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Monday, January 23, 2017

Quick post on RV weight

Read a question on an RV forum about "4-Corner weights vs. just getting axle weights." Here is my reply.

Getting 4 corner weights (actual load on each tire for trailers or each position on motorhomes) is definitely worth doing, once. Once you figure your numbers you are typically good to go for the life of the tires or unless you change something big.

Do it fully loaded,  i.e., fuel, water, canned goods, fishing gear, clothes, books, people, etc.

Based on actual data from RVSEF, very few RVs have side-to-side loading at 50/50%. Some owners have discovered one axle end as much as 1,000 lbs. heavier than the other!

Once you know for a fact that you have at least a few hundred pounds "cushion" (being under your RV GAWR [gross axle weight rating] and GVWR [gross vehicle weight rating]), you don't need to do corner weight again unless you make a major change or remodel of the RV (e.g., adding a residential fridge or granite counter-top) and have a reasonable balance to start with.

I do suggest at least once a year a quick check of axle loading by going through a truck stop scale. You can compare the truck scale numbers with your corner weight totals to confirm your RV hasn't suffered from weight creep, as some of the drivers may have noticed over the years.

Weight terminology tidbits:

SCWR (sleeping capacity weight rating)

The manufacturer’s designated number of sleeping positions multiplied by 154 pounds (70 kilograms) which is the official weight of people in cars and RVs.

CCC (cargo carrying capacity)

The GVWR minus each of the following: unloaded vehicle weight, full fresh (potable) water weight (including water heater), full LP-gas weight, and SCWR.
This new label permits the buyer/owner to determine the carrying capacity (CCC) based on a personal calculation of actual passengers carried, the amount of fresh water onboard, and the amount of LP-gas carried.

More info on terms and abbreviations can be found HERE

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Want better quality tires on your RV?

Many people want to complain around campfires or on RV forums about the poor quality of various components on their RV. While I can't address systems such as Refrigerators, Holding Tanks, or Furnaces, I can comment on the quality of tires selected for placement on RVs.

With an industry that focuses on quantity and low cost, is it any wonder that tire performance isn't as good as we would like? We need to remember that while there are laws specifying the minimum performance and capabilities of RV tires, I am not aware of any legal requirement against providing tires that can support more load than the minimum requirement or with speed capabilities higher than what most feel is a reasonable and safe operating speed for large RVs and/or trailers.

I have written a few times about how to file a complaint with NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that establishes minimum performance requirements for tires) and you can easily find those posts using the list of links on the left side of this page.

I feel this topic continues to be important given recent posts on and that have been on the low quality of RV components.

I just read a post from a fellow RV owner that had a couple of tire failures. When I asked if he filed a complaint with NHTSA, he said: "Couldn't report anything. We were on the side of I-95 middle of nowhere going south. All I know is tire blew out on inside, there was a hole. Front passenger tire."

So, because he no longer had the tire he can't provide the info needed by NHTSA for their database.

I replied: "Well, that's a perfect example of why it is important for everyone to have a written record of the tire DOT, size and brand info on file with other important information you keep for other components of the RV such as Refrigerator, Furnace, Generator, TV, etc.

"Many complain about the poor durability of tires in RV application but very few bother to take the basic steps needed to get the information to the DOT. NHTSA (department of DOT) can investigate products if there are sufficient complaints received, and if they find an automotive component doesn't meet the required standards they can order a recall. Recalls can result in replacement tires being given to owners.

"However for a complaint to be minimally helpful in establishing poor performance the full DOT (including date code) is needed. All too often there is confusion in the terminology of tire company, brand and model. Some owners do not provide the correct or complete tire size, giving info such as 225-15 for example.

"I have a number of posts on my blog about recalls and NHTSA if people want to learn more.

"If not interested in getting better-performing tires on your next RV, that's your choice. But I have little compassion for people who have problems but aren't willing to spend 10 minutes filing an actionable complaint. Remember a bit@# session around the campfire or on an RV forum will never result in an improvement in RV component quality."

I have also read an account of an RV owner who did file a complaint and apparently the tire importer read the NHTSA report and the guy ended up getting a set of tires free. Now, this is very unusual but it did happen. But again, if you don't have the DOT S/N, I do not see how you can file a complaint, and if you don't file complaints why would you expect there to be a recall?

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