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Old 05-20-2010, 03:53 PM   #1
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Top Heavy Question

I wasn't sure where to ask this or even how to really search for it.

I've got a new rack on my van and I'm planning on putting a few hundred pounds upstairs. Obviously, this will impact my stability.

My father brought up the concern of taking corners slower. This doesn't worry me so much. I've mostly driven SUVs (often stacked high with gear) and have always respected corners... what I am concerned about is offroading.

I don't want to be trying to ease up an uneven surface and flip the van on its side. I've seen a lot of rigs outfitted with bubble levels so you know just how much of a tilt you're on... but, is there anywhere you can go to measure your actual roll over point?

For those of you who have stacked your rigs high with gear, has anyone ever accidentally laid one down? Or, has anyone reached a particularly extreme angle? Any information? Most of the time I "feel" these things out but... this is one of those things that once I've gone too far, there'll be a lot of damage to worry about.

I'm planning on adding rock sliders and bumpers which will put a little more weight down low.. and then later I'll have the propane, water tanks, and batteries down low... but right now, it's an empty van with a rack!

Input? Feedback? Crazy stories?
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:03 PM   #2
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Re: Top Heavy Question

The most interesting way I have seen this tested is to get a forklift and a big safety strap. Load the van up, lift it up with the forklift and keep lifting 'till it flops over the balance point onto the safety strap led over the top. Be sure to have an inclinometer and have someone inside to read it.

Once it's just tipped onto the safety strap it should be easy to push back over into balance. Subtract a few degrees for uneven ground and you have a safety margin. I think there's still a picture of someone doing this to a VW on the Go Westy site.

Beware, you have been warned: being out in the great big world and insisting on actually living life can be hazardous or even fatal to your health. Especially in California.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:39 PM   #3
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Re: Top Heavy Question

That sounds like a pretty good idea. Handy enough, I actually know a guy with a fork lift who would be into doing something like this. I think I'll get the rockrails on before I test it so his fork lift doesn't damage something.

Even though there won't be much weight on the strap just after the tipping point, the whole idea of having just a strap to catch it spooks me. In what configuration did you see them use the strap? I can imagine it two different ways.

I'm also wondering if there's a risk of blowing a tire off the rim while doing this... I wouldn't think so, but if I did, it would sure mess up a rim.
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:02 PM   #4
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Re: Top Heavy Question

Use the search, Luke ...

Tip over point

Brent
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:37 PM   #5
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Re: Top Heavy Question

Brent, good tip. I remembered reading that post and was going to point Z in that direction, too.

Zaskoda, I bought a simple level inclinometer last week at a boat store. Haven't installed it yet, but looking forward to seeing what it says and how that relates to my "pucker factor". After reading the "Tip Over Point" post, my anxiety level has decreased - 30 degrees (or even 20 degrees) is a lot of tilt. With my Voyager top, I think I'm probably carrying a lot more weight up top than you will. I've felt a little nervous a couple of times, but nothing that I was really concerned about.
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Old 05-20-2010, 07:03 PM   #6
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Re: Top Heavy Question

Top heavy.....I thought we were talking about and old girlfriend.......Oh I miss her.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:47 AM   #7
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Re: Top Heavy Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldercrest
Brent, good tip. I remembered reading that post and was going to point Z in that direction, too.

Zaskoda, I bought a simple level inclinometer last week at a boat store. Haven't installed it yet, but looking forward to seeing what it says and how that relates to my "pucker factor". After reading the "Tip Over Point" post, my anxiety level has decreased - 30 degrees (or even 20 degrees) is a lot of tilt. With my Voyager top, I think I'm probably carrying a lot more weight up top than you will. I've felt a little nervous a couple of times, but nothing that I was really concerned about.
I ordered the cheapest inclinometer I found on Amazon today. I've never used one before, but they seem simple enough. I don't have any idea what 20 degrees relates to. I know everything seems extremely exaggerated behind the wheel. Pictures and photos never seem to match what I remember feeling while driving.

Mind if I ask what type of situations made you nervous?

EDIT: Reading other thread now... and realizing I should have read it before posting again.


EDIT 2: Ok, finished the thread... and that pretty much answers my questions. My bad.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:14 PM   #8
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Re: Top Heavy Question

No bad is when you're 25 degrees off camber and the trail starts giving away. Oh yeah, and you have to go back the way you came in. That's bad.
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