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Old 07-27-2019, 12:17 PM   #1
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Incorrect weight at CAT scale?

Has anyone ever gotten an incorrect weight at a CAT scale. I went to one for the first time today and after weighing the combined truck and TT and unloaded the TT and went back for the truck weight alone which shows on the second receipt of gross weight 4440 lbs which I didn't pay any attention to until I was home. According to my research my 2010 Silverado comes in around 5200 curb weight but with the fiberglass cap and rack, canoe, generator, me and the dog and assorted camping gear, and WD hitch it should weigh 6000 or more lbs.

So after subtracting MY figures from the combined weight the TT is coming in within the safety weight limits for my TT but if I used the CAT scales truck gross weight of 4440 lbs my TT is about a couple thousand over the limit.
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:19 PM   #2
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CAT scales are correct. I didn't compute your numbers, but if actual weight is higher than specs, that's a normal everyday occurrence for 98% of us.
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Old 07-27-2019, 02:10 PM   #3
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CAT scales are correct.
Assuming they are calibrated at regular intervals.

To the OP, about the only way to accurately determine the actual weight of the trailer alone would be to unhitch it from tow vehicle while on scale and drive truck off in order to weigh only the trailer.

When I weigh my truck (I use the State Weigh Station near me for free) I weigh each axle on Truck and trailer.

Each axle is under the "Sticker Weight" and when all are added together I'm under Gross Combined Weight Rating (by about 3,000 lbs). No more worrying now and I'm just off to enjoy.
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Old 07-27-2019, 04:12 PM   #4
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Iíve heard of a case where friends felt like the CAT Scale was off by a thousand pounds.

If it happened to me, I would contact the truck stop and talk to the Weigh master. Itís unpleasant if the weights are off for us but can have legal ramifications if itís off for a commercial big rig.

That said, Iíve heard that thereís something about the brakes being on and/or the emergency brakes being engaged. Something about the extra torque or something. I donít understand it.
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Old 07-27-2019, 04:43 PM   #5
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I'd trust the weights from the CAT scale. They're calibrated on a regular basis and they're subject to state weight and measures inspections at random times. They also have a clause on the ticket that states that they're responsible if you receive a citation because you're overweight and their weight said that you weren't.
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Old 07-27-2019, 04:46 PM   #6
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That said, Iíve heard that thereís something about the brakes being on and/or the emergency brakes being engaged. Something about the extra torque or something. I donít understand it.
It's physics. If the scale platform is segmented so it can weigh individual axles separately without moving the vehicle, then if let's say trailer brakes lead the truck brakes weight readings can be off due to the weight shift within the platform. Release brakes and everything sits on the sensors nice and even, the way it was designed.


Also, an error of a couple thousand pounds at the low end of the scale's capacity may, or may not, show up with the "big rigs" which average between 80,000 lbs and 100,000 lbs +.

Their readings may not be totally linear. Just like an analog meter is only considered perfectly accurate at 50% of full scale.
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Old 07-27-2019, 06:45 PM   #7
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Over the road truck scales are calibrated to Ī20lbs. over the entire range of the scale and must read zero Ī20lbs. with no load on the decks. Even at the bottom end of the range they're not allowed to be off.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:35 AM   #8
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So this morning I went to a different CAT scale in the area and weighed the Silverado to see if it was in line with yesterdays weight. It registered at 4280 lbs which is 160 lbs less then it registered at the first CAT with nothing removed except a gallon of gas.
This should put the 2010 Extended Cab 4x4 under 4000 lbs curb removing the several hundred lbs of me, dog, canoe, generator, etc weight even though the Silverado manual and web search says curb weight is about 5200 lbs. Does the web search just reflect what the manual says and if the manual is incorrect on curb weight is it also wrong on towing capacity.

Again, my FD15 StarCraft Launch DRY WEIGHT shows 2660 lbs on camper and after adding WD, Extra propane, even spare if it wasn't originally sold with one, cooking and personal gear it should only be at around 3000 lbs. which would give me another 300 lbs of wiggle room before going over recommend gross weight of camper but the scales are telling me I'm about 1500 lbs over. This just can't be.
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:59 AM   #9
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So this morning I went to a different CAT scale in the area and weighed the Silverado to see if it was in line with yesterdays weight. It registered at 4280 lbs which is 160 lbs less then it registered at the first CAT with nothing removed except a gallon of gas.
This should put the 2010 Extended Cab 4x4 under 4000 lbs curb removing the several hundred lbs of me, dog, canoe, generator, etc weight even though the Silverado manual and web search says curb weight is about 5200 lbs. Does the web search just reflect what the manual says and if the manual is incorrect on curb weight is it also wrong on towing capacity.

Again, my FD15 StarCraft Launch DRY WEIGHT shows 2660 lbs on camper and after adding WD, Extra propane, even spare if it wasn't originally sold with one, cooking and personal gear it should only be at around 3000 lbs. which would give me another 300 lbs of wiggle room before going over recommend gross weight of camper but the scales are telling me I'm about 1500 lbs over. This just can't be.

Manuals are written to cover a wide range of vehicles in the same "Model" so it's hard to know what's what when you try to apply it to yours.

Rather than using manual references, stick with the door sticker numbers. (Note: the axles on my truck have two different numbers for load. First is what the factory states for it's rated load and the second is max load for the axle itself. Axles are rated for about 1,000# more than what the factory states for max vehicle load and both numbers are shown on the door sticker. In short, there's a fairly healthy safety margin built in.

As for whether or not your trailer is overloaded, look at axle specs and tires. Axle rating will usually be the main limit on a trailer, followed closely by tire load capacity.

If you have a 3500# axle and it has tires rated to carry at least that amount, then your desired capacity should be 90% of that (or less if you want more margin). Don't forget, a minimum of 10% of your loaded trailer weight will be carried on your Tow Vehicle.


Weigh the truck with the trailer attached, weigh the trailer while attached to the truck. If truck is below the door sticker gross weight and the trailer is within sticker weight (or 90% of axle/tire capacity) go and enjoy your camping trips.

FWIW, there are lots of people who never weigh their rigs and just apply common sense to the amount of stuff they load up and carry on their trips. In a relative sense very few have any problems at all other than the occasional flat tire.

If you are "trying to get away from it all, then why try and bring it all with you"
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Old 07-28-2019, 12:24 PM   #10
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Manuals are written to cover a wide range of vehicles in the same "Model" so it's hard to know what's what when you try to apply it to yours.

Rather than using manual references, stick with the door sticker numbers. (Note: the axles on my truck have two different numbers for load. First is what the factory states for it's rated load and the second is max load for the axle itself. Axles are rated for about 1,000# more than what the factory states for max vehicle load and both numbers are shown on the door sticker. In short, there's a fairly healthy safety margin built in.

As for whether or not your trailer is overloaded, look at axle specs and tires. Axle rating will usually be the main limit on a trailer, followed closely by tire load capacity.

If you have a 3500# axle and it has tires rated to carry at least that amount, then your desired capacity should be 90% of that (or less if you want more margin). Don't forget, a minimum of 10% of your loaded trailer weight will be carried on your Tow Vehicle.


Weigh the truck with the trailer attached, weigh the trailer while attached to the truck. If truck is below the door sticker gross weight and the trailer is within sticker weight (or 90% of axle/tire capacity) go and enjoy your camping trips.

FWIW, there are lots of people who never weigh their rigs and just apply common sense to the amount of stuff they load up and carry on their trips. In a relative sense very few have any problems at all other than the occasional flat tire.

If you are "trying to get away from it all, then why try and bring it all with you"
Thanks Mike, I'm now comfortable with the weight of the truck and gear included and after a little research I see the axle on this particular TT is rated up to 4000 lbs so as long as I don't pack more then 600 lbs of beer I guess I should be fine.
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Old 07-28-2019, 12:52 PM   #11
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Haul Gauge

Anyone try this?

https://youtu.be/iUORyaTjXIk
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Old 07-28-2019, 01:00 PM   #12
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Thanks Mike, I'm now comfortable with the weight of the truck and gear included and after a little research I see the axle on this particular TT is rated up to 4000 lbs so as long as I don't pack more then 600 lbs of beer I guess I should be fine.
Good thing about carrying beer is that it's a "diminishing load". Just hit a roadside "bush/tree" rather than putting it in the holding tank

You do realize that 600 lbs of beer is over 70 gallons.
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Old 07-28-2019, 03:11 PM   #13
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I want one of those!
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Old 07-28-2019, 05:43 PM   #14
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I want to get one and double-check it against CAT Scale tickets. Just need to see if theyíll send me one!
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:55 AM   #15
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I own one. I love the fact itís not vin specific and every time I had issues. I had instant honest and useful help. Worked great on my 1500 plugged in followed directions. Measured all my attempts to test. Installed on my 3500 with Aircells and it was off. It also had trouble getting my weight. As well as it worked on the 1500 I felt it was something I did or the fact it was a new truck with less than 2k on it and the clutch slipping may not be that of a more broken in clutch
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:16 AM   #16
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the CAT Scales are Correct, they are Certified by the State in which they are located. If it gave you an incorrect number it was because you were not on the scale correctly. They will go to court with you if you get a weight ticket that says the numbers are otherwise by a Law Enforcement agency
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