I already wrote about How to Weigh a Travel Trailer, so it seems like I should also write about how to weigh a fifth wheel camper. I imply how to do it in my article about Getting Weighed – an adventure at the CAT Scales, but I’ll summarize it here for safe keeping. Weighing a fifth wheel is a bit easier than a travel trailer because you don’t have the weight distributing hitch and therefore can get away with one-less weighing. Doing these weightings, you can then use my “Actual Weights – Fifth Wheel Wheights from CAT Scales” tool to crunch the numbers.
The assumption is that you’re weighing at a CAT scale that has 3 scales that you pull onto:
- Weighing Truck and Camper; you want your truck’s front tires (aka steer axle) on the first pad; truck’s rear tires (aka drive axle) on the second pad; all trailer axles on third pad (see the graphic above)
- Weighing Truck only; park your fifth wheel in one of the truck parking spots and come back around to just weigh the truck.
Important Notes for Weighing
During both weighings, nothing should change – no moving of passengers, no one goes to the bathroom, etc. Do them both at once (not before and after a trip, for instance).
As well to get as realistic numbers as possible, you want to be packed like you were ready to go camping on your average trip (weekend, week, month – whatever is normal for you). If you don’t have all of your passengers, you’ll have to add their weight when you evaluate your results.
Now, if you’re using a different scale (quarry, dump, etc.), they likely only have a single scale that you pull onto. You essentially want all of the same weights of each axle, so you’ll just have to move the truck more often to get individual weights (pull up with just the front tires, then the front and rear tires, then front, rear and trailer tires). And, it’ll require more math to figure out each axle’s weight. I’ve written instructions for that.
A Tip for Cat Scales
If you’re going to a CAT scale, it can be a challenge to reach the call button. I found I had to stretch, but I could reach it (just not hear real well). Many people are taking a short 3′ stick of some sort to push it *or* going inside ahead of time to get the phone number of the weigh desk and calling that instead of using the button.
What is the Cost?
My CAT scale weightings costed me $10 for the first weigh and then $1 or $2 for each re-weigh. I’m not sure what the other kinds of scales cost – my guess is free to about the same.