Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Washington DC
GVWR Sticker and Alterations Debate!
Ok, I hear the weight police sirens coming, but I will preface this with....it is based on statute....Ok, here it goes....
The 49 CFR 573 regulation for GVWR only applies to newly manufactured vehicles. It does not regulate vehicles already sold. However, it does allow modifiers or alterers to change the GVWR using a good faith judgement on the new GVWR based on equipment installed such as brakes, axles, tires, etc.
Again no offense meant at all but GVWR can be adjusted.
This following paragraphs are straight from the NHTSA site:
The term GVWR is defined in 49 CFR 571.3 as "the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle." The GVWR informs vehicle owners how heavily the vehicle may be safely loaded. It also affects the vehicle's loading and other test conditions for the performance tests to ascertain whether the vehicle complies with applicable safety standards.
The only express regulatory limitation on the GVWR that manufacturers may assign to their vehicles is set forth in 49 CFR 567.4(g)(3), which provides that the assigned GVWR "shall not be less than the sum of the unloaded vehicle weight, rated cargo load, and 150 pounds times the vehicle's designated seating capacity." "Unloaded vehicle weight" is defined in 49 CFR 571.3 as "the weight of a vehicle with maximum capacity of all fluids necessary for operation of the vehicle, but without cargo, occupants, or accessories that are ordinarily removed from the vehicle when they are not in use." Although the term "rated cargo load" is not defined by regulation, generally it is the GVWR of the vehicle minus the combined weight of the occupied designated seating positions (150 pounds times the total number of designated seating positions) and the unloaded vehicle weight.
Alterers must also determine whether their modifications affect the manufacturer's stated GVWR, gross axle weight rating (GAWR), and vehicle type. If such a change has been made, the alterer must specify the new GVWR, GAWR, or vehicle type in a manner consistent with the capability of the vehicle to comply with applicable standards and operate at higher weight rating and/or as a different type of vehicle. NHTSA expects both manufacturers and alterers to assign GVWR and GAWRs that reflect the manufacturer's or alterer's good-faith evaluation of how the vehicle's braking, load bearing items (including tires), suspension, steering, and drive train components will react to the vehicle's weight, size, cargo-carrying capacity and intended use.
***Now with that said, the following is also from NHTSA's General Counsel's Office and is an excerpt of a letter requesting information in regards to a suspension alteration to increase capabilities, and there is good advice to seek counsel for liability for accidents, but here is what they say....
“...The term GVWR is defined in 49 CFR Part 571.3 as ‘the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle.’ the GVWR informs vehicle owners how heavily the vehicle may safely be loaded. It also affects the vehicle’s loading and other tests conditions for the performance tests to ascertain whether the vehicle complies with applicable safety standards. NHTSA expects the GVWR to reflect a manufacturer’s good-faith evaluation of the vehicle’s size, weight, load carrying capacity, and intended use.”
“NHTSA’s regulations on GVWR only addresses the GVWR of new vehicles. This is because the agency’s safety standards apply only to new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle equipment. There is a provision, §108(a)(2)(A), in the Vehicle Safety Act that prohibits manufacturers, distributors, dealers and motor vehicle repair businesses from knowingly rendering inoperative in whole or in part any device or element of design installed in accordance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. These parties would be subject to this provision if they were to modify your vehicle’s suspension. However, the provision does not apply to individual owners modifying their own vehicles.”
“Because we do not regulate how individuals modify their own vehicles (and thus do not prohibit you from modifying your vehicle’s suspension), we are unable to advise you about the specific modifications that must be made to a vehicle for it to safely carry an additional 1,000 pounds. Among other things, however, you should carefully evaluate whether the vehicle’s axles, brakes, tires, and frame can adequately handle the additional load. We suggest you consult with the original vehicle manufacturer about this question. You may also wish to consult a local attorney concerning possible liability in the event your vehicle is involved in an accident.”
IMHO, I believe this answers all the questions on the sticker in the door. Is it good to follow?....sure, is it Law? I believe this shows its not binding according to NHTSA. Is there civil ramifications for accidents, etc? Im sure there are, but I don't believe they ever needed a reason to sue you before anyways...I just felt the need to show that a GVWR can in fact be altered and the sticker themselves aren't necessarily binding due to modifications done to your rig. (i.e. you have 6k lbs axles listed and you have swapped to 7k lbs axles, brakes, suspension, etc. as long as you do it yourself, if a shop does it, they can put an additional sticker on there stating the new limits)
2012 Ford F-350 6.7L CC SRW w/FX4
2013 Forest River Sierra 365SAQ