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Corndog Hater
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok, not nearly as exciting as the last thread I started.....
It's my first winter with a truck and I want to put some weight in the bed. After seeing 56fordguy's truck ballast, it got me thinking. I have a 6.5' box on a half ton Silverado and it is 4WD. I plan to use tube sand. How many tubes and where should they be placed (over the rear axle, any over the wheel wells)? Unlike 56fordguy, I won't be plowing. Thanks!
 

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I'd go over the rear axle if you're not trying to offset weight in the front like a plow. If you go ahead of the rear axle you'll be adding weight to the front tires, that would help in 4wd but won't offer much extra assistance if you're in two wheel drive.
 

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I buy 450 - 500 lbs of water softener salt and place it over the rear axle. Over the winter as I need to fill the water softener I just rob out of the truck and pick up more as I need it. This also has worked when I had a very icy situation as I do break open a bag and spread some on the road surface to get better traction if I'm getting stuck.
 

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First go to Tractor Supply and buy a heavy duty stall mat, weighs about 100 lbs, will make a great bed liner, and for much less than a fitted one, like $36.00....spreads the weight around....I have one in the ram, works great and settles the back end down.
 

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Corndog Hater
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Discussion Starter #6
First go to Tractor Supply and buy a heavy duty stall mat, weighs about 100 lbs, will make a great bed liner, and for much less than a fitted one, like $36.00....spreads the weight around....I have one in the ram, works great and settles the back end down.
It didn't even occur to me, I already have one of them in there for a bed liner. Yes that is good for some weight too.

My dad, who has lived in the south for upwards of 20 years, says to put (2) 60lb tubes in the truck bed. That doesn't seem like enough to me. I do like the water softener salt idea though....
 

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I've never put anything in my bed after a lifetime with 4WD pickups - until last year.....

I always figured that was the reason I had 4WD so I didn't have to do anything else. But last winter I needed to add some weight to get out of my driveway when my 4WD went out.

There are a couple schools of thought here in my opinion. Firstly - I have met some people who for some reason are reluctant to turn that little knob or pull that lever when on the road. For me - if it is even a little slushy I am in 4WD.

Another way to look at it - why carry extra weight around which will give a little hit to the fuel mileage.

But having some weight will probably let you drive in a lot of conditions without 4WD - but I paid the money so I could drive in 4WD.

With all that said, I did throw my 3 tunes of anti-skid (from Tractor Supply last year) in the bed for the winter. That only equals 210# so it won't make any difference at all for traction. But over the years I've found that a little anti-skid spread around where someone (or myself) might be stuck makes a big difference.
 

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I put 14 16" concrete blocks in the back of old yeller ('78 Ford F250 plow truck). I was told the 16" blocks weigh 55lbs each so that makes 770lbs. I never bothered to weigh them :dunno:
I run two rows of 7 from the front. I run a 2x6 on edge down each side. Before I start the block rows I lag bolt a 2x4 across the front of the box into the two upright 2x6s.
Then two rows of 7 blocks, then another 2x4 lag bolted across the upright 2x6s at the rear of the block rows.
This frames in the blocks. The 2x6s run the full length of the box. As long as the tailgate is shut they do not move. I doubt they would slide back with the tailgate open, but I have an old school drop in bed liner that is slippery. I am NOT trying to offset the weight of the snowplow, just get more weight over the rear axle.

This truck is all ready a gas hog, it has 4.10 gears, no overdrive. I NEVER got over 9 mpg in it's entire life. When the roads are NOT dry I just leave it 4x4. Probably get 5 or 6 mpg. In the winter all it does is push snow

I should also say the truck came with the heaviest GVW and factory overload springs
 

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Put it behind the rear axle for the biggest benefit. No matter what you need to secure the load one way or another. Boss snow plow makes a ballast restaurateur that holds anything you use from flying front. I believe that it needs to be screwed to your trucks bed.

Years ago (working as an auto technician) I had a problem with something similar. A new 2 wheel drive Dakota truck came in for a rear wheel antilock warning light being on. This was back before all wheel antilock brakes became standard equipment. The government mandated all pickups must have rear wheel abs. Well once you turn the truck off the trouble code gets erased. You need to have the warning light on so you can check the code before shutting it down. My normal road test was not enough to get the light to come on. By stomping the brakes it would cause the system to activate hopefully setting the code. After nailing the brakes I heard a bang but couldn't find a reason for it. A couple days later dude is back at the shop to complain. Apparently he put tubes of sand into the back of the bed with nothing to secure them. The noise I heard was the front of the bed separating from the floor. Forgot to mention that the bed had a soft tarp cover otherwise I would have noticed the load.
 

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When you get 2' of snow (and you will) wet it down and let it freeze.:lol:
 

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"Had" a 4x2 Cummins, SRW, 3500. Use to put three logs back there that weighed an estimated 700Lbs. Although it worked to some extent, it didn't solve all the problems. Frost Heaves sent the logs airborne and were a bummer on the bed. This year it's a new 2017 4x4. Hoping that it's the ticket for me.
 

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Back when I drove a 1/2t RWD pickup I built an "H" shaped frame out of 2x8's to fit on the wheelwells. The H actually has 2 cross pieces, one at each wheelwell, leaving the center a box I could load with my weight.

I always carried at least one bag of kitty litter and one of rock salt along with 400#+ of tube sand. I wrapped them all in shrink wrap to help prevent punctures.

500#+ made for better traction, helped settle the rear end and didn't impact MPG too bad.
 

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Back when my brother had a cat he would buy a years worth of kitty litter at cosco in the fall and it would ride around in the back of his truck all winter. Come spring, he would carry it all down into his basement and slowly use it up until it was time to bring down next years batch.
Sadly, his kitty passed away two years ago, but he still goes to cosco to pick up a dozen or so boxes of cat litter each fall. In the spring he donates the litter to his local animal shelter. He is happy because he is doing a good deed, and because the shelter sends a few of their volunteers out to the parking lot to unload it all for him. :lol:

Due to the already massive weight of a crew cab diesel, I'm not going to bother adding extra weight. If my little Cummins didn't need it and my old F150 didn't need it, I highly doubt my new truck will. My tires are in good shape and my rear axle has a limited slip differential. All the traction I will need is just the flick of the wrist away thanks to glorious 4-wheel drive. Plus, winters in mid Michigan are really boring compared to where we used to live up north.
 

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Corndog Hater
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Discussion Starter #14
I've never put anything in my bed after a lifetime with 4WD pickups - until last year.....

I always figured that was the reason I had 4WD so I didn't have to do anything else. But last winter I needed to add some weight to get out of my driveway when my 4WD went out.

There are a couple schools of thought here in my opinion. Firstly - I have met some people who for some reason are reluctant to turn that little knob or pull that lever when on the road. For me - if it is even a little slushy I am in 4WD.

Another way to look at it - why carry extra weight around which will give a little hit to the fuel mileage.

But having some weight will probably let you drive in a lot of conditions without 4WD - but I paid the money so I could drive in 4WD.

With all that said, I did throw my 3 tunes of anti-skid (from Tractor Supply last year) in the bed for the winter. That only equals 210# so it won't make any difference at all for traction. But over the years I've found that a little anti-skid spread around where someone (or myself) might be stuck makes a big difference.
Mrs. CP and I had this same conversation today. Her school of thought was, for crying out loud, put it into 4WD! Actually this truck's knob has 2WD, Auto, 4H, 4L. Auto would be the smart choice I suppose.

I am only out $9 for the 2 tubes of sand I've already bought. I will probably go buy (3) 40lb bags of water softener salt and put those in too. If the MPG is noticeably off, I can take out the salt.

Thanks folks!
 

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Like some of the others have noted, I use sand bags (4 each at 60 lbs) in our FX4. I place 2 on top of each other behind the wheel well on each side. I get the argument about having 4wd, so then just use it. But I am just looking for a little extra traction when needed. And quite honestly, I haven't noticed any change in MPG but then again...my MPG are not that high to begin with.
 

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I'm not big on running in 4wd all the time. When plowing, if you're in 2wd and get stuck you can ususally put it in 4, back out and take a smaller bite in 2wd again. If you're plowing in 4wd and get stuck, it's time for shoveling or sand/ kitty litter, or calling for help to get out. For regular driving, the roads may be clear enough in some places to run 45-50 mph, but others may still have snow or even black ice. I don't like running in 4wd at those speeds, and with manual shifters and hubs on my truck that means at the very least you need to be able to identify the problem far enough away that you can slow down, stop and shift, then take off again. Repeat on the other side to go back to 2wd. With weight in the bed, it's there regardless and I don't have to worry about engaging it. I know in my work vans, having 6-700 lbs in the back makes a huge difference on slick roads.

One thing I found on my 7.3 diesel pickups is that the engine is so heavy, it will cause the front end to try and dig into the snow or sink into the mud and leave the rear tires spinning.
 

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Corndog Hater
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Discussion Starter #17
Up until last winter, my work vehicle was a RWD Astro cargo van with 4 snow tires. I never had a problem getting around. The only weight in the back was our equipment. I just knew to plan ahead and pay attention. That's why, I guess I am initially more inclined to use 2WD vs Auto.
 

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My 2500 Silverado 4WD weighs 6,200 pounds,, I consider it to be perfectly balanced without extra weight.
I do not have a snowplow. If I did have a plow, I would add something.

The truck is heavy, and goes well in the snow,,,
except the time I ran into 20" of heavy wet snow,, THAT stopped it,, weight would not have helped.
 

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I'm not big on running in 4wd all the time. When plowing, if you're in 2wd and get stuck you can ususally put it in 4, back out and take a smaller bite in 2wd again. If you're plowing in 4wd and get stuck, it's time for shoveling or sand/ kitty litter, or calling for help to get out. For regular driving, the roads may be clear enough in some places to run 45-50 mph, but others may still have snow or even black ice. I don't like running in 4wd at those speeds, and with manual shifters and hubs on my truck that means at the very least you need to be able to identify the problem far enough away that you can slow down, stop and shift, then take off again. Repeat on the other side to go back to 2wd. With weight in the bed, it's there regardless and I don't have to worry about engaging it. I know in my work vans, having 6-700 lbs in the back makes a huge difference on slick roads.

One thing I found on my 7.3 diesel pickups is that the engine is so heavy, it will cause the front end to try and dig into the snow or sink into the mud and leave the rear tires spinning.
The Ford you posted pictures of is shift on the fly. That means you can put the transfer case into and out of 4WD high range at almost any speed. You will need to stop before shifting in or out of low range. That is as long as you have the manual hubs engaged.

Manual or lock out hubs are the most miss understood feature on a 4WD. It's easy. When unlocked the only parts of the front axle that turns is the wheel. If you engage the transfer case the front axle will turn but not apply the power to the wheels. I have often did this to use low range on asphalt or cement.
When you lock the hubs the front axle is now connected to the wheels. You DO NOT have to unlock the hubs every time you shift out of 4WD. This way you can use the system as needed.
The biggest problem is peeps not locking the hubs before they end up axle deep in some kind of slop. Then they have to get out to lock them.

Some Ford trucks came with automatic hubs. If you have them I'd replace them with the manual kind. Especially if you are using it for plowing snow. Biggest problem is that they lock, unlock and lock when going between forward and reverse. If you throttle it at the wrong time, snap then you are dead in the water.
 
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The Ford you posted pictures of is shift on the fly. That means you can put the transfer case into and out of 4WD high range at almost any speed. You will need to stop before shifting in or out of low range. That is as long as you have the manual hubs engaged.

Manual or lock out hubs are the most miss understood feature on a 4WD. It's easy. When unlocked the only parts of the front axle that turns is the wheel. If you engage the transfer case the front axle will turn but not apply the power to the wheels. I have often did this to use low range on asphalt or cement.
When you lock the hubs the front axle is now connected to the wheels. You DO NOT have to unlock the hubs every time you shift out of 4WD. This way you can use the system as needed.
The biggest problem is peeps not locking the hubs before they end up axle deep in some kind of slop.
Which Ford? My '01 and '97 both have manual hubs and manual transfer cases, both grind if you try to shift them when in motion.

I'm familiar with the hubs, like you I use low range two wheel drive pretty regularly for maneuvering trailers or loading square bales. :good2:
 
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