I'll extend the example above. Again, to answer your question about how much pin weight you can handle, you start with your payload and work from there. Subtract all of your occupants, gear, and hitch/hardware weights. My example was for a family of 4 and your situation might be radically different. Either way, figure out how much weight you have remaining to dedicate to your 5er's pin weight.
From above, my example left me with 2,580 lbs. Your situation is probably a bit different.
Let's assume I'm looking at the Cedar Creek 38FBD
5th wheel. I don't know a thing about this brand or this model -- I just randomly selected a trailer for illustration purposes.
The stats are:
- Dry Weight: 13,824 lbs
- GVWR: 18,000 lbs
- Pin Weight: 2,295 lbs
So, the pin weight < available payload, so I can tow this, right? Not necessarily. That pin weight is based on the dry weight, which is meaningless. Best to add at least 1,500 lbs to that number to account for options, gear, etc.
Then what? Well, there are two ways to figure a real-world pin weight:
- Use the dry ratio and apply. In this case, (13824+1500)*(2295/13824) = 2,544 lbs. I *think* this will work, but I'm on the hairy edge ... probably overloading your truck.
- Use a conservative 18-22% as the pin weight. So, (13824+1500)*0.2 = 3,065 lbs. Definitely way too heavy for your truck.
Why would you use one over the other? Depends on the way the trailer is laid out and how you expect weight to be distributed. In this case, the base/dry trailer is 2295/13824 = 16.6% of weight distributed onto the pin. That seems on the extreme low side. I don't think I'd expect that to apply to my trailer when loaded.
In this case, the actual pin weight is probably in the 2,600 - 3,000 lb range ... too much for the truck ... even though the trailer's specs on thew website seemed
to indicate that this pin weight would work well!
The point here is that you start by calculating available payload to apply to a pin weight. Then, you calculate real world
pin weights of interesting trailers. You can't simply look at the "Pin/Hitch Weight" specs on these trailers, because those are all based on fictional, misleading dry weights.
Hope this helps.
You don't tell us much about the trailer you're looking at. There are really two "dry weight" numbers. There is one on a website/brochure that represents the absolute lightest, option-free configuration. There is another that is on a sticker on the side of an actual trailer that represents the weight of the trailer as it rolled off the line with at least some of the options represented. If your 9,840 lb weight is an online number, then I'd go with the 1,500 adder. You'll be ~11,350 lbs rolling down the road with about 2,250 lbs on your pin (at 20%).