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Classic Truck Discussion Forum

American truck weight rating.

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Bill Brox

08-23-2017 10:47:22

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This is something that has puzzled me for a long time. I am not from the US originally so I am used to Europe and it"s way of doing things.

Anyway, I sort of could never understand this 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 ton trucks, and the list goes one. What is the pay load of a 1.5 ton truck for example, because I got so many answers. I even asked around to see if anyone new. I have found 1.5 ton trucks with a payload around 2.5 - 3 tons.

So, how does that work. Then I started to search for shop manuals for trucks to see if I could find a lead.

And, finaly I think I have sort of at least a "half lue" of how it works. So, now I am curious of what other people think about it.

Unfortunately I have lost the link to the manual now, but I think it was a Ford 1.5 ton truck from the first half of the 30ties. It was delivered from the factory with either single rear wheels or dual rear wheels. And, the GVWR and weight of the truck was in that book. And here is what I found. The truck had a payload of more or less 1.5 tons (based on 2000 lbs / ton) with single rear wheels. But, for those that came with dual rear wheels they payload was about 1.8 times higher. And this correlates with a rule in Europe that says a tires rating is 1.8 times higher with dual rear wheels compared to the same tire used as a single tire. For example on the front axle. And it has been explained to me that when you add an extra tire you do not get 2 times the capacity. You get only 1.8 because in case one tire gets flat, that is the built in safety rating so that the tire that is left will not explode because of the increased weight. Which makes sense to me.

So, this means the Ford 1.5 ton truck with dual wheels had about 2.7 tons of payload capacity.

And, if you look at trucks over the years, it is not uncommon that trucks has a payload around half of the GVWR, or a little less. Trucks that has a payload around a quarter of the GVWR or less is trucks with single wheel rear axles. I have never to this day seen a truck with dual rear wheels with less than a quarter of the GVWR for payload. That is usually lousy business. 1/3 to 1/2, but not less than 1/4 of the GVWR.
The only time I have seen this is on military trucks, that has reduced capacity for use in the terrain. It sometimes say that if the truck is used only on highways, people can double the weight.

Does this make sense to people ? I have seen this ton thing discussed over and over, and there has been a lot of answers, but not much has made sense.

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09-14-2017 06:58:23

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 Re: American truck weight rating. in reply to Bill Brox, 08-23-2017 10:47:22  
it doesnt still today, for 2 reasons, mainly first trucks over 1 ton are available here with different axle and spring capacities for the same model, which changes the gross weight rating, also back in the day some states classified medium duty trucks, say 1 ton to 2 tons by either its total capicty, or by the weight of the truck itself, example some states rated a 1 ton truck as a 1 ton, and other states rated it as a 2 or 3 ton fully loaded, [ truck plus cargo] now its pretty much standard, example a ford f 450 is viewed as a 1 and 1/4 ton truck , but old trucks will still be found registered the old way

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