Overloading your rig

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Boostpowered

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I know weve all been a victim of this, loading up all the gear you think you will need metal bumpers, skidplates, larger tires, winches and gear, bed racks with tents, coolers/fridges, miscellaneous camping gear, passengers, extra fuel. But how often do you think about what your rig weighs after all that, the curb weight definately changes when you put the metal bumpers,winch and tires are on and anything else you normally leave on the rig daily. At this point your gmvw has changed and you will not be able to carry as much safely. If you have lifted suspension your shocks,springs etc are larger therfore heavier so that needs to be added also. If you weigh everything and add it up you may find out your rig is over the reccomended safe weight. Also if your gmvw is met or exceeded with gear and passengers forget about hauling a trailer just the toung weight alone will make things very dangerous.

Thoughts?
 

Neal A. Tew

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I know weve all been a victim of this, loading up all the gear you think you will need metal bumpers, skidplates, larger tires, winches and gear, bed racks with tents, coolers/fridges, miscellaneous camping gear, passengers, extra fuel. But how often do you think about what your rig weighs after all that, the curb weight definately changes when you put the metal bumpers,winch and tires are on and anything else you normally leave on the rig daily. At this point your gmvw has changed and you will not be able to carry as much safely. If you have lifted suspension your shocks,springs etc are larger therfore heavier so that needs to be added also. If you weigh everything and add it up you may find out your rig is over the reccomended safe weight. Also if your gmvw is met or exceeded with gear and passengers forget about hauling a trailer just the toung weight alone will make things very dangerous.

Thoughts?
All valid points. I've become a bit of an overlanding minimalist because I've made all those mistakes in the past.

Often that added weight probably determined whether I conquered an obstacle fairly easily or needed the winch. Lots of extra weight causes more wear and tear on mechanicals, too.
 

SG MD

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I went to a CAT scale and it really surprised me how easy it is to overload. I was at the limit without steel bumpers so I decided to skip those upgrades.
 

mk-Zero

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I guess it depends on how you use your vehicle. I've got my FJ pretty armored up, and all those skids, sliders, etc have been drug over boulders, and have the gouges to prove it, and therefore in my mind been necessary to protect my driveline, body, etc. But if those aren't the type of trail you run, by all means save all that weight! It sure doesn't help gas milage or wear and tear, not to mention the added expense. I'm sure i have close to $4k in armor on my FJ. Could have got a lot of sweet camping gear for that much! :laughing:
 
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I'm very concerned about it for overlanding.

(For ranching I'm less concerned about it because overloading is occasional, at very low speeds, and under controlled conditions with no other vehicles on the road.)

I've seen many vehicles break in many different ways because they were overloaded. Snapped suspension; excessively worn joints; twisted drive shafts and busted u-joints; prematurely worn tires, brakes, and clutches.

It's just not worth it to overload. Even if I do get into a situation that some random, heavy tool, body armor, or spare part might have helped me get out of, recovery is so much easier with a lighter vehicle. Yes, in that single instance, it might have been even easier with that almost entirely dead weight, but that unusual instance isn't worth the much more common and consistent lowered mpg, higher chance of breakage, and additional cost.

I'll bring extra food and water, extra safety (true safety) gear, some tools, and etc. I'm certainly not going to carry sand tracks when I'm certain I won't experience sand. I don't carry a Hi-Lift. I don't put on armor or sliders or anything else that I *might* need but very, very likely won't.

Looks cool, yeah, but I like my truck to work all the times it's NOT being used in the backcountry. The cost of replacing broken or prematurely worn parts? The cost of all of that armor? The extra cost of fuel? I'm saving that for my adventures.
 

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Pro Tip....Less is More..
You dont need all that stuff to go...
Coming from a guy that circumnavigated the second largest state...in a stock rig...

Todays GEAR is really cool...and it stops there.
Location is the #1 player in bolt on crap...
Kalahari? Yes, thought process required.
USA? Nope. Dont need it, although the want is high..
Just go do it!
If driver is concerned about getting stuck... a $75 Come-a-Long with 100’ of something will get you home.
 
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mk-Zero

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Armor doesn't really keep you from getting stuck, it's for preventing damage that will leave you stranded. Again, the trails I wheel on, I can tell you I would have done severe engine, transmission, and body damage with out the armor on numerous occations that could have left me stranded. I dont think I would want to drag my FJ a foot at a time with a come-a-long for 20 or more miles to the nearest road because i tore off my oil pan. No thanks.
In all seriousness though, absolutely don't wast your money on it if the trails you roll don't involve dragging your undercarriage over huge bolders. Total waste of money in that case.
 
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Boostpowered

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I was rockin a come along up until last weekend i finally gave in bought a smittybilt 13000lb winch. The problem with comealongs is #1 the highest rating i could find is 8000 lbs which is fine on paper for a truck thats loaded to 6300lbs on flat ground but in the real world it don't work when your stuck axle deep in the mud or winching up a hill, #2 problem ive found with the comealong is they are only safe to use about 5 times under full load before they start to fail. It got me by till i could get an electic winch but it wasn't optimal.
Also a comealong aleast the one i had only had a 10ft cable which was very problematic my electric winch has 85 ft of cable enough to use a snatch block for double line pull.
 

Boostpowered

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Armor doesn't really keep you from getting stuck, it's for preventing damage that will leave you stranded. Again, the trails I wheel on, I can tell you I would have done severe engine, transmission, and body damage with out the armor on numerous occations that could have left me stranded. I dont think I would want to drag my FJ a foot at a time with a come-a-long for 20 or more miles to the nearest road because i tore off my oil pan. No thanks.
In all seriousness though, absolutely don't wast your money on it if the trails you roll don't involve dragging your undercarriage over huge bolders. Total waste of money in that case.
Boulders arent the only factor in armor, tree stumps can and will rip things apart especially bois d arch stumps. Jist reversing out of a mud hole can rip a stock plastic bumper off
 
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Boostpowered

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Go here after rain and you will find out if you really need a winch or not. this whole area around ladonia and pecan gap has some dirt backroads that will test your rig its where i go to test my truck when i get a new part. Some are fairly easy and some will make you think you made a big mistake turning down them, fannin county doesn't take good care of the roads. If my truck can make it through this particular road after even a light rain i know there isnt much else to be worried about mud wise. Id bet money most folks wouldn't make it 10ft past the treeline

Dropped pin
Near Co Rd 3680, Ladonia, TX 75449
 

Lindenwood

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I brought this up not too long ago :) .

 

Boostpowered

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I brought this up not too long ago :) .

Your post is mostly talking about trailering, im more concerned with a fully loaded rig when your stuck somewhere and need recovery , sticky mud adds resistance which adds more weight to your recovery gear, as does being stuck on an incline. It is hard to determine how much weight the resistance is adding ive read from 10% to 30% more but that merely guessing.
 

trikebubble

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Pro Tip....Less is More..
You dont need all that stuff to go...
Coming from a guy that circumnavigated the second largest state...in a stock rig...

Todays GEAR is really cool...and it stops there.
Location is the #1 player in bolt on crap...
Kalahari? Yes, thought process required.
USA? Nope. Dont need it, although the want is high..
Just go do it!
If driver is concerned about getting stuck... a $75 Come-a-Long with 100’ of something will get you home.

Less is more is really relative and dependent on where we plan on going and what may happen to prevent our safe return home. Sometimes we most certainly need all that stuff to go and get back. Not that I don't put some thought into what "all that stuff is" and do my level best to keep some common sense in the equation. If we are headed into the BC back-country for a weekend, we certainly pack differently than if we are heading out on a long multi-week adventure. We drove The Dempster last year. Their are 2 fuel stops along the 750+km route, with the longest stretch being around 365km. It wouldn't take much, in the way of a landslide or closed road and being forced to backtrack , to make one realize that taking less (as opposed to more) spare fuel could be a critical miscalculation.

I did, however, decide to take 2 full size spares on our Northern journey, which was totally overkill. With relatively new E-rated tires we had no issues whatsoever.
 
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smlobx

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The other thing that I have started taking into account is that not everyone needs to carry a high lift jack or maxtrax’s or even camp stoves etc.
If you are going on a true expedition then you need to think like you’re backpacking (one person carries the tent, another the stove etc.)
This should shed over 100 pounds on each vehicle.
 
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Lindenwood

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Your post is mostly talking about trailering, im more concerned with a fully loaded rig when your stuck somewhere and need recovery , sticky mud adds resistance which adds more weight to your recovery gear, as does being stuck on an incline. It is hard to determine how much weight the resistance is adding ive read from 10% to 30% more but that merely guessing.
You are right that my thread did little to address recovery-specific consequences of added weight. However, almost the entire thread is simply about general awareness of driving over weight limits; very little of it is specific to trailering.

That said, here are some examples hoq to approximate the required steady pulling force for recovery. I have seen multiple variations of these kinds of formulae, but again they are all just approximations. In any case, as you can see, all the calculations are very much weight-dependent.


 

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We are evangelical about GVWR. It's absolutely critical if you want to travel internationally. For the occasional trip on private property like ranching, as another poster mentioned, it's not as critical, but for any kind of vehicle-based travel I think it is really important. And I'd wager that a lot of rigs that are set up to be "Expo Cool" are probably over the GVWR, especially if they are really built up smaller SUVs, like Jeeps.

Our previous overlanding rig was a Jeep JK Rubicon -- what many argue is the best Overlanding platform available in North America.

Only, it isn't.

I'll explain why for anyone who doesn't know this and stumbles on this thread:

There are 3 important numbers to pay attention to with rigs. The first is the Curb Weight. This is how much an empty, bone-stock vehicle weighs with full fluids parked at the curb, just like the name implies.

The second is GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). This is the maximum allowable weight of the vehicle. There may also be a number associated which is the Combined GVWR -- it's a number that the rig and trailer cannot exceed. Since there is another thread on trailers I won't go into that here. The GVWR is the maximum weight the vehicle was designed to be, and there is some limiting factor -- tires, bearings, axles, transmission, engine, suspension, etc. -- that means the engineers have said "This, and no more".

The third and final number -- which is, I'd argue, the most important -- is Payload. GVWR minus Curb Weight = Payload. Payload is how much stuff you can bring, and is meant to include the weight of the driver, passengers, family dog, luggage, etc. What people forget is that it also includes all those snazzy aftermarket bits and pieces, and those add up fast. 150 lbs for a steel bumper. 100 lbs for a winch. 150 lbs for a RTT, etc.

So why do I think the JK Rubicon, or even the JL Rubicon, is not the best platform? Because the Payload is only 750-800 lbs. Just me, my wife, and our dog take up over half that payload in a stock jeep. By the time you add even basic camping gear and luggage for a week away, we are easily over the payload capacity. I'm not saying you cannot use the jeep for overlanding -- you absolutely can, and thousands do -- we did for years! But, you have to take a backpacker mentality to it. Small, light, compact is the only way to live long-term out of a JK on a multi-month expedition and respect it's GVWR. If you have your heart set on a fridge, an RTT, bull bar, winch, and expo-cool rear tire carrier with 3 jerry cans off the side, you will find that the Jeep is not suitable. The same is true for a lot of smaller SUVs.

"But ChasingOurTrunks, you said that GVWR is limited by components, so I can increase that number by upgrading suspension and such, can't I?!", Yes, I did say that and functionally, replacing components would increase capacity so that's true!

Only, it isn't.

The GVWR is a number that manufacturers set, and it cannot be changed legally. The numbers printed on the door jam are the numbers associated with the VIN of your vehicle. It doesn't matter if you upgrade every single component in the rig, it will still have the same GVWR according to one, very important stakeholder: The Insurance Company.

You can get away with overloading a rig in some jurisdictions, but in others you may find that being overweight voids your insurance coverage, and can expose you to extreme liability in an accident. You may also find that some countries will deny you entry (or deny you insurance which denies you entry in effect). And even though I've been disagreed with on other forums, an overloaded rig will have a higher rate of component failure than one that is kept within the weight limits it was designed for.

We went through every piece of gear we had and weighed it down to the gram, and ultimately this exercise is why we replaced our Jeep with a mid-size truck with 1500lbs payload capacity. For the kind of travel we do, we needed the extra weight capacity.

What I suggest folks do is they pick a rainy Saturday when they aren't out adventuring, and take ALL of the gear they typically bring on a trip and the bathroom scale. Weigh every piece of it and record it in a spreadsheet; every time you add or subtract gear, toss it on the scale and update the spreadsheet. Toss the weights of people in there too -- if you lose 50 lbs, update it. The goal is to create a database of your "Payload" -- you'll know, down to the pound, how much weight your are bringing on a trip.

Then, find out how much your existing accessories weigh. If a lot of stuff is bolted on or is difficult to find the weights of online, just go to the nearest trucker scale -- there are plenty all over the US and Canada, always near major roads (interstates, Trans Canada, etc.) and find out how much your new "Curb Weight" is with all your accessories bolted on. You may find your payload is lacking -- if that's the case, you only have three options:

1) Bring less stuff

2) Buy lighter accessories.

3) Take your chances with an overloaded rig.
 

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Here is a post I made on Expo of our weighing process; hopefully it's useful to some. As I mentioned, after this process we replaced the Jeep with a mid-sized Truck. The point is, as Bill Burr says: "Getting fit is hard. It's a lot of work. You hear about people trying to lose weight all the time, and it's a chore. Ever hear of someone trying to get fat? No. It just happens. It's effortless!".

_______________________


To continue this thread/idea a bit, my wife and I tore through all our gear and weighed everything. A couple of notes:

1) There are some items that 'live' in the jeep -- tools, spare parts, etc. mostly stay in there permanently, and are not broken out individually but included in the "unloaded jeep weight"

2) The JK, as previously mentioned, is a 2013 Rubicon, Smittybilt XRC front and rear bumpers, custom rear tire carrier/jerry can holder, Gobi stealth roof rack, HAM Radio, and water pump. The rest is stock. All of these items are permanently bolted on and are also accounted for in the 'unloaded jeep weight' figure.

3) Our trips are rarely weekends only -- we generally have to live off our vehicles for a month at a time, going into towns and cities as rarely as possible and only when we need food or gas, so that greatly informs some of our needs like a shower and such. We mostly eat dried foods and fresh fruit, and neither of us drink anymore so we have no need for a cooler or a fridge.

The short version:

Metric
Unloaded Jeep Weight: 2268 Kilograms
Equipment Weight: 286 Kilograms
People/Dogs: 210 Kilograms
Total Weight: 2764 Kilograms
GVWR: 2590 Kilograms
Total: 174.3 Kilograms over GVWR

Freedom Units
Unloaded Jeep Weight: 4989 lbs
Equipment Weight: 629.2 lbs
People/Dogs: 462 lbs
Total Weight: 6080.8
GVWR: 5700 lbs
Total: 383.46 lbs over GVWR

Here's a breakdown of what we weighed with our "everything we want to bring" list; some things are estimates but this will give others a fair idea of how much some of this stuff weighs; the below items, in total, are the 286kgs/629.2 lbs

102655

Now, the real fun part was trying to decide what was "nice to have' versus "need to have". Here is where we got on our "Need to have" list; in this configuration we've stripped out a lot of the creature comforts. This puts us at 243 kgs/534.6 lbs of equipment, and importantly, even after shedding the 'nice to have' stuff, we are still 131.4kgs/289.08lbs over GVWR!

102656


There are quite a few things we can go without -- maybe, like the hi-lift jack. But, it's one of those things where if you need it, you need it. Other areas we saved some weight are in things like the Shower Kit and Table -- for instance, our current shower kit is a propane RV water heaters stored in a pelican case. It' brilliant but we can save some weight using an onboard heat exchanger. The table is a very light aluminum one, but a tailgate table will work just as well for a few less pounds. We can also sub out our metal winch rope for a synthetic one. There are a few other example of areas we 'shaved' weight without removing items.

And now here's the final chart. This one more accurately reflects a 'real' trip for us, where my wife is in the JK with the dogs, and I'm on my triumph. We communicate all day via radio and sort of convoy around the place. We do this for two reasons. First, and primarily, I really love riding. Second, having an additional vehicle allows us to go to more remote places safely, as if there is a failure of one rig, we have another to go for help on. Here's the list of weights for that scenario; this means we've split the gear up between the bike (Hobbes) and the Jeep (Ruby), resulting in Hobbes hauling 32kg/70lbs and Ruby hauling 211kg/464.20lbs. In this scenario, Ruby loses an additional 90kgs since I'll be on the bike, but even then she is still 9.1 kgs over GVWR -- much closer, but still a problem technically. And, we eventually want to have kids which will add a good chunk of weight.


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However, not all is lost -- some quick math shows that if we went with Aluminum bumpers instead of the Smittybilt ones, we'd save 74kg/162.8lbs! These numbers are based off advertised weights for both styles of bumper, and even if that is a bit inflated due to shipping material, a savings of 50kgs/110lbs seems very reasonable from this one change alone. This change would put us about 64kgs under GVWR.

Similar changes that could be made would be things like swapping the steel skid plates with Aluminum ones, netting another few pounds. However other changes -- like swapping the hardtop for a soft top (Saving about 75 lbs, from what I read) comes with a significant noise/comfort/security sacrifice. Other mods -- like swapping the hood for a fibreglass one, have their own set of problems since our dogs use the hood of the jeep to get into the tent.

Hopefully this experience we just had helps inform others when selecting an Overland rig, and highlights how easy it is to do "typical" mods and still completely blow past the GVWR without even really trying. We've got more work to do on sorting out our weight issue. Our goal is to land at 2500kgs/5500lbs, so we've got a long way to go!
 
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