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Old 01-08-2012, 11:36 AM   #1
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CAT Scale Alternatives? 100 Miles Away!

My nearest CAT scale is 100 miles and 4 summits away. It's possible to do in a day, but it would be a heck of a day because it is a mountain road to cross.

Anyway, I only ever see mention of CAT scales. I would imagine that any type of commercial truck scale could be used, right? Assuming they would allow a guy with a trailer to come in. Are there any portable scale one could use?
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:37 PM   #2
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Any metal recycler/buyer will have scales and if you ask nicely, I am sure you can get a print out of what you need.
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My nearest CAT scale is 100 miles and 4 summits away. It's possible to do in a day, but it would be a heck of a day because it is a mountain road to cross.

Anyway, I only ever see mention of CAT scales. I would imagine that any type of commercial truck scale could be used, right? Assuming they would allow a guy with a trailer to come in. Are there any portable scale one could use?
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:32 PM   #3
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CAT is a brand name, widely used and perhaps more recognizable because of its distinctive logo and signage. For many, CAT scales to truck scales have become synonymous as Kleenex is to facial tissue. CAT scales are certified, but most public scales are and there may be regulations that they be periodically tested and certified. Unless a truck stop is particularly busy, they should be happy to weigh you as they charge the same as for the big rigs. I believe the resolution on these scales is typically 20#, that is the weight will be displayed in 20# increments. The last time I did this, they were charging under $10.

I personally think it is good etiquette to check with the scale operator before driving onto the scales. Sometimes the button for the intercom isn't too handy unless you're sitting in a Peterbuilt, and so my DW goes inside so I can more easily communicate via cell phone or walkie talkie in a sometimes very noisy environment. It also makes it handy for her to pay and bring the printout while I park. Truck scales are segmented into at least 3 sections to provide separate readings for the steer, drive and trailer axles. It helps to have your left mirror set so you can see your rear wheels to be sure all are on the right segments. Depending on your rig and the scales, you may have to jockey back and forth a bit before the operator sees your steer axle register as we tend to be lighter than the big boys. Once he gets your weights, pull off and park completely out off the way. If you need to tweak your adjustments, you can drive around for a reweigh. They typically charge a buck or two for each reweigh within 24 hours.

It is also a good idea to get a weights of the solo TV to know what weights are on the front and rear axles as a baseline to see what really changes when the TT is hitched up.

Agricultural Co-ops, cotton gins, moving & storage businesses, and gravel pits often have scales and may be agreeable to weigh you. Call ahead to find out. They are often a long single segment scales and require several individual weighings and some math to figure it out. An assistant here can be helpful also. Pull as far forward as you can so that the steer axles are fully onboard but the drive axles are off the scales. Have the operator record that 1st weight, then pull forward towards the midpoint of the scales to get a weight on the combined steer and drive axles with trailer axles just off the scales. Again, the operator should record this 2nd reading. This will be your total TV hitched weight. Subtract the 1st from the 2nd and you will have your drive axle weight. Then pull forward so that all axles are on the scales. This reading is obviously your total weight. From this subtract your 2nd reading and you will have the weight on the trailer axle(s). You could confirm this by pulling forward enough so the the TV is off the scales leaving only the trailer onboard. If you really wanted to know if there was much difference left to right on the trailer and there are no rails or obstacles to keep you from doing so, go back around and get a weight with only 1 side of the trailer on the scales, then subtract it from the trailer weight and you'll know what each side weighs.

I've heard that some weigh stations leave their scales on when the station is unmanned. Look for any signs that prohibit trespassing. It might be a good idea to contact the state agency responsible for the weigh station to find out if that is permitted. Your assistant may be able to view and record the readings through the window. Some weigh stations have newer technology that use sensors to weigh the truck while in motion which is probably useless for our purposes. Sometimes big rallys will have someone with portable wheel scales like the the state dot troopers use.

IMHO the truck stop scales are the quickest and easiest to use, especially if you need to make some adjustments and get a reweigh.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:52 PM   #4
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I've heard that some weigh stations leave their scales on when the station is unmanned. Look for any signs that prohibit trespassing. It might be a good idea to contact the state agency responsible for the weigh station to find out if that is permitted.
Idaho and Washington State highway scales, when not open, are left on, and may be used. They have digital readouts and you can find out what you need to know easily and for free. I believe, but not sure that Montana is the same. I have also seen scales left on and available in Alberta. If a scale is not busy, you might be able to use it for a quick weigh, even when open, but I would stop off to the side and ask first.

When I had the new axle put on my Argosy 20' I took it to a local feed dealer who had a scale, so I could weigh the rig as loaded like when I normally tow it. That way I was able to get the right axle capacity, not too high, not too low.
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:43 PM   #5
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Oregon scales are also still operational when not attended. In addition to main highways, I've often found them on "farm-to-market" roads where you can take your time and weigh various components at your leisure.
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Old 01-08-2012, 03:19 PM   #6
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There is a free app for the Android and iPhone - called My DAT Trucker Services - it shows nearby truck stops, CAT Scales, Walmarts and rest areas - as well as diesel fuel prices at some of the truck stops. For a given truck stop it will show if there is a scale located there.

Other apps show similar info - I'm biased since I'm the Product Manager for this one. :-)

While the app is targeted for truckers, RV'rs have also found it helpful.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:21 PM   #7
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I have an Android tablet, so I will look for the app and see what scales are closer to me. The idea that unattended scales still operate is intriguing. I never would have guessed that. I'll see what I can find then.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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There is a free app for the Android and iPhone - called My DAT Trucker Services - it shows nearby truck stops, CAT Scales, Walmarts and rest areas ...
Cool app, thank you! Did a search on scales in my vicinity and it was dead on.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by redwoodguy View Post
My nearest CAT scale is 100 miles and 4 summits away. It's possible to do in a day, but it would be a heck of a day because it is a mountain road to cross.

Anyway, I only ever see mention of CAT scales. I would imagine that any type of commercial truck scale could be used, right? Assuming they would allow a guy with a trailer to come in. Are there any portable scale one could use?
Any place with a scale is fine. Ask nice.

1) Grain elevator
2) Garbage dump
3) Scrap metal processor
4) Dairy processor
5) Gravel pit
6) DOT weigh station
7) Agronomy/fertilizer dealer
8) Livestock auction barn
9) Feed dealer
10) Processors of coal or crude oil in areas with mines and wells


If you are local and ask nice and avoid peak times they are usually happy to help and won't even charge you.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:27 PM   #10
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I agree with Jammer. In your area help is likely to be found in the forestry, fishing or agri business sectors.

Sergei
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwoodguy View Post
My nearest CAT scale is 100 miles and 4 summits away. It's possible to do in a day, but it would be a heck of a day because it is a mountain road to cross.

Anyway, I only ever see mention of CAT scales. I would imagine that any type of commercial truck scale could be used, right? Assuming they would allow a guy with a trailer to come in. Are there any portable scale one could use?
red,
I was very close using this method.

Good Luck

Bob
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:37 AM   #12
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I got the Android app, but it didn't list any scales closer to me than the 100 miles. I'll be checking around town to find a commercial scale somewhere. I'm sure someone has one, somewhere.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:42 AM   #13
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I agree with Jammer. ANY PLACE the buys or sells a comodity, will have a state certified scale. Go find one in your area. Strike up a conversation with the operator. Findout when his slack times are and tell him your intentions and what you intend to achieve.
Most will work with you.
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