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Old 01-26-2017, 04:53 PM   #15
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It seems to me that the term overloading is being applied far too generally in this thread.

A tire is overloaded if it is asked to carry more weight than it was designed for, at a specific pressure.

An axle is overloaded if it is asked to carry more than it was designed for.

A vehicle is overloaded if the total loaded weight is more than its GVWR, although there is very little focus on that figure by the authorities, for non-commercial operators, so many non-commercial operators focus more on the sum of the axle ratings.

GCVWR matters for commercial operators, but has little application to non-commercial operators due to the lack of regulations referencing it.

Exceeding the recommended towing limit is not overloading IMO. If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment. And so on.

Applying the term overloading to all of the above does a disservice to our community because some of the above (tire loads, axle loads, GVWR) matter far more. They are grounded in legal definitions and regulations, unlike a tow rating. This isn't to say that any vehicle can tow any trailer, but for purposes of personal liability I worry more about breaking laws than exceeding manufacturer's numbers.
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Old 01-26-2017, 05:25 PM   #16
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A guy just flapping his gums. No substantial content here. Can't even watch 3 minutes of it.
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Old 01-26-2017, 06:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jcl View Post
It seems to me that the term overloading is being applied far too generally in this thread.



A tire is overloaded if it is asked to carry more weight than it was designed for, at a specific pressure.



An axle is overloaded if it is asked to carry more than it was designed for.



A vehicle is overloaded if the total loaded weight is more than its GVWR, although there is very little focus on that figure by the authorities, for non-commercial operators, so many non-commercial operators focus more on the sum of the axle ratings.



GCVWR matters for commercial operators, but has little application to non-commercial operators due to the lack of regulations referencing it.



Exceeding the recommended towing limit is not overloading IMO. If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment. And so on.



Applying the term overloading to all of the above does a disservice to our community because some of the above (tire loads, axle loads, GVWR) matter far more. They are grounded in legal definitions and regulations, unlike a tow rating. This isn't to say that any vehicle can tow any trailer, but for purposes of personal liability I worry more about breaking laws than exceeding manufacturer's numbers.


That's a meaningful distinction (overloaded components vs. towing capacity).

I think I've used the word "overloading" on towing capacity because to me it seems like the value is applied to an entire system rather than a single component. So when you say....

"If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment."

...all of that may be true, but may also be insufficient. If you install a stronger hitch, have you unintentionally impacted the frame? If you weld a rigid bar to reinforce the hitch, did you unintentionally defeat a crumple zone? If you upgrade the brakes but not the cooling system, did you miss a key element that had the tow rating at 5000# and not 10000#? Were bolts designed to withstand X# of force now subjected to multiples of that because a higher capacity hitch was installed?

I'm assuming engineers, marketing and legal folks all chime in on how those ratings are derived and published. I also assume the engineers look at every component of the system and take the "weakest link" in to consideration before articulating the limit. Changes made to the system may/may not put more stress on the weakest link or in some fashion weaken the system despite beefing up a single component.

And again - having said all that - I still haven't seen any law that says exceeding tow ratings is illegal or read of any specific criminal case in which the defendant was found guilty of a crime for exceeding mfg tow ratings. If those exist, it would be helpful for the video's author to relate. As it is - the video is just 10 minutes of the same opinion repeated about 20 times
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
It seems to me that the term overloading is being applied far too generally in this thread.

A tire is overloaded if it is asked to carry more weight than it was designed for, at a specific pressure.

An axle is overloaded if it is asked to carry more than it was designed for.

A vehicle is overloaded if the total loaded weight is more than its GVWR, although there is very little focus on that figure by the authorities, for non-commercial operators, so many non-commercial operators focus more on the sum of the axle ratings.

GCVWR matters for commercial operators, but has little application to non-commercial operators due to the lack of regulations referencing it.

Exceeding the recommended towing limit is not overloading IMO. If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment. And so on.

Applying the term overloading to all of the above does a disservice to our community because some of the above (tire loads, axle loads, GVWR) matter far more. They are grounded in legal definitions and regulations, unlike a tow rating. This isn't to say that any vehicle can tow any trailer, but for purposes of personal liability I worry more about breaking laws than exceeding manufacturer's numbers.
I like what jcl has written; it's a neat summation and deftly separates the ambiguous Tow Rating from those ratings that are unambiguous, namely GVWR, axle and tire.

Ignoring the tow rating is not necessarily overloading your tow vehicle. Exceeding the tow rating (assuming your GVW, axle and tire ratings are good) isn't breaking the law.
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:14 PM   #19
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Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be done. As an advertising stunt, Wally Byam once towed an Airstream with a bicycle. I'm guessing that he didn't tow it very far or very fast and certainly not downhill, but he did tow it.

I'm getting an F350 to tow our Airstream just because an F250 would be just too close for comfort. Yes, I might be completely within specs, but it is also possible that I'd be over somewhere. An F350 has enough more weight capacity that I know I'll be fine.
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:45 PM   #20
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That is why you have insurance...i never seen any one with an rv get checked for weight....I have been told in Mt scales that commercial laws do not apply to tourists and rv's , they don't need log books, or brakes on towed vehicles, or vehicle inspections.....
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:46 PM   #21
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After reading all the above comments, No one has mentioned any thing about posted speed limits, tire speed ratings, and well maintained equipment.
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:49 PM   #22
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I've never heard of any specific laws. Vehicle and equipment ratings are not laws. However, I can tell you from 20 years in the "towing" business that if anyone is injured in the accident then everyone is getting caught in that net. Years ago I was an "expert" witness in a case where the father and grandma died in the accident. Mom and daughters lived.

The dealer, hitch company (not either one I'm associated with), trailer manufacturer, and tow vehicle manufacturer were ALL defendants in the case. The entire rig was within "ratings."

All of the defendants pitched in on a multi-million dollar settlement.

Lesson learned? Get in an accident where someone is injured and ratings don't hold any water one way or the other.


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Old 01-26-2017, 08:22 PM   #23
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Sean - to be clear, that must have been a civil, not criminal case, yes?
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Old 01-26-2017, 08:34 PM   #24
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Sean - to be clear, that must have been a civil, not criminal case, yes?
Yes.

But I don't think it's too far-fetched to think there is a district attorney out there that would bring some kind of charge regardless of someone being within their ratings or not. Especially if a traveler is passing through their town and takes out a local in an accident.

I think the point is we live in a very litigious world and even if we all do the right thing at every step of the way we'll probably get caught up in something if anything injurious happens.

That said, we all take calculated risks every day of our lives in everything we do and can't live our lives in a dark cave. There are tens of millions of miles towed every year and the chances of a death, or even any real injury, are minimal.


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Old 01-26-2017, 08:36 PM   #25
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That is why you have insurance...i never seen any one with an rv get checked for weight....I have been told in Mt scales that commercial laws do not apply to tourists and rv's , they don't need log books, or brakes on towed vehicles, or vehicle inspections.....
That is entirely dependent on which jurisdiction we are referring to. I live in a province with many steep mountain passes, big loads related to logging and mining, and a resultant history of MV regulations that cover trailer brakes, maximum GVW, inspections, and so on, for commercial and non-commercial vehicles. For some equipment, the BC safety regulations were so strict that we had to certify commercial vehicles that were modified, with a P.Eng. stamp. We had braking rules that many manufacturers used as their testing benchmark during product development. We even had a local industry building specialized trucks for these conditions and local regulations (Western Star, Pacific).

And with all that, no provincial regulations exist related to tow rating. That says a lot.

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Old 01-26-2017, 09:01 PM   #26
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...all of that may be true, but may also be insufficient. If you install a stronger hitch, have you unintentionally impacted the frame? If you weld a rigid bar to reinforce the hitch, did you unintentionally defeat a crumple zone? If you upgrade the brakes but not the cooling system, did you miss a key element that had the tow rating at 5000# and not 10000#? Were bolts designed to withstand X# of force now subjected to multiples of that because a higher capacity hitch was installed?

I'm assuming engineers, marketing and legal folks all chime in on how those ratings are derived and published. I also assume the engineers look at every component of the system and take the "weakest link" in to consideration before articulating the limit. Changes made to the system may/may not put more stress on the weakest link or in some fashion weaken the system despite beefing up a single component.
Lots of points there. Unibody construction is stronger than a ladder frame. It is just more important how you attach a receiver structure to it. Crumple zones don't cause crashes. If maintaining one is important, don't tow. One reason not to worry as much about tow ratings is that they didn't use to exist. We all towed for decades before factory hitches were ever available.

One sign that a tow rating is closer to a theoretical limit is if it also includes restrictions on frontal area, or other factors. A big box trailer tows very differently than an independently sprung, aerodynamic, travel trailer, as an example. If the manufacturer's tow limit doesn't acknowledge that, it doesn't seem to have been rigorously developed and spec'd, IMO.

It is perhaps easier if one is an engineer, with a career in vehicle and equipment sales/service/warranty admin. If one doesn't have that background, listen to those who have been doing this for a long time. CanAm comes to mind.

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And again - having said all that - I still haven't seen any law that says exceeding tow ratings is illegal or read of any specific criminal case in which the defendant was found guilty of a crime for exceeding mfg tow ratings.
That is because it isn't illegal. No law, no crime. Just lots of FUD.

Manufacturers specify tire pressures. Do we see court cases where people are found liable solely because they didn't follow the manufacturer's recommendation? Seems analogous to me.
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:12 PM   #27
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GCVWR matters for commercial operators, but has little application to non-commercial operators due to the lack of regulations referencing it. Exceeding the recommended towing limit is not overloading IMO.
It seems the general tenor of the conversation is that "IMO" doesn't amount to much in court.

My truck has a stated GCVWR. How is that number less relevant than GVWR?

Is there literature that tells which are the weakest links for each vehicle? Truck A could pull 4,000 lbs more if it had firmer shocks, Truck B needs a reinforced hitch, Truck C needs larger brakes. How can you know if the radiator is sufficient? Maybe the wheel bearings, transmission cooler hoses, leaf spring hangers, and brake pad size are all too small? What if you missed just one of these upgrades?
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:25 PM   #28
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My truck has a stated GCVWR. How is that number less relevant than GVWR?
Depends on whether you are a commercial operator. GCVWR is defined in the various regulations for commercial operators. It comes into play when a manufacturer defines a GCVWR, and you are a commercial operator. Many vehicles do not have a GCVWR, because these vehicles are not often used for commercial purposes, so they don't need one. Mine doesn't. That doesn't mean they can't tow.

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Is there literature that tells which are the weakest links for each vehicle? Truck A could pull 4,000 lbs more if it had firmer shocks, Truck B needs a reinforced hitch, Truck C needs larger brakes. How can you know if the radiator is sufficient? Maybe the wheel bearings, transmission cooler hoses, leaf spring hangers, and brake pad size are all too small? What if you missed just one of these upgrades?
No, there isn't. But there is a wide body of experience. There are also ways to determine if there is a weak link. For example, if you try to restore front axle loading with WD equipment, and can't do so, your receiver may be flexing. If you overheat on a long hill, you may need to add cooling capacity, or slow down. But instead of going down that rabbit hole, let's bring it back to crash avoidance, and leave off the "what if my truck wears out sooner" aspects, as those depend on load factors, duty cycles, and so on. There isn't one answer.

Which of the above are you thinking would be a direct cause of a crash, if the vehicle is operating within GVWR?
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