Are you planning on purchasing a pickup truck and you are asking yourself what is a chassis on a truck? Well, if this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic and we will elaborate on everything you need to know when it comes to this problem and helps you learn what is a chassis on a truck.
- Chassis Definition
- Types Of Chassis
- Truck Chassis
- Chassis Cab Truck?
- Chassis Cab VS Regular Truck
Doing the proper research before you go out there and purchase a vehicle can be really important in some cases. Why I’m saying this?
Well, I’m saying this because chassis is one of the most important aspects of the truck. The heavier the chassis, the more sturdy the truck. This means that the truck can be loaded more and also it can tow a lot more than a truck with a weak chassis.
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If you load a truck with weak chassis too much, you are risking the overall structural integrity of the vehicle. This is why it is heavily recommended for you to stick to the factory-recommended numbers when it comes to loading or towing. But more on that, we are going to learn later on.
First, we are going to learn the definition of chassis and learn what chassis really is. Then we will cover the different types of chassis that are out there and then we will cover what is a chassis on a truck and what is a chassis cab truck. And also how this type of chassis is different in comparison to your regular truck chassis. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
Now let’s learn more about the definition and what is a chassis on a truck. This is really important for you to know in order to further understand more about the different types of chassis that are out there. So, how a chassis can be defined?
Well, a chassis is simply something that is designed to carry the weight of an object and keep the structural integrity of the object that it is carrying. Keeping structural integrity and uniformity is the number one priority in any chassis design.
The body should not get cracked, bent, or wrinkled until the factory’s recommended capacity is met. This is why on each truck there are numbers of how heavy is the vehicle when unloaded and also what is the maximum carrying capacity when loaded. Once you surpass this recommended factory number, there will be damage to be done to the chassis.
And once the chassis integrity is under question, the whole body of the vehicle can also get damaged in the process. So, you need to be really aware of these things when owning a truck.
In addition, there is a chassis that not only keeps the body of the vehicle in check. But it also guarantees the safety of the driver and the occupants that are inside the vehicle. You can see these types of chassis on racing cars.
Since we know what is a chassis on a truck is, we need to learn more about the types of chassis that are out there, we are going to elaborate on that in the following chapters. We will list all of them, so you get a better understanding.
Types Of Chassis
Now as we learned what is a chassis on a truck and learned that this is a piece designed to withstand the weight of the body as well as to withstand the load of the cargo.
We think that now it is time to move on and learn more about the different types of chassis that are out there on the market right now when it comes to trucks. So, if you want to learn more about the different types of chassis, please follow along.
What Are The Types Of Chassis On A Truck #1: Unibody
Now as we cleared what is a chassis on a truck, let’s now explain the first type of chassis that you will come across and that is the unibody chassis. So, what is a unibody chassis?
Well, a unibody chassis is where the chassis of the vehicle is molded into the body of the car. Every new car out there is a unibody design.
This design originated in the 60s when carmakers decided to ditch the heavy frames they were using and tried something new and different. And this way of designing cars is stuck with us to this day.
This type of chassis design is very rigid and keeps the uniformity of the vehicle in check since it is far more structurally sane than contemporary body-on-frame designs.
What is interesting with this type of design is that it is included mostly in cars. But there are also trucks that implement this way of design. The most notable examples of trucks that use unibody chassis are the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
These two are fairly new models that were just released last year and they implement this new way of design.
But for a good reason. These vehicles have a limited towing capacity. Mainly because the structural integrity can be put in danger if you load them too much like a regular pickup truck. So, we learned what is chassis on a truck is and covered the first type, now let’s move on to the second type of chassis.
What Are The Types Of Chassis On A Truck #2: Tubular
We learned what is a chassis on a truck and covered the first type of chassis that is out there. Now it is time to cover the second type of chassis design.
It is worth that this type of chassis design is not particularly a truck chassis but more like a race chassis. This means that this chassis is used for racing.
There are a ton of trucks used for off-road racing and they have to implement this type of chassis which is known as a tubular chassis. But what is a tubular chassis?
Well, this is a chassis design that is created with the help of steel tubing. This type of chassis is not designed for towing but more for safety reasons.
This chassis type is designed in order to protect the driver in case of a rollover accident. You can compare the early monster trucks for example. They implemented this type of tubular chassis on top of the body on frame chassis.
But nowadays, the chassis used for these events is completely tubular in order to allow maximum safety and performance for the driver inside of the cockpit. So, we hope that we answered the question of what is a chassis for a truck.
Now let’s move on to the next type of chassis that is out there and this one is really important to us to continue this article. So, keep up with us.
What Are The Types Of Chassis On A Truck #3: Body On Frame Chassis
And the last type of chassis that we are going to cover when it comes to what is chassis on a truck is the body-on-frame chassis. The body-on-frame chassis is something that you will see most commonly when it comes to pickup trucks.
Lighter cars have all transferred to lighter unibody designs as well as some of the lighter trucks. But light-duty full-size pickup trucks and bigger semi-trucks are still running the same good old body-on-frame design as they did when they were invented. But what is a body-on-frame?
Well, body on frame in simple terms is a design that implements a cab and chassis. The cab is one structure and the chassis is another structure.
The frame or also known as chassis is a special design made out of two big beams that go from the front end of the truck and end up on the rear end of the truck. And are also connected at both ends.
The chassis in body-on-frame designs are basically resembling a big rectangle. It doesn’t matter if is a semi-truck chassis or a light-duty pickup truck.
But there could be still some changes in the design of the chassis itself from application to application. So, you can expect a frame of a light-duty pickup truck and a frame of a semi-truck not to look completely the same. But what is a chassis on a truck? Let’s explain in the following chapter.
What Is A Chassis On A Truck
Now as we cleared all the different types of chassis that are out there and we learned that there is a unibody, tubular, and body on frame chassis. We think that now it is time to learn more about the question of what is a chassis on a truck.
As the name implies, the chassis on a truck is the steel structure that is holding the body. This type of chassis design is known as a rolling chassis or body-on-frame chassis.
This means that the chassis is completely independent of the body of the truck. You can basically drive a chassis without the cab with only some slight modifications.
This is the case because all the essential components like the engine and transmission, suspension components, and differential are all mounted on the chassis itself.
The cab is only there to allow comfort for the passengers. And as we all know, there are different variations when it comes to truck cab and bed size. There are long bed and short bed trucks. And there are also regular cabs, extended cabs, and crew cabs.
In addition to this, the number of rear wheels attached to the chassis on a truck might vary. On some trucks designed for light-duty, there are only two wheels in the rear. While trucks that are heavy-duty applications like the Ford F-250 or F-350, have dual wheels, and these trucks are known as a dually.
This type of suspension design is essential for trucks that are loaded in order so the chassis on a truck does not crumple down and break apart. So, if you need a truck to load a lot, you will need a dually. Now as we learned what is a chassis on a truck, let’s move on to the next topic.
What Is A Chassis Cab Truck
Now as we learned what is a chassis on a truck, we can now move on and understand what is a chassis cab truck. These two terms are completely different things. So, you need to differentiate between a frame or chassis that we explained previously and a chassis cab truck.
A chassis cab truck is a special truck. This type of truck is designed purely for work. This means that the chassis cab truck is a proper workhorse intended for heavy-duty use. They don’t come with a bed like your regular light-duty pickup truck. They are produced from the factory without a bed.
In addition to the lack of a bed, the frame is also different in comparison to the standard pickup truck. This allows these trucks to be quickly modified and prepared for the specific purpose by a company that does these conversions. But for what use are these trucks constructed in the first place?
Well, these trucks have found their usage in a lot of industries. They are widely used in the medical sphere, for example, in ambulances.
The chassis cab trucks are also used for construction where they are used to carry heavy stuff like excavating machinery.
In addition to this, these chassis cab trucks are also used in agriculture, forestry, landscaping, waste management, and a ton of other fields.
All these trucks are intended for heavy use depending on the application. And what is good is that even though these are work-horse trucks, they are far cheaper and affordable than your standard F-150. But more on that later.
How It Is Different From Regular Pickup Truck
Now as we learned what is a chassis on a truck and what are the different types of chassis out there, let’s now discuss more about the chassis cab type of truck.
Let’s learn what makes these trucks different in comparison to your standard pickup truck and why these trucks are so desired in some fields. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Are The Differences With Chassis Trucks #1: Bed Is Not Included
Now that we know what is a chassis on a truck is, let’s take a look at the first difference between a chassis cab in comparison to your standard pickup truck.
This difference is most obvious. These trucks come from the factory without a bed. There is only the cab that is mounted on the truck and that’s it. So, why is this the case?
This is the case because these trucks are designed for work. Immediately after they are rolled from the production line, they head up to the conversion factory to be turned into ambulances or another type of purpose-built vehicle.
What Are The Differences With Chassis Trucks #2: No Ladder Frame Chassis
So, we know what is a chassis on a truck, now let’s see the second difference between a chassis cab and a regular pickup.
And this is the difference in the frame design. Pickup trucks often implement a ladder frame design. This frame is not straight but it is like a ladder. Chassis cab trucks on the other hand are running straight frames.
This is really essential because they are made with the same purpose as your regular heavy truck that is designed to carry a lot of weight in the rear.
What Are The Differences With Chassis Trucks #3: Low Engine Power
Now that we know what is chassis on a truck is, let’s discuss the next difference between a chassis cab and a standard pickup truck and that is the engine power.
These trucks run big displacement engines that are designed to have low-end torque and very little horsepower. So, horsepower numbers are not that important when it comes to these trucks.
What Are The Differences With Chassis Trucks #4: Only Commercial Equipment
Another difference between a chassis cab and a regular pickup truck that we want to cover since we know what is a chassis on a truck is the practicality of these trucks.
These trucks are not practical for use without a specific purpose. They are only designed to carry commercial equipment.
So, this type of truck is only designed with this in mind. If you don’t run a commercial business and you don’t have any practical purpose for this truck, you don’t really need it, a regular pickup truck will do the trick just fine.
What Are The Differences With Chassis Trucks #5: Difference In Weight Rating And Payload
The next difference between a chassis cab vs regular pickup truck that we are going to cover since we learned what is a chassis on a truck is the weight rating and payload.
These trucks are intended by the factory to carry a lot of weight. And their weight rating is completely different than your standard pickup.
These models can carry a ton of cargo in the rear and not break a sweat. On the other hand, if you do the same thing with your standard pickup truck, you can expect it to crumble down immediately after you overload it because this truck is not certified for this type of load.
The frame, as well as the rear axle, are completely different in these two applications and they do not compare in any way. So, if you plan to load the truck quite a bit, then going for a chassis cab might be a smart move.
What Are The Differences With Chassis Trucks #6: Improved Fuel Capacity
The last difference between a chassis cab and your regular pickup truck is the improved fuel capacity. We learned what is a chassis on a truck and learned that these trucks are implementing bigger chassis types than the standard pickup.
So, this weight requires a lot more fuel. This is why you need to have a bigger fuel tank in order to make sure that the truck that you want to buy has enough to meet your needs.
Not to mention that these trucks are used in remote places where is no gas pump or any way to refuel and you basically need a bigger tank to meet your needs. This is why the fuel tank on the chassis cab is a lot bigger in comparison to the standard pickup.
Should You Go For A Chassis Cab Truck Or A Regular Truck
As we cleared what is a chassis on a truck, we can start learning if should you get a chassis cab or just a regular truck?
The answer to this question really depends on your needs. If the standard Ford Super Duty doesn’t fit the bill and you need something customizable for a specific need. Then going for a chassis cab instead of a standard pickup will be your best bet.
Differences between Pickup Trucks and Chassis Cab Trucks: 10 Need-to-Know Facts
- A chassis truck is sold as an incomplete vehicle, whereas a pickup truck comes with a boxed pickup bed already installed behind the cab.
- A chassis cab truck is a commercial vehicle with fewer features available than a pickup truck.
- Various configurations can be added to the platform of a chassis cab truck to suit commercial needs.
- Pickup trucks are smooth to drive and have good performance abilities, especially for towing.
- The frame rails on chassis cab trucks are straight, whereas those on pickups are curved behind the cabin.
- Some optional features are only available for chassis cabs, while pickups have more options for comfort.
- Chassis cab trucks have lower horsepower and torque ratings, but higher fuel economy potential and last longer.
- Chassis cab trucks have a higher GVWR and a significantly higher payload capacity than pickups.
- Chassis cab trucks have sturdier front and rear suspensions and larger rear axles than pickups.
- Chassis cab trucks are sometimes available with larger fuel tanks than pickup trucks.
Conclusions On What Is A Chassis On A Truck
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the question of what is a chassis on a truck. First, we learned what is the definition of a chassis and the different types of chassis that are out there.
Then we covered what is chassis on a truck and we understood what a chassis cab truck is. What are the differences between a chassis cab and the standard truck and whether or not you should get one.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is A Chassis
A chassis in simple words is the main structure of the vehicle. This is basically the skeleton to which everything is attached. There are different types of chassis like the unibody, and body-on-frame designs.
What Is The Frame Of A Car
The frame is the core structure of the car. This is the structure that basically holds everything together. And the frame needs to be perfectly straight in order for the car to drive straight. In modern cars, the whole unibody is considered a frame. While on older cars that are body on frame, only the frame is considered to be an integral part.
What Is A Cab
A cab is simply the structure where the driver and the passengers are sitting. The cab is fully independent of the chassis itself. The cab is basally mounted on top of the chassis.
What Is A Crew Cab Truck
A crew cab truck is a truck with a big cab with two pairs of doors. Crew cabs are a level above extended cabs in terms of length and passenger comfort.
What Is A Chassis Cab
A chassis cab simply is a type of truck that has a regular cab and no bed. These trucks are purchased by companies and customized for a specific purpose.
What Truck Has The Biggest Cab
RAM has the biggest cab called a Mega Cab. This is basically an extended crew cab with more space in the interior.