A1. Definitions
 The following definitions help to explain the principle of stability:
 Center of Gravity is a point on an object at which all of the object's weight can be considered to
be concentrated.
 Counterweight is the weight that is a part of the truck's basic structure that is used to offset
the load's weight and to maximize the vehicle's resistance to tipping over.
 Fulcrum is the truck's axis of rotation when it tips over.
 Grade is a surface's slope that is usually measured as the number of feet of rise or fall over a
hundred foot horizontal distance (measured as a per cent).
 Lateral stability is a truck's resistance to tipping over sideways.
 Line of action is an imaginary line through an object's center of gravity.
 Load center is the horizontal distance from the load's edge (or the fork's or other attachment's
vertical face) to the line of action through the load's center of gravity.
 Longitudinal stability is the truck's resistance to overturning forward or rearward.
 Moment is the product of the object's weight times the distance form a fixed point. In the case of
a powered industrial truck, the distance is measured from the point that the truck will tip over to
the object's line of action. The distance is always measured perpendicular to the line of action.
 Track is the distance between wheels on the vehicle's same axle.
 Wheelbase is the distance between the centerline of the vehicle's front and rear wheels.
A2. General
 Stability determination for a powered industrial depends on a few basic principles. There are many
factors that contribute to a vehicle's stability:
 vehicle wheelbase;
 track;
 height;
 the load's weight distribution; and,
 the vehicle's counterweight location (if so equipped).
 The "stability triangle," used in most stability discussions, demonstrates stability simply.
A3. Basic Principles
 Determining whether an object is stable is dependent on the object's moment at one end of a system
being greater than, equal to, or smaller than the object's moment at the system's other end. This is
the same principle on which a seesaw works. If the product of the load and distance from the
fulcrum (moment) is equal to the moment at the device's other end, the device is balanced and will
not move. However, if there is a greater moment at the device's one end, the device will try to move
downward at the end with the greater moment.
 Longitudinal stability of a counterbalanced powered industrial truck depends on the vehicle's
moment and the load's moment. In other words, if the mathematic product of the load moment (the
distance from the front wheels, the point about which the vehicle would tip over) to the load's
center of gravity times the load's weight is less than the vehicle's moment, the system is balanced
and will not tip forward. However, if the loadmoment is greater than the vehiclemoment, the greater
loadmoment will force the truck to tip forward.
A4. The Stability Triangle
 Almost all counterbalanced powered industrial trucks have a three point suspension system, that
is, the vehicle is supported at three points. The truck's steer axle is attached to the truck by a
pivot pin in the axle's center. When the points are connected with imaginary lines, this threepoint
support forms a triangle called the stability triangle. Figure 1 depicts the stability triangle.
Figure 1.

Notes:
 When the vehicle is loaded, the combined center of gravity (CG) shifts toward line BC.
Theoretically, the maximum load will result in the CG at the line BC. In actual practice, the
combined CG should never be at line BC.
 The addition of additional counterweight will cause the truck CG to shift toward point A and
result in a truck that is less stable laterally.
When the vehicle's line of action, or load center, falls within the stability triangle, the vehicle
is stable and will not tip over. However, when the vehicle's line of action or the vehicle/load
combination falls outside the stability triangle, the vehicle is unstable and may tip over. See
Figure 2.
Figure 2.

A5. Longitudinal Stability
 The axis of rotation when a truck tips forward is the front wheels' points of contact with the
pavement. When a powered industrial truck tips forward, the truck will rotate about this line. When
a truck is stable, the vehiclemoment must exceed the loadmoment. As long as the vehiclemoment is
equal to or exceeds the loadmoment, the vehicle will not tip over. On the other hand, if the load
moment slightly exceeds the vehiclemoment, the truck will begin to tip forward, thereby causing
loss of steering control. If the loadmoment greatly exceeds the vehicle moment, the truck will tip
forward.
 To determine the maximum safer loadmoment, the truck manufacturer normally rates the truck at a
maximum load at a given distance from the front face of the forks. The specified distance from the
front face of the forks to the line of action of the load is commonly called a load center. Trucks
with a 30,000 pounds or less capacity are normally rated at a given load weight at a 24inch load
center. For trucks of greater than 30,000 pounds capacity, the load center is normally rated at 36
or 48inch load center distance. To safely operate the vehicle, the operator should always check the
data plate to determine the maximum allowable weight at the rated load center.
 Although the true loadmoment distance is measured from the front wheels, this distance is greater
than the distance from the front face of the forks. Calculation of the maximum allowable loadmoment
using the load center distance always provides a lower loadmoment than the truck was designed to
handle. When handling unusual loads, such as those that are larger than 48 inches long (the center
of gravity is greater than 24 inches) or an offset center of gravity, etc., a maximum allowable load
moment should be calculated and used to determine whether a load can be safely handled.
 For example, if an operator is operating a 3000 pound capacity truck (with a 24 inch load
center), the maximum allowable load moment is 72,000 inch pounds (3,000 times 24). If a probable
load is 60 inches long (30 inch load center), than the maximum that this load can weigh is 2,400
pounds (72,000 divided by 30).
A6. Lateral Stability
 The vehicle's lateral stability is determined by the lines of action's position (a vertical line
that passes through the combined vehicle's and load's center of gravity) relative to the stability
triangle. When the vehicle is not loaded, the truck's center of gravity location is the only factor
to be considered in determining the truck's stability. As long as the line of action of the combined
vehicle's and load's center of gravity falls within the stability triangle, the truck is stable and
will not tip over. However, is the line of action falls outside the stability triangle, the truck is
not stable and may tip over.
 Factors that affect the vehicle's lateral stability include the load's placement on the truck, the
height of the load above the surface on which the vehicle is operating, and the vehicle's degree of
lean.
A7 Dynamic Stability
 The dynamic forces that result when the vehicle and load are put into motion must also be
considered. The weight's transfer and the resultant shift in the center of gravity due to the
dynamic forces created when the machine is moving, braking, cornering, lifting, tilting, and
lowering loads, etc., are important stability considerations.
 When determining whether a load can be safely handled, the operator should exercise extra caution
when handling loads that cause the vehicle to approach its maximum design characteristics. For
example, if an operator must handle a maximum weight load, the load should be carried at the lowest
practical height, the truck should be accelerated slowly and evenly, and forks should be tilted
forward cautiously. However, no precise rules can be formulated to cover all of these eventualities.
