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Old 04-24-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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Post Flat Towing Question

I have a 2005 Workhorse W20 chassis motorhome with a Gross Combined Weight Rating of 26,000 lbs, a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 20,500 lbs. and a tow rating of 5,000 lbs. I understand the importance of engineering and safety, and that the tow ratings are based on more than one criteria, so that aside, I have a couple of questions that I would like feedback on.

I have a vehicle that can be flat-towed that weighs 5,380 lbs; rounding up, let’s say that the vehicle is 500 lbs. over the maximum tow rating. The receiver hitch is rated higher than 5,000 lbs. If the motor home is 500 lbs. or more BELOW the GCWR of 20,500 lbs, to make up the difference of being over on the tow rating, just how unsafe do you think this condition is? After all, I wouldn’t be going over the GCWR, just redistributing it.

The areas that I would tow are relatively flat; any hills or mountains are well known to me and would be driven accordingly, such as using a low gear to come down the grade. I would install a 6,000 or 8,000 lbs. RoadMaster receiver hitch, use a 8,000 lb. rated tow bar and a RoadMaster Even Brake Braking system.

Anyone tow 300 or 400 lbs. over the recommended tow capacity?

Thanks!
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:30 PM   #2
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Before the arrival of the Nanny State, folks regularly towed outrageous loads with underrated equipment. My dad towed a 42' trailer house from North Carolina to California with a '53 Studebaker car (shades of Long Long Trailer). Recently, an interesting older single gal came into the campground we were at driving an older Ford F250 towing a triple-axle 40' fifth wheel that in turn was towing a Tacoma pickup whose bed was filled with stuff.

Logic and design requirements say that the tow ratings have a pretty good safety factor built in, so can you do it? Yes. I have not towed over limit, but I have seen plenty of big toads behind gassers similar to yours. Get into that one in 10,000 chance where you are involved with another party in an accident, even if not your fault, and a lawyer might have a field day.

I say do what you have to do. Only the weight police and your conscience can decide. Your requirements are not ridiculously over limits and you will be well-equipped. The WH has adequate performance.
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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As 2 2Go said your equipment will "Likely" handle it!!! BUT if you were ever in a collision/incident Even if you were NOT at fault you open yourself up to a LOT of BAD SH--!!!!!

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Old 04-24-2010, 01:33 PM   #4
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What, are they going to weigh your rig, or parts of it, after a collision?? A few hundred pounds one way or the other? Huh? Ask some full-timers about weight restrictions! No worries, mate.
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Old 04-24-2010, 03:39 PM   #5
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As long as you don't exceed the max GVCW your ok. In my case my MH is 26000. 22000 for my coach and 4000 for towing. If I know that my coach weight is 19000 then I can increase my dingy weight from 4000 to 7000 lbs. As long as your hitch and tow bar is rated for that weight.---Motorhome magazine has a good article on this.

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Old 04-24-2010, 07:15 PM   #6
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You can tow up to the GCWR, subject to the receiver hitch's own rating. If your coach weight is under the GVWR, you may be able to tow that heavy vehicle.
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of the replies. Looks like it would be okay, as long as I'm not over on the GCWR. I agree with the reply about weighing the vehicles after an accident. Guess I'd dump the water tank; that would more than cover the difference.

Most important would be driving safely, good tires, proper air pressure, low speeds on down-grades, etc. Thanks again.
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:42 PM   #8
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Let me put it this way: For me to say "It is ok to tow more than the ratings" in any context save this.. Well.. Let me tell you a true story.

A State police trooper assisted a driver in re-loading a carboy of Acid that had dropped off his truck, he got acid burns on his hands for his efforts.. The Sgt ask him why he did that and his rsponse was that I had told him it was safe (I'm a retired state police dispatcher.... The trooper is also no longer with the department but instead of retiring he got his behind fired, Longer story than I'll tell here... Seems he lied, in another case)

Well.. What I told him was recorded.

"Do not touch, Do not touch with so much as a 10 foot pole, DO not breath the vapors or let them wash over you or your patrol car DO NOT TOUCH"

(That's some serious acid, used to etch glass)

So I"m not going to tell you it's ok to exceed your tow ratings. No way.

I will tell you to make sure you have a good aux braking system on the towed vehicle.
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Old 04-24-2010, 11:04 PM   #9
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R_Sorentino, Sounds like your weak link is he hitch. Have you though about seeing if your coach can handle a heavier rated hitch. That might solve your problems.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:56 AM   #10
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It's doubtful any coach builder would put a Class IV receiver on a W20 chassis. It is probably a Class III, which means it is only good for 5000 lbs. Can you get away with towing an extra 300 or 400 lbs? Probably. Should you try to get away with it on a continuous basis? Probably not.

The other weak link is any frame extensions the coach builder may have added to the back of the chassis to accommodate a longer box on top. The receiver is attached to these extensions, and they are frequently not as strong as the frame itself. Even if the coach is well below the GCVWR, the frame extensions may preclude towing more weight or installing a heavier-duty receiver.
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelheadbluesman View Post
What, are they going to weigh your rig, or parts of it, after a collision?? A few hundred pounds one way or the other? Huh? Ask some full-timers about weight restrictions! No worries, mate.
As an attorney, if I had a suspicion that the rig was overloaded, you can be sure I would get the weights as accurately as possible. If doing so indicated an overload condition. That's what I get paid for! $$$$$$$$!

Even a few hundred pounds over puts the decision into the hands of the very unsympathetic jury.
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:10 AM   #12
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Regarding the last few replies, note that I did say that I would not be over the GCWR, (I of course would have the motorhome weighed at both axles, all four corners, total motorhome weight and then with the towed vehicle) would use a RoadMaster 6,000 lbs. receiver hitch and a RoadMaster Even Brake system.

Since I would very rarely even tow the vehicle, and even then on fairly flat terrain, it's probably not that big of an issue, as long as all the equipment and safe-driving precautions are taken.

Ever wonder how many tractor-trailer rigs are out there, with a maximum of 80,000 lbs, running loads of 90-100k lbs? You'd be surprised.

Thanks for all the replies; not sure if I'll go forward but it's always good to get other peoples opinions and views.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
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As an attorney, if I had a suspicion that the rig was overloaded, you can be sure I would get the weights as accurately as possible. If doing so indicated an overload condition. That's what I get paid for! $$$$$$$$!
Even a few hundred pounds over puts the decision into the hands of the very unsympathetic jury.
Like I said before, the Nanny State watches your every move. More people will be injured or killed by pot-heads (more every day now that the flood gates are failing) and texters than will ever even be within 50 miles of a slightly overloaded RV. But that's just my silly cynical side showing.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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In an accident the officer will want the registration for both vehicles. If the registered weight is in excess of the equipment rating your probably in trouble. It does not really matter if it is only 300 or so pounds. Not to mentions your insruance company if not completely denying the claim will probably drop your coverage. Very risky to exceed equipment safety ratings.
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