How to Determine Your Vehicle's Towing Capacity

Updated on January 19, 2019
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his experiences along with valuable tips. for RV owners

The Most Common Tow Hitch Receptacle on Motorhomes for Heavier Loads

This standard tow hitch receptacle can accept a variety of tow connectors, from a standard ball hitch to one of the more popular slide-in hitch adapters used most often for towing heavier loads.
This standard tow hitch receptacle can accept a variety of tow connectors, from a standard ball hitch to one of the more popular slide-in hitch adapters used most often for towing heavier loads. | Source

Vehicles Vary Widely in their Towing Capability

Almost any vehicle can tow some amount of weight if it is connected to the load and then operated properly. But how much can they actually tow safely?

You would never consider attempting to tow a large heavy camper, of any kind, with a small under-powered vehicle, or over-load a vehicle with an obviously excessive weight.

Not only can these extreme conditions cause serious damage to your towing vehicle and even your towed trailer, but they could put you and anyone else on the road with you in serious danger.

The problem for so many of us RVers, whether a novice or an expert, is that we often do not know how to calculate the true and safe weight limits for what their existing vehicle can tow, or know how to quickly decide whether a vehicle they are about to buy can safely tow their trailer.

The things you'd need to first determine are

  1. Your state's rules for towing.
  2. Your camper's weight (GVWR and its true weight).
  3. Your towing vehicle's weight.
  4. The towing capacity specs of the vehicle you have or are considering buying.
  5. The weight your tow hitch (or tongue) can handle.

Know the Towing Laws by State

First of all, if you are going to tow anything, regardless of whether it is a small trailer, a camper-trailer, or a big fifth wheel, you need to know your individual states' rules for towing.

Most states' requirements are very similar, but some are very different.

It is easy to use this quick reference by Brake Buddy on towing laws by state.

And of course, you can always check at your local DMV for more on your home state's specific rules and regulations for towing.

What is GVWR? And Those Other Confusing Abbreviations?

Somewhere on every vehicle out there, you can find a label that includes specific data on the vehicle itself, including the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), the vehicle's Curb Weight, and its GVWR number.

Every towing vehicle and trailer should have a GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, written on it. GVWR is the legal maximum gross weight of this vehicle and its contents, essentially passengers, and all of its cargo (but not of a vehicle it is towing).

You need this number in order to calculate what you can safely and legally carry and tow. Typically it's seen as a maximum, but the vehicle owner who travels in hilly country or mountains should take care to give themselves plenty of margin for a more enjoyable and safe trip.

How Things Work has a more detailed discussion of GVWR.

Gross Vehicle Weight is the weight at any given time of a vehicle and its contents. It changes when people and things go in or out of the vehicle. In contrast, the GVWR (the rating) never changes.

Curb Weight is what a vehicle weighs sitting at a curb, with little or nothing in it: some say only a driver weighing 150 pounds, others say a full tank of gas and other fluids needed to operate the vehicle.

GCWR, a characteristic of the towing vehicle, stands for the Gross Combined Weight Rating: the maximum allowed weight of a vehicle and its cargo including a trailer or camper and its contents.

GTWR, a characteristic of a trailer, is Gross Trailer Weight Rating, the maximum allowed weight of a trailer, by itself, and its various contents. Note that sometimes camper manufacturers will use GVWR or GTWR for a camper to indicate the empty weight of the camper.

GAWR stands for Gross Axle Weight Rating. GAWR is the maximum allowable weight on an individual axle of a vehicle or camper.

See also the National Highway Traffic Safety Association on how to use the towing ratings of a vehicle.

Terms and Abbreviations Relating to Weight and Towing

Abbreviation
Stands for
What it Means
GVWR
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
The maximum legally allowed weight of the vehicle and all its contents, passengers, and cargo (but not of any attached vehicle)
GVW
Gross Vehicle Weight
What a vehicle happens to weigh including whatever is in it.
 
Curb Weight
What a vehicle weighs sitting at a curb empty (may assume a single 150-lb driver and/or a full tank of gas)
GCWR
Gross Combined Weight Rating
The combined weight rating of a vehicle and its cargo including a trailer or camper.
GTWR
Gross Trailer Weight Rating
Weight of a trailer (including its cargo) that a towing vehicle is rated to tow. A motorhome may have a GTWR.
GAWR
Gross Axle Weight Rating
Maximum allowable weight on a single axle of a vehicle or a camper.

What Is Your Camper's or Trailers GVWR?

As I mentioned above, trailers and campers will have either a GVWR or a GTWR number assigned by the manufacturer.

As I said, in the world of campers, the number they give you is often the empty weight of the camper unloaded. This means no water or other fluids in the tanks, and no clothes, no food, no beach chairs, no unattached cargo of any kind.

Be aware that a typical RV couple can easily add 1000 to 2000 pounds of extra cargo before towing a trailer. Think about it;

  1. Your water holding tank might hold 60-100 gallons of fresh water and at 8-pounds a gallon that is 480-800 extra pounds by itself.
  2. Add another 400-500 pounds for canned goods, pantry items and all of the foods you packed into your fridge
  3. Then add another 100-200 pounds for clothes, linens, etc.
  4. And, all of those folding chairs, barbecue grill, tools, folding tables, lights, water and sewage hoses and connectors, and such you stuffed into your storage compartments could easily add another 400-500 pounds.

My little list ended up with over 1500 pounds and I didn't even try to add everything a couple might take on a vacation trip.

So my True Camper Weight will be significantly higher than the manufacturer's empty weight, which they may tell you is its GVWR.

Confirm Your Camper's Weight

After speaking with several sales people and getting several different answers from them, I realized that I needed to educate myself if I wanted to be sure I picked the right vehicle to tow my camper.

So, the first thing I did was crawl around on the inside of my fifth-wheel camper until I had found the right label and confirmed that the campers GVWR was 12,000 pounds. This is not a "dry" or "curb" weight, but the weight of a camper full of the amount of stuff it is rated to carry.

Now this is a big number but my fifth-wheel is a big camper, so I now knew that I had to get what was right for towing a camper of this size and weight.

What Are Your Towing Vehicle's Towing Specs?

I had a relatively large fifth-wheel camper, and I was looking into purchasing a new pickup truck which would have the power, accessories, and safety items necessary to tow my camper safely.

I had to spend a while on the web to find the right data to compare the different trucks on the market today and find the right one for me. Since my wife and I were looking at a Ford truck, we found the Ford 2016 Vehicle Towing Guide useful.

Once I found this data sheet I was able to use its data in my own towing decisions and even my camper selection.

Using Specs to Calculate Your True Towing Capability

My wife and I had already decided for personal reasons that our desired vehicle would be a crew cab truck, with a large diesel engine and a single rear wheel axle (SRW).

These personal preferences, plus cost, limited my choices to a 3/4-ton or a 1-ton truck. As it happened, the data sheet gave me the same towing specs for either truck, the 3/4-ton or the 1-ton, with the same drive train and engine.

I ended up with a Fifth Wheel towing weight limit of 15,900 pounds for either truck.

If I had wanted to take the next step up, I would have to move up to the DRW (dual rear wheel) option, which as I said earlier, I didn't want to be driving around town when I wasn't towing a trailer.

Either truck also had a towed trailer (fully loaded) weight maximum of 14,000 pounds.

As my trailer's GVWR rating was 14,000 pounds, I understood the trailer wasn't supposed to weigh more than 14,000 pounds loaded.

So this "loaded" GVWR of 14,000 pounds was 1,900 pounds under my allowable maximum towing limit for the fifth wheel; I concluded that the combination would work.

What Is Tongue Weight?

But, hold on, there is another spec to consider herem and that is the Hitch Maximum Weight Load (or Tongue Weight).

Ford recommends that this number be 10%-15% for the loaded trailer, or 15%-25% for a loaded fifth-wheel camper.

You need to make sure that this number is also met when you make your hitch selection.

For instance, if you are towing a trailer that weighs 12,000 pounds, your hitch and its mounting must be designed to handle a "tongue weight" of at least 15% of 12,000, or 1800 pounds.

And with a fifth wheel hitch, it must be able to handle a "tongue weight" of at least 25% of 12,000, or 3000 pounds.

Types of Hitches

Different types of hitches include the ball hitch, tri-point or "tow bar" hitch, the "goose neck" hitch, and the fifth-wheel hitch.

Fifth Wheel Hitch Receptacle

A Fifth Wheel Camper uses a hitch connection similar to that used by commercial tractor-trailers. You will see these mostly on pick-up trucks that are towing heavy campers and even large commercial trailers.
A Fifth Wheel Camper uses a hitch connection similar to that used by commercial tractor-trailers. You will see these mostly on pick-up trucks that are towing heavy campers and even large commercial trailers. | Source

A typical Tow Bar system with the standard two towing arms.

This is a 10,000-lb Blue Ox Aventa tow bar.  This design of towing adapter is used with vehicles that have the standard square slide-in towing hitch designs. This hitch is used almost exclusively with motorhomes due to their high weights.
This is a 10,000-lb Blue Ox Aventa tow bar. This design of towing adapter is used with vehicles that have the standard square slide-in towing hitch designs. This hitch is used almost exclusively with motorhomes due to their high weights. | Source

Tow Bar Hitch With Ball Adapter

This is the most popular type of towing connection used if your towing vehicle has a ball-type hitch connector. Take care when purchasing because they also have towing limits.
This is the most popular type of towing connection used if your towing vehicle has a ball-type hitch connector. Take care when purchasing because they also have towing limits. | Source

Even if Your Weight Is Under the Limits, Towing May Be a Slow Process

So, with my newly calculated towing capability numbers being 1900 pounds under the maximum, am I OK?

I am OK, but maybe not very speedy. My fifth-wheel towing friends say I should be able to tow my fifth-wheel camper easily and efficiently on flatlands, rolling hills, and coastal areas, but if I go into any serious mountains, I am going to be that slow truck and camper you always see trying to pull up and over every steep and long grade.

The truck I had picked would do the job, but it will be a noticeably slow process with each serious hill and somewhat more costly in fuel costs.

I had thought about using a "dualie" or DRW version of the same truck, because this configuration greatly increases the towing load capability. But I decided not to, because even with the dualie option, both of the trucks (SRW or DRW) would have the exact same drive trains and engines. So, from my perspective, all I would gain would be the added load carrying capability. Either truck would be slow on hills.

It is ultimately a personal decision.

Towing Safety Information

How to Tow a Trailer properly

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • Is there an online site where I can enter a year, make, model and engine to find the tow capacity?

    If you're talking about motorhomes, you need to contact the manufacturer's customer service people; look online for the appropriate numbers. If you're looking for towing information about automobiles then you need to go to Campingworld.com and look under towing capability and you can look this information up there.

  • I have a Jeep Cherokee with the tow package. It says I can tow up to 4500lbs. What is the most my camper should weigh? (GVWR)

    Well, if your Jeep GVWR is 4500 lbs then of course what you should tow must weigh less than that. But to tow safely most expert will tell you to make sure your full towing weight be around 80% of that as a max. When you stay within this limit, you can tow safely in hilly country and even mountain country when necessary.

    Remember, your Jeep, its suspension, its engine, and transmission have been designed for this limit.

    There are some things you can do to upgrade the engine and transmission cooling systems and other such modifications but overall that limit is it for your Jeep.

  • My truck is a 2018 GMC Sierra 5.3 ,6 speed transmission, double cab Standard box with the Alltrain Z71 package GVWR is 7200 lbs. Can I pull my 5th wheel trailer with a GVWR of 11800 lbs?

    GMC Charts for a 2018 Sierra 1500 Denali -show it can tow up to 9300 lbs if it is set up for towing. For larger engines, this weight limit would be higher, again if it is set up for towing. And remember that the rear suspension must be rated for towing a higher weight also. The smaller 5.3 engine, the standard load rated rear suspension, the standard brakes and the engine/transmission cooling systems would be my major concerns if I was looking at towing such a load regularly and in mountainous terrains. The cooling systems can be upgraded relatively cheaply, but you need to talk to a good mechanic that you trust about the other items I mentioned.

  • I have a 2013 Chevy Tahoe that has a GVWR of 7100 lbs. My 2001 Tahoe transport trailer is 5100lbs dry. How do I find out the tongue weight? My hitch on my car says 1000lbs, how do I find it for my trailer? Will it tow my trailer?

    Your Question is very confusing. Are you looking to tow your Tahoe in your trailer being pulled by your car?

    I am going to assume this is wrong, and you actually want to pull your transport trailer with your Tahoe and are looking for the tongue weight?

    If this is the case then the experts say that the proper tongue weight for a trailer should be between 9 and 15% of the GTW (Gross Trailer Weight).

    You can find different ways to measure your actual Tongue weight on the web.

  • I have a 2011 Escalade with a rated tow capacity of 8100 lbs. Manual states 1100 lbs max hitch weight with WDH. Can I safely pull a travel trailer that has dry weight of 6600 lbs and a tongue weight of 820 lbs.? My family of 6, we weigh about 475 lbs. Will not carry full tank of fresh water.

    From what you describe, it looks like your Escalade can handle the load of a 6600-lb travel trailer fine.

    Pardon me if I mention that I always tell people that they should have a quality hitch system which includes; Sway bars, safety chains etcetera.

    And, make sure your Escalade's Cooling system and transmission are operating properly and their cooling system (radiators) are clean and free of bugs. You could go to your service person and ask them to check this for you.

© 2013 Don Bobbitt

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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Mary Alvarado - Check the GVWR rating for your trailer. If that is the weight number you are using then you are within the range for your Toyota.

      Have a Nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Mary Alvarado 

      3 weeks ago

      I have a 1986 Ki Companion Trailer, the weight is 3976 lbs, can I pull it safely with my 2016 Toyota Tacoma which can tow 5000 lbs?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Spence PeacePaker - The typical recommendation for a safe maximum towing weight is around 80% of your towing vehicles max towing capacity.

      The 80% of your towing vehicles max of 3500 is around 2800 which will give you a safe trip without placing a heavy load on the towing vehicles engine, drivetrain, and suspension.

      Of course, you could quickly increase this load with your camping gear, food, clothing and other such things loading your camper closer to your towing vehicles limit.

      As to your people question, remember all 5 of the ones you mention are even more load on your towing vehicles GVWR.

      And to your space question, most smaller to average size camper trailers will typically have 2-bunk beds, and a master bed, and most will even have a sleeper sofa.

      My observations in my past are that its a lot more comfortable in good weather than in bad weather to have a full camper.

      Have a good Dayt,

      DON

    • profile image

      Spence PeaceMaker 

      6 weeks ago

      I have a 2012 Chevy Captiva LTZ V6 3.0 with max tow capacity of 3500. GVWR 5057. Curb weight 4024. Would a trailer with UVW 2995, Hitch 415 and GVW of 3500 be pushing safe levels? What UVW would you recommend saying under with that tow vehicle. Is it realistic to find an used travel trailer (NOT POP UP) that can sleep 3-4 adults and a child comfortably under these weight limits?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Rodney - First of all, such a heavy trailer would put a strain on your truck's drive train as well as be very dangerous, if for no other reason than you truck would not be able to control such a heavy trailer on the road.

      The cheapest resolution for you would be to purchase another much lighter trailer or a more suited truck.

      Have a Good Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      Rodney 

      3 months ago

      I have a 2012 Tundra that has 7200 GVWR . Can I pull trailer that has 8800 GVWR .

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sam - As thy say in the Movies;

      Happy Trails!

      DON

    • profile image

      Sam Sanchez 

      6 months ago

      Thanks again Don. I forgot to indicate that the kids will be in the truck. Lol

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sam Sanchez - The numbers you are listing look OK.

      Again, consider things like; your tow hitch method, your anti-sway bars, chains, braking systems in the trailer and towing vehicle, your engine and transmission cooling systems and such to make sure everything is adequate for the job.

      By the Way, it is illegal for kids to ride in a towed travel trailer.

      Have safe journeys,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kevin - It's the actual weight that law enforcement will look at.

      As you know all states have weight stations and many state troopers have portable scales they can slip under your trailer tires to get the actual weight you are towing.

      Typically the are watching the large commercial tractor-trailer rigs, and "box" trucks. But the states vary in regard to what their priorities will be.

      There is no reason to push your load over the safe limit for your towing vehicle or the trailer used and cause an accident or even worse an injury to someone.

      Have a Great day!

      Don

    • profile image

      Sam Sanchez 

      6 months ago

      Hi Don,

      Thank you for the quick response. So if I'm looking at towing a 4,000 lb trailer and I will have 1,000 lbs of extra weight (kids, gas, and supplies) will that be ok to tow with my truck? That will put me at 5,000 lbs and my truck has a towing capacity of 6,100 lbs.

    • profile image

      Kevin 

      6 months ago

      Hi, is the legality of a tow rig determined by the maximum allowable specs or the actual weight? Example- my trucks towing capacity is 8k, can i legally pull a 10k rated trailer with a 4k dry weight if it is unloaded? Or only loaded with say 2k worth of cargo?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sam Sanchez - That number you mentioned, is the maximum for you to tow.

      With that said, there are very few things you can do to increase that number very much.

      An here's some more bad news for you.

      You need to also consider that this number is, I assume, the GCWR, and you need to realize whatever you pull, you will load up with clothing, food, water, kitchen utensils and other personal items which will take away from the GVWR if the trailer or camper you want to tow.

      Finally, most people try to keep their total weight down to 80% of their max rating, especially of they are going to tow in hilly or mountainous country.

      Don't overload, remember you have a short-block V8, and a standard 1/2-ton truck suspension, anc a standard engine and transmission cooling system that you can harm with too much of a load.

      I hope this helps you make your decision of towing.

      Have Great Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      Sam Sanchez 

      7 months ago

      Good Morning Don,

      I have a towing question for you and hope that you can assist.

      I have a 2017 Chevy 1500 Silverado 4WD with a 5.3L V8 and a gear ratio of 3.08. I looked up my towing capacity at the trailer life towing guide and it indicates 6100 lbs.

      How do I go about figuring out what weight of trailer my truck can safely tow?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      11 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Carl - No, if your camper are within the towing limits of the ACADIA, you should be OK, but I do recommend that you do not push the towing weight limit of the Acadia. Leave yourself room for all of that "stuff" you will be putting into your camper including the water and sewage in your storage tanks.

      And, fi you are going to travel on a lot of mountains and in hot desert conditions, I would recommend that you look into the possibility of adding a transmission cooler and additional water cooling systems. These will help you minimize the chances of transmission or engine damage.

      Have a great day,

      DON

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      Carla Jobe-Partington 

      11 months ago

      Hello, I own a GMC Acadia and would like to tow a small Travel Trailer. Coachmen makes a number of Ultra Lite models that are within my vehicle's towing capability. Do you see any issues with using the GMC Acadia for towing?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      12 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Hopefully, I was of some help in resolving your problem.

      Have a Great Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      pierregagnon 

      12 months ago

      Don,

      Thank you for your answer. It is appreciated.

      Pierre

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      12 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Pierregagnon - Your numbers say that your Q5 can handle towing your trailer. But always remember that you can easily end up storing several hundreds of pound of gear, food, fresh water, etc. Another thing to realize is that you are at the upper limit of your Q5's capability, so if you are going to tow in mountains or really HOT areas you probably should add a transmission cooler as well a transmission fluid temperature gauge. And you should also consider adding a booster radiator so you would have extra cooling for your water cooling system.

      Good Luck with your project,

      DON

    • profile image

      pierregagnon 

      12 months ago

      Don,

      I have an Audi Q5 2.0T that can tow 4400 pounds. I would like to buy a trailer with a dry weight of 3140 pounds, a GVWR of 3800 and a tongue weight of 330. The sails person says no problems. I am not entirely convinced. I really like the trailer but I am apprehensive.

      Thanks for your help.

      Pierre

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      12 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Michelle - First of all, the GCWR is the "combined weight ratio" for the truck load added to what is being towed.

      As to what the actual capacity is for that particular truck and considering the different transmission and rear-end, the numbers in the truck's manual is probably the accurate one.

      But your idea of calling the manufacturer's customer service department for the right numbers is always a smart move.

      Here's a note for you; Most RV owners will tell you to NEVER load the towing truck above 75% of the max. This way, you can cruise comfortably, and safely) on flat land and still have the power and braking needed when you go into the mountains.

      Just Saying,

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      12 months ago

      Hi Don! I hope you can help me. I have a 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 SLT w/ a Cummins and auto transmission, 3.55 axle ratio. My manual shows the GCWR is 16,000 (depending on the axle ratio).

      I am looking to get a different truck with up to 20,000# capacity to tow a LQ trailer and have some extra capacity as I live in the mountains. My manual indicates a manual transmission quad cab 4x4 truck in the same trim would have 20,000# capacity.

      Here's the rub. I found a 1999 Quad Cab SLT, 4.1 axle ratio, manual tranmission. My manual says it would have 20,000# capacity. Perfect, right? However, the manual that came with that truck, which is also a 1999 manual, says it only has 18,000# capacity.

      How can this be? And what in the world is going on?! And how do I determine what the actual capacity for that truck is?

      If I call Dodge with a VIN number, will they be able to tell me?

      Thanks so much!

      Michelle

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      12 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Rather than calculate this for you, I recommend that you use this link to a great calculator for everyone to use. The link is;

      http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight...

      It is set up for pounds or kilos and should help you with your problem.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Mal 

      12 months ago

      Hello Don i have a 1996 toyota 80 series land cruiser 4x4 diesel it can tow 2500 kilo the tare weight is 2010 kilo the gvm is 2960 kilo, i tow a caravan with a tare weight of 2130 kilo tare weight with a gvm weight of 2500 kilo, could you tell me what the GCWR weight would be?

      Thank you Mal.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      16 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      LUKE and Logroller - I really cannot calculate the numbers for everyone, but I do recommend that you read my article closely and you cna do the same thing with your numbers.

      I can tell you a few obvious things;

      1- Whatever rating your truck has; (1500, 2500, 3500, or 150, 250, 350, etcetera, which stand for 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton, and 1-ton, is a reference to how much load a truck's bed and rear chassis can hau safelyl,

      2- Whatever towing capacity you end up calculating, you should allow yourself enough margin so that you can pull those mountains you run into occasionally. Most recommend that you keep yourself at the 75% range if you travel over mountains and hills very often.

      3- If you have a fifth-wheel, and a short-bed truck, make sure you have purchased a slide-hithc setup.

      4- If you're towing a trailer, make suere you have a good set of stabilizer bars as part of your towing package.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      logrolller 

      16 months ago

      I have a 2017 GMC Sierra 1500,6.2L, V8 Crew Cab SLT, short box, 4X4, w/max trailering package.

      Here are my numbers.

      Truck curb weight 5547lbs

      Payload 1690 - 2030lbs (I believe my model is 2030lbs)

      GVWR 7200 - 7600lbs (I believe my model is 7600lbs)

      Max trailering 3.42 axle ratio with a 9.76 axle - 11,700lbs

      GCWR 17,700lbs

      Rear gross axle weight rating - 3950 - 4300lbs (I believe my model is 4300lbs)

      Front gross axle weight rating 3950lbs

      Hitch 1200/12,000 V-5 GM

      I'm still trying to figure out what the truck will tow safely and without destroying the drive train. We are looking at getting a travel trailer to live on the road touring North America for a minimum of a year and probably longer. Can you help narrow the weight down for me.

    • profile image

      luke 

      16 months ago

      I have a 2017 GMC Sierra 1500,6.2L, V8 Crew Cab SLT, short box, 4X4, w/max trailering package.

      Here are my numbers.

      Truck curb weight 5547lbs

      Payload 1690 - 2030lbs (I believe my model is 2030lbs)

      GVWR 7200 - 7600lbs (I believe my model is 7600lbs)

      Max trailering 3.42 axle ratio with a 9.76 axle - 11,700lbs

      GCWR 17,700lbs

      Rear gross axle weight rating - 3950 - 4300lbs (I believe my model is 4300lbs)

      Front gross axle weight rating 3950lbs

      Hitch 1200/12,000 V-5 GM

      I'm still trying to figure out what the truck will tow safely and without destroying the drive train. We are looking at getting a travel trailer to live on the road touring North America for a minimum of a year and probably longer. Can you help narrow the weight down for me.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      16 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      james - the truck being a dualie kicks up the LOAD it can CARRY, but with your specific engine, go to the Dodge manual and find the page with the table like I used in my Hub. Then using the GVWR and their hitch tow rating, you can calculate your maximum tow capacity, like I demonstrated. But most people will only tow 75% or less than this maximum.

    • profile image

      james 

      16 months ago

      i have a 06 dodge dually with a 5.7 leter v8 how much can i tow without putting a strain on my engine

    • profile image

      Gypsylooloo 

      17 months ago

      Thanks so much!!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      17 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Gypsylooloo - To check if your hitch is level, place yur truck and camper on a level surface (like in a shopping center??). Then when hitched up together, put a level on your camper and it should be level. If the front is low then you will have more of the camper weight on your truck, and if the rear is low, you could get instances where on a bumpy road, the camper tries to lift your truck. Also, you should use sway bars, safety chains and of course, have the light wiring connector plugged in.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Gypsylooloo 

      17 months ago

      How do I determine if the hitch is at the right height? Should it be level? I also assume I should buy a heavy duty ball for the hitch? I was going to use the hitch that came with the truck.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      17 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Gypsylooloo - Well, the answer would be YES, IF!

      The IF is if you use the proper hitch, with the ball set at the right height so that your "tongue weight" is right. The Envoy should have enough power with a 5000-pound towing capacity to handle the load.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Gypsylooloo 

      17 months ago

      I have an old terry camper the weight is about 3000. Its been gutted and redone with lighter materials. So hopefully it weighs less. Will a GMC Envoy with Tow complicity of 5000 be ok?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      17 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      James O - Glad i could help!

      DON

    • profile image

      James O 

      17 months ago

      Thanks Don - You are the first person to give me a straight answer I could understand.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      17 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      James O - If your Max Towing Weight is 7000lbs. then there are several things you need to consider. First, you should not tow a camper (tt) that weighs this much. I would recommend that you keep your max towing weight as about 75% of this maximum to keep your towing experiences on the open road safer and easier on your truck.

      Second, Your camper's Dry weight must be dded to the estimated total weight of everything you put into your camper to get the actual weight of what you are towing. This would include things like; water in your tank, propane, food in fridge, clothing, dishes, etcetera. These numers added together are the weight you are really going to be towing.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      James O 

      17 months ago

      Don,

      I am shopping for a TT to pull with my 2017 Chevy Colorado V6 3.6L max towing 7000lbs. What would be the max TT dry weight i could safely pull.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      17 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dajadt - Yeah, Honestly I think you're going to have problems when you get into hilly areas.

      DON

    • profile image

      Dajadt Azakytu 

      17 months ago

      Hello Don

      Hope thing going well.

      I have a 2011 6.7 Crew Cab Gvwr 10,000Ibs.

      Max 5th wheel towing 15,700.

      The RV 393RBLOK we are looking at weigh Dry 13,340 Wet 15,500

      Hitch we bought is a 18k Pullrite.

      Taking these number into consideration do you feel I'm pushing it?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      18 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      David Barnes - Wen you check, you will se that the Ford, GM, and Ram trucks will carry nearly identical payload specs (within 200-300 pounds). The heartache comes when you use the numbers and calculate how easily you can tow your total load on the open road and in mountains. You never want to be near the upper end of this limit. The final decision for you should be based on where you're gonna go, and how many hills are involved.From your numbers, mountains might really slow you down, but it does a lot of people.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      David Barnes 

      18 months ago

      Hi, Don

      Don,I have a 2017 F2 50 Ford XLT crew cab

      GVWR on the truck is 10,000 pounds

      My curb weight on the trucks gonna be somewhere around 6400 pounds (Less the fifth wheel hitch)

      Now our new 2017/5 wheel

      GVWR is 10,800 pounds?

      That number could be just the GVW not sure

      I’ve estimated 700 pounds worth of stuff in the camper

      For the truck payload additional things will be 350 pounds

      With the above information can you help me find what my total payload will be THE not to exceed number....

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      21 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Typically, your size auto will only tow 1000 pounds; such as a small trailer for hauling small loads locally.

    • profile image

      waleed1111 

      21 months ago

      hi all I have CR-V 2007 with engine 2.4 gasoline how much weight I can tow?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      gene irvine- Far too many people ignore what the "extras" weigh when they are calculating what hitch system they need. I never recommend that anyone end up wit a load that is "just under" the limits.

      It's not just a safety issue, either. If you "over buy" your hitch system you will find that you have more control and your towing experience is a lot nicer, in addition to being safer.

      DON

    • profile image

      gene irvine 

      4 years ago

      Hello Don, I have a Polaris 850 that i lug around when i go camping along with extra fuel , ramps, ect. I'm installing a new equalizer hitch, do I need to take this extra weight in consideration even though the quad sits in the truck bed?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      cam8510- Sounds like you have a plan. You have a good sturdy truck and a plan for matching it with the appropriate tow load.

      AS to me? Well like you said the research is a bit of work to get the right information, but once you have the right numbers you can tow a lot safer load.

      And Arctic Fox makes a top end quality RV.

      I hope you enjoy your travels.

      DON

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Don, I had a nice long comment written and evidently switched pages without sending it. I hate it when that happens. I bought a pristine '95 Dodge Ram 2500 last spring. Cummins diesel, no rust. I went through all of these things you have pulled together here. It is quite a process to figure these things out. I discovered that due to an axle ratio of 3.52, I'm limited to a GTWR of 10,000 lbs. That's ok though. I'm looking for an Arctic Fox that fits the tongue weight and towing weight. Thanks for all the hard work on this hub. Very helpful.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Thanks Don, for all the information in one place. I spent last winter wading through all of this and it was pure torture. I purchased a very clean 1995 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins that has never towed and needed to know what I could pull with it. I came in at about 10,000 lbs for the trailer fully loaded. I think a 3.54 gear transfer ratio is holding me to a lower weight. But that's ok, I've got an Arctic Fox in mind that should fit the bill. Great information that for me was very difficult to pull together and understand.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      mr-veg- Actually,I am in the process of shopping for the right Pickup truck to tow my 5th wheel, or "fiver" as they are now called. And, I have had to go through this process in detail for myself. So, I figured that I would share what I have learned.

      Thanlks for the Read and comment,

      DON

    • mr-veg profile image

      mr-veg 

      5 years ago from Colorado United States

      Nice interesting observation that you have put out here Don !! Really nice and I learnt something new today !! Voted all the way up !!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lizzie- Thank You for your comment, and I hope the article is of some use to you in the future.

      DON

    • profile image

      Lizzie Edenfield-endenfin 

      5 years ago

      So interesting and educational! I have always wondered how they work. I'm so excited about what I ve learned, I 'm even thinking to buy a boat, just to try it. Thank you Don!

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