1989 F350 GVCW tow capacity? - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

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1989 F350 GVCW tow capacity?

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Old 02-19-2011, 11:17 PM
Jarniscipus Jarniscipus is offline
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1989 F350 GVCW tow capacity?

Hey all-

I apologize if this has already been posted, but I can't find it. Anyone know the GVCW/towing capacity, tongue weight limit and bed load capacity of my truck. I'm trying to find the safe limit of towing.

1989 F350 4x4, crew cab, long bed, 460 motor, C6 trans, 1356 BW transfer case, Ford 10.25 with 4.10 gears, Dana 60 upfront. (no stickers on the doors anymore).

My truck struggles to get my boat up a hill. If I can determine that I am not safely towing my boat, then I'll have a good excuse to upgrade...I think the load is about 11,000 lbs (very large boat), but I am going to go weigh it this week. Aside from getting 5MPG towing and going 35MPH up a grade, the truck does a great job of towing the boat, other than the boat giving my truck a harsh ride. The truck/trailer stops on a dime and the truck is very stable at freeway speeds. The tongue weight does result in the helper springs being engaged.

I had a custom receiver hitch built for the truck - the fabricator was not kidding when he said the frame would snap before the hitch, so I am not worried about the hitch itself, just the rest of the truck.

What does max towing weight mean anyway, what fails first when you exceed the limits?

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Old 02-19-2011, 11:21 PM
Jarniscipus Jarniscipus is offline
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Oh, I should clarify what I meant with my last question of what does the max towing weight mean, I meant to ask what is the weak leak or first part to fail when you exceed your limits (e.g. leaf springs break, tires pop, frame bends, etc.). For example, I see those strong man guys on tv towing a fire engine or airplane with a rope, of course our trucks can pull a 50 ton airplane across the tarmac, but what goes first?
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:01 AM
dmanlyr dmanlyr is offline
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First, there is no set maximum "tow rating", there is a "will tow up to, or can tow up to"

You will find this information in your owners manual. But, here is a example as to how it works. It is really just a simple numbers game.

In 1990 (I do not have a 1989 book) your truck, but with a E4OD though would have had a 18,000 GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) This is the maximum rated amount that your paticular truck, your paticualar load in the truck and what you have tied on behind can weigh, at least From Fords, legal and insurance purposes.

It make no difference in the 18k figure if your truck weighs more, that just reduces what you can tow.

For example -

A 2wd Reg cab that weighs maybe 6000 lbs with cargo could tow a 12,000 lb trailer legaly.

However -

A 4wd crew cab that weighs perhaps 8500 lbs loaded can only tow a 9500 lb trailer legaly.

That is how the legal / insurance and Ford figures the GCWR.

You also have FAWR (Front axxle weight rating)
RAWR (Rear axle weight rating)
GVW (Gross vehicle weight rating)
That have to be adheared to. As well as hitch (if you have raised your truck and now need a drop hitch insert, that will REDUCE your hitch rating) ratings that have to be adheared to.

If you have lifted your truck and put on larger than stock tires, then your tow rating goes down as your brakes become less effective as well as your gearing goes up (Ford rates the same combo as above with 3.55 gears at 15k GCWR)

It does sound like you may be overloaded, exceeding the rated GCWR, depending upon what your loaded truck weighs......

As to the performance, you can't expect to blast up a hill loaded the same as unloaded. I would not consider 35 mph struggling, unless it was avery slight incline. I am down to single digits in my C600 dump at times. Now that is slow - right lane / hazards on is a good idea if you are signifigantly slower than the other traffic.

I hope this helps - Good luck with your towing!


*Edit* - one more thing - your GCWR is set by Ford, which is by law, the legal complete vehicle manufacture (unless you have something like a Centurion conversion, they, as a licenced builder will or may apply there own completed vehicle certification) so whatever upgrades that you add WILL NOT change that rating, unless you find a licenced vehical manufacture that is willing to recertify the upgraded truck at a higher GCWR.
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