Ford F-Series Towing Questions

softstorsoftstor Member Posts: 13
edited August 2014 in Ford
I have a bumper pull horse trailer. Fully loaded, the trailer weight is less than 7500 lbs. I have noticed that the 2004 F-150, 5.5 ft bed, extended cab trucks can tow up to 7800 lbs, while the 5.5 ft bed, crew cab trucks can tow up to 9800 lbs. Is there any difference between the two F-150 trucks in towing cababilites since my trailer weight is below the towable amount? What is the difference in towing between the 2004 F-150 and 2005 F-250 trucks for a 7500 lb trailer?


  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    with no data to back it up, only years of experience towing trailers for personal use. The tow ratings on the new F-150 seems awfully high to me. I'm sure the truck could TOW that weight, however I'm skeptical as to how WELL the truck would handle it. What I am referring to is how well will that F-150 handle your 7,500 lb trailer in an emergency manuever where you have to change lanes VERY quickly and the trailer will want to fishtail wildly. Or how well would it handle the trailer on a long downhill grade if the trailer brakes fail. Or will it handle a long uphill grade without slowing down to 30 mph or overheating the engine and tranny.

    When selecting your tow vehicle, don't buy one that will just cover your current situation. Go for the F-250. You will be more relaxed while pulling that trailer.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Without checking myself, I have to second Mullins' comment, the 7500 lb. towing seems awfully high for a standard 1/2 ton PU.

    Are you sure that isn't the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)? That would be the weight of the vehicle COMBINED with the payload weight.

    My last half-ton Chevy was rated at 6100 lbs, and that was GVW.

  • kg11kg11 Member Posts: 530
    But I personally would only use a half-ton truck to tow that much weight across a parking lot for the reasons cited by Mullins. Just because it'll do it (barely) don't mean it's a good idea.

  • softstorsoftstor Member Posts: 13
    Since Ford has claimed that they have increased the towing capacity on the F-150 trucks, they claim that the crew cab version of their truck can tow up to 9800 lbs. My trailer weight of 7500 lbs was incorrect, the max weight of a fully loaded horse trailer would be less than 6500 lbs. Would an F-150 that is rated to tow 9800 lbs be able to handle a 6500 lb trailer or would this be a bad idea for this truck?
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I have seen that claim of 9,800 lbs of towing capacity. However, for all the reasons mentioned above, I wouldn't do it regardless of the factory rating. I have a VERY hard time believing any 1/2 ton truck can safely pull that kind of load. I have an F-350 diesel dually that is only rated for roughly 12,000 lbs of towing, many factors go into the maximum trailer towing weight than just the gross weight of the trailer itself. I use it to pull a 31' travel trailer, amongst other things. My travel trailer falls within the weight rating of the new F-150. However, I can tell you from experience that there is NO WAY IN HECK I'd pull it with ANY 1/2 ton. IMO, the brakes, suspension, frame, wheels and tires of a 1/2 ton are not up to the task of that kind of towing.

    I can't say this enough: Don't get a tow vehicle that just "covers" what you have now. Buy one with plenty of reserve capability just in case. You never know when the trailer brakes might fail, or that driver in front of you decides to stop in the center lane with you only three seconds behind at 70 mph, or the driver in front of you looses his/her load of lumber and you have to make a very abrupt lane change, etc....

    I am assuming you have at least a moderate amount of towing experience. If not, have you ever heard of this phrase? "The tail wagging the dog." I've seen this many times on the interstate where the trailer is WAY too big for the vehicle and it is swaying from side to side pushing the tow vehicle where ever it wants to.

    Anyway, I digress. I could go on and on with this subject. Get at least a 3/4 ton for that horse trailer. You won't regret it.
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    The 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton terms have been out of date for for a decade or more. Basing any decision on those designations won't get you anywhere.

    Pulling a 6500lb trailer with a truck rated for 9800lb is well within safe parameters. However, did I read right that you you intend to pull it off the bumper? That would not be recommended and would likely be very unsafe.
  • softstorsoftstor Member Posts: 13
    A bumper pull trailer is not a trailer that connects to a bumper. It is a trailer that connects to the trailer hitch on the back of the vehicle, supposed to a goose neck trailer that connects to a trailer hitch on the bed of the truck.
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    Just making sure. :^)
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Being able to safely pull a trailer across across Kansas at 50 mph has absolutely no bearing on pulling that same trailer across the Rockies. It may very well fall within the stated ratings. However, have you ever compared the brakes on a 1/2 ton truck to those of a 3/4 or 1 ton? I can tell you from experience those "tin can" rotors and drums on a 1/2 ton will not stop a 15,000 lb vehicle on anything but flat ground. Where did I get 15,000 lbs? The combined weight of the 9,800 lb trailer and the approximately 5,000 lb truck. I will not give you any names, but I can point you to several examples of how using too small of a tow vehicle will get you into trouble.

    BTW: I realize the 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ton designations are just that, designations. They give no indications of hauling/towing capacities.
  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    Manufacturers don't normally "waste" money putting any part that is more expensive than is minimally required.
    If both systems; the truck AND the trailer are working fine, you should have no difficulty stopping. Starting or going uphill is, naturally, not going to be as quick as without a trailer. But, but we know how that works if we have seen a tractor trailer climbing a grade while we wait for a chance to get by.
    So, the problems come in when a system fails and the other system is required to stop both the truck and the trailer weight. That can get knuckles white.
    Drive ahead. Pay closer attention to what is coming and prepare. Caution can be a really good thing.

    Enjoy the miles.
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    Have you compared the brakes on a new F-150 to those on the F-250/350?
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    But I can assure your there's no comparison to the shear mass of them. And that shear mass is what keeps a 15,000 lb load from speeding out of control when the trailer brakes fail on a long downhill grade.
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    that the brakes are the same?
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I'll bite. What are the specs for the F-150 and F-250 brakes? Not just rotor dimensions and weights, but also calipers and pads.
  • lyletlylet Member Posts: 27
    Does anyone have any information about towing in or out of OD. I have heard that towing with the OD on might not be a good thing on the transmission. Comments please.
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    When towing, heat is the number one enemy of your transmission. If the transmission has to keep shifting repeatedly, it'll cause heat buildup. Too much heat for too long degrades the transmission fluid and over time the tranny will fail.

    If you're towing a light load, and you're on relatively flat land, or small rolling hills, you can tow in O.D. If the tranny stays in OD almost continually and doesn't keep searching back and forth between OD and 3rd (or 4th) gear then you're okay to use overdrive.
    However, if you've towing heavy and each time you want to go 2 mph faster, the tranny drops out of O.D., or if you're trying to climb a hill and the tranny can't make up it's mind what gear to stay in every 30 seconds, then you're much better off locking it out of O.D.
    Same goes with regular gears too. If you're pulling a load and climbing a big hill and the tranny's searching between 3rd and 4th. Downshift to 3rd and keep it there for the duration of the climb. You may go a bit slower, but the tranny is spinning faster, slipping less, and able to dissipate heat much better.

    If you tow a lot there's a couple of good investments you can make. First -- transmission temperature gauge. You'll acutally be able to track how hot tranny gets pulling a hill. Basically, you don't want your tranny fluid to exceed about 225 degrees for more than a couple of minutes and the fluid looses its friction modifiers and you start eating up the tranny. If you overheat the tranny, it's adviseable to replace your fluid with in a realtive short time to save your self a much costlier repare later on, Other investment is a supplmental transmission cooler - allows you to dump that excess towing heat quicker than stock, and as a result tranny doesn't heat up anywhere near as bad on a tough pull. You've only got an F150, so you shouldm't be towing a skid steer or 12K lb, 5th wheel trailer, but still even with the lighter loads you should be aware of how you're using and/or abusing your transmission.
  • lyletlylet Member Posts: 27
    Thanks for the suggestions
  • fish12fish12 Member Posts: 3
    i tow a 15' boat to fla. every fall 1500 miles each way.As #2 stated,if it is a flat drive and the tranny is not shifting all the time then OD is ok.i drive it at 75-80 the entire way and no problems.i even averaged 14-15 MPG.
  • seamule51seamule51 Member Posts: 3
    just bought a 2004 f-350 and plan on towing a fifth wheel toy hauler. the owners manual rates it at 12,200. automatic/6.0TD. What happened to the 05's,06's, and 07's that they can tow 4000lbs more? Dilithium crystals? I've also looked at the ford body guide that was refered to and it rates me at 12,800. the door jam sticker rates it at 20,000 gcrw. I guess i should weigh the truck on a scale and whatever is left over i can tow up to 20,000. Also, how can i tell if i've got a 3.73 or 4.10 ratio? Thanks, Smitty
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    For '99 and up Superduties, the axle code is on the vehicle certification sticker on the lower doorpost behind the driver's door. That code tells you axle ratio and if it's limited slip or not. The only code-breaker I know is in the Helm shop manual. Here it is for a F-350 PSD DRW:

    37 = 3.73 non-limited slip
    4L = 4.30 limited slip
    4N = 4.10 limited slip

    There were a whole bunch of small tweaks to the Superduty drivetrain and chassis in '05 that allowed it to have a bigger payload and towing capacity. Ford had to keep up with Dodge and GM.

    Difference between body guide and manual may be for the bed length of your truck. Long bed is heavier and has 35% bigger fuel tank than short bed. :confuse:
  • seamule51seamule51 Member Posts: 3
    I looked on the sticker but found nothing referenced to that code. Guess I didn't do all my homework when I bought the truck. Thanks, Smitty
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    Here's another site that might help you decode what's on your truck

    Ford VIN Decoder

    You can also look on the cover of the rear differential. There may be a coppery-colored tag hanging on it with the code # for axle ratio stamped on it.
  • seamule51seamule51 Member Posts: 3
  • lyletlylet Member Posts: 27
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    Prior to the 05 Superduty, Ford had 3 truck frames. F-150, F-250/350 and F-450/550.

    Obviously this was expensive so for 2005, they put the F-250/350 on the F-450/550 frame with lower rated springs and axles. Hence the increase in towing capacity.

  • bulldog6bulldog6 Member Posts: 8
    Trying to figure out which 1 ton diesel dually Dodge or Ford is the best for pulling a heavy rv. Any information on vehicles would be appreciated. Stick or automatic.
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    Are you kidding? You obviously have not done a test drive yet. hehehe Drive the Dodge first. The F-350 makes the Dodge seem like a 30 yo work truck.

    Also always use automatic for towing. The clutch is a weak link.

  • smoothride4mesmoothride4me Member Posts: 13
    I have an aluminum 2 horse trailer which I tow with my 1999 ford F250 7.3 diesel.. Complete weight of the trailer with the horses in it are about 4000 pounds, Now I am looking to put a Lance cabover in the bed of the truck weighing about 2000 pounds, Would I be able to have the cabover and pull the horse trailer without boosting up the rear suspension?
    Thanks for any help I can get!!!
  • ebennettebennett Member Posts: 1
  • dlehrdlehr Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 F-150 4x4 and while pulling our other truck out of the yard, I heard a pop and now the truck doesn't go into reverse. The fluid doesn't look burnt and it goes into park and drive, but when put into reverse I hear a buzzing noise. Any ideas ?
  • hen3ryhen3ry Member Posts: 1
    Can someone tell me the number of leaves are on a "stock" 2004 F-250 supercab.
    I just bought one used and it seems abit "up there". I may be 6'1" but there's less of me below the belt than above so it's abit of a hop up. Should get some runnin boards but...
    Just joined so I'll say Howdy as well.
  • scuba454scuba454 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 F-250 Super Duty with the 5.4 liter eng and 4:10 gears. I pull a 29' coachmen travel trailer. My foot is always to the floor with this thing. One the high way going with traffic I can average about 65 MPH. On other roads I average about 57-60 MPH. People tell me that this is enough truck to pull this without a problem but it's very hard to pull the trailer. I even put a larger XSMN cooler on the truck, because the fluid would get so hot and push out the front seal. Has anyone experienced this problem with this truck? Some people say that I should get a stronger built XSMN?
  • jimbob560jimbob560 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Ford F-150 FX4 with a 5.4 V8 and a 3:73 rear gear. I have pulled a 3 axle 22' trailer weighing about 2300 lbs... On the trailer was a 1991 Mitsubishi Montero 4 door with a curb weight of 3800 lbs. I had tow this vehicle over 4 mountains about 90 miles and had no trouble climbing these mountains with a speed of approx. 40 mph. Given that it did pull this fairly easily, I would not do this very often. I guess that I am to easy on my truck.
  • agrindianaagrindiana Member Posts: 2
    I have a 01 F250 7.3l diesel and I tow a 31' travel trailer 5000lbs max. I notice if I try to maintain hwy. speeds of 70 it seems like it is over reving with trans out of overdrive. Pulls good in od but I don't want to burn up trans. Any thoughts?
  • agrindianaagrindiana Member Posts: 2
    I have an 01 F250 7.3L with a performance chip my fuel economy has gone up dramatically 24 hwy at 70mph and 18 city. My question is there any adverse effects of having this chip hooked up?
  • magras60magras60 Member Posts: 3
    My wife and I are looking to purchase a used dually with a diesel engine. We are hoping that some of the wise diesel truck owners might offer some advice. We will be towing a 30-35 foot fifth wheel trailer in the northern united states for a few months at a time. We would like and would greatly appreciate input on truck, dually, hitch, best mileage and so forth. We thank you for reading this.
  • jetdrjetdr Member Posts: 1
    I have an F-150, 1994, 5 speed, 4x4 and would like to tow it behind my motor home. I would like to know if I can tow it with all wheels on the ground and any other suggestions or cautions I should observe. I intend to purchase a class IV tow bar, and base plates.Thank you.
  • crabladcrablad Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 F250 diesel that coughs and stalls when pulling our trailer. Engine light comes on and stalls when stopped. Have had it in the shop but they can not find the problems. $4500 later we still cough and stall. I need help!!
  • ffssmithffssmith Member Posts: 1
    What is the gear ratio in a 99 f-250 super duty with a 7.3 powerstoke?
  • scooter0311scooter0311 Member Posts: 4
    I want to buy a bed lift kit to basicly turn my 8 ft bed into a dumper. the hydrolic is rated 2 ton but how much gravel can I put in the bed. I would like to fit 1 1/2 - 2 yrd will this destroy my truck? If this works I will be saving a lot of money on buying one of those dump trailers for $3,500 what should i do?

    heres the link to that hydrolic Up7lA
  • newbietof150newbietof150 Member Posts: 1

    New to the F150 world and considering buying a 2010 F150 SuperCrew with the 5.4l engine and a 3.55 rear end.

    I have a trailer that weighs 6000lbs DRY!.

    The brochure shows one section that GWVR is 7350 but then on the next page the GCWR is 15,000 and the Maximum trailer loaded ratings show 9600lbs for the SuperCrew 5.4 145 Inch Wheel base.

    Can someone help me understand what this truck is really rated for?
  • rav4manrav4man Member Posts: 21
    That 4x4 Supercrew is one bad truck. I have an 05 and pull whatever I want. You just hook it up and the truck will pull til it can't any more. Wrap a chain around a tree trunk and throw it in 4x4 low. Just spins tires if going gets too tough.Only way you can break em is dumping too much weight dead on then tryin ta drive wid thad. First thing to bust is the shock absorbers. Yeah I blew a few.
    Can't do that in a chevy they just break all the time. Cheap plastic parts on those chevys just fall off first. I see chevy parts all over the highway. What is that all aboud?
  • oil_house_24oil_house_24 Member Posts: 1
    I tried to back our new, (to us) 5th wheel up our driveway and jack knife it around in front of the house. I had to stop near the top of the hill to move some fence. When I tried to finish backing up the truck didn't want to push the load. I applied more fuel, until it pushed the trailer back where I wanted it. However, it blew something and I had transmission fluid all over the front yard. I pulled the inspection plate from below the torque converter, cleaned off all the fluid under the truck. Now, I can not find a leak. I am happy that it isn't leaking, but worried that it will start again when I put another load on it. Can anyone tell me if I did any permanent damage to this truck? It is a 2001 F350 Diesel, with an automatic.
  • hugh10hugh10 Member Posts: 1
    I am thinking about buying a 7.3 ford 350 from an individual. It has under 100,000 miles and has been used to tow a camper. The seller has told me he installed towing and fuel economy chips. Do these chips have any adverse effect on the engine' such as excessive heat, ware, or shortened engine life?
This discussion has been closed.