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Discussion Starter #1
I know - too much time on my hands.....

One of my main retirement dreams was to do some travelling down south and out west. While that dream seems down the tubes for me now I've been thinking that it may still be a possibility a few years out. So the main question I had for myself was to use a small camping trailer or stay at motels - a subject for another thread. But to help in make that decision I needed to know how heavy a trailer I could safely pull while staying within the limits of my truck.

We had a discussion about trailer hitches and their capacities last year - well this is another piece of that same puzzle - how much cargo and/or hitch weight can you haul.

I stopped at the truck stop scale yesterday and weighed my truck. I wanted a real world base line for my calculations. A full tank of fuel with both myself and Mrs. Ct sitting in the truck. I was quite surprised at the result - 6700#!

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This is my 2009 F-150 crew cab pickup:

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Now on to crunching the numbers.....

My truck has a GVWR or 7200#

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And this sticker is found just below the rating sticker:

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I have no idea of the emtpy weight from the factory. My registration says Unladen Weight 5408# but I have no idea where that number comes from. So I figured I would start from the top with my 7200# GVWR. My truck weighed at 6700# so that leaves 500# payload and/or hitch weight. But I think the sticker showing the max passenger/cargo weight is right at 1200# the way it left the factory. I will deduct from there -

Full tank of fuel (36 gal) - 300#
Both of us in the truck - 400# (don't worry - most of that is me.....)
Side steps added at dealer - 100#
Winter wheels tires on - 60# (18" tires vs 20" tires have more sidewall hence more weight)
Bed liner (BedRug Pro) - 50#
Soft tonnaeu cover - 50#
Sand bags in bed for winter - 120#
Tool/emergency box in bed - 40#

So that totals 1120# (all roughly estimated of course) but shows what a typical travelling weight would be. Yes, I would be minus the 120# sand bags but that is about right for gear/clothing etc.

Anyway - I thought this was a good thing to look at and seeing that my travelling weight would be ~6700#. That leaves me with a hitch weight capacity of 500# max. I wouldn't want a big or heavy travel trailer anyway but at least I have a guideline when looking now to try to keep the hitch weight of a trailer at 400# or below.

And a side note - when the new aluminum body 2015 F-150 came out I saw they showed a weight saving of 700# I think. At the time I thought that wasn't that big of a deal. But now looking at these numbers that 700# would be a huge deal.
 

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The guys over on RV.net would have a field day with this. They LOVE to tear this sort of thing apart and put it back together again. They have a lot of guys that are really into calculating all this stuff out but they also tend to be EXTREMELY conservative with their "safety factors". Many of them will tell you that if you are towing anything more than a 1200lb pop-up camper that you need to go to a F-550 class custom toter. :laugh:

That said, just a couple of quick observations.

You have a GVWR of 7200 with a 145" WB Crew Cab so I'm assuming you have a 5.4L engine and 4WD.

Your tire sticker there is the cargo capacity of the truck with those specific size factory tires. Your truck's rated cargo capacity (according to Ford) is 1,510 lbs. You would have to bump up to a Load Range "E" tire to get there. (The RV guys will pretty much tell EVERYONE to ALWAYS go with load range E tires)

Also, look at the individual rated axle capacities and what the scale shows. Your front axle is rated for 3,750lbs and your scale measurement came in at 3,640. You've only got 110 lbs to spare. On the rear, your axle is rated for 4,000 lbs and the scale came up at 3,060 lbs.

My registration says Unladen Weight 5408# but I have no idea where that number comes from.
That's probably what used to be called "Curb Weight".
 

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The guys over on RV.net would have a field day with this. They LOVE to tear this sort of thing apart and put it back together again. They have a lot of guys that are really into calculating all this stuff out but they also tend to be EXTREMELY conservative with their "safety factors". Many of them will tell you that if you are towing anything more than a 1200lb pop-up camper that you need to go to a F-550 class custom toter. :laugh:

That said, just a couple of quick observations.

You have a GVWR of 7200 with a 145" WB Crew Cab so I'm assuming you have a 5.4L engine and 4WD.

Your tire sticker there is the cargo capacity of the truck with those specific size factory tires. Your truck's rated cargo capacity (according to Ford) is 1,510 lbs. You would have to bump up to a Load Range "E" tire to get there. (The RV guys will pretty much tell EVERYONE to ALWAYS go with load range E tires)

Also, look at the individual rated axle capacities and what the scale shows. Your front axle is rated for 3,750lbs and your scale measurement came in at 3,640. You've only got 110 lbs to spare. On the rear, your axle is rated for 4,000 lbs and the scale came up at 3,060 lbs.



That's probably what used to be called "Curb Weight".
Thanks for your input Jim - I was hoping for someone to somewhat disect my info and thinking. I kind of get myself going in circles with things like this at times.

Glad you mentioned tires - which I've never found into on in any Ford documents. I was kind of appauled when I realized I had paid for the max tow package along with the 7200 GVWR package to realize the truck came with "P" rated tires. My winter setup has "LT" load range "E" which will also be the next summer tires I buy.

And yes - 4WD with the 5.4L engine and 3.73 rear.

Any help to come to a suitable safe travel trailer weight would be a big help. I don't know how to enter the tires, rear end, etc. into the calculation. It's not like I will be going out to buy a trailer soon, but sometimes an opportunity presents itself and want to be informed of my limits. Also I would much rather pull a 5th wheel but have the constraint of the 5'5" bed and the low cargo weight factor.
 

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We have a camper and have gone through all this as well. For now we have a small 22' camper and we are fine with weight as we pull it with a Yukon Denali as it has the bigger engine compared to the regular Yukon/Tahoe. 6.2 vs 5.3. It also has the integrated brake controller as well as the transmission cooler standard. Anyhow we have been looking at new bigger campers and that is a hard thing. Pretty much everything we like, there is no way I would pull it with the Denali. The book says 8,300# but a lot of the 1/2 ton rated campers are 7,500-8,000. Great I can pull a trailer right at the max weight, provided I am the only person in the truck, we have no camping gear and the trailer is completely empty.

A lot of the stuff the sales guys tell you just blow my mind. Basically we should look at getting a pickup. Better yet a 3/4 ton if we want to do more camping. But the ride sucks in them for day to day stuff when not towing. Then there is the fact that if we step up to a 3/4 ton might as well go with a 5th wheel but then we are talking new truck, new camper and $$$$ blown budget. Grrrr.

One thing to keep in mind as well is weight bloat. My Grandparents would travel a lot with a travel trailer. Every month or so he would pull into a truck stop and weigh the entire truck/trailer. They were shocked at how much additional weight they would collect along their travels in souvenirs and other stuff along the way.
 

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My 2010 F150 came from the factory (ordered probably) with light truck 55-60psi tires and the TPMS set for it. I've had 1400 lbs in the bed before with 2" between the rear leafs and bumpstops. Typically I tow a 4000lb travel trailer behind my F150 with maybe 500 lbs in the bed. A weight distributing and anti-sway hitch makes it ride just fine. The tow rating on my F150 is around 8800-9800 lbs. It's been a while since I looked through all of the specifications/gross/net/payload etc. I generally don't like towing loads heavier than the tow vehicle over large distances or at high speed.
 

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You've got a GVWR of 7.200 lbs and currently weigh in at 6,700 lbs. That leave you 500 lbs to play with (which isn't much). Take the 120 lbs of sand out of the equation and you're up to 620 lbs.

I'm assuming you already have a hitch under your rear bumper. If you go for a 5th wheel you'd need to add in the weight of the hitch and subtract the weight of your bed liner (it'd have to come out to install the hitch...). You can probably also unload some additional weight from your truck by carrying things inside the trailer instead of the truck. (If you balance the trailer load properly you can keep your trailer tongue/pin weight down.)

Even with that, most of the 5th wheel RV trailers that are rated for 1/2-tons will have a pin weight in the 1400-1600 lb range.

You'd have to look at something like the Escape or Scamp style 5th wheels. They come in at around 600 lbs. pin weight. The Scamp uses a weird hitch that is a hybrid between a standard 5th Wheel and a Gooseneck that you have to buy through them. You'd have to send them a note and ask for the weight on it.

Both companies also sell the conventional bumper-pull style trailers that are also very light-weight and would fit your needs from a towing angle.

There are other small bumper-pull style trailers that have tongue weights in the 400-600 lb range. Typically they'll be under 20' in length. Pretty much every RV builder makes at least one model like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks again Jim. After doing some looking around I kind of figured on a 16'-18' pull behind. I should be good with that.

When I was on the road some of what I saw just amazed me. One that sticks out was a truck exactly like mine except with a 6.5" bed pulling what looked to be a 30' 5th wheel camper. He must have had air bags to keep the truck from sagging but that trailer was way too much for that 1/2 ton pickup. Those are the ones I kept a close eye on and got around as quickly as I could. I could never pull something like that as I would be nervous wreck. I want to be comfortable and try to keep at 2/3 the max I can pull/carry.

When I was hauling mail a fully loaded trailer was ~35k# (wild guess - never knew for sure). That was very comfortable. When I had previously pulled a full load (~48k in the box) while the truck handled it it was still a chore when a quick stop or negotiation was needed.
 

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Wife & I did a nice little trip four years ago. 12 days, 5500 miles from just outside Chicago, Bolingbrook/Joliet specifically, to Los Angeles via Historic Route 66. We rented a year old Hyundai Sonata, were happy with the car, decent luggage room, comfortable seats, and averaged 34 mpg over the 5500 miles. IIRC, the car cost about $360 to rent and saved us over $400 in gas over our '03 Mercury Mountaineer.

Motel rooms averaged just a bit over $100/night and some of the places we stayed were very nice! Marble floors, crystal chandeliers in the lobby, continental breakfast. Most expensive place was about 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon, $140/night. All lodging costs included additional charge for our puppy, typically $5-$10 extra.

Lot of places we went were posted no trailers, and even if they weren't, a lot of places I was glad I didn't have a trailer! And I drove semi's for 5-6 years. Toured 5 National Parks!

My ONLY REGRET? Not taking longer 15-18 days to tour Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah more! Rack up 7000+ miles!

ANYHOW..... Somewhere your truck should have a Gross Combination Weight Rating, which is total weight for the truck, trailer, and all cargo whether in the truck or trailer. On SON'S '06 F-150 it was in the owners manual, but since your truck is/was similar to his, it's probably 15,000 or 16,000#. That should give you an idea of how big a trailer you can tow, about 9000# or a bit more. At that gross weight I see your 5.4L getting about 10 mpg with a stiff tail wind!
 

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Thanks again Jim. After doing some looking around I kind of figured on a 16'-18' pull behind. I should be good with that.

When I was on the road some of what I saw just amazed me. One that sticks out was a truck exactly like mine except with a 6.5" bed pulling what looked to be a 30' 5th wheel camper. He must have had air bags to keep the truck from sagging but that trailer was way too much for that 1/2 ton pickup. Those are the ones I kept a close eye on and got around as quickly as I could. I could never pull something like that as I would be nervous wreck. I want to be comfortable and try to keep at 2/3 the max I can pull/carry.

When I was hauling mail a fully loaded trailer was ~35k# (wild guess - never knew for sure). That was very comfortable. When I had previously pulled a full load (~48k in the box) while the truck handled it it was still a chore when a quick stop or negotiation was needed.

That guy was working on a suicide attempt. 1/2 ton pickups use the same rear axle setup as a rear wheel drive car. It is not designed for pulling a heavy fifth wheel trailer. 3/4 ton pickups and heavier have a full floating rear axle which is much heavier duty and is built similar to the heavy duty rigs (semi's). That guy will have a rear axle failure. It is not a matter of "if", but rather "when". When that happens, he will complete his suicide attempt as the axle will separate from the axle housing and all h*** will break loose. On 3/4 ton pickups and heavier, the axle housing supports the weight, rather than the axle itself as on a 1/2 ton pickup. You can actually pull the axle without jacking it up. On 1/2 ton pickups, the axle supports the vehicle weight, which makes it dangerous to overload it. Be aware that there are a few light duty 3/4 ton pickups out there built like a 1/2 ton pickup, although I am not aware that this trend is still going on. It is easy to spot the difference. Just look at the rear wheel and if the axle protrudes beyond the wheel and has bolts around the circumference, then it is the heavy duty version.

A 1/2 ton pickup really is just a "play" truck. You can haul some passengers and some very light loads safely, but if you are planning to make it do some "real work", then you need to upgrade to a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup for safety reasons. When I bought my 4066R, I had to upgrade to a 3/4 ton pickup in order to have the capacity to haul it. I also had to upgrade my bumper pull trailer as it only had a 7,000 lb GWR. So, after three trailers in a short time, I went with a gooseneck flatbed tandem dually so I would not have to do this again.

Right now I am licensed for a GCVWR of 24,000 lbs, but have the capability of much more. Licensing is another thing you need to consider. Here, if you are pulling a travel trailer, it is licensed differently than a utility trailer. I am still working on sorting all this out, but as of now, my understanding is that with a travel trailer, the trailer license covers it's weight. However, with a utility trailer, the tow vehicle must also be licensed to handle the combined weight of pickup and trailer. Most pickups around here are have the standard 12,000 lb license, however that does not allow you to pull much of a load, so if you are not careful, you can make the DOT boys real happy. Then there is the other side and that is, if you go too high on your licensing, you can get into CDL territory. I am still working that out.

Sorry about being so long winded, but hopefully somebody can make use of this information and save a fine or an accident.

Dave
 
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Some f150's are quite capable of pulling large campers. A 150 with the 3.5 eb and the max tow package is rated to tow over 11,000 lbs. Very few trucks a the lots have the max load / tow packages, you almost have to order one. 20140801_144913.jpg 20140801_144913.jpg

The pic is of my dad's f150. It has the max load / tow packages on it. I think it's rated for 7800 lbs. It scaled out at 8000 ish . It made it from Green Bay to AK and back with no issues. Not even a flat tire on the trip. Saw a number of f150's pulling 5th wheel campers on that trip. For a once or twice a year camping trip a properly equipped 1/2 ton is fine. If you tow heavy weekly then you need a 3/4 or 1 ton.
 

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Good info ddinham.

And powerstroke - this is exactly the comparison I am going to make for a similar trip (or 3) though the thought of renting a car never occured to me.

I'm not at all sure this would be a trip made more than once because I don't know how it may affect my condition so buying a travel trailer could be a waste of money.

And for the same reason I would probably want to take my truck as I know I can be comfortable in it. I can't get in or out of cars very well plus feel cramped. Also if out west/southwest I understand there are some remote back roads one can drive - this is one of the main things I want to do since I can't walk much.

One way a travel trailer appeals to me is I wouldn't know from day to day how long I could drive. Also the pain/fatigue comes on very quickly at times and the ability to pull over and lay down is a big consideration.

Also when comparing costs, besides the motel costs is food. We aren't used to eating out but imaging the cost for 3 meals a day would come close to the nightly cost of a motel - don't know.

So this is a long range dream. If everything would come together (including my health) it would be 3-4 years out. I wanted to get this part of the process done in case a suitable used trailer for a great price presented itself in the interim.
 

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Some f150's are quite capable of pulling large campers. A 150 with the 3.5 eb and the max tow package is rated to tow over 11,000 lbs. Very few trucks a the lots have the max load / tow packages, you almost have to order one. View attachment 122769 View attachment 122769

The pic is of my dad's f150. It has the max load / tow packages on it. I think it's rated for 7800 lbs. It scaled out at 8000 ish . It made it from Green Bay to AK and back with no issues. Not even a flat tire on the trip. Saw a number of f150's pulling 5th wheel campers on that trip. For a once or twice a year camping trip a properly equipped 1/2 ton is fine. If you tow heavy weekly then you need a 3/4 or 1 ton.
The truck rating (11,000 lbs) is only one part of the equation which is the point of my post. You can't just go hook up to an 11,000 lb trailer because that rating says you can. Well you could but it won't be safe or within the other limits of the truck namely the hitch weight which directly cooresponds to the cargo capacity.

Seeing the pics you posted makes me wish I had the 6.5' bed. That slide in camper would be perfect for us.
 

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Right now I am licensed for a GCVWR of 24,000 lbs, but have the capability of much more. Licensing is another thing you need to consider. Here, if you are pulling a travel trailer, it is licensed differently than a utility trailer. I am still working on sorting all this out, but as of now, my understanding is that with a travel trailer, the trailer license covers it's weight. However, with a utility trailer, the tow vehicle must also be licensed to handle the combined weight of pickup and trailer. Most pickups around here are have the standard 12,000 lb license, however that does not allow you to pull much of a load, so if you are not careful, you can make the DOT boys real happy. Then there is the other side and that is, if you go too high on your licensing, you can get into CDL territory. I am still working that out.
What??? Anyone that has a standard Class C drivers license is allowed to operate any vehicle or combination of vehicles (i.e. truck + trailer) up to 26,000 lbs CGVWR. And I've never hear of any distinction between a utility trailer vs. RV type trailer as far as weight goes.
 
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What??? Anyone that has a standard Class C drivers license is allowed to operate any vehicle or combination of vehicles (i.e. truck + trailer) up to 26,000 lbs CGVWR. And I've never hear of any distinction between a utility trailer vs. RV type trailer as far as weight goes.

This stuff varies by state, but when he says licensed o believe he's referring to the license tags on the truck and trailer.

Wyoming and Tennessee do tag trailers differently. RVs get a special tag, in Wyoming it's an HT for house trailer. Other types of trailers are given a standard trailer tag and some states have weight limits on the tag. If you have a 10,000 pound rated trailer you could potentially put a tag good for 6,000 lbs of weight on it to save money or avoid CDL requirements.

With regard to CDL licensing, while there are federal guidelines every state has their own set of regulations as well. This thread is not about CDL questions, so let's try and leave that stuff alone if we can. :hi:
 

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What??? Anyone that has a standard Class C drivers license is allowed to operate any vehicle or combination of vehicles (i.e. truck + trailer) up to 26,000 lbs CGVWR. And I've never hear of any distinction between a utility trailer vs. RV type trailer as far as weight goes.

No CDL needed for rv's or boat trailers. However a CDL is needed for a trailer over 10,000 lbs. This is seldom if ever enforced .
 

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No CDL needed for rv's or boat trailers. However a CDL is needed for a trailer over 10,000 lbs. This is seldom if ever enforced .
Above is correct to my understanding. I do not know enough about what is enforced. Some stuff does vary inter state vs intra state whatever that means. Once you leave your state federal rules apply to you the way I understand it. I think the weight at which one needs a medical card was what I was trying to figure out. If you have a farm plate and some distance maybe 150 miles things can be less strict as I hear.

As to the original stuff. My stripped down 2012 f150 can actually carry a ton without a passenger, legally. I also think from being across scales empty a full tank is assumed in the ford light weight. Look in the manual for gcwr gross combined weight rating. Max trailer weight, max rear axle load max tongue load. Anything past I think 5000 lb trailer needs weight distributing hitch. They do play games trying to make you get the ecoboost but I have 99xx trailer wt with the 5.0v8.
 

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A 1/2 ton pickup really is just a "play" truck. You can haul some passengers and some very light loads safely, but if you are planning to make it do some "real work", then you need to upgrade to a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup for safety reasons.
Yep! My new Silverado is my car. I haven't owned a "car" for about 30 years! If I was into towing, I'd have a 3/4 or 1 ton Duramax for sure.:good2:


The truck rating (11,000 lbs) is only one part of the equation which is the point of my post. You can't just go hook up to an 11,000 lb trailer because that rating says you can. Well you could but it won't be safe or within the other limits of the truck
Oh so true, and this gets a lot of people in trouble for sure. I trailered 7,000 lbs of hay every year with my old '98 1/2 ton Silverado, and believe me that was a handful. To believe you can safely tow 11,000 with a 1/2 ton is ridiculous. My .02 of course.:)
 
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