the weight in bed theory


Senior Member
hey guys, the common theory is to put weight behind the rear actual when it snows wether it be sand bags, salt bags, cinder blocks or whatever. my question is having more weight just makes it harder to stop does it not? what good is it to be able to go if you cant stoP?! that is just something i have heard dont know the truth behind it. lets say u have a non 4x4 and a 4x4 does it stay the same? also what are some other sources of weight for the bed?

wxmn6 Addict
Claverack, NY
In my opinion, it probably would be about the same result if you put more weight in the rear or not. Why? Let say there are two same truck, 4x4, first truck do not have ballast, and the second truck do have ballast. They drives into heavy snow and then they start to slow down. The first truck have less traction in the rear because there is not much weight in the rear, so it would slides on the snow because the rear tires does not get as much "bites" as the truck with ballast do. The second truck have more traction in the rear because of ballast in the rear, so it gives the rear tires more "bites", help slow down faster, but with the amount of weight in the rear, it forces the truck to slide a little. So it would be about the same result on the stopping distance. This is my theory.

In most case, it is better to have ballast in the rear because it helps bring the bed lower, helping transfer some of weight from the front to rear. Also it gives you more traction to plow the snow, less chance of rear sliding left and right. It will make it easier to plow the snow.


western mass
Made a wieght block of poured concrete

Just my 2 c worth,
If the city trucks around here can run with 5-7 yd. sanders 10-11 foot plows ,and are non 4x4. they seem to stop just fine. Why not offset the weight of the plow and add more down-force,(traction) to the rear wheels by adding weight. Less wear on the driveline componets in 2 wheel drive. jj donovan


Senior Member
Adding ballast is better than not. The rear of most trucks is relatively light. Then you add a plow to the front which puts an even higher ratio of of weight on the front. The ideal front to rear weight ratio is 50 50. Even though not many cars even have that.

By adding weight to the rear, you will be much closer to an ideal ratio. So you will have better traction, handling, weight distribution, etc. As far as breaking, ice is ice. And nothing short of studs or chains will help, whether you add weight or not.

Got Grass?

Senior Member
Western New York
Weight will help level out the truck and make it easier on the suspension. With the plow on, the rear wheels will get less traction then with it off as the weight of the plow lifts the rear end.
Just like thoes people who over load their truck bed and cant turn because thier front wheels are hardly touching the ground. You want the rear wheels doing most of the work.

As far as stopping, yes it will take a bit longer to stop from high speeds.
Worst case senario and there is no way your breaks are going to stop you to avoid an accident, drop the plow. Horrible for the plow and the truck but much better then an accident and someone getting hurt.

As far as sources of weight: Most common thing is cheep $2.50 70lb sand bags from Home Depot,wal-mart,etc.... Plus if thay get a hole you can dump them in the kids sandbox.
Most expensive is to buy and put a salt spreader back there, but you can make the $ back.
Could always use cinder blocks, pavers, stone, bricks or almost anything.

The new chevys have the cut outs in the bed so I used a couple 2x10's to hold them in place between the wheel wells. Sandbags fit perfectly in there.

Whatever you decide to use make sure its secure. You wouldnt want a loose brick or whatever flying though the window and killing you if you ever get into an accident. I've heard some horror stories about things fling from the bed or back seat and hitting the person where thay normally wouldnt have had serious injuries. Something to think about when deciding what to use.

Mick Veteran
Because I live in the middle of a forest and have lots of trees, several years ago I used about 300 lbs of 6' tree trunks for ballast in a 1500 2wd I had. Made a world of difference on hills. I don't think I'd add over 500 lbs, though or you might be losing braking efficiency on a 1/2 ton. I think my 4x4 does much better stopping than the 2wd with the ballast. Maybe just imagination, though, since I'm not sure of the mechanics behind them.

GeoffD Veteran
I have said it before, and will say it again. When we get the wet heavy snow storms. The trucks that don't have a spreader, stop at the mix pile for about a yard of mix. Let me tell you the trucks can plow a lot better with the extra weight in the back. However we only do this a few times a year, the other times its just a few hundred pounds.



Senior Member
The bed liner in my truck has pockets to hold a 2x4, both in front of and behind the wheel well. I put a 2x4 in each, and then one between the two from front to back. Looking at it from the side of the truck, it looks like a "H" This gives a little extra strength to keep the blocks in place. I then put solid cement blocks that fit perfectly between the rear 2x4 and tailgate.

Alan Addict
Real nice way to add weight, if you are around jobsites where there is concrete being poured, is to throw a sheet of construction poly in the back of the truck, put a 2x4 flatways under the plastic right ahead of the tailgate and pour 1 1/2" of concrete in there. Smooth it out and you've got a nice weight that won't move around at all. Being only 1 1/2" thick it's easy to remove in the spring, just slap it a few times with a BFH and take out the pieces. the plastic keeps it sticking. Take the 2x4 out after the crete sets up and you'll have room to close the tailgate when you get some snow or other crap in there.

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