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Old 06-26-2015, 09:00 PM   #1
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Hello from Maryland

So glad to finally be here! We went to the RV show twice a year for a few years with the intention to get a new travel trailer one day. But, it was never the right time and we also had to get a tow vehicle so we knew it was going to be a few years. We bought a Dodge Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi so our options weren't too limited with weight when we were ready to get serious. It has a max payload of 1460 and max towing capacity of 10,100.

So here we are, 7 months pregnant with Baby number 3....and we fell into a great deal!
We found a 2006 Dutchmen 30S in great shape, new tires, cleaned up and re-sealed, with lots of upgrades added. The owner of the company that did the work said it was in great shape.

It's heavier and bigger than we were initially seeking, about 33 ft long in all, but everyone tells me we will be happy we went big as we grow. Now I'm really glad we ended up with a used TT too.

We have 2 weekend trips scheduled so far in July, and maybe a 3rd trip in August (20 minutes from the hospital. Just in case.)

The weight is 7980. I shouldn't be too nervous about that with our capacity, should I? It's hard to estimate how much all the "stuff" is going to weigh.

We will go with experienced camping family and my husband feels good driving. It will be a while before I attempt it. He has pulled small trailers-nothing this big, although he's not nervous.

Any advice for us as newbies? I remember someone posting links to videos for safe driving in situations like tire blowouts, etc so I'd like to review that before we start if you wouldn't mind posting it again. I'm sure we will be back with more specific questions after the first trip!
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Old 06-27-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
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Good morning and welcome! You will creep up on your payload limit on the truck real quick with that trailer. The payload ratings are done with a 150 lb driver and full tank of gas. You need to know your Tongue weight for the trailer, add the weight of all occupants and gear in the truck plus tongue weight of the trailer and that is your payload, and don't forget to add the weight of your 100lb or so weight distribution hitch. You are going to reach your payload limit well before you get to the max towing limit of the truck. Invest in a really good weight distribution hitch with sway control, if you haven't already done so. That is a long trailer for a half ton. start with short trips until you get comfortable with the trailer back there.

The dry hitch weight on that trailer is going to be right around 1000 pounds, add all your gear and put some water in the tanks and you will be even higher. That doesn't leave a lot of room for occupants and gear in the truck.

I am not trying to bum you out, but that trailer may be too much for your truck. Sure it will pull it, will it stop well? Don't know. Will the tail wag the dog? Absolutely. I am sure your first concern is the safety of your family, so think about this stuff before you hit the road.

PS I am a crash investigator and DOT commercial truck inspector, not just repeating what is said on a thousand other RV related posts.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:50 AM   #3
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Thanks Rupert for your honest feedback. We do have a good weight distribution hitch and sway control on it. I have a ton of questions for you.

It is overwhelming to try to comprehend all of the acronyms for the various types of weight limits. I'm looking for the simplest way to find out more about this payload issue, I would feel much better before we start knowing it's ok. I want to calculate all of what our payload includes. I find the different websites to be conflicting about what is included though. At one point I saw a payload calculator site that said the first step was to take the truck, packed and with occupants ( with no trailer) and have it weighed, then subtract 150 and the weight of the truck itself. I lost that site and can't seem to find it again for the next steps of what all to add from the trailer to calculate payload. Is this what you suggest?

Does payload include the following? Occupants other than driver (150), stuff in the back of the truck, dry hitch weight ( I'll try to find that out hopefully it's listed on it), sway bar? does it include the propane tanks on the front of the trailer? This might be a dumb question but wouldn't water in the tanks be considered trailer weight/towing capacity weight instead of payload weight? Anything elseI'm not thinking of that is considered tongue weight to include in payload?

At this point our kids are little so that helps. Also, what do you suggest about this: if our payload weight is too high, should we put the things we had planned on putting in the back of the truck in the trailer instead? Near the front, right. These would include bottles of water, bikes, little tykes wagon, fold up grill. ( I don't even know if all of that would have fit in the bed, but just some initials thoughts.)

I'm going to have more questions about this in the next few days-thanks for your help!
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:50 AM   #4
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You have 3 weight limits to deal with. GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) of the truck, which includes cargo. GVW of the trailer and GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating, that is the absolute total that the truck and trailer loaded together can weigh. You don't want to exceed any of them.

I also agree that with that trailer and truck combination you are very, very close to being over your limits. If you take minimal stuff with you and don't load the truck or trailer heavily you should be alright.

Dry Hitch weight is usually provided by the manufacturer in their literature, typically you want a loaded hitch weight between 10%-15% of your trailer's actual weight. According to the 2006 Dutchmen Brochure your dry hitch weight is 974#. Now to confuse the issue when you use a WDH (Weight Distributing Hitch) you force some of the weight back to the trailer axles as well as the front wheels of the truck. (that is another set of weights you may have to worry about when you start loading up).

Best thing for now is to get loaded up, hooked up and head for a CAT scales, they have individual "plates" that will tell you how much you have on each axle and your overall weight. Then you can work backwards from there.

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Old 06-28-2015, 12:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
You have 3 weight limits to deal with. GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) of the truck, which includes cargo. GVW of the trailer and GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating, that is the absolute total that the truck and trailer loaded together can weigh. You don't want to exceed any of them.

I also agree that with that trailer and truck combination you are very, very close to being over your limits. If you take minimal stuff with you and don't load the truck or trailer heavily you should be alright.

Dry Hitch weight is usually provided by the manufacturer in their literature, typically you want a loaded hitch weight between 10%-15% of your trailer's actual weight. According to the 2006 Dutchmen Brochure your dry hitch weight is 974#. Now to confuse the issue when you use a WDH (Weight Distributing Hitch) you force some of the weight back to the trailer axles as well as the front wheels of the truck. (that is another set of weights you may have to worry about when you start loading up).

Best thing for now is to get loaded up, hooked up and head for a CAT scales, they have individual "plates" that will tell you how much you have on each axle and your overall weight. Then you can work backwards from there.

Aaron
I agree with Aaron. If you look in the driver side door jam, you will see a sticker with all the info for your truck you should have GAWR in there also, which is the gross axle weight rating for front and rear axle. That is the max you can have on each axle. Like Aaron said, any certified CAT scale can determine the weight of each axle. Shouldn't cost more than a few bucks to get this done.

If you put your things in the trailer to get the weight out of the truck, that weight( not all of it) will add to your tongue weight. Dry tongue weight is not a number you should even be thinking about, other than the fact that it is already almost 2/3 of your payload capacity. You need to weigh it with all your gear and know what your weight is, otherwise you are just guessing.

When you go to the scales, take the kids(leave them at home actually as I think you will be over weight which is unsafe)and everything you think you would take with you camping. Not sure how big your water tank is but you may fill that also, if you plan on traveling with if full. With all that, I'm pretty sure you will be over your truck's payload limit. Looks like the closest CAT scale to you is at the TA travel center near Baltimore. CAT Scale
You may also check with your local landfill, as they may be able to do the same, I know ours does for 4 dollars.

Good read on what everything means..... Truck Weight Rating Terminology and Definitions - Truck Trend

So go get weighed and let us know what the numbers are so we can help you.

Disclaimer...I'm pretty confident you are going to be over your payload. Highly recommend not operating a vehicle outside of the manufacturer suggested ratings even if it is just to go get it weighed
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:53 PM   #6
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Welcome to the campfire! Adult beverages are in the cooler and mix service is available for a modest fee.
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Old 06-29-2015, 12:07 PM   #7
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Welcome aboard from another Carroll County resident!
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:55 PM   #8
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Thanks for helping.

GVWR: 6900
GVWR of trailer: 9680
GCWR: 15650

Hitched and loaded up at CAT scale:

Steer axle: 3380
Drive axle: 3520
Trailer axle: 8160
gross Weight: 15060

So does this mean we are at 6900. (How do you get gross vehicle weight, add axles? Because the sticker also says GAWR is 3900 each.)

If we are at limit....any options we have?
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:50 PM   #9
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Wow those numbers are close, but you are under or exactly at, your limits. I'm actually surprised at that, and happy for you. Keep on top of maintenance on your truck and have fun with your new camper.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:07 PM   #10
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That's real close, but just watch what you add, Food, Water, etc. Happy Camping..
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:28 PM   #11
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Looks to me like your over on the trailer axles. 2x3900=7800 lbs and you are at 8160. You also need to weigh just the truck by itself. That way you will know how much hitch weight you have.
Oh yea by the way
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:21 PM   #12
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Is the 3900 for the trailer axles or the truck axles? Guess we should have clarified that.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:42 PM   #13
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Hello
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:52 PM   #14
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Looks to me like your over on the trailer axles. 2x3900=7800 lbs and you are at 8160. You also need to weigh just the truck by itself. That way you will know how much hitch weight you have.
Oh yea by the way
This is the way I understood it: 3900 is the limit for the front axle of the truck, and the back axle limit is also 3900. Overall truck limit was 6900 (also per sticker). The way I understand it, the printout said truck steer axle actually weighed 3380 and the drive axle actually weighed 3520.

The 8160 figure was the weight of the trailer, with a limit of 9680.

So we didn't go over, but it's something to be very much
aware of for the truck.
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Old 07-01-2015, 06:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McGerks View Post
This is the way I understood it: 3900 is the limit for the front axle of the truck, and the back axle limit is also 3900. Overall truck limit was 6900 (also per sticker). The way I understand it, the printout said truck steer axle actually weighed 3380 and the drive axle actually weighed 3520.

The 8160 figure was the weight of the trailer, with a limit of 9680.

So we didn't go over, but it's something to be very much
aware of for the truck.
No you aren't over on the trailer. I've never seen a truck with the same ft. & rear axle rating. But if that's the way yours is, you are maxed out on the truck. Were you & your wife sitting in the truck when it was weighted?
Just my 2 cents which is worth 4 as I've been a mechanic, Service Managed & Fleet Manager for 45+ years.
You need to get a bigger truck or a smaller trailer. I'm recommending that because it's a safety issue.
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Old 07-01-2015, 09:56 PM   #16
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If the truck wasn't full of fuel that's going to add. If you & your wife weren't in it that's going to add to the truck. Plus of course any kids & their stuff. If the trailer is good & has room for all you & the kids I would look around for a 3/4 ton truck. Remember you don't need to buy new to get a good tow vehicle.
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:01 AM   #17
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If the truck wasn't full of fuel that's going to add. If you & your wife weren't in it that's going to add to the truck. Plus of course any kids & their stuff. If the trailer is good & has room for all you & the kids I would look around for a 3/4 ton truck. Remember you don't need to buy new to get a good tow vehicle.
That weight accounts for all occupants, traveling "stuff" and a full tank.
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Old 07-02-2015, 02:41 AM   #18
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Welcome! I grew up in P.G. County.
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