Accelerated Change: Payloads

Payload is all guesswork. Nobody has a scale in the building center parking lot, or in the rock quarry, or on their way to the city dump. Loading anything is guesswork…and the vehicle engineers know this.

Our team has been testing vehicles for advertising content for the last 15 years. Over that time we have constantly been reminded by engineering and legal of the “maximum payload” a vehicle is allowed to carry. Don’t you dare show one ounce more — and you better have the documentation to prove it.

Carefully calculated and tested, a vehicle’s payload capacity value comes with piles of evidence, usually based on well-proven internal guidelines.

These overall capacities may change with the many options in building a pickup truck…for instance. Between engine options, cab sizes, axle ratios, and two or four-wheel drive. Primarily due to power, extra weight and math.

More power helps the payload number climb…a larger cab or 4WD begins to erode the weight-carrying capacity down. With the manufacturer’s warranty comes the promise that you can carry the maximum payload every day you own the car, truck or SUV. In all weather and on all kinds of roads.


But a factory payload number means absolutely nothing when your mission is to get the building materials to the job site or the rubble to the dump. Lumber, block, sand, drywall…everyone is playing the same “Guess The Weight” game in the parking lot.

There are some very creative, black magic calculations going on when a pallet or two, of drywall, goes into the back of a common, well-worn half-ton pickup. It’s safe to say we are well beyond every computer-engineered model ever reviewed during the design process and durability testing cycles. The overly zealous driver is the new crash test dummy.

Except for cement. The weight is printed on every bag.

Cement mortar comes in 94-pound bags. Premixed concrete, 90. So the math is not hard…10 bags = 900 pounds. And your payload capacity? Sometimes it’s found printed on a white sticker inside the driver’s door jam. Sometimes not.

And then occasionally you see what I call “cars out of context.”


Meet Nick the Builder.
That is 3,290 pounds of cement mortar, 35 bags, being loaded into his Porsche Cayenne. If you look closely the brake calipers are painted in the optional performance yellow…and the Midnight Black is very well kept. Those are low-profile speed-rated Pirelli tires.

That pallet of cement is DOUBLE his payload weight capacity.

This is not a one-time event for Nick. He prefers his Cayenne over any other form of supply truck and has told me of the largest loads he has carried.

“70 of the 60-pound bags (total 4200 pounds)…and for lumber…70 sticks inside and tied on the roof. I like the car more than a pick-up.” Nick is not interested in any other way. He has built a total of 13,000 square feet of housing using this Cayenne and has no plans to change. Just a normal day for Nick.

Brakes? Every 15,000 miles. Tires? 24,000. And don’t try this with the air bag suspension. Nick is perfectly happy. He has become an unpaid, unknown, Porsche durability tester on the city streets.

Overloading is common in other parts of the world, where fewer well-built trucks are found. Examples?


So, when it comes to payload, everyone seems to get very creative. In the end, you must choose exactly how you plan to use your truck or car or SUV. Many guys order extra capacity at time of purchase.

Some owners find the need to add some extra capacity after purchase. Here is one of the more clever ideas I have seen for quickly doubling your pickup truckload capacity.

Now, where did I put that extra rope?


2 thoughts on “Accelerated Change: Payloads

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