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Old 05-05-2014, 11:16 PM   #1
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Why the difference in towing capability on Trailer Life and Changing gears

I have a question about my tow vehicle. It's a 99 Ford F 250 Super duty, club cab, automatic, 2wd and 4.3 rear end. When I bought it recently, I looked at the 1999 Trailer Life annual Towing guide. The guide seems to say that with that set up, it should be able to tow 14,300#. When I go to the: Http://Changinggears.com/rv-sec-tow-...s-rating.shtml it also says I can tow 14,300# worth of 5th wheel. However when I look at the sticker on the door, it says the max GCWR is 18,000#. The truck weighs 6100# empty except for fuel which gives me only 11,600# of towing ability before I max out.
This is almost a 3000# weight difference. Can anyone tell me which data to believe? I've been told that the manufacture figures are more conservative, but #3000 is a big difference. I'm looking to buy a 33-35 ft unit which I find usually run 10,00 to 12,000 dry. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. I know that a diesel would be better, but it's not in the budget at this time.
Thanks to all who respond. Rod Gottula
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:24 PM   #2
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I believe Ford gives a higher GCWR, for their trucks towing 5ers than TTs. The door sticker probably represents the truck loaded to 8,000 lbs. towing a 10,000 lb. TT.
Owners manual could give more info. Or other Ford owners will be along soon.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:29 PM   #3
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Have you weighed your truck? I see you say it weighs 6100lbs seems a little high. Does your truck have the diesel or v10 gas? I would take your vin to your favorite ford dealer and ask them to research. I had the same truck as yours but with the manual 6 speed trans and I towed a 15000 lb 5r.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:08 AM   #4
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Difference in towing capacity

I truck has a V 10 and automatic. I took it to the scales and it weighed 6400# however it currently has a full size topper (long bed). I'm estimating the topper weighs 300#, hence the weight of 6100#.
My concern is being out of limits in towing for safety reasons, plus giving the insurance company possibly saying that they are not going to cover any damage if there is an accident. Do you have any idea why the towing tables of Trailer Life and Changing Gears are so different then the sticker? I tried the Ford dealer to get specs, however there current computer system won't go back to 1999 so they couldn't help me. Thanks Rod
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:24 AM   #5
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The first problem is that you have an F250 w/4.30 rear diff. Unless someone has changed the gears, you didn't get that from the factory.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesilvas View Post
The first problem is that you have an F250 w/4.30 rear diff. Unless someone has changed the gears, you didn't get that from the factory.
You're confusing something, somewhere. For 1999 model year, SuperDuty F-250 with V-10 engine had 3.73 open axle as standard, and 4.30 limited slip (LS) axle as an option. So he probably has factory gears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gottular1249
However when I look at the sticker on the door, it says the max GCWR is 18,000#.
You're looking at something wrong. The GCWR is not on the door sticker. Per the 1999 Ford RV and Trailer Towing Guide, your GCWR with 6.8L V-10 engine and 4.30 rear axle ratio is 20,000 pounds, and your overstated tow rating for a SuperCab 4x2 is 14,300 pounds. (Trailer Life usually gets the tow rating right, but they don't explain why you cannot tow that much 5er without being overloaded.) So Ford assumes your empty truck with nothing in it but a skinny driver weighs 5,700 pounds. As your scale ticket shows, that's a bad assumption.

But you cannot use the tow rating and expect to get on the highway without being severely overloaded. The tow rating is GCWR minus the shipping weight of the truck with nothing in it but a skinny driver. But GCWR on an F-250 is not the limiter. The lousy 8,800 pounds GVWR is your limiter. So ignore max trailer weight and worry about max hitch weight (or pin weight, which is short for kingpin weight).

So ignore the GCWR (and tow rating which is based on the GCWR) and determine how much unused payload capacity you have left for hitch weight when the truck is wet and loaded for the road, including driver, 5er hitch, passengers, pets, tools, jacks, full tank of gas, and anything else that will be in the truck when towing. Campfire wood? Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from 8,800 and the answer is the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. Then divide that payload available for hitch weight by 17% and that will give you the max GVWR of a small 5er you can tow without being overloaded. And I'll guarantee you it won't be anywhere close to 14,000 pounds.

DO NOT use the hitch weight published by the RV manufacturer. That is "dry" weight, and is almost meaningless. Instead, for a small 5er, use 17% of the 5er's GVWR as your probable pin weight. For heavier 5ers, use 20% of the GVWR as the probable pin weight - but an F-250 cannot tow a heavier 5er without exceeding the GVWR of the F-250.

I had a '99.5 F-250 diesel, which also had 8,800 GVWR and 20,000 GCWR. Ford said my "tow rating" was 13,500 pounds. But I was overloaded with my 25' 5er that had a GVWR of 7,900 pounds and actually grossed less than 8,000 pounds when wet and loaded for the road.

Your SuperCab V-10 4x2 is a few hundred pounds lighter than my CrewCab diesel 4x2, so you should have a bit more payload capacity for hitch weight than I had. But if you're honest with yourself, and do the scale and the math right, you'll probably find that around 10,000 pounds is the real max GVWR of any 5er you want to try to tow. And your V-10 with 4.30 axle will certainly tow a 10,000 pound 5er, but you will be buying lots of gas.

Ford's GCWR is close to accurate. GCWR shows the max weight your powertrain can pull without overheating anything in the drivetrain and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic when climbing a steep grade. But the F-250 runs out of payload capacity long before you get to the max GCWR, so you cannot haul the hitch weight of a heavy 5er without exceeding the GVWR of the F-250. The '99 F-350 SRW is better than the F-250, but it cannot reach the 20,000 GCWR without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle either. You have to move up to a "one ton dually" before you can reach the GCWR without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:27 PM   #7
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The door sticker rules the day, since it was put there by the folks that built the truck.

Changing Gears can't know all the variables that enter into a truckmaker's calculations and the site doesn't claim to.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:36 PM   #8
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Unless I overlooked it, there is also FAWR and RAWR on the truck which must not be exceeded. It can be tricky to stay within all legal limits at times.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:14 AM   #9
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From experience when loading truck to GCWR limit the cooling capacity of the truck will be tested.
The GCWR can be observed as long as the rear tire capacity is not exceeded.
I tow a 15500 GVWR trailer with a 10000 GVWR truck and the GCWR is not over the rating of the truck. The GAWR of the axles is not overloaded neither so I am ok.
As far as braking it is not important because my truck cannot stop the 15500 lbs trailer and so does any other truck with those small front tires that will slip before any rear tires.
The trailer has brakes to stop itself and the driver has to drive accordingly.
My truck is registered for 11700 lbs and I cannot reduce it. So I will load it for what registration I pay for and there is nothing else will stop me.
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
You're confusing something, somewhere. For 1999 model year, SuperDuty F-250 with V-10 engine had 3.73 open axle as standard, and 4.30 limited slip (LS) axle as an option. So he probably has factory gears.
I'm so used to knowing diesel options, so I knew there wasn't a 4.3 offered with the diesel then. Had no clue about the V10s. Just never saw V10 mentioned in the OP.
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:42 PM   #11
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Just never saw V10 mentioned in the OP.
It's in post #4 in this thread. I have the '99 SuperDuty Order Guide and Truck Source Book, so I have the correct info available.

Looking up from my computer chair to a bookshelf, I can see the Ford Truck Source Books for model years '99, '02, '03, '04, '06, '07 and '09. In a nearby closet I have the Ford Truck Source Books for model years '97, '00, '01, and '08, plus the 2003 SUV Source Book. The SUV Source Book is useful to get the specs for the 2003 Excursion with 7.3L diesel engine as well as with the 6.0L diesel engine.

I have been a moderator on Ford-Diesel.com - now named TheDieselStop.com - since 1999. I was extremely active until I sold my '99.5 7.3L diesel a few years ago. I "borrowed" those extra copies of the Source Books from my dealer, and he hasn't asked from them back yet. I also maintain a file of F-250 thru F-550 Order Guides from '99 thru about 2010. The Order Guides are in PDF file format, so they are easy to access and copy and forward.

Notice I don't have much on the 2010-up SuperDuty pickups. I read a lot, but I don't have the specs in my own library. And I have severe CRS, so I rely on Ford.com or similar internet sources for the latest poop on the new trucks.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:30 PM   #12
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Thanks again for the help. Here's what I've found so far. First, the truck does have a 4.3 ratio, as it's actually listed on the original sticker (which I have) as an option. I went back to the door sticker and it lists the Front axle wt. max at 4100# (my actual wt is 3440#). The rear axle capacity is 5530# (my actual wt is 2960#. I got the GCWR out of my Ford owners manual which says it's 18,000#. It also says to calculate my max trailer wt for a 5'er by subtracting the GVW (mine is 6400# the way it's configured) from the GCWR (18,000#). That gives me a towable wt of 11,600#. The GVWR is 8800# which if I interpret the calculations correctly, allows me to have a payload of 2400# on the truck before exceeding the limits.
One of the things that's confusing, is that my owners manual states GCWR of 18,000#, but I keep hearing this figure of a GCWR being thrown other there. Where did the 20,000# figure come from? I've communicated with someone from Changing Gears and they tell me the tables they posted for towing capacity are from Ford.
Thanks to eveyone who's chipped in here. I've learned a lot about what I should have known BEFORE I bought the truck. Rod
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gottular1249 View Post
One of the things that's confusing, is that my owners manual states GCWR of 18,000#, but I keep hearing this figure of a GCWR being thrown other there. Where did the 20,000# figure come from?
Ford RV and Trailer Towing Guide for model years '99 through '04 all have the same table of GCWR, and they all say your F-250 with 6.8L V-10 engine, automatic tranny, and 4.30 axle ratio has a GCWR of 20,000 pounds. They all say the same truck with 3.73 axle ratio has a GCWR of 17,000 pounds.

None of the '99-'04 F-250s had GCWR of 18,000. The only 18,000 number that shows up in the RV and Trailer Towing guides is the "tow rating" of an F-450 that has 26,000 pounds GCWR. So I suspect you're misreading your '99 Owner's Guide. My '99 Owner's Guide for my '99.5 SuperDuty included GCWR that agreed with the RV and Trailer Towing Guide.

Ford's tow rating for your '99 F-250 SuperCab 4x2 with 6.8L V-10 engine, automatic tranny, and 4.30 axle ratio is 14,300. So that part you (and Trailer Life) got right. But if you subtract that tow rating from the 20k GCWR, that means your wet and loaded F-250 weighs only 5,700 pounds. The CAT scale will prove that your wet and loaded truck with your passenger(s), tools, 5er hitch, other stuff, and a full tank of gas weighs a lot more than 5,700. So that 14,300 tow rating is overstated.

In my case, my '99.5 F-250 diesel had a "tow rating" of 13,500. (Diesel drivetrain and CrewCab body weighs about 800 pounds more than your SuperCab V-10, and they both have 20,000 pounds GCWR, so your tow rating is 800 pounds more than mine.) But my F-250 was overloaded with my 25' 5er that weighed less than 8,000 pounds. So I learned long ago to ignore Ford's tow ratings and compute your own.

So to determine your actual real-world tow rating, weigh the wet and loaded truck - ready for tying onto your trailer. Subtract the weight of the truck from 20,000 pounds, and that will give you the tow rating if you ignore the GVWR of the truck, the way Ford does when they compute their tow ratings. But you cannot ignore the GVWR of the truck, because for an F-250 that is your limiter of how much trailer you can tow without being overloaded. So subtract the wet and loaded weight of your truck from the 8,800 GVWR, and the answer is the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. Divide the max hitch weight by 17% and the answer is the max wet and loaded weight of most smaller fifth wheel trailers you can tow without being overloaded.

Quote:
I've communicated with someone from Changing Gears and they tell me the tables they posted for towing capacity are from Ford.
The link in your first post is broken. If I go to Changing Gears without using that link, there is no mention of towing specs - just tours they offer.

But Trailer Life posts the actual Ford tow ratings from the RV and Trailer Towing Guide. The Ford "tow ratings" are grossly overstated because they use GCWR minus shipping weight of the empty truck with no options and nothing in the truck but a skinny driver.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:29 PM   #14
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I have attached (I hope anyway, because I'm not quite sure how to use this system yet), two documents. One is the towing guide that came off of Changing Gears web site that they told me was Ford's data on towing capacity. The other is a scan of my owners manual.
Unless I'm misreading the owners manual, it states that the GCWR for the v10 with the 4.3 rear end is 18,000#'s. HOWEVER, the GCWR that is on the Ford Data page shows 20,000#. So hence my question about why different weight data? Maybe I'm missing something here and would be glad is someone can point out why there are two different GCWR for the same vehicle. I had the truck weighed with a topper and no driver, (6400#) just 3/4 tank full of fuel. It does have running boards, so that's an add on to the factory weight. Fuel is about 200#. No driver. Topper is about 300#, so take away 500# from what the scale shows and it's about 5900# with the running boards. All sounds reasonable to me.
Now the GVWR is 8800#. I figure by the time you put the hitch in, add a couple of passengers, tools, extras, I'll have the truck up to about 6500#.
That only allows me a pin weight of 2300# with no safety margin before I hit my GVWR. The Rear Axle will only allow 2000# before it hits it's limit.
So the bottom line for me is that I need to either get a light fifth wheel, or bite the bullet and get a different tow vehicle, most likely a 1 ton with a diesel. Certainly I'll do a lot more homework the next time around. Thanks so much for all the expert advice that's been given here. (And I think you're right about SOME RV sales people). The ones I've talked to (with the exception of one), told me that I could tow anything with a truck like mine, just to make the sale. ROD
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Ford-1999-Towing-Guide-Partial.pdf (381.7 KB, 19 views)
File Type: pdf 99 Ford F250 owners manual towing.pdf (609.2 KB, 26 views)
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