Overloading the Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by flyingprius, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. flyingprius

    flyingprius New Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Last week in my frantic attempt to evacuate Daytona Beach, a lot of people begged me for a ride down to the Orlando Airport; what a great opportunity to show some friends the power of Prius! :D
    I jammed 4 guys besides myself and their luggage into the car; I had the coolest escape vehicle at the college...
    Being pilots and nerds, we decided there is always enough time to write up a weight and balance, even for the Prius. After arbitrarily assigning balance points and plugging in some numbers, we found that the Prius was too rear-heavy and overloaded. I saw on the doorjamb that the maximum cargo weight for the Prius is 835 lbs, which equaled our body weight alone. The Prius weighed around 1020 lbs with people and luggage.
    However, we had to get evacuate; so we did. In Orlando (70 miles away) I got out and saw that the body was seemingly hairs above the rear wheels... After everyone took their belongings out, it still looked too low in back... I've read many big yellow boxes in the Prius manual including ones about overloading... Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do though...What kind of damage can result from overloading?
  2. jamarimutt

    jamarimutt New Member

    May 4, 2004
    If the body is still lower than it was before you overloaded the car, you've permanently damaged the suspension. This is not covered by the warranty and should cost thousands to fix.

    You may have another opportunity to overload the car, though, since Ivan is seemingly headed your way.
  3. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

    Mar 27, 2004
    United States
    2004 Prius
    Ask your riders to share the cost of the repairs.
  4. Frank Hudon

    Frank Hudon Senior Member

    Jan 11, 2004
    if you know anybody with a Prius, measure from the ground to the top of the wheel opening and then measure yours. I would bet your's will be almost the same. What kind of damage can be done. Upper spring mounts and springs are about all that would be damaged. Don't be surprize that the Prius has a big margin of error on the side of Toyota.
  5. Sufferin' Prius Envy

    Sufferin' Prius Envy Platinum Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Not a car expert opinion here, but I would imagine the weight limit has more to do with the Prius propulsion system than it does suspension/carriage limitations. Consider what happens when you load the Prii by 3/4 max, then drive over a bumpy road and apply 2Gs of force. You have now “stressed†the Prius by 1.5 times its advertised max weight. The limitation on towing a trailer also has to do with the propulsion system, not max weight. So, me personally, I wouldn’t worry about it . . . unless you hit some road turbulence or treated the Prii as a sports car on your overweight trip to KMCO.

    Sure, measure clearance against another Prii, but unless it feels like it handles differently . . . relax.

    By the way, what crosswinds were you experiencing and how did the Prius handle???

    Curious: What did you come up with for MAC, LEMAC, CG, etc for a Prius?
  6. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

    Feb 25, 2004
    Spokane, WA
    2004 Prius
    My two cents: It seems extremely unlikely that you'd have damaged the suspension by putting two hundred pounds too much weight in.

    At some point, the car would be so heavy that the suspension would be compressed all the way and there'd be no isolation from the jolting of the road. At that point you'd essentially be putting your car in a paint shaker and might do some damage.

    But damaging the suspension with a couple hundred pouinds over??? Come on people!
  7. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

    Apr 13, 2004
    South Puget Sound, WA
    2013 Nissan LEAF
    if your suspension was damaged trust me there would be no doubt in your mind. 90% of the time you will feel and hear it break.

    also max weights fudge the real max by a very comfortable margin. the weight restrictions have more to do with the limitations of the tires. if you didnt have a blow out, then stop thinking bad things and your car will no doubt straighten right up.

    daniel is right. at max weight limit, you will simply have a bad ride. damage to your car?? no, you could double the max weight and not damage your car as long as you drove it very conservatively.