A way to Increase Payload

Brad1331

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I posted something about this in an unrelated thread but thought it deserves its own thread. As we all have seen when fully equipped with heavy sun roofs etc the payload on some of these test vehicles is under 950 lbs which is absolutely pathetic. You would literally be a few hundred pounds over that if you took 4 buddies on a weekend hunting/fishing trip to your cabin. Normally payload and towing are maxed due to the drivetrain, cooling capabilities, braking, and suspension. But with this 702 HP beast that was designed to do baja racing in the desert heat we can safely say the suspension is the only one of those that is the limiting factor to the abysmal payload.

The possible solution I see is adding some inflatable air bags on the rear axle hooked into an onboard compressor. The compressor I'm sure many were already planning on adding so they can air down and up their tires for off road trips. The air bags directly on the axel would allow for essentially as much payload as the bed can fit although it might ride like crap, if you don't haul a lot over long distances it might be good enough to get the job done without risking breaking expensive suspension components or requiring you to keep a second truck for real truck things.

The things I don't know that maybe someone can provide some insight into are:

1. Does anyone make aftermarket airbags that can be bolted onto an axel instead of an existing leaf spring
2. Are there any aftermarket airbags that would fit with the insane 14 inch of wheel travel from the stock suspension
3. Are they easy enough to put on and off after the initial install to feasibly load up all your gear for an offraod trip in the truck then once you get there unbolt them to make sure you have full range of motion of the stock suspension and put them back on for the ride home
 

THE JOHNNY

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This is probably a dumb question but what happens if you exceed the payload? Kinda hard to believe this truck has such a limited payload. I have a 2018 1500 crew cab short bed I wonder what mine is now?
 

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This is probably a dumb question but what happens if you exceed the payload? Kinda hard to believe this truck has such a limited payload. I have a 2018 1500 crew cab short bed I wonder what mine is now?
If you exceed payload your suspension will be completely compressed and you will be riding right on the bump stops of the axle.
 
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Brad1331

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This is probably a dumb question but what happens if you exceed the payload? Kinda hard to believe this truck has such a limited payload. I have a 2018 1500 crew cab short bed I wonder what mine is now?
If you want to check it there will be a sticker somewhere on the inside of the drivers door frame for your specific truck with options....I'm betting its right around 2,000 pounds plus or minus thats what most 5 passenger half ton trucks are besides the raptor and TRX
 

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TFL Truck - “What!? This 2021 Ram TRX is caught towing a huge boat in public that is likely way over the truck’s tow rating! Yes, that huge 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque has the grunt to tow an entire house. The TRX brakes are pretty big as well, but the total towing rating is set at 8,100 lbs.

The TRX is rated to tow 100 lbs more than a 2020 Ford Raptor crew cab. This is fair amount, considering the off-road performance envelope of this truck. The precise model and weight of this boat and trailer are unknown, but Dennis reports that this Formula Boat was riding on a triple-axle trailer. That was “at least 30 feet long”. A closer inspection suggests that this may be a Formula 353 FASTech or a 382 FASTtech.

Formula Boats spec sheet list the 353 FASTech at 9,500 lbs without a trailer, and the 382 FASTech at 10,450 lbs without a trailer. The trailer can weigh at least 3,000 lbs. As such, this prototype truck is attached to over 12,000 lbs worth of trailer.”
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tripleB

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Adding airbags can certainly make towing safer by improving many things, like reducing rear end squat and leveling the truck back out which will help improve braking performance by shifting weight to the front axle but you can accomplish that with a good WDH and not have to mess with the suspension. Adding airbags will not however increase allowable payload. The GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) is the maximum safe operating weight, including its net weight, plus driver, passengers, cargo, and fuel. The gross vehicle weight rating doesn’t change after a manufacturer determines it for a vehicle and the consumer has no control over that. They determine the rating by the combined weight of the strongest weight-bearing elements, like the axles, and the weaker parts, such as the tires, frame, and body. I am unable to find the GAWR for the truck right now, all reviews I have seen so far only include the GVWR so we cant start at the axles and work backwards currently.

The only way to increase payload is to remove items from the truck, so adding the airbags and compressor just puts more "cargo" in the truck and in effect lowers your allowable payload.

All that being said, as long as you don't look dangerous like this I doubt anyone will ever question the load rating.

crazy%2Bfifth%2Bwheel%2Brv%2Btrailer%2Bhitch.jpeg
 
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marksouth

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My personal preference is that heavy payload was never an issue for me. Currently have a Gen 1 Raptor and I use it to haul items, pull trailers, etc. and I have really only overloaded the shocks/leaf springs twice in 9 years. Of course, if payload is your concern, this really isn’t the truck you want, because they are very easy to overload if you typically haul heavy payloads. That certainly wasn’t the first consideration in these types of trucks.

That said, with Raptors there were several ways to increase payload such as new leaf springs, or in my case going to aftermarket 3.0 shocks.

Personally I wouldn’t do anything to the shocks on the TRX since they are live valve shocks and connected to the trucks computer systems with feedback.

I’m sure the rear springs will have aftermarket options at some point, but I would certainly consider ride quality if/when changing those out.
 

tkdr6

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I've been towing for over 20 years (travel trailers, 5th wheels, goose necks, etc.) and have tons of experience towing on/off road which means understanding and calculating payload is crucial. I also tow at altitude here in Colorado (over 10,000 feet above sea level) and even at incline/decline grades over 10% (see TFLtruck ike gauntlet towing videos).

"tripleB" comments above are SPOT ON... read his post carefully! Remember the TRX has GVWR of 7,800 lbs.

The only other thing you can do that will help (other than reducing vehicle weight as tripleB mentioned) is using heavy duty weight distribution system. This will actually REMOVE/REDUCE load baring weight on the truck rear axles (hitch/receiver) by distributing some of the trailer tongue weight BACK towards the axles of the trailer and will REDUCE the TRX squat as well (improving truck steering and safety). Air bags are an illusion and WILL NOT distribute any weight, just lift the bed of the truck to limit squat. I personally will never put air bags on my TRX, you're trying to solve the problem with the wrong tool.

Here is a great elementary level video explaining what i'm saying:

In summary, only two ways to increase payload...
- Remove/Reduce weight from vehicle
- Use heavy duty weight distribution system (obviously this is for only when towing)

And I will definitely be towing with my TRX once I finally get it... :)

Best of luck to every one and stay safe!
 

BestTime

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I posted something about this in an unrelated thread but thought it deserves its own thread. As we all have seen when fully equipped with heavy sun roofs etc the payload on some of these test vehicles is under 950 lbs which is absolutely pathetic. You would literally be a few hundred pounds over that if you took 4 buddies on a weekend hunting/fishing trip to your cabin. Normally payload and towing are maxed due to the drivetrain, cooling capabilities, braking, and suspension. But with this 702 HP beast that was designed to do baja racing in the desert heat we can safely say the suspension is the only one of those that is the limiting factor to the abysmal payload.

The possible solution I see is adding some inflatable air bags on the rear axle hooked into an onboard compressor. The compressor I'm sure many were already planning on adding so they can air down and up their tires for off road trips. The air bags directly on the axel would allow for essentially as much payload as the bed can fit although it might ride like crap, if you don't haul a lot over long distances it might be good enough to get the job done without risking breaking expensive suspension components or requiring you to keep a second truck for real truck things.

The things I don't know that maybe someone can provide some insight into are:

1. Does anyone make aftermarket airbags that can be bolted onto an axel instead of an existing leaf spring
2. Are there any aftermarket airbags that would fit with the insane 14 inch of wheel travel from the stock suspension
3. Are they easy enough to put on and off after the initial install to feasibly load up all your gear for an offraod trip in the truck then once you get there unbolt them to make sure you have full range of motion of the stock suspension and put them back on for the ride home
The sticker on the test vehicle I saw (the one with 900+lbs. payload capacity) also included an occupancy of 5 people. We do not know what they used for passenger weight but most people are not going to fully load the inside of this vehicle when loading the bed. In fact, most would likely include one drive and one full size passenger. If you assume a passenger weight of 175 lbs. each (very modest) that would put the useful payload at close to 1500 lbs. If passenger weight used was 200 lbs. for the 900+ lb. capacity, a driver and no passengers could approach 1,750 lbs. of payload.
 
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Brad1331

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This is why I didnt mention a thing about towing with this post, because I could care less how much this truck can tow and statistically over 90% of half ton truck owners never tow over 6k pounds and most only tow less than 300 total miles a year.....

However simple math would indicate that with 33 gallons of fuel 7 gallons of other fluid(oil windshield washer transmission etc) totalling 200 pounds, 5 passengers at 220 pounds each averaged 5 suitcases at 50 pounds each a few cases of beer and food for the weekend at 100 pounds totals about 1,650 pounds which was all in my current truck a couple weeks ago for a 4 hour drive to my lake house.....which is almost double the max payload of less than 950 pounds of some of these test vehicles.

Unless someone can provide sound reasoning as to how an airbag on the rear axel won't keep the rear suspension from bottoming out can we keep this thread to the original topic and questions, and if you guys want to argue about "who buys an off road truck to tow with" please take it to a different thread thanks
 
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Brad1331

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The sticker on the test vehicle I saw (the one with 900+lbs. payload capacity) also included an occupancy of 5 people. We do not know what they used for passenger weight but most people are not going to fully load the inside of this vehicle when loading the bed. In fact, most would likely include one drive and one full size passenger. If you assume a passenger weight of 175 lbs. each (very modest) that would put the useful payload at close to 1500 lbs. If passenger weight used was 200 lbs. for the 900+ lb. capacity, a driver and no passengers could approach 1,750 lbs. of payload.
Rams posted max payload on the base model empty of passengers and fluids is 1350 pounds, I could easily see if you optioned out the sun roof ram bars tire carrier etc all that stuff adding 400 pounds decreasing the payload to 950 ish without passengers.....where are you seeing on the sticker posted in a video that payload included 5 passengers?
 

tripleB

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This is why I didnt mention a thing about towing with this post, because I could care less how much this truck can tow and statistically over 90% of half ton truck owners never tow over 6k pounds and most only tow less than 300 total miles a year.....

However simple math would indicate that with 33 gallons of fuel 7 gallons of other fluid(oil windshield washer transmission etc) totalling 200 pounds, 5 passengers at 220 pounds each averaged 5 suitcases at 50 pounds each a few cases of beer and food for the weekend at 100 pounds totals about 1,650 pounds which was all in my current truck a couple weeks ago for a 4 hour drive to my lake house.....which is almost double the max payload of less than 950 pounds of some of these test vehicles.

Unless someone can provide sound reasoning as to how an airbag on the rear axel won't keep the rear suspension from bottoming out can we keep this thread to the original topic and questions, and if you guys want to argue about "who buys an off road truck to tow with" please take it to a different thread thanks

The curb weight of the vehicle includes all options that the truck was built with from the factory and all fluids necessary for operation. Considered a "wet" weight so it already includes the weight of fuels, oils, coolants, etc.

You are absolutely correct, adding airbags to the back of the truck could definitely stop the suspension from bottoming out when overloading the payload, but that in no way changes the payload capability of the truck. It can make you feel better about carrying the load, and even potentially safer in doing so but there is no way to change the legal payload of the vehicle short of removing weight from the truck. At the end of the day, the GVWR sticker in the door has a number on it and the entire weight of the vehicle and its cargo can not exceed that. So this is going to be entirely based on how you personally feel about the legal side of the GVWR rating. Nothing you add to the vehicle can change that number, it is set by the manufacturer.

Another way to look at it, just because the suspension is not bottomed out does not mean the truck is not grossly overloaded. You could easily install a set of 5000 lb airbags under the back of the truck and keep the suspension from moving even an inch with a couple thousand lbs in the bed but that doesn't mean the rest of the truck is not overloaded.
 

tripleB

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FAQ from Firestones Ride-Rite Air Bag page.

Q: Does this allow my truck to carry more weight?
A: Absolutely not. Only the vehicle manufacturer can set the GVWR. Even with the air springs, you have the same brakes, axles, bearings, and frame stiffness, which in part determines the vehicle’s load capability. The Ride-Rite™ air springs simply allow you to carry the maximum capacity of your truck more comfortably and without suspension sag and the poor handling that comes with it.
 
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Brad1331

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FAQ from Firestones Ride-Rite Air Bag page.

Q: Does this allow my truck to carry more weight?
A: Absolutely not. Only the vehicle manufacturer can set the GVWR. Even with the air springs, you have the same brakes, axles, bearings, and frame stiffness, which in part determines the vehicle’s load capability. The Ride-Rite™ air springs simply allow you to carry the maximum capacity of your truck more comfortably and without suspension sag and the poor handling that comes with it.
In summary if I were stopped by the DOT and forced to weigh in at a weigh station for some reason in a half ton truck and was over the GVWR I would get a ticket......thanks for the clarification

Now with letter of the law stuff resolved seeing how logically that this crazy beefed up drivetrain axles frame cooling system etc on this truck is strong enough to withstand being jumped trough the air over and over again at 75 mph plus with no damage is there any reason to believe looking at the suspension only that air bags would prevent damage if it were loaded similarly to other half tons at around 2000 pounds payload....and if that is the case does anyone have any experience with installation and removal process and which products are available that could fit this application or if we have to wait like other aftermarket components until the truck comes out and is custom fit
 

Mack0092

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Although I haven’t been able to place an order for the TRX yet (Massachusetts if anyone has an “in”) I would consider airbags for the rear. The only thing that I carry that would be over payload is a sled deck with 2 snowmobiles. No, I cannot buy a trailer for the snowmobiles as I ride “off trail” snowmobiles and more often then not we are traveling unplowed non-maintained logging roads and trails to get to the good spots. Sled deck is 400 lbs, plus the 2 sleds about 850lbs total, And some gear. The TRX will also be used to tow my 22ft Mastercraft wakeboard boat 6000lbs, and my HellCat Challenger to the race track about 6000lbs as well. I don’t think they airbags will hurt anything at all and I know of a few people who run them in 1500’s to increase payload for sled decks with no issues.
 
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Brad1331

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Although I haven’t been able to place an order for the TRX yet (Massachusetts if anyone has an “in”) I would consider airbags for the rear. The only thing that I carry that would be over payload is a sled deck with 2 snowmobiles. No, I cannot buy a trailer for the snowmobiles as I ride “off trail” snowmobiles and more often then not we are traveling unplowed non-maintained logging roads and trails to get to the good spots. Sled deck is 400 lbs, plus the 2 sleds about 850lbs total, And some gear. The TRX will also be used to tow my 22ft Mastercraft wakeboard boat 6000lbs, and my HellCat Challenger to the race track about 6000lbs as well. I don’t think they airbags will hurt anything at all and I know of a few people who run them in 1500’s to increase payload for sled decks with no issues.
Thanks for the on topic response;)

Keep me posted to actual products you find that fit and work on your TRX. I tried searching for people who have put them on raptors and every forum either turned into a towing argument or they used bags that bolted to the rear leaf springs which the trx doesn't have
 

tripleB

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I agree completely with what you are saying, please don't take that as me arguing. I plan to use the truck as truck and load it full of whatever I need/want to take with me, realistically it will be "overloaded" the majority of the time we take off for a weekend trip.

I have installed multiple sets of airbags on previous leaf sprung trucks and those are fairly trivial. I have only done one set with coil springs, which is on my current 2500 Megcab. I installed an autoleveling compressor setup with airbags to assist the softer sprung Carli suspension lift I installed. Rides way better than stock and with the air bags always stays nice and flat. The bags are outboard of the coils on the axle tube itself though and from looking at the chassis pictures of the TRX, the coils and Bilsteins are about as far outboard as you can get for stability so that area may not be available. They do make bags that go inside the coils but I have no experience with those so hopefully we can find one suitably sized since Ram claims this coil had to be custom designed because one this size didn't exist before the TRX.

While the TRX number seems very low I am not going to give it much thought until after the truck arrives and I get to load it for a trip and see how the tow setting on the suspension works out. The couple reviews I can find currently that even mention all the suspension settings just show the screen for changing settings and briefly mention that that the tow setting stiffens the rear up to better handle extra weight.
 

Mack0092

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Seems most bags bolt to the leaf springs, that’s how they are in my F350. I’ll be keeping an eye open myself.
 
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Brad1331

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I agree completely with what you are saying, please don't take that as me arguing. I plan to use the truck as truck and load it full of whatever I need/want to take with me, realistically it will be "overloaded" the majority of the time we take off for a weekend trip.

I have installed multiple sets of airbags on previous leaf sprung trucks and those are fairly trivial. I have only done one set with coil springs, which is on my current 2500 Megcab. I installed an autoleveling compressor setup with airbags to assist the softer sprung Carli suspension lift I installed. Rides way better than stock and with the air bags always stays nice and flat. The bags are outboard of the coils on the axle tube itself though and from looking at the chassis pictures of the TRX, the coils and Bilsteins are about as far outboard as you can get for stability so that area may not be available. They do make bags that go inside the coils but I have no experience with those so hopefully we can find one suitably sized since Ram claims this coil had to be custom designed because one this size didn't exist before the TRX.

While the TRX number seems very low I am not going to give it much thought until after the truck arrives and I get to load it for a trip and see how the tow setting on the suspension works out. The couple reviews I can find currently that even mention all the suspension settings just show the screen for changing settings and briefly mention that that the tow setting stiffens the rear up to better handle extra weight.
No worries I will not consider it an argument, probably my fault for the thread title of increased payload which you are correct cant be legally increased without decreasing weight and should have been titled a way to 'overload' without damaging suspension components.

I am very interested in your knowledge and experience using air bags as my only experience with it has been being in love with the air suspension of my 19 ram 1500 for the last 2 and a half years.

Assuming we can get bags to fit does the compressor you installed allow you to attach accessories so you can air up your tires
 

tripleB

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The bags typically take the place of the bump stop between the leaf and the frame so leaf spring setups are pretty straight forward, on a coil setup it isn’t always that simple.

I went looking for images of the rear setup just to see how much room there was around the back end of the five-link rear suspension. I'll post a few here in the hopes it keeps the conversation moving on potential options.

RM021_456FN.jpg

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They do make bags that go inside the coils like this, but I have no experience with those. My initial thoughts are that with them attached to the top and bottom bucket of the spring buckets, and you baja or rock crawl, etc. anything that was cause the axle to drop away from the frame you could actually overextend/tear the bag or limit suspension droop. Maybe not an issue if you wont use the truck in that manner though.

poly7.jpg

The bags I have on my 2500 are outboard of the coils, only attach at the top and actually "float" in a cup on the bottom. So if I flex the suspension out the bag just lifts away from the axle as though they aren't there at all. With small bump stop extensions, it keeps the suspension from compressing so far as to damage the bags the other direction.
 
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