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Close on Weight. Comments?


Bill&Cindy

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I have an interesting situation. The following are the actual weight and ratings for the truck and trailer with almost everything including 100 gallons of water. Water tank is in front of the trailer axles.

Ratings
Truck 2014 F250
GVWR 10,000
GCVWR 26,000
Front Axle 4850
Rear Axle 6100
Tire 3475

Trailer 15,200
Axles 6000
Tires 3200

Actual Weights
Truck
Front Axle 4475
Rear Axle 5625

Trailer 13,100 with weight evenly distributed. @5200 per axle

Combined 24,200

I am going to pull this trailer with this truck, so please dont suggest a vehicle change. The question is should I add air bags or other helpers since the actual for the truck is 100 lbs over the GVWR. I will probably never tow any distance with more than a 30 gallons of water, so that should take enough off the truck to get me under the GVWR. Thanks for your input

Bill

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Dumping water may help depending on where your fresh water tank is located. If it's forward of the trailer axles, nearer to the goose neck, then that will remove pin weight which is what you need. Otherwise you may need to relocate some items from the basement to the rear of the trailer while driving. Also consider what you may have in the bedroom that can be moved aft of the axles to transfer weight.

 

In your case 100 lbs is not a deal breaker by any means and that amount can easily fall within the tolerance of the scales. If you have not had it weighed by each wheel position, I suggest you do that as it will give you a lot more info regarding your balance and hitch adjustment.

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The problem I see is that you used the factory's combined weight rating which is calculated when pulling a 60 square foot of frontal area horse trailer not a 100 square foot plus RV. I was in exactly (well within a couple hundred pounds) your situation with my F-250 and fiver. We were not happy with the combination and like you I had the truck and fiver and wanted to get the best solution I could without breaking the bank.

 

I added Ride-Rite air bags and an on-board compressor, the bags made a huge difference in ride height when hooked up and no perceptible difference when empty. Do get the compressor, you will get tired of hunting a filling station and then hunting more for one that has dry air. Pushing a button will be a lot less frustrating.

 

If you have a diesel do get an exhaust brake if you plan on spending any amount of time on steeper hills. Without one go down your first couple in 1st gear and see how things go. I tried 2nd on my rig and did over a thousand bucks damage to my truck brakes getting slowed down enough to downshift to 1st.

 

If you are unhappy with the power available Banks Power is a good place to look for upgrades. You will likely notice the lack of power most when travelling at highway speeds where the increased air resistance of the larger frontal area has the most impact. Add in a hill or headwind and the problem is magnified.

 

 

We finally abandoned our F-250 after several thousand dollars in modifications but we spent a good deal of time in the Rockies where the power was a real issue.

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We probably could have skipped adding air but then we'd be back in trouble with the headlight aiming and at the time we did a good bit of night towing. Measured the rear bumper height with no fiver and then added the fiver. Added air to where the back bumper was at the previous measurement and marked the gauge, then unhooked the fiver. We then put a mark on the pressure gauge so we could fill the bags before we hooked up too.

 

Adding air depends on how much drop you are able to tolerate and how much your truck drop. Our F250 loaded to within a few hundred pounds of rear axle weight dropped enough that we were more comfortable adding air.

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On our Dodge, I added airbags for a smoother ride. The truck sat fairly level, within 3/4 inch, with the camper hooked at 4500lbs of pin weight. But the rear springs were riding on the factory overloads which made it a really stiff ride. I added enough air to lift the main springs off the overloads, usually 40-45lbs of air pressure.

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The question is should I add air bags or other helpers since the actual for the truck is 100 lbs over the GVWR. I will probably never tow any distance with more than a 30 gallons of water, so that should take enough off the truck to get me under the GVWR.

 

 

From the FAQ of the Firestone Airbag product site....

Does this allow my truck to carry more weight?

Absolutely not. Only the vehicle manufacturer can set the GVWR. Even with the air springs, you have the same brakes, axles, bearings and frame stiffness which in part determine the vehicles load capability. The Ride- Rite air helper springs simply allow you to carry the maximum capacity of your truck more comfortably and without suspension sag and the poor handling that comes with it.

 

Air bags can be good addition for some circumstances but understand what they do and do not do. Consider this carefully because the addition of airbag components will also add weight to the truck and especially its rear axle which can further reduce the capacity on the various components. Air bags primarily help with leveling (which is important - handling) and ride comfort.

So, these helpers will not change the GVWR issue you have. In fact, anything you add to the truck adds weight and therefore makes the difference between the GVW and the GVWR greater. However, if you manage the weight in other ways adding these components might be helpful. You would have to do the specific analysis for your situation.

 

From a safety standpoint the GAWR (gross axle weight rating) is the most important item to compare. For the tow vehicle (truck), we are most often talking about the rear axle. All the components of the axle are important but tires are the most important safety consideration (load capacity and associated inflation pressure), then brake capacity, followed by hub assembly/suspension/etc.

 

The only real way to manage a weight issue is to remove weight (without getting a new truck :blink: or smaller trailer). This could be stuff in the truck which includes the pin weight. This translates to how you load the fifth wheel. If you can move stuff from the front of the fifth wheel to the back this can help, but it is hard to move stuff from the front of a fifth wheel to the back because there is little storage space in the back of most fifth wheels. Some people have added a storage box on the fifth wheels rear tow bar. but you have to check the capacity for that and consider the benefits/drawbacks.

 

Reducing the water is a great way to manage the weight. 70 gal of water is about 580 lbs. This will definitely help.

 

Also, regular maintenance is very important and the closer you are to the capacities the more frequent the maintenance intervals. This is especially important the more the vehicle is used in a situation where it is working at or above capacity. And the wheel components are the components that usually get the most abuse, therefore needing the most TLC.

 

Just know that when components are working near the stated maximum working capacities they will wear out sooner, so the owner needs to keep diligent watch.

 

In this situation, it was stated that the axle weights on the trailer are equally distributed. It was not stated how this was determined. RVs often have unbalanced weights side to side, so it is good to get weighed by wheel position to learn how your particular trailer is distributing the weight to each wheel. If the rv is indeed well balanced then that is great, but if there are side weigh issues or even specific wheel position weight issues this information will help to find ways to manage those issues.

 

The idea is to know our individual situations, how to best deal with them so that we can enjoy RVing and life!

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Thanks for all the comments. A couple of things to add to the original post.

1. Weights were determined at the November Bootcamp. Each wheel was weighed and compared to maximums. None were over maximums for tires or axles. Right side of trailer was lighter than the left, but not by a significant amount

2. I have a rear kitchen model, so there is significant storage behind the rear axle and I plan to move/store heavy items there. In fact, I think I need to be careful not to take too much weight off the hitch.

3. Texas now requires an annual inspection for trailer and tow vehicle. I will be in Texas every winter, so that will force me to monitor he brakes, tires and other components.

 

Again, I appreciate all of your input. I will reweigh later this year when we are in Livingston and expect to find that I am in compliance with ALL maximums.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ignoring an overload situation is not a good way to proceed. Knowing where you stand gives you options and the ability to mitigate the risk you take on when stressing components of your system. You are doing the right thing by pursuing a solution.

 

Where possible overweight situations should be addressed. Where not possible (all has been done that can be done, including lightening the load), a slight overload can be carefully managed by maintaining the components more diligently. However, tire overloads cannot be tolerated - your experience will be very bad with overloaded tires.

 

As I think Trey said - it is not uncommon to find overloaded RVs, or overloaded components on RVs. Totalling ignoring the situation is not a good resolution. The OP is taking the right steps, IMO, and is a good example of how to proceed.

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