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Towing Capacity Question
I know this isn't a RV site, but there are plenty of you guys on here that tow a rig to go hunting so I'm going to ask.
I'm looking at buying a toy hauler, and I'm wondering about the realistic towing capacity of my truck. I have a F-150 and the specs say my maximum towing capacity is 11,300 lb. Living in Colorado and towing up and down the passes out here, what would you say is a realistic maximum trailer weight I should consider? I was thinking if I don't go above 6,000-8,000 lb total I should be good. Does that sound about right?
You should be good but to me it's always been about how much you can go down hill with when dealing with steep, long descents.
What year is your truck and what engine?
cnelk - It's a 2010 5.4L V8 Lariat Quad Cab
LKH - Exactly my thoughts and the reason for my question. Big difference between what my truck can pull and how much weight I want pushing me down the hill. Also asking because I don't want to go too heavy and have it beat the hell out of my brakes and transmission.
You’ll want to put in a trailer brake controller. The proportional kind seem to be better than the older delay type. Pretty amazed at how well that works on my Tacoma for controlling my rev trailer.
I would not go over 7 thousand pounds and that is with holding tanks full and gear so loaded you should stay around that maybe a tad more. My Dodge Cummings is rated at 22,000 with air bags but I keep it around 16,000 and no strain at all! Shawn
Take towing capacity and reduce by 25%. That towing capacity is sea level. And make sure your truck has a brake controller installed. Its not the getting going that will be trouble, it's the stopping
Treeline - I think I already have one in my truck, installed from the factory. I'm a newb to needing one though, need to look deeper into that.
Cool, thanks for the answers guys.
I have a 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 w/ a 5.3 - It pulls my 17' toy hauler [ 1 atv] just fine loaded. I have a brake controller too. I wouldnt want to go any heavier tho.
Remember. Whatever gear/speed you use to go UP the mtn, use the same to go DOWN. Thats a good rule of thumb from my OTR trucker days
all good advice. & just take it easy. it's not getting something moving it's stopping under control & having enough truck to handle a quick reaction situation. I live on the eastern shore of va & rt 13 is one of the main travel corridors between ma.ct.ny.nj & pa to the OBX & I'm sorry to say but the buttheads pulling campers ridiculesly fast is just stupid I don't understand there on vacation & still can't just relax & take it easy
The real issue is the weight over your rear axles which is nowhere close to tow weight. 1/2 tons cannot have the same weight over its rear axle as a 3/4 or one ton can have. As more weight is over the axle, the less you have over your front and this compromises the steering capability of your tow vehicle.
Know what the axle load rating is and see how it compares to tongue weight on your bumper, assuming a bumper pull TH. Air bags alleviate the rear sag of the bumper weight giving steerability back.
Do some practicing with your brake controller before you tackle a big downhill grade. You'll figure out where it needs to be set, and use it manually to slow your rig down in some situations.
I have a new 30' toyhauler that was advertised as "half ton towable". I just went out to Sturgis and back towing it with my Silverado HD2500 diesel with a weight distributing hitch and I sure the heck would not want to tow it any distance with a half ton, especially in the mountains.
Lots of good advice. Its not what you can pull, it’s what you can stop! Trailer brakes make a big difference but keep an eye on them. For whatever reason anything wired on a trailer seems to love to stop working.
Prodigy brake controller.
Good advice. I mistakenly towed 17k lbs of gravel last year with my 12k rated dump trailer. My 350 powerstoke moved it and stopped it just fine but there sure was a lot of sounds coming from the trailer. It was a stressful 10 mile drive.
When it comes to towing don’t screw around.
Just a thought...you could put or have them put an extra brake axle on one for a fairly minimum cost and it'd help ALOT! (Most just come with one brake axle on those light rigs.)
No way would I tow that much with a half ton more than a few miles
Have seen a few people put a fifth wheel on a half ton, BIG MISTAKE>
I had a small 18' Jayco travel trailer for 4 years that only weighed about 3,500 fully loaded. My '08 F150 5.4L hauled it like it was nothing, but coincidence or not the truck started falling apart after the 4th year. I upsized my camper to a 21' that weighed about 5,000 lbs fully loaded and I eeked another year out of the F150 but that's all it could handle, and in the hills it wasn't that great. Now I put 3-5K miles on the camper per year. Last year I got a '17 F250 and it's night and day. Tows way better and I feel more comfortable with it. The advertised towing capacities are misleading I feel, depending on how many miles you'll be towing.
I had an 06 F150 with the 5.4 Triton and a 4 speed tranny including overdrive. It pulled my 37 ft Pioneer camper in NYS OK, but it worked for a living.
Fast forward, I have an 2018 F150 with the 2.7 Eco Boost and a 10 speed tranny. This truck would pull circles around my previous F150. Some of it is the motor (which rocks!) but a lot of it is the tranny. 10 speeds gives a lot of options and better efficiency. The new truck also has different driving modes. The Tow mode is great - downshift on hills if you tap the brakes, factors in brakes (which you adjust & set) and is nice to use. My camper is about 7,000 pounds.
I got the 3.5 ecoboost in my new 2019 f150. It has alot more power than my 03 f150 with the 5.4.
Here is a Consumer Report link about towing that is informative.
I've got a 2018 Tacoma. My towing capacity is 6400. However, I also tow in the mountains above 7k feet. My camper dry weight is 3200. With gear and water (if I dont fill ar my destination), I'm approx at 3500. The Tacoma handles it just fine, although I'm not going to win any races. But that is about the max weight I would be comfortable towing under those conditions. However, I do use a weight distribution hitch and use my manual shift for up and down hills. A couple of things to make sure your rig is equipped with when towing heavy loads; weight distribution system, brake controller, transmission cooler and drive smart down/up shifting when necessary.
The biggest limiting factor isn't total trailer weight, it is total payload and the tongue weight is the loaded trailer is a part of that.
The sticker inside your driver side door post will list your payload. That number figures a driver being 150#. Everything else is extra. Your weight above 150#, your passengers, dog, all the stuff under your seats and in your bed, your trailer hitch - everything. Subtract the total of all that stuff from your payload rating.
Now look at the trailer sticker. It will list a "dry tongue weight". But nobody hauls a dry trailer. Everything you put in the trailer significantly adds to the dry weight and the only way to know is to load it up and then have it weighted on certified scales like at a truck stop. Whatever that loaded tongue weight is also gets subtracted from your vehicle payload.
What it comes down to is I highly doubt you could safely haul anything remotely close to the maximum tow rating for a 1/2 ton pickup. There just isn't enough payload available to carry all the stuff you normally haul plus the loaded tongue weight of your trailer.
There are some good RV forums where you can get a lot more detailed info. IRV2 is one of them.
I have a 2018 f150 with the 5.0 v8. I pull a 24 foot bumper pull camper. It’s about 6200 fully loaded. I have an equalizer hitch and tow package. Properly adjusted, stopping has not been an issue. Even though my truck is rated to tow over 10000 pounds, I don’t think I would be comfortable with more than 7000