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Old 01-31-2013, 10:10 AM   #1
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Default Comfortable Towing capacity

My hubby and I are shopping for a travel trailer. Currently we are towing a tent trailer that is 2300 lbs. I am fairly ignorant to terms so please advise in plain english or I will need my husband to translate. LOL

We are driving a 2009 Ford 1-150 Lariat that was upgraded with a tow package, brake controller, etc.

We are looking at 26-29 ft trailers with a dry weight of 4-6000 lbs and I am trying to figure out how that will pull.

I am hoping the people who respond have real-life experience - I have had way too many people give me hypothetical measurements and "if your tow capacity is ____ then you should be fine with ____" since we are buying new and that is a big chunk of change, I would like more assurance than that....
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:02 AM   #2
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Pretty sure your truck's tow capacity would exceed 7000# (so, 6000# trailer plus 1000# of gear and stuff in the trailer). That's assuming the V8 engine. So you should be ok with tow capacity.

But that's just the tow part, what about the haul part, the weight that's directly on the truck? You should be able to find the truck's payload on the driver's door jamb somewhere. That's how much weight you can put in/on the truck.

Take that payload number and subtract your best guesstimate of what the trailer's tongue weight will be. So, worst case, subtract 12% of 7000#, or 840#. Will that give you enough remaining payload for you, your husband, dog, kids, and all that gear in the truck?

If so, you're good to go with a 6000# trailer. If not, consider a lighter trailer with less tongue weight.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:29 AM   #3
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The easiest way to figure what size trailer you can legally and comfortably tow is to load your truck up with the family and whatever camping gear you would put in the bed of the truck for a trip plus a full tank of gas. Then find the nearest Cat Scale or any scale for that matter and have your truck weighed. Take that weight and subtract it from your trucks GVWR and what you have left is your max allowance of tongue weight for a trailer. Stay under your max tow rate and you will be good to go! Good luck, Kevin
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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Also, a weight distributing hitch such at the Equal-i-zer will spread the tongue weight of the trailer to the front axle of the truck and to the trailer axles allowing for more leeway in tongue weight. The Equal-i-zer also has a anti-sway function as well.
http://www.equalizerhitch.com/

For the size trailer you are looking for, I would think the 8000 lb hitch would do it.

Although RV dealers typically charge $600 or more, they can be had from internet suppliers for close to $400.
Here is a picture to describe it: http://www.equalizerhitch.com/About%...stribution.php
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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If you could provide just a little more information about your truck we can fairly easily help you determine a safe and comfortable combination for your truck.

http://http://researchmaniacs.com/VI...cker/Ford.html

Use this website to help you determine the precise combination of your truck.

Totally agree on an equal-i-zer hitch. I am using one and have been for years. For your size a 1k/10k is more than sufficient.

A great suppler online for the hitch is RV Wholesalers, free shipping
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
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And beyond all of the numbers is your attitude toward safety and comfort. Also, the terrain in which you tow, and the distances you tow. You can approach 80% of your capacity; especially if your towing distances are short; and/or the terrain is relatively flat. If you are towing long distances (hundreds to thousands of miles) or you are towing in the mountains, then, IMO, you should be more like 60% of your tow capacity. It's safer, easier on your truck, and more "comfortable".

There are lots of nice trailers in the range of 25 to 28 feet and 5 to 6 thousand pounds that you might find acceptable. You might want to look at hybrid trailers (typical RV trailer but with canvas beds on the ends) Personally, I would not exceed 28' and 5,500 pounds dry weight. Your WET weight, (fluids, food, clothing, gear, trailer options, propane tanks, etc) is likely to be another another 1,000 pounds.

Be mindful of your vehicle payload. This may be your most limiting factor. Out of payload comes, passenger weight, hitch weight, trailer tongue weight, stuff in your truck bed like gas, coolers, bikes, generator, tools, etc. Expect tongue weight to be approximately 12 to 15% of your trailer wet weight.

A Weight Distribution hitch is going to be a must. You can google a couple of major brands like Reese or Equalizer. Take your time, do your research, make sure you understand "the parameters". Good luck.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpiazza View Post
My hubby and I are shopping for a travel trailer. Currently we are towing a tent trailer that is 2300 lbs. I am fairly ignorant to terms so please advise in plain english or I will need my husband to translate. LOL

We are driving a 2009 Ford 1-150 Lariat that was upgraded with a tow package, brake controller, etc.

We are looking at 26-29 ft trailers with a dry weight of 4-6000 lbs and I am trying to figure out how that will pull.

I am hoping the people who respond have real-life experience - I have had way too many people give me hypothetical measurements and "if your tow capacity is ____ then you should be fine with ____" since we are buying new and that is a big chunk of change, I would like more assurance than that....
Here is a short an easy formual, 1st you need some numbers from the truck. you need the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) i.e. Trucks max weight and the GCWR (gross combination weight rating) i.e. truck and trailers max weight. I can give you an estimated number that you will need, the trucks Curb or dry weight = Approx. 5700lbs for a 2009 F150 Lariat Supercrew
You need to determine your passenger weight (and weight of gear being carried in truck), 2 adults (estimate 350lbs), 2 kids (10-12 & 15-17) (estimate 250) plus truck curb weight minus GVWR = Remaining payload or max hitch/tonuge weight.
Example Truck curb 5700+Family 600=6300.
Subtract the truck and passenger/gear in truck weight from GVWR,
Example 7200 GVWR-6300=900lbs this is the max payload capacity you have, it is also the max tongue weight.
Knowing your max tounge weight allows you to make informed decisions. Travel trailers tongue weight should be 10% to 15% of the trailer total weight. So with 900lbs of tongue weight capcity you could look at trailer as as high as 9000lbs (900lbs / 10%= 9000lbs & 900lbs/15%=6000lbs), I would suggest just weights a trailer of about 7200lbs GVWR max for the trailer, as most travel trailers have a factory dry tongue weight of 12.5% of trailer dry weight. If you look at the trailers GVWR verse the dry weight you will always be better off. The dry weight does not include water, food, bedding clothes etc. Most travel trailers GVWR is at least 1000lbs over the Dry. This will also leave you with wiggle room. The last thing to check is your GCWR to max sure the truck and trailer together do not exceed the GCWR, you would take the truck & people/gear weight and add the trailer weight (when shopping again use the trailers GVWR)
Example our truck and family weight was 6300 and our trailer GVWR was 7200 for a 13500 GCWR.
If you are at or below the GCWR listed on the truck your good to go.
Reveiw:
Truck Curb weight + People/gear in truck - truck GVWR = Max tongue weight
Max tongue weight / 12.5% = trailer max GVWR
Truck curb weight + People/gear weight +Trailer GVWR = or < Truck GCWR
This should always give you plenty of wiggle room for kids getting older etc. Your biggest issue will always be exceeding the trucks GVWR
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Last edited by tomb1269; 01-31-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:10 PM   #8
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Wow. Lots of great info above. From a less technical perspective, I tow a 5000# travel trailer with my 2012 SC and 2009 before it. I have two kids, two dogs and lots of crap to haul to a fro. Probably am closer to 6000#, though I have not weighed it all as I am too scared to know how much we are carting along.
The truck hauls all this beautifully and I never feel uneasy about this weight. The Equalizer or similar anti sway and weight distribution hitch is a must though. I also did the 1k/10k as it was not alot more money than the lesser rated model and allows a margin of error plus growing room if you ever upgrade.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpiazza View Post
We are driving a 2009 Ford 1-150 Lariat that was upgraded with a tow package, brake controller, etc.
According to the 2009 Ford RV and trailer towing guide, your truck has a "tow rating" of between 5,700 and 11,100 pounds gross trailer weight. If you want a better estimate than that, then we need more info about your truck:
Cab (regular, SuperCab or Super Crew)
Wheelbase = 126, 132.5, 145, 157, or 163
drivetrain = 4x2 or 4x4
axle ratio = 3.31, 3.55, 3.73, regular or e-locker
engine = 4.6L 2V, 4.6L 3V, or 5.4L
GVWR = per the doorsticker that also tells you the VIN, month/year of assembly, tire size and PSI, front and rear GAWR, and several codes such as for paint and axle.

So just guessing at which F-150 you might have, a common rig used for towing 26-29 ft TTs would be a
SuperCrew
145" wheelbase (5.5' bed)
4x4
3.55 e-locker axle
5.4L engine
7,200 GVWR

That truck has a GCWR of 15,500 and a tow rating of 9,700 pounds. That means it could PULL a trailer that weighs up to 9,700 pounds. But if there's anything in the F-150 except a skinny driver, it cannot HAUL the hitch weight of anywhere near that much trailer.

That truck when wet and loaded ready for towing, with passengers and normal tools and cargo, will weigh about 6,600 pounds. That leaves only 600 pounds for hitch weight, or if 12.5% is a good estimate of wet and loaded hitch weight, then a max trailer weight of 4,800 pounds.

Quote:
We are looking at 26-29 ft trailers with a dry weight of 4-6000 lbs and I am trying to figure out how that will pull.
Dry weight is a useless number. What is the GVWR of the trailer you want? Almost everyone will have their TT loaded to the GVWR by the middle of their third RV trip, so use the GVWR of the trailer as the wet and loaded weight of the trailer when matching trailer to tow vehicle.

But if you have the exact truck described above, then any wet and loaded trailer weight more than about 4,800 pounds will cause you to be overloaded.

Quote:
I am hoping the people who respond have real-life experience - I have had way too many people give me hypothetical measurements and "if your tow capacity is ____ then you should be fine with ____"
It will be a rare bird that has towed a TT with your truck. I've towed all sorts of trailers with all sorts of tow vehicles for over 50 years, but never with a truck exactly like yours.

Here's my Current setup:
2012 F-150 Lariat SuperCrew 6.5' bed EcoBoost with 3.15 axle ratio and e-locker differential, GVWR 7,100 pounds, GCWR 14,000 pounds, tow rating 8,400 pounds. TT is 2012 Skyline Nomad 196S with GVWR of 5,600 pounds, wet and loaded weight of 4,870 pounds on a recent long trip. (4220 trailer axle weight plus 650 pounds tongue weight).

The CAT scale said the front truck axle weighed 3360 and the rear truck axle weighed 3,840 for a GVW of 7,200 pounds on the 4 truck tires. Gross combined weight (GCW) was 11,420

Oops! Overloaded by 100 pounds. And my trailer weighed only 4,870 pounds, nowhere near the 8,400 tow rating. And my GCW was nowhere near the GCWR of the F-150. What happened?

GVWR of the tow vehicle bit me in the butt. I was nowhere near the 14,000 GCWR, but over the GVW of the F-150. Common for F-150s that do not have the Heavy Duty Payload Package.

Quote:
since we are buying new and that is a big chunk of change, I would like more assurance than that....
I can tell you how how to properly size your trailer weight to match the capabilities of the truck. You need only two bits of info, [1] the GVWR of your truck and [2] the weight of your wet and loaded truck.

You need to know the actual weight of your wet and loaded truck without the trailer. So load the truck with driver, passengers, pet(s), tools, jacks, options such as toolbox and bedliner or bedrug (mine has both), the shank and ball mount of your weight-distributing hitch, and anything else that might be in the truck when towing. Drive to a truckstop that has a truck scale and fill up with gas. Then weigh the wet and loaded truck. (If you don't already have the WD hitch, then estimate 50# for the shank and ball mount and add that to your scale weight.)

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GVWR and that will be the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded.

TT hitch weight varies from about 12% to 15% or a bit more (mine is almost 16%). Some say as low as 10 percent, but I've yet to meet one of those rascals. So I use 15% when trying to match trailer to tow vehicle.

So divide your max hitch weight by 15% (0.15) and the answer will be the max GVWR of any tandem-axle TT you should consider. If your truck has a GVWR of 7200 pounds, you'll probably be disappointed at how light a TT you'll have to find.

If your truck has GVWR of 8,400 pounds, then the weight of the TT you can consider goes way up. You won't be overloaded like I am with a TT that weighs only 4,870 when wet and loaded for the road.
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