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Old 09-05-2012, 05:28 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Taab View Post
Hey guys,

Thanks for info. We plan to travel all over the US so it may be hard to keep up with every states laws.

Many have recommended airbags. I know they don't change the weights, but are they worth doing?

I'm not sure why, but this seems a lot harder than it should be.

Thanks again for the excellent info!
Hi

A few years ago a fellow that lives nearby did change his 250 Ford to a 350 Ford. His Ford dealer supplied and installed several items to increase the weight rating and provided the paperwork to get authorization from the FDOT to increase the weight rating.

I do remember that they had to replace the spring shackles as well as several other parts but it was not cost prohibitive.

3665RE
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:18 AM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taab View Post
Hey guys,

Thanks for info. We plan to travel all over the US so it may be hard to keep up with every states laws.

Many have recommended airbags. I know they don't change the weights, but are they worth doing?

I'm not sure why, but this seems a lot harder than it should be.

Thanks again for the excellent info!

On my 09 I did the 4" blocks and airbags. I pulled thousands of miles with two atv's in the bed on a rack, my two Honda gensets underneath, and my 36' trailer in tow. Around 3k on the truck in total. Sat dead level and towed 100% perfect. It's a cheap investment to keep the vehicle you already own. Under $500 total.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:03 AM   #101
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10 years ago, I had a single rear wheel 1/2 ton Chevy and was pulling a 28' HR Alumalite travel trailer. I should say I was trying to pull it safely. I spent money on all kinds of sway bars, new rear end gearing and then the computer gadget to fix the speedometer. I still felt the white knuckle experience whenever we went someplace. I played around with 3 different brake controls and still didn't feel like I was stopping well. I was stupid really, I never weighed anything; added helper springs and kept towing. By this time we liked camping and knew we wanted a new trailer. I stumbled on to some RV forums and I checked all of the weight ratings as described here. As I read through different postings I began to see that the opinion was that a person could load and operate anything as long as he was at or just under the maximum ratings. I also read that there was a general opinion by many of the respected people in our hobby that they felt that it was best for the longevity of your equipment and for the margin of safety that a person should only load to around 80% of maximum. That stuck in my mind. The other thing was reading a thread very similar to this one. Where lawsuits were discussed and what the law said etc. Then one man chimed in; he said that he didn't want to sound argumentative with anyone. He just wanted to make a statement. He told us that he had been regularly towing a fifth wheel with a truck that was just a bit over here and there. I do not remember the exact details but I remember this part; he had an accident. He went over a small grade on an interstate highway and came upon stopped traffic. He could not stop or adequately manage the rig and crashed. He had killed people. He said that to settle the lawsuits he had to sell everything he had; the farm etc. He said he would be in debt until he died.

This post by one man straightened me out personally. After being a firefighter/paramedic for 20 years I had seen the carnage and death of accidents. There is no way I want to even be remotely considered to be at fault in case of a situation like his. I know that there are probably other firefighters and law officers that have seen situations where people were right. Dead, but right.

I hope that no one takes this post as a personal attack or argument one way or another. I just wanted to throw my two cents in and say why I bought what I did.

God bless you all, Randy
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:56 AM   #102
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Excellent post Randy -
boils it down to the important - not the urgent, nor the legal, nor the opinion !!!!

and not demeaning anyone's opinion or facts.... just reminding us - thanks !
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:22 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Taab View Post
Hey guys,

Thanks for info. We plan to travel all over the US so it may be hard to keep up with every states laws.

Many have recommended airbags. I know they don't change the weights, but are they worth doing?

I'm not sure why, but this seems a lot harder than it should be.

Thanks again for the excellent info!
The info on axle/tire capacities in the email from the California CVS Commander pretty well covers all of the USA and Canada's provinces.
Stay under those numbers and you won't have any legal issues for a LTL size truck/trailer combo.

As far as air bags go I always load my trucks and make a short trip and then make a decision if "anything" is needed.
Some folks use air bags to keep the aux overload springs from slapping the stops on the bigger bumps.

I had a Colorado dot officer at I-25 scale house give me a heads up on air bags many many years ago on a new '82 F350 DRW 4x4. Just about all 4x4 trucks back then sat level. After loading the rear would sag noticeably which was the reason he pulled me around back. After checking the trucks rear suspension visually (broken spring) and checking tire pressures he said I need bags to level the load. The trucks sagging rear drew his attention. Nice guy.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:36 PM   #104
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Thanks guys,

Lots of great information!

3665RE - I am surprised Ford would upgrade a 250 to a 350 and give you a new GVWR, but I will certainly check into this.

Taken - thanks for the valuable, real world experience.

Jimnlin - thanks for the info on the airbags. It makes sense especially considering the BC unsafe vehicle criteria.

Randy - your story is truly tragic. I really appreciate the spirit of your post.

I humbly offer the following thoughts in the same spirit.

If you hit a stopped vehicle and people die you are almost certainly going to be found at fault, and you will be sued. Regardless of the weight of your vehicle. If you are 20% underweight you will still be sued and you will still likely lose.

The objective, of course, is to avoid the accident altogether and given the physics, speed is far more important than weight -- all else being equal.

Reaching way back to college physics (and verifying it with a google search) I recall the equation for kinetic energy:
kinetic energy = 1/2mv2
This means that 1/2 the mass is multiplied by the square of the speed. In other words -- doubling the weight doubles the stopping distance, however doubling the speed quadruples the stopping distance, all else being equal.

Given this it seems that maintaining a safe speed would be the most important thing to do. Even a truck and trailer loaded to 90% capacity, when driven at too high a speed for the conditions, can be unsafe. While one 10% over the GVWR can be driven safely at a lower speed, i.e., it can have a shorter stopping distance.

Thanks again for the kind spirit of your post and please feel free to share your .02. I need to learn as much as I can from those more knowledgeable and experienced.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:48 AM   #105
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Hello Taab, thanks for your kind words. Maybe I should have added a little more information but my post was already pretty long. I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that you will be sued in most any situation where you kill someone overloaded or not. But this poor guy who knew he was overloaded; the jury had a field day with. Criminal negligence was what they got him for. They figured that he knew right from wrong and that since he knew his rig was overloaded and operated it that way anyway; he did so without due regard for others. I think you also make some good points regarding weight versus stopping distances. Which brings up something that I think we all will agree on; the nuts who think that the big space in front of our rigs was left for them to cut into at the last second and hit the brakes. That's when the formula is; weight+brakes+distance=pucker factor.

I think that 95% of us "here" are working people who have sweat long and hard for what we have. We believe that we are entitled to enjoy life in any manner that our freedom allows. I will share with you that I made a stupid decision 4 years ago that cost me $100,000.00. It came along with 3 years probation. I found it amazing how quickly there was someone just waiting to "straighten" me out when I stuck up for what I thought was right.

Thanks again to you others for your kind words and input. Randy
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:55 AM   #106
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The TSB I mentioned did NOT up the GVWR. It only eliminated the unsightly rear end sag. Just wanted to clarify.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:22 AM   #107
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Hello Taab, thanks for your kind words. Maybe I should have added a little more information but my post was already pretty long. I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that you will be sued in most any situation where you kill someone overloaded or not. But this poor guy who knew he was overloaded; the jury had a field day with. Criminal negligence was what they got him for.
Hi

In Florida that would have been “Vehicular manslaughter” or “Vehicular homicide”. A minimum 10 years prison plus supervision after release.

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Old 09-07-2012, 03:19 AM   #108
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Randy,
Sorry to hear about your situation. I hope you are able to recover and get on with your life. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on people cutting in front of heavy vehicles.

Quote:
A few years ago a fellow that lives nearby did change his 250 Ford to a 350 Ford. His Ford dealer supplied and installed several items to increase the weight rating and provided the paperwork to get authorization from the FDOT to increase the weight rating.
Taken - I was referring to the quote above from 3665re.

Unfortunately the GVWR question doesn't seem to have a clear cut answer. The law does not appear to be hard and fast that simply exceeding GVWR means you are illegal. However, if you are involved in an accident being over GVWR will be held against you, just like speeding or anything else that may have contributed to the accident.

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

Thanks again for all the great info.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:47 AM   #109
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I have been thinking about this; do the manufacturers state the GVWR but really have a little extra "cushion" built in? You know what I mean, they figure to keep us "experts" out of trouble? What do you guys think?
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:39 PM   #110
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Taken - I was referring to the quote above from 3665re.

...Unfortunately the GVWR question doesn't seem to have a clear cut answer.... .
It's very clear...don't exceed it. That's what it says in all the brochures and manuals that come with the truck. The only place you'll find where people say it's okay is on these forums.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:35 AM   #111
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tell it to the judge when the LEO writes you for being over weight on your axles
that is what he or she will tell you.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:34 AM   #112
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There are legally enforceable federal and state regulations for commercial vehicles and their GVWR and GAWR, but to the best of my knowledge they do not apply to private vehicles in any state. You can be ticketed for exceeding a stated road or bridge limitation, but I don't think a private vehicle can be ticketed simply for exceeding its GVWR or a GAWR. A civil suit for contributing to the cause of an accident would be a different matter.
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