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Determining front axle capacity

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Joseph Meidling, Feb 22, 2001.

  1. Joseph Meidling

    Joseph Meidling Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    How do you determine the weight capacity of a front axle? I found the specification on the vehicle information sheet, but I do not know how to determine what the maximum allowable plow weight should be. I have not yet purchased a truck but am in the investigation phase.

  2. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Joseph take a look in the owners manual. Dodge specs the total plow weight allowable for each model. Allthough to fore warn you it is lower then anything the plow companys make. You can also go to western web site and e-mail them.
    They will need the front axle spec though.
  3. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Joe-if your loking new-get the commercial truck brochure-they list all the important things we look for when buying a truck.I have a 2000 brochure from Ford and Gm,but i dont have one from Dodge-im not sure if they make one.You can also just write up the truck the way you want it,if the configuration will be to heavy on the front end-the computer will not let you order a snowplow prep-so if you cant get the plow prep-forget the truck,that means it cant handle the weight of it.If the truck is on the lot,open the drivers door,look on the door jam or the door post,the front and rear axle gross weight limits,along with GVWR will be listed on there,its the law it has to be there.Good luck
  4. MusGuy

    MusGuy Member
    Messages: 65

    Do like we do

    Just load it... When it snaps or you see the pumpkin behind you, you know you have hit its limits
  5. Plowboy

    Plowboy Member
    Messages: 34

    Right on MUSGUY load it full, put what ever plow you want, remember that all manufacturers include a safety cushion.
  6. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031


    They are just kidding. Your best bet would be to look at the sticker on the door of your truck. It will list the MAX. GAWR for both the front and rear axles. Let's say you have a 4000-lb. Max. FAWR, you have to account for the 2500-3500-lbs. that is already on that axle due to the weight of the truck.

    Safest way to go would be to go get the truck weighed. Find out how much weight is on the front axle, the total weight of the truck, and how much is on the rear axle. This will give you the information you need to figure out how much plow your particular truck can handle.

  7. MusGuy

    MusGuy Member
    Messages: 65

    I wish I was kidding

    I wish I was kidding, we have a plow on our crew that is a F150 with a 9 foot meyer.... now that is a heavy plow... and I know that is over weight , but so far so good... In all seriousness you need to be careful
  8. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    The reason that truck manufacturers don't offer or recommend a snowplow prep package on extended cabs and crew cabs is due to possible over loading of front axle when cab has one occupant per seat belt AND a plow on the front. Not sure what they use for an "average" body weight, but say its 175 lbs. That would be (6 people) 1050lbs on a crew cab or extended cab with a front bench seat. with front buckets (5 people), it is 875 lbs. Now on a snowplow prep truck, it would only be 350 lbs (2 people). Thats 700 lbs between crew and standard right there! How often do you go plowing with 5 other people in the cab? I have had a BOSS V on my '90 Extended cab long bed K3500 SRW since '95 and have had no axle problems. I could not order a snowplow prep package for the extended cab in 1990. The manufacturer just has to cover their butts just in case someone DOES load 6 200+ lb guys in a crew cab and go out plowing! This formula also holds true for anyone looking for capacities for a slide-in-bed camper body.

    Hope this clears things up.
  9. Joseph Meidling

    Joseph Meidling Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Thanks for the info guys! I am only looking for a standard cab, but want to be sure I can fit a plow to it. Since I will be using this truck fo transportation to and from work I have a vested interest in gas mileage, that is why I am looking at 1/2 ton trucks.
  10. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425


    Do yourself a favor and go with a 3/4 ton. They don't cost much more new or used and will not get any different milage than a 1/2 ton. Plus you are thinking of plowing. Today's 1/2 tons are not like the ones from the 70's and 80's. They are NOT designed for plowing. If you are going into this purchase KNOWING that you are going to plow, go with a 3/4 ton. If you already have a 1/2 ton and want to add a plow, yes, it has, and will continue to be done with some success. But, believe me 3/4 tons have many advantages over a 1/2 ton.
  11. DaveO

    DaveO PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Ma.
    Messages: 299



    I have an '01 Ram xcab diesel with plow pkg. They state no more than two passengers in vehicle while plowing. Like you said this is due to the FAWR. The other factor is that an Xcab has a longer wheelbase, which put more weight over the front axle.

  12. Caneplow

    Caneplow Senior Member
    Messages: 172

    Do you know what brand truck you are going to purchase? If you call fisher/western/boss or any of the big dealers they will let you know what is recommeded for your truck. They have a listing of recommendations.
  13. Joseph Meidling

    Joseph Meidling Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    I am leaning toward a Chevy. If I didn't have a 30 mile trip to work (each way), I would just go for a big 3/4 ton and not worry about gas mileage. That not being the case I am evaluating all my options. From what I can see Chevy does not offer a plow prep package with a 6 cyl. engine so I might be going with a small 8. I guess if they offer a plow prep package I should be able to find a plow to fit the truck??? But then again I know what happens if one assumes anything. Thanks for the help everyone!
  14. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    I dont think chevy has a 6 cyl available anymore in a full size P/U. I thought they were all v8's now. 4.8/5.3/6.0/8.1/6.6TD
  15. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    A 350 Chevy pickup got better milage than a 4.3 V-6 any way. And on bigger stakebodies and dumps, the 350 got the same milage as a 454!


    Go with a 5.3 in a 2500 standard non HD and you should get in the high teens for highway milage. Plus you will be OK with a plow. They have 8600 GVW. The 4.3 in an S-10 pickup gets less than that.
  16. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    I had read that Vortec working on a straight 6 for 2003 available for the envoy and jimmy. It was on the news paper few days ago..I don't remember wich one. YUp it will be powerfull and with a lot of torque.

  17. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    The 2500 Gm trucks in 4wd are not available with the Vortec 5300,the 6000 300 hp is the standard and only engine in the new style 8600 trucks.I was lookin g to buy one last year,so I did some prying around on options.
  18. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425


    Not to beat a dead horse, but I am looking at a 2001 GMC Sierra Catalog and it lists the K2500 (8600 GVW) with the standard 5.3L 285hp 325lb-ft engine. Opational is the 6 liter 300hp 360lb-ft engine. It also looks like they still offer the 4.3 in 1500's with a regular cab.
  19. Prasino

    Prasino Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I wouldnt say 1/2 tons cant plow, because my uncle in vermont plows with f150s all the time. In vermont they can big snowfalls almost weekly
  20. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    My general experience with plowing with 1/2-tons is that, yes... they do break a little sooner than the 3/4-1-ton trucks, BUT, the parts that do break are generally a lot cheaper than the others. Any truck you abuse will eventually break. If you plow with a "sane" mind (and I use that term loosly) your truck will last a long time, even while plowing. Also general maintainance plays a HUGE part in it.

    Also, with small improvements, such as heavier springs, load supports, and frame reinforcing, you help rule out items that tend to break. I've owned my current Z71 for about a year now, have put about 13,000 miles on it, and I've changed the oil every time it starts getting dirty, and Ive changed the trans-fluid about four times. I also change the front and rear differential fluids once a year, and the transfer case before every winter. Little things can save you big $$$...

    Just my $0.02