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Old 09-07-2015, 12:19 AM   #1
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So I went by a CAT Scale today

I've still got about a month before my trailer arrives, but the family was loaded up in the truck today with a full tank and we were within reasonable distance of the CAT scales, so I decided to check.

Now, I expect the tongue weight of my trailer will be ~1300 lbs all said and done (2016 Eagle 284BHBE). The truck is a 2012 RAM 2500 diesel Megacab 4x4.

Front Axle: 5240 lbs
GAWR (front) 5500 lbs

Rear Axle: 3660 lbs
GAWR (rear): 6010 lbs

These numbers give me a nice warm fuzzy... I have another 2350 lbs in the rear to handle the ~1300 lbs of tongue weight from the trailer.

However, the GVWR tells a much different story:

Total weight (front & rear Axles): 8900 lbs
GVWR: 9600 lbs

According to this, if I add 1300 lbs tongue weight, I'll be over by 600 lbs.

Should I be worried?
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:36 AM   #2
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Dry hitch weight of that trailer is only 760, so you should be good. There really isn't much your truck won't tow, really . As far as the numbers, someone will chime in, but I would have no trouble towing that trailer with the truck you describe in your sig.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djtho1 View Post
Dry hitch weight of that trailer is only 760, so you should be good. There really isn't much your truck won't tow, really . As far as the numbers, someone will chime in, but I would have no trouble towing that trailer with the truck you describe in your sig.
I guess I just don't understand why the GAWR's add up to over 11K lbs, but the GVWR is 9600 lbs?

The axle's should clearly hold the weight just fine based on the RAM documentation, so is it a matter of handling or brakes or something?

Everyone I've talked to thus far says I'll be fine and not to worry about it, but something's not right here... either the GVWR is BS (and if so, why?) or there's a mechanical limitation I'm going to be overshooting by a fair margin.

The dry weight alone would put me at max payload based on the GVWR numbers. That will only increase with a 200 lb hitch (Propride 3P) and loaded trailer with full tanks, etc.
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:07 AM   #4
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your axles should be basically the same as the ones in a 1-ton, so that will explain the difference between the GAWR and GVWR. You are actually towing a pretty light trailer for that truck, so that is why people are telling you not to worry. You do bring up an interesting point on the GVWR though, and I hope someone will chime in in the morning once the east coasters are up (I am currently in Oregon as well).
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:18 PM   #5
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I saw somewhere that "legally" 3/4 ton trucks can't be listed over 10,000 lbs and that this is the reason for the cutoff. But that doesn't make much sense to me as I look at the ratings for, say 2012 3500 trucks, and while the axle rating are the same as mine, the GVWR is 10,100 lbs instead of 9600 lbs.

Why wouldn't the 3500 trucks list the full axle weights as GVWR if it was simply a legal thing for 3/4 ton trucks?

There has to be some other reason for the GVWR vs. GAWR and that makes me think I should be looking at a new truck...

I know I can trade mine in and basically come away wtih the same payments (though the term of the loan would reset and the balance would go up). I don't really want to do that, but I also don't want to do something inherently unsafe with my wife and 3 kids in the truck with me.
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:34 PM   #6
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Your current truck will tow that camper. Technically a F-150 with the ecoboost is rated to tow that camper and your rig has more capability than that (kinda like night and day). What is your towing experience? If you have any doubts, hook onto a friend's camper or see if you can do a test tow at the dealer. Do you have rear leaf or Dodge's new coil sprung rear?
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:46 PM   #7
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As you've probably already determined from my questions, I'm not very experienced with towing.

We rented a trailer 2 years ago and went on a 6-week trip with it. It was a 5000 lb trailer and we were towing with a '99 Ford Expedition. On paper, it should have been fine, but the actual towing experience was rather nerve wracking. I know now that I made 2 signficant errors in judgement:

1. The Expedition had 250K miles on it already and despite the towing package, the engine struggled mightily to tow that trailer. Our weights were "within spec", but the engine was not really up to the task, and we broke down in New Mexico... that's where I bought the truck I have today, by the way...

2. The rental company set up the WDH for me but did not do it properly. At the time, I had no idea why the steering was so incredibly bad. Now I know that the WDH was not adjusted properly and the front axle didn't have enough weight on it to properly grip the road. I thank God we lived through the experience.

When we hooked up the trailer to the new truck in New Mexico, as you might expect, it was night and day difference. Suddenly we had a vehicle that was way more than capable of towing the trailer, probably even without a WDH. Honestly, it drove as though the trailer wasn't even there. The only time I noticed it was when I had the trailer brake controller adjusted improperly.

What I took away from that experience was:

1. I don't ever want to stretch the limit of towing specs again.

2. 250K is a lot of miles for a gas engine to start your first cross-country RV trip towing a trailer for the first time... =D

3. Diesel is awesome.

I will not change anything until I have the trailer and see how it handles, but I still would like to get some answers in the meantime if they can be had.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:00 PM   #8
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The truck is a 2012, so leaf springs, not coils.

I really do wonder how one can find out for certain the difference between the 2500 and 3500 models of a given model year.

The axles are most likely identical (based on the fact the GAWRs are identical between the two trucks). So is it simply leaf springs? Are there differences in the brakes?

If I simply add a 3500 spring pack, will it suddenly be (for all practical matters) a 3500 truck? Or is there something more?

What else would be different?

I guess if I bottom out on the springs when we're fully loaded, that will be a clue...
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:15 PM   #9
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GAWR tells you what each individual axle is capable of carrying. GVWR tells you what the truck as a whole unit is rated to carry, it takes into account things like axle capacity, frame capacity, brakes, power, tires and so on. That is why GVWR is not the sum of the GAWR. If you were out on the road and law enforcement put you across the scales, you could be considered over weight if the weight on one axle exceeded the GAWR on the door sticker even if you were not over the GVWR for the truck. Big truckers get nailed for this if the truck is not set up properly, that is why they have sliding 5th wheel hitches and sliding axles on some of the trailers to properly balance the load among the various axles.
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:39 PM   #10
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Cat Scale

Hey, ecksdude, why are you traveling with full tanks? Doesn't make sense to me.
If you are so worried about being 600-lbs over, why not lighten your load, i.e., empty hot water tank, empty fresh and grey water tanks. Travel with one propane tank filled instead of 2. Just curious!!!
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