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Old 03-23-2012, 10:05 PM   #1
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Enhancing a 1/2 ton pickup's payload?

Given:
- many articles about how easy it is to exceed a 1/2 ton pickup's payload
- my own calculations which indicate it can be done (with an empty bed!),

does anyone have knowledge of or experience with ways to enhance a 1/2 ton pickup's payload?
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:18 PM   #2
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The answer is sure, but the big question is why? I went down that path with my car. It had a 5k tow rating. I put larger gears in the back, suspension upgrades, engine upgrades, cooling, etc, yet in the end, the frame was not up to the added weights and I wound up busting body mounts. Now could I have reinforced the frame, probably, but in the end, I went with a 3/4 ton.

Back in '04 there was a clear difference between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton (at least in GMland). Today, those differences have blurred. Looking at your rig, you have a 23 footer. If that's the case, maybe an upgraded trans cooler, some gears if you are going to be in the mountains if your gears are less than 3.42, but other than that, I'd think 1/2 with what you have would be fine.....less perhaps a few small tweaks...
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:51 PM   #3
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You ask about payload not tow capacity / rating.

A spring shop is probably the best place to start. You could add a leaf that only comes into play when the trailer is on the hitch and loading the 150 to its limit. This is what GM does on the 3500's. They ride like a 2500 until the load increases.

I have no experience with airbags on the rear axle but, they are still available.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingfoot321 View Post
You ask about payload not tow capacity / rating.

A spring shop is probably the best place to start. You could add a leaf that only comes into play when the trailer is on the hitch and loading the 150 to its limit. This is what GM does on the 3500's. They ride like a 2500 until the load increases.

I have no experience with airbags on the rear axle but, they are still available.
Yes, but the physics is similar. Exceeding capacity is exceeding capacity. Since it's Airstream related not a hauling forum.... I chose to respond to the tow side of it.

The end result is much more than springs or bags. Changing one aspect can require many other changes down the line beyond the one change to solve the immediate issue.

Ever see the frame in a 2500hd vs a 1500? Considerable difference. More to hauling or towing than springs.... moreover most 1500s don't use leaf springs, they use coils....so adding an extra leaf in most (read not all) cases isn't an option.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:25 PM   #5
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So far I have not read anything about the rear axle rating. There should be a data plate on the door jam showing what the max rear axle weight rating is. It doesn't matter if you change the gear ratio or add air bags if the axle and bearings are overloaded.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:30 AM   #6
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Get a three quarter ton truck...less worry. We pulled for four miles... with a half ton and it was terrible, but with the larger truck now it is much better...cut to the chase.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
So far I have not read anything about the rear axle rating. There should be a data plate on the door jam showing what the max rear axle weight rating is. It doesn't matter if you change the gear ratio or add air bags if the axle and bearings are overloaded.
Exactly...springs won't change the axle rating.

And be very careful about what the after market folks tell you...

Here's an email inquiry I sent....


On Sep 7, 2011, at 12:34 PM, INFO @ SuspensionConnection wrote:

The Firestone air bags will increase your weight carrying capacity by
5000 pounds. I definitely recommend this system for your Burb:
Firestone #2253 - Chevy Suburban Firestone Ride-Rite Air Bags 2000-2009

Thanks

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Crosse [@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@]
Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2011 10:59 AM
To: info@suspensionconnection.com
Subject: Airbag Chev Suburban

I am wondering how much more payload I will gain by adding rear bags to
my 06 3/4 Burb. Not sure of what the "level load capacity" of the Burb
is now.
I am concerned about overloading the axle as I tow an RV. How much would
I gain by upgrading the suspension with a quality air bag system.
Look forward to your recommendations.

Thank You,
Bob

"level load capacity" is sales-speak and no explanation was given in their reply, ie..warning DO NOT EXCEED your axles' rating.

Our rear axle is rated at 5500lbs....so now with bags it's 10500lbs?
I don't think so.

Bob
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:54 AM   #8
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The purpose of air lifts on the suspension is to level/trim the vehicle. I use them on our F250; the stock rear axle has a load rating of 6??? lbs, and the front 4500 lbs or so... and the truck 8800 lbs. This gives one a lot of flexibility as to where the load can go, but the attitude of the truck changes a lot. The air lifts let me tune things so that the truck is at the right height; I can also prevent hobby-horsing when towing with them as well.

If your F150 has similar flexibility in the load placement, you may be able to use them effectively. However, I would hesitate to overload the GVW by more than 5% or so. You should not exceed the axle ratings, and never exceed the tire ratings.

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Old 03-24-2012, 11:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
More to hauling or towing than springs.... moreover most 1500s don't use leaf springs, they use coils....so adding an extra leaf in most (read not all) cases isn't an option.
The only 1/2 ton, or 1500, that I know of that uses coil springs in the rear at this time, is Dodge. I know GM, Ford, and Toyota use leaf springs.

Regards,
Steve
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:07 PM   #10
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Cool

We have a half ton Tahoe with the heavy-duty trailering package which includes 3.42 gears, transmission cooler, larger radiator and engine oil cooler. We also have an integrated factory installed trailer brake. The towing capacity is 8500lbs. Fully loaded for camping we are at 7400+-. The new 6 speed transmission with the tow-haul mode coupled up with the 5.3 V8 has worked very well for us so far. We are fairly new but have towed comfortably in a variety of situations. We use a Hensley Arrow for sway control and weight dist. I have played with the weight dist on a cat scale that is usually not being used on Hwy 16 and I can move the axle weights all over. I can moniter the transmission temp and the engine oil temp. We will be taking three long trips this summer and I hope I am satisfied with the set-up as I am now. Best of luck to you.

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Old 03-24-2012, 02:36 PM   #11
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It's about tires and wheels being up to the job. And the job is the RAWR. Even if Internet rumor has it that the axle is capable of more (and it probably is) one cannot know if bearings, springs & their mounts, etc, are thus.

Since this is a forum about tow vehicles one might then look to what constitutes the best possible hitch rigging (dead-on numbers for WD). From that point is the best view of other concerns about payload.

Don't guess, get the numbers. And see what it is (remaining capacities) that is most effectivly carried in the two vehicles.

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Old 03-26-2012, 10:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
The only 1/2 ton, or 1500, that I know of that uses coil springs in the rear at this time, is Dodge. I know GM, Ford, and Toyota use leaf springs.

Regards,
Steve
Not to be argumentative, but I'm not sure I agree with this statement. My bro, picked up a half tonner, and it clearly has coil springs. It's a 2007. Perhaps it's because it's a Suburban. But I will make a point to look at the next 1/2 Chevy pickup I see.

Prior to the new body style (current), it was spring for 1500, leaf for 2500, with I think the 1500HD being the exception.

Will look and report what I find as 1500 Chevys and, sigh, Fords too, as they are fairly common and easy to verify the pickups match the SUV segment.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:06 AM   #13
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Suburbans and Tahoes are coil. GM PUs are leaf. They ARE not the same chassis, contrary to popular belief.

Edit: forgot to hit "quote". This post is relative to Silvertwinkie's post re. GM 1/2 tons...coil vs. leaf springs. Sorry.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g
Suburbans and Tahoes are coil. GM PUs are leaf. They ARE not the same chassis, contrary to popular belief.

Edit: forgot to hit "quote". This post is relative to Silvertwinkie's post re. GM 1/2 tons...coil vs. leaf springs. Sorry.
I know that your comment is directed at 1/2 ton subs and tahoes but the 3/4 ton Sub has leaf springs.
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