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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Truck Campers- Overall Weight Basics

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wellsdesigned

Above the Sacramento Fog, CA

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Posted: 09/28/04 11:00am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Truck Campers- Overall Weight Basics
Most important consideration when buying a truck camper is weight. The camper you will carry will be determined in large part by the truck you intend to put it on. Most own their truck first (if you plan to buy a new truck and a new camper, determine the camper you want first). If you own your truck already first thing is to look at the Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio (GVWR) listed on the door edge of your truck. The GVWR is the maximum weight of you fully loaded truck. Next, you should have your truck weighed with a full tank of gas at a public scale (at truck stops, waste disposal sites, and some states allow you to use the highway scales to name a few). Subtract the weight of your truck at the scale from your trucks GVWR and that determines how much camper you can carry. For example, the typical ¾ ton truck will weigh about 6,200 lbs unloaded (depending on manufacturer and optional equipment). ¾ ton trucks usually have a GVWR of 8,800 lbs. The math is simple; 8,800 – 6,200 lbs means you would be able to carry a 2600 lb camper fully loaded with all gear, food, people, liquids and anything else.

The next most important thing to know is that when you go to a dealer's lot and you look at the weight information marked on a metal plate somewhere on the back of the camper, that weight is for the camper without options and without any thing loaded. A good rule of thumb for guessing how much that unit will weigh loaded for a weekend with all of the options you will want is to add 1000 to 1500 lbs to what you see. There are campers available in a wide range of weights, from small light campers that can go on a import compact pick-up to huge beasts of a camper with double slide outs that are better suited to go on heavy duty commercial trucks like the Ford F550. And in between is everything else. If you own the more common ¾ ton truck and you have found you can carry a 2600 lb camper, there are many campers available. When you go to the dealerships or to an RV show, a surprising majority of the salesmen and factory representatives will tell you your truck can carry much more than that. Don’t let them lead you into an unsafe condition. If you want a camper with more options than you can find for less than 2600 lbs loaded, the most ideal thing to do would be to buy a bigger truck. This is unrealistic for many people. Can the truck be modified to improve how it handles overloaded? In a word yes, but this will not change it’s GVWR, nothing can do that short of buying a new truck will increase a truck’s GVWR. Still many truck camper owners do drive with loads that exceed their GVWR. If you plan to be one of them, then please read the following topics to learn ways others typically do this.

See also:
Truck Campers- Overall Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Stepping Beyond Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Axle Weights
Truck Campers- Tires
Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades
Truck Campers- Camper Options
Truck Campers- A Word About Brakes
Truck Campers- Towing With A Truck Camper
Truck Campers- Center of Gravity (COG)


I’ve talked about the basics, now’s the chance for specifics. Reply to this topic with your specific truck camper situation and if you're new, ask questions.

I’ve talked about the basics, now’s the chance for specifics. Reply to this topic with your specific truck camper situation and if your new, ask questions.

* This post was edited 09/28/04 11:19am by wellsdesigned *


2002 2500HD 4X4 Ext. Cab 6.0L V8
2004 Eagle Cap 850 Camper w/slide-out

Visit my Truck Camper Travels site.


moss2940

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Posted: 09/28/04 11:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"The next most important thing to know is that when you go to a dealer's lot and you look at the weight information marked on a metal plate somewhere on the back of the camper, that weight is for the camper without options and without any thing loaded."

That varies with the manufacturer. Some I have seen the weight on the back is for the weight of the camper with options, nothing in the tanks, Host comes to mind. It has been a while since I actually read it but I remember the Lance tag is for full fresh water and propane tanks, no options. I am sure their are other variations. Probably the best advice is read the tag and see what it say's.

Lridgeway

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Posted: 09/28/04 12:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If my GVWR is 8800 and the specs for my truck state a 'curb weight' of 5,267 - does 'curb weight' mean sitting by the curb, no passengers, full tank 'o gas??

I have a 96 Dodge Ram 2500, V10

Max towing 13,300

w/1979 Lance Cabover 11.5 (I'm looking for the weight and will get back to you on that)

towing a 2 horse trailer empty weight 3,500 w/horses & tack 5,500

Putting air assist shocks on the truck

Have a hitch extention for the trailer (custom made)-I know it reduces the tongue weight by 30%.

Trailer has breaks.

Does this sound like a scary scenario or do-able?

wellsdesigned

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Posted: 09/28/04 01:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The curb weight is probably the base model of your truck. Getting an actual scaled weight will let you know for sure where you're at. It's the 11.5' camper that will be the biggest concern. Models that long are heavier, but being a 1979 model, it may have fewer of the modern goodies and it will hopefully weigh less than 3000 lbs. When you find out how much the loaded unit weighs, you'll have a better idea of how well it will do.

BobTowne

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Posted: 09/28/04 02:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Boy, wells, you are amazing! This/these has/have become quite a nice document. You are to be congratulated. It's going to take me a while to get through everything... Thanks.


GreatWhite
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mountainkowboy

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Posted: 09/28/04 06:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

The next most important thing to know is that when you go to a dealer's lot and you look at the weight information marked on a metal plate somewhere on the back of the camper, that weight is for the camper without options and without any thing loaded.


This depends on the manu. AF's weight plate is for each unit as equip., tanks empty, propane full.


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Lridgeway

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Posted: 09/28/04 08:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The camper weight is a bit less than 2300 (dry weight).

The Camper had a 7 pin plug in on it... my truck has a 6 pin.. The 7 pin on the camper resembles the 6 pin, just one extra hole. The only 7 pin adapters I've been able to find are the kind (excuse my ignorance) that have the little metal tabs instead of the pins.

We cut the end off the camper cord so we could put a 6 pin on it or at least a 7 prong adapter, there appear to be only 6 wires inside the camper cord, the circle of wires surrounding, but there is a grey (not wire, more like cloth wrapped) 'wire' in the middle.

I have all the books for the camper, but none give information on the wiring.

My husband is going to buy an ometer (sp) to check the wires to see what they belong to, but would you happen to know if the middle 'wire' is actually a 'wire' or could it be a 'spacer'?

Laurie

mountainkowboy

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Posted: 09/28/04 09:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Any good RV suppy that also does service work should have a wire diagram for the TC. I had the same problem with an 86 Vacationeer, and Norco Camper had the diagram for the unit. The cloth rope is there to separate the wires in the twist, so insulation cant rub on each other.

wellsdesigned

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Posted: 09/29/04 08:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Laurie

Your wiring difference my be that the campers usually come to match the full brake controlled tow packages on most heavy duty trucks. They usually have an extra wire for a brake controller that your camper does not need which is why the pigtail doesn't have the 7th wire. I agree that you should take it to an RV service dealer that won't charge an arm and a leg to fix your wiring (something they should be able to do in their sleep).

wellsdesigned

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Posted: 09/29/04 12:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For more reference to the original topic, here's how my truck weighed out before the camper and after:

Cheverolet Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 6.0L V8, Extended Cab, Short Bed
Unloaded weight: 6120 lbs overall, 3500 lbs on the front axle, 2600 lbs on the rear axle.

Loaded weight: 10160 lbs, 3520 lbs front axle, 6640 lbs rear axle

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