Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Can I increase my RV’s axle capacity to haul more?

Dear Dave,
When we upgraded our axles at MORryde the shop manager told me that people who believe they can haul more if they increase the axle weight rating are mistaken.

Example: If you increase your axle capacity from 7K to 8K. The GVWR will not increase if a heavier duty axle is added. To quote him “The GVWR is the GVWR!” His additional comment was, “The frame’s capacity is fixed and it does not matter how big your axle is!”

As I read various blogs, posts, etc., people believe they can haul more weight if they increase the axle capacity. The other thing that I do not understand is why people do not weigh their RV. I weighed our truck and 5th wheel early on in our adventure, and we were way over weight! Setting up an account with CAT Scales is simple and easy. —Chuck

Dear Chuck,
You are correct. You cannot upgrade the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating by adding new, heavier axles, as some people think. Actually, owners need to weigh their rigs by individual wheel position vs. a CAT Scale, as it is not uncommon for rigs to have more weight on one tire, or on one side, than the other.

The RV Safety & Education Foundation has teams that will weigh at rallies and such. Some dealers are now purchasing scales, as well. A CAT Scale is OK to find overall weight so they don’t go over GVWR, if they can’t find a RVSEF weighing team. And you do not have to weigh the rig every time you take a trip—unless you pack substantially heavier items.

So I don’t know that setting up an account with CAT Scale does much good. That’s more for over-the-road truckers that have a different load almost every time they hit the road. They need to weigh and have a record of it. Once a year is typically good just to verify nobody put 2,000 pounds of rocks in and forgot to tell you.

Do you have a question for Dave? Leave it here.

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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.



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Bob p (@guest_197384)
1 year ago

Dave you should’ve referred Chuck to the movie The Long, Long trailer. I have not met a woman yet that if she thinks it’s cute she gets it and in the trailer it goes. That’s how I wound up with a full set of cast iron skillets one time. Lol

Dennis G. (@guest_197071)
1 year ago

Sadly, Tucson (Mar 2022) was the last closest weight in, to SFO CA. Nothing else is listed close to the west coast. The Carson City, NV that James writes about.
We used a local Gravel yard weigh scale, in 2018. Sadly, they are also gone, leveled to put in apartments 2021. Cat Scales are my only option now.

Tom (@guest_196367)
1 year ago

CAT scales can be found all over the US, I just checked the RVSEF site and the only event for weighing in the west is CO. Those of us on the west coast are out of luck. Yes, it would be nice to know the weights of each wheel, but with so few locations available, it’s not an option.

James (@guest_196374)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom

Carson City NV has one and is more West than LA

Tom (@guest_197472)
1 year ago
Reply to  James

Yes, CAT scales are found all over the US. Dave was suggesting having each wheel of the RV weighed, thus mentioning RVSEF for weighing individual wheel locations. CAT scales give the total weight of the RV, not the weight of each wheel.

Roger Marble (@guest_196338)
1 year ago

Yes, Increasing the load capacity of the axle will not increase the capacity of the RV. It will also not increase the capacity of the tires which many times are the “weakest link” when it comes to loading. I strongly recommend that people know the actual load on the tires so if the scale reading on any one axle is at 80% or greater of GAWR you need to try and learn the load on each tire so you can confirm that individual tire loading is not exceeded. The tire on the driver’s side doesn’t share any of its load capacity with the tire on the other end of the axle RVIA specifies that tire load capacity is no greater than 90% of the actual load on a tire so you may need to find a way to learn the load on each tire. RVSEF and Escapees do a great job of weighing RV tire load. You may have to find a building supply or Gravel pit that has a scale that will allow single tire load measurement. This link covers individual tire loading.

Gary G (@guest_196336)
1 year ago

The frame broke on our 2007 Keystone Everest during the repair I had the axles upgraded to the 8K range. Not for the extra load but went from 2” brakes to 3” brakes.

Ray (@guest_196330)
1 year ago

One of my favorite pet peeves. Manufacturers are well known for sending out trailers with the bare minimum suspension and axles to cover the GVWR. If you tax the suspension, monitor the wear closely and beef it up a notch when the time comes to replace it. But, as the man said, the GVWR won’t change and remains the limit to loading.

Jesse Crouse (@guest_196295)
1 year ago

A pound here, a pound there; pretty soon you are putting significant extra weight on. A yearly visit to a certified scale makes sense.

Jesse Crouse (@guest_196296)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

And by the way. It’s like our waist lines. It creeps up over the years unnoticed and ignored.

Bob p (@guest_196859)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

On our first 5th wheel it seemed like every where we went DW always found yard sales with something she couldn’t live without. I knew that 27’ stick and tin trailer was getting harder to pull or my 1T dually was getting weaker. When we traded the trailer in I decided to weigh everything as I brought it out. 1543 lbs. later including a complete set of cast iron cooking skillets from the little corn fritter to a 16”X3” deep frying pan and it was empty. By the way my tool kit it carried only weighed 19 lbs. None of the skillets went into the new 5th wheel, it was 6’ longer but pulled much easier. Lol

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