First the definition of GVWR
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), or gross vehicle mass (GVM), is the maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer including the vehicle's chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers, and cargo but excluding that of trailers. The term is used for motor vehicles and trains.
Seems like a very simple definition but it seems to be a lot of confusion about the mean of GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). You notice the definition says “maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle” and includes “vehicle's chassis, body, engine, engine fluids”. There are two main parts to GVWR which are GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Ratings) and the chassis ratings which is basically everything else like chassis, frame, springs, drive train, and etc. To determine GVWR you have to consider the weakest link between the axle ratings and the chassis ratings and the weakest link between the two is the GVWR which is the “Max Operating Weight/Mass”.
The NTEA gives an easy to understand how the GVWR is assigned to vehicles using both the “Chassis Rating” and the “Axle Ratings” and that axle rating is only one part of the GVWR and the safe operation of your truck.
There’s a common misconception that a truck’s GVWR is determined by adding gross axle weight ratings (GAWRs) together for all axles. Although this was a common way of calculating GVWR many years ago, it’s no longer an accurate method. The chassis manufacturer's task of establishing a vehicle GVWR is much more difficult today due to the advancement of safety system standards and how vehicles meet these requirements. This is why many trucks have a GVWR much lower than the combined axle ratings. It’s not uncommon for a truck with a GVWR of 19,500 pounds to have a front axle rated at 7,500 pounds and a rear axle rated at 14,700 pounds. Safety standards that apply to braking, vehicle stability, and chassis manufacturer internal standards for durability, dynamic stability and handling can restrict GVWR even though the sum of the axle ratings exceeds 22,000 pounds. In this instance, the OEM set the GVWR at 19,500 pounds based on test results and vehicle dynamic performance to ensure a safe, reliable truck.
Some vehicles like my Class A motorhome had a chassis rating that exceed the axle ratings. My motorhome has 24,000 and 12,500 axle ratings which account for 36,500 pound GVWR but my chassis ratings according to the Freightliner is over 50,000 pounds so the axles are the weakest link and becomes the GVWR. This is not the case on a light-duty truck where the GVWR is less than the axle ratings and is because the chassis is the weakest link.
I’m sure you have read that post that all they are worried about is getting a ticket for being overweight but operating a safe vehicle being over the manufacture chassis ratings or axle ratings should be your top concern not getting a ticket.
I am sure you have heard just buy more payloads from the DVM. Nevada seems to be one of the states that people claim you can do this. The truth is the DMV will sell you enough payload equal Class 8 18 wheeler. I called the Nevada DMV and ask about the additional payload trumps manufacture ratings and they couldn’t answer the question. I got a call back from the legal department and they stated that it was administrative only and does not change any of the ratings of your truck you still must stay within what he called the “door tags” I also verified this with Washington state.
I also read that GVWR is just for warranty. If I was in the warranty claims department I would like to know that the chassis component is being operated above the GVWR “maximum operating weight”.
I did a quick search of the 2021 Ford user manual and towing guides and found 17 occurrences of the statement below:
“The addition of trailer kingpin load weight, and the weight of passengers and cargo, must not cause vehicle weights to exceed the rear GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) or GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). These ratings can be found on the vehicle’s Safety Compliance Certification Label”
I'm just not sure how much clearer Ford could make it that don't exceed the GVWR.
Below are graphics from the Ford Towing Guides from the link above. The most profound statement is
“Remember that the GVWR and the GAWR are found on the vehicles Safety Compliance Certification Label. If either of those limits is exceeded, you should go with a larger vehicle or a smaller trailer.
I think I have posted enough links to reliable sources to support staying within both the GVWR and GAWR. How much more reliable than the manufacture that did the designed work and built the vehicles and did the testing on them.
I’m sure a lot of forum members are going to challenge the information above but ask them is that their opinion or is based on fact and if so would they provide a link to the information and not just believe me because I know best.