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Old 05-11-2009, 04:30 PM   #1
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Buying a tow vehicle

We need to replace our totaled 2000 Ford f250 with a used vehicle. I looked on craigslist and cars.com and the pickin's are slim. Does anyone know of sites that deal specifically with the sale of tow vehicles?

What about articles or sites that talk about options or equiptment for tow vehicles? You know .... like what is a 4.30 ratio limited slip axle ... and do I really need one? I know I can ask questions here, but I'd like to get a little background info so my question don't all sound really stupid : )

Thanks,
Carol
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:34 AM   #2
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For options like axles and such, use the Trailer Life Tow Ratings as your guide. Buy the configuration that gives a tow rating well above the actual weight of the trailer you tow and you will be a happy camper.

On RV Trader (rvt.com) you can specify a search for trucks as the category and get lots of tow vehicles, anywhere from a pick-up to a medium duty hauler.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RV Roamer [Gary] View Post
Buy the configuration that gives a tow rating well above the actual weight of the trailer you tow and you will be a happy camper.
This cannot be overstated. Manufacturer's published "trailer tow ratings" are marketing fluff since they are calculated by subtracting the truck's curb weight from the truck's gross combination weight rating (GCWR). Unfortunately, to maximize this number, the manufacturers use the curb weight of a base truck (no options or accessories) with only a 150 lb driver. The accurate method to calculate how much weight the truck can pull within its GCWR is to use the laden curb weight of the truck as it will head out on the road - i.e., with driver, passengers, cargo, options, accessories, hitch, full fuel tank(s), etc. This is typically many, many hundreds of pounds greater than the manufacturer's published curb weight.

Just as important, if not more so if one is considering a 5th wheel, is how much the truck can carry since a 16,000 lb GVWR 5th wheel at capacity will put ~20% of its weight (~3,200 lbs, in this case) on the truck as pin weight. The maximum allowable pin weight that a truck can carry within its ratings is computed by subtracting the laden curb weight discussed above from the truck's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This critical component is ignored in the manufacturer's "trailer tow ratings" until one gets to the passage in the small print that says "None of the truck's ratings should be exceeded." This "gotcha" includes the GCWR, GVWR and front and rear GAWRs.

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Old 05-13-2009, 11:45 AM   #4
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What rusty said...

GCWR - Laden truck = Max loaded trailer weight (do not even look at dry weight)

GVWR - Laden truck = Max loaded trailer pin weight.

The trailer dry weigh is another number from never-never land. The manufacturers do not include any item listed as an option or accessory. On many trailers, this list of options will include:
Air Conditioner
Microwave
Awning
Batteries and so on.

It certainly does not include your supplies, propane and water.

A trailer can easily run 10003 over the "dry weight"

As for a truck weight, my 2002 F350 DRW, crew cab with hitch, tool box (way too much junk in there), full fuel and pilot and co pilot...we are a bit over 8000#. It has a GVWR of 11,500#, so that leaves me just shy of a 3500# max pin weight.

A two wheel drive F250 diesel will scale about 7400# depending on the accessories and 4 wheel drive will drop that. The 1999 to 2002 F250 Super Duty have a GVWR of only 8800# so that is your limiting factor. Some time after 2002 this was increased a bit, but them you have the dreaded 6.0L Power Stroke. I would avoid any 6.L. They got better in the later years but were never the engine that the 7.L is.

For help on the PSD drop over to http://www.thediesestop.com. Some real gear-heads over there.

As for axle codes, on Fords, the driver door sticker list a 2 digit code which can be checked by a dealer. Someone can probably post the axle codes for Ford.

I know it is hard to find a good used diesel truck. But keep looking, one will turn up.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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Ford axle codes are:

Axle Codes

The following lists the gear ratios on rear axles.

31 3.73 non-limited slip, F-250/Excursion

C1 3.73 limited slip, F-250/Excursion

32 4.10 non-limited slip, F-250

C2 4.10 limited slip, F-250/Excursion

33 4.30 non-limited slip, F-250

C3 4.30 limited slip, F-250/Excursion

36 4.56 non-limited slip, F-250

C6 4.56 limited slip, F-250

41 3.73 non-limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

D1 3.73 limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

42 4.10 non-limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

D2 4.10 limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

43 4.30 non-limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

D3 4.30 limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

46 4.56 non-limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

D6 4.56 limited slip, F-350 (single rear wheels)

61 3.73 non-limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

F1 3.73 limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

62 4.10 non-limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

F2 4.10 limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

63 4.30 non-limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

F3 4.30 limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

66 4.56 non-limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

F6 4.56 limited slip, F-350 (dual rear wheels)

81 3.73 non-limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

E1 3.73 limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

82 4.10 non-limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

E2 4.10 limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

83 4.30 non-limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

E3 4.30 limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

86 4.56 non-limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

E6 4.56 limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

88 4.88 non-limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

EW 4.88 limited slip, F-350 chassis cab, narrow frame (dual rear wheels)

78 4.88 non-limited slip, F-450 chassis cab

G8 4.88 limited slip, F-450 chassis cab

75 5.38 non-limited slip, F-450 chassis cab

G5 5.38 limited slip, F-450 chassis cab

GW 4.10 limited slip, F-450 chassis cab

98 4.88 non-limited slip, F-550 chassis cab

K8 4.88 limited slip, F-550 chassis cab

95 5.38 non-limited slip, F-550 chassis cab

K5 5.38 limited slip, F-550 chassis cab

KW 4.10 limited slip, F-550 chassis cab


Got this from a Ford enthusiast web site.
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:33 PM   #6
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Thank. It's going to take me some time understand this stuff. Sounds like a foreign language ....
I guess I'll be doing a lot of math.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:18 PM   #7
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It's actually pretty simple, Carol. After you do it once, it will be easy after that. Do you already have the trailer you will tow? If so, here's a shortcut for estimating purposes. Find its GVWR (Gross Weight Rating) of the trailer and add 10% to that. The extra 10% is a rough estimate to allow for the extra things the truck has (including one passenger) that aren't in the manufacturer tow rating. Then look in the Trailer Life Tow Guide for trucks with a rated capacity equal to that number. If the truck comes up ok using that estimate and you like it, then you can do the full arithmetic is to be sure. If the +10% estimate is well below the rated capacity, you can probably even skip that.

You might want to print a copy of the Trailer Life Tow Vehicle Ratings for a year you think is close to what you might buy. Maybe 2006 if shopping used and 2009 if shopping new. Most of the time that same rating will apply for a couple years either way. Take the list with you when shopping so you can get an immediate idea if the truck you see if going to be adequate for your needs or not. You can double check later if it is a different year, but you are probably ok. At least enough to put a [refundable] deposit on it if you think it is the one for you.
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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We have the trailer already - an Arctic Fox 27-5L. The GVWR of the trailer is 10400.

What I was getting so far was 10400+2080 (estimated pin weight - 20% of trailer GVWR) + another 500 lbs misc, = 12,980.

Taking the GVWR + 10% gives me 11,440. That's 1540 less than my "shortcut" calculations. So when you say "If the +10% estimate is well below the rated capacity" would you say 1500 lbs is well below? Do you think I'm reasonable at 12,980, or am I falling short?

According to the trailer life charts, our old vehicle (F-250, V10, 4.30 axle) had a tow limit of 14,100 and it had plenty of power. But, if I fall into the 13,000-13,500 range, I have a couple more vehicle options. And options are a good thing in the used vehicle market.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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Clay, the GVWR of the trailer includes the pin weight. GVWR is the maximum the trailer can weigh with a full load.

So estimating your trailer pin weight (0.20 x 10400 =2080) for the loaded trailer. This would give you an axle weight for the trailer of about 10400 - 2080 = 8320#.

The dry trailer weight will be something less than 10400# and you add the options, water, propane and your gear to the trailer.


You are well below your tow limits for the old truck. But where an F250 gets into trouble is the trucks GVWR with a 5th whee trailer. The truck with the V-10 was probably pretty close to 7000 to 7200# loaded. It had a GVWR or 8800#, so that leaves you 2600 to 2800# as cargo capacity which includes the trailer pin weight.

For the truck:

GCWR - loaded truck = max loaded trailer weight.

GVWR - loaded truck = max loaded trailer pin weight.

These are the two numbers you need to look at.
Ken
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:17 PM   #10
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This is giving me a headache : )
I have all the numbers from my tailer brochure, but where do I find the numbers for the truck?
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:22 PM   #11
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The truck's GVWR and front and rear axle GAWRs should be on a sticker in the driver's door jamb - the same sticker that gives the tire inflation pressures. On a Dodge, the GCWR is found on the Mulroney (new car window) sticker as well as in the owner's manual for the various powertrain and axle ratio combinations - perhaps one of the Ford owners can chip in on where Ford provides this information.

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Old 05-15-2009, 07:39 PM   #12
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GCWR and tow rating are both shown in the Trailer Life Tow Vehicle Guide for each and every truck configuration. That's one of the reasons I suggested printing one out and carrying it with you to the dealerships when shopping.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:16 AM   #13
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Is this the publication you're talking about?
http://www.trailerlife.com/output.cfm?id=42175
I only see a tow rating, not a GCWR.
So does the tow rating number in this publication refer to the trailer GVWR?
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:24 AM   #14
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I was unable to connect to the linked site, but I'm not hearing any reference to the tow vehicle's GVWR. Is this addressed in the towing guide? If not, the GCWR or tow rating by itself is not sufficient to ensure the proper selection of a tow vehicle for a 5th wheel RV. In many cases, the tow rating for a given powertrain in a SRW 250/2500 (3/4 ton) SRW truck may be higher than the tow rating of the same powertrain in a heavier DRW 350/3500 (1 ton) truck. The difference is that the substantially higher GVWR of the 1 ton dually can handle a much higher pin weight than the 3/4 ton (or even 1 ton) SRW truck.

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