Newbie Q on towing capabilities

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RV Dan

New member
Jun 21, 2006
First off let me say I am totally new to the travel trailer lifestyle and any help will be greatly appreciated. First off lets start with the truck:

2005 Ford F-150 SuperCrew FX4 4X4  5.4L V8
GVWR #7200
Front GAWR - #3750
Rear GAWR - #3850
GCWR - #14,00
4 passangers - Approx #600

While looking at TT the wife likes the below:

2006 31' 31QBSS Forrest River Wildwood LE with Slide out.
Hitch Weight - #805
Axle Weight - #6430
Dry Ship Weight - #6660
GVWR - # 10,965
CCC Cargo Capacity - #4305

The question is will the Ford be enough truck for this trailer? Also with the spec's on the truck if this is not the trailer I go with what is the trailer maximum limit or GVWR I should stay under?

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
West Palm Beach, FL
The question is will the Ford be enough truck for this trailer?

Probably not.

Ford rates your truck for towing  either 8200 or 9200 lbs, depending on the rear axle .  If yours has a 14,000 lb GCWR, that means it is the 3.53 axle and therefore an 8200 lb max trailer weight. F150 Towing Guide
But with four people on board - and probably some gear as well - you have considerably less than the max actually available. 
You should be looking at trailers with a GVWR of no more than about 7000 lbs , which leaves you a bit of capacity for passengers and gear in the truck. 6500 lbs would be better yet, especially if you plan to tow in the West, with its long and steep grades.  The Dry Weight of the trailer you like is already as much as you can compfortably tow, so with even a modest amount of "stuff" onboatd the trailer you are going to be at or beyond the truck's outer limits.

An F150 is more of a car than a truck and not a really serious tow vehicle. If you want a trailer in this size range (and you & the wife have chosen  a nice one!), you need a Superduty (F250 or F350) or a E350 van. With the Superduty chassis, you get a substantially stronger suspension, frame, drive train and brakes, all of which you need for towing larger trailers. Don't skimp on the truck - for the sake of both your safety and your comfort.

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Mar 14, 2005
west Los Angeles
I agree with Gary.  An F150 is too light a truck for a 31 foot trailer.  A 9200 tow rating translates into 7360 lb rating if you ever plan to tow in the mountain or Pacific coast west.  (20% safety factor for alitude and miles of 6-8% grade).  You are eyeing a trailer that is calculated to weigh 6660 lbs dry.  That translates into a real world CCC of 700 lbs.  When you consider food, clothes, gear, and water in the tanks, fresh, gray and black it is not much at all.

If you already own the truck, tell your wife to start looking at trailers in the 26-28 foot range.  Use the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating which can be found on the DOT plate as a trailer weight.

I am assuming that you are looking for a trailer for vacation use.  I am further assuming that your passenger load is 2 adults, 2 children.  On that basis, consider RVing as a luxurious form of camping.  The trailer is for sleeping, toilet, and cooking, and not all the cooking.  You will spend much of your time outside the trailer barring inclement weather.  You are buying a moblie cottage not a mobile home.  You do not need as much space as you think.  There are plenty of even 24 foot trailers that provide a queen bed, two bunk beds, a dinette, a couch, a galley kitchen and a toilet.  26ers get even more in, and 28ers can be spacious -- even without slides


Active member
Jun 2, 2006
Moreno Valley, CA
See my recient post - I also have a F150 SuperCrew, rated at 8,000 lbs max. I have a reciently purchased 26' toy hauler, dry weight of 6600 lbs, loaded its over the 8000 i'm sure. I went out this past weekend for its first long haul, and it was miserable. the engine is good and strong, the truck is big enough to keep it completely under control, the brake controller ensures a good stopping distance, but my opinion is the transmission is the weak point on the F150.

If you are defiantely keeping the F150, look at traiilers in the 21-23ft range, and keep your dry weight in the lower 5,000 lb range. these guys are spot-on with telling you to allow 15-20% margin on your towing capacity. if not, you WILL damage your transmission. not "might"... WILL.

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
West Palm Beach, FL
Thanks for the information. I haven't purchased the truck as of yet, just have a co-worker with the F150 for sale who would give me a better price then another individual. Really wanted to stay with the F150 that is why I was needing to know it limitation. If I understand the towing terms correct you stated the truck with a #8200 max towing weight. Does that mean I subtract the TT's GVWR lets say it's full at #5747 leaving me #2453 for passangers and fuel?  Please forgive the dumb question but I really want to purchase what will be safe.

I wondered out on lunch today and looked at another TT. Maybe it is more suitable for the F150.

2006 Surveyor SV291 by Forest River
Total Dry # 4427
Load Capacity #1320
Hitch Weight #420

Thanks for your help

RV Dan made the above reply privately, but I have re-posted it here to keep it all in context of the original inquiry.

The max towing weight is the maximum amount that can be towed behind the truck, assuming nothing onboard the truck except the driver and a full fuel tank.  It is not directly related to the GVWR. Instead it depends on the GCWR (see the RV Glossary on the home page for more about these terms). Glossary

You cannot exceed either the 14,000 lb GCWR (combined weight of truck and trailer) or the 7200 lb GVWR of  the truck. The truck's GVWR is the max loaded weight of the truck itself. The weight of the trailer tongue that rests on the hitch is part of that load, as is the hicth itself, but not the entire weight of the trailer [that's becasue most of the trailer weight rests on its own axles]. And everything else that is carried in or on the truck (passengers & gear) is part of its Gross Vehicle Weight and thus limited by the GVWR.  The truck will have a spec "curb" weight which is supposed to include a full load of fuel and an allowance of 154 lb for the weight of the driver. Subtract that from the GVWR and that tells you how much weight the truck can actually carry (that's the number that is usually stated as the truck's "payload" in the sales brochures.

The 4427 lb Surveyer is a much better choice for this truck. Even fully loaded it is nicely within the F150's limits.
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