Overloaded? By How Much? (Update: By About 2200 lbs)

We took advantage of a dry January to do some serious garden clean-up. Thanks to the serendipity of tree-trimmers being in my neighborhood, who dumped two truck loads of wood chips in our driveway, our hard-working helper and Stephanie pruned, cleared out, and spread the chips between the beds and where we took out the lawn a few years ago. Time to compost the garden beds too, so I threw on the side boards to make fewer trips by hauling bigger loads: three yards instead of the usual two. The place where I buy Steer-Plus says that it weighs 1000 – 1200 lbs per yard; or 3000 – 3600 lbs total. Given it was winter and the stuff was pretty wet, I’m guessing the upper end. Does Old Yeller look a bit saggy? Let’s take a closer look under there, and as well as in the Operators Manual, and try to figure out by how much its overloaded.

There’s the black gold; got to keep the plants well fed.

The old LT235-75 tires are bulging some here, despite having about 45 lbs in them.

Ah yes, we have rubber suspension now; not like I couldn’t tell from driving it. Nothing new, as I’ve been doing this for decades. The question is, just how over am I. The F-100 is nominally a half-ton truck (1000 lbs), but that’s too simple, and doesn’t take into consideration the specific equipment such as springs and tires, as well as the vehicle’s empty weight and its gross weight (GVW). I’ve never really taken the time to calculate that.

Here’s the manufacturer’s plate, which states GVW is 5000 lbs. Ha, that’s way less than a new F-150 empty! The plate also assures me that the 240 inch six is certified to deliver 129 Net HP @4000 rpm. Truck plates had the net hp specified, back when all the literature gave out the gross hp. For instance, this 240 was advertised at 150 hp (gross). That shows that the net output was 86% of gross. I’ve come to use that as a ball-park range for calculating the difference between gross and net ratings.

Time to dig out the Operators Manual, and see what that has to say. Hmm…there’s four different GVWs listed for the F-100, from 4200 lbs to 5000 lbs. Looks like I got the right one, given my tendency to overload. It’s all in the tires, mostly. And that’s where it gets a bit odd. The 5000 lb GVW corresponds to  6.50 – 16 TT (truck type) tires. Which I’ve almost never seen on a F-100 of this vintage. It is possible mine had them, since when I bought it in 1987, it had aftermarket white spoke (remember those?) wheels, 15 inchers. I replaced them with regular Ford 15 inchers, in order to make it look stock and mount the dog-dish hubcaps.

Ultimately, it’s academic, since all the GVWs from 4500 up require the optional 1250 lb rear springs. I assume I have those. And my LT 235-75 x 15 tires are rated at 1900 lbs max weight each. So now the question is, how much does my truck weigh empty? I’m going to find out. But Let’s guess first. Winner gets…to ride in it, with three yards of compost, just to experience that. BTW, I did not exceed 35 mph with this particular load. But don’t ask what I used to do, as well as what I’ve towed with it.

To help your guessing: my truck is a stripper, with the 240 six, T-87 three speed with overdrive, manual steering, unassisted drum brakes, no headliner, carpet or sound deadening, and enough rust to probably make it weigh a tad less than when it was new. So how much? Stay tuned.

Update: just got weighed: 1.96 tons. That’s 3920 lbs, with me; or (-175)  3745 empty.  A featherweight indeed.

So if we assume the middle range (1100 lbs/yard), the loaded truck weighed 7200 lbs, or 2200 lbs overweight. And its rated load capacity is a mere 1200 lbs, including driver. I guess that’s why they call it a half-tonner, duh!