Author Topic: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications  (Read 6545 times)

PDX David

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Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« on: July 15, 2019, 06:58:16 PM »
I just returned from a 6-week road trip to and around Alaska in my 2016 16TBS. Before the trip, I purchased new tires with a "D" load rating to replace the "C" rated tires that came from the manufacturer because I noted that the maximum load of the "C" tires (combined) was 3,500 lbs - and the manufacturer listed (in the sales literature) the "dry weight" of the trailer as 3,370 lbs. So, if if basically put any cargo in the trailer I would be exceeding the weight limit of the tires. The manufacturer listed the "GVWR" as 4,842 lbs. and the "D" tires are rated at 4,040 lbs. (combined) so I felt that would be a wise upgrade.  I have occasionally stopped at unattended highway (not freeway) weigh stations (they leave the scales on in Oregon) while on trips, and the trailer weight was between 3,600-3,800 lbs. Not the most accurate weighing I know (and am headed to a CAT scale soon), but gave me some confidence that I was well below the GVWR and everything should be hunky-dory.

Midway through our trip, and after many miles on rough/bumpy 'paved' roads and many segments of roads being rebuilt and driving over gravel/boulders, I noticed some unusual wear on one of my tires - a segment of the tread looked like it had literally been gauged out. I got in touch with the folks at Les Schwab that installed the tires, sent them some photos and discussed the likely causes: broken suspension or overloading causing the tire to scrape something in the wheel well when BOUNCING along the road. I transferred as much weight from the trailer to my TV as I could, and kept only a little water in the tanks. We made it home on the bum tire (which had still had plenty of good tread) with no related problems.  A couple of days ago I had a new tire installed and we inspected both wheels and wheel wells and could quite clearly see that both tires had rubbed on different parts of each wheel well, one more severely than the other (the one under several boxes of canned pop, water and etc.). During this inspection the tire guy speculated that my axle was rated at 2,500 lbs. maximum - which I subsequently confirmed from the manufacturer, Dexter, and from labels on the trailer.

I recite this background to show that I had done a fair amount of due diligence on this matter and read all kinds of internet discussions on this subject, and thought I had a good understanding of how to safely load and use our trailer. Obviously, I missed something or have been misled by the manufacturer, about how much "cargo" I can safely carry in my trailer, if, as I've come to believe, the AXLE WEIGHT rating is the weakest link/limiting factor in this equation.

So, to my questions:
  • If the maximum load of the single axle is 2,500 lbs. - how can it be that the "dry" weight of the trailer exceeds that number by 870 lbs.?
  • If the maximum load of the single axle is 2,500 lbs. - how can the gross vehicle weight rating be 4,842 lbs.?
  • If the maximum load of the single axle is 2,500 lbs. - how can the manufacturer put a sticker (as required by law) on the trailer stating that "the weight of cargo should never exceed 2,250 lbs."?
  • If this were your trailer, what would you consider a maximum & safe weight to tow?

Thanks.............David
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350

Mitch

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2019, 07:14:06 PM »
So you're saying you have single axle 16TBS with a 2500 lb axle? If the answer is yes they put the wrong axle on it I think.

DavidM

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2019, 07:34:49 PM »
I am a little confused. Do you have tandem axles or not. A single axle with a rating of 2,500 lbs won't carry a 16 TBS. So here are my answers for a tandem axle trailer:


So, to my questions:

  • If the maximum load of the single axle is 2,500 lbs. - how can it be that the "dry" weight of the trailer exceeds that number by 870 lbs.?

This question doesn't make any sense with tandem axles.

  • If the maximum load of the single axle is 2,500 lbs. - how can the gross vehicle weight rating be 4,842 lbs.?

Gross vehicle weight is generally axle ratings x2 = 5,000 lbs or tire rating x 4 plus 10% for tongue weight


  • If the maximum load of the single axle is 2,500 lbs. - how can the manufacturer put a sticker (as required by law) on the trailer stating that "the weight of cargo should never exceed 2,250 lbs."?

Cargo load is GVW less trailer dry weight.

  • If this were your trailer, what would you consider a maximum & safe weight to tow?

Probably tire rating x 4 or axle rating x2, whichever is lower. Forget the +10% for tongue weight.

Thanks.............David
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 10:28:52 PM by DavidM »

PDX David

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2019, 12:24:27 PM »
So you're saying you have single axle 16TBS with a 2500 lb axle? If the answer is yes they put the wrong axle on it I think.
Yes. The 2016 model is a single axle. I believe they started using a double axle in 2017/18.

..........David
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350

PDX David

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2019, 12:28:16 PM »
I am a little confused. Do you have tandem axles or not. A single axle with a rating of 2,500 lbs won't carry a 16 TBS. So here are my answers for a tandem axle trailer:

A single axle, sorry for not making that clear as I know they switched to a double-axle in subsequent years - maybe because they finally did the math? I'm going to call the manufacturer and see what their explanation is.

..........David
« Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 09:18:13 AM by PDX David »
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350

Mitch

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2019, 12:39:01 PM »
I believe that the 16 foot model was a double axle when it was originally released back in 2012-2013, then after Thor purchased Livin-Lite some of the 16's were single axle and some were double axle depending on the inside layout.  That is all unimportant, if your axle is a 2500 lb axle then they installed the wrong axle.  My 2013 13QBB has a 3000lb axle and that was the standard axle so there's no way they would have spec'd a 2500 lb for a larger single axle trailer. 

DavidM

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2019, 01:10:17 PM »
There should be a sticker on the axle giving its model number and weight rating. If it really is a 2,500 lb rated single axle on a 16TBS then take it back to the dealer, park it on his lot until LL replaces that axle. The dry weight of the 16TBS was approximately 3,000 lbs. The GVWR of the single axle 16TBS was about 4,000 lbs. It would take at least a 3,600 lb rated single axle to carry that weight.

Also check your tire rating. They should be about 2,000 lbs each.

David

PDX David

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2019, 08:30:18 PM »
There should be a sticker on the axle giving its model number and weight rating. If it really is a 2,500 lb rated single axle on a 16TBS then take it back to the dealer, park it on his lot until LL replaces that axle. The dry weight of the 16TBS was approximately 3,000 lbs. The GVWR of the single axle 16TBS was about 4,000 lbs. It would take at least a 3,600 lb rated single axle to carry that weight.

Also check your tire rating. They should be about 2,000 lbs each.

David
I've already been in contact with Dexter who confirmed the axle is rated at 2,500#. In fact, I found a sticker on the trailer that shows 2,500 as the GAWR as 2,500#.  And, according to Dexter a 3,500# axle could be swapped out for this one without needing to change wheels.  Even with that axle though, I would most likely exceed that weight limit with two full propane tanks and a battery - let alone any groceries.

......David
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350

PDX David

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2019, 08:39:36 PM »
I believe that the 16 foot model was a double axle when it was originally released back in 2012-2013, then after Thor purchased Livin-Lite some of the 16's were single axle and some were double axle depending on the inside layout.  That is all unimportant, if your axle is a 2500 lb axle then they installed the wrong axle.  My 2013 13QBB has a 3000lb axle and that was the standard axle so there's no way they would have spec'd a 2500 lb for a larger single axle trailer.
I contacted KZRV (apparently the current corporate owner of Livin'Lite) this morning questioning this axle situation. Customer service rep didn't have an answer and needed to consult with someone else. She got back to me asking me to send them the axle serial number which I did (along with email from Dexter already verifying it as a 2,500#axle) - and in closing that "I look forward to understanding how I could be sold a trailer whose dry weight exceeds the limits of the axle."

I suspect there is some scrambling going on at KZRV this afternoon.

Stay tuned..............David
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350

ADR

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2019, 06:19:55 PM »
Just for reference my 2018 16TBS has a single 4400lb Dexter axle.

PDX David

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2019, 06:48:51 PM »
Just for reference my 2018 16TBS has a single 4400lb Dexter axle.

Interesting, and that's what I would expect mine should have been. What size tires? Mine are 205 /75 R14.

Thanks.............David 
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350

PDX David

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2019, 06:52:48 PM »
I've heard back from KZRV that I 'should' have a 4,500 lb. axle.  They have directed me to a local RV dealer for an inspection and warranty claim (with of course no willingness by corporate at this point to admit any liability).  No telling how long this will take or end up. 

..........David
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350

Mitch

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2019, 07:06:12 PM »
That's good news I'd say.  It'd be pretty hard for them to deny that as a warranty claim. The PITA part will be the time it takes to correct.

ADR

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2019, 10:00:51 AM »
Just for reference my 2018 16TBS has a single 4400lb Dexter axle.

Interesting, and that's what I would expect mine should have been. What size tires? Mine are 205 /75 R14.

Thanks.............David

6 lug wheels and 225/75r15 tires

PDX David

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Re: Trailer Weight Limits - Contradictory Specifications
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2019, 10:51:25 PM »
I took the trailer into Curtis Trailer this morning for an inspection.  They confirmed the undersized axle and sent a report to KZRV. When I picked it up this afternoon, they informed me that KZRV responded "incredibly quick" with approval for replacing the axle and also the wheels and tires (R15) to match the new heavier axle. The service rep and I are both hopeful that they also have the necessary lift kit or axle mounting bracket to raise the trailer to accommodate the larger wheels - and that the larger tires will fit in the wheel wells when raised.

No telling how long it will take for the parts to arrive or get the service scheduled, or what complications may arise, but nice to be on a path to making things right.

............David
Portland, OR. / 2016  Camplite 16TBS towed by Mercedes ML350