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Old 12-18-2014, 10:31 AM   #1
Kannonball8 OP
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Location: Rockbridge County, Virginia
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Weight in truck bed for traction

I usually put 3 or 400 pounds of weight in the bed of my truck for winter traction (without it truck gets stuck on flat ground if it's even damp out). I put it right over the rear axle but am wondering if that's the best place for it. So, should the weight be slightly ahead of the axle, slightly behind the axle or directly over it? Or, does it not make enough difference to worry about.
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:54 AM   #2
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I've seen this asked before and i think it really depends on the truck. if the load is in front of the axle then it will also give the front a touch of weight as well. directly over it 90-100% of the weight helps the rear, behind it you get more weight on the rear but you start taking away from the front tires.

so really it comes down to your truck and what works best.
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:55 AM   #3
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I mount an empty 55 gallon drum in the bed of my F350 dually. The 7.3 will spin the wheels quick. Fill it with water if I know it's gonna get snowy out. Where I'm at that's only once or twice a year.
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:13 AM   #4
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In front of the axle is best. We take a driving course every couple of years for work. The instructors push us through the pylons with the weight in different spots each time. The truck handled better and ran better times with it forward in the box.
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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Ideal is over the axle, but anywhere is better than nothing in a 2wd pickup. Hauling ballast is a hassle, it's always in the way. I only had a 2wd pickup for a few years and what I did was build a 2x4 frame around the perimeter of the bed. Add some cross pieces in the middle. Filled the frame interior with sand or gravel. Cut some plywood panels to screw on top the frame. Voila plenty of ballast and still have a usable pickup bed. In spring remove the frame and shovel/broom the ballast into a pile for use next winter. Works great for traction and the ballast stays in place w/o being in the way. I oiled the lumber and the entire lashup lasted the full 4 or 5 years I did this.
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:40 AM   #6
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If you really need to get up that hill then place weight as far back as possible. Be aware it will steer a little differently though.
Another tip I like to pass along is to shift an auto transmission to neutral when approaching a stop sign, especially on a downhill. The motor continues pushing the rear wheels in gear and you need more brake to stop the vehicle. This locks the front brakes and you lose all steering. Try it, it really works. This applies only to rear wheel drive. Not fwd of 4wd, only rear wheel drive.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:11 PM   #7
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While adding weight would you like the front axle to be lighter (weight behind axle), heavier (weight in front of axle) or nuetral (weight over rear axle)?

No single answer is always correct.

For example if you find yourself having issues with the front wheels wanting to sink too easily (big heavy diesel engine for example) putting some weight back by the tailgate can be used to press the rear tires down and lift the fronts. Adding a lot can really screw up the handling, making it unstable and wanting to spin out easily.

But if the truck is light in the front as well as the back. The front of the bed will better load the whole truck.

And if you only want weight over the rear tires without changing the weighting on the front axle, over the axle.

So how do you want the front axle of your truck to be loaded in the snow? Lighter, heavier, or the same?
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:51 PM   #8
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On my '88 S-10 with the 7.5' bed, I put two 70# sandbags over the axle. On my '01 with the 6' bed, I put a hard tonneau on it and didn't need the sandbags.
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:19 PM   #9
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2500 Dodge ram 4x4 diesel, 8 foot bed, 400 lbs of sand all the way up front. It keeps it out of my way for the rest of the year, I use bagged sand so that I can move it if I am stuck. Also able to rip a bag open and pour sand onto the slick stuff to get out.

A plus is the dodge doesn't buck so bad during the rest of the year.

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Old 12-18-2014, 01:29 PM   #10
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For my Tacoma I always have the ~200# canopy, in the winter I add another 150-200. It's in front of or directly above the axle, depending on what else I'm using the bed for.

I find that anything behind the axle just enhances the pendulum effect and does not add that much more traction.

I like to use something consumable for the weight, so I don't have to store extra stuff in the summer. Currently I'm driving around with a bunch of birdseed in my truck. We go thru a lot of birdseed.
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:34 PM   #11
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I have had a few 2wd pickups and I did not like putting weight in the bed because I use the bed. I got some tire chains and they worked great. I live at 1018' and it is all up hill so when I leave work if its bad I chain up and no problem getting home. Or pull in to a parking lot. After you put the chains on a couple times you can do it quite quickly. Even worked on my F250 extra cab, 8' bed with 7.3 diesel, that truck was so long and so front end heavy it was a problem.
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:52 PM   #12
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About 250# of tube sand in the bed of my 2wd ranger, plus snow tires, make it pretty much unstoppable. Directly over the axle so I don't change anything that is going on up front.
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:41 PM   #13
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Sounds so complicated. We just fill the truck bed with snow. When the weather gets better, the ballast disapears
Sometimes wheelies happen

Originally Posted by RedRocker
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Old 12-19-2014, 01:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RVDan View Post
Sounds so complicated. We just fill the truck bed with snow. When the weather gets better, the ballast disapears
That'd work, if our winter lasted from September to June like yours does. And, of course, using higher-density ballast leaves space free to use the truck bed for actual hauling.
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Old 12-19-2014, 03:35 AM   #15
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I use three 50 lbs tube sand. On either side of the bed each one is oriented front to back with the third one lying crosswise directly over the axle. It looks like an H.
I go to the local truck tire business and ask them for a couple of big tubes that are used and trash. I cut them to length, put the tubes of sand inside and tie the ends off with baling wire.
That way they are waterproof and last more than a couple of years. Take the weight out in the summer and reuse next winter.
You just have to be careful moving them because every piece of clothing they brush up against can leave a black mark
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