Sorry if this has already been asked but I cannot find it anywhere and I found this site extremely informative
A little background - I have a 2011 gmc 3500 rated at gvwr 13k GCWR 29k and some change, with a trailer GVWR 12,500.
My dmv in pa was not helpful and had no knowledge, I'm not even sure if I'm registered correctly lol but haven't had any DOT issues yet. I'm looking to get a bigger trailer and my main question is how to determine the cargo capacity.
Ex) trailer is 16k GVWR with 3 6k lb axles, truck 13k GVWR, rated as GCWR 29k. If the empty trailer weighs 10k lbs, does that mean I can only put 6k lb in trailer? Or do you include the tongue weight as well? I've heard it both ways. If it's just the scale weight that's used couldn't I put 10k lbs in the trailer ? (10k empty, 10k cargo, 20k total less 20% tounge = 16k)
You are one of the few people who is definitely on the right track.
First. Your GVWR of 13,000 cannot be exceeded for the truck alone If connected to a trailer.
Your trailer GVWR of 16,000 cannot be exceeded at any time.
The GCWR allows your combination to weigh a maximum of 29,000.
If you didn't get a GCWR for your truck , you would be legally overweight if your trailer ever exceeded 10,000 lbs. that law is used to prevent guys in F-150's from pulling large trailers that they can maybe pull , but never stop.
So if your 16k trailer empty weighs 10k , than yes you are limited to a CCC of 6,000 lbs on the trailer. The truck may have some additional CCC available depending on it's weight.
The tongue weight is not a separate factor as far as your overall weight capacity , it is a safety factor so you don't have more weight on the tongue than you should. You don't add or subtract anything to do with the tongue weight for any GVWR / GCWR calculation.
When I weighed trucks , I would put a scale under each wheel to check the individual GVWR for each unit and than add them all together to look for a GCWR violation.
Tongue weight is actually not built into any weight enforcement law , it is a manufacturer safety item. Granted , if you are way over on your tongue weight , you are probably over on axle weight. Axle weight is enforceable , even on a pickup truck.
Truck 13,000. Trailer. 16,000. Combination 29,000. As long as you don't exceed any of these limits , you are legal.
If you are in business , you also have a class A CDL combination. The truck alone is not a CDL truck and the truck pulling up to a 10,000 lb trailer is still not a CDL combination. But pulling the trailers you describe pushes you into class A territory. You would also need a DOT number if you only haul your own stuff and an MC number if you will haul other peoples stuff. The PUC would also like some money from you if you are a for hire carrier.
I hope this answers all of your questions.