Is my Jeep too heavy?

Happy Joe

Apprentice Geezer
Honestly; I really should not be giving advice about loading as I have pretty bad problem myself...
However; over the years I have gone through many cycles of too much stuff, reduction then rebuilding the pile.
This has worked for me; limit the passengers, and yourself, to one small, personal stuff, canvas duffel each (that you buy and they use) one sleeping bag and one pad. If possible combine and reduce tent size and number (for short weekenders I don't take the larger tents I bring the smaller, lighter one)
Do all the cooking on one stove, with minimal stuff (cooking accessories happen to be one of my problems) will an aluminum pan (not for campfire cooking) work in place of cast iron?
Make a pile after the trip and look at each piece; Was it used? Was it needed?... Could something else that was carried work to serve 2 purposes?
If some thing hasn't been needed in 2 trips leave it home.

Tough love...
When they get old enough make them drive their own vehicles; "I'll meet you there".
Load you own "essential" stuff first then you can say "No more room. you will have to reduce"... off loading some of the responsibility on to the contributors...
When going in multiple vehicles split the load and reduce duplication.
...
When the above has failed; consider a SMALL off road trailer (easier to haul and the stuff will expand to overflow the trailer so small helps keep it (semi) manageable).
...
Look critically at the vehicle, examining each mod (I try to do this before the mod) is it really necessary given the terrain? If it wasn't there would the vehicle work as well (I am not putting a winch on the current Jeep because I haven't needed one for 15+ years, and have never needed a hi-lift jack so it has remained in the garage for 25+ years).
Are the skid plates really necessary; look at them if they are not all scarred up they may only be a "feel good accessory" (Have removed several factory skids from the Rubi because they are heavy and I didn't need them on the CJ, which traversed much rougher terrain than the Rubi will ever see). If under armor is necessary consider aluminum.
Are there power tools taking up room/contributing weight where hand tools can serve?
If you are carrying things that others need more than you (winch, welder) look at it hard 3 times and reconsider.
...
I wouldn't get paranoid over the weight alone; but when handling/braking is affected, its time to go on a diet.. It will affect the vehicle capabilities off road (one reason that I base camp then wheel).
My typical extended camping (for several, 2-3, weeks) load out is roughly 800 lbs. for 2 people, in a TJ as with the CJ (nothing on the roof to keep the CG low).
Note load carrying suspension mods, usually, adversely affect offroadability.
The CJ had half ton power brakes. The, new to me, TJ is due for better brake calipers, disks and pads, as part of the initial prep; haven't decided which yet.
In terms of power; mods need to balance and contribute to the vehicle as a whole, IMO; significantly larger tires require reexamination of the axle gear ratio and axle strength for reliability (when/if I go to 33 inch tires I will regear from 4.11 to 4.27/430) to maintain acceptable street/interstate highway performance (Note; "acceptable" is completely subjective and your experience may be different).

Enjoy!
 
Last edited:

unkamonkey

Explorer
Whew. I'll poke my nose in and your Jeep is about twice the weight as mine. and certainly double as when my MB was loaded. Have I ever overloaded my Jeep or Volvo? I knew what I could load in the things and went by the notes on the door jamb in the Volvo. Several trips to pick up pavers. Did it make a difference in how it drove, Yes. Yep, unload a bunch of stuff. and if something falls off on the road it is a good place to leave it for others .Basically I pack things in using my old backpacker mentality. If you didn't use it, you didn't need it.
 

leelikesbikes

Adventurer
Have you re geared, it won't help you handle more weight but it sure would help it be less of a gutless pig. I'm always surprised at how many people have "built" jeeps with big tires and stock gear ratios. I would usually go 4.56 with 35's but with your load 4.88 would sure be nice, then upgrade the brakes and go with a heavier spring rate.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
Thanks for all of the suggestions and advice! Lots to think about. I wanted to offer a couple clarifications in response to questions: 1) The empty side panels are the jerry can carriers that jscherb designed, but I modified them to include a quick-disconnect feature and a horizontal mounting configuration for use at camp. 2) I do use the windshield lights a lot - not for crossing the African desert at night, but for setting up camp with a large group of kids at night. I clip red stoplight lenses onto my Warn lights and it floods the entire campsite in deep red light. Perfect for setting up camp without lighting up the forest!





 
Last edited:

Boatmonkey

Observer
I think most Jeeps are over weight and the owner is just unaware. I know I am and I don't have a ton of stuff on it. I plan on adding a larger brake setup from one of the major manufacturers soon. I wouldn't worry about it too much. If everything was going to wear out much quicker or the Jeep became extremely dangerous to drive I think you would hear more about it on the forums. There are many Jeeps completely loaded with gear that drive coast to coast overlanding full time without any major issues.
 

Outside somewhere

Overland certified public figure brand ambassador
I think most Jeeps are over weight and the owner is just unaware. I know I am and I don't have a ton of stuff on it. I plan on adding a larger brake setup from one of the major manufacturers soon. I wouldn't worry about it too much. If everything was going to wear out much quicker or the Jeep became extremely dangerous to drive I think you would hear more about it on the forums. There are many Jeeps completely loaded with gear that drive coast to coast overlanding full time without any major issues.
You don't usually hear about it because those people are tied up in lawsuits after they have been in a wreck or they have to sell all their stuff because they can't find an insurance company to cover them after their claim is settled. It's shocking how many people I've seen in the overlanding/camping community knowingly load over capacity and are towing stuff way over their limit. Jeeps towing 4000 pound trailers plus gear in the jeep, four runners towing 25' travel trailers that are 4000 pounds dry. Saw a tacoma this past weekend with a 24' trailer, four people in the truck and the bed had a 125cc kids four wheeler and fire wood. I just hope these people have a great attorney for the civil lawsuit if they injure or kill someone with their negligence because that type of stupid ruins people.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
The over weight thing has been talked about quite a bit especially with the midsized truck guys. I think the once or twice a yr short camping trip many city slickers do its not a big deal the risk is some what low given load limits are typically pretty conservative but being over weight 100% of the time before fuel and passengers are even on board is a whole different deal. Your risk goes way up due to the #of miles driven in whats essentially a compromised vehicle regarding handling and tolerance for emergency handling. Being over weight 100% of the time in whats typically the highest risk activity most of us do daily just changes the risk in a big way. Plus it results in a operator who gets accustom to operating a compromised vehicle in a manner where they are operating at speeds uncompromised vehicles are traveling at again on a daily basis. Not ideal. Jeeps are cool but even stock they are not great examples of stability on the pavement, add bigger tires and that aspect gets worse. I doubt there are lots of accidents were being over weight in passenger vehicles becomes a lawsuit unless its beyond obvious, a Taco towing a 27ft Sea Ray on a tripple axle trailer for example. Where the end result is beyond obvious that the operator was an obvious idiot.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
The over weight thing has been talked about quite a bit especially with the midsized truck guys. I think the once or twice a yr short camping trip many city slickers do its not a big deal the risk is some what low given load limits are typically pretty conservative but being over weight 100% of the time before fuel and passengers are even on board is a whole different deal. Your risk goes way up due to the #of miles driven in whats essentially a compromised vehicle regarding handling and tolerance for emergency handling. Being over weight 100% of the time in whats typically the highest risk activity most of us do daily just changes the risk in a big way. Plus it results in a operator who gets accustom to operating a compromised vehicle in a manner where they are operating at speeds uncompromised vehicles are traveling at again on a daily basis. Not ideal. Jeeps are cool but even stock they are not great examples of stability on the pavement, add bigger tires and that aspect gets worse. I doubt there are lots of accidents were being over weight in passenger vehicles becomes a lawsuit unless its beyond obvious, a Taco towing a 27ft Sea Ray on a tripple axle trailer for example. Where the end result is beyond obvious that the operator was an obvious idiot.
Good points. I have some moderate/hard trail runs coming up, so I removed the roof top tent and the bazooka cargo tube yesterday. That takes me back down to 5,500 pounds, with 200 pounds to spend on myself and recovery gear before I hit the 5,700 pound GAWR. If I don't eat for two days, I can bring my hi-lift jack and ball joint service kit with me . . .

 
Last edited:

Recommended books for Overlanding

Dreaming of Jupiter
by Ted Simon
From $16.43
Sailing Alone Around the World: a Personal Account of the...
by Joshua Slocum
From $26
Jupiter's Travels in Camera: The photographic record of T...
by Ted Simon
From $139.15
999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
by Dan Grec, Dan Grec
From $19.95
Tschiffely's Ride: Ten Thousand Miles in the Saddle from ...
by Aimé Tschiffely
From $10.99

Bullseye240

Adventurer
ball joint service kit with me . . .
Kinda reminds me of the HMMWV's in Afghanistan with the up-armor kits installed. Ball joints lasted 3000 miles at best because the original design for the vehicle was as a light weight tactical vehicle not as an armored transport. If you don't over load the vehicle then the parts should last the design life instead of wearing out prematurely. I know the JK's have a ball joint issue, but short of overloading or abuse they should be okay for most wheeling.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
Here's a photo of the ball joint kit I carry on trail runs. I've seen them break in the woods, and it's not an easy fix if you don't have a joint press with you. Also - I figured out an obvious way to cut another 175 pounds for upcoming trail runs: switch to the soft top! Since my roof rack is a permanent platform, I just pulled the hard top off by strapping the roof rack to some block-and-tackle pulleys. I did the same thing with the roof top tent - you can see it in the background of one of the photos below. Now my Jeep should be 400 - 500 pounds below the GAWR rating. Hopefully that is enough cushion.







 
Last edited:

Ravenmad

Observer
I'll jump on this grenade... I have a built jeep, originally built it for "trails" and converted to overlanding. Weight, I also looked at the max GVWR, and I even had an exstensive conversation with 2 "Jeep" engineers from FTC. In the end, my jeep weighs 6400# empty and I pull an off-road trailer that weighs 2400#. It is deff. A issue that grows, you make a power upgrade and everything behind it has to be upgraded to handle it. I will say this, my jeep does a lot better pulling weight than it does carrying it. For instance, road trip in July, jeep rolled across the scars at 7985#. That's with 4 adults, a dog, all our stuff, a roof rack and a RTT. In contrast, I just bought a off-road expo trailer, loaded all my stuff in it and drove out to Moab and back. Jeep drove great even though the total weight was greater with the trailer. The trailer has electric brakes and I have a break controller in the jeep. In the end, "stock" Jeeps have a limit just like everything else. You can carry more weight, you just need to upgrade everything to except the payload increase, i.e. Power, transmission, axles, brakes and suspension. I've done both and in the end, I prefer to pack "minimalist" if it's just the jeep, and pull a specially designed trailer if I want amenities.

HEMI, truck transmission and huge transmission cooler, HD Dana 60s, braking system from a 1 ton truck with a JK8 euro spec MC, HD coils with airbag assist in the rear, Falcon shocks, a hellwig HD rear sway bar, 5:38 gears, electric break controller. I will say this also, 2 greatest improvements handling wise, Hellwig rear sway bar and falcon shocks...

I basically built a convertible 4 door 1/2 ton truck... I think (just my thoughts) that it's always better to build your jeep to pull some weight than it is to carry it. At least if your pulling it and you have prepped your jeep properly (I.e. Upgraded brakes and trailer brakes with a controller, and a tranny cooler) your tow vehicle will handle correctly and be stable. If your gonna take the jeep only, then just get used to going Minamalist... Again, just my thought after doing it both ways and suffering for it...
 
Last edited:

MattJ

Adventurer
Lots of great perspectives here - and lots to think about. Two questions about the door stickers that I am hoping someone can clarify:

1) Why do the two GAWRs listed for the axles add up to more than the total GAWR? Front is 2,775 pounds and rear is 3,200 pounds, but the total is listed at 5,700 pounds, not 5,975 pounds.

2) It looks like the axles GAWRs say "with" the OEM tire sizes as listed. Does that mean larger tires would increase the axle GAWR?
 

Theoretician

Adventurer
Lots of great perspectives here - and lots to think about. Two questions about the door stickers that I am hoping someone can clarify:

1) Why do the two GAWRs listed for the axles add up to more than the total GAWR? Front is 2,775 pounds and rear is 3,200 pounds, but the total is listed at 5,700 pounds, not 5,975 pounds.
That means that some component other than the axle/wheel/suspension governs the maximum reliable weight. Could be the frame, the transmission, driveshaft, engine mounts, cooling, brakes, etc. For example, my F150 came from the factory with a 7800lb GVWR, but if I had opted for the 17in wheels over the 18in wheels then it would have been a 7750lb GVWR.

2) It looks like the axles GAWRs say "with" the OEM tire sizes as listed. Does that mean larger tires would increase the axle GAWR?
Depends on the load rating of the tire. You might find larger tires with a lower load rating, or smaller tires with a higher rating. Either way though, the GAWR and GVWR are legal certifications with the DOT and cannot be changed without going through that certification process with the DOT. Maybe you've identified correctly that the tires are the weak link in the load path to get from the body to the ground during an emergency maneuver at 65mph, or maybe you haven't.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
Don't forget that here we are all Americans, well maybe mostly all Americans and in America "Bigger is Better" and "Fatter" (overweight) is also the American Way!

Load em up!
 
Top