Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Ford F-Series Towing Questions

softstorsoftstor 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?


  • 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 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 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.

  • 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?
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Posts: 638
    Just making sure. :^)
  • 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 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 Posts: 638
    Have you compared the brakes on a new F-150 to those on the F-250/350?
  • 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 Posts: 638
    that the brakes are the same?
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Posts: 27
    Thanks for the suggestions
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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:
  • 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
  • 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.
  • lyletlylet Posts: 27
  • mschmalmschmal 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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 ?
This discussion has been closed.