We've been towing a travel trailer for 2 years now. On the various RV forums, it's a war out there when it comes to discussing tow vehicle capabilities and what RV manufacturers tell you about like "1/2 ton towable" trailers that really should be towed with at least a 3/4 ton and for some, a 1 ton dually.
What exactly is included in the max. payload figure on the door jamb?? I've read that the factory does not include options. Just what are considered "options"? Haven't found the definition anywhere yet. Is the weight of 4WD, long box and V10 engine included in the door jamb figure?
The door jamb sticker on our 250 says the max. payload is 2701 lbs but after going to a scale and weighing it, the actual payload capacity is only 1800 lbs. We added a canopy which I think is about 200 lbs. Our truck also has a number of factory options like tow hooks that I have to assume would decrease the payload capacity. I weigh about 50 lbs more than what the factory includes in the curb wt. for a driver. So in actuality, I *think* we're down about 650 lbs from what the sticker says. Maybe the tow hooks weigh 600 lbs or so???
Some people swear that the actual/true/legal/available/safe maximum payload capacity is whatever the door jamb sticker says it is. On one forum one poster said that the TREAD Act means that the number will be accurate. However, many, many people, and especially those with lots of experience towing RVs say that the only accurate max. payload number is the GVWR less the actual weight (from a scale).
When it comes to truck capabilities and towing travel or 5th wheel trailers, it's a zoo out there and to me, it's pretty disturbing what they do. Truck manufacturers are trying to outdo each other by flogging "towing capacity" but they tell you next to nothing on the realities of payload capacity, GVWR, axles ratings, tire ratings or even receiver hitch ratings. For SUVs, it's even worse. And RV manufacturers are all flogging dry weights of their units and don't tell you what the actual weight is when you take it off the dealer's lot and what the actual pin or tongue weights are going to be. Some people are getting screwed on weights after they buy a truck and trailer then find out they are waaay overloaded. But then, some just don't care anyway and knowingly tow overloaded.
So, just what is the truth on what the factory includes in the door jamb sticker max. payload figure? I am pretty sure all the other manufacturers are doing the same. Some also say that the GVWR and payload maximums area meaningless numbers made up by lawyers and marketing people. To me, it's the safe maximums of a vehicle that you should not exceed. Same with GCWR, GAWR, etc.
What a great question! Most salespersons talk about tow capability and do not even address payload. I assume that the yellow sticker payload is the actual payload capacity left on the vehicle as it leaves the factory. This would take into account the truck's configuration and the additional weight of all options that were added on at the factory.
I recently looked at a new 2013 F-250 Crewcab with 6.7L diesel and 4x4 - it had a yellow sticker payload of only 1980 lbs! Not much payload left after filling the cab with people and adding on a trailer.
From a legal standpoint you need to worry about the gvwr and gawr. The recommended gcwr or trailer weights are just recommendations. For example, in 2000(year of my truck) all the f250's came with an 8800lb gvwr regardless of configuration. Ford "rated" my truck to tow 8,000 lbs with a gooseneck and a gvwr of 15,000 lbs. My truck weighs 5,600 lbs, so it has a payload of 3,200 lbs. Assuming a pin weight of 25% I can pull a 12,800 lb trailer and be within my legal gvwr and gawr.
That same year, ford rated the crew cab diesel to tow about 15,000 lbs. The truck weighed around 7,700 lbs, which only left 1,100 in payload. Assuming a 25% pin weight, that truck would only be able to haul a 4,400 lb trailer. Throw a couple of workers in there with you and you may have enough payload left over to pack a lunch. That is why they now have the adjusted gvwr based on configuration.
From a safety standpoint, I wouldn't tow anything you weren't comfortable with, regardless of whether it is in your trucks legal limit. I would recommend going by your actual payload and the actual pin weight of what you are towing.
Regardless of the stated payload capacity, GVWR is the limit. For example, my sticker says my payload capacity is 3892 lbs. However, my GVWR is 10,600 and my truck weighs 7200 lbs on the scale. This means my payload capacity is really only 3400 lbs. When towing, you can't (or at least you aren't supposed to) exceed either your GVWR or your GCWR.
The only numbers on the door I'd ever trust are GVWR and axle weight ratings. Payload has to be established with a scale, because none of the published numbers are ever right, sometimes not even close. As Big Vic posted, you really need to watch yourself with the F250's, as these trucks are HEAVY, and that 10,000# GVWR doesn't leave much room to work with.
I think when the debating fires up in those threads (which I'm sure we have all seen on the RV boards) it turns into justification posts even when the facts are in front of their face. No sense pissing into the wind it never turns out good. The threads that are Gas or Diesel is the same thing, sit back and wait for the deterioration of the thread.
the factory derates axle capacity on purpose, for example a dana 80 has a range from 11-12k, but when you look in door it says 9750, just like front axle it may say 5200-5900 but they are rated at 7000.
I am having a hard time thinking of a real world example where someone would be over axle ratings, but not over the GVWR. Help me out?
If you have your vehicle GVWR registered for lets make an example 30,000 lbs and you tried to load just your truck box with no trailer up to 25,000 lbs you would be far over your axle ratings but still under your GVWR. Or if you loaded a fifth wheel or gooseneck far up on the pin you could exceed your axle rating. Just like on commercial vehicles you can register your vehicle for the weight you want but its up to you to have the proper axles and wheels under it. Otherwise you open yourself up for problems be it legal or safety ones.