OVERLAND Journal Payload podcast


Supporting Sponsor Ternoverland.com
I enjoyed the podcast, even though I know the subject pretty well. I think it was presented clearly for the majority of people, who are confused by what it all means. One point that they didn't discuss is that the GVWR does not mean that every aspect of the vehicle is built to that limit. It just means that the weakest aspects are built to that limit. If you are going to build a vehicle for a specific use, it is useful to know where the weaknesses actually are. Unfortunately, that detail is not offered by the manufacturers. You can get ideas about weak links by reading model specific forums. The truth is, most vehicles can safely carry over the GVWR with the right modifications, and sensible choices in things like tires and wheels. Scott and Matt's point about the minimalist mindset though was nice to hear. The point shouldn't be to find creative ways to push the limit, but to find creative ways to avoid it. These days I carry very little in the way of spare parts. The best insurance is regular maintenance and inspections. Just knowing your vehicle trumps any parts stash. My tools are hand selected, and heavy items with minimal utility to me, like a Hi-lift jack, are not on my truck. Winches used to be a borderline item for me, but there are some nice light winches now with synthetic rope that make them a lot more reasonable. Bumpers for me are a must. My skid protection is hand built to address specific vulnerabilities, and is much lighter than simply covering the whole bottom of the truck in plate.

Another related topic that could consume a podcast is weight distribution and the related effects. You could easily have two similar vehicles with similar weights that have substantially different safety, handling, and stress related characteristics. I work to move weight from the ends of my vehicles, as much as possible, to the middle. I do not carry weight on the rear bumper, and my battery has been moved to the middle of the vehicle. All my fuel is carried at frame level, right behind the cab, and balanced side to side. I don't use roof racks at all. This type of loading produces a lower polar moment of inertia, and a lower CG. Both mean that the truck feels more agile and lighter than the raw numbers would suggest. It brakes better, and produces far less weight transfer on corners, sidehills, or hill climbs.

One area that is probably overlooked or ignored more than any other is tires and wheels. Most people run much larger and heavier tires and wheels than they actually need, and the effect on most of the GVWR markers is far greater than payload weight. My rule of thumb is that an ounce of tire weight equals a pound of payload. It might not be exactly right, but it's pretty damn close. Getting weight specs on these items can be very difficult though, because many manufacturers do not want you to know. They do not want it to be a topic of discussion. There are offerings by BFG, Cooper, and Falken that get great reviews, but I won't run them because some are 15 pounds heavier each than mine. That penalty for whatever benefit is too great. Weight is a primary performance marker for me. My current tires and wheels are stock aluminum Toyota wheels with 255 / 85-16 Cepek Extreme tires, with a combined weight of 72 pounds each. Tire shops are never happy to see me coming because I do walk in with a scale. Tires have become such a vanity item that it's not uncommon at all for people to "upgrade" their tires and wheels, and actually degrade the performance of the vehicle. Heavy tires decrease braking, rob horsepower, put greater loads on bearings and drivetrain components, tax cooling systems, increase shock heat, require heavier springs and damping, add stress to steering components, take up more space for the spare, and are harder to handle when you have a flat. The higher the ratio of tire weight to sprung vehicle weight, the worse the vehicle will ride on rough roads, and God help you on washboard. There is nothing sexy about them to me.
Last edited: