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View Full Version : truck capability vs. trailer weight



breakthru
Mar. 19, 2012, 02:21 PM
Another hauling thread, I know, sorry...

First off, let me say I understand the stopping power vs. hauling power issue, and all the reasons you need a big truck to haul big heavy trailers, not just safety, but wear and tear on haul vehicle, etc etc.

I'd just like to do some crowd sourcing on this particular scenario.

I have a 2006 Chevy 1500 with the off road package (4X4, etc), and currently haul a heavy (wish I knew how heavy, but I really don't) large steel two horse, extra tall, 5 foot dressing room, loaded up with two heavy horses, comfortably.

I found a trailer that I love online, two horse slant, aluminum, built on a three horse slant's frame, but with the third horse room's use going towards an extra large dressing room (I'm addicted to huge dressing rooms, what can I say?) Weight on that trailer is 4800lbs. I'm concerned that, not knowing the weight of my current trailer, but guessing its around 3500-4000, this new trailer would be pushing it, weight-wise. I currently do not haul my trailer with weight-distribution bars.

I have the option to go check out the trailer and hook it up and see how it hauls. (wish I could stick two horses in it! But the trailer is 3 hours from me...)

What do you all think? Personally, would you do it? Too heavy for my truck? Loaded up with two horses and gear, it would probably be around 7000 lbs, right? That's too much, right (I am pretty sure my truck's "max" hauling capacity is somewhere around 7000- 10,000 lbs, obviously would check on that, plus check on the weigh max of the hitch, etc...)

asterix
Mar. 19, 2012, 04:11 PM
you really need to know the numbers for your truck -- 7-10 is a big range -- if it was 7,000, then, yes, you'd be pushing it. 9,000, no.
You need to get the exact specs for the truck you have (including rear axle ratio, engine, 4wd etc) and then look up the capacity. If you have the manual there should be a chart in the back that lists the capacities for all "varieties" of that model. I have a slightly older Chevy 1500 and have looked in the manual - -there are several pages of towing capacity as the various options, engines, 4wd vs non4wd all have different weights.

Char
Mar. 19, 2012, 04:52 PM
Is this a gooseneck or a bumper pull?

breakthru
Mar. 19, 2012, 10:07 PM
trailer is bumper pull.

Found this chart in my manual, and for my model, it gives various max trailer weights according to axle ratio. I'm not sure what this means. Here's the info:

axle ratio 3.42 = 7,700 lbs
axle ratio 3.73 = 7,700 lbs
axle ratio 4.10 = 8,700 lbs

how do I determine what the axle ratio is? Presuming its the lesser of the weights listed, and my fully loaded trailer with two horses and gear comes to around 7,000- would that be too close for you, personally, to feel comfortable with?

hosspuller
Mar. 20, 2012, 12:43 AM
trailer is bumper pull.

Found this chart in my manual, and for my model, it gives various max trailer weights according to axle ratio. I'm not sure what this means. Here's the info:

axle ratio 3.42 = 7,700 lbs
axle ratio 3.73 = 7,700 lbs
axle ratio 4.10 = 8,700 lbs

how do I determine what the axle ratio is? Presuming its the lesser of the weights listed, and my fully loaded trailer with two horses and gear comes to around 7,000- would that be too close for you, personally, to feel comfortable with?

Look in the glovebox of your truck. There is a sticker with a list of "RPO" codes. These codes list the options the factory installed when they built your truck. You'll have to search the internet for the RPO codes of the model year of your truck. (They may change based on model year)

BasqueMom
Mar. 20, 2012, 01:25 AM
Try calling a service manager at your local Chevy dealer....have your VIN number handy. They should be able to go into their system and find out
the axle ratio. Or take it in and maybe than decipher some of the codes on the sticker for you. That's what I did to find the axle ratio on our new-to-us
2007 Dodge pickup. We even had the original window sticker but it wasn't
on there.

airhorse
Mar. 20, 2012, 08:58 AM
3.73 is my guess on the axle ratio.

Don't forget those weights assume an empty truck, so anything or anyone else riding along needs to be subtracted.

Best bet is to get to a scale.

4cornersfarm
Mar. 20, 2012, 09:22 AM
3.73 is the gear ratio most of the Chevys come with. The 3.73 gives you better mileage but you sacrifice towing power. I had to search for a year to find my 3/4 ton Suburban with the 4.10 gear ratio, and the dealer tried to talk me out of it. I have a trailer book from Chevy I got in 2003, but it probably won't apply to your 2006. (My Suburban is a 2003, 3/4 ton, 4.10 gear ratio, 4wd, rated to tow about 12,000 lbs, probably more like 11,000 because of the weight of the 4wd equipment.)

ShotenStar
Mar. 20, 2012, 09:49 AM
As for the question of 'how much does my current trailer weigh', there should be a plate on the hitch frame that lists its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). If you can't find the plate, then look at the registration paperwork; registrations and licenses are based on GVWR in most states.

*star*

breakthru
Mar. 20, 2012, 09:56 AM
Thanks everyone- all this is very helpful! I tried to read the trailer plate for my trailer weight, but it's illegible. I'll check the title and see what that says.

Guilherme
Mar. 20, 2012, 10:18 AM
As for the question of 'how much does my current trailer weigh', there should be a plate on the hitch frame that lists its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). If you can't find the plate, then look at the registration paperwork; registrations and licenses are based on GVWR in most states.

*star*

This plate will give you the max. the trailer can legally weigh; it does not tell you what it does weigh.

The easiest way to find true weights is to go to a truck stop and spend $25 for a weight on the CAT Scale. Do this for both truck and trailer. Then you can calculate fairly closely the legal weights you're dealing with.

G.

ShotenStar
Mar. 21, 2012, 08:55 AM
This plate will give you the max. the trailer can legally weigh; it does not tell you what it does weigh.


GVWR = Maximum total weight of your vehicle, passengers, and cargo in order for you to avoid damaging the vehicle or compromising your safety

This is the more important number than the curbside (unladen) weight of the trailer. People rarely pull around empty horse trailers. When matching a new tow vehicle to a trailer (the subject in question), you need to be looking at GVWR of the trailer and matching that to the towing capacity of the truck. How much the trailer weighs empty is a 'nice to know', not a 'need to know' number.

*star*

Guilherme
Mar. 21, 2012, 12:00 PM
GVWR = Maximum total weight of your vehicle, passengers, and cargo in order for you to avoid damaging the vehicle or compromising your safety

This is the more important number than the curbside (unladen) weight of the trailer. People rarely pull around empty horse trailers. When matching a new tow vehicle to a trailer (the subject in question), you need to be looking at GVWR of the trailer and matching that to the towing capacity of the truck. How much the trailer weighs empty is a 'nice to know', not a 'need to know' number.

*star*

The empty weight of truck and trailer are critical numbers to know. You start with the empty weight and then weigh the stuff going in to get your loaded weight.

In the alternative, you can load up the truck and trailer with horses, forage, fodder, tack, water, etc. and then weight the combination on a CAT scale.

Either way works.

You also need the GCVWR of the truck and tow. You find this in your owner's manual. While this number does not vary between vehicles of the same type and equipment the empty weight of vehicles does, as does the "load out" on any one trip. Most folks would probably be very suprised to find that the "tow rating" of their vehicle (loudly touted in advertising) is not really what can legally be towed at any one time.

So do it from empty weight plus add ons or load it up and then weight it. Either way works (although I find the former easier).

What will get you killed is taking the attitude, "Don't worry 'bout the mule, just load the wagon." ;)

G.

Damrock Farm
Mar. 21, 2012, 06:09 PM
Hook up your trailer and take it to the nearest weigh station. You weigh the truck and trailer, then unhook and weigh the truck by itself. Then figure the difference. That will give you the true weight of the trailer you are pulling. Chances are, an aluminum trailer is going to be lighter than an old steel trailer, but weighing it will tell you for sure.

airhorse
Mar. 21, 2012, 06:45 PM
This is the more important number than the curbside (unladen) weight of the trailer.



Yes, and no. For some trailers you might actually be able to get to that number. For others no way. Our 2+1 has two 8K axles and a GVWR just under 19,000 pounds. We would have to put 10 horses in it to get to the GVWR...

ShotenStar
Mar. 21, 2012, 07:25 PM
Yes, and no. For some trailers you might actually be able to get to that number. For others no way. Our 2+1 has two 8K axles and a GVWR just under 19,000 pounds. We would have to put 10 horses in it to get to the GVWR...

The GVWR is the weight of the trailer AND the horses AND the stuff you put in the trailer. This is the maximum load you will be able to have and is relevant to the tow vehicle selection. Mating a tow vehicle with the tow capability of 10,000 lbs to a trailer with a GVWR of 12,000 is begging for trouble ....

*star*

2bee
Mar. 21, 2012, 07:57 PM
More or less good advice on this thread, but as usual a bit of tunnel vision.

An alum 3H should be ~18' on the floor, about 4000lbs (4800lbs really?). Intended as a 2H, assuming proper axle placement, we're looking at a loaded trailer under 7000lbs TW ~1000lbs.

Any modern V8 1/2 ton will pull it fine. A 4.10 with WDH will pull it better than a 3.42 on the ball, but it is certainly not outside the realm of reason either way.

airhorse
Mar. 21, 2012, 09:29 PM
The GVWR is the weight of the trailer AND the horses AND the stuff you put in the trailer. This is the maximum load you will be able to have and is relevant to the tow vehicle selection. Mating a tow vehicle with the tow capability of 10,000 lbs to a trailer with a GVWR of 12,000 is begging for trouble ....

*star*

Like I said, if you could actually get it to 12K then yes. There is no way we could physically fit enough horses into our trailer to come close to the GVWR, so in our case, it is just about meaningless. Yes, I know to the pound what our rig weighs loaded, and it is well below what our truck can handle.

FitToBeTied
Mar. 22, 2012, 09:21 AM
You should be able to find an plate either on the side of the drivers door or the frame around the door that gives the specs for your truck.

ShotenStar
Mar. 22, 2012, 10:15 AM
Like I said, if you could actually get it to 12K then yes. There is no way we could physically fit enough horses into our trailer to come close to the GVWR ...

I have seen assorted idiots load horse trailers with not-horse things, like hay and pieces of farm equipment, and greatly exceed the GVWR of the trailer and the towing capacity of the truck .... with the predictably ugly results: hitches that failed, trailer frames sprung, axles bent, engines blown. Paying attention to the numbers would have saved them lots of money and created fewer grey hairs.

*star*

airhorse
Mar. 22, 2012, 11:51 AM
I have seen assorted idiots load horse trailers with not-horse things, like hay and pieces of farm equipment, and greatly exceed the GVWR of the trailer and the towing capacity of the truck .... with the predictably ugly results: hitches that failed, trailer frames sprung, axles bent, engines blown. Paying attention to the numbers would have saved them lots of money and created fewer grey hairs.

*star*


Clearly they have no intention to educate themselves, so it really does not matter what the numbers are;)

breakthru
Mar. 22, 2012, 11:59 AM
You all have been hugely informative, thanks so much. The trailer, I assume, was 4800 lbs due to small living quarters in the front dressing room area.

I won't say that this has been all for naught, as I'm coming away much better informed, but alas, my dream trailer sold before I could get out to take a look at it, which, considering where it was priced, I am hardly surprised.

So, if anyone in the north carolina area has an aluminum two horse slant with collapsible rear tack and super large dressing room they want to sell me for a steal of a deal, PM me! :D

kittykeno
Mar. 22, 2012, 03:13 PM
I'd just like to reiterate the value in weighing the trailer regardless of its contruction materials; steel or aluminum.

I had a very large 2-horse warmblood size bumper pull tailer. Recently I replaced it with another very large 2-horse warmblood trailer, bumper pull. But this one is aluminum. I had to take the new trailer to the scales to get a weight inorder to register it (was purchased out of state). That trailer weighs 3200 pounds absolutely empty of anything. That this aluminum trailer out weighed the steel trailer kind of surprised me. Best to weigh it.