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Old 08-01-2012, 09:00 AM   #11
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I agree with Herk. Always plan using the GVWR and you will have enough tow vehicle. You may not get to the GVWR but you will be a lot happier. It is always better to have more towing capacity than needed. I see to many single wheel trucks pulling large fivers that are sagging and have to be terrible in traffic when big rigs pass you. And yes similar trailers may have different GVWR due to the size of the axles and tire ratings.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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I was looking at Sabres, and the 281RLDS is a good example, 8005 lb dry weight but a GVWR of 12,204 lbs. And it ain't no toy hauler.
You are right.

Sabre Silhouette 281RLDS Fifth Wheel | RV Wholesale Superstore, LLC.

The dry weight is without factory installed options.
The Unloaded Vehicle Weight (off the yellow sticker) is the "As Built" weight and can be anywhere from a few hundred pounds to quite a few hundred pounds heavier than dry weight.

I would love to see an example of an actual "delivered" weight on that unit.

My guess is that camper's UVW with that floor plan was too much for the lower rated axles (or frame) normally used for that class of trailer and upgraded axles (or frame) were required (thus giving it the higher GVWR).

Manufacturers are REALLY cost conscious and would never give you more capacity than absolutely necessary. That is a 2013; I wonder if the Lippert frame issues had any impact on the decision to up-gun the frame? Just sayin'
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:10 AM   #13
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OP,
The bottom line for me is:

Use the GVWR to supply a cushion if you are new to the RV world. As Lou, said, if you find yourself with a few hundred pounds of excess capacity you will find your camper and tow vehicle will last longer. It will also make for a more comfortable towing experience.

If you know how much you camp with, then feel free to estimate using the trailer's dry weight and adding up all of the additional weight that will be used in the trailer (cargo, water, propane, batteries, mods, etc).

Either way, its important to plan on a margin of safety so that you do not come right up to the limits of your tow vehicle.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:19 AM   #14
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Herk, all of the Sabres had heavier axles, just a better-built camper all around. If they had the exact floor plan I wanted, I would have bought one. But we are very happy with our Flagstaff just the same.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:56 AM   #15
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You are getting alot of great advice, but I will throw in some extra food for thought. To make a decision based primarily on the GVWR is short-sighted. You need to consider the GVWR, Carrying Capacity, and Dry Weight (or UVW).

Here's a common "perception" conversation that we have with customers all the time:

Manufacturer A builds a unit that weighs 5000 pounds total with a 500 pound hitch weight rolling out the door. Manufacturer B builds the EXACT SAME UNIT and it weighs 5000 pounds total with a 500 pound hitch weight rolling out the door, too.

If Manufacturer A wants to cut corners, he can put 2800# Axles with 14" tires on this unit - smaller brakes, smaller leaf springs, etc. - a clearly inferior unit. The GVWR of this unit will then be 2800 (axle) + 2800 (axle) + 500 (hitch) = 6100 lbs. This unit has a Carrying Capacity (GVWR-DRY) of 1,100# (6100-5000).

If Manufacturer B wants to upgrade the build on his unit, he will put 3500# Axles with 15" tires on it. The GVWR will then be 3500 + 3500 + 500 = 7500 lbs. This unit has a Carrying Capacity of 2500# (7500-5000).

So what we have is the exact same unit with vastly different GVWR and Carrying Capacity driven by better axles and tires.

Now Mr. Customer with a 7000# tow capacity starts considering which of these units to buy. By looking ONLY at the GVWR, he would be inclined to buy the one with cheap axles and tires because the lower GVWR is less than his tow capacity and it offers him a "cushion" under his tow capacity.

In reality, his ability to tow each of these units is exactly the same regardless of the GVWR. The only difference is the customer now COULD CHOOSE to LOAD the higher GVWR unit past his tow capacity. This is customer's choice, though. Just because you have a higher Carrying Capacity that comes with upgraded axles doesn't mean you have to use it! If you MAX LOADED unit A with 1100# of Cargo it would weigh 6100# and be totally maxed out. If you put 1100# of Cargo in unit B, it would weigh 6100#, too, but fall well under your total capacity.

We believe the dry weight is the single most important factor to consider. How much weight you LOAD into your unit is the next most important. You can not LOAD beyond your Carrying Capacity and you need to allow yourself the "cushion" amount under your TV's tow capacity that makes you feel comfortable depending on your situation.

Do not automatically exclude a better built unit because of a higher GVWR. There just might be more issues in play.

Best of luck.

PTM
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:58 AM   #16
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RV Guy, that is what I was trying to say, but you did a much better job!
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:01 AM   #17
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:22 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the input Everyone. I think I understand the differences now between the Dry wt, UVW, and GVWR. I feel a lot more confident that I can choose a model my TV can handle.

While we're on the subject of weight...anyone know how much a 20# propane tank weighs when full?...
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:18 PM   #19
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While we're on the subject of weight...anyone know how much a 20# propane tank weighs when full?...
My 30 lb. tanks weigh 54 lbs (24 lbs. empty + 30 lbs. of propane). I would think that a 20 lb. tank should weigh around 38 lbs. or so.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:29 PM   #20
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RV Guy,

I have to say I read your post three times and I still don't agree with your logic. This is not to say you are wrong. Obviously you have a great deal of knowledge on the subject.

Yet, I just don't get why MFR A would use the correct axles and tires for the camper and MFR B would build an identical camper with an identical frame; yet just because they upgrade the axles and tires claim they have a higher GVWR and "better" unit. Unless they plan on selling that unit for a lot more money based on the "marketing fib" that it is "better built" as it has a higher GVWR based solely on the axles and tires.

Did I get that right?

I think we will just agree to disagree here and let it go at that.
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