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Old 09-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #1
Fleetwood Owners Club
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Towing Question

Hello all.

I'm kind-of new here, and have no doubt this issue has probably been discussed, but the search option doesn't seem to work on this cell phone I'm using. So 'sorry'...

I have a 1992 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37J.

I did read through the chapter in the manual on towing. I'm really to new to all of this, so I'm kind-of questioning why a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 18,700 pounds, has such a limited towing capacity?

I know very well that trailers, tow dollys, and the such can come with their own breaking systems. Which is good, as even though I had only driven this motorhome twice now, I know it takes a lot to stop it!

I had talked to a company that manufactures tow dollys, with an extra platform in the front, for a golf cart, motorcycle, ATVs, and the such.

It's really a nice rig... Well we got to talking about things, I told him I would have to replace the hitch on the motorhome, because of it's 3500 pound towing limit.

We were estimating that my mini-van at 4000 pounds, my golf cart at nearly 700 pounds, and the tow dolly at just over 1000 pounds, that I would need a hitch, rated for, 'at least' 6000 pounds.

Now I'm glad I had got to talk to this particular person, as most likely any other sales person would had been ready to take an order for one of these dollys without question.

He was quite honest, and said that the towing limitations may not be just in the hitch itself, but a 'limitation' of the chassis itself. By the way, I have the Chevy P Chassis...

Now, I'm still baffled on why a 18000 pound vehicle couldn't pull 6000 pounds, (with it's own breaking system).

But I admit now, that I may not be seeing the entite picture here. If the rear portion of the frame, where a hitch would be mounted, isn't thick enough, or strong enough to handle that stress, then I can surely see a big issue there.

I'm thinking that this just can't be the only time such an issue had come up.

Has anyone else looked into, or researched this issue before?

Is there a solution to this?

Possibly, 'maybe' welding extra support on that section of the frame?

Or, am I totally screwed with what I have?

Even though I'm living in my motorhome full time, I can only drive one vehicle at a time when I need to move it.

I need my daily driver, and being disabled, my golf cart gets me around nicely, and also tows my 'blue boy' to a dump station. So that is just as invaluable as my daily driver.

So... does anyone have any 'positive' input or suggestions for me?

Has anyone else 'overcome' this problem?

And of course without selling what I have, and buying a 45 foot diesel pusher!

What I have is now going to be my home for life now, there's no other options for me.... My disability income just won't pay for land based rent any more.

Thank you.

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Old 09-06-2014, 12:11 PM   #2
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Positive input would be: Don't do it!!
All vehicles have weight ratings.


Gross Combined Weight Rating
The maximum allowable total loaded weight rating of the RV
and any vehicle it is towing. GCWR minus GVWR (see next
definition) represents the allowable weight for the towed

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
The weight rating established by the chassis manufacturer as
the maximum weight (including vehicle,cargo, liquids,
passengers, etc.) the components of the chassis can support.

Tongue Weight
The downward weight exerted at the hitch or 5th wheel

Unloaded Vehicle Weight
The weight of the vehicle as built at the factory with full
fuel, engine oil and coolants, but without cargo, fresh
water, LP gas, occupants or dealer-installed accessories.

NCC (Not commonly used anymore because it is very
Net Carrying Capacity
The maximum weight of all occupants including the driver,
plus personal belongings, food, fresh water, LP gas, tools,
tongue weight of any towed vehicle, dealer-installed
accessories, etc. that can be carried. (NCC is equal to or
less than GVWR minus UVW.)

Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating
The manufacturer’s designated number of sleeping positions
multiplied by 154 pounds (70 kilograms) for
each. Note: If your passengers weigh more than 154 pounds
each, the number of passengers may have to be
reduced to avoid exceeding SCWR.

Cargo Carrying Capacity
The GVWR minus all of the following: UVW, full fresh
(drinking) water weight (including heater), full LP gas
weight, SCWR, tongue weight of any towed vehicle and weight
of any dealer-installed accessories.

Gross Vehicle Weight
The actual weight of a fully loaded vehicle (including
vehicle, cargo, liquids/fuels, passengers, towed vehicle’s
tongue weight, etc.). The GVW must not exceed the GVWR.

Gross Axle Weight Rating
(for each axle) The maximum weight rating that the
components (tires, rims/wheels, brakes, springs, axle) of
each axle are designed to support.

Gross Axle Weight
The actual weight of a fully loaded vehicle that is carried
by a single axle.

Being over any of them puts you into a dangerous situation as the vehicle isn't designed for the extra weight and it could be dangerous to drive.
That said there are those that don't mind driving such a rig and will tell you to go ahead. I'm not one of those.

2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
Charter Good Sam Lifetime Member, FMCA, SKP
RV'ing since 1957, NRA Benefactor Life, towing '14 CR-V
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:22 PM   #3
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The reason being is not only the brakes, but the transmission and suspension also have limits set by their manufactures. With 18,000 pounds already stressing those items, they are saying you only have 3,500 pounds left before damage can start by over stressing those components. Adding 3,000 pound more to what an axle or transmission is rated for is a breakdown waiting to happen.

You also have an age factor that those items can also start to have metal fatigue Adding more weight, and it can expedite the problem.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:26 PM   #4
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Glad you're aboard. Best of luck in finding a solution. I'm sure others will be along to help with that. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
Have a wonderful day!
Ken (RVM 87)
FT DP Wanna B The journey is the destination!
Retired & perfecting procrastination!
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:33 AM   #5
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In addition to the drive train stress factors the others described, you are correct that the rear frame is a limitation. Especially in a 1992 chassis, which is probably much shorter than your motorhome overall length (compare the chassis wheelbase to the motorhome length). RV builders extend the frame rearward to support the coach floor and rear cap, but that extension is nowhere near as strong as the main frame rails. The hitch is bolted to that extension, and that's another reason they use a low-capacity hitch. A good welding shop may be able to beef up the attachment of the hitch so it could be upgraded, but that gets expensive too.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:02 AM   #6
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Another new RV tower question. 2005 Pace Arrow W22 chassis 37C has a GWVR of 22,000 lbs. Just had it weighed with full of gas and propane, 1\4 tank of fresh water and all provisions going with us at 22,160 lbs. Now this is where it gets confusing for me. The GCWR is 26,000 lbs and the GTW is 5,000 lbs. 22,000 GVWR from 26,000 GCWR leaves 4,000 lbs. How can it give you a rating of 5,000 lbs for the GTW? I was planning to tow a 4x4 Silverado 2500 HD that weighs 5,000 lbs with a 10,000 Blue Ox and a Patriot Brake System. Is this a safe tow? Thanks for your assistance!
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Old 09-23-2014, 11:50 AM   #7
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Towing Question

Seems you'll be over 1000 lbs plus by GCWR.

2013 FleetWood Expedition 38B
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #8
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Either you can have it one way or the other, but not both at the same time. The coach can handle up to 22,000 # and if you are towing, the chassis can only handle a total of 26,000#. Your chassis is rated to pull 5,000#, and if you want to use that rated amount, then you need to reduce your RV to 21,000# and you will be legal and within your chassis limits. Good Luck

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tow, towing

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