RV manufacturers lie about weights, no two ways to say it. They actively use numbers for trailers that they will never deliver in an attempt to get people to buy more trailer than they can tow safely. If that causes an accident, not their problem because YOU are responsible 100% and they surely told you clearly ‘specs subject to change’.
One way they obfuscate numbers is by listing weights using a base model trailer that they will never build or sell because (if you read the title you know what’s coming) of the options that are mandatory.
Here’s some examples from Coachman Apex line:
OPTIONAL APEX ELITE PACKAGE (Mandatory on 8′ Wides)
APEX NANO PACKAGE (MANDATORY)
The mandatory APEX NANO PACKAGE further hides details under a ‘show more’ button.. if you press that you find the following:
Insulated floor with seamless decking
High efficiency LED interior lighting
2 Outside speakers
Stabilizer jacks (4)
TV antenna with cable hookups
DSI water heater
Stainless steel microwave
3.0 Cu. ft. 2-way refrigerator (4.0 Cu. ft. 15X)
Double door refrigerator—17X, 191RBS, 193BHS
2 burner cooktop
Skylight in bath
Evergreen sleep mattress
Gray exterior fiberglass
Note that these mandatory options include the floor, cooktop, mattress, fiberglass insulation, stab jacks, water heater, microwave, fridge..etc.. No telling which were included in the base weight, in theory they could exclude the weight of the floor and floor insulation! Either way there are hundreds of pounds of weight that may or may not be included in the brochure weight so they can show you a larger than real CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity). They are required (I believe by RVIA) to have a sticker on the interior of the trailer that lists the actual weights as delivered to the dealer….but wait there’s more shenanigans to come!
Then there are the things they don’t have to disclose actual numbers for. Holding tank sizes.. The TT we purchased listed them as 12 gallon, the black tank held less than 6. I probably should have just sued them, less than half?? That’s more that ‘subject to change’, and I’d bet I could have won easily. However in the end it turned out to be easier and more fun to upgrade the tank..
The final problems are at the dealer level. I’ve never heard of a dealer ever saying “no, you can’t tow that with that”.. You see they don’t have to care, it’s up to you to know the specifics of your vehicle. The dealer cannot know all those details, dealer add-ons. accessories you may have added..etc.. And of course they like it that way. Ever seen a trailer dealer with a scale or offer to weigh your tow vehicle and get an actual available payload.
And let us not forget that any dealer addons installed on the trailer are going to change your trailer weight, cargo capacity, etc.. none of that will be listed on the sticker and likely unless you press the issue you will not know which are added by the dealer and which are not. It’s pretty common to have built in generators added by the dealer because it’s heavy and this allows them to obfuscate the numbers further.
And ignore the ‘tongue weight’ listed in brochures, that rarely included battery and full propane tank(s) which can add 100+ pounds to the tongue before you’ve even loaded the trailer.
If you are going to purchase a trailer, do your research. You want to purchase the right trailer for YOU.. no be sold something that may not be safe to tow.. Some might say the numbers are just guidelines, or manufacturers being excessively careful for liability reasons. If you get in an accident overloaded and someone is injured I assure you it will be an issue. For a new trailer I would further recommend as part of the pre-delivery inspection that you ask them to hook up to power and water and bring along a bucket, actually test the capacity of the tanks… They should be new so you can dump them on the ground no problem. If the dealer balks at that, find another dealer.