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Old 01-09-2011, 10:31 AM   #1
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Is weight really that big of an issue

I am new to RV ownership and really appreciate forums like this one where those who have went before share their knowledge & experience. It has already enabled me to outfit my rig for towing as well as great tips on making the RV experience more enjoyable and safer.

One topic that keeps coming up is weight. GVWR, GAWR (F/R), & GCWR. It is apparent that many manufacturers have built or still build units that once fueled and ready to go have little capacity left for campers, gear, food, etc.

My 2011 Coachmen built 32BH has "published" weight and as I read them with a full fuel tank (55 gal.) I have 2,184 lbs or roughly a ton of carry capacity available. Towing capacity is 5000 lbs with a 20,000 grand total.

So my question is what am I missing on the weight issue. I used to go camping in my Honda minivan, then bought a 8' enclosed utility trailer with a 2,000 limit which I never filled up except when another family joined us.

The other thing that comes to mine is how many E450 units are out there. So many manufactures build on that chassis. So many satisfied owners, so many pull toads of all sizes, so many state how they see them at races pulling enclosed trailers with cars & gear that are way over 5,000 lbs.

So what is the deal? Should I obsess on counting pounds?

Lets assume that I will perform all of the scheduled maintenance and keep everything up to spec. Lets assume that I will be conservative while driving with speed, breaking distance, etc.

Interested in others point of view and opinions. I am sure I/we will learn something

Scott
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by csdavis62 View Post
One topic that keeps coming up is weight. GVWR, GAWR (F/R), & GCWR. It is apparent that many manufacturers have built or still build units that once fueled and ready to go have little capacity left for campers, gear, food, etc.

My 2011 Coachmen built 32BH has "published" weight and as I read them with a full fuel tank (55 gal.) I have 2,184 lbs or roughly a ton of carry capacity available. Towing capacity is 5000 lbs with a 20,000 grand total.

So my question is what am I missing on the weight issue. I used to go camping in my Honda minivan, then bought a 8' enclosed utility trailer with a 2,000 limit which I never filled up except when another family joined us.

The other thing that comes to mine is how many E450 units are out there. So many manufactures build on that chassis. So many satisfied owners, so many pull toads of all sizes, so many state how they see them at races pulling enclosed trailers with cars & gear that are way over 5,000 lbs.

So what is the deal? Should I obsess on counting pounds?

Scott
Hi Scott. I'm not entirely clear on what you're asking above but IMHO paying attention to the appropriate weight limits is very important. Our rigs are really systems designed to handle.... well, what they're designed to handle. I don't think there's a big "fudge factor" involved when they publish weight limits.

I'm guessing you'll get more responses along this line which will suggest "not only NO, but HECK NO" when the topic is exceeding weight limits.

Best of luck.
Stay Safe.

Rick
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:42 AM   #3
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Weight is an issue. The manufacturers have engineers (and lawyers) that establish the weight rating for the chassis and components that are used on the coach. If you go over the manufacturers, it will not immediately blow up or fall apart, but you will shorten the service life and also can have safety and handling issues.

The larger class C units on the E450 chassis have extensions welded to the frame at the rear. These are usually smaller than the main frame members and thus not as strong. I would not exceed the manufacturers rating on this chassis for any reason.

Ken
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by csdavis62 View Post
I am new to RV ownership and really appreciate forums like this one where those who have went before share their knowledge & experience. It has already enabled me to outfit my rig for towing as well as great tips on making the RV experience more enjoyable and safer.

I'll take this from the very basic , cause I dont know what you know , so if it "too basic" slap me now , but here goes ..

One topic that keeps coming up is weight. GVWR, GAWR (F/R), & GCWR. It is apparent that many manufacturers have built or still build units that once fueled and ready to go have little capacity left for campers, gear, food, etc.

GVWR is the max the vehicle can weigh

GAWR is the max for front and rear axles

GCWR is the combined weight of the tow vehicle and toad or trailer

My 2011 Coachmen built 32BH has "published" weight and as I read them with a full fuel tank (55 gal.) I have 2,184 lbs or roughly a ton of carry capacity available. Towing capacity is 5000 lbs with a 20,000 grand total.

So this says you can add 2184# , this includes humans , pets , everything else and the weight on the hitch if pulling something , and the combined weight of the two is 20000 pounds ...

So my question is what am I missing on the weight issue. I used to go camping in my Honda minivan, then bought a 8' enclosed utility trailer with a 2,000 limit which I never filled up except when another family joined us.

I dont know what the combined weight rating is on your mini , but with a trailer that size , you didnt add much weight to the axles on the mini

The other thing that comes to mine is how many E450 units are out there. So many manufactures build on that chassis. So many satisfied owners, so many pull toads of all sizes, so many state how they see them at races pulling enclosed trailers with cars & gear that are way over 5,000 lbs.

Not familiar with the weight ratings of the 450 , but there may well be several different weight ratings available , and you'd be surprised at how many are overweight ...

So what is the deal? Should I obsess on counting pounds?

With me safety is before gear , I do obsess the weight thingy

Lets assume that I will perform all of the scheduled maintenance and keep everything up to spec. Lets assume that I will be conservative while driving with speed, breaking distance, etc.

Interested in others point of view and opinions. I am sure I/we will learn something

Scott
I would highly suggest you take the MH and weigh it with all yer gear and bodies and get an accurate axle weight , it should have a decal or placard that gives you a weight from the manufacturer with whatever they installed ..
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:37 AM   #5
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I am very careful of the weight we put in/on the MH. However, I do exceed the GCGW. I have done this by re-enforcing the extensions and adding a Class V hitch. I also use a Trailer Toad which adds no weight to the hitch and can carry up to 17000#s with 3500#s tongue weight. When loaded my trailer weighs in at just over 10000#s, it is a tandem axle and has it's own brakes which is very important. I also do not drive over 60 mph and try to allow extra stopping distance. No matter what you carry you need to remember it is bigger and heavier than an auto so things like stopping distance etc are all effected.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:03 PM   #6
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Don't forget of the 2184 lbs of cargo you need to subtract the weight of propane, onboard water, onboard gray water, and onboard black water. Subtract the weight of you, spouse, and any other occupants and that's how much you have for your supplies and toys. You can get very close to the GVWR without much effort.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:06 PM   #7
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Just a simple example. Although you are not a commercial vehicle, you must adhere to the limitations provided for you. ie. Gross vehicle weight, max tire weights,max wheel weights, Gross combined vehicle wgt, max stopping distances. If for instance you are approaching an intersection with a stop sign and you are not able to stop because of the overweights pushing you, and you collide with an oncoming vehicle, you will probably be the subject of an accident investigation. In many states, if, due to the fact that you are overweight and exceeding all of you safety equipment (brakes,steering, suspension etc) and you are aware of these excesses then you could be subject to being responsible for the accident. You could get a MV ticket or Physical arrest for Endangering or Reckless Driving (depending on the state). If someone dies you could be charged with a violation similar to Manslaughter with a M.V.

Phew, thats a lot of wind, but I would rather be safe and know it.
Joe from Ct.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:48 PM   #8
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So what is the deal? Should I obsess on counting pounds?

Scott
There is no need to obsess on counting pounds, but you should know how much your coach weighs on each of the four corners. Or, at the very least, know what it weighs by axle, if you can't find a place to weigh the corners.

How else are you going to know how much tire pressure to have? Or, how one part of your rig is loaded way out of kilter with other parts?

Once I weighed our rig on the corners, loaded with stuff that never leaves the coach, I am able to make educated "guesses" on what I am adding for a trip; i.e., I know my weight, I know my wife's weight (I think), and I can come pretty close to how much in weight we are adding for food, clothes, etc. as I am loading it. Ice chest full of food......50lbs........two armloads of hanging clothes.......20 lbs.,etc.

I don't think excessive weight is really that big of an issue unless you are taking a bunch of people with you, with their gear, and some guy insists on loading a mechanics tool box and a cast iron bbq grill, etc., but for normal operation you really do need to pay attention that your tires are not underinflated versus your weight. This is, by far, the most common reason for tire failure. Use the charts provided on the web site of your tire manufacturer. I usually add at least 5 lbs just to be safer (and in case I'm wrong about DW's weight.)

A hint on finding a place to weigh the corners........moving and storage companies often have scales in their parking lot. It is often not possible to weigh the corners at a truck stop. Not enough room to maneuver. But you can weigh your axles there.

Don
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:53 PM   #9
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also good to know yer axle weights because in some states , Ohio comes to mind , if you weigh more than five tons , commercial or not , you are required to cross the scales on the interstate , and as an OTR trucker , I can say , you do not want to be overweight
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:09 PM   #10
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aka, weight in the context of ccc or whatever is it called now is very important. If you are over, and I will fire things up again by saying that the vast majority of B's, C's, slide ins and fivers-are over, you will be criminally negligent should you be involved in an accident AND if involved in a-serious- accident while operating an over weight vehicle the presumption will be that significant fault lies with the operator of the overweight vehicle.
If I had a buck for everytime I have heard; but we are only 100, 120 or whatever lbs over the limit I could buy beer for five years. If you are over you are illegal-period; it is only a matter as to what degree you are liable.

Remember being above the maximum chasis weight means that the brakes are no longer sufficient to stop the vehicle, that the axles, wheels and tires are no longer within weight limits-all this due to criminal behavior on part of manufacturers and dirtbag dealers.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:24 PM   #11
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re: " Should I obsess on counting pounds?" -- I'm with those who think not.

The talk about lawyers and "criminally negligent" is not based in any reality.

Weight ratings as far as the law goes are primarily for commercial traffic involving revenue and tax purposes. (although very heavy commercial vehicles do have significant implications for road wear and tear).

Tires and wheels are perhaps the most critical weight ratings of concern as far as safety goes. Axle ratings tend to be more about wear and tear. Vehicle ratings more about load distributions. Combined ratings are not much more than a guess.

As for tow ratings, you should start to see ratings based on new ASAE standards and those standards look to be fairly useful and pertinent.

You can always compensate for nominal overloading by slowing down and taking a few driving precautions - as prudent RV drivers do anyway. Keep a close eye on tire pressures. Pay attention to what your vehicle is telling you.

And be skeptical of those who get really zealous with the FUD mongering. Look for supporting data and read critically. Match what you hear for advice and warning to what you can see on the road and what you experience yourself. e.g. the above on brakes is wrong as brakes can even stop a severely overloaded vehicle. The problem is misuse in overuse as in downgrades in the improper gear. Watch out for claims like that.

Take Care.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:36 PM   #12
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I agree that the tires & tire pressure are probably the most critical factor. Load range E tires which most of us have carry just over 3,000 pounds per tire or 6,000 in the front which is 1,000 over the E450's rating and 12,000 in the rear which is 2,500 over Ford's rating.

Weight distribution seems to be important as well since a severely uneven load would I suspect have real handling impact especially in an emergency situation. As a life long boat owner I cannot tell you how many times I ask people to change sides or move forward or back to make the boat handle better or make a more even wake for the skier. The way the coach sits and handles going down the road I suspect will also tell me allot about what is going on from a weight perspective.

Common sense I think also plays a role.... I see no logic in heading out on the way to my destination with a full fresh water tank and full waste tanks. Why waste fuel to carry water or worse waste! I will carry enough fresh water to make sure I can flush as needed which is not a whole lot. Gray and black water tanks will always be empty or nearly empty just cause that makes sense to me.

As for towing I am well below the 5,000 lbs rating and I will still have a auxiliary breaking system and tow 4 Down for maximum stability. If I find I am wandering or being blow around too much I will weight the coach to check weight distribution and have the front end alignment checked. If that does not do it the I can add some after-market upgrades to keep the rear axle from moving.

Other than that with what I have heard and experienced do far I am just going to make sure I only carry what I need and clean house ofter to keep unnecessary weight off the coach.

Guess I will have to pull the rolling double tool box off and put it back in the garage
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:40 AM   #13
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Bryan, what is the difference in being 'nominally negligent' and negligent?, do you seriously maintain that the weight limits noted on the manufacurers label on rv's are merely guidelines, and if so; by what amount is one entitled to exceed the limits by??
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:32 AM   #14
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??????????????????

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The talk about lawyers and "criminally negligent" is not based in any reality.

And what reality do you base this statement on ??


Weight ratings as far as the law goes are primarily for commercial traffic involving revenue and tax purposes. (although very heavy commercial vehicles do have significant implications for road wear and tear).

Well as a commercial driver ( read 18 wheeler ) this is not true .. Most if not all states license plates are weight based whether commercial or private .. If it was primarily "commercial" as you state then why does my MH plates cost four times as much as my pickup truck ??

Weight ratings are created because not all axles and frames are created equal .. Heavy commercial vehicles do not tear up the roads any more than most other vehicles , and pay $5000 or more a year in road use taxes .. They pay way more than their share ..


Tires and wheels are perhaps the most critical weight ratings of concern as far as safety goes. Axle ratings tend to be more about wear and tear.

Tires and wheels are the most critical because they are the weakest link ..

overloaded axles tend to break



You can always compensate for nominal overloading by slowing down and taking a few driving precautions - as prudent RV drivers do anyway. Keep a close eye on tire pressures. Pay attention to what your vehicle is telling you.

What is "nominal" overloading .. You get in an accident with an overweight vehicle , and they will not say you were not at fault because you were "nominally" overweight

And be skeptical of those who get really zealous with the FUD mongering. Look for supporting data and read critically. Match what you hear for advice and warning to what you can see on the road and what you experience yourself. e.g. the above on brakes is wrong as brakes can even stop a severely overloaded vehicle. The problem is misuse in overuse as in downgrades in the improper gear. Watch out for claims like that.

Take Care.
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