Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Pelaine, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. Pelaine

    Pelaine New Member

    Our motorhome came equipped with a 3500 lb hitch. Our Jeep Liberty has a curb weight of 3898 lbs. Do we really have to have a bigger hitch (5000 I think is the next step up) put on the MH or can we fudge that little bit? What would you guys do, honestly? Spend the 500 bucks or just go with the 3500?
     
  2. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    Spend the $500+. I'm not sure what class a 3500 lb hitch is, but I am sure it's not much more than a bumper hitch. If I had a high $$ jeep back there, I'd want a Class IV Hitch pulling it along. Just my opinion, but I'm just a 5th Wheeler and not an expert on Motorhome issues.
     
  3. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    Nope, not worth the risk to your toad and others. Spend the bucks for the 5000 lb hitch if the MH is rated to tow this much.
     
  4. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    shouldn't be but around $360 installed for a 5000 lbs hitch. If they want $500 go somewhere else. Like a welding shop. May be cheaper for you to buy the hitch at your parts store and take it to a weld shop to have it installed. Call around to the weld shops and see what they charge to install just the hitch. I assume the wireing is there already since you have a hitch.
     
  5. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    Don't exceed the hitch capacity or the odds are very good that your jeep will either fall off a cliff, or smash into a van full of kids. And a pack of drooling lawyers will be on your trail.

    First, check the specs on the motorhome. It may not be able to tow more than 3500 pounds, or may not have the frame in the rear to handle a heavier hitch. If it can tow it, and if the hitch will be the weakest link in the system, then spend the money for the right hitch. Otherwise, get a lighter tow vehicle.
     
  6. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    I strongly agree with hertig. The whole thing is an issue of weight ratings. There is a very high probability that the reason your motorhome has only a 3500# rated hitch is that the design does not allow for towing anything much above that weight, if at all. Not only could you have the toad come loose, but nearly all motorhome chassis, if gas powered, have an extension welded to the rear of the chassis frame rails to lengthen them. If you look up under the rear of yours you can easily see where they are. Very often the manufacturer puts on a 3500# hitch because towing more will cause problems for the chassis extension. I have seen two RVs (both Bounders) where such issues have caused the rear of the frame to bend downward, causing warping of the side walls and some major problems in the motorhome. In addition, if you should get involved in an accident and are towing a vehicle that you know to be over the weight limits for your RV, there is a possibility that your insurance may refuse to pay based upon your improper use of the RV.
     
  7. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    By the way, 500 pounds over a 3500 pound limit is not a 'teeny bit'.
     
  8. Pelaine

    Pelaine New Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    ok, ok!!! You guys have convinced me! ;)

    Now, can anyone direct me to where I can find out how much my '02 Itasca is rated to tow? Might be in my owner's manual but it's in the MH which is parked at the coast two hours away. I won't be going back to it for several days so I would appreciate any help with where I can find that info.

    Thanks alot.
     
  9. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    There is a data plate somewhere inside of your RV, usually in a cabinet, mounted on the door that will have all of the weight ratings of the unit. It should have a figure for max. towing weight, for gross combined weight (GCWR) and for the gross weight (GVWR) as well as the ratings for each axle. Those are the weights to concern yourself with first. If you do not actually weigh the motorhome, then assume that you are traveling at the gross weight, although it would be wise to weigh it and to get the weight on each axle as well, just to know that you are not already over your rated weight.

    If you tell us what chassis you have, we could determine the ratings for it in terms of maximums, but you will still need to know what Winnebago/Itasca did to the chassis when they built the RV. The data on the plate of sticker will tell you that but actual weights are also very important.
     
  10. Pelaine

    Pelaine New Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    Thanks, everyone, for your information and advice. I'll check the data sticker when I get back to the MH.

    I'm so glad I found this site. It's so helpful and I appreciate it very much.

    P.S. to Hertig - when I said "teeny bit" I probably was trying to minimize it :blush: but, just to set the record straight, I would be 398 pounds over, not 500 :laugh: .

    Thanks again.
     
  11. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    Assuming you don't put a remote braking device in your car, and all the hookup stuff (the part which attaches to the car, the part which attaches to the hitch, the bars between them, the wiring and any other hardware) has zero weight, then you are correct :)
     
  12. Pelaine

    Pelaine New Member

    Re: Is exceeding hitch capacity by just a teeny bit ok?

    Hertig -
    Ahhhh! Yes, I forgot about that. Oregon where I live doesn't require the braking device yet so I didn't think about that. We haven't towed out of state so far (or anywhere with this new-to-us motorhome) but we do want to. Once we get that, it would definitely put us more than a teeny bit over, so thanks for your persistence on the subject. :blackeye:
     

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