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Old 11-28-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
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How to weigh your rv

Determine RV's Correct Weight
The GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) stickers on your motorhome (normally located on the support pillar next to the driver's seat) will show you the chassis manufacturer's and/or the motorhome manufacturer's total vehicle maximum weight ratings and per axle weight rating.

The GVWR is the maximum total weight for which the vehicle is rated - including passengers, fluids, and cargo. The GAWR is the maximum for which a single axle is designed. These per axle and total maximum weight ratings could be limited by the tires, wheels, axle and axle bearings, springs, the vehicle frame, or other components of the vehicle.

The GAWR sticker is only a guide in knowing your maximum loaded axle weights and subsequently your correct tire inflation pressure. Every motorhome, even of the same make and model, will vary in actual loaded axle weights, because of different options and personal loads.

While your actual, loaded axle weight should be below the GAWR, you must weigh your motorhome in a loaded condition to know its actual weight. Weigh the front axle, the total unit, and then the rear axle. It is possible for a vehicle to be within the GVWR yet overloaded on an axle. It is even possible for one wheel position to be overloaded, even though the GAWR has not been exceeded. For this reason (if there is room to the sides of the scale) Michelin recommends weighing each wheel position of the vehicle. This will give you a clear indication of exactly how the weight of your motorhome is distributed. The Tire Industry Safety Council publishes a "Recreational Vehicle Tire Care and Safety Guide" which includes instructions on how to weigh your vehicle by wheel position.

Links to selected instructions and diagrams are presented here: Weighing Your Single Axle Recreational Vehicle or Weighing Your Tandem Axle Recreational Vehicle. Print the correct diagram/instruction from the links for your type of RV and use in conjunction with the "How to Weigh Your RV" section found below.

Where to Weigh Your Vehicle

There are probably several certified public scales in your area. You will find public-access scales in a variety of places, such as moving and storage company lots, farm suppliers with grain elevators, gravel pits, recycling companies, and large commercial truck stops.

If you are not aware of a nearby public scale, check your phone book's yellow pages under "scales-public" section or "weighers". A nominal fee will be charged, but this is money wisely spent.

How to Weigh Your RV

Your RV must be weighed fully loaded, that is, with passengers, food, clothing, fuel, water, propane, supplies, etc. Any towed vehicle (car/pickup, boat or trailer) or item loaded on brackets on the back of the RV, such as bikes or motorcycles, should also be included in the weighing.

There are three types of scales: 1. Platform. 2. Segmented Platform. 3. Single Axle.
1. The platform scale is long enough to weight the complete vehicle.
2. The segmented platform scales can provide individual axle weights and total vehicle weights simultaneously, when the vehicle is positioned properly.
3. Single axle scales weigh one axle at a time.

1) The platform scale is long enough to weight the complete vehicle. The following steps are suggested and are illustrated with diagrams found in the above links under "How to Determine Your RV's Correct Weight".
a) Pull onto the scale so that only the front axle is on the platform (with the end of the scale midway between the front and rear axles), and record the scaled weight.
b) Pull forward until the full unit is on the scale, and record the scaled weight.
c) Pull forward so that only the rear axle is on the scale (again with the edge of the scale midway between the front and rear axles), and record the scaled weight.
d) If the RV has a rear tag axle, pull forward so that only the tag axle remains on the scale, and record the scaled weight.

If there is no towed vehicle, this weight will represent the actual weight on the tag axle. To determine the actual load on the rear axle, subtract this value from the recorded weight in step 1c. If there is a towed vehicle, proceed to step 1e (see link above for "Weighing Your Tandem Axle Recreational Vehicle"), to obtain the "towed vehicle only" weight. Subtract that value from the value above and then subtract that from the weight recorded in step 1c.

If a boat, trailer or other vehicle is being towed, it should be weighed and combined with the towing vehicle's GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) to ensure the total weight does not exceed the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating).

2) The segmented platform scales can provide individual axle weights and total vehicle weights simultaneously, when the vehicle is positioned properly.
Position the vehicle on the scales so that each axle is centered as much as possible on separate segments, and record the weight. Reposition the vehicle so that only one side is on the scale, again centered on the segment as much as possible. Subtract the weighed wheel positions from the total axle weights to determine the unweighed wheel positions' weights.

3) The single axle scale weighs one axle at a time.
Drive your front axle onto the scale and stop long enough for the weight to be recorded. Pull vehicle forward until the rear axle is on the scale. To obtain the gross vehicle weight add the two axle loads together. To obtain the individual wheel position weights, repeat this process with only one side of the RV on the scale.

Note: Even though the weight of the total axle may be within the axle's rating, it may be overloaded on one side. This causes one wheel position to be overloaded. Therefore, side-to-side weighing should also be done.
To determine individual wheel position weights, it is necessary to repeat the previous three steps (1a, 1b and 1c), but this time, use only one side of the scale, as shown in the diagrams (see links above)
To calculate the opposite side of the vehicle wheel position weight, subtract this side's weight from the weights recorded in steps 1a, 1b and 1c.

Your RV must remain as level as possible on the scale (even though an axle or side is not physically on the scale). Obviously, to obtain the side-to-side weights, there must be enough space on either side of the scale to accommodate the RV being partially off the scale.

If there is a difference in the weights on one side of the vehicle as compared to weights on the other side, components (tires, wheels, brakes, springs, etc.) on the heavier side could be overloaded, even though the total axle load is within the GAWR. It is important to redistribute the load to avoid component failure, as well as to improve the handling characteristics of the vehicle. With these actual weights, it is now possible to compare them against the GAWR, GVWR and tire capacities. These weights are also what should be used to help determine the proper air pressure for the tires.

If you are towing a vehicle or trailer, you need to know your RV's GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Ratings). This is the total actual loaded weight of your RV (or tow vehicle) plus total actual loaded weight of the towed vehicle (or trailer). The total actual loaded weight of the RV and towed vehicle should not exceed the GCWR. While the GCWR has more to do with the drivetrain (engine, transmission, axle, brakes, and bearings) design limits, this additional weight can also affect the tires and how your RV (or tow vehicle) handles. And finally, please don't forget to consider the tongue weight of the trailer.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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here are the links
Single Axle
Dual Axle

source of above information http://www.airsafehitches.com
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:44 PM   #3
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Well, there's another way to weigh a Trailer. I took mine to a local wrecking yard. They have a 30' long very accurate weigh scale. I just parked the trailer on the scale & moved our van off the scale. Our 13' Trillium is 1370 lbs (measures to +/- 10 lbs). Not very scientific, but it works.........
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Old 12-13-2014, 08:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Tenhage View Post
Well, there's another way to weigh a Trailer. I took mine to a local wrecking yard. They have a 30' long very accurate weigh scale. I just parked the trailer on the scale & moved our van off the scale. Our 13' Trillium is 1370 lbs (measures to +/- 10 lbs). Not very scientific, but it works.........
Actually you really still don't know what your trailer weight actually is as you need to add the tongue weight of the trailer to the above weight.
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Old 12-13-2014, 08:56 PM   #5
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Larry; Was the trailer still hooked up, or unhooked from the tow vehicle
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Old 12-13-2014, 08:59 PM   #6
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The WHOLE trailer, including the tongue, was on the weigh scale. So, the 2 wheels & the tongue jack was on the scale. If you'll read my last post, I moved our van OFF the scale. I disconnected the trailer from the van & drove the van off the scale to get an accurate reading of the trailer only!
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:08 PM   #7
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That's the way I took it Larry, that you unhooked as I have weighed a couple of my trailers that way. Apparently Carol took it the other way that you just got the van wheels off the scale but stayed coupled.
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:15 PM   #8
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You are good to go Larry, Carol's comment would have applied if you were still hooked up. I got weighed this year coming back from Osoyoos, BC at a Montana truck stop. Seems one of the employees there wanted to see my Escape so he asked me to stop as we drove back home. I did not unhitch but drove right onto the scale. My unit was 3800 at the axle and 500 on the tongue, total 4300 lbs weight. Therefore if you have a tongue scale you can measure your tongue weight and the difference will give you your axle weight.
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
Apparently Carol took it the other way that you just got the van wheels off the scale but stayed coupled.
Your correct that is what I assumed as there was not mention of having unhooked the trailer just driving the tug off the scale. A lot of people actually don't bother to unhook but they then go home and weigh the tongue on a bathroom scale. Actually not a bad approach if you are wanting to be sure you have a good tongue to axle ratio.
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Old 12-13-2014, 11:14 PM   #10
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Your correct that is what I assumed as there was not mention of having unhooked the trailer just driving the tug off the scale. A lot of people actually don't bother to unhook but they then go home and weigh the tongue on a bathroom scale. Actually not a bad approach if you are wanting to be sure you have a good tongue to axle ratio.
So, if weighed that way, with a weight distribution hitch employed, and then you weigh the tongue at home ... I'm lost.
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Old 12-14-2014, 01:39 AM   #11
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You can find the nearest CAT scale here

CAT Scale Locator | CAT Scale
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Old 12-14-2014, 03:17 AM   #12
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Good write up on weighing a trailer Jim. As a side note, the Scaleman has done a lot of folks a great service to show what these moulded trailers really weigh, camp/road ready. I have a 2000 lb extra tow rate on the tug over my SD17 but did buy a 450lb scale to keep a check on the loaded tounge weight, 364lb. It seems to me that some people are trying to use the smallest and lightest tow to save a bit of mpg. It's great when you already have a good tow rig but to push the limits, that makes no sence to me from a safety view. All RV's are going to be heavier on one side, nature of the beast and equipment location. With our small trailers, loading things inside for travel won't make much of a difference side to side as there is only small space in the middle. Front to back loading is really the only thing we can do for a good tow. One of these days I may weigh mine side to side as I think it's about 200 lbs more on the curb side. But then maybe I don't want to know as it tracks great as it is.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:02 AM   #13
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You can find the nearest CAT scale here

CAT Scale Locator | CAT Scale

Thanks Bob! I went to that site and found they had apps for IOS and Android devices. There you'll find GPS turn-by-turn instructions that takes you to the scales. Does anyone know what they typically charge to weigh a small trailer?

Tom
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:04 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
It seems to me that some people are trying to use the smallest and lightest tow to save a bit of mpg. It's great when you already have a good tow rig but to push the limits, that makes no sense to me from a safety view.

Front to back loading is really the only thing we can do for a good tow.
For a good tow my goal is heavy items over or near the axle, light items at the ends.

We are one of the people that towed with a small, reliable, efficient vehicle for 7 years and never were unsafe.

As to side to side weight, I have checked it by inflating both tires to the same pressure and measuring the tire patch on each side of the trailer. The area of the tire patch (tire area in touch with a flat surface) is proportional to the weight on the trailer on that tire.

To accomplish this I have driven my trailer onto a couple of 2x6 blocks, slid pieces of paper to the contact point of the tires and measured the distance between them.

There are plenty of people with large, powerful, rated tow vehicles that have dumped their trailers. My Dad used to say, "when you think you're good (safe), that's when you're in trouble".
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