Putting weight in my truck for winter


#1

Somebody told me that with the new pickup trucks, you dont have to put any weight in them for the winter because they are “balanced” so they get around ok. I just bought a 2004 F-150 2WD and dont believe that its true. I was wondering if anybody else heard this or not. If its not true, how much weight should I put in the back? (how many sandbags?) thank you.


#2

The truck is definitely not balanced. Weight in the rear, directly over the axle will help. I use at least 200lb of weight to be effective though.

Last winter I didn?t bother putting any weight in my Dakota because I use it so much for hauling crap, and it did ok as long as the snow was not too wet. I?m probably going to put weight in it this year, but I?m thinking of bolting a heavy steel plate down to the bed instead so I don?t take up any space in the bed.


#3

Newer model trucks are set up better than in the past because manufacturers know a lot of pickup owners never carry anything in them. That being said, they are still light in the rear and ballast will certainly help. I’ve always found my trucks ride and handle better with some weight in them. The concern with ballast is that it can’t become a dangerous projectile if you get into an accident. I like tube sand. It comes in convenient shape and weight, can be spread for traction if necessary and is easily removed if the need arises. They come in 60lb size here and so I use about 4 of them placed over the rear axle.


#4

They may be set up better then they use to be…but they are still very light in the rear-end. Good snow tires are a MUST. Adding weight is a good idea if you see a lot of snow. Make sure the weight won’t shift around or it will be worse then having nothing.


#5

Sand bags are great. However do not place at way rear of vehicle since you have the weight balance far back making the vehicle easier to fish tail.

The best part of sand bags is you have instant traction (if not frozen) when you get stuck.

It will take some talent and finesse with 2wd pickup in the snow. Winter tires are best however good all-seasons (at least 4/32" if not more tread left) are needed. Also waiting till they plow works really well.


#6

Putting weight over the rear axle will certainly help. The old standby, bags of sand will do nicely. If your truck has it, turn the traction control off before you drive in snow or ice, since you will get alot of wheelspin and the TC will just freak out and cut the fuel or spark. If were buying another truck it would defiantely be 4WD. The difference in fuel mileage isn’t much, and they hold their value better. With that said I made it through the blizzard of 96 in a 1974 F-100 2WD with a 390 4bbl, 4.11 gears, and 3 on the tree. There were some white knuckle moments.


#7

If you are planning using your truck off-road in snow you boughtthe wrong truck(2wd vrs 4wd)

If you are planning using your truck on plowed city streets, I don’t think you need anything but good all season tires and prudent driving technique.

I understand that weight over the rear wheels increases traction but it also increases overall vehicle weight.

In off-road (low -traction) use I wanted the lightest vehicle possible, low weight means lower power required to move it, lower power required ment I could move in lower traction situation.

I think the best use of carrying the sandbags is that you can empty them on the ground, increasing the traction

Carrying a old piece of carpet (say 4x8) can be put down and it will allow you to move the vehicle onto a better surface (helped me more than ever carrying sandbags)

BMW’s are some of the worst performing vehicles in low traction conditions,many people (including me carried 200lbs of sand in tubes in the trunk)I cant say it helped.

I have a 2004 F-150 and don’t plan on carrying any weight

Think of the gas mpg you will loose carrying the extra weight,and for what benifit

People post here all the time in much distress over a 2mpg decline.


#8

2WD needs about 400 pounds or more. The truck was designed to carry a load. The ride will improve too. A $700 plastic bed cover will help the ride too. That way, you can keep some useful things in the back instead of just dead weight.


#9

If you are planning using your truck on plowed city streets, I don’t think you need anything but good all season tires and prudent driving technique.

Plowing in a 2wd vehicle??? Maybe in Texas. Not in the North East. The big sanders are 2wd…but they have about 5 tons of weight on the rear wheels.

I understand that weight over the rear wheels increases traction but it also increases overall vehicle weight.

I take it you don’t drive in snow much. And extra 200-400 lbs in the rear will help GREATLY. Been there done that.

Carrying a old piece of carpet (say 4x8) can be put down and it will allow you to move the vehicle onto a better surface (helped me more than ever carrying sandbags)

Good for the 4-8’ you need to travel. Might take a long time getting home away in the middle of a snow storem if you live 5 miles.


#10

If you want a balanced truck, jack it up in the center, between the front and rear wheels, add weight to the bed until the front and the rear of the truck hang (balance) at the same level.


#11

How do you conclude I advocated plowing with a 2wd truck? I you read I said “if you are planning to use your truck on plowed city streets” How did you conclude I said “planning to plow city streets”?

These snow driving questions always turn into one person saying the other person doesn’t have snow driving experience. My experience was gained is Kalispel MT 3 winters, 9yrs driving in snow conditions in Switzerland, 3yrs in WI and numerous visits to the White MT’s here in AZ for elk hunts, never found it helpful.

My comment about the carpet was, in my experience once you get out of the predicment you are stuck in and back on the road you don’t need the extra weight.

The best advice about driving in the middle of snow storms,is don’t, wait it out at home or hotel.


#12

Tried rocks once but they slide all over. I like sand bags better for that reason but I still will not drive my old 79 chevy in the winter because it has a different problem in the ice…it’s frt/rr brake bias is so far off that I can be sitting at a complete stop and the rear wheels are spinning slowly ( I have to put it in neutral )!


#13

Look at it this way, Here in Tucson one of our mountain roads gets closed when even a little snow accumulates.

The Police close the road to all except vehicles with either 4wd or vehicles with chains, they don’t say, Oh you have 200lbs of sand in your bed, you can go on.

Conclusion, adding sand does not equate to having 4wd or chains, now the question, how much help does having 200lbs of sand over the rear axel help,answer not enough for you to be allowed to drive up the paved mountain road,don’t expect miracles from adding sand.

Don’t think sand is going to do the job when you really need 4wd or chains, now chains, they really do the job, and 4wd with chains impressive where you can go in the snow. Must be hard on the drive train though.

And ice, forget it, ice will make a fool out of the best.


#14

My 2wd 2003 Ford ranger with no weight in the back got around just fine, better than the 2wd toyota I had before it, WI winters are not as bad as driving in the mountains, good winter driving skill is better than 100lbs of sandbags in my mind.


#15

I installed an upside wooden pallet in my truck bed and secured it well. Then I bought 3-4 bags of 80 lb. premix concrete and put these on the pallet over the axle. I also had a back of sand for pouring under the tires but never needed to. This setup worked perfect for me here in the midwest. I do not know where you are so this might not be an ideal setup for you.


#16

The tube sand comes in sealed plastic bags so water can’t get in there and freeze it into a solid mass. Had that happen with the older, fabric bags and it’s not pretty when you need to use some of the sand. Even humid air seems to have an effect as it migrates into the sand. Even my cap didn’t stop those older bags from getting frozen. I’m surprised your cement bags weren’t solid rocks come springtime.

I like the idea of using an old pallet. Some years back, I made a simple raised bed using 2x4 and plywood. You can still carry a full 4x8 sheet and tuck stuff underneath, including the ballast.


#17

I will caution you that if you decide to add some weight over the rear axle, make sure you secure that weight. I would hate to see it become a projectile in a collision. Personally, I would not use sand bags. I would use kitty litter. I would use the cheap kind that doesn’t clump. The bags are pretty sturdy and you could use the litter to get unstuck or to clean up spilled oil. You should experiment to see how many bags are optimal after you figure out a way to secure them to the truck bed.


#18

How do you conclude I advocated plowing with a 2wd truck? I you read I said “if you are planning to use your truck on plowed city streets” How did you conclude I said “planning to plow city streets”?

Wow did I read that one wrong…You’re right…Sorry.

The best advice about driving in the middle of snow storms,is don’t, wait it out at home or hotel.

My comment about the carpet was, in my experience once you get out of the predicment you are stuck in and back on the road you don’t need the extra weight.

I had carpet in a car I owned once. I found it to be usefull just once. I threw it out after 2 years. Most of the time the problems I had were driving on unplowed streets during a storm.

Some parts of the country …it’s NOT possible. Where I grew up…NO WAY NO HOW. You’d be a shut in. Between December and March we averaged 10" per week. I can’t tell you how many times I got caught in a snow storm driving to and from work. And NOT to mention the 1 mile wide lake effect storms or 15-20 inches that occur several times a year.


#19

I drove pickup trucks in NH for 25 years. Weight over the rear axle or just forwrad of the axle definitely helps. I made a wooden box just high enough to place 2x8x16 patio blocks in it and designed to keep them over the rear axle, with a screwed on lid.

SAFETY NOTE: it is imperative to create some form of retention for concrete blocks. In the event of an accident they’ll become projectiles and can do an enormous amount of damage.

Sand bags will absorb water. When the temperatire rises thay can cause rot. When the temperature drops they’ll freeze solid. I carried empty Gatorade bottles full of dry sand for emergencies. It helps on ice. I’ve been stopped on an incline in an ice storm and had to use it.


#20

1 thing people haven’t mentioned is if you get a lot of snow fall, grab a shovel and start piling it into your bed and keep compacting it. I’ve seen a few trucks like that this last winter when we got a bunch of snow. If you or someone close by owns a Bobcat or other front-loader, this can come in REAL handy in loading real quick