Stupid GVWR question for truck people

So, how conservative are manufacturers GVWR ratings? Lets say the factory says you have a payload (slide in camper, specifically) of 2200lbs and a GVWR of 8800. The curb weight is listed around 4600-5000lbs (depending on drivetrain). Seems to be a descrepancy there.

So, how much can I really haul (reasonably safely)? Who can tell me horror stories? Who has plunked down 2800lbs in a F-250 and motored all over the map?

In my less-than-regarded opinion, I assume the factory is always in “Ass-Cover” mode and publish a figure far short of actual load rating. Just how far short is the real answer. And if I load a heaveir than specified camper, but am still under the GVWR, how am I going wrong? (Oh, don’t get me started!)

Looking for input. I put this thread in here, rather than GQ, because the “factual answer” is No, you Idiot! Don’t exceed the published capacities!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah, yes. The usual participation in a Gatopescado thread…

These guys exceeded the manufacturer’s ratings

In all seriousness, here is a site with some actual information.
As you can tell from the photos, it is not just the weight, but also the location of the weight that matters. Too far back and the front wheels are off the ground. :eek:
Also the tires that come on the truck are mated to the rated weight capacity of the truck. Overload the truck and you overload the tires and run the risk of a catastrophic tire failure.

I like how the thread totally degenerates to a pissing contest in the link you provided! :smiley: Classic!

“No! You are!”

I have seldom exceeded the GVR rating on a pickup by itself because, usually, the rear springs bottom out and make driving rather unpleasant. I’ve done it a few times and I’ve been lucky so far.

However, I have often exceeded the towing capacity of trucks and trailers. I once had a job where I was asked to do pretty regularly. Like Rick mentioned, tires (on the trailer) are usually the first thing to fail. Besides the risk of catastophic failure, you get annoyed by a lot of little things that result from exceeded capacity - overheating, burning oil, slipping clutches, difficulty in stopping, bad handling. If I felt like doing the typing, I would tell the story about nearly putting a 2-1/2 ton truck with a 40 ft tailer into Lake Livingston because the load was poorly distributed and the truck brakes weren’t good enough to stop in an emergency.

In short, yeah, you can exceed the GVWR, but bad things start happening if you don’t put a little thought into it.

Warning. Anecdotal data follows:

I routinely exceed the tow capacity of my truck by going 10-15% over the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). If memory serves, I am limited to 17500lbs total (truck and trailer). I routinely tow a fifth-wheel/boat combo behind my truck. The total weight is about 19000 lbs. Since all 12 wheels have brakes, I really don’t worry too much about it. The GVWR of my truck is 9000, and with 5 people, 3 dogs, 30 gallons of water, 15 gallons of fuel, generator, 2 ice chests, and the pin weight of my camper, I am right at the max weight (and maybe a little over).

I realize this doesn’t exactly answer your question, but I believe there is a considerable design “overgross” factor built into the trucks.

FWIW: Chevy C3500, 5-speed manual, crewcab longbed, 7.4L (gas). It’s about to turn over 200K miles and the over-limit towing doesn’t seem to have done much harm.

In the OP, there is mention of payload and towing… more or less.

The payload rating in the bed won’t be close to the tow rating.

Tow rating is a different rating than payload. If you want tow guides and guides around maximum loads, visit

The have tons of information.

Trailering issues: Stopping. Overheating transmission. Overloading hitch. Failure to climb certain grade inclines/hills. Insurance denials upon accident.

Payload issues: Overloading suspension and related components. Compromising braking distribution and stopping (if truck is pointed up, braking dynamics are bad). Insurance denials upon accident.

Thanks so far. I’ll keep you posted.

Oh my god I think I might have heard of you and this happening (I have family in the area)

It would have been about 1982-'83, on the highway between Huntsville and Livingston near Onalaska. I avoided the collision by going off the left shoulder. The fellow in the pulp wood truck that was stopped in the road pulled my truck back onto the road - I figure he was grateful for not rear-ending him.

It reminded me of the old joke with the punch line, “I would wake up Leroy because he’s from a small town and he’s never seen a wreck like the one we’re about to have.”

Well, I bought a camper rated at 2600lbs (400 over the published max).

It doesn’t even compress the springs 2 inchs! Drives, brakes and handles great. Barely even know its back there. Shoulda bought a bigger one. :frowning: :smiley:

Ask your tranny if it knows.

I strongly suggest that you take your rig and have it weighed at a weigh station (about $10 around here) Add between about 500 and 1000 lbs to that number tocompensate for the stuff you will put there when you go camping then look at the load capacity of your tires.
Make damn sure you are not overloading the tires.

Drove that SumBitch all over Hell and back! Nary the tiniest problem. Did have a small grounding issue on one of the driving lights, solved with a Swiss Army Knife. Otherwise, Cake.