Figuring out Tow Capacity

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  #1  
Old 06-13-18, 12:41 PM
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Figuring out Tow Capacity

I'm going to do my best to keep this from turning into a rant- but I've been trying to get a straight answer on tow capacity of a truck for several weeks and I'm getting answers ranging from 9,000lbs to 40,000lbs!
For a visual, that's a difference of three 40' long 9'6" tall shipping containers, stacked on top of each other, with a few fat guys on the roof of the tallest container.

The vehicle is a 2007 chevy 3500 classic (2006 and older body, sold in 2007) with the gas 6.0 engine, 4wd dually.
This truck was sold as an 'incomplete' to a heavy equipment manufacturing company, who upgraded various bits of the truck and slapped a new door sticker on it.

Here's the ratings I DO have:
GVWR 12k lbs
GAWR-Front 4800lbs
GAWR-Rear 8600lbs

With the upgraded suspension and flat bed, hydraulics, air compressor, and other add-ons we're estimating the truck is in the 7500-8000lb range somewhere with driver and full fuel tanks.

I've managed to determine with some conclusiveness that the GVWR is the total allowable vehicle weight NOT including a trailer. So, 12,000 minus the estimated 8,000 the truck weight gives me a carry capacity of 4k lbs. The other day I moved two 275 gallon water tanks (full) at around 4500lbs through the country hills and could hardly tell the load was on the truck- so I've got my reservations about that rating... but that's what I've got.

So, chevy offers a PDF with listed tow capacities, and it's a bit vague but it puts this truck around the 9500lb tow capacity. With the limited numbers I've got and various calulators I've found online, that same truck has gotten me answers anywhere from 9000 to 40,000lbs of trailer- obviously under the assumption that the trailer has its own brake system and weight capacity figured out.

Now, if I can put 8600lbs on my rear axle, but only 4000 total on the truck, I've already got some big questions... but what I really need to know is how much I can put on a hitch.
Now, This truck doesn't have a hitch at the moment- or even a receiver for that matter. It has a big steel vertical plate welded to the frame, with a set of holes drilled into it to accept various pintle type mounts- the kind of thing you'd see on a job site dump truck. I've put off buying any hardware until I can figure out how big of a trailer I want to buy.

So, what gives?
I'm perfectly happy to just start towing more and more weight until the truck feels unsafe before I start backing off- but If at all possible I'd love to have my paperwork in order with a solid answer on what I can and can not tow before I even buy a trailer. If the cops ever get involved and decide you're over weight, they don't let you off with a warning- they make you drop the trailer on the side of the road and arrange a very expensive and inconvenient week for you.
 
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Old 06-13-18, 01:24 PM
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The 9,500 lbs. that you found on the GM publication sounds about right for that vehicle, but I have no idea where anyone would come up with something like 40K. I guess it goes without saying that you can find about anything you want if you search the internet. And looking at the spec's on a current model of a similar vehicle would probably net a higher capacity, but that's due to improved developments like engine torque, transmissions, braking, etc., so you do want to focus on the model year that you're dealing with, but even then you're not going to come close to that higher number. I believe you will find that most vehicle manufacturer's and towing experts will suggest a tongue weight at or near 10% of the trailer weight.
 
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Old 06-13-18, 01:36 PM
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I certainly figured I would be closer to 10k than 40- that was an outlier from one of the various calculators working on the limited information I have, but so was the 9k figure. May of them landed me in the 15-19k range, which is more where I was hoping to be.

I've got a 14k lb piece of equipment it would be great to be able to move from site to site with this truck- but I think that's just over what most 7 ton trailers are rated for anyway.
 
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Old 06-13-18, 04:44 PM
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What is the wheel base length of the truck?
 
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Old 06-14-18, 05:57 AM
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Old 06-14-18, 09:25 AM
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I dont know the wheelbase- but it feels awful short for a truck that big.
That link shows 12k, but also the larger 6.6L engine.
Yet another website with another claim... but this one brings the average of all claims down a bit.
I guess I'll just accept that the truck is limited to "about" 10k, and buy a 5-ton trailer.
 
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Old 06-14-18, 01:54 PM
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I
dont know the wheelbase- but it feels awful short for a truck that big.
Do you have a measuring tape?
 
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Old 06-14-18, 02:15 PM
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I have a 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD Work Truck with a 6.0 liter engine. Here is the decal that is on the factory installed hitch. Hope this provides a little incite to your overall question.

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Old Today, 06:34 AM
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hah- yes! But the truck is in the shop right now Hoping to see it again soon...
 
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