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Bruce Stenman
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Chevrolet with its 2011 trucks has 3/4 ton models with GVWR of 9,300, 9,500, 9,900, 10,000 lbs. and 1 ton sharing the same frame, front axle and front suspension, brakes, engine and drive train with GVWR of 10,400, 10,500, 10,700, 10,800, 11,000 pounds and the only difference with the 1 ton is an extra set of leaf springs and 18" tires with a higher load rating. With some of the trucks the limiting factor is the rear axle load rating and with others it is the load rating of rear leaf springs and with other it is the load rating of the tires. A C7 axle heavy load option is available for the 3/4 ton trucks which has the same load rating as the axle on the 1 ton SRW trucks. There is a reason that the base price difference between the 3/4 ton and the 1 ton trucks is less than $1,000 - there is very little difference between the two sub lines. It is an outdated and incorrect to think of a 1/2 ton truck as having a maximum payload capacity of 1,000 lbs. or a 3/4 ton as having a maximum payload of 1,500 lbs. as there are "1/2 ton" trucks with a stated manufacturer's maximum payload of over 1,700 lbs. and "3/4 ton" trucks from Chevy for example with a maximum payload of 4,192 lbs. or more than 2 tons. The maximum trailer weights provide an indication of the load handling capabilities of the engine, drive train, and brakes of trucks, and with the 2011 GM "3/4" ton trucks it is as high as 17,800 pounds. The payload capacity reflects the portion of the load which can be placed on the rear axle and its leaf springs and its rims and tires. Each of these 4 components can determine the maximum payload and all but the axle are easily changed or modified by the truck's owner to increase the maximum payload capacity. With the 2500HD for example the stock axle has a 6,000 lb. rating while the optional C7 axle increase that load rating to 6700 lbs., but the 17" rims and tires have a maximum load capacity of 6400 lbs. so without changing to larger wheels and tires 6400 minus the weight of the truck on the rear axle is the maximum payload for the truck. One can extra leaf springs or air bags or one can change out the wheels and tires at which point the gating factor is the 6700 lb. load rating of the rear axle. A 2500HD with the C7 axle can be easily modified with the addition of Supersprings to increase the maximum payload by 800 lbs. with all of the components operating well within their safe load range as specified by GM and the tire manufacturers. This increases the GVWR from a stock value of 10,000 lbs. up to 10,800 lbs. for a 4WD SRW diesel powered 2500HD for an increase of 8% - hardly earthshattering and hardly unsafe. Modification to the rear suspension including Supersprings, air bags, and or anti sway bars, can provide for increased safety by giving the drive a vehicle that is easier to control even with lower payloads in the bed of the truck. These mods have been applied for more than three decades that I know of and so the merits of doing so are well known by most people with any experience with trucks, towing trailers, and or race and off road vehicles.
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Dec 21, 2011