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Old 08-08-2013, 07:55 PM   #1
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tow capacity

Tow capacity
Please explain to me in simple terms about towing capacity. I am buying a TT with a dry weight of 3875 and I have a 2010 Ford V8 with a 6.8L engine and a towing capacity of 8100 lbs. Ok how does the truck weight figure in to the towing capacity of the truck or anything else that figures into towing? Is the truck weight added? Do you even count the truck weight?
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:52 PM   #2
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First off, forget the trailer dry weight, unless you never plan to load anything into the trailer. Look at the trailer GVWR which is the maximum the trailer could weigh when fully loaded.

The 8100# towing capacity is a MAXIMUM with a properly equipped truck and a base model with a skinny 150# driver, no cargo, no options, no accessories, not even a hitch.

Load up the family, full fuel, normal travel cargo in the truck and head for the scales and get a wet and loaded weight on the truck. Also add the weight of the hitch to the trucks weight.

In the owners manual, you will find a GCWR for you specific cab/engine/axle ratio. On the drivers door jamb there will be a sticker with the trucks GVWR.

GCWR - loaded truck = Max loaded trailer weight.

GVWR - loaded truck = maximum loaded trailer pin weight or hitch weight.

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Old 08-09-2013, 09:21 AM   #3
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I thought GCWR was the maximum of the loaded truck PLUS the loaded trailer.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim22 View Post
Tow capacity
Please explain to me in simple terms about towing capacity. I am buying a TT with a dry weight of 3875 and I have a 2010 Ford V8 with a 6.8L engine and a towing capacity of 8100 lbs. Ok how does the truck weight figure in to the towing capacity of the truck or anything else that figures into towing?
It Doesn’t.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim22 View Post
Is the truck weight added?
No
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim22 View Post
Do you even count the truck weight?
No

Towing capacity is how much you can tow. If the GVWR of the trailer is at or below your towing capacity and you don't load it beyond this you are technically good.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unyalli View Post
It Doesn’t.No No

Towing capacity is how much you can tow. If the GVWR of the trailer is at or below your towing capacity and you don't load it beyond this you are technically good.
This is true ONLY, if you are a 145lb driver in an empty properly equipped truck.

This debate rages every time this question gets asked.
The accuracy of factory trailer dry weights, always comes into question too.
jim22, you have to read your truck owners manual to see how the MAX Trailer Tow Capacity of 8100lbs , was determined.
You will find that the truck manufacturer fudges the numbers by setting up the unusual ; unattainable ; empty truck and under weight driver base line.
Every pound , your truck weighs , over the factory advertised curb weight,( another number who's accuracy is often in question) every pound of passengers and cargo in the truck, MUST be deducted from the MAX allowable TTC weight.
JMHO;For a truly safe number you could go GCVW minus the GVWR of your truck and look for a trailer with a GVWR in that weight range.
The trailer your looking at may fit this calculation, check the numbers to be sure.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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The weight of your tow vehicle (TV) most definitely is a factor. You want to know what the actual payload capacity of the TV is, not the figure on the door jamb sticker. Some will argue that the sticker has an accurate figure, but it's not. If anyone doubts this, just go through a scale. Weigh your truck and subtract that from the GVWR to get the actual payload capacity. Factory options aren't included in the sticker figure and then you may have added a canopy or other items to a TV. Obviously, the weight of passengers and cargo is not included either. Most recommend having all passengers in the TV plus any and all cargo (tools, firewood, generator, groceries, etc.). Also should have a full tank of fuel.

Tow vehicles typically run out of payload capacity long before the towing capacity. TV manufacturers are all flogging "towing capacity" nowadays in order to get more sales and conveniently don't discuss payload capacity, axle ratings, GCWR or tire capacities. You cannot go by the TVs "towing capacity alone".

Our last TT (20') had a dry weight of 3800 lbs but when I weighed it, it was 5,000 lbs after interior mods and fully loaded for camping. It ended up weighing exactly what the GVWR is. Our current trailer is 200 lbs under the GVWR fully loaded with only a couple of minor mods. For both trailers, towing with just one full tank would put it over the GVWR. Not good.

GCWR can be an important thing to look at which is the TV GVWR plus trailer GVWR. You *could* use the loaded trailer weight ready for camping, but the correct procedure (from what I have read out there) is to use the GVWR because it is the theoretical maximum. It's not hard to go over the trailer GVWR though it you do things like tow with full tanks and it's not hard to overload a truck. Towing over the GCWR is not good for the TV from a handling and safety perspective and over-stressing the drivetrain and brakes. I don't think the axle ratings (FGAWR & RGAWR) are a consideration unless you are towing a 5th wheel.

As a rough ballpark rule-of-thumb, you can shop for a TT that is no more than 80% of the TV towing capacity. However, this can still get you into trouble and I've read that some recommend using a figure as low as 60% because of weight issues in the industry these days.

Do NOT use the TT factory UVW dry weight or the dry tongue weight for determining the truck's capabilities. Use the TT GVWR. Tongue weight is typically in the 10-15% range of the total trailer weight. Say you were looking at a TT with 6000 lb GVWR, the tongue weight could be 900 lbs. In some cases, the published dry tongue weight can end up being close to double so be careful on tongue wt.

It's important to get your WDH properly set up for safety and handling reasons. You can get away with just measuring the before and after TV fender heights, but the better way is to go to a scale and figure out the actual weights being distributed to steer, drive and trailer axles. Don't make the mistake of buying undersized spring bars. If they are undersized, you may find it difficult to get the correct weight transfer, and maybe not all. Get some sway control/ At least the add-on friction bars, or a step up to something like the Reese dual cam or go up to a high end type for a lot more $$.

One of the very best things you can ever do is go to a scale and weigh your truck and trailer and then you will end up knowing exactly where you stand instead of flying blind. Another good reason to know the limits of your truck is that you may very well want to upgrade to a larger trailer down the road. We thought our last TT (and first) would be the last one, but here we are 2 years later with a bigger truck and trailer.

Happy camping!
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
This is true ONLY, if you are a 145lb driver in an empty properly equipped truck.

This debate rages every time this question gets asked.
The accuracy of factory trailer dry weights, always comes into question too.
jim22, you have to read your truck owners manual to see how the MAX Trailer Tow Capacity of 8100lbs , was determined.
You will find that the truck manufacturer fudges the numbers by setting up the unusual ; unattainable ; empty truck and under weight driver base line.
Every pound , your truck weighs , over the factory advertised curb weight,( another number who's accuracy is often in question) every pound of passengers and cargo in the truck, MUST be deducted from the MAX allowable TTC weight.
JMHO;For a truly safe number you could go GCVW minus the GVWR of your truck and look for a trailer with a GVWR in that weight range.
The trailer your looking at may fit this calculation, check the numbers to be sure.
OP said he wanted the simple answer. There is no simple answer but as that is what he wanted that is what I gave. If were going to dive into this and make him wish he never asked there is no 6.8L V8 only a V10. Since were talking 6.8L I assume the V10 and then also assume a Super Duty. The 2010 ford super duty towing guide shows no 8100 pound towing capacity.

From the top of the trailer towing selector page in the attachment.
Select column with transmission, cab design and drive system (4x2 or 4x4) you prefer. Read down column to find the trailer weight that can be towed with
engine/axle ratio combinations listed at left. GCWR column shows maximum allowable combined weight of vehicle, trailer and cargo (including passengers) for
each engine/axle ratio combination. Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight assumes a towing vehicle with any mandatory options, no cargo, tongue load of 10-15%
(conventional trailer) or king pin weight of 15-25% (fifth-wheel trailer) and driver only (150 pounds). Weight of additional options, passengers, cargo and hitch
must be deducted from this weight. Also check Required and Recommended Equipment.

Want to really know? Start here
Conventional Towing Safety Weighing Worksheet for CAT Scale
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2010 Superduty towing guide.pdf (874.0 KB, 13 views)
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:05 PM   #8
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1) Weigh the truck with you and all your 'stuff' in it, including you, your spouse and any other creatures that will travel with you, human or animal.

2) Compare that weight with the GVWR (Gross vehicle weight rating). If the actual weight is something less, so far so good.

3) Now, assume you're going to load the trailer to it's gross capacity. At least 10% of that should be resting on the trailer hitch ball when connected, but as a fudge factor assume 15%. Ad that 15% to the weight of the truck when you weighed it. Are you still under the GVWR? If so -

4) Now, subtract the tongue weight you used in the above calculation from the gross weight of the trailer. Take that number and add it the sum you got in step three (which will be the actual fully loaded weight of the truck). If that resulting sum is less than the GCWR (gross combined weight rating) for your truck, you're good to go. If it exceeds that number, you've got to come up with a different plan.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #9
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You have plenty of truck for that TT. Just load up the TT, get a good WD hitch and go. At the most you'll be around 5000-5200lbs loaded. Most people only put around 1,000-1500lbs of stuff in a TT'. Having a dry weight of 3875lbs your TT won't be big enough to put much more stuff in. Get some 800-1000lb spring bars and go camping and have fun. Sometimes theres just too much over thinking on here.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:26 AM   #10
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Too much thinking about it. Yup, could be. That is until you are sitting at the bottom of a hill, wrapped around a tree, scratching your head saying "what went wrong?"

In this case, the OP may very well be in good shape, but weighing can only tell that. There are far too many instances where that is not the case. We always hear that it pulls just fine. The bigger question is how does the combination handle and can it be stopped safely.

Mark my words - the day will come when all of us RV'ers will be sitting in line at those weigh stations just like the trucks do. IF that day comes and you are 1000 miles from home, overloaded and the cops won't let you move. Waddaya gonna do? I'm just sayin'

My bigger concern is that a family can go camping, have a great time and get back home again without incident.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:47 AM   #11
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Too much thinking about it. Yup, could be. That is until you are sitting at the bottom of a hill, wrapped around a tree, scratching your head saying "what went wrong?"

In this case, the OP may very well be in good shape, but weighing can only tell that. There are far too many instances where that is not the case. We always hear that it pulls just fine. The bigger question is how does the combination handle and can it be stopped safely.

Mark my words - the day will come when all of us RV'ers will be sitting in line at those weigh stations just like the trucks do. IF that day comes and you are 1000 miles from home, overloaded and the cops won't let you move. Waddaya gonna do? I'm just sayin'

My bigger concern is that a family can go camping, have a great time and get back home again without incident.
Lets get real here. The OP's TT has a dry weight of 3875lbs. Even if it's a brochure weight it can't be more than 4000lbs dry. And do you really think a 3875lb TT will have all that much for NCC? I doubt very much that it has more than 1500lbs of CCC. So add that to 3875 and you get 5375lbs. That's well under the 8100lb tow rating. He's not loading up a 6000lb dry weighted TT with 1500lbs. I'm sure he could get it weighed and no for sure but IMO he's at the bottom end of TV to TT weight ratio. He's only towing around 65% of capacity, not like some we read about that are 80-90% of capacity.
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