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Old 08-17-2015, 08:13 AM   #1
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Do Tow Ratings Mean Anything?

I recently had to back out of a order I had on a 2016 28dsbh because my GCWR would be exceeded once loaded. The trailer has a 6200lbs dry weight and my truck tow rating is 7600lbs however once I added the weight of the trailer and truck, this became a no deal. My truck GCWR is 13K.

So I started looking at other trucks and found a 2013 GMC 1500 with 9600lb tow rating but with less GCWR (12K) capability than my current truck. Even though the truck has a 2k higher tow rating, I am still limited by GCWR.

Do tow ratings mean anything? With a 9600lb tow rating and a 12K GCWR, it is not actually possible to achieve 9600lbs. Is my thinking correct?
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:33 AM   #2
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As you are discovering, towing capacity is actually a plural, capacities. Important numbers are; towing capacity, payload, GCWR, axle rating, and tongue weight. So yes those numbers have meaning but you have to interpret them.

One VERY important thing to keep in mind is that dry weight is a fictional number. You will never tow a trailer at it's dry weight. Look at and use the GVWR of the trailer. Your actual weight ready to camp will be closer to GVWR than published dry weights.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to consult the owners manual to make sure you are looking at the right numbers. Ignore any towing charts you see online, they are generalized at best, often listing the max capacities without qualifying that specific option packages are needed to meet those numbers. There is a chart that lists towing capacities with specific options, and GCWR. Match the options to the RPO codes in the glove box (GMs, not sure about other brands).

Finally, in the 1500/150 series trucks you will almost never be able to tow a travel trailer that weighs as much as the max towing capacity. That's because you'll run out of payload long before you reach the max. Boats, flatbed trailers, yes, because they have less tongue weight and far less wind resistance.
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:44 PM   #3
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After reading all of these posts, I am beginning to wonder if my 2001 F-250 with a GCWR of 20,000 lbs is enough to pull my new Jay Flight 29RKS (GVWR 9500 lbs). I downloaded the 2001 Ford towing guide today. It says that the Maximum Cargo Weight Rating of my truck is 1159 lbs. If I am calculating this right, my trailer tongue weighs around 800 lbs which leaves around 350 lbs for cargo and passengers. I am overloaded with this trailer!! Now what?
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:47 AM   #4
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Darin, a GCWR of 20k is impressive. You should be able to keep 'er under that.
My GCW is usually at 16,200 give or take. So, I'm technically 200 pounds over the GCWR. But my the axles on the truck are way way under their max. The trailer fully loaded hovers around 9800/9700.

My '07 truck trailer weight is 13,000. There is no way to possibly keep under the GCWR if you get anywhere near the axle ratings and trailer max.

If my truck had 4.1 gears it's max GCWR would go to 18,000.

I think the big three needed to derate everything across the board in the early 2000's because of the "weight game one upmanship" was getting out of control.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:01 AM   #5
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Craig, I completely agree with you on the "weight game one upmanship" theory. I am within all of the numbers of my truck's tow ratings except the cargo capacity. I will be a few hundred over on that one. The ironic part of the whole deal is that the diesel engine, that gives me the 20K GCWR, weighs so much that it gives me less cargo capacity than the same truck with a gas engine with a GCWR of 13.5K. Also, a F-350 of the same configuration and year as my F-250 has all the exact same GCWR, GVR, & axle ratings according to the Ford guide I am referring to. The only difference is the cargo capacity, i.e. heavier rear springs. This tells me that my powertrain and brakes are more than capable of handling the load and with the addition of my air helper springs my rear axle is capable of the cargo capacity. My only problem is that on paper (stickers, registrations, etc.) my truck is slightly overloaded which can translate into tickets or legal issues if, god forbid, I am involved in an accident. I am guessing that a very high percentage of 3/4 ton trucks out there are overloaded especially the older ones.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:09 AM   #6
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Yep, I totally agree! . Ironic is so true. The 4x4 takes away payload, the crew cab takes away payload. I wonder if the engineers are considering braking capabilities if and when the trailer brakes fail.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:35 AM   #7
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Darin, I hear you on the paperwork. But... We arnt held to the same standards as commercial rigs. You're right a BUNCH of 3/4 tons are overloaded out there. It's hard not to be. The wifey, the kids, dog, and bikes and minor bulky stuff for me is like 750 pounds. Plus my 1300 tw, I'm cooked.

These 3/4 ton crews are highway queens, and pulling rigs only. I don't kid myself... You don't pickup gravel in your RV tow rig, and you don't take your one ton dump body camping. Fact of life.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ctbailey View Post
Darin, I hear you on the paperwork. But... We arnt held to the same standards as commercial rigs. You're right a BUNCH of 3/4 tons are overloaded out there. It's hard not to be. The wifey, the kids, dog, and bikes and minor bulky stuff for me is like 750 pounds. Plus my 1300 tw, I'm cooked.

These 3/4 ton crews are highway queens, and pulling rigs only. I don't kid myself... You don't pickup gravel in your RV tow rig, and you don't take your one ton dump body camping. Fact of life.
X-2

The only issues that would come into play on a pick-up would be over legal width and length of items sticking out of the bed. And I have actually seen a lot of them going down the road and being ignored by Johnny Law too.

I know for a fact that for CHEV/GMC the only difference between a 2500/3500 HD SRW is the rear spring pack and for a 3500 DRW is the extra tires and a different brake set since the truck alone is rated for a heavier payload. Front axle and rear axle for all 3 is identical ( 3:73 GM build code GT4 for the rear) same frame, same engine, same trany and drive shaft. Tire loads may be slightly different, but I upgraded mine to carry 7,480 on the rear. (3,740 each)
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:57 AM   #9
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X-2

The only issues that would come into play on a pick-up would be over legal width and length of items sticking out of the bed. And I have actually seen a lot of them going down the road and being ignored by Johnny Law too.

I know for a fact that for CHEV/GMC the only difference between a 2500/3500 HD SRW is the rear spring pack and for a 3500 DRW is the extra tires and a different brake set since the truck alone is rated for a heavier payload. Front axle and rear axle for all 3 is identical ( 3:73 GM build code GT4 for the rear) same frame, same engine, same trany and drive shaft. Tire loads may be slightly different, but I upgraded mine to carry 7,480 on the rear. (3,740 each)
Grumpy,

That is true if you are referring to a diesel 2500/3500. But a 6.0 2500 does not have the same rear end as a diesel 2500/3500, or a 6.0 3500. 6.0 2500 gets the 10.5", and all diesels/ 6.0 3500 get the 11.5" rear end.

Everything else from what I have found is the same as you posted.

Things may have changed since the last time I looked into it which was about a yr ago.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ctbailey View Post
snip...... I wonder if the engineers are considering braking capabilities if and when the trailer brakes fail.
TV braking is associated to it's respective GVWR specification....., unfortunately not it's GCWR.

Bob
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