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Old 12-12-2016, 08:44 PM   #1
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Need help understanding CAT scale weights

I took our "new to us" '05 Safari 30' bunkhouse to the local CAT scale yesterday to get a trailer weight that's required to register the trailer in Texas. While I was there, I thought I'd take a stab at getting the WD hitch dialed in. Here's the two weight tickets:



Left #'s = unhitched; trailer on it's own scale pad, truck axles on the front two pads.

Right #'s = Hitched up as best as I know how (bar chains taken up over halfway--half the links under tension, half swinging free).

TV = 2012 GMC Sierra 2500
The hitch: (Husky? the bars are, anyway. Stickers on bars say 600-800 lbs.
Specs say tongue weight = 850 +60 lbs propane = 910 lbs

...am I reading the difference in the axle weights on the two tickets to say that there's still 800 lbs of trailer weight on the truck? I know the bars are undersized, but whoa... this hitch isn't doing a thing!!! The hitch came with the trailer, but going back to get one soon.

I found a gently used PP hitch with 1400 lb bars on Craigslist locally for about $550 less than new, but after reading through old threads on the topic I don't know if I need bars that stiff or 1000 lb bars. The truck has a pretty stiff suspension and I don't want to beat the Airstream to death back there. Any input is much appreciated!

ps. sorry for the multi-pronged questions!!! Main question is verifying I'm reading these weights correctly. Second (optional) question is whether 1400 lb bars may be too stiff for a +/- 1000 lb tongue weight (after loading for camping). Thanks a million for any help!!!

Dave
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:21 PM   #2
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What follows is my opinion, and the way I try to set up my rig. Your situation might be different due to differences in your TV or TT.

You really need three weights to ensure you have it dialed in right. You have two of them. The other one is with the combination hooked up but with weight distribution disengaged. That will show heavier on the drive axle and lighter on the steer axle and trailer. The rule of thumb I have seen is that you want the weight on the steer axle with WD engaged to be at least halfway back from the combo weight without WD to the steer axle weight with no trailer connected.

Example - You have the unhooked steer axle at 4440. Let's say the steer axle when coupled but WD disengaged is 3900#. The difference between the two is 540#. You would dial in the WD so that the steer axle when coupled with WD on would be at least 4170 (3900+ (540/2). Personally I try to get back close to the uncoupled weight. You should make these measurements with the trailer and the TV with their ready to camp loads.

Re: your question about the tongue weight - the function of the WD is to transfer drive axle weight to the steer and trailer axles. A guideline for tongue weight is to have about 10-15% of the TT GVW on the tongue. I shoot for about 12-12.5%. For your situation, that is about 820#. In my opinion, your tongue weight is about right. I'd just like to see a little less on the drive axle and more on the steer.

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Old 12-12-2016, 10:37 PM   #3
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Here's a post that explains it much better:
http://forums.woodalls.com/Index.cfm...5.cfm#24139635

Al
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:48 PM   #4
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When you got the left-hand weight ticket, you said the trailer was on its own pad. Did that include the trailer jack along with the trailer axles?

Assuming yes to that question, then your trailer tongue weight is somewhat more than 800 pounds. If the trailer was connected but with no tension on the WD bars, you can calculate the tongue weight by doing the math compared to the left hand ticket. But as you tighten the chains, you will see the weight decrease on the TV rear axle, and increase on the TV front axle and on the trailer axles. So some of the tongue weight is on the trailer axles, not on the TV. Your right-hand ticket is in this condition: "some" of the tongue weight has been removed from the tow vehicle. We don't know how much.

The comments from Al and Missy are good points. I would add a couple things about how much weight you want to see "restored" to the front axle. The owner's manual for some vehicles will give a recommendation. They usually tell you to measure fender height in the unhitched and hitched configurations, and then say to aim for a measurement of perhaps half the distance, or to the original height. That is like adjusting for the front axle weight to be halfway "restored", or fully "restored".

I also think you should experiment a little when you start traveling. Once you have a sense for how the rig feels, try going one chain link tighter, and see if it gets better or worse. If not better, go the other way. You may notice the rig tracks better, or worse. The ride may also get better or worse.
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:46 AM   #5
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Dave, your numbers are close.

Looks like you need 200 lb on the front steering.

Your 820 lb "published" numbers are only a ballpark. And I think the propane weight is included, but not liquids or gear in the TT.

So the hitch ratio is close here.

Can you grab a couple of more links on the chains? That will put more on the front axle and TT.

Also, have you looked into the Smart Weight at the Escapees? The closest is in Livingston and it is a very fine service.

I don't know much about the Husky. Is it anti swat as well?

And yes, stick with the 10 - 15% tongue weight for stability.


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Old 12-13-2016, 04:31 AM   #6
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DaveMC-

Excellent advice up above my post on setting up any weight distributing hitch with your numbers and your scale tickets.

I will comment on that ProPride you mentioned. If it's in good shape, nothing worn or rusted or bent, the paint is not worn off, and it appears to be well-maintained - buy it! I'm an owner of a used ProPride and I couldn't be happier with how it connects, how it tows, and how adjustable that it is.

If you can get the serial number of that hitch you can contact Sean at ProPride and he will tell you what he can about it and recommend which weight bars you would need for your combo. Don't be shocked if the 1400 bars are what he wants you to use as it seems to be a very popular bar setup on these hitches.

Hope this helps.


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Old 12-13-2016, 05:22 AM   #7
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Need help understanding CAT scale weights

No WD there. Crank down on the chains and see if you can get your steer back to original. Personally I'd use the lighter bars on the 3/4 ton if you an get your front end back down.
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:42 AM   #8
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Thank you, everyone! I'm going to call Sean this AM to discuss the bar weights and talk about other questions.

Thanks also for the tip on the Smart Weight by Escapees in Livingston! We'll be passing through there after Christmas and I'm going to try and set up an appointment either on the way out or the way back. Looks like a good value for a lot of info.

Dave
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:07 AM   #9
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Dave, I would suggest getting it done on your way out. That way you can tweak it on your trip, then on your return trip do a rewrite to confirm. The reweigh is only $25.


The weighing is only 07:30 to 09:00 or so. So a reservation is necessary. Also, download the paperwork and fill it out beforehand.

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Old 12-13-2016, 08:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMc View Post
Thanks also for the tip on the Smart Weight by Escapees in Livingston! We'll be passing through there after Christmas and I'm going to try and set up an appointment either on the way out or the way back. Looks like a good value for a lot of info.
I used the SmartWeigh program in central Florida and found it to be very helpful. You can essentially do the same thing with Cat Scales but there's something to be said for spending time - as much as an hour or more - with SmartWeigh, particularly if you're attempting to dial in your hitch.

Don't overlook the "manual" method of dialing in your hitch... measuring to the center of your wheel well openings with the tow vehicle by itself, the trailer connected but without weight distribution, then with weight distribution engaged. This method will get you pretty close then use SmartWeigh or Cat Scales to double check the outcome.
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:46 AM   #11
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You have the right weight bars. The tickets say you are putting 800# on the truck, so you need the bars you have. Don't change the bars.

The problem is that your front is 200# lighter when you're hitched up. Tightening the bars a bit will increase your front axle weight while decreasing the rear axle. It won't change the trailer weight at all.

You have the info you need to register your trailer, so you can take care of that before you head back to the scales.

For proper adjustment, you need a measuring tape, not a scale. The scale will confirm a good adjustment after your measurements are correct.

Before you hitch up, level your trailer with the front jack so the front and rear are the same height within 1/4 inch. Measure the height of your truck's front bumper. Measure rear bumper height. Measure the height of the top of the trailer's hitch. Measure the top of the hitch ball. Write it all down.

Adjust the height of the ball so it is about 1-2" higher than the trailer hitch.

Now hitch up the trailer

Now measure the height of the front and rear bumpers of the truck again. If the front bumper is higher now, you need to tighten up the WD bars. They are too loose. The tighter the bars, the lower the front of your truck. Adjust them until the front bumper is the exact height it was before you hitched up. The rear bumper should now be 1-2" lower than without the trailer. Your trailer should be level within 1".

If you're lucky, your WD bars will be parallel to the ground. If not you need to adjust the angle of your hitch. If the bars slope down from the hitch toward the trailer, you need to adjust the angle of the ball forward. Conversely, if the bars angle up toward the trailer, you need to angle the ball back.

After you adjust the angle of the hitch, the bars will be out of adjustment. Go back and readjust the bars so your truck bumper heights are back where they should be.

Now you can go back to CAT and get your new weights. You will still have 800 lbs on your truck, but that 800 will be shared by both front and rear axles, with more on the rear than on the front; perhaps 600/200.

Don't be surprised if the truck feels much more confident now. The truck and trailer should feel like a unit.

Good luck!
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:58 AM   #12
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I just bought a ProPride to tow my 25 FC (not picked up yet) and Sean said I needed the 1400 lb bars. Go with what he says. His customer service is the best I have ever seen. Good luck. I will use this info to help set up the hitch. How do I find out about smartweight near Orlando Florida?
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Leslieotr View Post
How do I find out about smartweight near Orlando Florida?
See this link: https://www.escapees.com/knowledge/smartweigh

Seems like a great program, I do better when people double check my work... and know a whole lot more than me about a subject!!!

I picked up the used ProPride hitch today at a great price, enough to offset the lack of warranty. I talked to Sean this AM and had a very good conversation.

FWIW-- we popped off the top dust caps to inspect the condition of the bearings and look for water before sealing the deal. I wouldn't have bought it if the bearings were nasty. Wouldn't have known about that without this great forum! Thanks again, everyone! Can't wait to geek out in a nice level parking lot over a hitch!!! Ha!!!

Dave
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:37 PM   #14
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I've thought a primary reasons to use a WD hitch is to help keep the tow vehicle within it's capacity ratings and to prevent the steer axle from being too light.

From the weights of your truck I assume you have a Duramax but without the wheelbase, or cab & box configuration, the precise ratings can not be known.

I have a 2106 Sierra 2500 Duramax double cab, standard box. The GM Fleet Order Guide for my truck with options (it's loaded) lists steer GVWR as 5,200 lbs., drive GVWR as 6,200, and total GVWR as 10,000 lbs.

I would guess that the numbers for your 2012 are similar. If so, you are/were well within the capabilities of your TV.

From experience I can tell you that you are well advised to be concerned about "beat[ing] the Airstream to death" with 1,400 lb. bars if they are not needed.
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:43 PM   #15
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I have 1000# bars on my Hensley, can move all the weight I want to the front axle, and still maintain some flexibility in the bars. I certainly would not want 1400# bars...and I am towing with a 1500, albeit with the larger rear axle and stiffer springs of the MaxTow package.
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:57 PM   #16
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Bill-- I've got the same pickup configuration/specs as you. I keep rolling the lighter vs heavier bars around in my mind trying to make the best decision. I think I'll know much more after a couple trips AND once I get weights that are "ready to camp" weights. Thanks again all for great input!!!!
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Old 12-13-2016, 02:38 PM   #17
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Until you get a weight with the truck and trailer hooked up, no WDH engaged, I think you are fine. The goal is not to get the front axle of the truck back to the same weight with the trailer hitched as it is unhitched. I have the same truck. What GMC says in their manual is the same as many other brands is that you want to get the front back to 50% of the delta.

GMC suggests measuring the ground to bottom of the front fender. Truck only, truck connected to trailer no WD and finally truck with trailer and WD dialed in. Example
Truck only - 37"
Truck trailer no WD - 41"
Truck trailer with WD - 39"

That would be a perfect truck setup according to GMC.

My weights are about 200# less with my ProPride dialed in. Measurements agree.

For what I consider to be the expert do a search on Ron Gratz and weight. He can give you a step by step on running over the CAT scales. Minimum of 3 weights.
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:30 PM   #18
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WD setup

I have a 2015 DuraMax crew cab towing a 2014 27FB. I went through this process and came to some conclusions'. The hitch capacity of the truck is sufficient to tow at the 900lb tongue weight without WD. The WD bars in 800-1000lb ratings' can be tensioned to reduce bounce. I dialed in a 100lb steering axle gain according to my CAT scale sheets. Mostly to improve ride feel. The best improvement came with installing a 14" drop shank to really level the trailer when towing. I cut off 1.5" to reduce dragging. I am using a Reese style Chinese knockoff hitch.
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:55 PM   #19
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Need help understanding CAT scale weights

Other older threads with CAT Scale in title are good. The one started by 2Airishuman is best. It takes three passes. Why I linked that Ron Gratz chart here years ago to simplify analysis.

Id start at home with the CAN AM RV directions to rough it in. Then off to CAT Scale. Having done as well as I could I would then use the SKP service.

In all cases of weighing, TV with full fuel plus driver and passengers plus gear as if on a trip.

TT with full propane, fresh water and loaded as if for a trip.

Once done -- and rechecked on CAT -- one has a baseline set of numbers to check against every year.
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