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Old 03-16-2015, 12:33 AM   #1
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Unhappy CAT Scale Opened My Eyes

I've been wanting to run my rig over the scales and finally got around to doing it today. It was an eye opening and somewhat sobering experience.

My TV is a fully optioned 2012 Silverado 1500 4x4 Extended Cab 5.3 liter automatic with the HD tow package rated to tow up to 9600 pounds. Truck was weighed w/full tank of gas, 2 adults, 2 dogs (1 big 1 very small) fiberglass shell, bed liner and a bicycle in the back and came to 6420 pounds.
My TT is a 2014 27 DSRL. I weighed the TT with a full tank of water on board and all our camping gear/groceries/drinks. Trailer weight was right at 6760 pounds. GM says the GCVW should be no more than 15,000 pounds so I am good at 13,180.
Truck weight with trailer attached, no WD hitch 7180 for a tongue weight of 760. So far so good.
Truck weight with weight distribution goes down to 7060 (trailer weight goes up to 6120) for a tongue weight of 640 which means the tongue weight is light, not even 11% of the trailers weight. Not so good.
Now the bad part: the tag on the inside of the drivers door puts the GVWR at 7000 pounds which means I am over weight by 60 pounds. What really blows is that the tongue weight is already light; if I change the adjustment of the hitch to take more weight off the truck the reduction pushes me under the 10-15% tongue weight to trailer weight ratio recommended by GM.
For what it's worth the truck tows the trailer just fine the way it is set up now so I guess I don't have much in the way of options other than to not carry a full tank of water thus lightening the tongue weight slightly and live with the max GVW condition while keeping a sharp eye on maintenance items. Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions that do not involve buying a bigger truck would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:12 AM   #2
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Quick question for those in the know. With no WDH, he is at 760 tongue weight or 11%. With the WDH connected, he is at 640 or 9%. Which one is his true tongue weight? In my mind it would be the original 760. The way I see it is the true tongue weight isn't changing but being distributed better via the stiffening of the connection point. Anyway, is there a difference in WDH connected and disconnected tongue weights when it comes to the 10% - 15% tounge weight???
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jaycojls View Post
Quick question for those in the know. With no WDH, he is at 760 tongue weight or 11%. With the WDH connected, he is at 640 or 9%. Which one is his true tongue weight? In my mind it would be the original 760. The way I see it is the true tongue weight isn't changing but being distributed better via the stiffening of the connection point. Anyway, is there a difference in WDH connected and disconnected tongue weights when it comes to the 10% - 15% tounge weight???
You are correct. The WDH ony re-distributes the tongue weight to spread it across the TT and TV rear-front axles. The only way to change the tongue weight is to change where he stows the gear in the TT.
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:51 AM   #4
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Some suggestions:

Lose the fiberglass shell, put the bike in the trailer, get some rear suspension enhancements.

I tow with the GMC cousin to your truck in 2WD and I'm at or slightly over max. In fact, I'm shopping for a new truck as we speak (type?).

I found the rear end to be a bit washy, so I installed Roadmaster Active Suspension (RAS). It helped a lot, but it's not the only game in town, there are also air bags and Timbrens. If I were going to stay with this truck, I would be investing in LT tires as well. None of these things will increase your payload or GVWR, but they'll help you manage the full load better.

A lot of people say you should concentrate on staying below your Rear Axle GAWR if you're over on GVWR. I agree.

I always felt the 5.3 was a little anemic for towing my trailer, but short of MAJOR engine components (think supercharger or turbo) there's not much worth doing to the engine. You can get a programmer that supposedly helps; check out the Full-Size GM forums for information on those.
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:10 AM   #5
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I think your right on track Russ. Since we upgraded last spring, I too am running real close to the max with my Tahoe. I've not gone to the scale, and quite honestly, I don't want to know where I stand because a new TV isn't in my near future. To save the weight, I now always fill the FW tank at the park, if its not full hook up. I limit myself to things I know I need and have removed things that haven't been used in some time. The worst part for me, is our camper has very little storage, and under the bed is where most everything goes, which is the very front of the camper.
Take it slow, I rarely exceed 60mph when towing, and keep the trans in drive (or 3, not overdrive), turn the tow/haul button on and keep your foot on the gas (I don't use cruise while towing because the trans likes to down shift to 2nd). Check or have checked all your driveline fluids at least once before tow season, and change your transmission fluid AND Filter annually
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:09 AM   #6
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While the CAT Scale is your friend, we all know that a friend will sometimes deliver bad news.
Russ, you didn't mentions the individual axle weights and your GAWR and I'm curious if your rear axle is overweight.
Since you are over such a small amount losing the water (or some of it-about 7 gal) would probably bring you back into the "green" with respect to the GAWR. Removing some of the bed weight or moving it to the TT as mentioned would also help. A smaller help would be to move weight in the bed as far forward as possible (moving a % of the weight to the front axle).
Since you already have a pretty good handle on the TV weight, after making some adjustments I'd just weigh the TV-TT (no WDH) combination to see what changes.
I'd probably do what I could to get under the weight limits and then just go with it. Unless you travel to a state where TV/TT's are weighed and citations issued you're probably going to be good. Taking it easy is always a good idea.
Being close on the max weight will require the TV brakes to work harder (yeah, also the drive train) so I'd check the pads pretty often and use extra caution on down-grades.
I was surprised by the CAT Scale results on our first TV/TT (in sig below) finding we were about 200# from the Rear GAWR with just the bride, wiener dog and myself aboard even tho when purchasing I knew we were WELL below the Max Tow Weight. With another couple in the back seat I figured we would have been in a similar situation to yourself.
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
Some suggestions:

Lose the fiberglass shell, put the bike in the trailer, get some rear suspension enhancements.

AGREED

I found the rear end to be a bit washy, so I installed Roadmaster Active Suspension (RAS). It helped a lot, but it's not the only game in town, there are also air bags and Timbrens. If I were going to stay with this truck, I would be investing in LT tires as well. None of these things will increase your payload or GVWR, but they'll help you manage the full load better.

GOOD POINTS! IM GOING WITH TIMBRENS THIS SPRING, AND ALWAYS HAVE LOAD RANGE D TIRES OR BETTER

I always felt the 5.3 was a little anemic for towing my trailer, but short of MAJOR engine components (think supercharger or turbo) there's not much worth doing to the engine. You can get a programmer that supposedly helps; check out the Full-Size GM forums for information on those.

IT'S A BIT UNDERPOWERED, BUT IT HASN'T LET ME DOWN. IM NOT A BIG FAN OF PROGRAMMERS AND A TURBO OR SUPER CHARGER ON A WHAT ONCE WAS A NATURALLY ASPERATED ENGINE MAY ACTUALLY LESSEN YOU TOWING CAPASICITY
I also wanted to agree with REDHORSE1 about TV brake life. Check them at minimum annually. I rotate and check my brakes every oil change...
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:30 AM   #8
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I also wanted to agree with REDHORSE1 about TV brake life. Check them at minimum annually. I rotate and check my brakes every oil change...
I agree completely that adding stuff to the engine or using programmers is probably not the best solution. Personally, I would never do it. While they MAY have SOME value in SOME applications, I don't feel like this is one of them.

I also agree that my 5.3 has never let me down; it's a good motor IMHO. Gotta watch out for that AFM though, from what I understand it has a tendency to burn quite a bit of oil and cause lots of carbon deposit problems on the pistons, rings and valves.

I MIGHT consider a programmer (if I had extra money to throw at it and I thought it would fix whatever minor problem I might be having), specifically tuned for towing applications, but that's about it.

Sorry if that was a little off topic...
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:24 PM   #9
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snip..... In my mind it would be the original 760...... snip
As mentioned, your correct....., and for the most part the loaded tongue weight on the TV's hitch ball remains a constant. The WDH is actually re-distributing some of the added weight on the TV's rear axle, which is weight that was added do to the "effect" of the TT's tongue weight being placed on the hitch ball.

Bob
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:51 PM   #10
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snip......if I change the adjustment of the hitch to take more weight off the truck the reduction pushes me under the 10-15% tongue weight to trailer weight ratio recommended by GM......snip
Keep in mind that the WDH is designed to address the weight removed/returned requirements of the TV's front suspension. Ideally the WDH should be adjusted such that it "returns" the same amount of weight removed from the TV's front suspension due to the initial effect of the TT's tongue weight being placed on the hitch ball. Basically the TV's fronts suspension (axle) weight should be the same when "unhitched" and "hitched" (WDH engaged), your CAT results should confirm this. Please refer to your TV's owners manual for your specific front suspension requirements when using a WDH.

The 27DSRL is a 31ft long TT...., so I would consider incorporating some of the TV/TT cargo weight changes suggested, and target at least a 13% loaded tongue weight. You will find that your TV will handle the 27DSRL much better in the 13% - 15% tongue weight range...., especially in less then ideal towing conditions.

Bob
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