Help with Weight

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by Mitchell Doran, May 26, 2020.

  1. Mitchell Doran

    Mitchell Doran New Member

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    My wife and I own a 2016 dodge caravan rated to tow 3600lbs, with our passengers and luggage it drops to 3300. Our new Viking Pop up is 2700 dry. We don’t travel with it filled. Just a propane tank and battery. Bedding, clothes we keep in car. So I would say when filled around 3000? I fill at camp and we keep our food in the car. I have a tranny cooler and will be driving most flat country, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, sometimes Michigan.

    So will I be okay?
     
  2. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    I'd put as much stuff in the trailer. Happy camping.

    Load it up for camping and on your way find a CAT scale, drive onto scale with front wheels on one pad, back wheels on another and trailer wheels on another, push the button way up (for 18 wheelers in their cab) and ask for a weigh, $12, good info, peace of mind. You can go inside first and ask what to do!

    https://catscale.com/cat-scale-locator/
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree with the above, better safe than sorry. By truly knowing your numbers you will know exactly how much you can play with. Problem about dry weight is that on older units that number is not including the weight of any options in the camper. Such as an AC/furnace or even the awning in some cases. Not to mention no battery or propane tanks. So your weight before your gear is already significantly heavier than you expect.
     
  4. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Welcome.png
     
  5. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the Portal from South Carolina. So you, your wife, your passengers (how many?), all your luggage, and their luggage only weigh 300 pounds? Small people pack in shoe boxes.
     
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  6. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    You may not be aware of the chart in the manual that suggests
    dodgecaravan.jpg
    call it BS if ya like but it is what it is. Seems a simpler way to determine what one can tow vs all the GCWR and such. My method is based on tongue weight alone, if ya have capacity for TW ya can tow it! Now the OPs trailer will likely have a TW greater than 300lb and near its limit of towing. The scales and all that GWR, axle rating and such may (may not) be exceeded.
     
  7. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Nope, not aware of that. Just using common sense, so it doesn't go very far these days. It is what it is.
     
  8. Mitchell Doran

    Mitchell Doran New Member

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    Folks it’s just so stressful, there’s so much conflicting information out there and frankly I’m new to this, got a great deal on the unit and it fits our needs. I’m just trying to find a way to make good memories for our kids and make sure we are safe. We stay with my wife’s family in Ohio/Michigan every summer and drive down from Saskatchewan so a lot of road time and when we are there we will stay in our unit because her moms home is to be frank, quite hard to be in because of the mess. my unit is a Viking 2465 SST. Dry weight 2700 before all the A/C fridge toilet etc, propane etc... if I had a few more $$$ I could buy another vehicle but can’t afford the downpayment. We pack light, clothing and a bit of food, few gallons of water in the car and fill when we are parked. Our kids are 5,3 and 2 so they are not heavy. The trailer has brakes and I will be running a class 3 hitch with break controls. I don’t need to drive fast but don’t want to hurt us or anyone else. Getting a handle on all this dad stuff is hard. Started when I was 21 and am doing my best to acquire all the knowledge of fatherhood.
     
  9. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    WOW, I just took 8750 GCWR and subtracted 3600 max trailer = 5150, I then subtracted 400 lbs for 2 persons and luggage = 4750. I then compared that to the curb wt of a grand caravan ~4000 and determined Dodge is lying about max tow, they should increase it 750 lbs! (curb weight may be low, that is what scales are for).

    so take 8750 - 3300 = 5450 less curb wt of 4000 = 1450 for 4 person and luggage or 362.5 lb each!


    Put all the luggage food etc in the trailer and have fun! Balance it out as to not put it all up front cuz you grand caravan will have a sag in the rear.

    A light weight weight distribution system would help but likely too complicated for now.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  10. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    My boys are 35 and 32 and I am still acquiring fatherhood knowledge. We just do the best we can.
     
  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Actually all this weight stuff is easier then it sounds.

    Give this link a try and in the lower right corner you'll see "towing worksheet" open that and plug in as many numbers as you can ..
    https://www.rvitch.com/resources/resources.php
     
  12. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    Would agree that in general, you will be better off packing things in the trailer as opposed to the van. Also, as you get down the road and want to do more camping, you will find that it makes a lot of sense to keep all of the bedding, cooking stuff, and things that you use each trip stored in the camper permanently (maybe take out in the winter). Then, you just load clothes and food and away you go. If you are truly light packers like you say, you should be fine. Probably your biggest issue will be the tongue weight and the affect that it has on the rear sag of the van. This is something most minivan owners deal with. Also, as your kids get older, they will get bigger, want to bring a friend... If your towing is mainly flat as you say, then you won't have any issues at all, just watch you following distances and get more experience towing. If you get into mountains, then there are other things you should know / learn, but you can come back then and ask questions. As noted, would strongly encourage you to get the actual trailer weight when all loaded up so you know where you are at and can track it through the years.
     
  13. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    Some people just see red when the word “minivan” is mentioned and willfully ignore the facts and science behind towing and capacities. The fact is they are very capable tow vehicles within their limits. You should be fine with your rig, but use the “Weigh My Truck” app and hit a CAT scale fully loaded to be sure. Go have fun with your new pup and make memories with your kids.

    Definitely keep an eye on your tongue weight and rear axle rating on the TV. A WDH would most likely be a huge benefit to your rig. Something lightweight like an Andersen No-Sway Hitch would be perfect.
     
  14. Mitchell Doran

    Mitchell Doran New Member

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    Well friends, thanks for all the advice. We ended up buying a Ford Explorer and towed from Saskatchewan to Calgary to help my brother for a few days. Worked great except when I tired to set up in his car port, we are hoping for a 3 week camp/road trip with the kids this month before I start a new position at work. I am learning a lot from this forum. So far the only mishaps are a broken battery which was fixed by a late trip to peavey mart.
     
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