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Old 02-26-2017, 05:58 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Rod, it's really not about breaking any rules. What it is about is understanding how the truck's ratings apply to the job you are doing.

When hauling a load or towing a heavy trailer and no weight distribution hitch is used, the payload/GVWR is important. The payload/GVWR may keep you from overloading the back of the truck and making the vehicle a risk to drive down the road.

When hitched up to an Airstream with a capable, properly adjusted weight distribution hitch you can distribute the loads on the truck's axles and some to the Airstream axles. You can adjust the hitch w.d. to ensure no axles are overloaded. It is then the axle ratings (GAWR) that are important and the payload/GVWR means little to nothing.

Unfortunately, there has been so much emphasis in these forums on payload/GVWR, the ratings that actually make a difference in the safe setup of a towing combination are lost. People are told they must trade perfectly good trucks for more payload/GVWR even when the truck they have performs every towing task in the most exceptional way. Without explanation, they are told their truck is inadequate because of this single rating number payload/GVWR, that means little to nothing on a properly set up towing combination.

We should be stressing selection and set up of quality weight distribution systems, instead we waste time and people's money on something as insignificant to a good towing combination as payload.


This has all been super helpful information. It appears that axle ratings play a big part in successful tow combinations. And it also appears that you can figure that out with a truck scale and a proper w.d hitch setup. But what about guys like me that don't already OWN a TV and trailer? How can I possibly know what the weights will be on the axles of a truck I don't own with a trailer I have never towed? I'm not being argumentative. I'm truly curious. As someone who wants to do it "right" the first time, it is difficult to make a purchase like this without doing the math based upon the more commonly available data like tongue weight and payload. If AS could provide me with what the weight would be on both of my axles prior to purchase, I might be able to take that into consideration. But as you say, those numbers change dramatically with the addition of a proper w.d hitch. Which leaves me to the choice of taking the anecdotal advice of other owners (important for sure, but widely varied as the responses to this thread indicate) or the most commonly provided and easiest to understand and calculate manufacture's data like payload and tongue weight. I'm just a normal guy struggling to make the right choice, and it's hard not to "overbuy" when the risks of "underbuying" can be so severe.
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:03 AM   #42
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.



Final note. In the tough fiscal times every jurisdiction faces, politicians are always looking for ways to bring in extra revenue. Just because RVers have been "given a pass" in the past, that's no guarantee that RVs won't be targeted in the future. Better to be safe and legal from the get go.


Your whole post was interesting but this final note really caught my eye. There does not seem to be any evidence or reporting on actual/historical application of weight police tickets/fines but given the fiscal state of many US states, anticipating new revenue grabs is a wise precaution. And if they go so far as to fine for this, expect impounds, towing fees, etc. to follow close by
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:33 AM   #43
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Now for the numbers that matter. What's your axle ratings (GAWR) for each axle, and what is the load on each in this photo?
The photo of my truck and trailer has the trailer connected straight to the hitch, no weight distribution bars on it at the time.

I've never weighed the axle load, will likely do so some time, confident my setup is within spec.

For the purposes of this thread, would you clarify exactly how to determine these weights? When pulling up to a truck scale what steps would a guy take?

An interesting question in a court of law would be this....why did "x" dealership sell a unit, set it up with a hitch, on the defendants truck, when said dealership is clearly expert in the field, knowing the tow vehicle to be incapable of handling the load?

I know it remains my responsibility to know my setup, weights, ratios, etc. But I do have a level of trust in my dealership too.
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:42 AM   #44
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For the purposes of this thread, would you clarify exactly how to determine these weights? When pulling up to a truck scale what steps would a guy take


Reply #2 in this new thread is a great description of how to use the scales:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...rt-163185.html
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:10 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Reply #2 in this new thread is a great description of how to use the scales:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...rt-163185.html

This link might help too:

https://catscale.com/how-to-weigh/
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:18 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Al, this post is interesting to me because the axle ratings on your F150 are very close to the axle ratings on our Ram 1500. After we apply tension on our w.d. system, our truck axle loads are very near equal. The ride is smooth and the handling and braking are excellent. I have tried it with less load on the steering axle and the understeer was evident. No indication of oversteer with equal loads on the axles, it feels very good and has for thousands of miles towing throughout the country.

Looking at your front axle weight without the Airstream, and then with the Airstream and w.d. applied your w.d. system has not returned the front axle to it's unloaded weight. In street terms, the front axle is "floating" somewhat, loss of some steering control. That would indicate a w.d. system that is too light for the loads you are using, or simply not enough tension on the bars. I believe the truck would handle better and distribute a little more load to the trailer axles with better w.d. in this case.

I won't enter into the legal aspects of towing because I am not a lawyer, and have never seen the warnings routinely suggested here substantiated. In other words, dreamed up to augment a weak argument in practical terms.
Hi Doug,

Thanks for the comments. The manual that came with my Equalizer said to restore a minimum of half of the weight back to the front axle. I didn't say, and perhaps should have, that the data in the post was from my first setup. Since then (before trading TV's) I did crank in a little more weight distribution, but I really didn't notice any lightness or loss of steering in the front end before doing so. I did it mostly to reduce the load on the rear axle since it was so close to its limit and any additional stuff I would carry would go in the bed and affect the rear axle almost exclusively. I posted the data to give the OP some factual data that shows:

1. A weight distribution hitch DOES reduce the effective tongue weight, at least the load CARRIED by the TV which affects payload. This is verified by measuring the load on the TV axles.
2. The majority of the weight removed from the rear axle goes to the front axle, but some is transferred to the trailer.


And finally, you can't necessarily go just by the specifications. While the F-150 (with no Tow/Haul mode and a 4-speed transmission) appeared, by specification, to have sufficient towing capacity, we found it lacking on a 6-mile long 8% grade in NC. We now have a 2013 Ram 2500 Diesel and love it. I thought long and hard about the F-150 EcoBoost. Its flat torque curve and the retention of power at altitude are strong selling points, but I decided, as a friend of mine used to say, "overkill is just about right".

Al
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:06 AM   #47
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Setting up a good weight distribution system is an important part of a good towing combination. Buying our first Airstream some years ago, our dealership could not get it anywhere near right, so we had to learn on our own. There is conflicting information. Hitch expert Andrew Thomson of Can-Am Rv in Ontario has experimented for years with various combinations and written extensively on the subject. Here's one article that may help setup and an explanation of why it is done that way.

http://www.canamrv.ca/blog/post/hitc...sion-bars-441/
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:49 AM   #48
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For three+ years we have been pulling our 27' Eddie Bauer with a 2013 F150 (ecoBoost, max tow package, WD hitch) for many thousands of miles and have yet to weigh it.

My husband falls firmly into the #4 category of ignorance is bliss, which always surprises me as he is an engineer, so I'd think he'd want to know the specifics, but no. I fall in the "Can we please weigh this someday?" category because it worries me a little that we are so cavalier about the weight issue. I even downloaded the CAT scale app on my phone and have several times been at a gas station that has CAT scales. I always say "Oh look, honey, let's weigh the rig!" and always get some version of "Not this time, we want to get to camp before dark" or some variation of that.

Having said all of that, we both love our truck mightily , and have never ever had one instance of any kind of towing issue. We fill up the bed of the truck with all kinds of crap and we always travel with three big dogs (total of 200# just with them). We have pulled up and down all kinds of sketchy, steep mountain roads and have never had any sort of weird trailer/truck behavior. Maybe we've just been lucky. And maybe one of these days I'll actually get to use that CAT scale app on my phone. Until then, I guess we stay in camp #4, hitch up and go.
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Old 02-26-2017, 08:13 PM   #49
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Okay, this isn't really exactly what this thread was about, but I found it interesting. I don't think it would be necessary if you towed the same thing all the time but I still found it kinda cool.

It's called Haul Guage. I guess they figured out a way to calculate your GCW from information out of your OBD II port. The site doesn't give much info.

https://haulgauge.com/
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:25 AM   #50
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Weight distributing hitches work by transferring load from the rear axle to the front axle of the tow vehicle. This should be taken into account if applicable. The most accurate way to do this would be to weigh the tow vehicle with and without the trailer. It would be possible to approximate it by doing spring rate calculations as well.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:39 AM   #51
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Remember that your trailer has a gross weight also. Removing things from the truck bed to lower payload and transferring this to the trailer could overload the trailer axles, tires and frame. My truck had a payload of 3500 pounds and I have a payload figure for my Avion of 2500 pounds, not a problem for me. But a different tv and trailer could be problematic.
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:57 AM   #52
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When thinking of tow vehicle tow capacity I find this quote helpful
If some is good
More is better
Too much is just right
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:33 PM   #53
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Just started reading this post...You had it right, GVRW is the total weight your vehicle can CARRY, as in you the dog the kids, wife, firewood etc, including the vehicle. So for example if the GVWR is 6000lbs and the truck weighs 5000lbs that leaves 1000lbs of weight your vehicle can carry...the tongue weight of your trailer any stuff in back and you and your passengers. Also of note is your vehicle has a weight rating for the brakes too, something most don't think about. You can listen to everyone explain how to get around all of this because the vehicle can TOW much more than it can carry BUT your suspension, brakes, wheels,axles and tires were designed with that weight rating - plain and simple. If you and your family took your truck and trailer and drove on to a ferry to cross the ocean...I'm guessing you would rather the ferry was loaded to spec rather than the driver saying she can tow it!

I used to tow my 24' Argosy with a 1/2 ton, it weighed in at less than 5000lbs, never liked it so I went for a 3/4ton, night and day difference.

Same goes for the towing weight...Run up the stairs with 200lbs on your back vs 20...There is no substitute for extra power and the stability that heavier truck will give you on the road. The tail wagging the dog is a phrase for a reason.

Be safe! It's cheaper in the long run.
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:52 PM   #54
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. . . Also of note is your vehicle has a weight rating for the brakes too, something most don't think about. You can listen to everyone explain how to get around all of this because the vehicle can TOW much more than it can carry BUT your suspension, brakes, wheels,axles and tires were designed with that weight rating - plain and simple.

Be safe! It's cheaper in the long run.
We feel very safe as well, our towing combination has all the power we ever need, is absolutely stable in all conditions, and the engine, truck and trailer brakes stop it easily.

We don't try to get around anything. The axle ratings (GAWR) tells us what our truck can carry, and the combined weight rating (GCWR) tells us what our truck is designed to pull and stop. With our weight distribution system set up properly, the truck's GVWR tells us nothing.

We verify these limits on a CAT scale.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:58 AM   #55
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Your whole post was interesting but this final note really caught my eye. There does not seem to be any evidence or reporting on actual/historical application of weight police tickets/fines but given the fiscal state of many US states, anticipating new revenue grabs is a wise precaution. And if they go so far as to fine for this, expect impounds, towing fees, etc. to follow close by
I've met two RVers who have been cited for being overlength. One in TX (that RVer did say that he's sure his bad attitude came into play). The second was in CA. I understand that CA is strict on overall RV length and on RV speed limits. No attitude involved in this one. I realize that Airstream RVers are NOT likely to exceed 65' OAL. I'm just pointing out that, RVs can and are stopped for a variety of reasons.

Yes, weight ratings, capacities etc, etc ARE confusing, especially for RV "newbies". That's one reason I STRONGLY recommend RV Boot Camp. All of that gets broken down, explained, and demystified. RVBC graduates are smarter RV buyers and, safer RVers in general (they may even get an insurance discount!).

I stand by by my "start legal and stay legal" philosophy.
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:24 AM   #56
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. . . I stand by by my "start legal and stay legal" philosophy.
Absolutely. No one in this thread has recommended illegal towing methods for recreational Airstreamers.
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Old 03-06-2017, 02:11 PM   #57
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I don't have a dog in this fight but I do have to ask: "Has anyone on the Forum ever been stopped by a State Patrol Officer and had the vehicle placards checked or the rig weighed?"

I keep hearing about it but in ten years and 70000 miles, I have never seen or heard of such a thing.
I concur. Never been stopped, nor see a check point. I think it is one of those like Jay Walking or Walking your bike on a crosswalk. It is better to have said it so WSHTF, the gov and manufacture can say "I told you so" deal.

I responded to this thread because they are too many experts on this field with too many Opinions and Righteous knowledge that in the end: You must follow the manufactures rating or else.. applies. Similar to those social media posts "Repost if you care", "Bad juju will happen if you don't repost".

So where are we then? Dazed and Even more confused. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

How I use this forum is to ask a broad question to a narrow narrative specifically to your situation or concern.

Then dissect the information and cross reference until you find your comfort zone.

Best of luck.
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