Escapees SmartWeight – getting individual wheel weights

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As I’ve blogged about before, I’m a stickler for knowing where I’m at with my truck and camper weights. I have weighed my rig multiple times at CAT Scales and have even compared the advertised dry weights to my actual dry weights. I’ve even gone so far as creating TowingPlanner.com to allow people to do their own weights and the site “crunches” the numbers for them.

I typically just stop at a truck stop and am weighed at what is called a CAT Scale. This is what big rigs do to verify that they are road legal. There are 3 scales and you get weights for your truck’s steering axle (aka front wheels), it’s drive axle (aka rear wheels), and then the camper’s axles combined. This is good because you can verify overall numbers, but it can be better.

Truck and Camper on Scales
Graphic Showing Truck on Scales

How can it be better you ask? I’m glad that you did. Or you didn’t and you’re still reading. Sucker.

Most RVs aren’t perfectly balanced. If you have 2 or 3 axles, you’ll find that one side carries more than another or the front carries more than the rear. You can’t easily tell this at CAT scales without some fancy footwork which may or may not be possible or even against the scale’s rules. To find this out, you need to have a set of scales that can be placed under each wheel and get individual weights.

There are a few providers of weightings like this. The challenge is that these locations usually aren’t convenient to wherever I happen to be. But, I found that Escapees SmartWeigh has a location that was about an hour away from the Thousand Trails Orlando campground. Even better, my membership to Fulltime Families also got me 1 year free included in Escapees. Winning!

The website reported that they only do weightings on M-F and limited hours. Fortunately, Al (the scalemaster) told me it was no problem to do a weighing on a Sunday outside of the established hours. Woohoo!

By the end of the weighing, you get a sheet of paper that tells you individual weights for each wheel location for both the truck and RV. It also records those weights against what your manufacturer’s ratings are. This helps you to know if you are under, at, or over any specific ratings.

My Weighing

We pulled up to the campground and the scalemaster got me arranged on the pad, lined up the scales, and recorded each weight. He would zero out the scale, have me pull on top of it, and then have me move onto the next position. All told, it didn’t take all that long to do.

Scale operator reading scales (view from mirror)
Scale operator reading scales

Sadly, I had to be the bad guy and throw my mother-in-law out of the truck for the weightings. They want your vehicle as close to how you normally travel as possible.

Mother-in-law was kicked out for the weightings

By the end of it, they gave me a rather comprehensive form filled with my weights.

Escapees SmartWeigh: Weight Info Sheet
Weight Information Sheet

What Do Those Numbers Mean?

The longest story shortest, I’m withing all ratings on my truck and over on my “total” weight of the camper. I have one tire that’s over its rating on the camper, but all others are at or under (which, I’m realizing as I write this now- that’s not something that this form specifically called out- I had to go to my tire manufacturer’s web page for that information; specifically the max load for the tire in my size)

Here are my numbers:

Truck’s Total Weight Rating: 12,300 lbs. (found on a sticker on the truck’s doorjamb)
Truck’s Weight without Camper: 9,270 lbs. (total of all truck’s wheel weights- without trailer)
Truck’s Weight (with camper): 12,110 lbs. (total of all truck’s wheel weights- with trailer)
Camper’s Pin Weight: 2,840 lbs. (difference between loaded and unloaded weight)
Camper’s Weight on all Axles/Tires: 13,230 lbs. (total of all individual wheel weights)
Camper’s Total Weight Rating: 15,825 lbs. (found on a sticker on the side of the camper)
Camper’s Total Weight: 16,070 lbs. (camper’s pin weight + camper’s weight on axles)
Truck’s Total Combined Weight Rating: 28,000 lbs.
Total Combined Weight: 25,340 lbs.

Now that I have data, what do I do?

  1. We had about 70 pounds of stuff that Lisa brought with her. While I threw her out of the truck, I didn’t also throw her stuff to the curb. (I’m not that cruel!)
  2. We were carrying almost a full tank of freshwater (42 gallons) and a full water heater (10 gallons). Combined, this was 50 gallons of water at 8.3 lbs. per gallon (so, 415 pounds was simply water); I’ll definitely carry less. Basically 10 gallons in the water heater and maybe another 10-20 gallons in the fresh water tank.
  3. Those alone will put me within my ratings. But I’d still like to be further under- I do still want/need to pickup a grill (either a Weber Q2200 or O-Grill). And, while fun, I don’t really want to have to keep shouting across stores- “no you can’t buy that, our house is already overweight!“. And yes, I really have been doing that.

The one rating that I’m most bothered by is being right at (and even over on one) my tire maximum loading capacity. Tire damage is bad. Wrecks caused by a blowout is worse. To combat that, I’m already running a tire pressure monitoring system on most of my tires. UPDATE: read about what I did for my tires.

 

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