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Valuable Lesson Learned with Weight Ratings

 
Old 01-07-2019, 03:26 PM
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Default Valuable Lesson Learned with Weight Ratings

First time post for me. And first I want to thank this forum for being so awesome! I learned a TON about weight ratings and towing capacity after reading through dozens of threads and posts. Thank you! Maybe this post will help someone in the future save a little time and maybe even $$$ with my story.

A couple of years ago as "phase 1" of the Get a Family Camper project I bought a new 2017 F150 SCREW, 2WD, 5.0L, 3.55 gears, 20" wheels, with tow package. I didn't know anything about towing/payload/weight ratings at the time. I just focused on the "max tow rating" of 10,100 pounds and thought I'd be good to go. Ugh.

Fast forward to this last weekend after a year and a half saving for a camper. We went to an RV show and bought a Travel Trailer! It's just what we wanted with plenty of room for us and the 3 kids. Then came the sad part. Yesterday after many hours of number crunching I came to the awful realization my beloved F150 will not (safely) pull the TT we got. I had been focused on the wrong numbers, not payload.

The Payload on my F150 is 1683. GVWR is 6800. I weighed it yesterday on a Cat scale with a full tank of gas at 5120 (without me in it). So the dry weight is almost exactly the GVWR minus the Payload, which is what I would expect. So one lesson I learned is the payload value does not include the driver (I saw in another thread where someone thought it included a 150lb driver, but that is not the case, plus who in the world weighs 150lb?! but I digress).

So after getting the calculator to add up 620 lbs for the family (me, wife, 3 kids), 125 for a WDH, 150 for "stuff" (suitcases, firewood, tonneau cover, whatever), I ended up with 6800 - 5120 - 620 - 125 - 150 = 785 lbs left for tongue weight. Sadly, the tongue weight on the TT is 904 lbs. And that is only 11% of the trailer dry weight vs the 13% I often see referenced in this forum. So although I'd be well within the GCWR of 15,200 lbs, I would exceed my truck's GVWR by more than 100 pounds. Then adding anything at all to the camper just makes it worse.

I also learned a WDH only redistributes the weight forward, i.e. between the front and rear truck axles. I had hoped I could push some of that 904 tongue weight back on the trailer axles to stay under the truck's GVWR (the trailer's GVWR has room to spare), but I learned that would also cause stability problems which is about the last thing I want. Danger was just written all over my plans!

I know there are tons of folks out there who exceed their towing vehicle's GVWR, but I'm not going to be one of them thanks to a bunch of research and helpful insights from this forum. So, I am sad to say I have to say goodbye to my beloved KR and trade in for a F250. But I am happy to say I won't be white-knuckling it down the highway pulling our camper! Family safety comes first and peace of mind is worth it.

I hope this helps someone, and thank you again to the forum for being so helpful to me!!

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Old 01-07-2019, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KRBA2017 View Post
First time post for me. And first I want to thank this forum for being so awesome! I learned a TON about weight ratings and towing capacity after reading through dozens of threads and posts. Thank you! Maybe this post will help someone in the future save a little time and maybe even $$$ with my story.

A couple of years ago as "phase 1" of the Get a Family Camper project I bought a new 2017 F150 SCREW, 2WD, 5.0L, 3.55 gears, 20" wheels, with tow package. I didn't know anything about towing/payload/weight ratings at the time. I just focused on the "max tow rating" of 10,100 pounds and thought I'd be good to go. Ugh.

Fast forward to this last weekend after a year and a half saving for a camper. We went to an RV show and bought a Travel Trailer! It's just what we wanted with plenty of room for us and the 3 kids. Then came the sad part. Yesterday after many hours of number crunching I came to the awful realization my beloved F150 will not (safely) pull the TT we got. I had been focused on the wrong numbers, not payload.

The Payload on my F150 is 1683. GVWR is 6800. I weighed it yesterday on a Cat scale with a full tank of gas at 5120 (without me in it). So the dry weight is almost exactly the GVWR minus the Payload, which is what I would expect. So one lesson I learned is the payload value does not include the driver (I saw in another thread where someone thought it included a 150lb driver, but that is not the case, plus who in the world weighs 150lb?! but I digress).

So after getting the calculator to add up 620 lbs for the family (me, wife, 3 kids), 125 for a WDH, 150 for "stuff" (suitcases, firewood, tonneau cover, whatever), I ended up with 6800 - 5120 - 620 - 125 - 150 = 785 lbs left for tongue weight. Sadly, the tongue weight on the TT is 904 lbs. And that is only 11% of the trailer dry weight vs the 13% I often see referenced in this forum. So although I'd be well within the GCWR of 15,200 lbs, I would exceed my truck's GVWR by more than 100 pounds. Then adding anything at all to the camper just makes it worse.

I also learned a WDH only redistributes the weight forward, i.e. between the front and rear truck axles. I had hoped I could push some of that 904 tongue weight back on the trailer axles to stay under the truck's GVWR (the trailer's GVWR has room to spare), but I learned that would also cause stability problems which is about the last thing I want. Danger was just written all over my plans!

I know there are tons of folks out there who exceed their towing vehicle's GVWR, but I'm not going to be one of them thanks to a bunch of research and helpful insights from this forum. So, I am sad to say I have to say goodbye to my beloved KR and trade in for a F250. But I am happy to say I won't be white-knuckling it down the highway pulling our camper! Family safety comes first and peace of mind is worth it.

I hope this helps someone, and thank you again to the forum for being so helpful to me!!

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2017 F-150 KR 4x2 SuperCrew, 5.0L V8, 3.55 e-locker axle, tow pkg, 5.5' bed --> soon to be "upgrading" to a F-250!
It's good that you learned and heeded the "rules of the road"

If you choose to go diesel powered, you might look into a SRW F350 instead. It's not much more expensive and no larger than the F250, but maintains a higher tow and payload rating. I looked at several new 4wd F250 Lariat diesels and they all had payloads of around 2400#, which is relatively low for a "3/4 ton" truck, a gas burner or 2wd would be a little better.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:43 PM
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sixshooter - that's a good point about diesel and I'm glad you brought it up. I've had a couple of buddies tell me I should avoid diesel. They say it's more expensive, and one guy even told me there's a known problem with fuel pumps on the 6.7 diesel seizing and sending metal into the fuel systems? Dunno if that's legit or not. I just recently got comfortable with all the weight ratings and payload numbers. Now I guess I need to dig in to diesel vs gas. I'm sure there are lots of threads in this forum on that topic as well. Thanks for bringing it up!
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KRBA2017 View Post
sixshooter - that's a good point about diesel and I'm glad you brought it up. I've had a couple of buddies tell me I should avoid diesel. They say it's more expensive, and one guy even told me there's a known problem with fuel pumps on the 6.7 diesel seizing and sending metal into the fuel systems? Dunno if that's legit or not. I just recently got comfortable with all the weight ratings and payload numbers. Now I guess I need to dig in to diesel vs gas. I'm sure there are lots of threads in this forum on that topic as well. Thanks for bringing it up!
Depending on who you ask, there are "problems" with every diesel, whether it be PS, Dmax or the big C. Diesel carries inherent responsibilities when it comes to maintenance, you have to be on top of it, 120%. If you keep things stock, the 6.7PS, 6.6 L5P and 6.7 ISB are all good engines, if you take care of them properly and take the time to get to know them. And if you do want the PowerStroke, you need an F-350; F-250 diesels have horrible payload. F-350 diesel will also get you the M275 as standard as a nice bonus.

That said, the 6.2 Boss is an absolutely bulletproof engine by comparison, if you leave it stock. F-250 gassers have good payload, but you may or may not want the 6R100. Personally, I'd do an F-350 with 4.30 gears to get the tried-and-true 6R140 and keep most of the "pep" with the short rear end. The 6.2 will handle your current trailer comfortably. In the event that you do want the PS, you will have to think hard about whether it'll be worth it to spend $9900 up front and progressively more on diesel maintenance down the line.

One thing is true though, that 6.2 will have you seeing some....rather groundbreaking MPG numbers on the DIC, lol. 11MPG seems to be the norm in the city, up to 17MPG on the highway.

Last edited by nubbins_; 01-07-2019 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:14 PM
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X2 on a 6.2 F350 with 4.30 gears. Payload with be 4k or so.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:52 PM
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x3 on the 6.2l; I love mine (in my F150). Pulls my 19' TT (3700lb dry) just fine up and over mountain passes without issue.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by SixShooter14 View Post
If you choose to go diesel powered, you might look into a SRW F350 instead... I looked at several new 4wd F250 Lariat diesels and they all had payloads of around 2400#, which is relatively low for a "3/4 ton" truck, a gas burner or 2wd would be a little better.
I was just on the lot today considering trading up to a 250. Been looking at 6.2s for payload. I got bored and found two unlocked Lariats, one diesel and one gas. 2234lb payload on the diesel (only 400lb more than my 150) and 3278lb on the gasser. I didnt spec them to see if they're identical, but I feel comfortable stating the diesel eats about 1k of payload.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TellyDSP View Post
I was just on the lot today considering trading up to a 250. Been looking at 6.2s for payload. I got bored and found two unlocked Lariats, one diesel and one gas. 2234lb payload on the diesel (only 400lb more than my 150) and 3278lb on the gasser. I didnt spec them to see if they're identical, but I feel comfortable stating the diesel eats about 1k of payload.
Yep, I was torn between a F250 or Raptor. But my F150 has 2112# capacity and gets 23+ mpg at 60mph. Can't hardly beat that.
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:25 PM
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While everyone focused on the truck, they overlooked the WDH portion.

Yes the WDH does transfer weight back to the trailer. When properly configured, it will take weight off the rear truck axle and move it fore and aft.

Example on mine,

WDH bars removed

Steer Axle 3000
Drive Axle 4060
trailer 5400
Gross 12460

WDH bars attached

Steer axle 3160
Drive axle 3800
Trailer 5480
Gross 12440

The above is with a Husky round bar cheapo hitch.

The Blue Ox scaled at;

Steer axle 3240
Drive axle 3420
trailer 5640
gross 12300

The trucks empty weight with me and a full tank

Steer axle 3240
Drive axle 2760
gross 6000

So you can see that without the WDH there is 1300 pounds dead weight on the receiver. With it hooked up, it moved 640 pounds off the rear axle, pushing 240 pounds to the front axle, which returned 100% of the weight to it, and 400 pounds back to the trailer axles. Truck/trailer combo drives very nice and stable.
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Old 01-09-2019, 09:12 PM
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I should also point out one glaring issue that I see many people make when assuming tongue weight. Dry weight. Never, Never Ever use dry weight for assuming tongue weight. You will never see that number on the ball.

Always use the trailers GVWR to figure tongue weight.

Why? I see this asked all the time, WHY?

Simple, GVWR is the max you will ever see the trailer at if the owner is smart, and the majority of slider type trailers are usually within 1000 pounds of this weight with full tanks before anything is loaded! So based on 13% of the trailers GVWR, this is what you should be looking at when shopping for a trailer.

Also keep in mind to look at the receiver under the truck for the WDH max tongue weight. If it is 1250 pounds, subtract 100 pounds from that, and don't exceed 1150 pounds figuring at 13% of GVWR.

Example a 2019 Jayco Jay Flight, a popular brand, the model 28BH which if traveling with kids is a good design, two rear bunks, front queen, slideout dinette and couch. GVWR 8750. Cargo capacity 2100 dry. With full FWT of 608 pounds, the cargo is now 1492. While a full 76 gallon tank is a lot, most people would go with a half tank, unless long term boondocking. Even so, it needs to be figured in. It is very easy to put 1492 pounds of stuff in the trailer, and keep in mind, this is with empty gray and black tanks, and those must be figured in.

So lets do the math.

8750 - 2100 = 6650.

This is the assumed dry weight. The assumed TW is 788, which is roughly 11.8%. Add in the hitch, and this trailer at the assumed "dry weight" is now 888 pounds, and it isn't even road ready? And since this trailer is 33' long, you do not want anything less than 13% on the ball, or you are just asking for handling issues.

So lets assume 1/2 FWT and 1100 pounds of clothing, gear, bedding, pots, pans, dishes, grill, griddle, games, etc.

2100 - 304 - 1100 = 696 free cargo weight
8750 - 696 = 8054 loaded gross
8054 * 13% = 1,047 + 100 = 1147.

So there you have it, 1147 pounds on the receiver with an average load and half water tank.

Heck even my Plat can tow that as long as it is just me in the truck. Would I? that depends on how well I could distribute the weight to counter the length. 33' is just a hair outside my comfort zone for the Screw SB. I would with a long bed though.
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