Originally Posted by bakken
Comparing a tow vehicle's GVWR to the breaking strength of a rope is ridiculous.
Vehicle load ratings are determined with hundreds of thousands of miles and millions of load cycles in mind. It has nothing to do with what will "break" the truck.
While overloading one's TV will not break it immediately, the wear and tear and potntial for eventual failure obviously increases. Arguing otherwise is pointless.
As a structural engineer, I have knowledge on my side.
You are correct here.
Comparing to a rope is invalid because the rope has a continuous rated breaking point for its entire length. That load rating is based on the maximum load at which the rope is guaranteed not to break. Not WILL break; but COULD break.
When talking about your truck's ratings, it is better to use a chain as your comparison. Picture a chain made of links created by many different manufacturers and many different materials.
Each LINK is rated (guaranteed by the manufacturer) to handle a maximum load before breaking. NONE of the links have the same rating because they are made with different materials. Some strong, some weak.
Now build a chain with those links. As the chain builder, do you rate your chain at the value of the weakest link or the strongest or an average of all the links?
The GVWR is based on the weakest piece of support structure in the truck. Usually, this is the frame.
This is why if you add up the maximum axle ratings it typically exceeds the GVWR. The axles can carry more than the frame can.
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