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Old 12-11-2015, 03:20 PM   #15
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Loading an empty vehicle with lots of load weight on the rear axle, can reduce the weight carried by the front axle.

Whether that result is good enough or not for the owner is murky.
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Old 12-11-2015, 05:57 PM   #16
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Loading an empty vehicle with lots of load weight on the rear axle, can reduce the weight carried by the front axle.

Whether that result is good enough or not for the owner is murky.
All of the main storage compartments are in front of the rear axle. Therefore, part of any weight that is in front of rear axle will be carried by the front axle. Because of that, it is almost impossible to remove more than a few pounds from the steer axle by shifting the load. I was able to reduce the front axle load by 700# by adjusting the tag air bag pressure and still remain below the rear axle ratings. Not much can be done with a non tag coach.
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Old 12-11-2015, 06:56 PM   #17
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Having been in the heavy duty truck business for forty years (a MH is just a truck chassis) I have seen front and rear axles run hundreds of thousands of miles loaded 10 to 15% over loaded and have seldom seen any type mechanical failure that could be attributed to the loads being carried. I don't what over load factor the manufactures design into there axle and suspension systems, ( they don't want you to know for obvious reasons) but I have been told it is more than this. I doubt that many of us haul that much around that we exceed the axle ratings buy that much. You tire capacity's and inflation should be your biggest concern.
Ron D

This is the most sensible statement regarding axle weights that I have read in any of the threads discussing the issue.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:54 PM   #18
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I have to agree that we make too much of a fuss over axle loading. To me, the important thing is not to overload or under inflate the tires. With all of the overloaded axles running down the roads, when was the last time you saw or heard of an axle component failing?
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:59 AM   #19
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I have to agree that we make too much of a fuss over axle loading. To me, the important thing is not to overload or under inflate the tires. With all of the overloaded axles running down the roads, when was the last time you saw or heard of an axle component failing?

Crasher, in todays litigious society, not only do we have to worry about being SAFE, but we need to worry about protected from LAWSUITS! Let's assume that I have a serious accident resulting in injury or damage to another person's property.

REGARDLESS of whether or not overloading the front axle directly resulted in the accident, any attorney would bring that up and claim that my vehicle was OVERLOADED, and in VIOLATION of the Manufacturers Recommendations at the time of the accident.

Since obviously I controlled the loading of the vehicle, the FAULT that the vehicle was overloaded was MINE!

How do you think THAT scenario would play out to a jury?

Hence my desire to remain below, or within the posted, and legal weight and loading limits posted for my vehicle, INSTEAD of arguing in Court that EVERYONE DOES IT! . . . . . Just my opinion . . .
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by maypo050770 View Post
I recently read somewhere that dutch stars for example are at their max weight on the front axle before you even load it up.
That thread is about one or two specific years. Please don't condemn the entire history of the model due to this.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:24 AM   #21
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I have to agree that we make too much of a fuss over axle loading. To me, the important thing is not to overload or under inflate the tires. With all of the overloaded axles running down the roads, when was the last time you saw or heard of an axle component failing?
Crasher
Last Jan., (at 135k miles), both of the 5/8 inch diameter U-bolts holding the front axle to the right front spring on my coach snapped/broke when I hit a major dip/bump in a Louisiana highway.
BTW, none of my weights were ever greater than the weight specified by SMC/Magnum, the manufacturer of my coach and chassis.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:48 AM   #22
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Spring rate and suspension action are effected by the weight carried so being near to or over the design weight if an axle may effect handling.

Nobody has mentioned braking...

The size of the brakes may be rated for the weight of the axle as the manufacturer may not spend more than needed so a 10k carrying axle may only have 10k braking ability and having 12k load may greatly reduce the ability to stop in the expected distance or at all if on grade.

Just another thing to consider.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:56 AM   #23
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Glad I don't run my life by worrying if I will be sued.
More weight on the rear axle will only reduce the load on the front axle if the additional weight is place behind the rear axle.
Ron D
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:41 AM   #24
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In the jurisdiction I worked in the maximum weight a OTR truck could license had to be supported by the capacity of the truck. The owner had to prove he had sufficient axles and tires at the time of licensing.

Yes OTR overload, that is why there are scales and patrols. Some manage to figure out ways to avoid scales but eventually they get caught. Transport officers are just as smart as drivers.

The only folks we are fooling is ourselves if we think there are no consequences to running overloaded. I find it tough to be so confident that any manufacturer is overbuilding to account for our stupidity when I hear of the number of class action lawsuits, congressional hearings and read the newspapers.
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:44 PM   #25
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I don't think the manufacturers would overbuild to account for users stupidity, I just think they do it as a matter of engineering prudence.

No engineer I met while working as an electronic engineer at Hyster wanted their designs to fail early in it's life cycle. The rule of thumb for us in electronics is to double capacity of critical devices. So if you calculated that you needed a 50 volt capacitor, you'd spec a 100 volt.

When I talked to the mechanical engineers, I asked this exact question, about whether they over designed in critical areas, and the answer was always, YES.

Another thing we had at Hyster was a stress lab. Thousands of tiny stress indicators were attached to points on chassis' that would be stressed. They would indicate if the product met specs. Then we had test tracks for before and after stress testing. We also had a tilt platform for balance. And a couple of giant chassis dynos. And since Freightliner was in Portland, where we were, I knew from working with them on occasion they had pretty much the same equipment.

In other words, designing a piece of heavy equipment for over the road, even if it's a private road, requires quite a bit of testing by law and you'd be hard pressed to convince me that a chassis manufacturer like Frieghtliner, for instance, doesn't over design like we did.

It's true a good lawyer could rip you a knew one if their research proved you overloaded your rig...but another good lawyer would bring in industry experts who would prove that manufacturers overdesign as a matter of course.

So it all depends on who has the best lawyer. I'd not worry about it much. I'd keep the weight ratings in mind, but I wouldn't mind overloading 10-15% for a trip or two.
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Old 12-12-2015, 01:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdelcamp View Post
Having been in the heavy duty truck business for forty years (a MH is just a truck chassis) I have seen front and rear axles run hundreds of thousands of miles loaded 10 to 15% over loaded and have seldom seen any type mechanical failure that could be attributed to the loads being carried. I don't what over load factor the manufactures design into there axle and suspension systems, ( they don't want you to know for obvious reasons) but I have been told it is more than this. I doubt that many of us haul that much around that we exceed the axle ratings buy that much. You tire capacity's and inflation should be your biggest concern.
Ron D
I respect your experience but I just retired from 40 years in commercial trucking with 18 wheel local and otr trucks and my experience was all axles, dual or single, had weight limits. 80,000# gross. I never allowed a unit to go on the road with one pound overweight. First the scales are there to keep all in line. Second the legal liability was extreme if I was involved in an accident or, God forbid, I caused a death the consequences are life changing. I know of no other way to operate any vehicle on the road. I can not imagine how or why these manufacturers allowed this to happen. No disrespect to you implied.
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Old 12-12-2015, 04:21 PM   #27
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Jim Hitek - I came from the enforcement side of vehicle weight as a project manager responsible for projects with large truck haul quantities. We would ensure no truck went out overloaded or over capacity for the axles and tires.

I agree with the engineering prudence you speak of. And as you say the designers hoped they did not have an early failure. That indeed would be embarrassing.

That being said IMO engineering prudence is there for the life cycle performance of the unit, not for overloads. Life cycle life also is dependent upon good and timely preventative maintenance.

While we all agree that a small overload will not immediately cause a failure and in all likelihood the unit will never make a enough miles to cause a failure there is no guarantee. We also do not know the condition and fatigue factors of things like the air bags and brakes, nor how they will be maintained during their life.

I recall years ago when the Cavalier chassis came from the factory equipped with brakes that met the minimum specification until the car was taken off of the lot. What makes things different nowadays?

Justifying an overload by saying it was designed for it is a poor excuse for a bad design. If all of the engineers used engineering prudence we would not be having any conversations about overloaded axles carrying full fuel, water and 2 passengers.
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Old 12-12-2015, 04:52 PM   #28
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Crasher, in todays litigious society, not only do we have to worry about being SAFE, but we need to worry about protected from LAWSUITS! Let's assume that I have a serious accident resulting in injury or damage to another person's property.

REGARDLESS of whether or not overloading the front axle directly resulted in the accident, any attorney would bring that up and claim that my vehicle was OVERLOADED, and in VIOLATION of the Manufacturers Recommendations at the time of the accident.

Since obviously I controlled the loading of the vehicle, the FAULT that the vehicle was overloaded was MINE!

How do you think THAT scenario would play out to a jury?

Hence my desire to remain below, or within the posted, and legal weight and loading limits posted for my vehicle, INSTEAD of arguing in Court that EVERYONE DOES IT! . . . . . Just my opinion . . .
I respect your opinion, but I feel the owner liability for weight ratings argument is overblown. Litigation may very well happen after a collision, but trying to prove guilt because the vehicle was overloaded would be very, very difficult, again in my opinion. Any accident involving a motor home would likely result in substantial displacement of the contents of the vehicle, such that it would be impossible know to know with certainty what those weights were at the time of the incident. I am not aware that law enforcement officers are equipped to weigh damaged vehicles at an accident scene, nor would a weight taken after towing be considered an accurate measure unless it was very egregiously overloaded.

I would be very interested to know of any successful case law where overloading of a motor home was proven to have caused or even contributed to an accident.

Rather than worry about litigation, I am most interested in knowing that my family is riding in a safe vehicle performing within its rated limits. That's why I am waiting for Newmar to provide information on how they will deal with the small available loading on the 2016 Dutch Star front axle. Until then, I am continuing to use (and love every minute) of my motor home prudently.

Note that this situation is not like the often-cited fear of litigation where the driver does not have the proper licensing for the vehicle. That is a very objective test -- either the driver has the right license or they don't. I still am not aware of any successful cases where even this led to a judgment against a motor home-driving defendant. If anyone has an example, I'd love to see it.

And yes, I *do* have the proper license for driving my vehicle.
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