This post is copied from posts I made on the Overland Expo Forum back in October 2012 and April 2013. I wanted to archive the information here for future reference.
I stopped at the truck scale at the start of my last trip. I was curious. Our camper is a modified ATC shell model- shorter and narrower than a normal Bobcat. It has a furnace and propane tank and two small storage boxes built out of plywood (you can see the details here). We have a Dometic CF50 fridge bolted in under the cab-forward window. We have a 10 gal. Frontrunner footwell water tank that was empty. I was carrying 2 gallons of water in the camper. At the time of weighing, the camper was fully loaded with 200 lbs of food, gear and clothing, the dog was in the truck but no people. The gas tank was 5 gallons shy of full.We have D-rated tires that I figure add about 50 pounds total over OEM tires and an extra battery that adds another 50 lbs.
Here are the results:
Axle Actual Toyota Spec Difference
Front 2560 lbs GAWR 2755 lbs 195 lbs under limit
Rear 2920 GAWR 3110 190 under
Total 5480 GVWR 5350* 130 over
*(don't know why the GVWR is 515 lbs less than the total GAWR for the two axles).
I figure adding two people (350 lbs ), 8 more gallons of water (64 lbs) and 5 gallons of gas (30 lbs) would put me at an additional 444 lbs for a total fully loaded weight of 5924 lbs (ignoring the two empty fuel cans hanging on the back). This is 574 lbs over the GVWR, or 10.7% high. I was surprised since my camper is bare bones. We carry pretty minimal gear. I don't know how I would get the weight down to the GVWR. At least we are close to the individual axle ratings. The truck handles fine and doesn't seem overloaded. There is still capacity in the stock suspension with the TSB rear springs. Braking, acceleration and cornering are all good.
Okay, so I finally got to the truck scale with my truck empty. Here are the results:
front axle: 2525 lbs
rear axle: 1880 lbs
total: 4400 lbs
I had the gas tank full, the tailgate off and the dog in the cab (and forgotten snow chains on the floor behind the seats- oops). I was not in the truck.
The factory spec for Gross Weight is 4070, so somewhere I picked up 330 pounds (others have reported a similar experience). I'm thinking 50 pounds for D-rated tires, 50 pounds for the chains, 50 pounds for the extra battery, 60 pounds for the dog, but the tailgate was not on so that subtracts about 50 pounds. That leaves about 150 pounds unaccounted for. What am I forgetting? Maybe the additional towing package is not included in the spec curb weight- who knows.
With the camper on last summer, the weight was 5480 and I need to adjust for 5 gallons of gas (30 lbs). So let's call it 5510. With the empty weight at 4400 lbs, that leaves the camper and gear at 1110 lbs. I think my gear at the time was 350-400 lbs or less (including clothes, food, kitchen gear, water, the fridge, tools and whatnot) so that leaves the camper weight at about 700-750 lbs for a shell camper including the furnace and propane. That seems about right- maybe a bit heavier than expected. Not as exact as I would like but that's what I know now. I may try to get a weight with an empty camper to have a better sense of the camper weight.
The moral of the story is that the Tacoma is a great truck but the GVWR is quite limiting. We are happy to live within the limits- keeps in check our desire to bring every little thing along with us.
Update: June 9, 2014
I weighed the truck with an empty camper today. Here are the results:
front axle: 2560 lbs.
rear axle: 2740 lbs.
total: 5300 lbs.
The fridge was in the camper so I can deduct 45 lbs. for that. Comparing to the empty truck weight above, this leaves the camper weight at about 800 lbs. give or take. This is heavier than I thought and leaves less room for gear to stay under the GVWR, although it appears I over-estimated the weight of our gear earlier. It is interesting to note that virtually all the camper weight rests on the rear axle- only 35 pounds goes to the front.