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Old 11-25-2013, 12:31 PM   #1
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Coachmen Apex 288BHS TT and my tow vehicle is...

So I've been killing myself trying to figure out what is safe for my family of 4 plus dog (plus friends sometimes).
I have a 2012 Ford F-150 5.0L XLT 3.55 axle ratio. Has a payload of 1585lbs and a GVWR of 7350. The GCWR for my tow vehicle is 13500. The trailer's dry weight is 5085lbs and has a GVWR of 7000lbs. I have a feeling I'm at the max or a little over my tow vehicle's capacity. We want to start taking longer trips. I live near Chicago, IL so mostly flatland driving to campsites. I also use my truck as a commuter vehicle to the train station (10 miles a day round trip). I just bought the camper but haven't towed it yet with the F-150 since it's being kept at the dealer till spring.

Is it best to upgrade to the F-250? My main concern is safety. Saving mpg is an additional plus.
Is buying used a good idea for an F-250? Would I need to be concerned about other folks who might have maxed out the GVWR of the F-250 therefore compromising the vehicle's integrity?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:00 PM   #2
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I think first things first- take your truck, load up like you were going camping (wife, kids, little dog too and "stuff") and hit a scale to find out where you really are. You can then estimate the tongue weight of your camper to add to that. That will tell you if you're under, at or over GVWR. And then it'll give you a baseline for what you need out of a bigger truck if you're over.
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
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I haven't weighed it yet at a scale but it is apparent on how I load it, it will be a few hundred lbs over or at the GVWR and GCWR. If I'm conservative with fuel ( ie. fill only half tank and be careful with the amount of stuff I carry) I should be right at the limit.

To clarify, my real question is: Is it safe to drive a tow vehicle at or a few hundred lbs over max GVWR or GCWR?

If I do need to upgrade the tow vehicle, is it a good idea to go used? I'd be interested in used to save money but would I need to be concerned about how the previous owner used the vehicle thus compromising the safety of the vehicle? For example, Perhaps he maxed the vehicle's GVWR and traded it in for a full ton.
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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To answer your question "is it safe to tow at or over GVWR and GCWR?" is a question that is fraught with opinions on both sides of the fence. There are those that tow a little to a lot over their GVWR - they typically worry about staying under axle weight ratings and more importantly - tire load capacities. Then there are those that feel you're putting yourselves and others in danger if you exceed the published ratings. There are few of us who desire to be under but understand that some folks will be over and for them, it's ok.

I fall into that last category- personally, I want to be under every rating of my truck. I also don't want to have to worry about how much I load up the bed, or fuel tank or even if I'm taking an extra passenger or two (my mother-in-law is a frequent tagalong for us). But, I'm also a relative newbie to trucks and towing and frankly need as much safety margin as possible as I get my road butt trained. How much experience towing do you have?

This isn't a decision that we can make for you. Being from Illinois and not dealing with mountains helps. But there are always those emergency cases on the road that make me wonder "what if?" Or, like I did this past summer - botched the parking of my camper and sunk one side 9" into the mud; if I had a marginal tow vehicle, would I have gotten out?

There has also been posts on here from lawyers and law enforcement officers- generally, for private folks, there doesn't seem to be many laws governing weights. But, there have been posts that your liability increases if you're significantly overweight and the worst happens.

It's a personal choice.

As for new vs. used- I prefer buying new, but I also can't turn a wrench to deal with anything that comes up. If you buy used, check the forums - there were a handful of engines over the years that were problematic. If you have a trusted mechanic, try get them to check the truck out. But- not, I don't think you'll do damage to the truck towing slightly overweight until it gets extreme.
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vcarbona View Post
I haven't weighed it yet at a scale but it is apparent on how I load it, it will be a few hundred lbs over or at the GVWR and GCWR. If I'm conservative with fuel ( ie. fill only half tank and be careful with the amount of stuff I carry) I should be right at the limit.

To clarify, my real question is: Is it safe to drive a tow vehicle at or a few hundred lbs over max GVWR or GCWR?

If I do need to upgrade the tow vehicle, is it a good idea to go used? I'd be interested in used to save money but would I need to be concerned about how the previous owner used the vehicle thus compromising the safety of the vehicle? For example, Perhaps he maxed the vehicle's GVWR and traded it in for a full ton.
Something you need to do if you keep your F150 is to make sure you have LR E tires on the truck and keep them inflated to the sidewall pressure or very close to it. Do not use a P tire on the truck,
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:27 PM   #6
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I had a 2011 F150 with almost those exact same numbers applied to it.
I ran at about 12,500 lbs GCW.
I installed HD shocks and Hellwig add a leaf springs.
Our TT is 30 feet long and weighs about 6200 lbs.
The truck rode and handled well solo and when towing.
However, I never felt like the truck had real full control over the trailer.

Ordered the F350 to get max payload with single rear wheels and gas engine.
I haven't towed yet...
The Boss is looking forward to it
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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I'm with Twisty on this one. The limit is there for many reasons. Driveablity is one. One of our company trucks wouldn't tow anything well. My Supercrew pulled everything great, but our big DRW flatbed would pull our 30 foot gooseneck with a JLG boom lift easily and comfortably.
Your 5.0 will be working really hard. Really hard.
You have until Spring, so you may find something used.
If you see a 350, get it. Rides a little rougher, but can pull that even bigger trailer that you'll probably get in the future! LOL
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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well first off I have owned 5 trucks, from half ton to 1 ton and from srw and drw. i've pulled stock trailers, hay trailers, farm equipment trailers, car trailers, enclosed cargo trailers,27' tt campers, 35' bumper hitch toyhauler camper and 34' fifth wheel toyhauler camper.

I have only owned 1 gmc and 4 fords to date ranging from 3.55 to 4.10 gears and 3 ( including current f350 drw ) were/are powerstroke diesels. I would like to offer this advice based on personal experience........ take the truck's ratings and deduct 10% if your going to leave it stock on suspension and cooling but you still need to change the tires to 10 ply! this will give you a safer rating for towing that camper down the interstates with some moderate wind.

you will still need to find that happy spot for properly loading. if you don't and with 3.55 gears and that 5.0 gasser, then shut off od and keep it under 65 mph and under or 20 mph plus side winds and you'll need a change of shorts! those high rear end gears are going to require higher rpm's to be in the power range needed to pull that load up hills or maintain in a head wind, which will run the motor and trans hotter , so a bigger trans cooler is advised, stock ones are seldom up to the task no matter what anyone says. now I see it's a 2012 and that's better since I think sometime in 08 or 09 ford finally fixed the head problems so they quit spitting out spark plugs and carboning up the threads and breaking on removal on the 4.6, 5.4 and v-10's. I pulled a wolf pack 30 wp toyhauler on the bumper ( 35' total length ) with my f250 powerstroke 7.3 ltre. toy hauler dry weight 7800 lbs with a srw 2wd auto with 4.10 gears. 25 mph side winds put me all over the road stock so I added air bags in the rear and stronger springs in the front with front and rear sway bars and kyb mono max shocks and 10 ply tires with 3 ply side walls, only 1 tire out there with 3 ply sides! went to a 12000 lb load leveling hitch with 2 sway bars, swapped out the factory 8 ply tires for 10 ply on the camper, carefully loaded my sand rail and gear and never never hauled with anything in the tanks, loaded sitting at about 9550 lbs. side winds still pushed that truck some so I had to slow it down many times to be safe. it was a night and day diff with the mods and I added all myself so no big deal but that toyhauler was rated as half ton towable and did not exceed that ratings on that truck but still could toss it around! towing white knuckled and stressed out is horrible and takes a day and a bottle of jack daniels to recover from lol just kidding on the jack to a point lol. you do what you want but I would not pull that load with that truck with out mods to the truck and if you can install them yourself the expense will be high to pay others. that same 30' toyhauler on the bumper was nothing for my 1 ton f350 dually with out load leveler but a pain none the less and my current 295 wp fifth is sooo much easier to haul and the same truck picked up 1 mpg after 6 -1200 mile round trip runs!

buying used isn't a problem as long as it's a good truck and has been properly maintained which doen't mean they stopped at walmart or jiffy lube every 3k miles to get the oil changed lol check service records and look it over and drive it! if they'll let you tow your camper with it after the snow melts.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:00 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice! So i go to the Ford dealer and spoke to the same guy who sold me my F150. I told him about my dilemma and he actually told me that he would be very happy to sell me an F250 however my F150 should be able to handle the load I have. It was weird but I was trying to convince HIM to sell me an F250. He asked me a few questions like: 1) How many times a year will I be towing? My answer: 3-4 times a year. 2) How far will I be towing? My answer: Mostly in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri. 3) How heavy is my trailer? My answer: 5085lbs dry

He said it's not like I'm towing full time or most of the time where an F250 is warranted. He also mentioned that there's a sacrifice of comfort when going with an F250/350 since they're built for heavy duty hauling and commercial use. He also said how the newer F150s tend to be "overbuilt" in order to compete in the half-ton market. He said for me to try towing with the F150 first and if it feels unsafe to come back and he'll get me the F250. I find it very ironic that a truck salesman actually discouraged me from trading in my F150 for an F250. Maybe he's being honest?


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Old 07-08-2015, 07:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by vcarbona View Post
Thanks for all the advice! So i go to the Ford dealer and spoke to the same guy who sold me my F150. I told him about my dilemma and he actually told me that he would be very happy to sell me an F250 however my F150 should be able to handle the load I have. It was weird but I was trying to convince HIM to sell me an F250. He asked me a few questions like: 1) How many times a year will I be towing? My answer: 3-4 times a year. 2) How far will I be towing? My answer: Mostly in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri. 3) How heavy is my trailer? My answer: 5085lbs dry

He said it's not like I'm towing full time or most of the time where an F250 is warranted. He also mentioned that there's a sacrifice of comfort when going with an F250/350 since they're built for heavy duty hauling and commercial use. He also said how the newer F150s tend to be "overbuilt" in order to compete in the half-ton market. He said for me to try towing with the F150 first and if it feels unsafe to come back and he'll get me the F250. I find it very ironic that a truck salesman actually discouraged me from trading in my F150 for an F250. Maybe he's being honest?


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agreed from the info you provided and the gvwr specs on your truck, mathematically he is being honest. in reality he doesn't sound like he has ever towed anything long distance in any kind of weather conditions and changing ones at that, but based on pure specs ya i would agree however his statement about the 3/4 and 1 ton being rougher .........not completely true. they are smooth when loaded and prob slightly rougher empty that is all in the shocks but sacrificing ride for stability is a no brainer imo. a 250 would be just fine for you. in your above post you said 5.0 ltre engine... i didn't know they dropped down from the 5.4 back to a 5.0? 3.55 gears are still too high for pulling imo what are the other gear options? like 3.73 or 4.10 maybe?
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