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Old 01-12-2010, 03:30 PM
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Default Understanding RV Weight Terms

The following is an article written by Mark Polk and published by Chuck Woodbury at It is copyrighted, and is reproduced here by permission. It may not be further reproduced without permission of the copyright owner. The source of this copy of the article is
How to understand RV weight terms

Overloading an RV, whether a motorhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel trailer or other recreational vehicle, can spell big trouble. Here is advice from RV expert Mark Polk about how to understand basic RV weight terms. Make sure you understand these terms before buying an RV.
By Mark Polk

Everyone should have a basic understanding of RV weight terms. Do your research to avoid becoming a statistic in relationship to overloaded recreational vehicle, whether it's a motorhome, travel trailer or other RV.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR):
The maximum permissible weight of the vehicle when fully loaded for travel including the vehicle, cargo, liquids, fuel, passengers, and any towed vehicle tongue weight. Motorhomes, tow vehicles, and trailers all have GVWR.

Unloaded Vehicle Weight or Dry Weight (UVW):
The actual weight of the trailer or truck as built at the factory. The UVW does not include passengers, cargo, fresh water, LP gas, or after market accessories.

Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC):
The maximum permissible weight of personal belongings that can be added. CCC is equal or less than GVWR minus UVW, full fresh water weight, and full LP gas weight.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR):
Every axle has a GAWR. It is the maximum allowable weight that the components (tires, wheels, brakes) of each axle are designed to support.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR):
The maximum permissible weight of the tow vehicle and trailer combined when both are fully loaded for travel. GCWR also applies to a motor home towing a vehicle or trailer behind it. GCWR minus GVWR represents the allowable weight for the towed vehicle. Note: The hitch receiver mounted on the towing vehicle must be rated for this amount of weight. If it is rated for less that is the maximum amount you can tow.

Gross Vehicle Weight or Gross Trailer Weight (GVW), (GTW):
This is not a rating this is the actual weight of the tow vehicle or trailer when they are fully loaded for travel. This includes the vehicle, cargo, liquids and fuel, passengers, and the towed vehicle’s tongue weight.

Hitch Weight or Tongue Weight (TW):
The amount of weight pressing down on the vehicle’s hitch or 5th wheel connection when the trailer is fully loaded for travel.

Copyright by Mark J. Polk

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