Time for a Diet?

We have made our way farther South in Florida on Tuesday and just in the nick of time as the cold dips further into the Southeastern United States from the “bomb cyclone” moving up the East coast. We keep looking at the current temperatures back in Wisconsin and it keeps affirming that we made the right choice this year to be so far south! It was a short work week for Jason as he only worked for two of the days, given the 1st of the year being Monday, our anniversary and move day on Tuesday and Thursday we went to Magic Kingdom to meet up with Jason’s boss and his family. It was great to see some familiar faces while we had lunch with Joe and his family, gave us a chance to meet them for the first time. Next up we are in South Central Florida for a couple of weeks at Wauchula. Jason’s parents will be visiting us and staying at the same RV park.

As we left the Sumter Oaks RV Park in Bushnell, FL, we used the Escapee’s SmartWeigh service to do a detailed weighing of our truck and trailer. We are fairly in tune with the weights of our trailer and using a “Cat” scale we knew roughly what our weight had been back in October when we returned from Michigan full of stuff we had not yet purged. Since we have been on the road we have continued to go through boxes and only have a couple left to go through. Jason has completed projects like “digitizing” all of the VHS tapes we saved from his youth including back from 4-H, FFA and as a student at UWRF’s Journalism program. You will be surprised how heavy a bankers box of VHS tapes actually is when full.

In reality, we do have very little “stuff” now in life. We continue to talk about now and the future, one of our favorite Youtubers (We’re the Russos) has went from a large Class A motorhome to a “camper van.” They have a huge dog, but our two cat’s paraphernalia such as their little box especially, feeder, water dish, toy box, etc. takes up too much room. It is good to dream and keep considering the future.

The SmartWeigh program is a multi-point per tire weighing instead of a platform weighing like a truck scale does for DOT purposes. A standard truck scale has one or up to four platforms that really give the total weight of the rig. The Smart Weigh will first weigh the truck without the trailer, then the truck and trailer combined. Each tire is weighed to get an understanding to the impact on the weight against the ground at that point in the rig. Since each of the components of the rig have different weight limits, this helps you understand whether any one point (or all of them summed together) may be exceeding its design limits.

We have done really well! We were only 500 pounds over the “data plate” weight for our RV! Our weigh master said this was one of the better weighs he has seen. Our side to side balance of the trailer is good and with almost 500 pounds of fresh water onboard we could shed that extra weight easily. We have added significant dead weight to the trailer including the extra battery, inverter and the washer/dryer combo. Jason’s office was offset by removing the dinette and chairs, but is likely heavier given his rack of equipment and the Ikea furniture we supplemented in the space.

Smart Weigh, January 2, 2018

Running the numbers:

  • Our truck alone weighs 9,500# with about 80% fill of the fuel tank, 50% DEF tank and the two of us adults
  • The front axle of the truck lightens about 150# when the trailer is hitched, which is a little higher than desired. Our weigh master said our hitch sits back a little farther than it should.
  • The drive axle of the truck takes on 2,650# total when hitched to the trailer.
  • The truck with the trailer connected weighs 12,300# with the those same characteristics
  • The front axle restriction is 6,000# and we see 5,350# when hitched and the back axles are 7,000# limit and we are under that with 6,650# on the back. Good numbers for each individual axle on the truck.
  • The trailer also has 6,000# axle limits and each of our two axles are under that with 5,650# on the front and 5,350# on the rear.
  • Barb though for sure Jason’s office would cause a balance issue, if anything having that and the washer/dryer on the passenger side helps to balance the rig. We have about 300# more on the driver side of the rig, which is the side with the kitchen and bedroom slides.
  • The fresh water tank is behind the axles, so having a full tank may have reduced some of the tongue weight on the truck.
  • The trailer’s maximum GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is 13,000 pounds, the total weight that the trailer can be legally. We weighed with a full 60 gallon tank of fresh water and nearly full propane tanks. It is recommended you weigh in your “worse” condition to know what your numbers are in that configuration. Our weigh came in at 13,500# total! So we are only 500 pounds over the limit, with nearly 500 pounds of water.
  • The measured height of the trailer when connected was 12′ 9″ and 13′ 0″ is recommended minimum clearance we should consider going under.
  • Our total combined weight with the trailer and the truck together is 23,000# and the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) of a 2015 RAM 3500 long box 4×4, in a 5th wheel trailer configuration, is 25,300# so we have plenty of extra capacity in the truck.

So we are feeling good about the numbers. We can have a “re-weigh” when we return to Bushnell in a few weeks to see where we are after a little more effort. We will do that with only essential water levels in the tank and with some more work to scanning to PDF some more memories, reducing more clothing, etc.