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How much dirt can I haul in a Ford Ranger?
January 17, 2008 3:06 PM   Subscribe

How much dirt can I safely haul in a Ford Ranger?

I own a 2002 Ford Ranger Edge supercab truck. It has a 3-liter, v6 engine, and automatic transmission. I need to move a lot of dirt, 1 cubic yard at a time in the truck bed (not on a trailer). I know the weight of the dirt, but I don't know how much my truck can safely haul without causing damage. I have seen a lot of different figures about the truck, but none of them come out and say "don't haul more than this amount". Can anyone shed some light on this?

PS. I will be checking the weight rating on the tires as well.
posted by worstkidever to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
http://www.fordf150.net/specs/02ranger.php

posted by iamabot at 3:19 PM on January 17, 2008


[Redneck answer]
If you load it up and most of it falls out at the first corner, that's too much.
If you load it up and then bounce on the tailgate and there's no travel in the suspension, that's too much.

If it fits in the truck bed, and it's not wet [like, muddy] dirt, that's the right amount.

I don't have experience with your particular truck, but with every other truck I've driven 1 cubic yard of dirt is inconsequential in terms of weight.

Your limiting factors are not your engine, transmission, or tires. They are your axles and suspension. But you'll be fine.
posted by Acari at 3:24 PM on January 17, 2008


Your GVW will be listed on the sticker on your door jamb. If you are lucky they will include a net vehicle weight as well though that can be inaccurate as it's often the "base" weight which doesn't include any optional equipment like trailer hitches or box liners and may not include a tank of gas. Plus it doesn't include the weight of passengers. Best thing is weigh your truck with a full tank of gas, your standard equipment (tool box, jack, iPod, whatever) and yourself. Then you just subtract your equipped mass from the GVW and you'll know what mass of dirt (or anything else) you can haul.

Acari writes "I don't have experience with your particular truck, but with every other truck I've driven 1 cubic yard of dirt is inconsequential in terms of weight."

A cubic yard of dirt is around 3500lbs. That is a lot of weight on a small or 1/2 pickup and well over the legal limit for many.

Note that iamabot's linked chart has an error of some sort. They've got the GVWR of the super cab equal to it's curb weight. If the payload is the actual GVW and the curb weight is correct then worstkidever has less than 2000lbs to play with. Also it's a little unusual for the available payload to increase as you go from a regular cab to a larger cab (everything else being equal which they may not be) because the equipped weight goes up from all that extra glass, seats, metal etc.
posted by Mitheral at 3:35 PM on January 17, 2008


You could probably move one cubic yard of granite and not have a problem. 1000 pounds? That's three NFL football players. Totally do-able.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:38 PM on January 17, 2008


Along the lines of Acari's answer, I've always gone by the "leave an inch or two of rear suspension travel and drive carefully" rule.

I've used this rule many, many times moving crap with a Ranger, an Izuzu pickup, and more recently a Toyota Tacoma, and I have yet to cause any damage or get in trouble for it.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:45 PM on January 17, 2008


Seconding the "leave an inch of travel" rule. However, be aware that your stopping distances will be increased.

I've hauled dirt in a '97 Toyota Tacoma and a '06 Toyota Tacoma - I was much more comfortable with the axles than the brakes. I would expect a Ranger to have some similar characteristics.

Don't worry so much about how much you can carry, worry about how much you can stop.
posted by krisak at 3:54 PM on January 17, 2008


Mitheral writes "Your GVW will be listed on the sticker on your door jamb."

I dropped an R there, it should be: Your GVWR will be listed on the sticker on your door jamb.
posted by Mitheral at 3:55 PM on January 17, 2008


I've always read that moist dirt was a bit less than 100 lbs/ft3, making 100 lbs a good conservative round number.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:56 PM on January 17, 2008


Don't do like the fools I once worked with. They were supposed to haul sand down to the track & field um, field?, in a 1940's truck. When I came upon them, they had piled wet sand till it was overflowing the bed. I pulled one of them around to the side of the truck and had him look at the tires. At that point, the rims were almost touching the ground. The tires burst before they could get the truck unloaded to a rational weight. Moral of the story is, wet stuff weighs aLOT, and truck beds aren't for filling to the top.
posted by nomisxid at 4:07 PM on January 17, 2008


Thanks Mitheral (and everyone else). That's the sort of equation I can work with. Just for the record, the dirt I am hauling is 1460 lbs per yard. I'm sure it could go much higher depending on moisture content.

The last time I just eyeballed the suspension, I ended up burning out the transmission.
posted by worstkidever at 4:08 PM on January 17, 2008


I found some numbers on your truck:

Weights: gross vehicle weight rating (kg) 1,978, curb weight (kg) 1,406, gross trailer weight braked (kg) 1,197 and max legal load (kg) 572

So you can haul 572kgs/1261 lbs. Even if you use 100lbs per cubic foot and you are a super model skinny 98lbs you can only haul a bit more than a 1/3rd of a cubic yard.

worstkidever writes "Just for the record, the dirt I am hauling is 1460 lbs per yard."

Light stuff. Cement for example is ~95 lbs per cubic foot depending on how long it's been sitting around absorbing water.
posted by Mitheral at 4:15 PM on January 17, 2008


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