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Old 08-31-2015, 12:06 AM   #1
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What can I tow? Translation of tech speak, please?

In preparation for selling our 2004 expedition we found that it can probably tow more than we thought. This means we could buy a tow-along trailer sooner, but my husband and I are not sure since we're both very confused about what these figures really mean as far as our towing ability. Any help would be appreciated.
It's a special service vehicle with a 5.4 liter engine, 4WD. specs are: Gross Axle Wt Rating - Front3275 lbs (3275.0 min/3275.0max)Gross Axle Wt Rating - Rear4128 lbs (4128.0 min/4128.0max)Curb Weight - Front2868 lbs (2868.0 min/2868.0max)Curb Weight - Rear2821 lbs (2821.0 min/2821.0max)Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Cap7300 lbs (7300.0 min/7300.0max)Gross Combined Wt Rating14500 lbs (14500.0 min/14500.0max)Dead Weight Hitch - Max Trailer Wt.5000 lbs (5000.0 min/5000.0max)Dead Weight Hitch - Max Tongue Wt.500 lbs (500.0 min/500.0max)Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Trailer Wt.8650 lbs (8650.0 min/8650.0max)Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Tongue Wt.865 lbs (865.0 min/865.0max)Suspension Type - FrontCoil Spring Suspension Type - RearCoil Spring
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Old 08-31-2015, 06:46 AM   #2
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8650 is your max weight if you have 3.73 axle ratio. I would not go over 6000 lb empty trailer weight. You'll easily be 7000 or more loaded.
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:41 AM   #3
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The limiting factors with the Expedition would be the payload and wheelbase.

Payload: Take the Expedition loaded with passengers and expected cargo for traveling and hit up a CAT scale. 7300 lbs. minus the CAT scale weight would equal the maximum tongue that should not be exceeded (not exceeding 865 lbs. tongue weight using a WDH, or 8650 lbs of trailer).

Wheelbase: The 2nd generation Expeditions had a 119" wheelbase. Longer trailers generally tow better and safer behind longer wheelbase tow vehicles. There is no hard and fast rules, but 1 equation used is the overall trailer length in feet should not exceed the wheelbase of the the TV in inches when divided by 5 (119" divided by 5 equals ~24')
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:58 AM   #4
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Trailer tongue weight is what's really going to limit you.

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Old 08-31-2015, 10:24 AM   #5
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Payload and tongue weight

You are right on the money as far as the wheelbase goes. It is 119". I didn't know about the length issue, btw, thank you for that tip because we have been concentrating almost exclusively on the weight. We have been to many RV shows where the salesman has told us, "sure, your expedition can tow this easily." But as we research I'm finding that it was ignorance if not an outright lie.
I'm still a bit confused on the terms and what they mean. The tongue weight is the load on the actual hitch, correct? Given the figures that I have, what would be the formula to determine the maximum loaded trailer I could pull? So do I subtract the weight of the loaded SUV from the total towing capacity, because that doesn't seem to leave me with much. I apologize if I seem dense, but math tends to make me cross-eyed.
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:41 AM   #6
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This is a very well done site and it keeps it simple and just answer some of your questions. Towing Planner - towing capability calculators
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Old 08-31-2015, 12:04 PM   #7
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Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Cap7300 lbs (7300.0 min/7300.0max)

This is the weight of the total vehicle including passengers, cargo and TW (tongue weight) as well as WDH (weight distribution hitch) weight

Gross Combined Wt Rating14500 lbs (14500.0 min/14500.0max)

This is the weight of the vehicle (fully loaded) and TT (travel trailer - fully loaded ready to camp).

You cannot go by dry weight, Vehicles and TTs weigh significantly more when you load them up with options (batteries and propane), gear (food, camping gear, toys) and water. You can easily add 600-1000 pounds of gear, food and water to your TT. This means right off the bat you have a 6000 pound dry weight TT and you add in a battery, dual propane tanks and all your families clothes, toys, gear dishes and your 6000 pound dry weight TT is sitting at 7000 pounds when it is "camp ready".

Also the wheelbase is why some steer away from SUVs for towing. These are considerations for you in selecting a TT, if you stay "smaller" get a WDH and you should be fine, but if you are needing "a "bigger" TT then maybe an actual truck might in your future. Be weary of dealers, sometimes (more often than not in the experience of this forum) they say "yeah you can tow that" when in reality you cannot. Or you can actually tow it but it is the white knuckle "not so fun" tow.

What TT are you looking at? This may help give better advice since we can look at specifics.
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Old 08-31-2015, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlbalt View Post
The tongue weight is the load on the actual hitch, correct?
Yes, it is typically 10-15 percent of the gross TT weight

Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlbalt View Post
Given the figures that I have, what would be the formula to determine the maximum loaded trailer I could pull?
For this we have to make assumptions..... first is that the max trailer weight you can "pull" is 8600 pound with a WDH (based on the numbers). This means that your truck can only weigh 5900 pounds (because your max combined weight cannot be over 14500).

If your truck is fully loaded (7300 - including the 10-15 percent tongue weight) then your trailer can only weigh 7200 pounds (again due to the 14500 combined weight limit)


Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlbalt View Post
So do I subtract the weight of the loaded SUV from the total towing capacity, because that doesn't seem to leave me with much. I apologize if I seem dense.
Not exactly, you have to subtract the weight of the SUV from the total combined weight rating (see my example above). Please remember that these all deal with the max numbers and not alot of wiggle room.

Some on this forum will scoff at numbers and math and refer to others as the "weight police". This post was just informing you of the basics, some people tow without knowing the numbers and with out actually weighing their set ups to know what their true numbers are. No matter what way you choose to go, I do encourage you after you to weigh your TV and TW at a scale, in doing this you will truly know what you are at.

I hope this helps
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Old 08-31-2015, 12:38 PM   #9
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Rockwood Mini Lite Travel Trailers by Forest River RV.... scroll down and check out the 2104S....easily handled by your expedition.
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Old 08-31-2015, 01:34 PM   #10
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Rockwood Mini Lite Travel Trailers by Forest River RV.... scroll down and check out the 2104S....easily handled by your expedition.
I tend to agree. Something along these lines would be a good fit for your SUV. Maybe not this exact TT but this is to give you an overall idea of the size and weight.
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