Washington State Law - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-09-2010, 04:20 AM   #1
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Exclamation Washington State Law

I finally found something on capacity and relationship of tow and tv:

RCW 46.37.351: Performance ability of brakes.

The section that I think would apply to us is C-2

"Combinations of a two-axle towing vehicle and a trailer with a gross trailer weight of 3,000 pounds or less"

Has to be able to stop within 40 feet from 20 mph

Still looking for any other pertinent information.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:34 AM   #2
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Exclamation Washington State Law Part 2

I found this in

RCW 46.37.340: Braking equipment required.

"(3) Brakes on all wheels. Every vehicle shall be equipped with brakes acting on all wheels except:

(a) Trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers of a gross weight not exceeding three thousand pounds, provided that:

(i) The total weight on and including the wheels of the trailer or trailers shall not exceed forty percent of the gross weight of the towing vehicle when connected to the trailer or trailers; and

(ii) The combination of vehicles consisting of the towing vehicle and its total towed load, is capable of complying with the performance requirements of RCW 46.37.351;"

Note this is the section in my first post.

If I am reading this correctly, if your car weighs 2000#, your trailer cannot weigh more than 800# (40%) unless you have trailer brakes.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:08 AM   #3
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Note that your 800# would probably be a bit higher because that figure is the weight "on and including the wheels of the trailer." Hence you would not include the tongue weight and that would be more like 900# or so.

I would *hope* most people would not be towing with such a light vehicle (weighing less than their trailer!) without brakes but I suppose that is not the case. But are there any 1400# tow vehicles out there? That seems like it would be an awfully light car Just out of curiosity, what does your Subaru weigh?

It seems like in order to get a 2000# gross weight for the tug it would have to weigh about 1400# unloaded. That seems like a pretty light car to me (?). Are there tow vehicles that are that light!?(1400# car, plus two occupants for another 400#, plus luggage for 200# = 2000# gross weight) (I don't think you count the tongue weight in that, since it is gross weight and not gross combined weight).

Or am I interpreting the formula wrong?

For my car, which is a 4-cylinder car, it would work out like this (IF I am interpreting this correctly), even not counting a passenger (hence less gross weight):

3400# of basic car, 150# of occupant(s), 350# of gear = 3900# So 40% of that would be around 1800#, which is more than my Boler weighs if you subtract the tongue weight (and my be more than it weighs even with the tongue weight). So my car would not require trailer brakes by their formula, as I read it.

Mind you, I think trailer brakes are a very good thing, and I will add them whenever I get a new axle

Raya

PS:
It's kind of funny in that the way (a) and (i) are worded it sounds like (a) only takes effect if (i) is 40% or less. I'm sure they don't mean it that way (and perhaps legalese clarifies this - I imagine it does), but it makes it sound like if you are 40% or less you need the brakes but if you are over that, then this section does not even apply to you.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:53 AM   #4
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@ Raya L wrote: "... That seems like it would be an awfully light car Just out of curiosity, what does your Subaru weigh? "

A 2000 Subaru Outback weights depends on the model and options but here is what I found:

Curb weight: plus options
Outback: 3415 manual, 3480 auto
Outback Limited: 3,500 manual, 3,565 auto
Outback Sedan: 3,485
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:17 PM   #5
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Thanks, Carol. Looks like the Subaru weighs about the same as my car, and thus would not fall under the 40%-of-gross-weight-related mandatory brakes law of WA*, unless I was not interpreting it correctly.

Raya

*For the relatively lightweight egg that a small car would normally be towing.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:49 PM   #6
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Bottom line Raya is that brakes on the trailer are a good thing - law or no law. LOL
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Bottom line Raya is that brakes on the trailer are a good thing - law or no law. LOL
As I mentioned in my first reply:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raya L. View Post
Mind you, I think trailer brakes are a very good thing, and I will add them whenever I get a new axle
Still, I think it's important to understand the laws correctly, which is why I posted about the original interpretation (which seemed wrong according to how I read it, and I wanted to explore that).

Raya
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:50 PM   #8
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Raya, I might be reading it wrong, too... but I think the 3,000 pounds is the trailer weight, not the tow vehicle. That is how it is in Maryland -- if the trailer weighs less than 3,000 pounds, you don't need brakes.

As far as the 40% (which is not the case in MD), I would assume that this is 40% of the stated curb weight of the car in question, not the loaded weight of the car. At least most trailer laws I have seem are interpreted this way.

My Scion has a curb weight of 2,625 lb... and 40% of that would be 1,050 lb. Barely enough for a barebones Scamp like mine. Like you, I would certainly add brakes if and when I ever have to replace the axle. Having better stopping power is never a bad thing!
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raya L. View Post
Thanks, Carol. Looks like the Subaru weighs about the same as my car, and thus would not fall under the 40%-of-gross-weight-related mandatory brakes law of WA*, unless I was not interpreting it correctly.

Raya

*For the relatively lightweight egg that a small car would normally be towing.
Subaru manual requires brakes when pulling trailers over 1,000 lbs.

John
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:30 PM   #10
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mcbrew:
1) Yes, clearly the 3,000 lbs in (a) refers to trailer weight.

2) As to the tow vehicle weight in (i), I don't think "gross weight" describes the curb weight, does it? I thought gross weight was curb weight plus passengers and gear, or do I have that wrong?

John:
Of course if a particular vehicle manufacturer's stipulations are more conservative than WA state law, one should adhere to those. I believe the law would come into play when (and if) it were more conservative than a vehicle's owner's manual stipulations.

Basically, I felt that perhaps Roger had interpreted the law incorrectly, and I posed my interpretation/questions to the thread. I did not intend to imply that trailer brakes were not a good thing, or that folks should ignore their owner's manuals. This seems to have been unclear, and I'm sorry about that.

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Old 09-10-2010, 12:22 AM   #11
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If my Subaru is 3415 lbs, then the State of Washington requires trailer brakes for any trailer over 1366 lbs. However, Subaru requires brakes on trailers over 1000 lbs. So the law is moot in my case.

If your trailer weighs 2000 lbs, your tv would have to weigh over 5000 lbs. If it weighs less, you just need brakes on the trailer. No biggie.

For Mr McBrew, with his 2625# tv, he would be limited to a trailer weight of 1050#, without brakes.

This does NOT mean you can't tow the trailer, you merely need brakes on it.

Hmm, I read "on and including" to mean the total trailer weight including wheels.

At any rate, you would have to be able to stop in 40ft from 20mph.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:47 PM   #12
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Raya, I read the original post again, and I should have said GVWR instead of curb weight. I think the assumption you are making is that the "gross weight" is the actual weight of YOUR car, occupants, cargo, etc. I am assuming that they mean the manufacturer's stated gross vehicle weight raing (GVWR), which is posted on the drivers door jamb on all modern cars and trucks.

I'm not saying I am right... just my guess.

IF that is the case, then the legal tow limit would be higher than I stated before. If I remember correctly, the GVWR of my car is about 3,500 pounds. 40% of that would be 1,400 pounds.
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:55 AM   #13
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With this in depth discussion regarding towing capacities and at what point brakes are legally required, I started to wonder how these standards are engineered in current times. Technology has changed since 1963 (WA document) such as ABS or electric brake electronic proportional controllers. Quick search resulted in a set of documents which could put some light on these towing limits defining process. Unfortunately, these documents are not free, so I stopped.
https://www.sae.org/servlets/works/committeeHome.do?comtID=TEMR2B see “Towability Fact Sheet”
J1142 Towability Design Criteria and Equipment Use-Passenger Cars, Vans, and Light-Duty Trucks
J1143 Towed Vehicle/Tow Equipment Attachment Test Procedure-Passenger Cars, Vans, and Light Duty Trucks
J1144 Towed Vehicle Drivetrain Test Procedure Passenger Cars, Vans, and Light-duty Trucks
J1884 Vehicle Jack Requirements and Test Procedure (Cancelled Feb 2005)
J2069 Recovery Attachment Points for Passenger Cars, Vans, and Light Trucks
J2512 Towing Equipment Ratings and Practices

For pick-up trucks, it is possible to precisely calculate maximum trailer weight via CGVW tables. I did this for my F350 a few years back. For passenger cars, the CGVW numbers are not always available. I am not certain which one is the key driver for manufacturers defined towing limits: safety, EPA or legal liability. Why the 2635lb 2004 Hyundai Elantra can tow a 3086lb trailer and 2895lb > 2005 VW Jetta can tow 1000lb one is not easily explainable from engineering terms.
http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/top10/102426/article.html

In Europe, the actual car towing limits are stamped in the legally binding registration document for every car, which includes differences such as station wagon, coupe, or sedan; diesel or gas; transmission type. So each car has a binding registration license document within the reach of police for inspection. Generic limits printed in a US car operation manual leaves wiggle room for some.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:28 AM   #14
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George, good post... but I have to point out one thing: You used the European tow rating for the Hyundai, and the American tow rating for the VW. The VW Jetta/Golf actually has a higher tow rating than the Hyundai Elantra (about 3,300 pounds, depending on the engine/trans combo).
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