Originally Posted by elkhornsun
You can download as a PDF from the Ford website files with information on truck specs and on towing. Key number is the GCWR which is the total weight of the truck and load and trailer taken as a whole.
The Ford Trailer Towing Guide has a huge flaw. It assumes your tow vehicle has enough payload capacity to handle the hitch weight of any trailer that has a wet and loaded weight that will not exceed the GCWR of the tow vehicle. The flaw is that most pickups with single rear wheels (SRW) do NOT
have enough payload capacity to handle anywhere near the hitch weight of the heavier 5ers.
The GCWR indicates how much weight the truck can pull
. But it ignores the amount of hitch weight the truck can haul
2013 F-250 CrewCab 4x4 diesel has a GCWR of 23,500 pounds and a 5er "tow rating" of 15,900 pounds. But if you tie onto a 5er that weighs 15,900 pounds, you're going to be severely overloaded over the GVWR of your F-250. Why the obvious discrepancy? Because the tow rating assumes your wet and loaded truck weighs only 7,600 pounds before you tie onto the trailer.
The GVWR of the F-250 is only 10,000 pounds, and a wet and loaded pickup is going to weigh about 8,500 to 9,000 pounds when loaded with family, tools, 5er hitch, a full tank of diesel, etc. That leaves a max of 1,500 pounds for hitch weight.
1,500 pounds of hitch weight is a 5er with 20% hitch weight that has a max weight of 7,500 pounds.
If your 5er that weighs 15,900 pounds has a 20% hitch weight, the hitch weight is going to be over 3,000 pounds. So your F-250 is going to be overloaded by about 1,500 pounds over the GVWR of the pickup. That's called severely overloaded.
5er hitch weight varies from about 16% to about 24%, so using 20% is an estimate. Your wet and loaded 5er may have a bit more or less hitch weight (pin weight or kingpin weight) than 20%. But 20% is a good estimate if you don't have the wet and loaded trailer available to weigh.
So don't rely on the Ford (or Dodge or GM or Toyota) tow rating. If you have an SRW tow vehicle, compute the max payload you have for hitch weight after the tow vehicle is loaded with options, people, hitch and a full tank of fuel.
Without hitch weight, such as a wagon-style trailer, you can tow a trailer that will put you close to the GCWR without being overloaded. With a "bumper pull" trailer such as a travel trailer (TT), the hitch weight is only 12% to 15% of gross trailer weight, so you can tow a heavier TT than 5er without being overloaded. But with a 5er with 20% hitch weight, you probably cannot tow anywhere near the GCWR of the truck without being overloaded over the GVWR of the SRW tow vehicle.
Back off to half-ton pickups for another example. My 2012 F-150 CrewCab with 6.5' bed and EcoBoost engine has a GCWR of 14,000 and a tow rating of 8,400 pounds. But can I tow a TT that grosses 8,400 pounds without being overloaded? Heck no. My TT when wet and loaded on the road recently weighed 4,870 pounds (4,220 trailer axle weight plus 650 pounds hitch weight), but it overloaded my F-150 by 100 pounds over the GVWR of the truck. I "made do" with being slightly overloaded on a 4,200 mile towing trip, but I was disappointed that I didn't do a better job of matching my new truck to my new trailer.