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Old 02-11-2014, 07:16 PM   #1
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Default Increasing cargo capacity used up by Airstream tongue weight

I tow a 28 Airstream with a 2011 Lariat F150 4x4 SCrew -3.73 rear end - 7200 GVWR package. This truck has a 1590 lb. cargo capacity. The Airstream tongue weight is 1030 pounds and the trailer weighs about 7000 pounds as I load it. I use an Equalizer brand WD hitch. I also have a Propride hitch I would like to install but it weighs 100 lbs more than the equalizer.

As it is now, the cargo capacity is eaten away quickly with the ~1000 pounds of tongue weight, two passengers, and some camping gear in the back of the truck. I am investigating ways to safely increase the cargo capacity of the truck to help with some additional hitch weight and also carry a bit more weight in the truck when towing.

The truck has a towing capacity of 9800 pounds and that is okay for my application. But the 1590 lb. cargo capacity is too tight.

I am looking into adding something like a Roadmaster Active Suspension on the rear springs to give it a touch more cargo capacity. I am wondering about a change like this affecting the handling characteristics and inducing a change in steering and handling response.

Insights or specific experience with a way to safely gain a little cargo capacity would be appreciated. By the way, I bought this truck before I knew I was getting into the Airstream business at this level.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:31 PM   #2
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I appreciate your taste in trailers. Did you try airforums, in their tow vehicle subsection?

I think you are going to run into some probs, not just with the springs, but with overloading the rear axle. Perhaps you could carry more in the trailer, aft of the CG? Better to tow the weight, and lighten the tongue weight, than try and carry it in the tow vehicle...

Last edited by ji603; 02-11-2014 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:53 PM   #3
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Thx JI
I agree with everything you say and yes, I am an active member of Airforum.


The consensus there will be buy a bigger truck and that may be what I do but I am trying to ferret out some F150 specific insights. There are lots of overloaded F150s pulling Airstreams by the way.


As you can imagine, I am not going to put a generator, gasoline, charcoal, grill, . . . . . inside my wife's pristine and clean Airstream!
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:06 PM   #4
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I have the same problem with my Airstream. 2013 25' Flying Cloud. As it is now I am about 400 lbs. over on the drive axle but have room to spare on the steering axle. I have spoken to two Ford dealer parts departments and they essentially said don't worry about it. We both have solid trucks and no real way to increase payload capacity. They both said that if I was 1000 lbs over then that might be a concern. This is the area that I screwed up when buying the truck did not even think about load capacity.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:43 PM   #5
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There are many things you can do, but none of them will increase your RATED payload. Your particular limitation is the axle ratings. You could swap the axles to the HD payload package (8200GVWR) axles, suspension, wheels and tires. That would increase your axle rating, but not your legal payload rating (unless you could get Ford to recertify your truck.

All that said, your real concern should be your hitch rating. The tongue weight rating for your truck is probably ~1000lbs. Even on my MaxTow HD payload it is only 1130 lbs. The tongue weight will be the actual tongue weight + the weight of the hitch, putting you at or close to 1150 lbs as you are rolling right now. Even if you do nothing else to the truck, I would seriously look at replacing the stock hitch with a class V hitch. I am not sure such a thing is even available, but a quick look through Reese, Curt and Hidden Hitch websites should yield something if they are.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieboy View Post
All that said, your real concern should be your hitch rating. The tongue weight rating for your truck is probably ~1000lbs. Even on my MaxTow HD payload it is only 1130 lbs.
Wow, I have to admit that I have never paid any attention to the tongue weight rating. Thankfully I am well under it, but I would have expected a higher rating.

To the original poster. I have Firestone Ride Right air bags and love them. You can air them up and down so that you don't even know that they are on when you are not loaded down. I only air them up a little since I am running a weight distribution hitch as well, but it still nice to have.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieboy View Post
There are many things you can do, but none of them will increase your RATED payload. Your particular limitation is the axle ratings. You could swap the axles to the HD payload package (8200GVWR) axles, suspension, wheels and tires. That would increase your axle rating, but not your legal payload rating (unless you could get Ford to recertify your truck.

All that said, your real concern should be your hitch rating. The tongue weight rating for your truck is probably ~1000lbs. Even on my MaxTow HD payload it is only 1130 lbs. The tongue weight will be the actual tongue weight + the weight of the hitch, putting you at or close to 1150 lbs as you are rolling right now. Even if you do nothing else to the truck, I would seriously look at replacing the stock hitch with a class V hitch. I am not sure such a thing is even available, but a quick look through Reese, Curt and Hidden Hitch websites should yield something if they are.
Willie - Thanks for the insightful reply. I am not too worried about "ratings" at this point, as you point out, they are what they are. Just looking for some practical approaches to add a few more pounds of cargo capability.

Secondly, you are correct on the hitch rating, it is 1000 lb of tongue weight using a WD hitch. I check the welds frequently and there is a sticker on it with that verbiage. By the way, Ford's class IV hitch is pretty flimsy when you crawl under there and take a look. I did search briefly for a class V hitch that would fit the truck but no such animal exists that I could find. You might be able to buy some pieces and parts from Curt and fabricate one. Another alternative is to reinforce the one that is on there.

While we're discussing other issues, to further complicate all this the P275/55R20 tires on the truck aren't top shelf either from a capacity standpoint and I should likely change them out too.

But meanwhile back to wondering if a Roadmaster Acitve Suspension actually works in terms of creating additional cargo capability? And if you do put it on, have you laid a trap for yourself relative to steering behavior issues? I may try to give them a call and see if they really have someone with some vehicle dynamics know how.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:31 PM   #8
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I installed an airlift system on my 1995 Dodge as it sagged when loaded. It made the truck handle better. But it was a 95.
FWIW the high GVW trucks (GVW package) like mine have a 4800lb axle. So you should be ableto swap one in. Beware that while the brakes are the same size, the wheels are seven lug.

As far as ratings go, My truck is rated to tow 9,300lb while the same truck with the Ecoboost (with 5 more HP) is rated at 11,200. Go figure.

http://www.ford.com/resources/ford/g..._F150nov18.pdf
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:24 AM   #9
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The roadmaster system, while good, does not increase capacity. It is really there to keep the "soft" suspension from binding (or "wrapping" when under load). You could add overload springs, Hellwig and SuperSprings make some for our trucks. That still does not address the axle issue. I am not sure where the weak point in the axle is, but a blown bearing, a broken axle shaft, or a stripped ring gear are going to make for a bad day... I would address the axle and the suspension.

As for the hitch, the hitch on my truck is very different from the one on my brother-in-laws truck. I don't know if the hitch difference is 2012 - 2013 changes, MaxTow changes, or HD paylaod changes, but mine is certainly more "beefy", and even has a slight difference in design.

You might see if you can find a MaxTow hitch, axle and suspension in a salvage yard. I know within 2 weeks after the EcoBoost trucks were out, there was one in the salvage yard ready for purchase...
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:41 AM   #10
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Curt makes a Class IV receiver for the F-150 rated at 1,200 pounds max hitch weight when used with a weight-distributing hitch:

http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitc...eid=2013308409

That doesn't do anything to increase your GVWR or rGAWR, but at least you won't have to worry about overloading the receiver.

Using specs for the 2009 model F-150 with 5.4L engine, most pickups had rear axles rated 4,000 pounds @ground with 3,800 rGARW. With the HD Payload pkg (7-lug wheels) the rear axle weight capacity and rGAWR both went up to 4,800 pounds. So the easiest way to increase rear axle capacity would be to replace the entire third member with wheels and tires from an F-150 with 7-lug wheels in the bone yard. I would probably also get the wheels and tires for the front axle and spare tire so you would need only one spare for all of the wheels on the ground.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:41 AM
 
 
 
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