Hauling water in small pickup

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I have a 200-gallon container -- a 4'x4'x2' vinyl bag -- that I'd like to use to haul water out to my land. Does anyone know whether that would be too much weight for an old Chevy Luv pickup to handle? (I'd be driving about eight miles, about seven of it on paved road. The last mile or so is on uneven dirt, which I usually take at 15 or 20 mph.)

-- Christine Trowbridge (cytrowbridge@zianet.com), October 12, 2001


Christine I think you need baffles to travel safe. I had a friend in thr '70s who tried a waterbed in the back of a van. He rounded a corner and flipped 3 times, good thing he was drunk-he didn't get hurt

-- Kathy (catfish201@hotmail.com), October 12, 2001.

A gallon of water is 8 something pounds. So you are looking at 1600+ pounds of sloshing water. I don't think I would risk it.

-- pc (pcha@ludl.tds.net), October 13, 2001.

Fill the bag halfway and give it a try? Seems to me you'd figure out pretty quick how the truck would handle and if it's too heavy...well, pour some out? Full will be too heavy. I have a 3/4 ton truck and 1500 lbs of gravel makes me drive a little wobbly and it doesn't slosh...good luck!

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), October 13, 2001.


I concur about baffles for your load. Otherwise the effective weight of your load increases dramatically as you introduce velocity to the equation. So much for the physics part.

Now for the weight conversion portion. "A pint's a pound the world around" is how I learned it so the 1600 pound estimate is close enough for this.

Finally, the truck capacity. Your truck should have a listing either inside the driver's door jam or on the side of the driver's door with the weight ratings of the truck itself. It should be listed as GVW or GVWR and is likely in the 3000's to 4000's. From that number you need to deduct the weight of the truck itself, fuel, driver, etc., and that number will give you the total load carrying capacity of the truck. Another important consideration here is the rear axle weight rating (listed on the same plate as the GVW as 'Front' or 'FAR') as I'm guessing that's where the bulk of your load weight will rest.

I know all of this is a lot to take in here, but it's the right way to figure the rated capacity of your truck and to determine whether or not you're going to exceed it. I hope this helps.

-- Gary in Indiana (gk6854@aol.com), October 13, 2001.


I've had just over 4000 lbs. of payload in a class 2 truck (what most people still call a 3/4 ton) without a problem. That was probably a little over the rated capacity but not dramatically so. Still, the truck handled it well.

Truth be told, mine doesn't even ride nice until I have at least a ton in it. The toughest part of hauling heavy like that is keeping in mind that 9000 lbs. takes longer to stop than half that weight when you're empty. the brakes are the same loaded and empty. What are you driving that's straining under 1500 lbs.?

-- Gary in Indiana (gk6854@aol.com), October 13, 2001.

A Chevy Luv is a tiny pickup truck that is rated at one-half ton. That's 1000 pounds. I haul hay in my Mazda, which is also a very small one-half ton truck, and it starts groaning and the front starts to float if I go over 1000 pounds. Is there a way you can measure the water so you only have 125 gallons instead of 160? That would be the right weight.

-- Laura Rae Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), October 13, 2001.

baffle will work if your carry less than a full load. If the water cant move, (full bag),, it cant slosh. Id go real slow at first till you see if your truck can handle it

-- stan (sopal@net-port.com), October 13, 2001.

Didn't say straining, said "wallerin'" a bit. 88 chevy 3/4 ton w/ a 350. Probably my estimation of weight is off, as I think the guys at the quarry just "fill 'er up" and write 1500 lbs on the reciept so I don't get pulled for over weight. But I still wouldn't put 1500 lbs of water in a Chevy luv and just take off. 4000 lbs? Really? You da man!

-- gilly (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), October 13, 2001.

Good points about baffles. You get around three-quarters of a ton of water sloshing to and fro as you go along a snaking road or even just an "S"-bend (road, not plumbing), and it's likely to reach a stage where the vehicle's going one way and the water's still going the other and you roll. Of course, it doesn't take that much longer to drive eight miles at say thirty miles an hour, or twenty-five, than at sixty, so if you really could keep the speed down it might work. However, I wouldn't risk overloading your vehicle's suspension on that last mile, and that does mean the container you've got should not be filled full, and that does mean able to slosh.

Alternatively, have you considered reconsidering? Seems to me three food-grade 55 (American) gallon drums would be about right for your vehicle, and they're small enough that they wouldn't need external baffles - their own walls do the job. If necessary lie them down so the weight isn't up high.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), October 13, 2001.

Separate containers is the answer as I dont see how baffles could be fitted to a vinyl bag except I believe some water bed bladders are baffled.

My pickup is actually very good at carrying water even when I don't want it too. If the bed drains get blocked it will readily hold a lot of water if we get a decent rain shower. Could be a thought, you could seal off any leaks and around the tail-gate with duct tape then just pour the water in, of course you will need baffles but these could be a few boards fitted egg-crate style. You will only need a few inches to make a full load.

As a rule of thumb for loading pickups etc never load them so that the axle touches the bump stop (this is the rubber (often cone shaped) thingio on the chassis rails. And if you feel the hard bump of it making contact when you are driving then slow down or loose some load.

Small pickups are a bit of a compromise as most carry their load too far back. This is not a problem with the 55gallon drums if there are near the cabin but flooding the deck will make it light in the front end.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), October 13, 2001.

reminds me of a picture that has been floating around the internet. someone took a plastic tarp and lined the bed of a pickup and filled it with water and the caption read "redneck swimming pool" lol roflmao well maybe you should see the pic. had a couple guys lounging in it.


-- gene ward (gward34847@aol.com), October 15, 2001.

Thanks for all the helpful answers! I got to thinking about how much fun trying to maneuver the truck around that stretch of dirt road would be if the handling went squirrelly on me, and decided to try something different.

Thanks again -- Christine

-- Christine (cytrowbridge@zianet.com), October 15, 2001.

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