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 > Considering GVWR of trailer with high carrying capacity

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josephc

WA

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Posted: 07/18/18 01:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

(Sorry if this ends up being a duplicate. I thought I posted it but when I checked back it wasn't posted, so I'm trying again.)

The condensed version of the question is: is it bad to have a trailer whose GVWR is higher than you can legally and/or safley tow, even if it has the same dry weight as other trailers with GVWRs you’re OK with (just due to having a much larger carrying capacity)? Details below.

My family is in the market for a new travel trailer, and one problem we're running into in deciding what we want is figuring out what we can safely and legally tow. Specifically, we're unsure if we need to consider a trailer's GVWR when deciding if it fits within our GCWR, or if we should consider what it actually weighs when we end up loading it up and taking it to the scales. A lot of advice seems to suggest we always consider the trailer's GVWR, but this has led to some confusion on our part.

The main cause for confusion is the fact that some trailers have carrying capacities in the low 1000s of lbs, while others have carrying capacities in the 3000lb range, and everything in between. We've looked at some trailers that have greater GVWR than heaver models, and it seems strange to disregard a lighter trailer simply because the maximum possible load is higher. If two trailers have identical dry weights, and we load them up identically, but one is rated to safely carry 2000lbs more than the other, if anything I'd think I'd feel MORE comfortable towing the one that has that extra capacity since the axles and frame would be well under their rated load instead of strained to the max.

Case in point: my current favorite trailer is the Forest River Salem Hyper-Lyte 29BHHL (link). Dry weight is 6273lbs, but with 3172lb carrying capacity the GVWR is ~9445lbs. That GVWR plus our tow vehicle’s curb weight alone almost maxes out our 16000lb GCWR, before even considering the weight of our family, pets, etc. in the tow vehicle. However, we’ve considered other trailers with a similar dry weight but which only have ~1500lb carrying capacity. If we consider that load, the weight would be at 7773, which is much more reasonable for our tow vehicle (Yukon XL 2500). That case leaves us with 1813lbs GCWR after considering the tow vehicle and loaded trailer, and assuming 12.5% tongue weight of ~970lbs that leaves us with ~1230lbs of payload, which is in the range we’re comfortable with. Safety-wise, I’d say this trailer is as good if not better than similar trailers with the same dry weight but lower GVWR. Legally, though, is there a problem with this situation?

SoundGuy

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Posted: 07/18/18 02:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

josephc wrote:

My family is in the market for a new travel trailer, and one problem we're running into in deciding what we want is figuring out what we can safely and legally tow. Specifically, we're unsure if we need to consider a trailer's GVWR when deciding if it fits within our GCWR, or if we should consider what it actually weighs when we end up loading it up and taking it to the scales. A lot of advice seems to suggest we always consider the trailer's GVWR, but this has led to some confusion on our part.


It's not a trailer's GVWR that matters but it's GVW - what it weighs fully loaded & ready to camp. Sometimes GVW ends up being close to GVWR, in which case one could simply use GVWR as a basis for calculations. However, in many other cases CCC is so great that one would have to carry a ridiculous amount of junk for GVW to come anywhere near GVWR so it would make no sense at all to use GVWR as a guide. The most common reason for is that axles, suspension components, tires, etc, aren't selected for just one model but rather a series of models in the same lineup - it's just more cost effective for the manufacturer to do it this way, buying a trainload of the same sizes that will be eventually be used on a variety of trailers they build. The result is that a trailer weighing say 3500 lbs dry could easily be wearing the same set of axles as another model weighing say 5000 lbs dry, or 6000 lbs, or whatever. Case in point is my own Coachmen - short 19' couple's model has the same axles, suspension components, tires, etc, as much larger, heavier models in the same lineup. It has well over a ton of CCC, far more than other models in the same lineup and far more than similar models from other manufacturers - for example the Starcraft Launch 21FBS which is the exact same layout, actually a foot longer, but has a CCC of only 1200 lbs. Reason - axles, suspension components, tires, etc, selected for use by that particular manufacturer, for whatever reasons. Regardless, you're always better off with as much CCC as you can get whether you're going to actually use it or not. In my case, even in the worse case scenario where I'm carrying content in the tanks, my trailer still weighs at least 1000 lbs less than it's GVWR - LOTS of buffer, which in turn means less stress on all those components. [emoticon] All that said, what you should be basing your calculations on what you can safely tow is by far what your tow vehicle's payload capacity is as you'll run out of that long before you'll get anywhere near it's GCWR.

kerrlakeRoo

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Posted: 07/18/18 05:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your correct in your thinking. Actual load as it will be used is the weight that matters. One thing to remember is that while the weights may be similar on the two units, the actual amount you put in them may vary more than you first think. The one with the higher CCC likely has bigger tanks which could make a difference in your final load out.
So long as you are mindful of what you actually have in the rig compared to your vehicles limits you should not have an issue.
And in some cases it may be of great benefit, such as in a bunkhouse unit with a growing family. You could buy and use the trailer now, and increase your truck size to accommodate the families growth in a year or two. As I said above, just be mindful of what you actually have in the rig.

dodge guy

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Posted: 07/18/18 05:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You are thinking correctly. my trailer has a dry weight of 7100lbs and a GVWR of 11,200 lbs. yes, it has a 4100lb CCC! its not a toy hauler just a model sitting on a larger frame and axles. loaded for a trip Im at 9200lbs. I do pack heavy because of the high CCC. so my weights are going to be more than the average person. however for the average person 12-1500lbs is a good number to add to the dry weight to figure out what you can tow. I too have seen trailers with a very low CCC. I`ve seen a 30ft bunkhouse with super slide with an 800lb CCC! I don't know how they expect a family of four to pack for a trip?


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Posted: 07/18/18 05:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Might want to check out this thread over on the Grand Design forum:

Thread link

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eHoefler

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Posted: 07/18/18 05:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One thing to consider, the wheel base, floor plan, location of tanks, etc.. While it may be with in your tow limits, how the weight is positioned will make a huge difference. Toy haulers, for example, take into consideration the load in the garage, which will lighten the pin/tongue weight. You could easily be over weight on the pin/tongue for your tow vehicle.


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BurbMan

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Posted: 07/18/18 07:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Consider that the average RVer packs about 1200 lbs of stuff into a trailer....mayber 1000 lbs for a couple packing light, or 1500 lbs for a family. Trailers with a net carrying capacity in that low 1000 lbs range means that you are always on the edge of being overloaded and dealing with associated tire and axle issues.

Having a 3000 cargo capacity means you have plenty of headroom on the tire and axle ratings with a stronger frame etc., and are less likely to have weight-related issues down the road.

As was said, what matters relative to the TV is how much the TT actually weighs, not what the GVWR is.

A general guideline would be to add 1500 lbs to the dry weight of the trailer to give you an estimate of what it will weigh going down the road. This accounts for batteries, propane and gear, but not fresh eater on board.


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donn0128

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Posted: 07/18/18 08:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All these replises seem to miss the point. Can you safely tow a trailer with a higher GVWR than your TV is rated for? Certainally you can as long as you stay under your TVs rating. However, what happens when you want to take a longer trip, or have guests? You could very easily bump up against your trailers GVWR, thereby exceeding your tow vehicles ratings. Now its not a totally bad thing. Your TV will not instantly explode or anything. But the driving experience sure could cause some anxiety. Most any vehicle could pull way more load down the road, but the bottom line comes down to safety and comfort. Are you safe on the road? Are you comfortable loaded to the max on the highway with other drivers? Its not always about you, but about the other driver. Could you safely handle the max load in an emergency situation? That my friend is the questions you need to ask yourself.





Lantley

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Posted: 07/18/18 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

eHoefler wrote:

One thing to consider, the wheel base, floor plan, location of tanks, etc.. While it may be with in your tow limits, how the weight is positioned will make a huge difference. Toy haulers, for example, take into consideration the load in the garage, which will lighten the pin/tongue weight. You could easily be over weight on the pin/tongue for your tow vehicle.

I think this factor becomes important. How does the weight transfer to your rig. You need to maintain that 12-15% tongue weight.
How does the trailers weight transfer to the TV.
Is the TW acceptable when the trailer is lightly loaded?
Does all of the Cargo weight transfer to the TV? What is the balance of the trailer?


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boosTT

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Posted: 07/18/18 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with your logic. Make sure the difference in CCC isn't just the trailer tires though.

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