT. Return to scales and take
Weighing #3 -- TV only -- TT Not Attached

Let Front Axle Load be "FA3"

Let Rear Axle Load be "RA3"

From the above values, you can calculate:

TV weight = FA3 + RA3

Gross Combined Weight = (FA1 + RA1 + TT1)
- should also be equal to (FA2 + RA2 + TT2) if scale weights are correct

[]
[]

TT Weight = Gross Combined Weight - TV Weight

[]

Tongue Weight = (FA2 + RA2) - (FA3 + RA3), or

[]

Load Transferred to TT Axles
when WD System in Activated = TT1 - TT2

[]


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Old 04-13-2012, 06:00 AM   #11
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GCW rating

Hi

We are pulling a 5th wheel that is loaded to within 300 lbs of max GVW.

This thread is about bumper pull but what I received from GM was the following.

When towing you no longer use the GVW rating. You use only the GCW and the axel weight ratings.

Provided you donít exceed the GCW rating or the trailer axel ratings. On the GM light duty trucks when using the bumper pull (receiver from factory) with a properly loaded trailer you will reach the rear axel maximum weight rating before exceeding any of the TV limitations. With a properly installed 5th wheel hitch you will reach the TV front axel rating before exceeding any of the TV limitations. This is from GM and may only apply to the GM light duty trucks. I do know it applies to all heavy-duty trucks regardless of manufacturer.

I have verified this on the scales much to my wifeís chagrin. She was upset that I spent so much time and money ďplayingĒ with weights.

You all donít know how much of a disadvantage you are at when loading you units. When you get into heavy-duty trucks & trailers (80,000 lbs) your trailer axels and 5th wheel hitch are sliders and that makes it easy to get the axel weights correct provided you are not over the GCW.

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Old 04-13-2012, 08:02 AM   #12
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When towing you no longer use the GVW rating. You use only the GCW and the axel weight ratings.

...This is from GM and may only apply to the GM light duty trucks.
I suspect that's not from "GM", but from the village idiot at Government Motors. You won't find that in writing in a GM light truck publication or towing guide.

I don't keep up with Government Motors, but every Ford RV and Trailer Towing guide since 1999 when I first started keeping up with it has included fine print that says, in effect, "Never exceed the GVWR or GCWR of the tow vehicle". The current Ford 2012 RV and Trailer Towing Guide also includes the fine print:

"Addition of trailer tongue (trailer king pin for fifth wheel towing) load weight and load of passengers and cargo must not cause vehicle weights to exceed rear GAWR or GVWR."

But any properly loaded trailer will reach the GVWR limit long before it gets close to the rear GAWR limit. So I normally ignore GAWR and worry about the GVWR limits, because if I never exceed the GVWR, then I'll never exceed the front or rear GAWRs either.

Commercial truck rules are different, established by federal and state Departments of Transportation (DOT) instead of by the engineers at the vehicle manufacturers.

On edit: I surfed the web and found the 2011 Chevrolet Trailering Guide. As I suspected, it includes the following in the fine print:

"RGAWR AND GVWR. Addition of trailer hitch weight cannot cause vehicle weights to exceed Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (RGAWR) or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)."

So my understanding is confirmed: Never exceed the GVWR of your tow vehicle, even if it's produced by Government Motors.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:02 PM   #13
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I suspect that's not from "GM", but from the village idiot at Government Motors. You won't find that in writing in a GM light truck publication or towing guide.

Hi

The GM manuals publish the location for mounting a 5th wheel hitch. The fax the dealer got from GM states that with a 5th wheel hitch installed in the location indicated in their manuals you will not exceed any limitations of the 2009 3500 providing you donít exceed the GCVW rating and any axel rating.

Now I have spent a fair amount of money on a CAT scale and have proven that when I reach the GCVW rating published for the 2009 3500 we reach the front axel weight limitation but not the GVW rating. By removing my self and my wife from the drivers seat and front passenger seat I was able to load 50 LB bags of coal in the basement area until I reached the same weight. The front axel reached it weight limit and the truck was still below the GVW rating by less then 100 lbs. The truck was full of fuel and had the jack spare tire and a torque wrench to check wheel lug nuts with.

So as long as I donít exceed the front axel rating and the GCVW rating I will not exceed any of the ratings for the TV when using a 5th wheel hitch installed in the location GM specifies.

As I stated I didnít check the bumper pull weights because I donít have a bumper pull trailer that weight more than 3,000 lbs.

You can play all of the word games you want but the CAT scale tells all.

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Old 04-14-2012, 07:59 PM   #14
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So as long as I donít exceed the front axel rating and the GCVW rating I will not exceed any of the ratings for the TV when using a 5th wheel hitch installed in the location GM specifies.
Something is fishy. Does GM require the 5er hitch to be located so the center of the kingpin is 2" to 4" in front of the center of the rear axle? That is the industry standard. But if you are hitting the front GAWR before you hit the GVWR of the truck, then your hitch is apparently mounted too far back in the bed. Or else GM has some really goofy GAWRs.

Quote:
You can play all of the word games you want but the CAT scale tells all.


Exactly. Add the front and rear axle weights, and compare the total to the GVWR. If you don't exceed the GVWR of the tow vehicle, then you shouldn't exceed any other weight ratings except maybe the GCWR of some trucks. But you should never exceed either the GVWR or GCWR of any tow vehicle. So says the 2011 Chevy trailer towing guide.
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