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Old 08-10-2012, 11:47 PM   #1
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GVWR Sticker and Alterations Debate!

Ok, I hear the weight police sirens coming, but I will preface this with....it is based on statute....Ok, here it goes....

The 49 CFR 573 regulation for GVWR only applies to newly manufactured vehicles. It does not regulate vehicles already sold. However, it does allow modifiers or alterers to change the GVWR using a good faith judgement on the new GVWR based on equipment installed such as brakes, axles, tires, etc.

Again no offense meant at all but GVWR can be adjusted.

This following paragraphs are straight from the NHTSA site:

The term GVWR is defined in 49 CFR 571.3 as "the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle." The GVWR informs vehicle owners how heavily the vehicle may be safely loaded. It also affects the vehicle's loading and other test conditions for the performance tests to ascertain whether the vehicle complies with applicable safety standards.

The only express regulatory limitation on the GVWR that manufacturers may assign to their vehicles is set forth in 49 CFR 567.4(g)(3), which provides that the assigned GVWR "shall not be less than the sum of the unloaded vehicle weight, rated cargo load, and 150 pounds times the vehicle's designated seating capacity." "Unloaded vehicle weight" is defined in 49 CFR 571.3 as "the weight of a vehicle with maximum capacity of all fluids necessary for operation of the vehicle, but without cargo, occupants, or accessories that are ordinarily removed from the vehicle when they are not in use." Although the term "rated cargo load" is not defined by regulation, generally it is the GVWR of the vehicle minus the combined weight of the occupied designated seating positions (150 pounds times the total number of designated seating positions) and the unloaded vehicle weight.

Alterers must also determine whether their modifications affect the manufacturer's stated GVWR, gross axle weight rating (GAWR), and vehicle type. If such a change has been made, the alterer must specify the new GVWR, GAWR, or vehicle type in a manner consistent with the capability of the vehicle to comply with applicable standards and operate at higher weight rating and/or as a different type of vehicle. NHTSA expects both manufacturers and alterers to assign GVWR and GAWRs that reflect the manufacturer's or alterer's good-faith evaluation of how the vehicle's braking, load bearing items (including tires), suspension, steering, and drive train components will react to the vehicle's weight, size, cargo-carrying capacity and intended use.



***Now with that said, the following is also from NHTSA's General Counsel's Office and is an excerpt of a letter requesting information in regards to a suspension alteration to increase capabilities, and there is good advice to seek counsel for liability for accidents, but here is what they say....

“...The term GVWR is defined in 49 CFR Part 571.3 as ‘the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle.’ the GVWR informs vehicle owners how heavily the vehicle may safely be loaded. It also affects the vehicle’s loading and other tests conditions for the performance tests to ascertain whether the vehicle complies with applicable safety standards. NHTSA expects the GVWR to reflect a manufacturer’s good-faith evaluation of the vehicle’s size, weight, load carrying capacity, and intended use.”

“NHTSA’s regulations on GVWR only addresses the GVWR of new vehicles. This is because the agency’s safety standards apply only to new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle equipment. There is a provision, §108(a)(2)(A), in the Vehicle Safety Act that prohibits manufacturers, distributors, dealers and motor vehicle repair businesses from knowingly rendering inoperative in whole or in part any device or element of design installed in accordance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. These parties would be subject to this provision if they were to modify your vehicle’s suspension. However, the provision does not apply to individual owners modifying their own vehicles.”

“Because we do not regulate how individuals modify their own vehicles (and thus do not prohibit you from modifying your vehicle’s suspension), we are unable to advise you about the specific modifications that must be made to a vehicle for it to safely carry an additional 1,000 pounds. Among other things, however, you should carefully evaluate whether the vehicle’s axles, brakes, tires, and frame can adequately handle the additional load. We suggest you consult with the original vehicle manufacturer about this question. You may also wish to consult a local attorney concerning possible liability in the event your vehicle is involved in an accident.”

IMHO, I believe this answers all the questions on the sticker in the door. Is it good to follow?....sure, is it Law? I believe this shows its not binding according to NHTSA. Is there civil ramifications for accidents, etc? Im sure there are, but I don't believe they ever needed a reason to sue you before anyways...I just felt the need to show that a GVWR can in fact be altered and the sticker themselves aren't necessarily binding due to modifications done to your rig. (i.e. you have 6k lbs axles listed and you have swapped to 7k lbs axles, brakes, suspension, etc. as long as you do it yourself, if a shop does it, they can put an additional sticker on there stating the new limits)
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:41 AM   #2
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Why, that's WONDERFUL news. I think I'll run my Ford Ranger down to Bubba's 4WD & Bait shop and have ol' Bubba put some airbags on it and sticker it for 20,000 lbs GVWR!!!

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Old 08-11-2012, 07:01 AM   #3
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Hi

There isn’t any question concerning this post. The change comes when the Vehicle is sold to the end user. Then there are numerous local, state and federal laws concerning the GVWR, AWR, and GCVWR. All states address the use of these rating in their motor vehicles rules, regulations and laws in some manner.

It is easy to reduce your GVWR by installing tires with a lower weight carrying capacity. However putting lowboy tires on the vehicle that are capable of carrying 2,000 more weight doesn’t automatically change your GVWR in most states.

When it comes to the end user it is near impossible to increase the GVWR or GCVWR with out having to obtain some very costly documentation. This is the result of the States Rights issue.

I have found that a few years back Ford offered the information and documentation that listed the Ford manufactured parts the would have to be installed by an approved Ford facility to increase the GVWR for the 250 to the 350. After this change there was required an inspection by the DMV of the state of registry that resulted in the issue of authority to attach and additional data plate below the doorpost sticker indicating the increased GVWR (ref: sate of Florida DMV).

Time consuming and expensive for the end user.

However while working on a class C RV I noticed a second vehicle sticker on the doorpost issued by MoreRide it had very little information on it just a number. I called them and they told me that they received the cab and chassis from Ford and then lengthen the frame. This modification required them to put the sticker on the doorpost with their ID information. This was while the vehicle was still in the RV manufacturers possession. The RV manufacturer then completed the vehicle.

This post is only intend to caution people that just adding spring capacity or airbags doesn’t automatically increase you legal weight capacity under the state laws in most states. This also has nothing to do with the way some states allow the reduced GVWR in their registration regulations in order to reduce the registration fees.

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Old 08-11-2012, 07:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyJC
Why, that's WONDERFUL news. I think I'll run my Ford Ranger down to Bubba's 4WD & Bait shop and have ol' Bubba put some airbags on it and sticker it for 20,000 lbs GVWR!!!

Rusty
Great as you responded without reading. The alterations by a shop by law must include their name and a REASONABLE calculation of the new GVWR based on the modification
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:04 AM   #5
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I read it very thoroughly. I'm merely pointing out the fallacy of opening this up for ANYONE to attempt to recertify a vehicle's GVWR based on homebrew calculations that could be dubious at best - certainly without the FEA tools, computer modeling, strain gauge testing, rig and field testing, etc. that the factory engineers used to establish the vehicle's GVWR in the first place.

Ol' Bubba can do some cipherin' on the back of an envelope and meet your requirements as long as he includes Bubba's 4WD & Bait Shop on his new sticker, right?

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Old 08-11-2012, 09:28 AM   #6
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Beausdog, I am glad you are a licenses professional vehicle engineer and are will to write a document to NHTSA certifying the new GVWR of your furd.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:05 AM   #7
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Bottom line, i have cited the federal statute under 49 CFR to put the OPINIONS to rest.....i urge you to cite a statute to support YOUR standing. Im not saying it is wise, nor am i advocating anyone to do it, all i am saying is the GVWR is not binding under the statutes that make them mandatory at the federal level and there is in fact a method to change it. YOU may not agree with it, but then YOU need to lobby your Congress representative to change the law. YOUR opinion is just that...an OPINION! I have cited law to support the opposing side, and again urge you to cite your standing. If you read the CFR...then the calculation on how it is detailed is there.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimcumminsw
Beausdog, I am glad you are a licenses professional vehicle engineer and are will to write a document to NHTSA certifying the new GVWR of your furd.
Jim W.
If you read it, you dont need to certify it if you did the work yourself. You make the judgement and obviously consult with legal offices to determine about liability. If a shop does it, it tells them what an addendum sticker contents required.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:48 AM   #9
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Im not saying it is wise, nor am i advocating anyone to do it......
Then why post it on a public forum where a newbie reads it and thinks changing GVWR is no big deal, so I'll go ahead and buy the 42' 20,000 GVWR 5th wheel DW wants and rate the truck for whatever GVWR I need???

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Old 08-11-2012, 10:58 AM   #10
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Just buy a bigger rig, or throw out some of the junk you're hauling around that you never use or need.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:01 AM   #11
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The only problem I see here is the "I don't need no steeenking license" mentality.

As I read this, A qualified shop can do modifications and re-label the GVWR and CGVWR after doing proper and reasonable calculations.

There are a lot of qualifiers in this sentence.

Bubba's bait and upgrade shop may or may not be quailified but the inference clearly is "NOT quailified" and may or may not know how to do the needed math but again the inference is "NOT".

Yet some folks will run straight to BUBBA and get the job done wrong, with predictable results.

Back in my Fidonet days I had a tag-line tosser, One of those tags was somehing like

Famous last words: Here Hold my beer and WATCH THIS!!!

Same mentality applies there too.

Oh, without revealing any secrets (Since I can not recall the names anyway) Back when I was a police dispatcher My troopers came across quite a few folks who "Did not need on steeenking license".

And trust me.. Their license (Well driving record) STANK!!!!!!! I knwo, I saw it.

I do recall the names of a couple of brothers.. One (This was in 1977) was only revoked till, about now... Just before I retired one of my troopers came accross one of them again... So I got to see that's been extended quite a few more years.

And those two,, are really not that bad.. I mean not a lot of accidents, Just drive a bit fast and roll stop signs and such.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyJC

Then why post it on a public forum where a newbie reads it and thinks changing GVWR is no big deal, so I'll go ahead and buy the 42' 20,000 GVWR 5th wheel DW wants and rate the truck for whatever GVWR I need???

Rusty
Again that is not what it says, and it was posted for the reason of clarification. This forum is abundant with personal opinion as to what is law, and i am showing that this is not the case. As much as some people here would like their opinion to be the law, it is not, its an opinion. If their opinion was stated as an opinion, i would not have found the need to post this, but since they say "a GVWR or GAWR can not ever be changed" or "it is absolutely illegal to exceed your GVWR" as a FACT then its obvious they are attempting to make a stand on a law that does not necessarily exist. Yes, some states do have laws on their books regarding weights, but in general, and i emphasize GENERAL, most refer to registration weights and not GVWR. Most that do have the laws, dont even start fines until you are over 1k lbs overweight. This in no way releases civil liabilities but as i said in the OP, nobody ever really needed a reason to sue you to begin with. There are other fines if it is unsafe but not correlated to "overweight" but rather inability to control vehicle, etc. In argument to the newbie side of things, why should they come here and automatically be shot down based on personal opinion, all im showing by law is that its not binding and can be altered if done within the letter of the law. If a shop does it, that is where their sticker comes in, because liability will shift to them for gross negligence or other claims if they exaggerate the new GVWR. Or its done at home, you assume liability if you exceed your vehicles safety, hence the reason to speak with an attorney part of the post. In no way does that post read that you can walk outside and look at your vehicle and say hmmm i think im going to rate it at 20k lbs.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:53 PM   #13
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The easiest thing to do, and the bottom line to all the governmental Barbra Steisand in the first post, is to abide by what the manufacturer puts on the truck when they build it. That way there is no argument and no question as to what the truck can carry or pull. If you go to a local body shop and he adds a few springs and air bags and increases your GVWR sticker, that just gives the lawyers another target of opportunity. They'll go after the body shop and still come after you, you're the vehicle owner, your responsible.
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:04 PM   #14
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Frankly, i love how this site's members throw insults at the posts or persons because they disagree with the topic!

I never said it wasn't easiest and or correct or incorrect to just follow the manufacturer guidelines. What i am saying is, if people ask a question, lets give them the correct information to make their informed decision on their course of action.

All i said was, i showed the law for my standing, if you want me to see where you stand, show me the law you reference when a person says its illegal or fact.

Im calling out those who preach legalities here who may have some knowledge on laws, im just asking for them to show them as I have showed the one that has contradicted their stand point.

But i guess like politics, if a candidate has nothing to stand on, all they do is hurl insults and opinionated statements.
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