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Old 01-13-2006, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

I'm looking for opinions on adding weight in the trunk for traction (esp for winter conditions), and the resulting difference in handling, vs inevitable loss of mpg, etc. Are W124 sedan drivers leaving ballast in their trunks year-round? (earth-shaking subwoofer/amps don't count...)

I've just put 2 sand-tubes of 60/70lbs ea, in each side of my 300E trunk, so there's approx 260lbs of additional weight back there. Too much?

No real snow or ice here to test it on yet, but traction in the wet is definitely more sure. Overall handling doesn't seem bad at all, you definitely feel that ballast back there but it's not a bad thing, at least as far as the feeling of stability.

And fwiw, it lowers the back end of the car by a noticeable amount, for a total cost of like $10.

(tip: slide them in big heavy-duty trash bags just in case you don't want your trunk wells to be permanent sand boxes)
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Old 01-13-2006, 10:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

That's about the same weight I put BUT only when there's snow/ice on the ground. I also have winter tires and ASR (traction control).
Already totaled a C280 in the snow so I'd rather be safe than sorry.

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Old 01-13-2006, 10:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

I think it's too much by half.

I have a 60# bag of marble chips (for landscaping) over each wheel (and winter tires of course). I'll use em in the Spring.

Luckily haven't had too much chance to test!
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Old 01-13-2006, 10:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

... forgot to add:

that'd be like having me ride along in your trunk.

There goes your mileage!
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Old 01-13-2006, 12:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

Yeah, I've been thinking that the whole 260lbs extra might be a bit much for all season use, but seems confidence-inspiring for winter.

Is there some (easy) formula too figure loss of fuel econmony/weight?

Since I had heard tales of some W124 sedan drivers preferring extra weight back there All the time, I'd like to hear takes on your experiences.
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Old 01-13-2006, 12:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

sorry to rush in on this but does this not affect the coupes too? Is the geometry so much different? Better or worse than sedans?
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Old 01-13-2006, 12:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?


I've lived in the northeast for pretty much all my life and have been driving through snow and ice ever since I got my license ages ago. I've never had an accident, and I've manage to avoid quite a few, some in snow.

Through all this, not once have I felt the need to artificially weigh my car down. If you have traction control and ABS, all you need are tires (all-season or snow) that are in good shape. If you don't have traction control, snow tires are a big plus. I'm not convinced that adding any weight is necessary -- these are heavy cars to begin with, and once you *do* break contact and start sliding, the car's easier to control and stop if its weight distribution isn't messed up by loads of sand or marble in the trunk.

Just my 2 cents...
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Old 01-13-2006, 01:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

I'm with Janos. For all the years (decades) I've driven in Michigan winters, I've never put weight in the trunk for traction. I will sometimes carry sand in a gallon container in the unfortunate event I get stuck.

After a heavy snow, I'll usually toss in a short shovel in the trunk -- just in case! This is speaking from experience.
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Old 01-13-2006, 02:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

I should mention mine is an '86, so no traction control. Maybe I should just direct questions re those cars.

And the snow tire idea is a good one, but not as convenient as tossing in a few sandbags...
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Old 01-13-2006, 03:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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RE: How much weight is in your trunk for winter?

For all the great lengths automakers go through to reduce weight in a car, I think it's sacriligeous to purposely add weight to a car in hopes that it'll handle better, especially during the summer.

Also, do mean traction as in handling?... or traction as in stuck in snow? A shovel would serve you far better if you're stuck, and take up less weight in the car. I've been in situations where sand helped very little and the shovel saved the day (or late evening).

As far as handling, I think it's a placebo effect. Add a ton of weight to ANY car and it'll appear to handle more smoothly. You'd be better off improving the suspension of the vehicle with upgraded components. Plus, how much more can you improve the handling of a Mercedes???

I wonder if anybody has run controlled tests to correlate extra weight to improved traction on slippery surfaces? High school physics tells me there's no benefit.
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