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Old 03-31-2014, 11:11 AM   #1
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How to determine what I can tow?

I have a Ford F-150, extended cab 2wd with the 4.6L v8. It has a tow rating of 7,900 lbs. I currently have a smallish camper and would like to upgrade, but I don't want to have to get a diesel truck. I found a camper I really like and its gross weight is just under the 7,900 lb tow rating of my truck. But I know the tow rating is just part of the story. How can I determine if I will exceed all the other ratings involved in towing trailers w/o buying it and running across some scales?


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Old 03-31-2014, 11:32 AM   #2
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Probably not what you want to hear, but we always try to stick to 80% of the tow vehicles rating. If your tow rating is 7900, in our case we'd be looking for a towable with a gross weight around 6300. That's just us, and the safety margin we like to stay close to. It's the biggest reason we've always towed with a F-350 diesel, where we wouldn't be very limited, and we could purchase what our fever lead us to. You have to think about the gross weight rating of the truck as well, figuring in people, full tank of fuel, anything in the back plus tongue weight with WD set up. There's a books worth of info and threads on this subject, and I'm sure several more will chime in shortly.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmacklem View Post
I have a Ford F-150, extended cab 2wd with the 4.6L v8. It has a tow rating of 7,900 lbs. I currently have a smallish camper and would like to upgrade, but I don't want to have to get a diesel truck. I found a camper I really like and its gross weight is just under the 7,900 lb tow rating of my truck. But I know the tow rating is just part of the story. How can I determine if I will exceed all the other ratings involved in towing trailers w/o buying it and running across some scales?


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In my experience, the most helpful information was found on the driver's side door pillar area. Payload capacity is a big determinant in the trailering capabilities a specific vehicle has in addition to its tow ratings. Determining that the tongue or hitch weight of your trailer is within the payload capacity of the TV is very important IMO. Don't forget to take the weight of other cargo (and hitch) and passengers into consideration when calculating the total payload you need/want to carry.

You can also find the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and the axle ratings on another sticker in the same area. You may have to look in the owner's manual or a vehicle specific tow guide to find your gross combined weight rating.

If you take the GVWR and subtract the listed payload capacity you can calculate your vehicle's 'as built' curb weight (which includes all fluids, a full tank of fuel and an 150 lb driver). Listed tow ratings are often determined using curb weights from base models (with no options added) and ideal (and often low end) tongue/hitch weights (typically 10-12% for TT and 15-25% for 5ver) so doing your own research and calculations is highly recommended IMO.

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Old 03-31-2014, 11:57 AM   #4
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If you take the GVWR and subtract the listed payload capacity you can calculate your vehicle's 'as built' curb weight (which includes all fluids, a full tank of fuel and an 150 lb driver).
From what I found with reading my Ram owner's manual- the only time a 150 lb. driver is automatically included is when you're looking at the "maximum towing capacity".

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmacklem
How can I determine if I will exceed all the other ratings involved in towing trailers w/o buying it and running across some scales?
Lefty59 is 100% correct- you almost definitely run out of payload long before anything else. You can actually get a good feeling for how much payload that you have available left over for tongue weight if you're honest when using a calculator like this:
Towing Calculator based on Truck's Payload/CCC - Towing Planner

You can then also get a good idea of real-world tongue weight estimates by extrapolating from the published dry weights:
Estimating Tongue/Pin Weight from Dry Weights - Towing Planner

If all of these numbers are in-line, you usually are pretty OK. Then it's a matter of talking to folks with real world experience with that length of trailer to the tow vehicle, who are pulling similar weights and whatnot.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:22 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone, I have some figuring to do. So far, I have come up with that technically, if I stay within the truck and trailer weight limits, I can tow the 26 RLWS, not the 27. The trailer has a max weight of 6,690 which is well below my tow rating of 8,100 lbs. The truck has a max weight of 6,748 lbs which I should be able to stay under well enough as the payload capacity is 1,680 lbs. But, that puts me at 13,438 lbs which is just under my GCWR of 13,500. So that tells me that there is no way I could tow 8,100 lbs like it is rated.

So I think I will get my current truck and trailer combo over the scales to see where I am at now. That should tell me if I can get the other trailer.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:24 PM   #6
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what rear end ratio does the truck have and what bed length?
does it have the HD factory tow package?

this is info necessary to determine what it can tow. and what's the truck's payload amount? it's on a sticker inside the driver's door frame.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:52 PM   #7
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Ok, I am out of luck with the current truck. Turns out there are two different 4.6l v8's for 2010 and I have the lesser of the two. My truck is only rated to tow 5,300 lbs. Looking at used trucks online has been depressing. It is hard to find the big v8 w/o breaking the bank. The F250 and Chevy 2500 w/ 6.0l v8's have excellent tow ratings but are pricey for lower miles. I got my Ford for $18,000 with 21,000 miles. Can't get anywhere near that on a truck that will do the job.
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