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Towing Reference Information

Common Towing Definitions

GCVW

Gross Combined Vehicle Weight (GCVW) is the total combined weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including passengers, payload and everything in tow.

GVW

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the total weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including passengers and payload – but excluding all towing.

GTW

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the total weight of the trailer plus all the cargo in it.

CURB WEIGHT

The weight of a vehicle without any passengers or cargo, but including all necessary fuel, fluids and standard equipment.

REAR AXLE RATIO

The ratio between the revolutions per minute of the driveshaft and the rear axle. In general, a higher number offers more towing power; a lower number offers better engine efficiency.

How does axle ratio affect my towing and payload capability? (Applicable to pickups and Chassis Cabs only.)


In general, a higher axle ratio offers more towing power and quicker acceleration, while a lower axle ratio offers better engine efficiency and quieter running.

The axle ratio describes the relationship between the driveshaft revolutions per minute and the rear axle”s revolutions per minute. For example, an axle ratio of 4.1:1 means the small pinion gear at the end of the driveshaft must rotate 4.1 times for every single rotation of the rear axle.

Finding your ideal axle ratio will be a compromise. You want a ratio that will give you good towing power without handicapping your non-towing performance too severely. By determining how much weight you”ll be towing and how often you”ll be towing it, you”ll be able to find a ratio that will maximize both power and engine efficiency.

TRAILER TONGUE WEIGHT

The downward force exerted on the hitch ball by the trailer coupler. In most cases, it should fall between 10 to 25 percent of GTW.

Trailer tongue weight must be accounted for in total payload.

Common Towing Weights

TRAILERS

Boat trailer: 300 – 1,512 pounds

6 x 12 steel utility trailer: 1700 pounds

6 x 12 aluminum utility trailer: 650 pounds

Car trailer: 1400 – 2,800 pounds

8.5 x 18 enclosed equipment trailer: 2,700 pounds

6 x 12 enclosed equipment trailer: 1,700 pounds 

Dump trailer: 2,000 to 4,000 pounds

Recreational Trailers

Boat trailer: 300 – 1,512 pounds

Fifth-wheel trailers: 19,000 pounds (3,126 pounds trailer tongue weight)

Travel trailer: 5,000 – 12,000 pounds

Camping trailer: 3,000 pounds

Truck camper: 3,500 pounds (unloaded)

BUILDING MATERIALS

Plywood: 3 pounds / square foot per inch of thickness

Gravel: 3,400 pounds / yard

Cement mix: 80 pounds / bag

Mulch: 500 pounds / yard

Sand: 2,600 pounds / yard

Pavers: 3,170 pounds / pallet (624 pavers)

UPFITS

Rollback: 1,500 pounds

Stake bed: 1,500 pounds

Cherry picker: 2,000 – 5,000 pounds

BOATS

Canoe / kayak: 50 pounds

Motorboat: 2,500 pounds

Sailboat: 7,000 pounds

VEHICLES

Racecar: 1,600 – 3,500 pounds

Sedan: 3,000 pounds

Station wagon: 3,600 pounds

Pickup truck: 5,500 pounds

CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT

Backhoe: 14,000 – 19,000 pounds

Bulldozer: 16,000 – 19,000 pounds

Cement mixer (6 cubic feet): 670 pounds

Cement mixer (1 cubic yard): 7,000 pounds

Commercial Wood Chipper 3,000 – 6,000 pounds

Generator (3100 watt): 181 pounds

Generator (6500 watt): 209 pounds

Generator (9000 watt): 225 pounds

Skid Steer: 4,500 – 8,000 pounds

Stump grinder: 1,450 pounds

AGRICULTURAL

Personal Use Tractors: 1,300 – 4,000 pounds

General Use Tractors: 4,000 – 10,000 pounds

Commercial Use Tractors: 10,000+