Is my Jeep too heavy?

MattJ

Adventurer
Cut another 200 pounds. I put the water tank back on to make sure it fits with the side mirror on the half door. I am now 400 pounds under the GAWR (before I get in), so this should be a good configuration for trail runs.

 
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ducktapeguy

Adventurer
So with all that weight reduction, can you feel any difference when driving? I know on my vehicles, even the weight of a passenger or some gear makes a noticeable difference in the way it handles.

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.
I pretty sure you do hear about it, but it's not directly attributed to overloading. Have you heard of the infamous Jeep death wobble? Worn bushings are one factor, and a heavier vehicle will just accelerate the problem.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
I checked the speed rating, load rating and index on my tires. They are R, E and 121. That means 10-ply, 80psi, 106mph and 3,107 pounds capacity. So I think the tires can handle WAY more than the GAWR. Two additional observations:

1) I've been looking at a lot of the AEV custom build packages. Even excluding the monster that was just unveiled at SEMA, plenty of the other AEV builds look way heavier than the JKU GAWR of 5,700. And you don't read about AEV custom-built rigs failing on expeditions, even when loaded with massive amounts of gear. So does that mean AEV has figured out a way to build a JKU safely beyond the stock GAWR?

2) I have an AEV 3.5-inch DualSport SC suspension system with frequency-tuned, progressive rate springs, Bilstein 5100 shocks, a Tom Woods drive shaft and the AEV high steer kit. Similar to jscherb, even with a roof top tent I can cruise at 80mph and not feel any instability or compromise in handling. I don't know if that is due to the quality of my AEV components, or whether I just don't know what kind of poor handling I should be feeling for. I'm hoping I would know it when I felt it!

Thanks for all of your input on this, guys. Keep the insights coming!
 

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comptiger5000

Adventurer
How much you'll feel when over-loaded depends a lot on what's limiting the load rating.

In general, I'd tend to say keeping a build lighter when possible is better. Less wear on parts, less fuel consumption, easier on tires, etc.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
OK- here's the trail report. It's a good thing I took the tent and the bazooka cargo tube off. I encountered a lot of challenging trails, and the extra weight on the roof would have made it difficult to manage some of the off-camber situations. I did put the hardtop and doors back on before the trail run since the weather forecast was a bit chilly. I'll put the tent back on this evening for some camping next weekend.





 
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Happy Joe

Apprentice Geezer
When I was doing the semi extreme trails I found that removing the hard top also helped, by effectively lowering the center of gravity...
Thank you for not tipping the camera (like many magazine photographers do), BTW.

Enjoy!
 
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AEV

Supporting Sponsor - American Expedition Vehicles
Just a heads up, with SEMA behind us, we displayed a new DualSport HC Suspension System that will be coming out in a couple months. This will include higher capacity springs built and tuned specifically with the overland community in mind. We don't have exact numbers to share just yet but these springs will definitely aid the people that run around 100% of the time fully loaded.

With that we also have a Bilstein 8100 shock coming out. It is a fully adjustable dual external bypass (rebound and compression adjustments), remote reservoir shock with AEV tuning and a larger diameter housing to utilize a 60mm piston. Just something to keep in mind.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
Just a heads up, with SEMA behind us, we displayed a new DualSport HC Suspension System that will be coming out in a couple months. This will include higher capacity springs built and tuned specifically with the overland community in mind. We don't have exact numbers to share just yet but these springs will definitely aid the people that run around 100% of the time fully loaded.

With that we also have a Bilstein 8100 shock coming out. It is a fully adjustable dual external bypass (rebound and compression adjustments), remote reservoir shock with AEV tuning and a larger diameter housing to utilize a 60mm piston. Just something to keep in mind.
Thanks for the info! Yes . . . "fully loaded" is how I typically roll. I'm going to keep an eye out for the release of the new HC Suspension System. It will be my SECOND upgrade in 2018. First I have to switch to different tube steps. My current set was NOT the right choice . . . they are rock magnets!

 
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jacobconroy

Hillbilly of Leisure
I hear ya MattJ. My 2-door Jeep is severely overloaded too. So much so that I recently stripped everything off of it with the intention of building a 1-ton van camper instead. The problem is that I found I can't afford to start buying rig-specific gear again (and building most of it due to the age of the van). So, I'm bolting all the crap back on the Jeep.

I like camping in my Jeep. I like all using all the crap that is bolted to it at camp too. The price I pay is that I dropped from 18 MPG to 13 and really can't drive faster than 55 - 60 MPH or it gets spooky. Buying a different rig for camping is out of the question. It is what it is. Once I'm off the pavement it drives just fine. I have an offroad trailer, but pulling it with my little Jeep is exactly as irritating as the extra weight.

The mods that helped my handling the most were a heavy-duty Helwig rear sway bar, air bags, and E-rated tires (33 inch down from 35). I'm also doing whatever I can to move weight back towards the nose of the rig. My latest theory is that it is not the roof weight that makes a JK spooky to drive....it's the weight in the back. During my "rebuilt", I have the rack, RTT, rear rack, and awning back on and it is driving in a manner I consider to be safe. I know that when I put that 500 lbs. of gear behind the rear axles it's gonna get spooky again. 55 MPH. You might try to move a lot of the weight towards the rear seats instead of the back and see if things improve.

I rarely venture more than 100 miles away from home with the rig (for camping or anything else) so the safe speed is tolerable to me.

By the way, it's amazing that when asking for advice on an "overlanding" site that you can get so many rude and/or condescending comments from a couple of members. I wonder if these dudes talk to people like that in their everyday life? Or is it simply a case of ATS (Armchair Testosterone Syndrome)?

Mattj has been a real gentleman about the snarkiness and appears to choose to ignore it. Good for you Matt! I wouldn't have been so polite.
 

MattJ

Adventurer
Mattj has been a real gentleman about the snarkiness and appears to choose to ignore it. Good for you Matt! I wouldn't have been so polite.
Thanks - I've actually got a long list of threads on the ExPo, so I've learned to stay on topic and focus on the great ideas and knowledge sharing that is offered here. I also have no hesitation to share stories of my own mistakes and failures, since I figure others will learn from them. Plus, the mistakes are always the most interesting reading! ExPo is a great resource so I want to do my best to continue to support the community.

 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
Having done a bit of automotive engineering over the years, there is no simple way to determine if you can exceed the GVWR safely. Looking at your jeep (rubicon), I would guess the first limiting factor is low spring rates. Which means overloading would result in excessive suspension movement during cornering etc, or bottoming. Roll stiffness, especially at the front axle, plays a very important roll in handling and rollover safety.

The second limiting factory would likely be brakes, specifically peak braking force, and to a lesser extent fade on long descents. Braking can be tested fairly easily using an accelerometer to evaluate stopping G force, and a marked course to measure stopping distance. If other vehicles use the same brake packaged and master cylinder/pedal ratio, you can use their GVWR as a reference.

Increasing spring rates can be done with some basic math. Note that increasing ride height and tires size by an OEM generally requires suspension changes to maintain GVWR/COG concerns (or a GVWR de-rate).

The blanket approach is just to stay as light as you can; running below GVWR decreases the risk of breakage (sometimes dramatically).
 
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SheepnJeep

Adventurer
I just typed out a huge list of ways I reduce weight in my vehicle, but I deleted it all and will leave it at this. If you know you are way overloaded and are interested in taking steps to mitigate it, you are ahead of the majority of people camping since the dawn of camping.
 

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Saint Nick

Active member
By the way, it's amazing that when asking for advice on an "overlanding" site that you can get so many rude and/or condescending comments from a couple of members. I wonder if these dudes talk to people like that in their everyday life? Or is it simply a case of ATS (Armchair Testosterone Syndrome)?

Mattj has been a real gentleman about the snarkiness and appears to choose to ignore it. Good for you Matt! I wouldn't have been so polite.
Couldn't agree with you more, those comments were unnecessary and out of order!

Nick
 

MOguy

Explorer
My 2016 Rubicon weighs 5,800 pounds without any people or cargo in it. The 5,800 pounds includes half a tank of gas, my five 35" tires, AEV bumpers, skid plating, roof rack, roof top tent and other accessories. I have an AEV 3.5-inch DualSport SC suspension system with frequency-tuned, progressive rate springs, Bilstein 5100 shocks and the AEV high steer kit. My questions:

1) If it is too heavy, what are the risks? Bad gas mileage and worn-out brakes for sure, but what else?

2) Once a vehicle becomes too heavy, what are the solutions? Swap to a more powerful engine and different axles?

I know there are plenty of experts on this forum, and I am really curious about this. Thanks!





Many of us (myself included) have modified our vehicle in a manner that could make it less than optimal for highway driving, so we really have no room to criticize but you have taken it pretty far.

Everything below your suspension (unsprung weight) to an extent may be compensated for by bigger brakes, heavier duty components and more power or gearing. It could maybe even possibly add to the stability of the vehicle. . The real concern is the weight added above you suspension. Having more unpsrung weight may help stabilize the weight above the suspension. How much and to what extent is a question probably no one here can answer with any real certainty.

Not sure how heavy that awing is but if it is heavy enough and you find your self in an off-camber situation you may have an issue.

Me personally, I would rethink how you do things. If you base camp consider getting a trailer to haul your gear or lighten up.

When I started going camping and off-roading in my Jeep we called it going camping and taking the Jeep. Now it is "overlanding" and somehow people need allot more accessories. I think I see this activity different than many other people on this forum.
 
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