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Old 03-04-2021, 05:26 AM   #1
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2021 19' Caravel
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Conflicting Advice: Payload

I have a Ram 1500 that Iíll be using to tow a 19CB Caravel when she arrives.

Not worried about towing the Caravel, but if we ever wanted to upgrade Iím concerned about maxing out payload.

Iíve read a ton of posts and seen a lot of things online, but Iím still not sure I understand what a distribution hitch will do to payload.

We only have 1345 in max payload for our Laramie edition, but Iíve been told by our AS rep that a distribution hitch essentially eliminates 1/3 of the hitch weight from the trailer.

Right now we are totally fine even without questionable rv sales rep math: 1345 payload-550 hitch weight and weíve got plenty of room for two adults, two kids and some gear.

But if we upgrade to a bigger AS (say to something with 800-900lbs hitch weight) we get tight pretty quickly. Thatís IF Iím not basically removing 1/3 of the tongue weight like this guy suggests.

I know the ďcan this tow thatĒ debates run hot here. Iíve read a lot of forums but appreciate any thoughts or opinions anyone has. Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:54 AM   #2
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The confusion on this point is understandable. The whole “can I tow this” formula is some combination of engineering and marketing speak, a lot of which either contradicts itself or isn’t readily consumable.

To be precise—a distribution hitch does not eliminate weight from the trailer—it redistributes the weight of the trailer across all axles of the rig (tow vehicle + trailer). Without a weight distribution hitch, all of the tongue weight of the trailer bears down on one point—the hitch ball. Because this weight is pushing down behind the tow vehicle, the tow vehicle’s rear axle is loaded a lot more than the front axle, and this lifts the tow vehicle’s front axle (and vice versa for the trailer).

A distribution hitch “lifts” the weight on the hitch so it is more evenly distributed across all four axles (in the case of a 2-axle trailer). You’ll see the tow vehicle’s rear axle loaded less and a very modest improvement in the added weight (read: payload) on the whole tow vehicle. 1/3rd of the hitch weight? Maybe, but that seems unlikely to me.

A 19’ trailer is pretty light all things considered, but that 1345 gets eaten up pretty quickly—assuming 150 lb adults and 100 lb kids, that’s 500 lbs in passengers alone. Also, AS published tongue weights are famously low, though maybe they are closer to reality on the smaller trailers). The only way to know where you are at in relation to the numbers is to hook up and go to a weigh station.

As you have noticed, people will tell you that they tow much larger trailers with similarly sized trucks and other people here will tell you that doing so is madness. In the end, at least in this country, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to run “by the numbers” and if so, how close to the limits you want to be. By the numbers and depending on what you take and where you place it, I think you’ll be close but fine with your 1500 and 19’ Caravel.
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:01 AM   #3
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1345 lbs isn't very much payload when you have 900 lb tongue weight. People do it all the time but in the end bigger trailers need bigger tow vehicles. A WDH transfers weight it doesn't eliminate it. If it were me I would use what TV and TT I had and get a 3/4 ton when I moved up to a larger trailer.
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Capt who View Post
1345 lbs isn't very much payload when you have 900 lb tongue weight. People do it all the time but in the end bigger trailers need bigger tow vehicles. A WDH transfers weight it doesn't eliminate it. If it were me I would use what TV and TT I had and get a 3/4 ton when I moved up to a larger trailer.
Agree with the Capt.
I'll go a step further.If you need a WDH gimmick, what you really need is a bigger tow vehicle.
I could use a wrecker ( a real tow truck) , with just a ball bolted to it, as an example, if anyone would like, no WHD needed...
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aep71 View Post
I have a Ram 1500 that Iíll be using to tow a 19CB Caravel when she arrives.

Not worried about towing the Caravel, but if we ever wanted to upgrade Iím concerned about maxing out payload.

Iíve read a ton of posts and seen a lot of things online, but Iím still not sure I understand what a distribution hitch will do to payload.

We only have 1345 in max payload for our Laramie edition, but Iíve been told by our AS rep that a distribution hitch essentially eliminates 1/3 of the hitch weight from the trailer.

Right now we are totally fine even without questionable rv sales rep math: 1345 payload-550 hitch weight and weíve got plenty of room for two adults, two kids and some gear.

But if we upgrade to a bigger AS (say to something with 800-900lbs hitch weight) we get tight pretty quickly. Thatís IF Iím not basically removing 1/3 of the tongue weight like this guy suggests.

I know the ďcan this tow thatĒ debates run hot here. Iíve read a lot of forums but appreciate any thoughts or opinions anyone has. Thanks!
Only my opinion....RELAX, enjoy the new AS.
Worry about worrying when it's time to worry and not before.

"Worry is a brain exercise done when it wants to sleep"
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Cole View Post
Agree with the Capt.
I'll go a step further.If you need a WDH gimmick, what you really need is a bigger tow vehicle.
I could use a wrecker ( a real tow truck) , with just a ball bolted to it, as an example, if anyone would like, no WHD needed...


Yeah absolutely. Iím all about being within the limits and Iíll take safety over inconvenience every day.

Weíll worry about it when we decide to upgrade and likely go 2500 or equivalent. Seeing all this confirms that my spidey senses tingling on the 1/3 of tongue weight being ďeliminatedĒ were correct.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:18 AM   #7
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I contend there's a difference between a trailer tongue weighing 1000# with a WD hitch vs. 1000# of gravel in the bed.
When the engineers came up with the payload, they didn't know which one you'd be carrying.
A WD hitch takes some of that weight off the hitch and transfers it to the front axle of the truck and the axles of the trailer. (If it didn't the sag would remain the same!)
So I think it's more complicated than simply adding tongue weight and passengers and equipment.
Where the payload doesn't transfer is braking. You still have to stop in a reasonable distance. Trailer brakes help, but mass is mass.
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Cole View Post
Agree with the Capt.
I'll go a step further.If you need a WDH gimmick, what you really need is a bigger tow vehicle.
I could use a wrecker ( a real tow truck) , with just a ball bolted to it, as an example, if anyone would like, no WHD needed...
What exactly is a WDH gimmick?
Or is it just that in your opinion it's a "big truck" fixes all things?😂

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Old 03-04-2021, 07:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Only my opinion....RELAX, enjoy the new AS.

Worry about worrying when it's time to worry and not before.



"Worry is a brain exercise done when it wants to sleep"

RLC



Bob



But why relax when itís so fun to watch Patrick Botticelli walkthroughs and dream about Airstreams?

100% agree and appreciate it. Weíre excited, but with the close payload even with a small trailer, I just want to make sure Iím not overloading the truck if we decide on a longer trip. Thanks again.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aep71 View Post
I have a Ram 1500 that I’ll be using to tow a 19CB Caravel when she arrives.

Not worried about towing the Caravel, but if we ever wanted to upgrade I’m concerned about maxing out payload.

I’ve read a ton of posts and seen a lot of things online, but I’m still not sure I understand what a distribution hitch will do to payload.

We only have 1345 in max payload for our Laramie edition, but I’ve been told by our AS rep that a distribution hitch essentially eliminates 1/3 of the hitch weight from the trailer.

Right now we are totally fine even without questionable rv sales rep math: 1345 payload-550 hitch weight and we’ve got plenty of room for two adults, two kids and some gear.

But if we upgrade to a bigger AS (say to something with 800-900lbs hitch weight) we get tight pretty quickly. That’s IF I’m not basically removing 1/3 of the tongue weight like this guy suggests.

I know the “can this tow that” debates run hot here. I’ve read a lot of forums but appreciate any thoughts or opinions anyone has. Thanks!
Your confusion comes from the fact that tongue weight is not just tongue weight for all purposes. Tongue weight matters in two distinct respects: (1) the dead weight on the hitch; and (2) the distributed weight that counts as payload. They are two different measurements of tongue weight for two different purposes. When verifying that your hitch can handle the tongue weight, you look just at the dead weight of the tongue without weight distribution. When measuring how much of that dead weight counts as cargo and contributes to payload, you look at the dead weight minus how much of that dead weight gets levered back to the trailer via a weight distribution hitch. That amount is usually in the vicinity of 10-15% of the dead tongue weight. But keep in mind that the weight of the weight distribution hitch itself also counts as payload. Anything that touches the truck counts as payload. You might find that there ultimately is little payload weight savings on a net basis when you subtract from payload the amount of the tongue weigh distributed to the trailer by the WDH and then add back to payload the weight of the WDH itself.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:52 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
What exactly is a WDH gimmick?
Or is it just that in your opinion it's a "big truck" fixes all things?��

Bob
����
Dear Bob-
Yes, a " big truck" fixes all things.Especially when it comes to trailers attempting to drive too small tow vehicles.
When towing a trailer with too small of a tow vehicle, everything is fine, like many who do, will tell you.
I will finish that with " Until suddenly, it isnt..."
I can give you my wrecker example, if you would like it.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:10 AM   #12
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The payload weight isn't "removed" by the WD hitch. The forces it generates are redistributed among all of the axles, truck and trailer. So, every pound of hitch weight still must be counted against the payload rating, even when using the WD hitch. The WD hitch is merely ensuring that you have enough pressure on the front end to keep the steering tires properly engaged with the road to prevent understeer or oversteer.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:21 AM   #13
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The payload weight isn't "removed" by the WD hitch. The forces it generates are redistributed among all of the axles, truck and trailer. So, every pound of hitch weight still must be counted against the payload rating, even when using the WD hitch. The WD hitch is merely ensuring that you have enough pressure on the front end to keep the steering tires properly engaged with the road to prevent understeer or oversteer.
I do not believe that the weight on the axles of the trailer are counted as payload of the truck.
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
I do not believe that the weight on the axles of the trailer are counted as payload of the truck.
Correct. A WDH does not remove weight for purposes of determining whether you are complying with the hitch rating. But it most definitely removes and redistributes tongue weight from the rear axle of the truck to both the front axle of the truck and the trailer axles. The portion transferred to the trailer axles does not count toward payload.
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:24 PM   #15
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WD vs payload rating

I don't pretend to have all the answers, or even some of the answers, but with regard to your original question, I think the best response to your original question is that a weight distribution hitch does nothing to improve your payload. In fact, most weight distribution hitches are fairly bulky and heavy perhaps on the order of 75 to 100 lbs total, and the weight of the hitch components must also be considered as counting against the overall payload number. So you need to add the tongue weight, and the hitch head/bars weight, and be sure that is all factored in when you are trying to see how much cargo capacity you have left over. The payload rating you shared does sound low, but if thats what your vehicle sticker says, then thats what you need to adhere to. The WD hitch can help remove tongue weight from an overloaded rear tow vehicle axle, but in the end most of that weight still falls under the umbrella of overall payload capacity of the tow vehicle. Some of the weight gets transferred to the trailer axle in the WD approach. This is the part where I can't produce facts, just general points of view. Unless you set this all up with the aid of a weight scale, and are able to see the weights of all 3 points (front and rear of tow vehicle, and the 3rd being the trailer) its very hard to prove the net impact to payload. The weight does move around, but removing 1/3 from the payload sounds like too much to hope.

I do also agree with the others that say enjoy your current vehicle and trailer, since you already have them, and solve the problem of a bigger trailer in your future when (or if) it actually becomes a reality for you. At that time, if upgrading I would strongly encourage you to pursue a 3/4 ton vehicle. More stability means more safety and peace of mind, and much simpler packing since you don't have to be so precise about placement of items and how that placement affects axle loads.

Enjoy your journey !
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:54 PM   #16
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Dear Bob-
Yes, a " big truck" fixes all things.Especially when it comes to trailers attempting to drive too small tow vehicles.
When towing a trailer with too small of a tow vehicle, everything is fine, like many who do, will tell you.
I will finish that with " Until suddenly, it isnt..."
I can give you my wrecker example, if you would like it.
Sorry, a big truck 'fixes' nothing, it just masks a poor choice.
PLUS a stiffer lash-up can actually cause panel and/or frame damage.
As an old timer here used to say, if jumping up and down on the tongue with WD set doesn't easily move it 6-10" the rig is too stiff.

Choices are made freely, mine is not to use bandaids.

As far as 'payload' goes..stay under TV & AS axle and tire load specs. Don't stretch the CVWR and the PL will likely be just fine.

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Old 03-04-2021, 08:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
What exactly is a WDH gimmick?
🇺🇸

I believe the "gimmick" referred to here is the possibility that adding a WDH to the mix will reduce your tongue weight by 1/3, as mentioned by the OP. That, of course, is not true.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Cole View Post
Dear Bob-
Yes, a " big truck" fixes all things.Especially when it comes to trailers attempting to drive too small tow vehicles.
When towing a trailer with too small of a tow vehicle, everything is fine, like many who do, will tell you.
I will finish that with " Until suddenly, it isnt..."
I can give you my wrecker example, if you would like it.
Agree
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Old 03-05-2021, 07:07 AM   #19
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Interesting how people see things. As for the rough ride of a bigger truck my F250 isn't bad in my opinion except when I'm on a concrete road with bad joints. To remedy this I got Gen-y torsion hitch. So far I have only tried it out on roads where it wasn't really needed ( about 40 mi test ride ) I drove over bridges and RR tracks to see if it helped and I think does, but will need many more miles to know just how much. I am not using wd or sway control so far as the truck seems to not need it. I don't think there is any question that bigger trucks handle payload better than small trucks.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:27 AM   #20
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Agree
With a fallacy?...😂

The AS is 'swaying' and your "mines bigger" doesn't feel anything until it's on its side.

A big TV does nothing to prevent sway.

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