There are quite a few acronyms and it was all very confusing to me at first. To be honest I spent several days trying to figure it all out.
Here is the "Short Course" on common Acronyms but it is in no way complete. I highly recommend the Changingears.com site. Watch out because there is only one "g" not two between changing and gears.
The MAX Combined Gross Weight
is a "Book Value" that is obtained from the TOW VEHICLE's Specification sheet. This is the maximum weight of BOTH the camper AND the Tow Vehicle LOADED FOR CAMPING added together. NEVER exceed this weight as you will break something or hurt someone.
MAX HITCH RATING WEIGHT
: This is the rating of the hitch you bought. It is normally stamped/printed on the hitch itself. NEVER exceed this TOTAL CAMPER WEIGHT as you will break something or hurt someone.
MAX AXLE WEIGHT
: On your Tow Vehicle, you get this number from the TOW VEHICLE's Specification sheet. They can be (and usually are) DIFFERENT for the front and rear axle. It can be limited by the axle itself or the suspension (like the springs). NEVER exceed this weight on either axle as you will break something or hurt someone.
MAX TOW VEHICLE WEIGHT:
is a "Book Value" that is obtained from the TOW VEHICLE's Specification sheet. This is the maximum weight your tow vehicle can weight when carrying the loaded camper. It does not include the weight carried by the camper's wheels. It does include everything else including The base weight of the tow vehicle, PIN or TONGUE WEIGHT, hitch, gas, people, dog, and anything loaded IN the tow vehicle.
NEVER exceed this weight as you will break something or hurt someone.
MAX CAMPER GROSS WEIGHT:
This is a "Book Value" that is printed on the side of your camper somewhere. It is based on the MAXIMUM WEIGHT that the FRAME and SUSPENSION of the camper can support. NEVER exceed this weight on either axle as you will break something or hurt someone.
CAMPER "AS BUILT" WEIGHT:
Found on the same sticker as the Max trailer Weight, this is a pretty meaningless value since once it leaves the factory this number starts changing as you (or the dealer) make mods to your rig.
MAX CAMPER CARGO LOAD WEIGHT:
Found on the same sticker as the Max trailer Weight, this is a pretty meaningless value as well since it is based on SUBTRACTING the base weight ("as built" or modified) of the camper from the MAX CAMPER GROSS WEIGHT
. The number that is left is how much junk you can
put in the camper. It includes food, liquids (fresh water, gray water, black water), bottled water, bikes, toys, etc.
The only thing that really matters here is how much you ACTUALLY weigh loaded for camping, and that weight must be less than the MAX CAMPER GROSS WEIGHT.
To determine the following values the rig must be weighed TWICE at a CAT SCALE. Once with the tow vehicle (loaded for camping and full of fuel) without the camper attached; and then again AFTER the camper (loaded for camping with whatever fresh water you are carrying) is connected.
From the CAT scale weight sheet you will see individual axle weights and the Gross Weight:
First weighing: Front axle; Drive Axle; Gross Weight
Second weighing: Front axle; Drive Axle; Trailer Axles; Gross Weight
Loaded Tow Vehicle Axle Weights (no Camper):
Each axle weight must be less that that individual axle's max weight.
Loaded Tow Vehicle Axle Weights (WITH loaded Camper):
Each Tow vehicle axle weight must be less that that individual axle's max weight.
Loaded Camper Axle Weight:
The camper's AXLE weights must not exceed the Camper's MAX AXLE WEIGHT.
LOADED COMBINED GROSS WEIGHT:
The TOTAL of all individual axle weights weight you obtained when you weighed the second time (connected). It must be less than the Max combined weight above.
LOADED TOW VEHICLE GROSS WEIGHT:
ADD the FRONT and REAR axle weights from the SECOND weighing. It MUST be less than the Maximum Tow Vehicle Gross Weight.
PIN WEIGHT or TOUNGE WEIGHT
: This is the part of the camper's GROSS ACTUAL weight that is carried by your tow vehicle.
It is obtained by subtracting the FRONT AND REAR axle weights obtained from the first weighing from the FRONT AND REAR axle weights from the second one.
In a Travel Trailer, this weight is called TONGUE WEIGHT. It is the actual weight carried by your bumper/frame hitch ball. The maximum tongue weight your TV can carry is determined by your hitch (weight distributing or not) and the manufacturer of the tow vehicle. 10 to 15% of the loaded trailer weight
is the recommended trailer tongue
load (per GMC) to avoid excessive sway and a level camper while towing.
In a 5th wheel, This weight is called PIN WEIGHT. It is the actual weight carried by the 5th wheel hitch. It must fall within 15% to 25% of the loaded camper weight for safe operation.
TOTAL ACTUAL CAMPER WEIGHT:
Add the PIN or TOUNGE WEIGHT calculated above to the camper's axle load. This weight must never exceed the MAX CAMPER WEIGHT on the sticker as you will break something or hurt someone.