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Old 05-08-2015, 01:59 PM   #1
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Confused, Re: Towing Limits

I seem to be getting conflicting information regarding towing capability for 5th wheel trailers. Every weekend, I see F-250's pulling 40' toyhaulers?

If I do not exceed the GVWR of the truck, and I do not exceed the GVWR of the trailer, and the GVWR of the trailer does not exceed the towing capability of the truck, am I safe and legal? is it this simple?

I have a 2014 F-250 Superduty Crew Cab, 4x4 ,Diesel, Platinum, per Ford, ny 5th wheel capability is 15,900 lbs, and my maximum payload for a slide in camper is 1797 lbs.

I am considering a 5th wheel trailer with a GVWR of 15,500 lbs, and a hitch weight of 2240 lbs.

If this will work, is it recommended to install airbags, or other rear suspension modifications?
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:11 PM   #2
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You need to figure your 5ver pin weight to at least 20% of the GVWR of the 5ver. Some will say 25%. Your 2240 lb hitch weight is probably as shipped empty. And that is already more than the 1797lb Ford is saying for the slide in camper. So the truck will pull it. But you are exceeding the truck's load specifications.
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Snowbrdboy View Post
I seem to be getting conflicting information regarding towing capability for 5th wheel trailers. Every weekend, I see F-250's pulling 40' toy haulers? I see the same thing and shudder every time.

If I do not exceed the GVWR of the truck, and I do not exceed the GVWR of the trailer, and the GVWR of the trailer does not exceed the towing capability of the truck, am I safe and legal? is it this simple?

I have a 2014 F-250 Superduty Crew Cab, 4x4 ,Diesel, Platinum, per Ford, ny 5th wheel capability is 15,900 lbs, and my maximum payload for a slide in camper is 1797 lbs.

I am considering a 5th wheel trailer with a GVWR of 15,500 lbs, and a hitch weight of 2240 lbs.

If this will work, is it recommended to install airbags, or other rear suspension modifications?
I am pretty sure you will be way over on your rear axle rating.
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:32 PM   #4
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If you say you have a payload of 1800lbs, and trailer's pin weight is 2400lbs, then you would be 600lbs over just like every other one you see out there.
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:39 PM   #5
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20% of nearly 16000 pounds is way closer 3200 pounds. There is no 2500 series that can handle that much and remain under GVWR. Can you do it by doing a lot of mods? Yea, but at the end of the day you will not be a happy camper. BT,DT. Pulled my 13,500 fiver with a 2500 series truck. Was always 1800 pounds over the trucks GVWR. It was always uncomfortable. Swapped to a dually pulling the same trailer. The difference is night and day.
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Snowbrdboy View Post
I seem to be getting conflicting information regarding towing capability for 5th wheel trailers. Every weekend, I see F-250's pulling 40' toyhaulers?

If I do not exceed the GVWR of the truck, and I do not exceed the GVWR of the trailer, and the GVWR of the trailer does not exceed the towing capability of the truck, am I safe and legal? is it this simple?

I have a 2014 F-250 Superduty Crew Cab, 4x4 ,Diesel, Platinum, per Ford, ny 5th wheel capability is 15,900 lbs, and my maximum payload for a slide in camper is 1797 lbs.

I am considering a 5th wheel trailer with a GVWR of 15,500 lbs, and a hitch weight of 2240 lbs.

If this will work, is it recommended to install airbags, or other rear suspension modifications?
Load your truck as if you are going camping with the trailer. Load up the DW, kids, full fuel, and whatever else you think you would carry in the truck. Take it to a scale and get the weight on the front axle and back axle. You will at the same time get the total weight of the truck.

Add about 150 lbs for the 5 wheel hitch to the back axle weight (rear axle weight) and the total weight of the truck (loaded weight).

1) Subtract the loaded weight (includes the 150 lb) from the GVWR to find out how much weight you can add to the truck.

2) Subtract the rear axle weight (includes the 150 lb) from the rear GAWR to see how much pin weight you can add to the truck.

One of the things Ford will also say in the documents is the ability to tow a 5er is also dependent that you do not exceed the rear GAWR or the GVWR.

A good rule of thumb is to take 20% of the GVWR of the trailer to estimate the pin weight. This is only an estimate. The amount of stuff you carry and the way you load it may vary the weight to as much as 25% (or more) of the GVWR. You should check the actual trailer!!!

Our 5er runs at 15% but that is with two touring bikes in the trailer. That is fully loaded with the trailer just under the GVWR. To stay under the GVWR we cannot carry water in the tanks.

So GVWR of 15,500. 20% = 3100lbs. If you are cautious use the GVWR x .25 = 3875

If the number you got in number 1 is less than 3100 you will be overloaded.

If the number you got in number 2 is less than 3100 you will be overloaded.

Truck manufacturers have a bunch of weasel clauses when they give you capacities. They will give the capacity for a bare bones truck with a skinny operator. That is reasonable as perhaps maybe possibly someone will actually buy a truck with roll up windows, bench seat, etc.

Most folks do not. We get the extended or crew cabs, extra options that all reduce the GCWR, GAWR and GVWR of the vehicle. The manufacturer will also declare in their documents that the GVWR, GAWR and GCWR are not to be exceeded as well.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:46 PM   #7
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Believe what these gentlemen are saying, I've traded trucks three times to get my dw convinced that we need a dually. Nobody believes the difference until they scare themselves to death, be it mountains roads or interstate truck traffic and high winds. Yes your present truck will pull it fine, but for how long before you loose a tranny or diff? Then add in the safety factor, brakes, heavy duty springs, duals, gear ratio, etc, you will only be a believer after you get your dually as I was. Amazing difference!!!!
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
I seem to be getting conflicting information regarding towing capability for 5th wheel trailers. Every weekend, I see F-250's pulling 40' toyhaulers?

If I do not exceed the GVWR of the truck, and I do not exceed the GVWR of the trailer, and the GVWR of the trailer does not exceed the towing capability of the truck, am I safe and legal?
Safe ??
Too many variables to say you will be safe...or unsafe.

You bring up the term "legal".
In case of a truck pulling a trailer legally speaking the trucks GVWR isn't used for how much load a truck can carry. Nor is the trucks GCWR used as a legal weight as its not placarded on the truck....anywhere.
Carrying weight is the job of the trucks axle/tire load ratings. Also your state may have some type of weight for registration purposes. My state doesn't...we simply carry weight up to the truck axle/tire ratings.
Example is your F250 has a 6100 RAWR. The unladin rear axle weight may be close to 2900-3000 lbs which leaves around 3000 lbs for a payload. This is why anyone with a truck should weigh the front and rear axles separately.

Being over a wheel or tires load rating is down right unsafe and illegal.
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:10 AM   #9
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You have the worst truck out there for towing a 5th wheel.
A Platinum F250. Reason is the payload is sucked up by the diesel and the Platinum trim. Happens all the time.
As far as the legal issues go, That's debatable. Also using the 5er GVWR isn't the way to figure you pin. You need to look at the UVW weight on the units sticker as per shipped from the factory. Figure how much gear you'll be taking and times that by 20%. Using the 5ers GVWR doesn't work because some trailers have low or high CCC. Example a 10,000 dry weight trailer could have a 15,500 GVWR. Are you really going to load 5,500lbs of stuff in it? Unless you're full timing you won't. Toy haulers are exempt from that scenario.
That 10,000 trailer filled with 1500lbs of gear is now 11,500lbs. 20% pin is 2300lbs.
That 15,500 trailer will have a pin of 3100lbs. Big difference in the real world. I've looked at lots of 5ers and I know what my weight limits are for my truck. I have no problem looking at any 5er with a real high GVWR. The more the better. But in the end it's the dry weight that matters, since I know I load 1500lbs of gear in it. I always get a kick out these guys that say the tow a ????? lb GVWR trailer. So what. What are you really towing. Hey I can say I tow a 11,500 GVWR 5er, I do, but really I'm towing a 9000lb 5er. Big difference.


When you drive across the scales does that 15,500 GVWR trailer weigh that much? No unless it's maxed out.


Start at the bottom and work up.
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Old 05-09-2015, 12:15 PM   #10
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You have the worst truck out there for towing a 5th wheel.
A Platinum F250. Reason is the payload is sucked up by the diesel and the Platinum trim. Happens all the time.
As far as the legal issues go, That's debatable. Also using the 5er GVWR isn't the way to figure you pin. You need to look at the UVW weight on the units sticker as per shipped from the factory. Figure how much gear you'll be taking and times that by 20%. Using the 5ers GVWR doesn't work because some trailers have low or high CCC. Example a 10,000 dry weight trailer could have a 15,500 GVWR. Are you really going to load 5,500lbs of stuff in it? Unless you're full timing you won't. Toy haulers are exempt from that scenario.
That 10,000 trailer filled with 1500lbs of gear is now 11,500lbs. 20% pin is 2300lbs.
That 15,500 trailer will have a pin of 3100lbs. Big difference in the real world. I've looked at lots of 5ers and I know what my weight limits are for my truck. I have no problem looking at any 5er with a real high GVWR. The more the better. But in the end it's the dry weight that matters, since I know I load 1500lbs of gear in it. I always get a kick out these guys that say the tow a ????? lb GVWR trailer. So what. What are you really towing. Hey I can say I tow a 11,500 GVWR 5er, I do, but really I'm towing a 9000lb 5er. Big difference.


When you drive across the scales does that 15,500 GVWR trailer weigh that much? No unless it's maxed out.


Start at the bottom and work up.
Using the 20% of the GVWR is simply a way to estimate the approximate pin weight of a trailer you do not have access to.

There are not likely many 5ers out there that have a 10,000 dry and 15500 GVW what are not toyhaulers. That is why the difference is to great. Not many folks who get that much capacity will add 1500 lbs and leave the other 4000.

Using 1500 lbs as an added weight to the published dry weight has many pitfalls. It does not account for any options such as generator, A/C if it is an option, optional slides, etc.

Does your 1500 lbs include water or propane? Overall 1500 seems to be on the light side to me, but I have a toyhauler.

Your DW seems to be a much lighter packer than Janet. Our published dry weight is 11,910 with a GVW of 18,000. On the scale we are 17856 without water. Our water capacity is 110 gallons. Our bikes weigh in at 1,800 lbs. So if I take the weight (17856), subtract the UVW (11,910), subtract the bikes (1800) we have loaded 4146 lbs in the trailer, without a drop of water.

As it turns out one slide was optional (1500) and we have about 30 gallons of fuel (190). So we are at 2456 without water.

So we are at the other end of the scale. Do you estimate light or heavy when estimating for the size of the trailer you are going to consider for purchase? If I estimated on the low side I would consider adding at least 10% contingency to any numbers I generated.

There is a website called fifthwheelst.com that has a very nice report if you have the numbers to input. The output is called "Safety Margin vs. Overload".
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Old 05-09-2015, 02:30 PM   #11
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Using the 20% of the GVWR is simply a way to estimate the approximate pin weight of a trailer you do not have access to.

There are not likely many 5ers out there that have a 10,000 dry and 15500 GVW what are not toyhaulers. That is why the difference is to great. Not many folks who get that much capacity will add 1500 lbs and leave the other 4000.

Using 1500 lbs as an added weight to the published dry weight has many pitfalls. It does not account for any options such as generator, A/C if it is an option, optional slides, etc.

Does your 1500 lbs include water or propane? Overall 1500 seems to be on the light side to me, but I have a toyhauler.

Your DW seems to be a much lighter packer than Janet. Our published dry weight is 11,910 with a GVW of 18,000. On the scale we are 17856 without water. Our water capacity is 110 gallons. Our bikes weigh in at 1,800 lbs. So if I take the weight (17856), subtract the UVW (11,910), subtract the bikes (1800) we have loaded 4146 lbs in the trailer, without a drop of water.

As it turns out one slide was optional (1500) and we have about 30 gallons of fuel (190). So we are at 2456 without water.

So we are at the other end of the scale. Do you estimate light or heavy when estimating for the size of the trailer you are going to consider for purchase? If I estimated on the low side I would consider adding at least 10% contingency to any numbers I generated.

There is a website called fifthwheelst.com that has a very nice report if you have the numbers to input. The output is called "Safety Margin vs. Overload".
You're not the norm. Not very many weekenders or campers that go 2-3 times a year for a week pack that much stuff. Most people don't have a 40+' TH. The average camper only takes 1000-1500lbs of gear. If the OP is above average then they can adjust.
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Old 05-09-2015, 02:53 PM   #12
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Thank you all so much for the useful info, probably stick with a travel trailer for now.
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Old 05-09-2015, 03:24 PM   #13
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I see a lot of people pulling really big trailers with single rear wheel trucks. A lot of those are 250s. I guess those guys don't have internet.

Here are the actual figures from my weigh-in. My truck is a 2002 Silverado 3500 DRW. My trailer is an XLR 300x12 thunderbolt.

Truck and Trailer -
Steer axle - 4480
Drive axle - 5960
Trailer axles - 10820
Gross Weight - 21260

Truck only -
steer axle - 4500
drive axle - 3660
gross weight - 8160
I can use these numbers to figure my hitch weigh and trailer weight.
hitch weight - 5960 - 3660 = 2300
trailer weight - 10820 + 2300 = 13120

Motorcycles are not loaded - gross trailer weight is 13,800.
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Old 05-09-2015, 04:04 PM   #14
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You're not the norm. Not very many weekenders or campers that go 2-3 times a year for a week pack that much stuff. Most people don't have a 40+' TH. The average camper only takes 1000-1500lbs of gear. If the OP is above average then they can adjust.
That was my point. Most folks will be quite close to their GVWR if they bought the proper size trailer for their use. If they bought one with a 5500 payload they should have a vehicle that will safely pull it because at some point they will fill it up.

Ask my wife. If there is space she will fill it. Paper plates, not on your life, correlle; one frying pan, not on your life, three pans and a square griddle: etc; pots galore, cutlery for a dozen, clothes for every occasion. And I am just as bad.
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