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Old 10-20-2014, 04:54 PM   #1
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Default Towing for Dummies....

I think I need a towing for dummies book or something... Is there somewhere that explains all of the GCWR and other acronyms?

I have a 2013 SCrew FX4 Ecoboost with 3.55 rear - I've looked at the sticker in the door jamb but don't remember exactly what the numbers are (or how to use them to know what I can and can't do).

I'm looking to buy a travel trailer, and I don't expect it to be too much for the truck to handle but I want to be sure - looking at what I'd think are midsized trailers (just started looking this weekend so don't even have model numbers to think about yet).

Also planning to replace the stock tires with something larger/more agressive when these wear out - probably something like a 285-65-20 or so.
Would that have any affect on towing ability?
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:18 PM   #2
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From my reading the two numbers that really seem to matter are the Payload number on your yellow sticker inside your door frame and the GVWR number on the trailer you are considering. My understanding is you can't exceed your Payload weight with everything in your truck and the tongue weight of the trailer which you can safely assume at 13% of GVWR. Get those two numbers and you should be able to make sense of it.
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:40 PM   #3
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^ Yep. When towing with an F150 the limiting figure will always be payload capacity. Ignore all else.
This is indicated on your door sticker as "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed..."

Upgrading tires will likely have no affect the payload capacity. My homework shows that you will be reaching the limits on your GAWR before your tire load rating.
GAWR are also indicated on your door sticker. Tire load limits are indicated by the load index: The last 2 or 3 digits (followed by a letter) on your tire spec, which can be easily googled to determine the maximum load.
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rctoyguy View Post
I think I need a towing for dummies book or something... Is there somewhere that explains all of the GCWR and other acronyms?

Probably, but I don't know how to find it. You cannot use the manufacturers' towing numbers because they assume unrealistic weights and conditions. So here's my primer:

GCWR = the maximum weight your combined truck and trailer can gross without overheating anything in the drivetrain, and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic on steep grads.

GVWR = the maximum weight on your truck tires without overloading the suspension and brakes and other components of your tow vehicle.

Tow rating = GCWR minus the shipping weight of a tow vehicle with no options and absolutely nothing in the tow vehicle but a skinny driver. The tow rating is usually overstated by 1,000 pounds or more when compared with a realistic towing capacity of a normally-loaded tow vehicle.

Payload capacity = GVWR minus the weight of the tow vehicle with no payload. Misleading because most folks cannot adequately guess the weight of their normal payload such as driver, passengers, tools, aftermarket options such as spray-in bedliner, etc.

On tow vehicles with single rear wheels (SRW), GCWR is rarely the limiter as to how heavy a trailer you can tow without exceeding any of the tow vehicle's weight limits. The GVWR is usually the limiter.

So ignore the numbers you see and compute your personal tow rating. You need the GVWR, GCWR, and actual wet and loaded weight of your tow vehicle, including the WD or fifth wheel hitch. Load the tow vehicle with everybody and everything that will be in it when towing: people, pets, tools, cooler?, head from your WD hitch or 5er hitch, other stuff? Drive to a truck stop that has a CAT scale and fill up with gas. Then weigh the wet and loaded tow vehicle.

GVWR minus the actual weight of the tow vehicle = the max hitch weight you can have without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle. Divide that hitch weight by 0.15 to get the TT tow rating of your tow vehicle. Divide that hitch weight by 0.20 to get the fifth wheel or gooseneck tow rating of your tow vehicle.

GCWR minus the weight of the wet and loaded tow vehicle will give you your actual max tow rating, provided your hitch is rated for at least that much trailer weight and hitch weight.

Quote:
I have a 2013 SCrew FX4 Ecoboost with 3.55 rear - I've looked at the sticker in the door jamb but don't remember exactly what the numbers are (or how to use them to know what I can and can't do).

Your GVWR is 7,200 pounds. Your wet and loaded F-150 with WD hitch installed probably weighs around 6,400 pounds. If it does, that leaves 800 pounds for max hitch weight. 800 divided by 0.15 = 5,333 pounds max TT trailer weight.

Quote:
I'm looking to buy a travel trailer, and I don't expect it to be too much for the truck to handle but I want to be sure - looking at what I'd think are midsized trailers (just started looking this weekend so don't even have model numbers to think about yet).

Then you need to find a TT with GVWR less than about 6,000 pounds GVWR, then be conscious about how much weight you haul in the trailer.

Quote:
Also planning to replace the stock tires with something larger/more agressive when these wear out - probably something like a 285-65-20 or so.
Would that have any affect on towing ability?
Yes, but your EcoBoost drivetrain will have no problem dragging a 5,500 pound TT when those tires are mounted. Your rear axle ratio wild change from an actual 3.55 to an effective 3.30. But my EcoBoost with 3.15 axle ratio does just fine with an 8,000-pound trailer. Overloaded over the GVWR, but no problem with power and torque for dragging the trailer.

Move up to the heavier TT you really want, and you may notice some decrease in driving pleasure. Towing ability won't be your problem, but hauling ability will be.
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Last edited by smokeywren; 10-21-2014 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmenke View Post
^ Yep. When towing with an F150 the limiting figure will always be payload capacity. Ignore all else.
This is indicated on your door sticker as "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed..."

Upgrading tires will likely have no affect the payload capacity. My homework shows that you will be reaching the limits on your GAWR before your tire load rating.
GAWR are also indicated on your door sticker. Tire load limits are indicated by the load index: The last 2 or 3 digits (followed by a letter) on your tire spec, which can be easily googled to determine the maximum load.
Stock tires are generally pretty light weight compared to larger, more aggressive LT tires. Heavier tires means a heavier truck leaving less available for payload.
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 11screw50 View Post
... Heavier tires means a heavier truck leaving less available for payload.
Good point. Never considered that.
I guess I should be content with my stock P rated tires with a load index of 114.
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Old 10-21-2014, 09:59 PM   #7
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An LT tire will feel a whole lot better under your truck with a heavy load.

The switch is not for carrying capacity but for handling. If you get a sway happening, you will quickly learn the difference between P and LT tires.
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:55 AM   #8
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So BALLPARK numbers.... For an Ecoboost F150 FX4 (like mine), I should be looking only at trailers with a total, loaded weight of just under 6,000 pounds to stay "within spec". Correct?

Just how much more trailer can the average F250 diesel handle?
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rctoyguy View Post
So BALLPARK numbers.... For an Ecoboost F150 FX4 (like mine), I should be looking only at trailers with a total, loaded weight of just under 6,000 pounds to stay "within spec". Correct?

Just how much more trailer can the average F250 diesel handle?
The F150 has a huge range of payload capacities.

My heavily optioned King Ranch has a sticker payload capacity of 1115 lbs (and only 1020 with my bed liner, bed extender, and tonneau cover) - it's a 1/2 ton truck.

Some F150s with Max Tow and Heavy Duty packages can have payload capacities up near 2000 lbs - they're 1 ton trucks.

My King Ranch is a 4x4 with off- road package. The extra drivetrain components for the 4x4, and the skid plates for off-road reduce the payload.

Bottom line - there's no ballpark figure for the F150 payload capacity and towing capability because they all have different options. Each owner will need to look at the stickers on the driver's side door to see the GVWR and payload capacity for THEIR truck.

Also, if you'll tow with only a lightweight driver and nothing else in the truck, you'll have a bunch of payload remaining for the tongue weight of a trailer. If it's a family of 4 and a dog in the cab and several hundred lbs of stuff in the bed, then the same truck will have a lot less weight left over for tongue weight.

So every truck and towing situation will be different.
.
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:40 PM   #10
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This is a pretty handy reference, gives all the basic definitions.

But nothing beats loading like you will be travelling and then getting all your own exact weights.

Had to split this into three parts to fit the size limits.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2011_Truck_Payload_Workbook1.pdf (116.9 KB, 2 views)
File Type: pdf 2011_Truck_Payload_Workbook2.pdf (103.0 KB, 1 views)
File Type: pdf 2011_Truck_Payload_Workbook3.pdf (100.0 KB, 2 views)
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