Ballast for truck bed in ice

How much weight should you put over the truck bed rear wheels to prevent the truck from fishtailing on an icy road? My husband thinks 1000 pounds, the car dealership and hardware stores say about 250 pounds.

1,000 lbs is way too much.
If the truck is driven appropriately for the conditions, somwhere around 200-250 lbs is more realistic.

Just be sure that the weigh is secured directly over the rear wheels.
If the weight shifts to the rear, it will have a “pendulum” effect, and will make handling very hazardous on slippery curves.

When I had a pickup (95 Dodge Dakota), I made an H-shaped frame out of 2x4’s to keep the weight (~200 lbs) directly over the rear wheels. With the weight and a set of all-terrain tires (Dunlop Radial Rover), the truck did ok in the snow.

Ed B.

I Agree with the others, not 1000 lbs but less.
You’re attempting to balance the truck’s fore/aft weight, not over balance.
In front you have the weight of the engine, in the rear you have the weight of the axle. Just a few sand bags, patio bricks, railroad ties etc will do.

Secure that load so it doesn’t slide around.

If there’s a lot of snow today, get out the snow shovel and put THAT snow into the bed of the truck. When the snow melts off the roads it’ll just about melt out of the bed too.

In addition the the wonderful advice already given, I would recommend winter tires if you don’t already have them. Adding weight will be more effective if you are using the best tires for the conditions.

I always ran successfully with a few hudred pounds.

VDC’s comment about securing the load is CRITICAL. In addition to load shift aft causing the rear end to swing around, a solid weight (like a concrete block) can become a deadly projectile in an accident.

What I did was make a frame from 2x4s that ran the length and width of the bed and included a box that kept the ballast just fore of the axle. I loaded the box with two layers of 2x8x16 concrete patio blocks and screwed a plywood top over it. That allowed me to still use the bed (the top of the arrangement was flat), kept the blocks safe and secure, and was easy to offload for summer use.

With ice all bets are off, even Parnelli Jones can be brought to his knees by mater what he is driving.

You don’t describe the configuration of the truck very well. I have seen a lot of extended cab models, both 4WD and 2WD, so I’ll guess that it’s one of them. The truck has zero traction going uphill in snow, so I will recommend studded Winter tires. Drive slower on icy roads.

Since the extended cab with short bed has a maximum load in the bed of 605 pounds (six hundred five), I recommend about 300 to 400 pounds and a hard plastic bed cover. That bed cover provides a much smoother, quieter ride on the highway. The long wheelbase helps you control the truck.

That weight should be in there in the Summer for wet highways too. Moderate rain will cause loss of grip when accelerating although there should be no problem with good tires on the back. I have imitation Goodyears, Wrangler AT/D2 and they are slippery when wet.

I never bothered with it. I got through the blizzard of 96 with a 2WD 1974 F-100 with an open diff, a 4bbl 390, 4.11 gears and 3 on the tree without too much difficulty. It had snow in the bed, but I didn’t put anything else in the back. My Bronco is 4WD and with a rear locker and Goodyear MT/R’s is as sure footed as obese mountain goat. I drove my parent’s 97 F150 4x4 in the snow last year and had no problems.

With that said, I’ve always heard that 250ish-400 pounds over the rear axle is the sweet spot.

80 lb bags of premix concrete ( I used 4)is cheap and did a wonderful job for me. I turned a wooden pallet upside down and secured it between the wheel wells and then secured the bags to the pallet.

It will ruin the concrete over the winter but it’s cheap.

You should park it on an icy day. No ballast will help. Ice is ice and unless you have chains or studs and drive slow and careful, you’ll end up in the ditch of that icy road. In my old pickup I put a 4 x 4 in the bed from side to side and then shovel in a mixture of sand and ash (from my friends’ coalstove) looks like a few bags full, never weighed it. If I get stuck I can use it to get unstuck. To answer your question I would go with the flow here and say 200-300 pounds. Rocketman

Put 250lbs of dry tube sand in a secure fashion.

Use it to get out of slippery spots when stuck.

I like bolting about 200lb of steel plate to the bed. That way you don’t loose any storage space.