Saturday, May 2, 2009


Donna's comment on my prior post about weights brought up a couple more weight ratings that I didn't mention, trying to keep it simple - which it isn't! When you are SHOPPING for a rig, the CCC that I described is very important to know. Once you have made your purchase, you also will want to know:

GCWR is the Gross Combined Weight Rating, the total allowable weight of the motorhome plus tow car (and dolly or trailer, if you choose to use one). It is based on the manufacturer's specifications, and we found ours on the
Spartan Chassis website.

Scoopy is built on a Spartan Mountain Master Chassis and has a 350 HP engine. While our GVWR is 31,000, our GCWR is 10,000 pounds more than that - which means we can tow up to 10,000 pounds of car, trailer, boat, whatever. Once you determine what you CAN tow, you need to match your tow hitch to the weight of your towed vehicle - in other words, make sure the hitch is rated to tow the desired vehicle.

Besides the GVWR, there are limits for each axle. On Scoopy, the front axle weight limit is 12,000 pounds; the back axle weight limit is 19,000 pounds (two tires per side, there). A label specifying these weights, along with the size and air pressure requirements for the tires, is posted in Scoopy just back of the driver's seat.

Donna also wondered how we avoid the surprise of an insubstantial bridge on some little back road.

When we are in unfamiliar territory, we often stay on designated truck routes, where a sign like this one is much more common than the "5 Ton Weight Limit" sign I included in my prior post. Trucks deliver goods everywhere, and most towns have designated routes that bypass problem areas, including small bridges, narrow lanes, residential areas, low overpasses, overhanging trees, etc.

Which brings up another consideration: Once you find and buy your rig, be sure you know its height! Write it down on a piece of tape and post it where it can be clearly seen by the driver. Overpasses under 15 feet or so (maybe 16?) have to be posted with the exact height. The first time you encounter an overpass that says 13', you are really going to wish you remembered exactly how much space you need to safely pass under!

Scoopy needs 13 feet, 1 inch to escape a low overpass unscathed. Even when the height is clearly posted at 13'6", we find ourselves scrunched down in our seats, eyes squeezed almost shut. It is particularly scary when you notice the scrapes and gouges on the leading edge of an overpass, made by those unlucky vehicles that either didn't know their height or didn't realize it mattered.

We have never had to turn around due to a bridge weight rating or a low overpass BECAUSE WE KEEP AN EYE OUT for warning signs. We HAVE taken a different route when a sign warned of an upcoming 12'6" overpass. Be sure you know your height!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Laurie, for putting all this together. It's great. And now, you must be getting yourselves all ready for your summer travels. How fun!! I guess buying your mattress was more than just also had to take in what it weighs!
    Safe travels...