Weighing Your RV Explained!! Being the self-proclaimed resident Fulltime Families weight nag, I regularly recommend that families take the time to weigh their rigs. Unofficially, my guess is that a good 90% or more families who fulltime are running overloaded in one or more ratings on their trailer, motorhome, or tow vehicle. I know, because I was one and I paid the price for it – after 2 years of running overloaded by 1,000 lbs, I found myself stuck in California with a buckled frame. Like a fairytale, another Fulltime Family came to our rescue and we (I say “we” very loosely, he did all of the real work) fixed the frame and we were able to continue on down the road to San Francisco.

This article will help people in all kinds of recreational vehicles from travel trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes (class A, class C, super C, and class C), bus conversions, and truck campers.

(This is a guest post from Doug Setzer at Learn to RV.)

For those who have weighed in the past, you’ll find that with the Weigh My Truck app, it’s even more convenient as you don’t have to run inside to get your weight slips. The results just show on the screen and also get emailed to you.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oB68BKFB1s]

Weigh My Truck AppWeighing Your RV at a Truck Stop - Fulltime Families

You’ll want to do these steps before you get to the scale. Get everything setup and ready to go and your weighing process will be quick and easy!

First things first, go install the app.

Next, use the app and walk through the creation of your account and setup the app with credit card details. For company, I just put “Private”.

Fuel Up

Top up the gas or diesel in your vehicle. Truthfully, I don’t often embark on a trip thinking, “I’m going to weigh this time.” I am usually filling up and see that the truck spots are easy to get parked in and decide, “Hey, I should weigh today!”

Get Weighed

The process slightly varies based on what type of rig you’re in. Motorhomes have it the easiest as they really only have a single weight to take; travel trailers have it the worst as I suggest doing 3 weighings for them, and fifth wheels have to do 2.

Weighing is fairly inexpensive, usually, $11-13 for the first weighing and $2-3 for each additional after that within 24 hours, though I strongly suggest you do all weighs at the same time so that nothing changes that can throw off your results.

Motorhomes, Bus Conversions, & Truck campers

For all types of motorhomes (class A, class B, class C, super C) and truck campers, you really only need to take a single weight. You’ll pull up onto the scale where your window is about in line with the call intercom. This should align your front wheels on the first scale, your rear wheels on the next one, and your tow vehicle on the third. It doesn’t hurt to jump out and confirm.

Use the app to capture the weight (see video for the first set of screenshots).

Motorhome on CAT scale

Weighing Your RV at a Truck Stop - Fulltime Families

Evaluating Motorhome & Truck Camper Results

Once you have your weights, pull off the scale and you can compare them against the ratings for your RV:

  • Add the weight of the steer axle plus the drive axle together and get your rig’s total weight. This should be lower than your gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
  • Check the steer (aka front) axle is less than your front gross axle weight rating (GAWR).
  • Check the drive (aka rear) axle is less than your rear gross axle weight rating (GAWR).
  • If towing a car, check that the gross weight is less than your gross combined weight rating (GCWR)

Travel Trailers

For weighing a travel trailer, you’ll pull onto the scale so that your driver’s window is about where the call box for the intercom is. You won’t use that with the app, but it’s a good alignment. This will leave you with the truck’s front wheels on one scale, the rear wheels on the next, and the trailer’s wheels on the third. Jump out and take a quick glance to make sure they’re lined up as you expect.

Aligning truck + trailer on the CAT scales

Weighing Your RV at a Truck Stop - Fulltime Families

Travel trailers really only need 2 weights but I recommend doing all 3:

  1. Truck + trailer with weight distributing hitch (WDH) engaged
  2. Truck + trailer without a weight distributing hitch (WDH) bars (just throw them in the truck bed)
  3. Truck only

I’m not sure if it’s rules or etiquette but pull off of the scale between weights to make changes. That way you’re not blocking someone else who might pull in and won’t get called by the weigh master over the intercom.

I use a truck parking spot. One time I didn’t as there were none available and I really wanted to weigh that day. I very quickly got a visit from security who growled at me for dropping my trailer off to the side and out of the way. He gave in and I got my weight, but he wasn’t pleased.

Evaluating Travel Trailer Results

Now, I said you really only need 2 weights… truthfully, #1 is optional and it’s only there to tell you how your weight distributing hitch (WDH) is performing. It’ll show you how much weight you’re restoring to the tow vehicle’s front axle.

First, plug all of your numbers into TowingPlanner.com to the Actual Weight Utility for Travel Trailers. Note, for single axle trailers you would only do weights #2 and #3.

Once you have your results, here’s what you want to look at:

  • Compare the Gross Combined Weight against your tow vehicle’s gross combined weight rating (GCWR)
  • Compare the Truck Weight (hitched) against your tow vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
  • Compare the Camper Weight against your trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
  • Check the Tongue Weight is less than the tow vehicle’s hitch’s maximum tongue weight.
  • Check that the Tongue Weight Percentage is above 10% (less than that can induce sway! [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWd8ml9mFMo])
  • In weight #1, compare the Steer Axle against the tow vehicle’s front gross axle weight rating (GAWR)
  • In weight #1, compare the Drive Axle against the tow vehicle’s rear gross axle weight rating (GAWR)
  • In weight #1 also compare the Drive Axle against the sum of the tow vehicle’s rear tires’ maximum load-carrying capacity (it’s printed in small black letters on the side of the tire, written as “Max Load XYZ lbs. at ABC psi”)
  • In weight #1, compare the Trailer Axle against the sum of the trailer’s gross axle weight ratings (GAWR)
  • In weights #1 and #3, compare the Steer Axle difference. Check the owner’s manuals of the weight distributing hitch (WDH) and your tow vehicle to make sure this is within spec.

Fifth Wheels

With weighing your fifth wheel, you’ll pull up onto the scale so that your driver’s side window is about lined up with the call box with the intercom on it. Fortunately, with the app, you don’t need to use it (because it took standing on the running boards and STRETCHING). But this aligns your truck’s front wheels on one scale, rear wheels on the next, and the trailer’s axle(s) on the third. Pop your head out to make sure it’s all lined up before proceeding in the app.

Truck and fifth wheel on CAT Scale

Weighing Your RV at a Truck Stop - Fulltime Families

Fifth wheel owners have it a little easier than travel trailers as they truly only need 2 weighings:

  1. Truck + trailer
  2. Truck only

See the video at the top of this post for the whole process for the fifth wheels. You’ll notice that I do the truck only weighing first, that’s because I wanted to take care of the hardest part first and that’s getting parked in a tractor-trailer parking spot.

Evaluating Fifth Wheel Results

Take your weights and plug them into the Fifth Wheel Weights Actual Calculator on TowingPlanner.com.

Once you have your results, here’s what you want to look at:

  • Compare the Gross Combined Weight against your truck’s gross combined weight rating (GCWR)
  • Compare the Truck Weight (hitched) against your truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
  • Compare the Camper Weight against your trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
  • Check the Pin Weight is less than the fifth wheel hitch’s maximum pin weight (also sometimes known at “vertical tongue weight”).
  • In weight #1, compare the Steer Axle against the truck’s front gross axle weight rating (GAWR)
  • In weight #1, compare the Drive Axle against the truck’s rear gross axle weight rating (GAWR)
  • In weight #1 also compare the Drive Axle against the sum of the truck’s rear tires’ maximum load-carrying capacity (it’s printed in small black letters on the side of the tire, written as “Max Load XYZ lbs. at ABC psi”)
  • In weight #1, compare the Trailer Axle against the sum of the trailer’s gross axle weight ratings (GAWR)

Thanks for reading and I hope this has been helpful. I do have other articles that delve into a little more detail on how to weigh your travel trailer and how to weigh your fifth wheel on my website.

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions about the process!

Weighing Your RV at a Truck Stop - Fulltime FamiliesDoug Setzer, his wife, and 2 kids have been fulltimers since 2015. In an effort to help family and friends, he started LearnToRV.com with articles on how to go RVing. The site has grown and continues to be an excellent resource for new and old RVers alike.

 

Join Fulltime Families

Fulltime Families Members get access to the best resources, community and discounts.

Sharing is caring!

fulltime families logo

REACH US

Have Questions? Reach out!
[email protected]

GET CONNECTED

NEWSLETTER

Copyright © 2020 Fulltime Families, LLC. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy
Designed by Bialko Enterprises

Thinking of Taking Your Family on the Road?
Get the answers to the top 5 questions from families who are the road now.
We respect your privacy.