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Old 11-04-2004, 08:27 PM   #1
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GVWR on 1975 Excella 500?

Dealer is telling us GVWR is 8500 pounds with tongue weight of 783. Airstream says dry weight is 4975 with hitch weight of 650. Don't know what to make of this. Isn't 3525 pounds a lot for optional load? Someone's right and someone's wrong? Can anyone check in a manual?
Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2004, 08:37 PM   #2
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It depends...

Gardener-

It is usually helpful to include the length of the trailer, as many of Airstream's names were descriptive of trim level, but came in various lengths...

Having said that, 3,000#+ of load seems excessive, as interior items (food, clothing and pots/pans/dishes/linens etc) are usually estimated at 500#, and water in holding tanks at 7#/gallon wouldn't get you there either. Two large propane tanks at roughly 50# of popane each will add to tongue weight, but still keep you light of 8,500 # gross..

That GVWR weight seems appropriate for a 32 to 34' version of Airstream from early 1980's, but someone will weigh in with data sheet numbers based on actual lenght of your trailer...

John McG
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:00 PM   #3
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Trailer length

Oops, that would be relevant, wouldn't it? Trailer length is 31'.
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:14 PM   #4
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It still depends...

According to airstream site, between '81 and '84, their 31' trailers weighed between 4900# and 6200# empty, for same chassis and shell, with different interiors and cabinetry... Again, I'm waiting for REAL experts to "weigh in" here but I also believe Airstream attached external label on street side with actual GVWR weights that might be more believable than brochure weights. There was also some variability in industry about whether dry weight and tongue weight were added to get total, or tongue weight was included.. The industry was not real standardized at the time, and in 70's there was also some confusion over lengths, which varied from "bumper to ball" or length of shell...

I'd say net net is that a 31' Airstream from the 80's with solid wood interior and full tanks and closets is going to have gross weight of at least 8,000#, and tow vehicle will need to be able to handle that, both in pulling power and chassis handling (brakes, sway, etc).

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Old 11-04-2004, 10:34 PM   #5
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I'd say there isn't much difference between your trailer and my '77 31' Excella 500. Mine is a rear bath with single twin on curb side and dresser/2 wardrobe cabinets on the road side. My manual says the GVWR is 8500 lbs., factory wt. w/o options is 5880 lbs., allowable additional wt. is 2620 lbs. and factory tongue wt. is 697 lbs. without options or variable weights. I have two 40 lb. alum. tanks and the hydravac disc brakes. Tongue weight appears to be 1160 lbs. when weighed on a truck scale. It seems a little high though. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-05-2004, 03:24 PM   #6
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Not sure what the difference is...but my 1975 Sovereign 31' has a GVW of 7200# , factory empty weight of 5065# and tongue weight of 490#. These numbers are straight out of the 1975 Owners Manual. Unfortunately the manual does not list the Excella. I know the Excella's were an upgrade...

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Old 11-05-2004, 08:02 PM   #7
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Guess we'll know soon

Called Airstream today, but they had to do some research and haven't gotten back with me yet. Guess we'll know soon because we're leaving tomorrow to pick it up! Thanks for your help. Will post it when I have the numbers, in case it helps someone else.
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Old 11-06-2004, 06:56 AM   #8
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When you get it, put it on a scale before you add anything, and find out what it really weighs. Airstream's numbers are suspect, at best. They didn't even have the ball height correct (2 inches off) on my 2002 25ft Safari, and basically told me that I was wrong when I questioned their data. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to weigh it before we loaded it to go to Florida for the winter. If Airstream's numbers for weight were correct, we added over 2000# of stuff. I don't think so!
Be sure that you have correct tongue weight for good towing (12% minimum).
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:25 AM   #9
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Read the fine print?

IIRC the weights the Airstream lists on their website and in their brochures is the base unit weight which means no options added, empty tanks, including the LP. "Factory Weight" on my unit is listed as 5035# but if you add in all the factory options it comes up to around 5600# or so with empty holding and water tanks. BTW that is a calculated weight...I haven't had the chance to scale it yet. Believe it or not even the Vista Views have a line listing for weight...65# for 3 of them

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Old 11-06-2004, 11:05 AM   #10
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The Excella 500 has a bunch of options standard that the Sovereign does not have in the base model. There are also additional options availaible on top of that. This accounts for the difference in the weights listed for the 31' Sovereign on the Airstream weight chart and the Excella model.

My owner's manual lists the two 7 1/2 gal. tanks as being appx. 60 lbs. and the optional 10 gal. tanks as 90 lbs. I am assuming these are the total of both tanks because that is what is used on the sample form for determining loading weight. The 90 lbs. is what I used when I worked up my figures for the two 40 lb. aluminum tanks I have. My maximun personal cargo figure worked out to be 2017 lbs. What is strange is that I weighed my trailer with partially filled LPG tanks, no liquid in any of the tanks, and the whole trailer disconnected from the truck weighed 5680 lbs.
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Old 11-10-2004, 08:32 PM   #11
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Weighing unit

Would that be at state weigh stations for trucks? Or a truck plaza that has certified scales? We didn't do it on trip back, and have some work to do before taking it on the road again. The plate on the trailer does say 8500 for GVWR.
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Old 11-11-2004, 05:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardener
Would that be at state weigh stations for trucks? Or a truck plaza that has certified scales? We didn't do it on trip back, and have some work to do before taking it on the road again. The plate on the trailer does say 8500 for GVWR.
Gardener,
Depends on how accurate you want it. You can use the certified scales at a truck stop or if you want a less accurate measurement use your local farm coop scales. Typically they will be located at a feed mill or farm supply store. Other places that I have found scales are at Moving and Storage companies and scrap yards

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Old 11-11-2004, 08:18 AM   #13
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Don't go through the scales that you see operated by the state transportation department.

In every case that I'm aware of, they're for commercial vehicles only and are there strictly to determine whether these vehicles meet compliance with state highway laws.
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Old 11-18-2005, 01:14 AM   #14
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To the origional question: Thier probably both right.
The GVWR, is the maximum weight the running gear can safely carry. (without bottoming out the suspension, overpowering the brakes, going into a death wobble,ect)
The Dry weight is an aproximation of what the trailer wieghs when it rolled out of the factory.
The difference between the two is you payload.
So after you load up the trailer with 500# of clothes, food, and water, you can help pay for you road trip by hauling 2500# of gravel in it
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