One of the biggest disadvantages of owning a Class A gas motorhome is that you can’t carry as much stuff. Add a beautiful residential refrigerator to the mix and you have reduced your carrying capacity even more.
While we were at the Escapees Boot Camp last weekend we had Smart Weigh weigh our coach and all of its contents. They took the information that is on that label behind the driver’s seat and all of the information on the tires and gave us the weight information for each quadrant of the coach. They also gave us the optimum tire pressure front and rear, for the weight we are currently carrying.
The GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of our RV is 22,000 pounds. That is the total weight of the RV, anything in any of the tanks, all of our stuff on board, and us. Our GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) is 26,000 pounds, which means we can tow up to 4,000 pounds. Our front axle is rated for 8,000 pounds and our back axle is rated for 15,000 pounds. If you do the math, this means that we can’t fully load both axles or we will be 1000 pounds overweight.
If we plan on going down the road with full fresh water, full propane, and full gas tanks, and both Shannon and I maintain our current weights, that leaves a less than 1000 pounds margin for all of our stuff. Now, it would be nice in the circle of minimalists that we travel with to be able to say that we only own 1000 pounds of stuff, but it’s not very realistic if you think about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING we own. One saving grace is that our toad only weighs 3600 pounds, so we can stash about 400 auxiliary pounds of stuff in there.
Asymmetry. It is also important to have close to the same amount of weight on each side of the RV.
Let me just get this out of the way. . .if I lost 50 pounds, either one of us could be driving and it wouldn’t affect our symmetry one bit. Right now, because that beautiful fridge is on the passenger side, Wanda likes it better when I’m behind the wheel.
Here’s the information we came away with. Our right front quadrant weighs 3,750 pounds, our left front quadrant weighs 3,500 pounds, for a total of 7,250 pounds. Since the GAWR Front is 8,000 pounds we are 750 pounds under our maximum weight for the axle, but we are 250 pounds heavier on the right side, so we will be bringing some things from the back forward and moving some things from the right to the left. Because there is a 50-pound difference between Shannon and myself we will be striving for a balance within 100 pounds on the front axle.
The back end of our RV is a totally different story. Our right rear quadrant weighs 8,000 pounds, and our left rear weighs 7,700 pounds, for a total of 15,700 pounds. So not only are we out of balance by 300 pounds, we are 700 pounds overweight in the rear. That’s a total of 950 pounds overweight for the whole coach, or about half of our stuff! OUCH!!!
Goal: Front axle at 7,000 pounds, approx. 3,400 – 3,500 pounds each side.
Rear axle at 15,000 pounds, approx. 7,500 pounds each side.
Method: Some things are obvious, like traveling with an empty fresh water tank (nearly 800 pounds). That would actually solve the weight problem, because until we add solar and lithium batteries to our rig in August (the reduction of battery weight will compensate for the addition of solar panels) we won’t be doing any extensive boondocking. However, the fresh water tank is mostly in the left front quadrant, so that fix will exacerbate the asymmetry issue.
Our bikes and bike rack were traveling on the RV when we got weighed, 171 pounds center back. That weight will be transferred to our toad when we are down the road full-time.
There is a bunch of stuff under the bed (right rear) that is to be delivered to family in California later this year. We are considering letting all of it ride in the toad and also our shipping options.
Another purge is in order.
Note: Just because you have the storage space in your RV doesn’t mean you get to fill it up. We have way more storage space in this coach than we can use, but that makes it easier to move things around to achieve symmetry.
One of Shannon’s many skill sets is EXCEL spreadsheets. He has geeked out on a beautiful 3-pager that keeps a running total of everything we take out and everything we move from one quadrant to another. We are keeping a bathroom scale at the front door so that we can weigh things as we move them around.
By the end of day one we have made a lot of progress toward our goal. We have done the obvious as listed above and the inside of the coach, and here is our progress so far:
We are closer to symmetry on both axles and we have reduced our total weight by 361 pounds. Still heavy on the right rear, and that has to be addressed in the bays, ’cause I’m not giving up the memory foam mattress!
Tomorrow we tackle the storage bays!