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Old 07-28-2015, 08:27 AM   #15
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Would think that if a couple hundred pounds is a problem, then you need a truck with more payload. That is if you are worried about it.

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Old 07-28-2015, 11:18 AM   #16
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I agree with you about that. But depending on which one of you guys I listen to, I don't need a new truck. Or if I do buy a new tow vehicle as planned, it can be a new Subrurban or Expedition EL. Then again, if I listen to another person, I need, must I should say, go buy a 3/4 ton truck.

When I take answers I have reviewed about how payload is calculated to opposite sides of the spectrum, our payload is 1700 lbs or 1300, roughly. This is very significant as the Suburban and Expedition can be bought with 1450-1565 lb payloads. That decision, SUV vs 3/4 ton truck, is why I need to know what the truth is. With wife, two small kids, and a German shepherd, an SUV works better. But if I need a 3/4 ton truck, that's what we will buy. However, the need part is overly muddy at the moment.

I still don't know if 150 lb driver, or the new info here, 150 lb passenger, is counted against payload sticker or is a 'freebie' so to speak.

Then the issue of a full tank of gas, and into that fluids elsewhere in vehicle.

Then the WD hitch, does that weight count off the payload sticker, or do most folks believe it takes 1/3 of camper hitch weight off vehicle and place that weight on camper axles.

Maybe I'm just more dense than I thought. But I'm hearing varying opinions still and have no way to decipher which is which. Thanks for the thought provoking suggestions. I think I am beginning to see why so many folks are buying more truck than they need. Or one of the reasons at any rate.


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Old 07-28-2015, 11:38 AM   #17
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Dan one easy way would be to take your daily driver, look at the door sticker to get what it says. Then drive to a CAT scale, with full gas and with just you in the car/truck get the weights. Just a guess but the CAT scales will probably be higher than the sticker. Same tends to be true for anything I have ever weighed. Marked payload vs actual can be way different.

Payloads in the marketing materials are just that, marketing. Watch the some of the truck commercials where the TV is pulling a front end loader. Just because it pulls the marketing 30,000# load doesn't mean you would want to do it in the mountains of Colorado.
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:48 AM   #18
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Payload is stated on the door sticker and includes everything your vehicle left the factory with, and a full tank of fuel. Anything beyond that, including a driver or accessories must be deducted from payload. If a topper has been added to a truck since manufacture, for example, the weight of it should be deducted from the payload.

"Occupants and cargo..." As stated on the sticker includes the driver so, again, the weight of the driver must be deducted from the payload. Different manufacturers treat trailer towing differently. My 2006 F-150 "max towing capacity" assumed a full tank of gas and a 150# driver and no other payload. Anything added beyond that deducts from max tow.

Regarding the effect of weight distribution, you may be confusing inaccurate tongue weight specification with WD effects. With accessories, propane, clothing, food and other camping stuff it is likely that your actual tongue weight without WD will exceed the published number by up to a couple hundred pounds. Application of WD will shift that tongue weight to increase the load on the TV's front axle and the TT axles while reducing the load on the TV's rear axle. The net effect of this will likely be a REDUCTION of the apparent tongue weight as measured at the TV axles and an increase in the weight measured at the TT's axles of nominally 150#-200#.

As Gary says, the best thing is to weigh the truck and trailer combo. If you have a nearby CAT scale (google it to find them) well and good. But if you don't check with moving and storage companies. I have one very close to me. Since they are regulated their scales are checked for accuracy. I found mine to correlate well with the CAT scale when I finally did make it to one.

Hope this helps.


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Old 07-28-2015, 11:51 AM   #19
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The trim level adds weight as they get fancier. A base Ford 150 looses just over 500 pounds of payload in the King Ranch model with all the options. Dodge included a 150 pound driver and full fuel/gas tank in their empty weight calculatio at each trim level.

Similar payload reductions occur as a car or SUV gets fancier.

Kids get bigger fast, so use a larger number than current weight when doing the math.

You may see that the front and rear axle capacities add up to a larger number than the gross vehicle weight. That is a fudge factor to compensate for perhaps weaker brakes or transmission towing capacity.

In the commercial world, the axle and tire ratings control the weight capacity of the vehicle.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:02 PM   #20
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Manufacturing puts the stickers in the door, sales prints the pretty books and does the commercials. They are always in disagreement. Then there's the salesman who is either uninformed, misinformed our outright lying.

Err on the side of caution. Use the door sticker as your guideline, that will be more accurate than any sales brochure, but you'd be wise to stay within 80% of the amounts for towing and capacity.

When it states a "maximum" that means the most you can put in and still have an expectation that the vehicle will handle close to safe. It won't handle like it's empty or even moderately taxed. If you encounter an emergency situation, "maximum" may be too much for you to get out safely.

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Old 07-28-2015, 12:24 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Danattherock View Post
I still don't know if 150 lb driver, or the new info here, 150 lb passenger, is counted against payload sticker or is a 'freebie' so to speak.

Then the issue of a full tank of gas, and into that fluids elsewhere in vehicle.

Then the WD hitch, does that weight count off the payload sticker, or do most folks believe it takes 1/3 of camper hitch weight off vehicle and place that weight on camper axles.
A good presentation of how the "must not exceed" weight is calculated is given in NTEA - Vehicle Placard Instructions for Vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or Less (the PDF downloads automatically).
Example calculations are given for the "Vehicle Capacity Weight" (a.k.a. the "should never exceed" value).

The weight of a full tank of fuel is included in the vehicle's curb weight and does not need to be included as cargo.
The weight of the driver is not included in the vehicle's curb weight and does need to be included as part of occupants' weight.

The weight of a weight distribution hitch system needs to be included as part of cargo.
A "conventional" WDH system typically weighs about 80-100#, and a four-bar linkage WDH such as the Hensley Arrow typically weighs about 200#.

The vertical load imposed by the trailer is equal to the trailer's loaded tongue weight minus any load transferred to the trailer's axles via the WDH. This vertical load also is considered as cargo weight.
If the WDH is adjusted to restore the TV's front axle to its unhitched weight, the amount of load transferred to the trailer's axles typically is in the range of 20-25% of the loaded tongue weight.
If the WDH is adjusted to restore 50% of the load removed from the front axle, the amount of load transferred to the trailer's axles will be around 10-15% of the loaded tongue weight.

IOW, if 100% of load is restored to the front axle, the trailer-imposed cargo weight will be around 75-80% of tongue weight.
If 50% of load is restored to the front axle, the trailer-imposed cargo weight will be around 85-90% of tongue weight.

If the loaded tongue weight is 1000# and 200# is transferred to the trailer's axles and the WDH weighs 100#, the resulting contribution to cargo weight is (1000-200)+100 = 900#.

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Old 07-28-2015, 01:10 PM   #22
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Thanks for the detailed explanation Ron!
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:12 PM   #23
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Thanks guys. That is what I needed

So payload sticker includes full tank of gas, no human, cargo, or WD hitch weight.

I've been shopping for door jamb stickers lately, rather than tow vehicles. What I've basically done is tracked down Suburbans and Expedition EL 4x4's that have the max trailering package, and not much else in the way of weight robbing options.

In the case of the Suburban, this meant LT trim, rather than LTZ. Which is fine, the Suburban LT and Expedition XLT or Limited are great the way they come, including leather.

What I have found so far, calling several states away with Autotrader identifying possible vehicles, is that Suburban max payload will be in the 1550-1600 lb range, and Expedition EL will be 1450-1500 range.

The only way I can think of to get a Suburban or Expedition EL with higher payload rating on sticker is to custom order fairly bare bones mid level trim model and do a third row delete. Many are now motorized and I read the Chevy media release regarding payload and it said (with 3rd row seat). I would have to find out how much ordering SUV without 3rd row seat would affect payload.

This is proving difficult. I have asked local dealer to find this out, along with what effect ordering 18", 20", or 22" tires/wheels would have. I'm not holding my breath on this one. The sales rep and his manager had the deer in headlights look. Ha ha.

We have decided the smallest Airstream we could be happy with is the 27' FB twin, with hitch weight 790 and dry weight 5850. Well within the Burbs 8k tow rating and Expedition's 9k rating. Wife and I weigh 550 combined, kids are 1 and 3, German shepherd is 16 weeks, but will grow to 80-90 lbs.

Anyone want to offer an opinion on minimum payload sticker rating I should consider acceptable? This assuming most, or all, gear will be carried in Airstream, with heaviest items behind axles. I'm not asking to be hand fed so much as to just confirm what I think I now know. You guys have all the experience.

Will crunch some numbers and try to decide what hypothetical WD hitch to go with, so it's weight can be factored in. Any suggestions appreciated as we have not got that far yet. Either way, I'm closer now to seeing if we can stay with an SUV, and I thank you for the assistance. And as always, your patience and candor.

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Old 07-28-2015, 02:34 PM   #24
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I certainly can not transfer 30% of my tongue weight back to the trailer axle. I have a 2500 truck. Maybe with a softer suspension on the TV you can transfer more wwight to the traile axle but I think30% is a stretch. I do know that when hitched and ready to travel my 25' trailer adds 800 lbs to the truck axles. I do not know the unhitched tongue weight.
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Old 07-28-2015, 03:12 PM   #25
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I totally get your preference for an SUV. You think it'll make sense as a daily driver. It will, until the day you're towing and you are scared spitless.

The ability to TOW your Airstream comes second to the ability to get it STOPPED - or just keep it under control going down a 6 to 7 degree grade in the mountains. I live in the east and the F-150 Ecoboost does a very good job towing my 25 FB. Decided to go to California. Donner Pass in the Rockies and later I 80 east of Salt Lake City - going downhill - Well I'm here talking about it so obviously the performance was adequate. I have a mental picture of my rig on that trip... with all the brake rotors glowing red.

I'd have given anything to have the suspension, brakes and engine brakes of my old 2500 Silverado Diesel. I'm shopping for a new to me 2500/3500 truck as I write this.

Go drive a newer quad cab 2500/3500 truck. Dog can puke in the cargo bed and your leather upholstery will be safe. A gas can won't stink up the SUV. A dirty grill or outside rug - stow with no problem. You might become a convert.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:06 PM   #26
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The other problem is the stated trailer tongue weight in the Airstream brochure is on the light side(mine says 840 but is closer to 1200lbs in reality)By the time you fill your two propane tanks and load your trailer for travel add your gear,generator or two,gasoline,tool box,charcoal,grill,dog food,wife,kids,and yourself,not to mention your wd hitch of choice and misc.........Your 1500lbs payload is gone and then some.
20inch wheels or 18inch wheels will have the same carrying capacity when factory equipped.I run 20's because I like the way they look and I believe there is less sidewall flex.But some people run 18's.
If you are the kind of person that does not want to use a calculator for every item placed in the tow vehicle on every trip and will worry about being overloaded.
Buy a 3/4 ton.If you are going to take a ATV with you or you take a lot of stuff get a 1 ton.
Request a tow guide at the dealership,read and study do not take the salesman or the managers word for it unless they tow a travel trailer themselves.Most know nothing about it.

We need more info on your style of camping to tell you what payload that you need for your tow vehicle.
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:04 PM   #27
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I think where we get ourselves all wrapped up is by the term"payload". Payload may or may not equal the " never exceed" number on the yellow placard. Payload is a term derived from how much a commercial truck can haul for which the company gets "paid".
It is specifically: GVWR - Curb weight - 150# = payload.

This from

"Most often, manufacturers derive payload specs by subtracting the vehicle’s curb weight and 150 pounds apiece for two occupants from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). But they might also calculate based on a vehicle with just the driver in it, with the maximum occupant count or something in between. What’s more, the manufacturer may not even disclose which of these variables they used."

Payload is one of those words that has been used for a substitute for the "never exceed" number and it's not the same thing.

For our purposes here, we should BAN the word payload and just refer to "never Exceed" maximum capacity on the label, FGAWR, RGAWR, GVWR, and GCWR.

Payload, in it's true definition, is as antiquated as the terms half ton, 3/4 ton, and one ton trucks and is really meaningless to us.

All you can really do, without a dealer spec book (and someone who knows how to use it) is find a comparable truck to the one you want, look at the yellow sticker, and use educated guessing for the things you want to add or take off, or load (kids, wife, dog, gear etc) and calculate how much capacity you need.

Or, convince the dealer to let you take it home, load it up sans trailer and weigh it.

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Old 07-28-2015, 08:41 PM   #28

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....... "I'm hearing many different explanations about how I should use the payload sticker on inside driver door jamb."

How I use this sticker....

I load-up, hitch-up and go the the CAT scales. If I'm under the front and rear axle load ratings along with tire ratings........I go get more stuff.


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