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Old 01-29-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
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How to determine the correct tow vehicle

Hello all,

I am new to this site, but not to RVing. However, I am upgrading from a travel trailer to a fifth wheel. My in laws are giving me their 2004 Arctic Fox 27 5L. I currently have a 2011 F150 ecoboost super crew 4x4 and I know it's not rated to pull it, but I would like to know how to figure out the correct vehicle needed by using the weight data plate on the trailer/vehicle. I have a couple of used vehicles in mind, but want to ensure I buy the right one. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:26 PM   #2
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I'd suggest looking at the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the Arctic Fox and look for a tow vehicle capable of handling that maximum weight. Even if the 5er isn't loaded to the max, when you add in the people and stuff you'll end up hauling in the truck you don't want to skimp on hauling (and braking) capacity.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Abndrillsgt View Post
2004 Arctic Fox 27 5L.
Weight = 8,860, ~18% pin weight = 1,600

Quote:
2011 F150 ecoboost super crew 4x4
Without HD payload pkg and with the regular tow pkg and 5.5' bed, GVWR is 7,200 and GCWR is 15,400.

Your EcoBoost probably has enough oomph to pull the 5er without exceeding the GCWR. But you don't have enough GVWR to haul the hitch weight without exceeding the GVWR of your truck. So you're right, you need more truck.

If your F-150 had the 6.5' bed, HD Payload Pkg, and Max Tow Pkg, as well as the EcoBoost engine and 3.73LS axle, then you'd have barely enough truck to tow that trailer without exceeding any of the weight limits. Those are hard to find on the used market, but maybe order a new one?

A safe bet would be to buy a 2011-up F-250 with diesel engine, or 2005-up F-250 with V-10 gas engine. GVWR of 10,000 pounds means your wet and loaded truck before you tied onto the trailer could gross up to 8,400 pounds without exceeding the GVWR when you add the 1,600 pounds of hitch weight. Granted, if you have an F-250 CrewCab diesel 4x4, it's really easy to load it up to more than 8,400 pounds before you tie onto the trailer. But at least you'd have a fighting chance.

Hindsight being perfect, I'd look for an F-350 SRW. No worries about having enough truck for that trailer. The F-250 would do the job, but you'd have to worry about how much weight you haul in the truck so as not to exceed the GVWR of the truck. The F-350 SRW is virtually the same pickup as the F-250, except it has 1,500 pounds more payload capacity for hitch weight.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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Smokey, thanks for the explanation. You make this sound so much more easier to understand than for me to try figure out on my own. I have found a 2004 Dodge 2500 4x2 quad cab 5.7 hemi. After looking at its specs, my little ford has more except for the payload. I also found a 2002 Chevy 2500 HD ext cab 6.0 4x4, this really seems to be the truck so far.

My father towed it in a 2004 Dodge 2500 diesel ext cab 4x4 without any issues all around the US.

If the Chevy isn't the right truck then I guess I need to find a diesel. I'm on a 10k budget.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:46 PM   #5
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I also found a 2002 Chevy 2500 HD ext cab 6.0 4x4, this really seems to be the truck so far.
Eleven years old and a gas-gulping gasser. That sounds like a real comedown from your EcoBoost.

Plus it has a GVWR of only 9,200 pounds. Like the F-250s before 2005 model year, it doesn't have enough GVWR to handle your trailer without being overloaded.

First thing, look at the GVWR sticker on the driver's door frame of any 3/4-ton pickup. If it's not at least 9,600 pounds for a CrewCab gasser or 10,000 pounds for a CrewCab diesel, then skip that one.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:48 PM   #6
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I am keeping the ecoboost. Looking for a second vehicle for towing purposes?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:50 PM   #7
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Eleven years old and a gas-gulping gasser. That sounds like a real comedown from your EcoBoost.
X2. I had an 08 chevy with the 6.0 gas. Boy it really loves the gas and did not seem to have lots of power for all the gas it drank.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:02 PM   #8
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Again thanks, looking for 10,000lb capability.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:18 PM   #9
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Again thanks, looking for 10,000lb capability.
10,000 if it's a diesel. 9,600 for a gasser. (Notice I edited my earlier post.)

You may need to go up to a 3500 SRW GM or Dodge, or F-350 SRW Ford.

My '99.5 F-250 diesel 4x2 had GVWR of 8,800 pounds, and was overloaded with my 5er that grossed only 7,900 pounds.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:59 AM   #10
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Forget all the numbers but the GCWR as that is the amount of weight that the engine, transmission, drivertrain, brakes, frame, etc. can handle without greatly accellerated wear and possible safety problems. That number needs to include the weight of the tow vehicle, its passengers, the trailer, and whatever you load inside the tow vehicle and trailer. With the current generation of GM heavy duty trucks and the 2013 Ram 1-ton trucks when the GCWR was increased the trucks got new and much stronger frames as part of the new components package to handle the additional load.

I do not know why people focus on hitch weight when it is seldom the limiting factor and far less of a concern. Most trucks can handle double their rated payload before exceeding the load capacity of the rear axle and its wheel bearings.

Easiest to download the manufacturers' towing guides. Ford has a couple including one that covers every car they make all charted out so you can tell in minutes what the maximum amount is that can be towed with each one.

The "maximum" is not an amount of load you want to be towing on a regular basis if you want to get years of use out of the tow vehicle. Scale back and be sure to allow 1000# for gear in the tow vehicle and trailer and to allow for the weight of the average number of passengers and a full gas tank and full freshwater holding tank.

The trailer specs will also show the difference in tow rating depending upon the axle gearing. With a GM truck and the gas engine the 4.10 gears adds up to 40% to the towing capacity over the 3.73 gears. With the Ford Eco boost it also can affect the tow rating. Don't make the mistake of thinking your gas mileage will be significantly better with taller gears as when towing it will make no difference except that with the taller gears the truck will take longer to get to freeway speeds and longer to pass a slow vehicle and have more difficult going up steep grades.

If I had a truck with a 10,000 lb. travel trailer limit I would be looking for something with a dry weight of around 7,000 lbs. so that when loaded it would be around 8000 lbs. of tow weight.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:28 PM   #11
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Forget all the numbers but the GCWR as that is the amount of weight that the engine, transmission, drivertrain, brakes, frame, etc. can handle without greatly accellerated wear and possible safety problems.
That's an interesting, novel and potentially deadly approach if one were to find oneself running over the load ratings of the rear tires (inherent in the vehicle's rear axle GAWR) with a given 3/4 ton SRW truck.

The manufacturers certainly don't treat GCWR as a stand-alone number. For instance, in the very document in which Dodge provides the data for the various RAM trucks (including GCWR), they state the following in Note #3 which qualifies the ratings (including GCWR):

Quote:
Additionally, the GAWRs and GVWRs should never be exceeded.
There are valid reasons that they do so.

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Old 01-31-2013, 06:01 AM   #12
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My neighbour hauls a 33ft Cougar all over with his F150 and claims great mileage. For economic reason and to be practical I would use the exisiting truck. I see many of these truck hauling much bigger trailers all over. The GCVW for me dominates as long as the rear tires are not overloaded. The trailer takes care of its own weight while the truck does its own. According to what I read here no 3/4 can pull any 5th wheels and in my province most 5th are towed with 1/2 tons. Which is much safer then towing TTs.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:27 AM   #13
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My neighbour hauls a 33ft Cougar all over with his F150 and claims great mileage. For economic reason and to be practical I would use the exisiting truck. I see many of these truck hauling much bigger trailers all over.
Ah, the old "But Mom, everybody's doing it!" justification. If most of these trucks are running over their GVWRs or GAWRs, that doesn't matter?? I ask again, why not pick the right tool for the job, the right tool being a truck that's rated to tow a given 5th wheel without exceeding ANY of its ratings? Why knowingly go into a towing environment with a truck that's overloaded from day 1? It makes no sense to me.

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Old 01-31-2013, 09:34 AM   #14
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Ah, the old "But Mom, everybody's doing it!" justification. If most of these trucks are running over their GVWRs or GAWRs, that doesn't matter?? I ask again, why not pick the right tool for the job, the right tool being a truck that's rated to tow a given 5th wheel without exceeding ANY of its ratings? Why knowingly go into a towing environment with a truck that's overloaded from day 1? It makes no sense to me.

Rusty
I agree. Next a good meaning poster will use the old, "I've towed for xxxx miles and never had a problem." or "They build extra capacity into all the ratings." or "When was the last time an accident happened because of that condition?"

Common sense, being safe, and the laws of physics are often ignored or skipped in these kinds of discussions. If you can't do it safely, you shouldn't do it at all. Life is a temporary condition and we shouldn't do anything to shorten it.
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