When towing live cargo such as
horses with their high center of gravity, swatting flies with their
tails, it is advisable to not tow at the maximum trailer capacity.
Base Curb Weight: the empty
weight of a vehicle including all standard equipment, 150# driver and a
full tank of fuel. Does not include cargo, options or passengers.
Base Curb Weight plus Cargo Weight plus
Passenger Weight equals Gross Vehicle Weight.
Cargo Weight: includes all
weight added to the Base Curb Weight. When towing , trailer tongue
weight is included in Cargo Weight.
Payload: the combined maximum
allowable weight of cargo and passengers that the truck is designed to
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus the
Curb Weight equals Payload.
GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight - the
actual loaded weight of your vehicle, the Base Curb Weight plus actual
Cargo Weight plus passengers.
Gross Vehicle Weight plus Loaded
Trailer Weight equals Gross Combination Weight, GCW must not exceed GCWR.
GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight
Rating - the maximum allowable weight of the fully-loaded vehicle with
axles (including passengers and cargo).
The GVW must never exceed the GVWR.
GAW: Gross Axle Weight- the
total weight placed on each axle, (front and rear.) The easiest way to
get this number is to drive just the front axle of the loaded truck with
the loaded trailer on a scales and then drive the all the loaded truck's
tires on the scale with the loaded trailer still connected but not on
the scale. Subtract the front axle weight from the total loaded truck
weight and you have the rear axle weight.
GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating-
the maximum weight to be carried by a single axle, (front or rear.)
The total load of each axle must never
exceed its GAWR.
GCW: Gross Combination Weight-
the weight of the loaded vehicle, (GVW) plus the weight of the fully
GCWR: Gross Combination Weight
Rating- the maximum allowable weight of the towing vehicle and the
loaded trailer, including all cargo and passengers.
The Gross Combination Weight must never
exceed the GCWR.
GTW: Gross Trailer Weight - the
actual total weight of the loaded trailer. Trailer- Gross
Vehicle Weight not to exceed the GVWR of the trailer.
TW: Tongue Weight - refers to
the amount of the trailer's weight that presses down on the trailer
hitch, whether a bed mount hitch, (mini- fifthwheel or ball) or a
receiver hitch attached at the rear of the truck.
WDH: Weight distributing hitch
Trailer and Receiver Hitches
Classes and Types. Mounted to the trucks frame.
Class I-Light Duty: 2000#'s
maximum trailer weight. 200# tongue weight, 300 #'s with weight
Class II- Medium Duty: 3500#'s
maximum trailer weight. 300# tongue weight, 500#'s with weight
Class III- Heavy Duty:
5000#'s maximum trailer weight. 7500#'s trailer weight with a weight
distributing hitch. 300 - 500# tongue weight. Up to 750# tongue weight
with weight distributing hitch.
10,000 to 12,000#'s and above maximum trailer weight depending on the manufacture.
1,000# tongue weight with a weight distributing hitch. Class V
receiver hitch can be over 12,000#'s.
Caution: Always read the label
on the hitch including factory equipped receivers. Some hitches are
rated their maximum capacity only if you use a Weight Distribution
Trailer brakes and cab controls are
needed on trailers weighing over 1500#'s. Surge brakes used commonly on
boats will not have a manual control in the cab, but rely on the
movement of the tow vehicle to activate the trailer brakes.
Carrying Hitch or Drawbar: All the Tongue Weight of the trailer is
carried by the hitch.
Hitch or Draw Bar or Stinger or Ball Mount
Weight Distributing Hitch: Most of
the trailer's Tongue Weight is transferred to the tow vehicle's frame
(through the hitch receiver). Total load is distributed to all the axles
of the truck and trailer. For more info on WDH,
With gooseneck trailers, tall modern
trucks don't always allow you much clearance between the bedrail and
gooseneck floor. Eight inches is usually good clearance considering dips
1/2 ton, 3/4 ton or 1 ton?
The size of the truck you need depends
of course on your needs. ½ tons and light duty ¾ tons are for light duty work,
loaded part-time. Heavy-duty ¾ tons, 1 tons and above are designed to be loaded
all of the time. They have twice as many tapered bearings in the rear axle. It’s
called a full floating axle, similar to semi-truck eighteen-wheelers. While ½
ton pickups have a semi-floating axle similar to a car, with just 2 bearings. ½
tons and light duty ¾ tons will have a flush axle housing matching the wheel.
With the heavy duty ¾ ton, 1 ton trucks and larger, the rear axle housing will
actually stick out past the wheel and have an additional 8 bolts on the end of
the hub holding the axle into the wheel hub with the axle "floating" between
between the wheel hub and differential. Rolls Royce invented the "full floating"
axle before WWII.
The "Semi-floating axle" has the wheel studs
attached to it, carrying the trucks weight directly on the axle shaft and
bearings. Differently on a "full floating axle" where the axle shafts only
provide power to the wheel hub from the differential. The wheel hub is attached
to the axle housing with two tapered bearings on each side. On a full floating
axle you can pull the axle out and the wheels are steel attached to differential
axle tubes. This puts the load carrying capacity on the axle housing not on the
axle shaft as with a semi-floating axle.
Full floating axle provides a more even weight distribution over the
axle than a semi-floating axle. By removing a rear axle hubcap, you can
determine if the truck is a ½ ton, light duty, ¾ ton or a heavy-duty ¾ ton, 1
ton or bigger.
Are your making
payments on the wrong $40,000 Truck?
Long box or short box?
If you are pulling a fifth wheel trailer I
recommend a long bed. Sometime in RV parks or corrals you will need to
"jack knife" your trailer. (Your truck and trailer at 90 degrees.) Your
trailer is generally attached to your truck 5 inches in front of your rear
axle. This gives you steering weight and a level trailer. If you have a
short box and you "jack knife" your trailer may kiss your cab!. Full
pieces of plywood or sheet rock fit into a long box with the tailgate
closed. Short boxes are popular today with the mini- garages and those
famous drive-up windows. You can buy a sliding fifth-wheel hitch for a
short bed to allow you to move the hitch back for those tight maneuvers.
Truck & SUV Reviews &
Matching Trucks & Trailers
Duals or Single Rear Wheels?
I eventually went to
duals, mostly because
I pulled my trailers on dirt roads. Dirt roads are hard on the magnets on
the trailer brakes. I soon discovered not to count on the trailer brakes.
And duals on the truck will surprise you on their ability to stop you. On
a factory dually the inside tire matches the front tire. When the snow got
deep I would take off the outside duals and they would track fine. On a
factory cab and chassis the rear duals splits the front track. With duals
you also need to carry your hammer or bat just like the big boys to check
the air pressure more often. You won't be able to look a duals to see if
they are low unless you're loaded. So get in a habit of tapping the tires
before you roll. If you have a flat on one of the duals they can loosen up
the lug nuts.
Limited slip differentials.
Generally in a limited slip rear
end a clutch engages when the right wheel, which is the driver, spin's,
allowing both wheels to give you traction. It's usually beneficial to have
it unless you are pulling heavy loads most of the time and on dirt or mud
wearing the clutch in the differential.
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It will surprise you!
Always read your owners manual about your particular
trucks weight limits, pulling limits, and gross vehicle weight rating!
Will it fit my garage?
I get asked that a lot. It seems the new
homes are copying the large mall's with sizing their parking spaces to the
smallest car made. So I considered it my duty to tell you how big a hole
you need. After all it's probably your largest payment after your house!
And I include the bumpers.
These measurements are on new trucks. To see truck
dimensions, total length, box length and wheelbase,