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Old 10-22-2004, 04:59 PM   #1
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Can you hear me now? If I understand correctly I need to load up my tow vehicle as if I'm ready to go camping. Then drive it over to a public scale and get it's weight. Using the resulting weight I subtract it from the TV's published GVWR to determine it's weight surplus. This surplus is to be used as a guide in selecting what fifth wheel I can haul. Oh yeah I also have to consider the weight of the fifth wheel hitch I'll have to get if I buy a 5er. Now we are told RV mfgs weight specs are typically on the low side of real numbers. This plus the fact that us campers are going to add a bunch of stuff to cause the weight to go up some more. Then we are told the only good way to determine if your rig is overloaded is to go back to that scale place again. One can't actually do that without owning the trailer in question as far as I know. This all sound like the biggest guessing game ever. You can't really trust your fellow campers judgement, because so many don't bother with this weight stuff, and just drag whatever they own with what ever they own. Oh yeah I haul a 38ft triple slide 5er with the cast iron holding tank option, with cousin Billy's ole 1/2 ton. This seems like a nightmare unless one just buys the biggest tow vehicle available, and basically opens up their choices to a wider range of trailers. What does a potential 5th wheeler (like me) do if they are driving a more intermediate TV such as a 2500 diesel for example. Do you just jump in the game, and hope the scale is friendly to you? Then if your not so lucky just start emptying out until the numbers go good. Or is that the way many of the overloaded rigs started out, and finally they are just gonna haul the thing and hope for the best. Will their insurance man be their friend after an accident involving that way too heavy setup? How about the lawman, certainly he will understand how the weight game got to them. I really want to have a much better understanding of this Russian roulette RV weight fiasco. If you choose to respond please don't tell me that you pull a whatever with a such an such and never had a problem. That will only add to the confusion. There must be a reliable way of hitting the numbers without having to buy it then weight it etc, etc, etc.....

BigBob....I only know what I weight...
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Old 10-22-2004, 04:59 PM   #2
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Can you hear me now? If I understand correctly I need to load up my tow vehicle as if I'm ready to go camping. Then drive it over to a public scale and get it's weight. Using the resulting weight I subtract it from the TV's published GVWR to determine it's weight surplus. This surplus is to be used as a guide in selecting what fifth wheel I can haul. Oh yeah I also have to consider the weight of the fifth wheel hitch I'll have to get if I buy a 5er. Now we are told RV mfgs weight specs are typically on the low side of real numbers. This plus the fact that us campers are going to add a bunch of stuff to cause the weight to go up some more. Then we are told the only good way to determine if your rig is overloaded is to go back to that scale place again. One can't actually do that without owning the trailer in question as far as I know. This all sound like the biggest guessing game ever. You can't really trust your fellow campers judgement, because so many don't bother with this weight stuff, and just drag whatever they own with what ever they own. Oh yeah I haul a 38ft triple slide 5er with the cast iron holding tank option, with cousin Billy's ole 1/2 ton. This seems like a nightmare unless one just buys the biggest tow vehicle available, and basically opens up their choices to a wider range of trailers. What does a potential 5th wheeler (like me) do if they are driving a more intermediate TV such as a 2500 diesel for example. Do you just jump in the game, and hope the scale is friendly to you? Then if your not so lucky just start emptying out until the numbers go good. Or is that the way many of the overloaded rigs started out, and finally they are just gonna haul the thing and hope for the best. Will their insurance man be their friend after an accident involving that way too heavy setup? How about the lawman, certainly he will understand how the weight game got to them. I really want to have a much better understanding of this Russian roulette RV weight fiasco. If you choose to respond please don't tell me that you pull a whatever with a such an such and never had a problem. That will only add to the confusion. There must be a reliable way of hitting the numbers without having to buy it then weight it etc, etc, etc.....

BigBob....I only know what I weight...
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Old 10-22-2004, 09:03 PM   #3
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.....make the weight issue part of the sales contract....they achieve the desired weight or you walk with all your money.....anotherwords they got to bend over for your money or you smile and walk out their front door-with all your money....anything else now would would be foolish-and you ain't no fool.....Correct?.....geof
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:08 PM   #4
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BigBob,

It is not as difficult as it sounds. Just like you said, load up the truck as you would for travel and weight the thing. You already know to subtract that weight from the published weight rating and the difference is how much weight you can put over the rear axle before it is overloaded.

As for the 5vr,as a part of the deal you have the dealer weight the camper and get the gross weight and the pin weight. you can factor in the weight of propane, batteries and water then allow a little space cushion on that. I had the dealer I bought my 5vr from weigh it so I would know the true weights before I signed the contract. If they dont want to do it, walk away.

As for running overloaded, that is your choice. Just beware of the consequences, ie. your tow vehicle wearing out faster, getting a ticket if you are stopped and directed to a scales or worse.

I bought my 3/4 ton diesel before thinking about any of this and had to be very conscience of weights when I did buy my 5vr. If I had to do it again, I would have bought a 1 ton and had a few more options open to me when looking for a 5vr. Yes, ther are quite a few rigs rolling down the road that are too heavy for what they are being towed with. Maybe the drivers are in ignorant bliss and unaware of the potential safety hazards that they create by being over weight.

Again, it's your decision to make. Good luck and happy camping.

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Old 10-23-2004, 06:25 AM   #5
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Check out the webpage in my signature on RV weights.

Rule of thumb is, be condervative in all your estimates as things add up faster than you can imagine. Good luck and congrats on doing your homework.
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Old 10-23-2004, 11:42 AM   #6
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IMO if you have a ton, obviously a 30 foot triple slide is out of the question.

If the 5vr is figured to weigh 13,000 pounds (with stuff) and your truck can pull up to 12,500 empty, don't bother getting it.

If the 5vr max weight (with stuff) is 2 3,000 pounds less then the top rating of what your truck can pull, and there isn't excess stuff in the front bedroom of the 5vr (Slide, closets, pool, bowling alley, water bed or big screen TV) you should be ok unless you are going to load up the back of your truck with bricks, cement, a couple yards of dirt, or what ever.

Most people that I know, can pull an average 30 foot 5vr, one slide over the axel, with a SWR 1 ton diesel over the black hills with out much issue.

I know other people that have no issue with a 26 foot 5vr (no slide) and a ton gasser and travel up some good inclines without worries. As a matter of fact, this guy decided to also pull his small fishing boat it performed that good.

I have a SWR F350 diesel and a run of the mill 26 5vr (no slide). The truck is over-kill for this set-up, but I also plan to haul this setup over mountains, hills and anything else I can find.

I would never pull any fiver, with my F350 that had...
" 3 axels
" more then one slide
" The slide needs to be over the axels
" More then 30 foot long

My point common sense will take you a long way. Being marginally over the "rule of thumb" is not the issue. It's the people I see, all the time, that are obviously towing a camper that is way oversized for their TV (i.e. 30 foot 5vr with ton truck no kidding!!)
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Old 10-23-2004, 12:54 PM   #7
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I have never found the weight thing to be that much of a problem. We have a lot of vertical real estate in my neck of the woods. Buying ANY combination that is close enough to even need to get out the brochures is too close IMHO. If the combination is close enough to maximums that you have to get down to weighing it exactly to find out "for sure," then IMHO it's too close to begin with. In order to provide sufficient "cushion" if one is in the mtns a lot, it pays to pick combinations based on needing to be able to handle 8% grades on 100 degree days. Picking at pounds here or there is not where I come from. I want to overshoot by so much that I know I am under maxes by several thousand. I am aware that others want to slide right in at the maxes... but that's just not me. I see lots of folks hauling really large fivers with pickups and it makes me cringe. Having said that, yes, I do weigh my TT because they tend to gain weight over time. I know before I weigh that I am way under the truck's maxes even if the TT is at max GVWR. I weigh to confirm where I really am... but I don't worry about advertised weights all that much.
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Old 10-23-2004, 03:34 PM   #8
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2003 2500HD with the Durmax hauling a 34' 3" Montana and not an ounce overweight.

The 2955RL is listed at 32' but when actually measured from nose to ladder it is 34' 3". It rig has 2 slides, bedroom and livingroom.
I have hauled this rig up hill and down through the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York with ZERO problems. On most inclines I maintained the speed limit and only a couple did I drop below 50 and never below 45. On the down side I kicked it into tow/haul and took the decline with ease.
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Old 10-23-2004, 03:37 PM   #9
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After weighing your truck I would shop for 5ers by looking hard at their GVWR. I would use the trailer GVWR as it's weight in determining if you will be over your truck's GCWR. Use 20% 5er GVWR as your pin weight in determining if your truck will be over it's GVWR. You are likely to reach your truck's GVWR before you reach the GCWR.
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Old 10-24-2004, 06:03 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Glenn & Lorraine:
2003 2500HD with the Durmax hauling a 34' 3" Montana and not an ounce overweight. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Just curious - what is your truck's GVWR, and what is the actual scale weight of the truck with the 5th wheel hitched up, with full fuel tanks and with driver and passengers?

Rusty
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Old 10-24-2004, 07:39 AM   #11
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I have heard of truck scales being opened up to include RVs. I have also heard of trailers being unhooked (behind the scales) and the owner told to return with a tow vehicle that is legal to tow that trailer. I personally don't need that situation!!!

My main concern is LIABILITY!!!!!!!!!!! In case of accident, if it is determined your outfit was in fact over weight, the accident is usually determined to be your fault!!! I personally don't need that situation either!!!

If in fact you are at fault (over weight and out of control), You may no longer own that TRUCK, TRAILER, OR YOUR HOUSE!!! So says the judge!! HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My signature outfit is BARELY legal, with fuel and generator, and ready to go. Full of water, just over!!

I just feel better. About to order a new truck and it will be a 350 for the same rig.
For what its worth!
Billy M
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Old 10-24-2004, 11:51 AM   #12
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RustyJC,
I'm interested in those weight specs too. Just happens we were at Arlington RV in Warwick R.I. on Saturday and I found those Montana 5er's to be quite intimidating. Even a small one if you can call any of them small. My TV is a 2004.5 Dodge CTD 2500 short bed 3.73 with the 48RE. So far of the brands that I'm interested in very few 5th wheels seem within the comfort zone nevermind legal. I absolutely will not tow outside of the specs. I may just finish up with a travel trailer of of maybe 28-30ft. Should be an acceptable tow with a hitch weight in the under 1000lbs catagory and a loaded trailer wt of maybe 9000-10000lbs max. My Dodge will like that rig. Time will tell....I'm going to search out the market for the next year before I decide.

BigBob.....
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Old 10-25-2004, 07:48 AM   #13
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Weight issues are concerns that anyone who has around $40K in a tow vehicle and $40K in a RV.
Many manufacturers post on line their "weights". Usually these weights do not include three 40 gallon tanks that hold gray,waste and fresh water. This can be significant becasue water weighs around 8.3 (I stand corrected) pounds a gallon. Then there is the food, clothes, pets, kids, toys for camping that add amounts to the RV's weight.
In our case we looked for units around 30 foot long in the 5th wheels. We wound up with a 32 foot with two slides. The posted RV weight was 11,200. My truck scaled at 7900. This totaled to 19,100 pounds. Just a little short of the Ford max of 20,000. Interestingly enough when I was loaded and out for two weeks I had it scaled and it totaled 19,200?
But everything was cool for the seperate axels and it worked for 4 years.
I now am overweight. I downsized to a Lance 1130 and I am "officially" over the trucks GVW. But the axel weights are good, and Ford keeps raising the GVW bar. I have added suspension components and other things to make it safef/controllable.

p.s. I have been Rv'ing for over 40 years and I have never, ever been pulled over to go through a scale. I have never ever had a police officer question the weights on my RV. I have never ever had my insurance agent question the weight or size of my RV.
That is not to say that it can't happen. I have never had it happen to me. Even when toting a 34 foot gooseneck trailer loaded with 23,000 pounds of household goods across the U.S. from Virginia to Utah.
Chet
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Old 10-25-2004, 09:10 AM   #14
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CyberVet65,

You need to correct your weight numbers, water weighs in at 8.33#/U.S.gal, not 7.0 as you noted.

Ken
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