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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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Old 09-29-2012, 01:09 PM
turnkyle turnkyle is offline
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F150 towing capacity discussion

It seems the general agreement is that the safe towing capacity for our year range of F150's is around 5000 lbs and I'm assuming that's with trailer brakes. That is half of what the newer half tons are rated at, so why are our trucks built to tow so little? Even when they were brand new if you had a 20 ft ish camp trailer for occasional use that is pretty much maxing out the tow rating on these trucks. It seems like all they were built for was towing a small boat/jet ski's or a 2 place snowmobile or 4wheeler trailer.

My truck has the max tow package, 6200 lb gvwr, and it still only has a 3.55 rear end. I would think a "max" tow package would atleast have 3.73's. It looks like a previous owner had a 5th wheel hitch and airbags on it at one point, which I think is crazy for this truck. Must have been a pretty small 5th wheel. It currently has a 5 inch lift, add a leafs, brake controller, and 285's on it still with the 3.55 rear end and I had to keep my foot in it to stay between 60 and 65 on the highway towing ~3500 lbs (3 place enclosed v-nose trailer full of furniture and other house hold goods, I was moving) unless I was going downhill. I am planning on regearing to 4.10's to put it pretty close back to stock and I want to be able to tow a 20 ft ish camp trailer occasionally with a dirtbike or two in the bed but I don't want to have my foot in it all the time. I plan on upgrading to a CCSB Diesel at some point in the future so I am not looking to get into the F150 vs 250 vs 350 debate. I know what I would like to do is pushing a F150 to it's limits and am not necessarily planning on doing it with this truck. Just looking for a good discussion on the tow ratings of these trucks.

Just out of curiosity, how does the tow rating for the F150 compare to similar years of GM or Dodge? Was this just the industry standard at the time?
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnkyle View Post
That is half of what the newer half tons are rated at,
The new F150 is NOT a 1/2 ton truck.

Your truck is actually rated to tow about 7500lbs with stock sized tires, with those 32s your effective final drive ratio is about 3.18 and that combined with the relatively weak engine(compared to what it's capable of when uncorked or a current truck) is why it performs so poorly. If you fixed those tow issues(power and gearing) the truck would tow somewhat comparable to a new truck.
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1990 5.0HO AOD XLT X-Cab F150 3.55LS, 1994 3.0L 5-sp x-cab Ranger 3.45, 2004 3.0L 5-sp X-cab Ranger Edge 4.10, 2004 2.5L 5-spd Subaru Legacy
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:17 PM
turnkyle turnkyle is offline
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How is the new F150 not a 1/2 ton? What is it considered than, a light duty 3/4 ton/heavy half ton?
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:39 PM
Spktyr Spktyr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnkyle View Post
How is the new F150 not a 1/2 ton? What is it considered than, a light duty 3/4 ton/heavy half ton?
The class name is still called 'half-ton' but the actual trucks in it these days can actually tow and haul more than my old 'one-ton' truck.

The class names stopped being indicative of what the truck could do a long, long time ago.

As for why our trucks are less capable, that's because technology has marched on. Keep in mind that our trucks are essentially the same as the version that came out in 1980 underneath the bodywork. The new trucks are built with much larger and more powerful brakes, more robust frames, stronger suspensions, more powerful engines and better refined/more effective steering systems.

Back in the early 90s, our trucks were considered very capable. Then Dodge released the New Ram and the arms race in trucks began. The (current) end result is what you see today - 'half-tons' that would have been considered 'one tons' or more back in the old days.

Here's the official Ford towing sheet for 94/94.5-97 OBS trucks, courtesy of another member:
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:51 PM
turnkyle turnkyle is offline
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It looks like my truck is rated for 7100 lbs max. when it was fully stock. Good info to have.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:56 PM
GoinBoarding GoinBoarding is offline
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If you buy a new F150 with max payload package the GVWR is 8200lbs....for a "1/2" ton truck. The listed payload on a 4x2 F150 with the new 5.0 motor and a regular cab 145" wheelbase is 3120lbs. I've had 1800ish lbs in my 96' and it was overloaded.. Just bigger better stronger (but not as simple to repair, or cheap).
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:02 PM
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I towed a 1999 Buick Century with my '89 F150 straight 6, truck is stock, 2.73 gears with the C6.


Did fine actually. Was abit sluggish from a dead stop, but once going, it was chuggin along good. Breaking power was decent enough, no trailer brakes on that dolly.

Car weighs around 3600lbs, and dolly, maybe 400lbs?

Click the image to open in full size.



Even if you go way over the towing capacity of the truck, no harm, as long as you don't make it a habit... once in a while is fine if you ask me.
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1989 Ford F150 300-6, C6, 2.73, 135,000km/84,000 miles.
1987 Ford E350 26ft. Motorhome, N/A 6.9L Diesel, C6, 3.54, 277,000km/173,000 miles.
1985 Ford E350 Ext Van, 6.9L Diesel, C6, 4.11, 670,000km/419k miles
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:42 PM
CJM8515 CJM8515 is offline
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Dolly is much easier to tow than a full on trailer-less weight and resistance. Plus you have a C6 no overdrive to bother ya.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:39 AM
Spktyr Spktyr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDIDieselJohn View Post
Even if you go way over the towing capacity of the truck, no harm, as long as you don't make it a habit... once in a while is fine if you ask me.
It's also illegal to tow more than the towing capacity of the truck on the roads. Enforcement may vary, but it's still illegal.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:54 AM
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I just bought this '93 x-cab LWB. It has the 351 with trailer tow pkg. I hauled in this yesterday.
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Last edited by oldwood; 09-30-2012 at 08:55 AM. Reason: pics
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:56 AM
oldwood oldwood is offline
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I was trying to post a pic but it won't let me. You can look in my garage and see my tow truck.
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Last edited by oldwood; 09-30-2012 at 10:22 AM. Reason: pics
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:18 AM
turnkyle turnkyle is offline
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I agree with Spktyr, nothing pisses me off more than seeing the guy flying up the highway pulling way to much with way to little. Like the guy in the F150 pulling a 25 ft bumper pull camp trailer with a 2 place 4wheeler trailer behind it.

If you are overloading it on the farm and never hitting any real public roads thats one thing but if you are going up the higway don't put everyone else at risk for your stupidity.

I think the main thing my truck needs is a regear and a full exhaust to get the engine breathing alittle better.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnkyle View Post
I think the main thing my truck needs is a regear and a full exhaust to get the engine breathing alittle better.
Yes that would make a hugh difference.. speaking from personal experience. Also recalibrate the speedo if it hasn't been done already, those tires are 12% larger than stock which means the speedo reads 12% slow and the odometer accumulates 12% fewer miles which affects fuel milage calculations, but it also directly affects transmission operation since speed is a critical computer input to determine shift characteristics.

BTW.. what wheels do you have, I have long wanted to put 16's on my truck so I'm curious to see what it looks like.
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1990 5.0HO AOD XLT X-Cab F150 3.55LS, 1994 3.0L 5-sp x-cab Ranger 3.45, 2004 3.0L 5-sp X-cab Ranger Edge 4.10, 2004 2.5L 5-spd Subaru Legacy
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:47 PM
turnkyle turnkyle is offline
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I have the Mickey Thompson Classic II's. I picked them because they have the classic look of the original wheels. I have also recalibrated the speedo for the 285's.

Here are the original wheels with 33x12.50's on it.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here are the new wheels with 285/75's on it.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:02 PM
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I always tow way over rating the way I drive I cant even tell 5k is back there my job demands my f150 to tow at max 9800 lbs fully loaded seal trailer ive 210,000
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:02 PM
 
 
 
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