Weighing a trailer and GVWR - Chevy and GMC Duramax Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Weighing a trailer and GVWR

When I weigh my trailer on a cat scale as seen below, does that weight have to be less than or equal to the trailer's GVWR or do I have to unhitch the trailer and weigh it including the weight on the stand at the front?
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Last edited by henry42; 06-26-2019 at 10:13 AM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:07 AM
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Your picture didn't post. Probably trying to fix that as I write this.

Having weighed truck and trailer many times, the easiest way to do this on a CAT scale (any scale) is to do 2 weighs: 1)the truck and trailer combined then drop the trailer, and 2) weigh the truck alone. Combined weight scale #1, less the truck only scale #2 = trailer only weight. If you are asking about exceeding the trailer's GVWR as I think you are, then compare the posted trailer GVWR to the actual weight of the trailer.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ron Nielson View Post
Your picture didn't post. Probably trying to fix that as I write this.

Having weighed truck and trailer many times, the easiest way to do this on a CAT scale (any scale) is to do 2 weighs: 1)the truck and trailer combined then drop the trailer, and 2) weigh the truck alone. Combined weight scale #1, less the truck only scale #2 = trailer only weight. If you are asking about exceeding the trailer's GVWR as I think you are, then compare the posted trailer GVWR to the actual weight of the trailer.
Since the weight sitting on the truck is not on the trailer, I was thinking that the GVWR of the trailer is what is sitting on the trailer's axles.

I spoke with Dexter Axles and they said that their weight ratings are the weight on each wheel (i.e. a 5K axle should not have more that 2500 lbs on any wheel). Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to get that weight on a CAT scale since they make you drive both wheels of an axle on the scale at the same time.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by henry42 View Post
Since the weight sitting on the truck is not on the trailer, I was thinking that the GVWR of the trailer is what is sitting on the trailer's axles.
The term GVWR is a RATING, not actual weight. The CAT scale will tell you the ACTUAL weight of the trailer that is on the tires/axles. And yes there is more trailer weight on the truck.

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Originally Posted by henry42 View Post
I spoke with Dexter Axles and they said that their weight ratings are the weight on each wheel (i.e. a 5K axle should not have more that 2500 lbs on any wheel). Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to get that weight on a CAT scale since they make you drive both wheels of an axle on the scale at the same time.
I think he/you mis-spoke. An axle rating is just that - the max amount that could be carried on an axle, not each wheel.

Are you trying to find individual axle weights? For most purposes, the scale weights of both axles combined divided by 2 is reasonably close to what you would find if you weighed only one axle. . If I wanted individual axle weights, I would weigh just the rear trailer axle on the scale, then back further onto the scale to get both axles on the scale, then subtract rear (only) weight from both weights. If doing this at a CAT scale you might want to go into the office and explain to them what you are going to do before doing it. This will require you to drive through the scale backwards from normal travel.

An alternative would be to find a place (not so easy and considerably more expensive) that has individual tire weights where the 4 (or 6) trailer wheels are weighted on separate scales all at the same time.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Nielson View Post
If doing this at a CAT scale you might want to go into the office and explain to them what you are going to do before doing it. This will require you to drive through the scale backwards from normal travel.
Not necessary. 1st weight, just do normal 3 pad weighing, then for weighing #2, just the rear axle of the trailer on pad #1.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:47 PM
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The CAT scale works very well for your situation as it provides the weight for the truck with the load on the hitch from the trailer tongue and the weight of the trailer itself. There are two gross weight concerns with the first being the total weight of the truck with passengers and cargo and the load from the trailer tongue or kingpin. Separate is the gross weight for the trailer when fully loaded.

My truck has a GVWR of 11,000 lbs and this applies to the load on the first and second scales. The trailer axles are on the third scale and this load needs to be less than the combined weight rating for the trailer from its manufacturer.

Another important number is the GCWR (gross combined weight rating) which refers to the maximum load in total of the truck itself with passenger, truck cargo in the bed, hitch load from a trailer, total weight of the trailer with its load. For my 2011 2500HD the GCWR is 24,500 lbs total for truck and trailer and if I go to a CAT scale I can quickly confirm the Gross Combined Weight of the truck and trailer.

I do a weigh in at the local CAT scale to have a starting point by knowing the weight of the truck at its front and rear wheels and the weigh to the trailer with truck and trailer empty. With my truck I have also found that only 20% of the load in the bed or on the hitch will affect the front wheels so if I add a 4000 lb load in the bed the front wheels need to support 800 lbs of that load and the rear wheels will be supporting 3200 lbs. (or 1600 lbs supported by each tire).

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by elkhornsun View Post
The CAT scale works very well for your situation as it provides the weight for the truck with the load on the hitch from the trailer tongue and the weight of the trailer itself. There are two gross weight concerns with the first being the total weight of the truck with passengers and cargo and the load from the trailer tongue or kingpin. Separate is the gross weight for the trailer when fully loaded.

My truck has a GVWR of 11,000 lbs and this applies to the load on the first and second scales. The trailer axles are on the third scale and this load needs to be less than the combined weight rating for the trailer from its manufacturer.

Another important number is the GCWR (gross combined weight rating) which refers to the maximum load in total of the truck itself with passenger, truck cargo in the bed, hitch load from a trailer, total weight of the trailer with its load. For my 2011 2500HD the GCWR is 24,500 lbs total for truck and trailer and if I go to a CAT scale I can quickly confirm the Gross Combined Weight of the truck and trailer.

I do a weigh in at the local CAT scale to have a starting point by knowing the weight of the truck at its front and rear wheels and the weigh to the trailer with truck and trailer empty. With my truck I have also found that only 20% of the load in the bed or on the hitch will affect the front wheels so if I add a 4000 lb load in the bed the front wheels need to support 800 lbs of that load and the rear wheels will be supporting 3200 lbs. (or 1600 lbs supported by each tire).
I do have a weight distribution hitch, so I'm planning on weighing as in the picture, rolling forward to get just the last axle of the trailer and then checking that I'm not overloading any axle or CVWR.

I've got a tongue scale so I'll be using that number too.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:32 PM
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Henry, I don't know where you are located, but if you are really interested in individual wheel weights, The Escapees RV Club has 3 campgrounds where they will weigh each wheel on your tow vehicle and trailer.
Here is the link:

https://www.escapees.com/education/smartweigh/

I found out that my front trailer axle was 640 lbs heavier on the street side, and the rear was 400 lbs heavier on the street side.
All the appliances are on the street side.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:48 PM
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Henry, if you want the individual weights, make friends with an aircraft weighing company. Explain to them what you want to do and they probably won't charge you the aircraft prices. They use roll-on platform type load cells and can give you a total weight, individual weights, and side to side weights if you are so inclined.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TB673 View Post
Henry, I don't know where you are located, but if you are really interested in individual wheel weights, The Escapees RV Club has 3 campgrounds where they will weigh each wheel on your tow vehicle and trailer.
Here is the link:

https://www.escapees.com/education/smartweigh/

I found out that my front trailer axle was 640 lbs heavier on the street side, and the rear was 400 lbs heavier on the street side.
All the appliances are on the street side.
Good to know and certainly worthwhile -- unfortunately I won't be near any of their locations. Best I'm going to be able to do is use a CAT scale as soon as I enter NJ (no scales in Long Island, NY) and adjust weight if needed.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” - Albert Einstein

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