Weight Issue - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-10-2010, 09:22 PM   #1
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I had my 1977 Trillium 1300 weighed yesterday. I was both surprised and very concerned. The scale attendant told me it weighed 690 kg or 1521 lbs.

A document at www.trilliumrv.com/Service.htm says that "Vintage" Trilliums weigh about 1000 lbs for the 1300 model. Specifications shown on the label on the cupboard door says that the GTW is 1500 lbs. I exceed the GTW on a trailer that is almost empty!

When weighed, the only "extras" in/on the trailer were the battery, a full LP tank, 4 small leveling boards, awning and poles. Brakes were recently added so there is the weight of the drums and shoes to consider.

I didn't weigh these individual items but surely they can't account for the 521 pounds above the 'dry' weight, can they? I will have the trailer weighed somewhere else in case the first place I went to made an error.

My question to the group is ... what's wrong here? Am I missing some information that some of you may have?

Also have had trouble finding a public scale to have my unit weighed. The place I went to yesterday was a recycling depot. Also suggested was one of the scales found on the highway that checks that trucks are not over-weight. Other than these, does anyone know of a public scale in the Hamilton/Burlington/Oakville area (of Ontario).

Thanks all, Clark
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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I beleive that lots of these 13ft trailer are heavier than what is posted.You are probably very close to true weight.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:03 PM   #3
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Dixie Rd. just N of the 401 on the west side.

Some people have mentioned that the roadside scales are sometimes left on even though the inspection stations are closed. Check around your area for landscape places etc. that may have their own scales on site.

Many of these trailers are heavier than were advertised back in the 70's. My understanding is that the weights stated were for an empty basic trailer before anything was installed.

The thread "Trailer Weights...What are They Really?" should give you some idea of other trailers that have been weighed.

Then again you can do a search for +1300 +Weigh* which should give you some idea of what others are reporting
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:20 PM   #4
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When I bought my 1995 Scamp 16 from the previous owner, he gave me the original factory invoice for it listing the weight as 1450#.
On the way home I stopped at a highway scale do see what it really weighed. I wasn't too surprised when it was around 1900# empty.
If it ever weighed 1450, it was before they put the interior, bathroom and appliances...
I wasn't surprised because I used to have a 10' teardrop that weighed 1350# (loaded for a trip) the first time I bothered to weigh it
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:51 AM   #5
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Thanks Chester, Roy and Willar for your feedback. And Roy, based on the thread you referred me to, the weight of mine is very similar to a lot of others. So the 1521# is probably accurate.

This raises an interesting question. If many of our trailers weigh more than advertised and the actual empty weight is close to or exceeds the GTW, it seems we risk stressing the trailer's frame, axle, etc ... unless the advertised GTW is also artifically low. Has anybody researched this aspect of the problem? Or are you just loading lightly and taking a risk?

Clark

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Old 04-11-2010, 09:29 AM   #6
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Clark,

I'm not an engineer, just a common sense kind of guy. Many of our trailers are 30 some odd years old. We all load up to camp without serious problems. If there were problems, I doubt many of our trailers would still be on the road.

Each type of trailer has its weak spots in the frame. The Trillium 1300 was recalled to weld gussets at the bend where the frame comes out from the body up to the A frame. The bolers have their own weak spots.

When we replace our axles, we tend to upsize them up to reality. Most replace a 1200# or so axle with a 2200# one. If we use our trailers for camping and pack appropriately we seem to get by sans problems. OTOH I would not dream of using my trailer as a utility trailer.

My take on all of this is that the weights back in the day were more of a marketing ploy. My suggestion is to take the "advertised" spread in weights on yours (gross allowable - trailer weight) to use as a guide as to how much gear to pack. Most the little trailers fall in the range of 350-500#. That's a lot of gear.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:36 AM   #7
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Thanks Chester, Roy and Willar for your feedback. And Roy, based on the thread you referred me to, the weight of mine is very similar to a lot of others. So the 1521# is probably accurate.

This raises an interesting question. If many of our trailers weigh more than advertised and the actual empty weight is close to or exceeds the GTW, it seems we risk stressing the trailer's frame, axle, etc ... unless the advertised GTW is also artifically low. Has anybody researched this aspect of the problem? Or are you just loading lightly and taking a risk?

Clark
I think Roy in TO said it best
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Hi: Clark Martin... There's always "Slim Fast"
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:12 AM   #9
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Another thing to think about on the axle rating: The weight of the axle, rims, brakes and tires is not "live" weight on the axle, and neither is the tongue weight.

If your trailer is, say, 1800# loaded, then your tongue weight is around 200#, and although I don't know how much the running gear weights, I would think it might be at least another 150#? That would make the actual live load on your axle 1450#.

I agree that in general, many of our trailers weigh perhaps 50% more than claimed by the builder. Those 1000# eggs seem to be a myth for the most part.

Raya
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:16 AM   #10
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YUP--- that sounds about right... Both my Compact Jr and Scamp 13' come in right around 1600# loaded.. That's with food, clothes, approx 5 gal water, one propane tank, no battery. (no brake setup on either). I did reinforce both frames when I ran them thru my shop. The Scamp had some problems in the tongue area, Compact did not. But, shucks, what does one expect for a 30 year old trailer? (almost 40 in the Compact's case). I did put a 2200# rated axle under the Scamp during the upgrade. And yes the low weight was a marketing ploy...... And I think it had something to do with some states requiring brakes on trailers weighing over a 1000#..... Larry
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:59 AM   #11
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Thankfully Clark there are people like you that actually "get it" and have the moxie to even wonder/weight their trailer. Some of us get nervous when we see people oblivious to the weight issue and are looking to buy a 900 pound trailer to pull behind their Ford Pinto.......................
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:26 AM   #12
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:24 PM   #13
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Thankfully Clark there are people like you that actually "get it" and have the moxie to even wonder/weight their trailer. Some of us get nervous when we see people oblivious to the weight issue and are looking to buy a 900 pound trailer to pull behind their Ford Pinto.......................
We tend to pack all the extras in the tow van but store them in the trailer.
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:37 PM   #14
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We tend to pack all the extras in the tow van but store them in the trailer.

But that can be just as big a problem for some cause their tow vehicle is not meant to tow over a certain poundage, and for every passenger or the "extra's" their tow capacity goes down so in essence they are over their tow cap anyway and are under the illusion they aren't cause they packed their trailer "lite"..................

That is why it's crucial to know.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:49 PM   #15
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When I weighed my Uhaul, it came in at 950lbs. But it was pretty much stripped clean of all removable items. There was no propane tank, no battery, no furnace, no AC, nor the standard Uhaul solar panel & evaporative cooler.
I stripped it down and then weighed it, just to see if my Ford Focus had any chance of being a tow vehicle....which it did not . So I tow with a van.
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:21 PM   #16
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But that can be just as big a problem for some cause their tow vehicle is not meant to tow over a certain poundage, and for every passenger or the "extra's" their tow capacity goes down so in essence they are over their tow cap anyway and are under the illusion they aren't cause they packed their trailer "lite"..................

That is why it's crucial to know.
You're right. I'm thinking a tow cap of 5500lb with body on frame van should be enough. It is crucial to know. Mountain passes have not been an issue.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:11 PM   #17
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You're right. I'm thinking a tow cap of 5500lb with body on frame van should be enough. It is crucial to know. Mountain passes have not been an issue.


Sounds like you got it covered! That's a good thing!
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:32 AM   #18
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Hi all,

Thanks for all comments. I've not upgraded my axle so I think I'll just take a bit of a risk and load as light as possible. As I mentioned, I'm already exceeding the GTW - it's 1500#, my unit is 1521#.

For what it may be worth, I've written to Trilliumrv.com asking them to comment on this issue. While not responsible for decisions made in the 70's perhaps they can provide some useful info. I've asked two questions:

1) Was the advertised GTW of 1500# artificially low to discourage owners from over-loading?
2) How much of a load can I add to the trailer that exceeds the 1500# GTW before I risk stressing axle, frame, etc.?

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:28 PM   #19
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Hi Clark,

I weighed my previous trailer at the truck stop in Grimsby. I think it cost about $12 or $14. Let me know if I can be of any help with it as I used to drive a truck for a living.

Cheers,

Phil
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:36 AM   #20
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For what it's worth my 76 13' trillium comes in at 650kg (1430lb) without any of our stuff in it. It is, however, equipped with a furnace, 3 way fridge, two 20lb propane tanks, and battery. Once we add food, sleeping bags, beer, and cooking supplies it tips the scales at 1700lb. My Volvo has a 2000lb tow capacity, on flat land it slows down highway acceleration but otherwise is dreamy. In the mountains there is a small struggle uphill but otherwise no major concerns.
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