Can I tow this?

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New member
Sep 25, 2005
Hello everyone!
I am definitely a newbie, so please have patience!  We are trading in our 23'Bantam Trail-Lite for a 32' Jayco Jayflight BHS (haven't traded yet, but will in the next day or so).  We have been towing the Bantam easily with our 1995 15-passenger E-350 Ford Club Wagon Van with a 5.8L engine.  The new camper has the following ratings:  Unloaded weight 6885#, Dry hitch weight 970#, GVWR 9000#, CCC 2115#.  These numbers are all pretty much Greek to me, but my question is:  can my van tow this new trailer.  The salesman assures me confidently that it can, but I'm not sure whether or not he's accurate or just trying to make a sale.  We cannot afford to buy both a new trailer and a new tow vehicle, so need to be sure about this before trading up.  Any help you can offer this newbie would be wonderful!  Thanks!

Jim Dick

Moderator Emeritus
Feb 11, 2005
Titusville, FL
Hi Parkymom,

Welcome to the forum. I'm no expert on towing but check your tow vehicle manual and see if it gives you any information. The unloaded weight is what the trailer weighs without anything in it. The dry hitch weight is what is placed on your tow vehicle hitch. The GVWR is the gross vehicle weight rating which is the maximum the vehicle should weigh when loaded. This is easily exceeded and can be dangerous! The CCC is the weight you can put in the trailer which includes water, propane, food, clothes, etc. I believe this figure includes a number of people with a certain weight. That should be on the sticker in the coach. This can be discounted for a trailer since nobody will be riding in the unit when it's being towed.

I hope some of our trailer towing experts will jump in here and add to or correct anything I might have said wrong. :) You are wise not to rely on any sales person.

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
West Palm Beach, FL
I would be very skeptical of towing that much weight with your van, especially since it is going to have a lot of passenger weight onboard with your big family. The tow ratings the manufacturer gives are the max for an unloaded vehicle, so you have to subtract the weight of passengers to find what is really left for the trailer. 

I couldn't find a tow rating for a 1995 E350, but I did find a table for the 2000 models. The only ones that exceed 7500 lbs are the V10 and the Powerstroke diesel. I would guess your 5.8L is probably in the 7500 lb range, but that may depend to some extent on the rear axle it has. A cooperative Ford dealer should be able to obtain the towing specs for you from the Ford database, using your VIN. They have records about the specific vehicle and its ratings.  Ideally you want to be 10% or more UNDER the max tow rating, after subtracting passenger weight and any gear carried in the van.

I would also assume the trailer will actually weigh close to its GVWR (it maximum allowed weight). It is amazing how quickly weight adds up as everybody brings their favorite gear, plus food and clothing and recreational  equipment. If it comes in a thousand lbs or so under the max, consider yourslef lucky to have a bit of "cushion" and room for future expansion.

Unfortunately RV salesman are mostly focused on the sale and sadly uninformed as well, so typically give out erroneous information on towability. If he can't quote you numbers from a Ford source, then ignore what he says about towing and seek data from another source.

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Mar 14, 2005
west Los Angeles
We have been towing the Bantam easily with our 1995 15-passenger E-350 Ford Club Wagon Van with a 5.8L engine.  The new camper has the following ratings:  Unloaded weight 6885#, Dry hitch weight 970#, GVWR 9000#, CCC 2115#.  These numbers are all pretty much Greek to me, but my question is:  can my van tow this new trailer.

Let me second RV Roamer.  The short answer is NO.

The nearest Trailer Life tow ratings I can discover for the Econoline Wagons is 1999.  The first question is do you mean the 5.4L V8 or the 6.8L V10?  If the 5.4L, with a 3.98 or bigger rear end ratio, the tow rating is only 7,000 lbs.  If the 6.8L, then the rating is 8,900 lbs with the 3.73 read end, and 10,000 lbs with the 3.98 or more. 

Even with the big bore, 3.98:1 10,000-lb rating, pulling a 9000 lb GVWR trailer is close to the line.  I normally recommend a 10% headroom on the trailer's GVWR to allow for payload in the truck and trailer -- 20% if you tow in the mountain west.  So 10,000 lbs of tow rating would be good enough for east of the Mississippi.  However, you are driving a 10-year old wagon.  The engine is going to be tired, and the transmission even more tired.  So even the best engine and rear-end rating would be marginal.

Go for a lighter trailer, or a new tow vehicle.

And yes, never trust the opines of salesmen.  Their job is to sell you at the best price they can get.


Well-known member
Mar 31, 2005
Northern Kentucky
I will need some additional info regarding the drivetrain of your Clubwagon. The 1995 model with the 5.8L V-8 gas engine was rated to tow up to 10,000 pounds with the appropriate equipment. Please post the data you have on the differential size and the type of automatic transmission you have. Is the truck equipped with the optional tow package?

A short explanation of the numbers.
9000 lb. GVWR- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating- The maximum weight that the trailer axles are designed to carry including the trailer, water, sewage, food, furniture and underwear.
6885 lb. Unloaded weight. This is how much the trailer weighs without the stuff mentioned above. A lot of times, this is a guess and can be way off. Ask for a CAT scale weight ticket to verify.
2115 lb. CCC- Cargo Carrying Capacity. Subtract the unloaded vehicle weight from the GVWR and you get this number. This is how much of the aforementioned stuff you can put in the trailer. Bear in mind, if the unloaded vehicle weight is wrong, then the CCC will be wrong as well. The only number you can trust is the axle ratings since that is assigned by the axle manufacturer.
If we assume that your vehicle was outfitted for towing, then this unit should fall within safe towing limits and leave a 10% margin for error. I would have the unit weighed before I signed on the line to be sure. With the original output of 210 horsepower, you'll win no races and if you travel west you won't have any friends on the long uphill pulls either. On the upside, the truck came equipped with 4 wheel ABS and was designed around a cargo hauling chassis. Just be sure you have a weight distributing hitch and some sort of sway control since this van can be a little rocky.

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