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F-150 tow limits

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Hello all - I have a 2023 F-150 Hybrid, which I believe has 11k or 12k towing capacity, based on my research.  We want to purchase a 30ft travel trailer (total length), but want to be sure that we do not buy something that is too big for our truck to tow.  I am looking at Rockwood or Cougars for reference (25 or 26 ft living area).  Would you think that we should be OK with purchasing a TT that has a dry weight of about 6800 (which I would imagine has loaded weight of 8500) - Or is that being too optimistic?  Here are the figures I could gather: Curb weight of F150 - 4900lbs (but some other sources state it is 7000+?) / GVWR - 7350 lbs / Gross Combined Weight Rating - 17,100 lbs / Max Payload - 1,332 lbs.  Any help is greatly appreciated, along with links to "starter package lists" for us to make sure we have the right types of surge protectors, drainage hoses, etc...  Thank you!! 

Edited by Gator_traveler
Updated the weight of F150 from different source
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Lots of things to consider and there will be trade offs as they say. It all depends on your mission profile, what you want to do, where you want to go and such. I'm going out on a limb and thinking you may be in the South East, Florida maybe. Worst thing about Florida is the heat and heat on tires. Make sure you have the proper inflation and always have a full size spare. It does not take much to get to the top of your payload quickly. I went the other way and got a big truck and a payload on my trailer that I'll never go over. It's my home on wheels though. I'm thinking you will just be doing weekends for now. 

Remember the sales people are trying to make the sale and will tell you what you want to hear, not what may be safest thing for you. Good luck with your search and purchase and come back to let us know how it goes. 



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Welcome to the forums! We are happy you have joined us. I think that you are in the right area on towing capacity, but it is important to keep in mind that designed towing weights are based on a flatbed trailer with pretty much a flat load. With a travel trailer you have a very large frontal area that creates a wind drag factor to be considered and that the large flat sides will experience a side push from each passing truck or gusty wind. It is also important think about the wheelbase of the truck compared to the length of the travel trailer. As a general rule of thumb, the first 110 inches of wheelbase allow for a 20-foot trailer. For each additional four inches of wheelbase length, you get one foot more in trailer length.

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You need to do a couple of things.  First, you need to find your trailer's GVWR - the maximum weight your truck can tow -  which is your trailer's dry weight plus its cargo carrying capacity (CCC).  Very easy to find on the trailer mfg website.

Now, not so easy to find, get on Ford's website and do a search for their towing capacity chart for all their makes and models.  On that chart you will need to find the column with your truck's engine, transmission, axle ratio, bed length, and whether or not you have a tow package for your model.  That will tell you how much your particular truck can tow.

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A friend of mine had an F150 hybrid and a 25’ (overall, not floor box) trailer that has a GVWR of 6800 lbs (published dry weight of 4930, but that was nowhere close to what his trailer weighed - it was always between 6,000 -6,500).  I also don’t think his particular truck had 1300 payload - I think it was close to 1200, due to the trim level he had.  That was a good combination.

He then bought a larger trailer - 28’ (overall, not box), GVWR of 8400 lbs that was also known to be a tongue heavy model.  His tongue weight was over 1,000 lbs.  He towed it once with the F150 hybrid (a truck that he LOVED!) and immediately ordered a bigger truck.  I think he ended up ordering an F350 diesel, because he wanted to be a little more future-proof than he would have been with an F250.

He misses the hybrid but does like the F350 more than he thought he would - and he LOVES the bigger trailer.

Based on his experience, I would look at smaller trailers.

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Thank you all for wonderful advice and wisdom!!  @Kirk W great formula!  Did not know this...my Wheelbase is 145 inches which would put me at about 28ft (I assume this is total trailer, not living area?).  In looking at this further, I was able to message with Ford today and ask them - they said 12,300 towing capacity, but went to the grid online (thank you @Tulecreeper) and think she was incorrect, and it is actually 11,000 (will confirm w dealership tomorrow).  This whole process has opened my eyes and I think the challenge will be with the tongue weight, as well as possibly towing.  I am seeing tongue weights between 700-950 lbs for the trailers we are looking at. 

I used the calculator on Ford's website with my truck specifics, and it lets you edit / configure weight of passengers, cargo, and accessories and then outputs a Max Tongue weight and Max Trailer Rating.  I went ahead and added 450 lbs for passengers, 50 lbs for cargo, and 50 lbs for accessories and the outputs are:

Max. Tongue Load - 782 lbs
Max. Trailer Rating - 7,820 lbs

Here are a couple of examples of trailers we were previously investigating...Even though the 2 examples below are over the max trailer rating that the Ford calculator output, I do not think we would add more than 1000lbs for us 2 people of cargo in the trailer.

Trailer 1 - 32.3 Ft. Exterior length

Hitch Weight - 690 lbs

UVW - 6,845 lbs
GVWR - 8,495 lbs

Trailer 2 - 28.6 Ft Exterior length 

UVW - 5,906 lb.
CCC - 3,574 lb.

If I were to use the Ford calculator as gospel, both of these would be at the limits and pushing it bit I am not sure if I am over-thinking this.  @fpmtngal good use case there, and I am thinking the data from above + your friend who was happy with 25ft box trailer and the Hybrid F150, it may make more sense to step down to a ~25Ft exterior length.  For background, yes we would use it in southeast predominantly along flat areas and for weekend or week-long trips.  Thank you for any other advice, much appreciated!

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With a 1/2-ton truck you will reach the trucks GVWR and/or rear axle GAWR limits long before you reach the max towing capacity.  Load up YOUR truck with full fuel, cargo, passengers, etc and head to the scales and get a total weight and each axle weight.

Now you have a starting point for the true weight YOUR truck can safely tow within Ford ratings.  For a loaded hitch weight for the trailer, use 12% of the trailers GVWR, not the unloaded or dry weights from the brochure.  Add 50# to the truck's total and rear axle weight for a typical weight distribution hitch.    If you go with a ProPride or Hensley use 100#.

Take the published trucks GCWR and subtract the actual loaded truck weight and this is the maximum trailer you can tow within ratings.   Now the hitch weight will add to the trucks weight and load on the axles.  Make sure you do not exceed the trucks rear axle GAWR or the GVWR with the added hitch weight.

The hitch weights you have listed are low for the loaded trailer. Your loaded hitch weight will be closer to 1000#, not the 690# you listed.  The loaded hitch weight needs to be a minimum of 10% the loaded trailer weight or the trailer will more than likely handle poorly.

I personally would not pull a 32' trailer with an F150.  You can easily get the tail wagging the dog.  I am going through this now with my 2022 EcoBoost Lariat with the TowMax package.  I have towed trailers with small to medium SUVs and have experienced the truck needing a smaller trailer.


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This online towing calculator will accurately match your F150(or any tow vehicle) to a travel trailer. It does not address lengths.  You will note some blocks require actual weights instead of  published figures.

In addition to the formula Kirk stated;there is a second formula written in this blog: https://davidsrvtips.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-long.html


Edited by Ray,IN
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  • 3 weeks later...

It's important to note that while the towing capacity of your truck is important, you also need to consider other factors such as payload capacity, hitch weight, and tongue weight. The payload capacity of your truck is 1,332 pounds, which means you'll need to subtract the weight of any passengers, cargo, and accessories from that number to determine how much weight you have left for your trailer's hitch weight.

The hitch weight of your trailer will depend on the specific model you choose, but as a general rule of thumb, it should be around 10-15% of the trailer's loaded weight. So, for a trailer with a loaded weight of 8,500 pounds, the hitch weight would be between 850 and 1,275 pounds.

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