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Old 06-01-2011, 01:49 AM   #1
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Comparing TT weights - shopping for used

I am looking for a new (to me) travel trailer, and I want to keep the unloaded weight around 4000 lbs. I am looking at TTs up to 10 years old and comparing them to new.
Is there a reliable way to compare weights? Wasn't it just recently that manufacturers began weighing their individual rigs as they came off the line and posting the result on the label?
Do some or all brands include an estimate of XX lbs water & YY lbs of propane in the weight? When did they start, and is it consistent?
For instance, when I look at a 2012 Coachman 246RK with a base weight of 4305, compared with a 2006 Trail Cruiser 26QBS "dry weight" of 3421, should I really expect the Trail Cruiser to be about 875 lbs lighter? (I know that options make a difference that need to be accounted for.)
Is the NADA guide a better source for direct comparisons than manufacturers specs?
I know taking the unit to the scales is the only real way, but I don't really want to drive 150 miles to look at a trailer that is a lot heavier than I want.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:18 AM   #2
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I think the best way to compare apples to apples is look at Gross Weight. Don't be fooled by dry weight on a TT. That got me in trouble with my TV. You didn't say what you were towing with. That would also help us. In some cases a TT 10 years old could have different construction vs a new model. The dry weight usually doesn't include any options added on like your awning, or LP tanks.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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I agree, use GVWR for comparison purposes. Most RVers are at or over the GVWR. The empty weight is important but the only reliable way to get it is by weighing it. I have seen listings (maybe in Trailer Life) that had a TT with 750lbs carrying cap and another with 4K. The last one was smaller.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:27 PM   #4
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Cliff is absolutely correct about comparing Gross Weight. GW is what you need to decide whether your tow vehicle can pull and stop a trailer. The next important number is hitch (or tongue) weight. Then carrying capacity is the difference between the empty (dry) weight and GW. That number can be a real eye-opener! I've heard that there are some trailers that are at GW when you fill the water and propane tanks.

The size of the trailer doesn't seem to matter as far as weights are concerned. Sometimes a smaller trailer will have a dry weight that is more than that of a larger trailer, and sometimes a smaller one will have a greater carrying capacity. Just get the numbers, do the math, and enjoy the learning. Ask lots of questions, both open-ended and specific, and you will soon get a good feel for what's right for you.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
GW is what you need to decide whether your tow vehicle can pull and stop a trailer. The next important number is hitch (or tongue) weight. Then carrying capacity is the difference between the empty (dry) weight and GW....I've heard that there are some trailers that are at GW when you fill the water and propane tanks.
Which gets me back to my original question (put another way):
Is there any industry standard for posting the empty (dry) weight, and has it changed over the last decade? Gross weight is pretty easy to figure, but I want to know what I can take with me.

My specifics: My tow vehicle is rated to pull 7200 lbs. I'll reduce that by 1000 lbs for us and some normal gear, leaving 6200 lbs. If I expect that water, propane and normal weekend trailer gear is 1000 lbs, that leaves me with 5200 for my trailer. (My hitch is rated for 576 lbs, which enters into the calculations, as you say.)

That's not much, so if we expect to take an extended trip and will be loading it with more than "normal" gear, I want to know what the CCC is.
Which is determined by the empty weight, and I want to be able to compare specs a decade apart.

The reason we are considering moving from my popup to a hard-side is because we want to take extended trips. And no, we're not replacing our tow vehicle. We love our tow vehicle!
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:17 PM   #6
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The federal weight stickers have been around since the mid 1990's They were brought about to disclose to the customer that dry wts did not include water, LPG etc. it also had the wt of said liquids and the GVWR for the TT. These stickers were usually found on the inside of the galley cupboard doors. Sometimes on the wardrobe door. In terms of the "dry weight" there are no standards for this measurement. Some mfgs weigh every unit, some calculate it based on 'typical' wts of parts and materials, and some even use the first production unit for this weight. Usually it does not include any optional equipment - and anything added by the dealer. Your best and only way to know exactly what you are getting is to take it to a scale and weigh it.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:17 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Apprentice;868787]Which gets me back to my original question (put another way):
Is there any industry standard for posting the empty (dry) weight, and has it changed over the last decade? Gross weight is pretty easy to figure, but I want to know what I can take with me.

My specifics: My tow vehicle is rated to pull 7200 lbs. I'll reduce that by 1000 lbs for us and some normal gear, leaving 6200 lbs. If I expect that water, propane and normal weekend trailer gear is 1000 lbs, that leaves me with 5200 for my trailer. (My hitch is rated for 576 lbs, which enters into the calculations, as you say.)

That's not much, so if we expect to take an extended trip and will be loading it with more than "normal" gear, I want to know what the CCC is.
Which is determined by the empty weight, and I want to be able to compare specs a decade apart.

The reason we are considering moving from my popup to a hard-side is because we want to take extended trips. And no, we're not replacing our tow vehicle. We love our tow vehicle![/QUOTE


You may be able to find the info you want on Trailer Life website. They may have info on older TTs. Why is your hitch only rated for 576lbs? Is that all your TV can use? If you are wanting to go up to a 7K TT you will need at min. a 750lb rated hitch and 1000 would be better. As mentioned before, the only reliable way to get the empty weight is to get it weighed. If you find one you like, ask to take it to be weighed. Most towns have a furiture mover, grain elevator or truck stop where you can get it done for probably $10 or less.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Randy the sly old fox View Post
The federal weight stickers have been around since the mid 1990's They were brought about to disclose to the customer that dry wts did not include water, LPG etc. it also had the wt of said liquids and the GVWR for the TT. ..... In terms of the "dry weight" there are no standards for this measurement. Some mfgs weigh every unit, some calculate it based on 'typical' wts of parts and materials, and some even use the first production unit for this weight.
Thanks, Randy. That's what I have been trying to find out!

So the situation hasn't changed, and I can compare 15 years of weight ratings, subject to the same inconsistencies as ever! Right?
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