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Dangerous handling when hauling load of dirt!


Full Member
Jul 19, 2013
Okay I just hauled a load of dirt in the back of the Avy, and my ass is still puckered-up due to the dangerous handling while driving home. The truck felt very "floaty" and was swerving too much. This was very scary at highway speeds! I have hauled in years past and don't recall this, but I am certain there are parts that are simply wearing.

Normal handling without a load is decent, but not great. It is a bit looser due to age, but tollerable.

I currently have 280K on the clock, and EVERYTHING on the truck is stock. I have replaced the following in recent memory:
-All Shocks.
-Front arms
-Front ball joints

Rear suspension is all original and the air-shocks are working correctly. It seems reasonable that the issue might be with the rear suspension, so I guess we start there. Tires are correctly inflated. Any ideas?

Thanks all. :)
Any idea how much your load of dirt weighed?

If you are wanting to haul 1300 or more pounds, then using a trailer instead of the bed may be a better choice.
1500's have a pay load of 1200-1400 lbs depending on the year. If you came close to that or over it's going to shift the weight balance and cause it to handle different and give that floating feel since it can change the camber and caster angles. You also have 280,000 miles and have replaced a few front-end parts. If all the rest is original and depending on when the "front arms and ball joints" were replaced, you probably have so many worn components including the rear bushings it really shows up with a load on the rear...
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How did it sit when all loaded up?
How much did it Squat in rear?
Was load evenly distributed in bed?
Did you have midgate down and some stuff inside or all outside?

My guess is too much load for truck which pushes rear down and lifts front removing some load from front end so not as much tire contact pressure for proper handling.

So how much dirt? in bags or bulk?
What type of dirt? or in other words what is weight per cubic yard?

After KAtrina I hauled 25 80# Quickrete sacks. And she was light in the front end so I took back roads home.
Never overloaded her again. Trailers are cheap.
If your front end feels floaty so to speak, its because you are overloaded and have too much weight in the back.
The whole weight dist hitch thing is for the same reason, it transfers weight back to the front.

If the dirt was wet, or just flat out weighed more than the truck is rated for it will make it very light in the front. Stuff like dirt is
hard to nail down exactly what it weighs. Miles and age are a factor, but I am betting you simply had more back there than you
might have thought.
You likely just had 2000 or more lbs in the rear of the truck. Please be aware that the avy is a poor truck to haul dirt or any heavy loose media like gravel or small rock. The midgate is not necessarily great at holding back great amounts of loose loads like that. You could warp or break the midgate this way. The side panels can probably handle it OK but you could do serious damage to the truck if you have to make any major directional changes such as slam on the brakes or swerve to miss something. With loads like that it is much better to always use a trailer. I wouldn't try a half load of dirt in my 2500 that was loose like that let alone in a 1500. When you consider that the midgate is really only held in place by a couple pegs that are smaller than the pivots for the tailgate and you are putting all the weight on just those two locations... It is a recipe for a big mess. I warped the one in my 1500 with a speaker box mounted to it that was partially supported by the bed and was less than 100lbs.
"If it fits, it sits" may work for cats in boxes, but a terrible plan for loading cargo.

As others have said, overweight with poor distribution.

With that said, did you replace the rear bump stops? My 07 had barely a crumble left when I picked it up last summer. Just had rotted over time. Little thing, but a good tell, and a quality one will prevent over travel and as soon as it kisses while loading, you will know when to stop.
"If it fits, it sits" may work for cats in boxes, but a terrible plan for loading cargo.
I'm using this quote..

To the original poster: 3'x 3' x 3' is a yard, a yard of dirt can weigh well over 1.5 tons, if moist or wet significantly more.. Would be quite easy to "overload it" with dirt.
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