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Old 08-28-2013, 05:40 PM
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Looking to buy a travel trailer, need some help with weights

Hi all,

I will warn you in advance this is a slightly long post, so thanks to any who read and respond!

I have a 1997 F150, 2WD, extended cab, 4.6L V8, rear axle ratio of 3.55, wheel base of 139", with a hidden hitch and brake controller (I do not know the exact specs of the hidden hitch, it was on there when I bought the truck)

What I don't know is what to do with all of the numbers I see on my door plate. According to them my truck has a GCWR, a front/rear GVWR, and a GVWR.

When looking at campers I also see GVWR, Dry Axle weight, Dry total weight, dry hitch weight etc. I just do not know what do do with all of these numbers, so any insight will be greatly appreciated.

below is the information provided on the plate on my drivers door and owners manual. Is this information accurate or should I be consulting something else?

GVWR 6000lbs
Front GAWR 3100Lbs
Rear GAWR 3200Lbs
GCWR 11,500Lbs
Max trailer weight 7000Lbs

And for example here is some info on a camper I was looking at.
It's 24ft long and has these specs, this is probably a little bigger than I would actually buy but it is the only numbers I have on hand.

Dry Hitch Weight: 425lbs
Dry Axle weight: 3621lbs
Dry total weight: 4046lbs
GVWR: 5800lbs

According to the numbers I assume my truck would most likely pull a camper like this, but if anyone has any tips or suggestions on buying trailers and how their trucks pull please feel free to let me know. Also, what is this I hear about WDH, are they necessary with a hitch weight of 425lbs? Or is it good to get one with any trailer?
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:08 PM
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I wouldn't want to be pulling that very far. It'll be okay just to haul a few miles to a local campground, but you'll be struggling, and might not be good for ye truck on long hauls.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Yeah. Ideally I'm looking for something smaller. I just was using that as a model kinda to help me figure out what the numbers all mean.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:34 PM
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I think your sticker says your truck should not be loaded to over 6000 pounds. Your total weight of trailer and truck should not exceed 11,500 so you can easily pull a 5500 pound trailer. THe load the trailer puts on your hitch, should not exceed 700 pounds............ The trailer tounge puts 435 pounds onto the truck (ok). The trailer weight is 4050 without water or supplies. The max weight of the trailer when loaded with supplies is about 5800 pounds........... This trailer falls right into your load range. A 28-30 ft would be a stretch, but a 24-25 ft model is for you.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:28 AM
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Should pull it just fine. Strongly suggest you install a transmission cooler if the truck doesn't have one.

A big limiting factor between the various versions of these trucks is the tires. Given the 6000lb gwvr your truck has, I am going to guess that it has the p235/70/16 tires from the factory. As a point of reference, my 99 4.2 2wd has the same gvwr and came with the same tires. My truck also has the 3.31 gears. So your truck has a bigger engine and better gears for towing/hauling and the gvwr is the same. Change to LT rated tires and you will improve your ability to tow / haul.

With my truck, I switched to LT tires, added Hellwig overload springs and a transmission cooler, and hauled my old truck camper through the mountains this summer. The biggest concerns were braking and cooling. For your situation, towing with a brake controller and trailer brakes alleviates most of the former, and a tranny cooler helps with the latter.

Long story short, upgrade your tires and that size and weight of trailer will be no problem at all.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:45 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys, as for my tires I currently have LT245/75/16's on there. I do not know much about transmission coolers, are they reasonable to buy and install?

*EDIT*

I actually just checked my VIN with ford and I have a factory tow package on my truck, which includes a transmission cooler, so I am good on that point too. I also just checked under my hood and saw the trans cooler on the left, and there is an even smaller cooler on the right side, any idea what that is?
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:03 PM
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possibly a steering pump oil cooler.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrassMonkey View Post
Thanks for the replies guys, as for my tires I currently have LT245/75/16's on there. I do not know much about transmission coolers, are they reasonable to buy and install?

*EDIT*

I actually just checked my VIN with ford and I have a factory tow package on my truck, which includes a transmission cooler, so I am good on that point too. I also just checked under my hood and saw the trans cooler on the left, and there is an even smaller cooler on the right side, any idea what that is?
Given this info, I would have no problem towing the trailer you listed, especially if it has trailer brakes.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:01 PM
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Okay, I have an update

Okay, for anyone who reads this post I have an update. I found a trailer I really like...Dry weight is 5500lbs, hitch weight is around 500lbs (trailer includes load leveling hitch).


Now my truck, once again, 4.6L V8, 3.55 gears, LT tires, trans cooler, trailer brake controller, hitch etc.

GVWR for truck is 6000lbs, my truck loaded with myself, full tank of gas, and a tool box full of tools is 5050Lbs (leaving 950lbs left over, enough for hitch weight plus a bit, for camping I would remove the tool box so i would free ~150lbs)

GCWR for truck and trailer is 11500lbs, so with this camper plus my truck loaded as is i'm at 10550lbs. Now this leaves me ~1000lbs for everything else.

Now I know according to my truck manual and all the numbers I can haul this but i want to know if anyone has experience hauling with an f150 like this. Most lakes I frequent are around 100-300Km away, so I won't be hauling it long distances. I just am worried about getting right up to my limit of 11500lbs.

Thanks for reading, and i will appreciate any comments!
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:22 PM
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Just checking

Anyone out here pull a trailer like this before with an F150 like mine?
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:35 PM
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I have a '98 F-150, 4.6, 3.55, 245/75/16. I pull my 22' gooseneck flatbed (~4600 lbs) with my '88 F-250 flatbed on it (7000-7500 lbs). I only run about 60 miles with it, keep it around 55 mph. Not something I'd want to do long distance for sure. I've added the main (with eyes cut off) and second leaf from a '92 dodge w350 to my stock spring pack, may throw a dana 70 4.11 under the rear soon. Almost done building my 85 F350 with the Cummins, so the F150 won't have trailer duty for much longer. I can't see a 5500 lb tt being a problem. I just can't stand bumper-pull trailers, I prefer a gooseneck for weight distribution.
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"Mater" '85 F350, 2wd, Crewcab, flatbed, '92 5.9 12 valve Cummins, G360 5 speed, NP205 tcase, '95 10.25 4.11LS, 245/75/16 495,000 miles (when original 6.9 was pulled).
"Roscoe" '88 F250, 2wd, Regular Cab, flat bed. 351FI, C6, 3.55 lincoln locked rear, 36x12.50/16.5 124,000 miles.
"Green Bean" '98 F150, 2wd, 3-door, 4.6, 4R70W, 3.55, 245/75/16, 176,000 miles.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:41 PM
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FYI, my F150 was rear-ended pulling a 16' trailer before I got it, bent the frame. Keep and eye on your frame around 6-8" of where the front of the bed bolts on. These frames seem weak. I could see it being a problem on a bumper-pull trailer with too much tongue weight, or normal tongue weight on a rough road.
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"Mater" '85 F350, 2wd, Crewcab, flatbed, '92 5.9 12 valve Cummins, G360 5 speed, NP205 tcase, '95 10.25 4.11LS, 245/75/16 495,000 miles (when original 6.9 was pulled).
"Roscoe" '88 F250, 2wd, Regular Cab, flat bed. 351FI, C6, 3.55 lincoln locked rear, 36x12.50/16.5 124,000 miles.
"Green Bean" '98 F150, 2wd, 3-door, 4.6, 4R70W, 3.55, 245/75/16, 176,000 miles.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:38 PM
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Don't be to surprised that at 11,500 with a 97 that you won't pull hills very fast and expect about 9 mpg mileage..
Your loading to the limit so expect other things to fail in time.
Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:26 PM
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I kinda forgot about this post, thanks for the replies guys. I did buy that camper, and yes, my truck pulls it. Driving 100km/hr on flat land it pulls nicely. I live in the Canadian prairies, so I will not have to deal with too many hills. On another note, I am now looking to upgrade my truck for better towing, and just to have a newer truck(this 97 is the newest vehicle I have ever owned, and I kinda want something new for once!) I plan to get a 2011-2013 F150 with the 5.0L V8 or the ecoboost engine.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:26 PM
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I agree with everything posted for you so far.
A couple of things to add to this post. When you buy your camper, also spend the extra $500 on an equilizer hitch. It will transfer some of your weight to your front wheels. Without the hitch I won't let our camper down on the hitch, it squats the rear end too much to take all of the weight off the jack. With the hitch it keeps the tow vehicle pretty level.
I have a 2009 Keystone Bunkhouse, 30 foot travel tailer. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think it comes in around 8500 or 9000 pounds.
I tow mine with a 2001 Expedition or my 99 F150. Both vehicles have the 5.4. Not sure of the other details like gear ratio. I have no problems towing on the flats, and not a lot of trouble towing in hills. I took it through the Ozarks a few years ago and didn't have much trouble. Our previous camper was smaller, weighed around 7500 pounds. The expedition pulled it through the rockies without much trouble.
Towing our current camper I get between 10 and 13 mpg. I know I am taking a lot of life off the expedition towing like I do. The expedition has about 195,000 miles on it now. At 177,000 I replaced the engine. I was pulling the camper through some serious hills in mid august, around 105 degrees outside and broke a valve spring. I got a good deal on a rebuild so I went ahead and swapped engines. I got the expedition with 75,000 miles on it, so I put 100,000 on it before any serious breakdowns. Over 90% of those miles was pulling the camper.
A few things to keep in mind. Always shut off the OD when towing, and don't try to use the cruise. It is surprising how many people I know that think they can use the cruise control when towing. Also, I never tow our camper with the water tanks full. Our camper has a 60 galon fresh water tank. For winter camping when it is freezing cold, and the parks and campgrounds have their water shut off I will fill about 20 galons in the tank, but more than that adds a lot of weight. I carry a hose and fill when I get to a camp site. My fresh water tank is on the front, so it adds a lot of tongue weight when the tanks are full.
Your truck should pull a 7000 pound camper with very little trouble. Just use the trailer brakes, keep it out of overdrive, and don't expect to win any races off the starting line.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:26 PM
 
 
 
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