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johnloisel

Need Help Understanding 5th Wheel Hitch Weight and TV Payload

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Greetings, all. My wife, friends and RV dealer sales people all look at me funny whenever I focus on hitch/pin weight while shopping for our 1st 5th Wheel (TT). Please help me understand the various weight limits to be considered when towing. I understand TT GVWR, UWR, CCC and TV GCWR, GAWR and max towing capacity. What I don't understand is how TT hitch weight and TV payload fit into the equation. If the TT's hitch weight is going onto the TV, it counts as payload and contributes to GVWR, right?

I'm finding many examples where folks appear to be exceeding their TV's GVWR with payload, e.g., their TT's hitch weight, but are still within their TV's GCWR and towing capacity. Example is a TV with 10k GVWR, 25,300 GCWR and factory payload (door sticker) of 1776 payload (pax, cargo, etc.). Its owner tows a TT with 10,765 GVWR and 1910 hitch weight. They're still within TV's GCWR but they're over the TV's payload and GVWR. What gives?

I'm trying to buy a 5th Wheel and want to stay within the weight limits for my TV: 2018 RAM 2500 Laramie 4x4, CC, SB, Diesel, 3.42 axle; GVWR is 10k, GCWR is 25,300, factory payload is 1942 (curb wt 8058), GAWR is 6000 steer/6500 drive, max towing capacity is 17,080.  I weighed my TV using CATS scale with me and DW, full gas and a 90# ProTrax tonneau cover, results: 8240 (4940 steer, 3300 drive).  The 8240 weight does not include the 185# PullRite SuperGlide hitch I intend to buy; add that and now my truck weight is 8425. Subtract that from my 10k GVWR and my available payload = 1575#, right?

So, based on above, my 5th Wheel's hitch weight cannot exceed 1575# or I'll be over my payload and GVWR.  Does this matter?  Am I okay, so long as I don't exceed my GAWR and GCWR?  Please help!  Thanks in advance.

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Lots of rvers are over the limits on their trucks. There was an rv/trailer weighing some years ago and I believe the number was over 60% over trucks ratings. I personally believe you are risking youre welfare when you do this. 

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I'd honestly be hard pressed to advise you without writing a novel.  Have you been to https://fifthwheelst.com/?  They have a great site to answer most if not all of your questions and they have a worksheet you can use for any potential rig you're looking at to make sure you are within your truck's limits.

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The weight limits are what the engineers determine to be the safe limits.  Some, maybe many, exceed the parameters and challenge their safety and others.  An overloaded vehicle is no fun to drive, is a safety problem and will certainly stress the vehicle.  The smarter choice is to not overload  your vehicle and I certainly would not agree that overloading is OK.  

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I dont know where you live but in the north east you will see 3/4ton trucks with road Sanders in the back everywhere in the winter and usually a plow on the front. The Sanders way between 700 and 1500 lbs,  some more, empty. Most are 1 and 1/2 yard capacity and wet sand ways atleast 3000 lbs per yard so about 4500 lbs in the back and 500 to 1000 for the plow. They are way over loaded and dont last very long. But they seldon fall apart. The point is the owners know this and make a decision to run them that way and live with the consequences. A few pounds wont hurt but your margin of safety and comfort goes down fast as you over load. There can also be a large difference I'm the capacity of one 2500 to another as as some are HD ordered with plow or towing packages and such. Adding things like air bags does not raise its capacity. 

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I come from the class 8 industry and when I was setting up a camper hauler 3500 pickup same thing, the door sticker made no sense compared to “real trucks”. How can axle GAWR add up to more than the GVWR etc.? Take weight off the steer to get rear to sticker number ..Who would load a truck like that? 

So I contacted my OEM and was told there are/were jurisdictions that consider trucks over 10,000lbs GVW to be “commercial” (CDL, can’t park here, etc) regardless of their actual use/ownership so you will find pickup trucks with high trailer capacity and low payload on the truck itself due to the “over 10,000lbs is commercial. 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, you are on target. There are many who overload the tow vehicle. My pickup truck is rated for 14,000 lbs and I don't think you can pull a large fiver with much less?

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On 5/27/2019 at 11:55 AM, johnloisel said:

 shopping for our 1st 5th Wheel (TT).

Welcome to the forum!

2 different critters.  TT is for travel trailer, ie bumper pull.  I'm sure you mean what you first said, 5th wheel RV.  Those 2 different types of RVs have different hitch weights. 

I see 2500s pulling 5th wheels, they make some 5th wheel RVs as light enough for a 1500.  While you try your best to keep within manufacturer weight recommendations, what plays a big part in what's *legal* and not, is the ratings of the tires themselves without going crazy over the factory recommendations.  Yes, you can go way over the stated factory recommendations, your truck will pull it just fine.  With RAMs, your 2500 drivetrain is not much different than my 3500.  The biggie, is on how well your truck can *stop* all that weight.  That's more of a safety item, would not want to go too big and not be able to stop at a red light, not have the weight push you too fast down a steep downgrade, etc.  Check the tires on the RV.  That's not cheap if you want good tires and most used need them.  I needed 4, bought top of the line (IMHO) and spend for tires/mount and balancing, $1,400.  Don't cheap out here!  China bombs can/do cause lots of damage, again, $$$.

IMHO, sell your truck and get a 3500, if possible, a DRW.  RVs, to make them lighter, they skip on quality and go with cheaper/lighter building materials both in and out.  Cheap RVs tend to need more repairs, more $$ thrown in them in the long run.  Did you mention, is this for a weekend warrior, snow-bird or full timer?  Again, *IMHO*

Edited by NDBirdman

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If the rv industry would put some brakes under their junk fussing about whether a tow vehicle can stop the whole rig ....

I’ll shush now...

 

 

 

 

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He said fifth wheel not bumper pull. Because 60% of the trucks that tow fivers are overweight, if that is so, doesn't mean that I want to. He was concerned with the TV. If his payload is 1,575 lbs he should not pull a big fiver. I would not pull a fiver with a 1/2 ton pickup unless it was one of those 7 foot wide 20 ft or so fiver like Scamp or Casita.  I would not start out being over weight.

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14 hours ago, noteven said:

If the rv industry would put some brakes under their junk fussing about whether a tow vehicle can stop the whole rig ....

I’ll shush now...

 

 

 

 

Actually you can get disc brakes on lots of 5th wheels. 

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21 hours ago, whj469 said:

He said fifth wheel not bumper pull. 

He said "our 1st 5th Wheel (TT)".  He also used "TT" several times in his post.  So is it a 5er or a TT?  Or is there a 5er company producing a unit named TT?

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The abbreviations can be confusing. I always called a tt a bumper pull or bp and a 5er a fith wheel, but they were all travel trailers. A rv was a motorhome and all campers were rvs. I think its a regional thing and the web has no regions. Of course I thought lol was lots of love and only used it with my wife until she asked me whats so funny.

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On 5/29/2019 at 1:43 PM, noteven said:

If the rv industry would put some brakes under their junk fussing about whether a tow vehicle can stop the whole rig ....

I’ll shush now..

I know your trying to be.. funny, but I'll explain my side.  Most, unless ordered specifically with other brakes systems, come with drum/pad brakes.  Some adjust automatically, some manually.  Mine are manual.  What happens when someone, not mechanically inclined, adjust his/her brakes incorrectly, or forgets and does not adjust them every 2k miles?  They loose efficiency.  What happens when they do a lot of hill/mountain towing?  It's called brake fade.  This is when you need to make sure, call it over-kill if you will, but you need to make sure your tow vehicle can slow down/stop/control your rig.  As per my rig, I made sure my truck was over kill.  But, I have yet to find a down grade I can not control with my truck, stay in lower gear, let the engine brake do the work and stay off my brakes as much as possible.  This also means I'm not using the trailer brakes as much as possible.

Now, that's just *my* point of view, tell me if I'm wrong?  I'm open to all opinions without getting fussy, someone might even teach this old hard-head something new.  I also did not post this to be argumentative, just as a teaching reply, teach me if I'm wrong.  🙂

Edited by NDBirdman

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On 5/27/2019 at 9:55 AM, johnloisel said:

Greetings, all. My wife, friends and RV dealer sales people all look at me funny whenever I focus on hitch/pin weight while shopping for our 1st 5th Wheel (TT). Please help me understand the various weight limits to be considered when towing. I understand TT GVWR, UWR, CCC and TV GCWR, GAWR and max towing capacity. What I don't understand is how TT hitch weight and TV payload fit into the equation. If the TT's hitch weight is going onto the TV, it counts as payload and contributes to GVWR, right?

I'm finding many examples where folks appear to be exceeding their TV's GVWR with payload, e.g., their TT's hitch weight, but are still within their TV's GCWR and towing capacity. Example is a TV with 10k GVWR, 25,300 GCWR and factory payload (door sticker) of 1776 payload (pax, cargo, etc.). Its owner tows a TT with 10,765 GVWR and 1910 hitch weight. They're still within TV's GCWR but they're over the TV's payload and GVWR. What gives?

I'm trying to buy a 5th Wheel and want to stay within the weight limits for my TV: 2018 RAM 2500 Laramie 4x4, CC, SB, Diesel, 3.42 axle; GVWR is 10k, GCWR is 25,300, factory payload is 1942 (curb wt 8058), GAWR is 6000 steer/6500 drive, max towing capacity is 17,080.  I weighed my TV using CATS scale with me and DW, full gas and a 90# ProTrax tonneau cover, results: 8240 (4940 steer, 3300 drive).  The 8240 weight does not include the 185# PullRite SuperGlide hitch I intend to buy; add that and now my truck weight is 8425. Subtract that from my 10k GVWR and my available payload = 1575#, right?

So, based on above, my 5th Wheel's hitch weight cannot exceed 1575# or I'll be over my payload and GVWR.  Does this matter?  Am I okay, so long as I don't exceed my GAWR and GCWR?  Please help!  Thanks in advance.

 

Yes, The pin weight will add to the payload capacity. You are going to find out the same thing I did. I had to get rid of the 2500 for towing a larger 5er. The remaining payload you have left is on the little yellow sticker inside the driver door which you said is 1,776#.

Any 5er that I have looked at have a hitch (pin) weight of a minimum of 2,000#. Right there you are over weight. Yes they make light 5ers, but they are going to be small. Some say the gear ratio makes no difference, but I don't agree, here is why. The higher the gear ratio, the more torque, which means less stress all the way around.

Remember, the ratings you see in the ads are based on a stripped down vehicle, such as a tradesman. The higher up in package you go, the less towing and payload because there is more stuff added to the truck. I just went through all of this, and I learned this the hard way. Here is what I did.

Got rid of the 2500, and picked up a 3500 dually. It's the Laramie package with the 4:10 Gears. I have a GVWR of 14,000# rear axle rating of 9,750# and free payload of 5,704#. But because I have a Laramie package my max towing is reduced from 30,000# to like 21,660#.

Remember, all the 5ers I looked at have a pin weight of 2,000 - 2,500 lbs. Add my weight, the wife, fuel, tools, fifth wheel hitch and that's another 1,000 lbs or so which leaves me with between 2,000 and 1,500 lbs free payload left, so towing a larger fifth wheel just became doable, with more than enough left over as far as payload and axle and all that.

Google RAM Towing Chart, and you will find all the charts that will help you understand all of this.

It's a very controversial subject, and they don't make it easy to understand.

Now with all that said, you also have to figure in CVWR. If you get stopped (and they do stop RV's), they are going to look at GVWR of truck and GVWR of trailer and then compare that to what is on the scale. In some states, 25,601lbs or more, it's commercial and you DO need a CDL to drive it, Arizona is one such state. 

 

So that is where I am at now. Have truck, looking for 5er now. I learned more on a few weeks about all of this, because I want to be safe.

Remember, just because you are doing it, does not mean you are doing it safe.

Hope this helps.

 

D

 

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I've read where we're to target the trailer's pin weight at 20% to 25% of the 5er's GVWR, and that 10% to 15% of the Travel Trailer's GVWR is optimum tongue weight for safe & comfortable travel. I've also read that a target weight for the trailer should be no more than 80% of the tow vehicle's towing capacity. I've found this info repeated in articles, on websites both company & personal, and in forums. The pattern has me think there's truth in these numbers, and that the further one strays from the "guideline" the less safe & less comfortable the drive becomes. To be at or over maximum weight in any category is nothing to take lightly and may have a negative affect in the event of a traffic accident. I hope some of this is helpful and that our OP has been checking in since the May 27th one and only post.

     Spot

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27 May is his last visit according to his profile.  I hope he comes back and reads it.  I'm seeing a lot of newbies come on, post then not come back on of late.  They may be coming on and reading without logging on, I hope he and the others are.

80% of max is what I have read or been told for years.  I have drove tractor/trailer at max and a little over hauling gravel before, it was not fun, those are designed to go heavy but still can make you pucker.  These little trucks, don't... just don't...

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5 hours ago, NDBirdman said:

27 May is his last visit according to his profile.  I hope he comes back and reads it.  I'm seeing a lot of newbies come on, post then not come back on of late.  They may be coming on and reading without logging on, I hope he and the others are.

80% of max is what I have read or been told for years.  I have drove tractor/trailer at max and a little over hauling gravel before, it was not fun, those are designed to go heavy but still can make you pucker.  These little trucks, don't... just don't...

Lol yea I have a CDL and to me a heavy duty truck is a class 8, the HD branding is just a marketing thing.

The other thing about semi trucks is you have the option of sliding the tandems on the trailer and can adjust the weight on the drive tires, we don't have that option.

Yes the 80 percent rule is a good guide, as is the 15 to 20 percent mentioned avove.

People think they have a truck rated at 20 thousand pounds, so that's the trailer they can haul.

Heh, if it only worked that way....

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16 hours ago, BigDinAZ said:

People think they have a truck rated at 20 thousand pounds, so that's the trailer they can haul.

Heh, if it only worked that way....

For sure.  I talk to too many that think that, also many that say manufacturer ratings are under rated so the truck can go a little heavier... I call BS to those folks.  The second to last truck I drove was registered to 100k.  And the company owner wanted us to all haul that.  (100k is legal in ND but DON'T cross state lines.... not happy ending... LOL)  I was hauling a belly dump filled with Class 13, boards on top bowed out, I mean I was really loaded.  Was not happy about it, told boss man, your paying the fine and paying damages... he didn't care.  (no longer work for him)  My truck moaned/groaned badly with that load.  I had a hard time stopping that load and yes, I checked/adjusted my brakes weekly.  Still was a monster of a load for that truck.  2 miles down the road, state patrol comes after me, takes me to the scale.  Man, was he unfriendly!!  He weighed me, I hit at 93k.  He still lectured me and sent me on my way.  Point is, I was not even at my registered max and it was a nightmare for me.  Yea, I will for the rest of my life tell people go overkill on their tow vehicle, it might be able to pull it alright but it's more of a control/stopping factor that can end lives.  It's just NOT worth it.  Don't care if certain ppl like/dislike my point of view, it is what it is.  80% of max can at times be too heavy.....  IMHO

Edited by NDBirdman

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51 minutes ago, NDBirdman said:

For sure.  I talk to too many that think that, also many that say manufacturer ratings are under rated so the truck can go a little heavier... I call BS to those folks.  The second to last truck I drove was registered to 100k.  And the company owner wanted us to all haul that.  (100k is legal in ND but DON'T cross state lines.... not happy ending... LOL)  I was hauling a belly dump filled with Class 13, boards on top bowed out, I mean I was really loaded.  Was not happy about it, told boss man, your paying the fine and paying damages... he didn't care.  (no longer work for him)  My truck moaned/groaned badly with that load.  I had a hard time stopping that load and yes, I checked/adjusted my brakes weekly.  Still was a monster of a load for that truck.  2 miles down the road, state patrol comes after me, takes me to the scale.  Man, was he unfriendly!!  He weighed me, I hit at 93k.  He still lectured me and sent me on my way.  Point is, I was not even at my registered max and it was a nightmare for me.  Yea, I will for the rest of my life tell people go overkill on their tow vehicle, it might be able to pull it alright but it's more of a control/stopping factor that can end lives.  It's just NOT worth it.  Don't care if certain ppl like/dislike my point of view, it is what it is.  80% of max can at times be too heavy.....  IMHO

Well truth is to those that say you can go over manufacturing numbers.

DOT is going to use those numbers, NOT what you think you can go over, he is going to go by the stickers the manufacturer says.

If you are over that, he is going to nail you. Period!

If you have an accident, and the investigation determines you were over manufacturers ratings, insurance company is going to say yes, good luck with that.

If you kill someone and are over manufacturers numbers, well, sucks to be you.

No man, I hear ya. Just because you are doing it, does not mean you are doing it safe.

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2 minutes ago, BigDinAZ said:

If you kill someone and are over manufacturers numbers, well, sucks to be you.

No man, I hear ya. Just because you are doing it, does not mean you are doing it safe.

Trying to give me a heart attack by agreeing with me?  LOL, you would not  believe the arguments I have had, been called out on for thinking that way on here and another forum!

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Stopping is key. You also need to be able to stop when trailer brakes fail. I’m good. Slow and steady, yet stop all day long. Cheaper than a dually too. 

Edited by lockmup68

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10 hours ago, lockmup68 said:

Stopping is key. You also need to be able to stop when trailer brakes fail. I’m good. Slow and steady, yet stop all day long. Cheaper than a dually too. 

Lockmup, using that philosophy, EVERYONE needs to be towing with a class 8 tractor.  No where near the real world.

Ken

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