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Old 05-07-2013, 12:25 PM   #1
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A visit to a CAT scale.

We went to a CAT scale on Sunday on the way home from weekend camping. I have to say that it was a pretty easy going experience. In the 2 hours or so we were there, nobody else went through the scale. No problems with getting in the way of truckers and their rigs. But they do kinda look at you like you were in Asia and have blond hair....

FWIW, there is really no way you can weigh the right and left trailer axles separately without backing onto the scales, which I don't think would be a good idea.

I had to make 5 passes in total. As I read in several places, the call button really is quite high up. I learned that you cannot step out of your truck and go under the call button to push it or they will weigh you before you get back in. One pass wasted there... You really do need to have a stick to push on the button but it only needs to be about 3' long. Would help to have a knob on the end like a wad of tape.

I had to readjust the angle of the spring bars and number of links twice because at first, the front TV wheels were actually being lifted a bit. That explained why the front end felt a bit loose. Using the initial setup process of measuring the change in height of the front and rear TV wheel arches with a tape measure, that was obviously WAY off. We have a Reese dual cam WDH.

After doing the math, I learned:

The available TV payload is 1,885 lbs. Much lower than the figure of 2,850 that Ford shows. We lose about 250 lbs for the canopy and bed liner. Not sure why Ford's number is so high. I'm pretty sure that their figure includes for the long box, supercab, 4DW and V10 that we have, but I could be wrong.

The trailer weighs 6,560 lbs. The factory UVW is 5,237 lbs. The trailer GVWR is 6,800 lbs. That only leaves 240 lbs of available payload in the trailer. The measured weight seems awfully high considering the stuff we loaded into the trailer would not weigh much. Not very good. We are all loaded up with a "normal" load of food and clothing, some small kitchen appliances and dishes, and a pass-through filled with BBQ, chairs, and hoses and the like. Nothing unusually heavy. And we only have one group 24 battery up front. We have a rear kitchen so there is the weight of the stove, fridge, cabinets, small appliances, food, etc. hanging of the very rear of the unit. We also have electric stab. jacks and tongue jack. Do these weight that much??

Tongue weight works out to 560 lbs. The factory figure is 518 lbs. A problem here is that this works out to 8.5% which is simply too low. The trailer just does not seem to handle right and that could be why right there. There is no way to shift cargo towards the front. The only way to increase tongue weight would be to add lead weights (kidding) on the tongue, but, there is only 240 lbs of available TT payload left. We have a rear kitchen so there is the weight of the stove, fridge, cabinets, small appliances, food, etc. hanging of the very rear of the unit.

We are well under the front and rear GAWR's for the truck and are limited by payload capacity. Presently have about 1,300 lbs of TV payload capacity left, so okay there.

As for weight transfer, I readjusted the WDH by tilting the bars down one "notch". Still lifted the front wheels up. Then tilted the bars down another notch and took away one chain link (leaving 4 loose ones). That unfortunately transferred 160 lbs to the front and 400 lbs to the rear axles and none to the trailer. That's not good so I would have to either adjust the bar one notch or add one chain link. But in view of the low tongue weight, I left it as is at that point and will have to figure out what to do with getting the tongue weight up and then go back.

All in all, it was a very interesting and worthwhile exercise. I think everyone should do this. You might be surprised at the results.

Anyone have any idea how to increase tongue weight without adding overall weight to the TT and without re-arranging payload? I can't see how it's feasible to shift TT payload towards the front that would be of any significant weight. In a quandry.....

Almost forgot, for those venturing to a scale for the first time, may I suggest leaving DW at a shopping mall why the man does all this? I know next time I will! (No comments)
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
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Anyone have any idea how to increase tongue weight without adding overall weight to the TT and without re-arranging payload? I can't see how it's feasible to shift TT payload towards the front that would be of any significant weight. In a quandry.....
I also think the problem with handling is the tongue weight.

Did you have any water or waste in any of your tanks? Where are those tanks in relation to the TT's axles?
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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If you leave wife or kids somewhere else while you weigh - remember to add their weights to the truck weights when doing your math.

As for the 1,000 pounds difference in payload capacity- that's pretty on par with what I saw when I weighed (1,300 pounds in my case for a family of 4 and our "stuff"). Includes the hitch and whatnot. Sure was eaten up way faster than I expected.

No clue on the TT/tongue weights. Good luck!
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:21 PM   #4
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average user installed items is right in the 1000 lb range.

don't forget what the dealer adds after the camper is shipped .
propane tanks full of propane.
battery/batteries
awning
microwave
spare tire and carrier
if your water heater is full that can be 40 to 60 lbs
your hitch and all its accessory's have to be added.

These are a few things your not account for..

The UVW or unloaded "empty" trailer weight means nothing .


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Old 05-07-2013, 01:40 PM   #5
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Gil, how did you figure the 560 lb. tongue weight ??

Ideally, that should be the total of the truck axles with the trailer hooked up without the spring bars in place, minus the truck solo.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:43 PM   #6
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moving stuff to get better tongue weight can often a challenge. sounds like that rear kitchen is throwing your balance off quite a bit.

Do you have a front storage locker? If yes - then maybe you can start moving stuff to it. Everything from lawn chairs to bags of charcoal adds weight.

Is it front bedroom? You may be able to take some heavier items (think the kitchen table etc. here) and put them in the front bedroom while travelling.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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Let's see if I can answer everything.

All 4 tanks were empty. We have a rear galley tank. Without looking, I'd say the other 3 are all ahead of the axles, but since they were empty, not a factor. It just occurred to me that we would not be able to travel with a full tank of fresh water without exceeding the max. trailer weight. We're not into dry camping so don't have to worry about that fortunately. But how can anyone sell a trailer that can be overloaded so easily by filling the fresh water tank?

Only the dog and myself and a few tools were in the truck when weighed, but I subtracted our dog's weight of 65 lbs. I forgot to put the spring bars in the truck bed, but that won't matter much. The tools weigh about the same as the bars.

This has got me wondering. Are factory installed upgrades/options like electric. stab jacks included in the factory UVW? It's looking like they aren't but I thought a UVW is what it ways on the way out the door? I have a feeling that they have a "stock" UVW and simply don't add on the factory installed options. Rather misleading....

I know about factory installed items like propane tanks & battery(ies). The electric awning was factory installed. Is the spare tire a factory or dealer item?

I calculated the tongue weight by taking the total weight of TV + TT hooked up (14,320 on 3 pads) and subtracting the weight of the trailer axles (5,980 when hooked up to TV) less the weight of the TV (7,780 when unhooked from the trailer). I *think* I have this right?

The only outside storage is a pass-through at the very front. It gets the BBQ, sewer stuff, hoses, chairs, outdoor carpet and the other usual outside stuff. The bed is at the front of the TT and has a storage area under the foot of the bed. Have only got light stuff in there at the moment, but there isn't much else heavy inside to shift into the bed storage spot.

We sure would not be able to mount a bike rack or generator on the bumper - not that I would tho. I am going to look today to see if it is feasible to relocate the spare tire to the tongue area. I see that Lance does this with their trailers. I am just in the process of relocating the battery to inside the pass-through nearest the hitch side. Have been planning to install a trailer tongue box but needed to move the battery somewhere else. Glad I didn't move somewhere behind the axles. Moving the battery rearward about 18-24" and adding the tongue box will probably result in a net zero weight difference on the tongue.

Yes, the hot water tank would have been full and the heater is at the very back.

I am still a bit shocked about the light tongue weight percentage and also the trailer weight being 240 lbs away from the GVW (6800 lbs). They sure cut the axle ratings of 2 x 3500 lbs close to the GVW.

Thinking out loud, the best idea for tongue weight so far is to try and put the spare tire up front. I'm not sure if it hangs down a bit would be an issue. The stair assemblies hang down a lot as do the elec. stab. jacks.

I'm also thinking of getting a tongue scale so I can check the weight easily when I want to.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:40 PM   #8
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you lost me on your tongue weight calculation, did you weight the trailer and truck separately, not hooked up? If so, you need to take the weight of the truck when hooked up to trailer (add the drive and steer axles) BUT WITHOUT THE WD BARS IN PLACE, and then subtract the weight of the truck when it was NOT hooked up.

What brand/model trailer do you have?

And to your point on selling a trailer where it is so easy to go over the published GVWR of the trailer, yep that is exactly what they do. Most models rolling off the assembly line are designed to hold more than they can carry. Right or wrong, that is the way it is, which makes your time at the scale that much more important.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by myredracer View Post
I calculated the tongue weight by taking the total weight of TV + TT hooked up (14,320 on 3 pads) and subtracting the weight of the trailer axles (5,980 when hooked up to TV) less the weight of the TV (7,780 when unhooked from the trailer). I *think* I have this right?
If the spring bars were used in that weight, then that is not going to give you an actual tongue weight. The spring bars will add to the the trailer axle weights. In the case of my setup, about 120 lbs.

Were the spring bars in place ??
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:29 PM   #10
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Truck was weighed on it's own. The trailer was weighed hooked up to TV with WDH bars hooked up. I didn't think you need to weigh the trailer on it's own?

If it's so easy to overload your trailer just by filling up with fresh water, I can see why some may end up with frame issues. Then if you have problems, the frame manufacturer says you overloaded it and it's entirely your fault. I sure don't ever want to end up in a position like that.

To get the tongue weight, I took the total weight of trailer + truck (each set of axles on it's own pad, ie. front TV axle, rear TV axle and TT axles together). Then I subtracted the weight of just the truck (front axle weight plus rear axle weight from the trucks own pass through the scale) and then also subtracted the weight of the trailer reading on the first pass (with TV and WDH hooked up).
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