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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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  #1  
Old 08-04-2004, 08:46 AM
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Tow Capacity 91 E150

Trying to determine the actual tow capacity of my 91 E150. It has the 8.8 rear axle, 3.55, 5.8 and E4OD tranny and a Class III receiver hitch.

The owner's manual covers all models in terms of towing (E150-E350), however, it doesn't seem to really break down how much each model can tow. It only breaks it down by engine size.

When I looked under the section for vehicles equipped with the 5.8, it lists 4 different max tow ratings ranging from 2,000 to over 7,000 lbs.

2,000 sounds light and 7,000+ sounds like alot.

Anyone have any ideas how to decipher this chart. How much can I safely tow?
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86rustbucket
Trying to determine the actual tow capacity of my 91 E150. It has the 8.8 rear axle, 3.55, 5.8 and E4OD tranny and a Class III receiver hitch.

The owner's manual covers all models in terms of towing (E150-E350), however, it doesn't seem to really break down how much each model can tow. It only breaks it down by engine size.

When I looked under the section for vehicles equipped with the 5.8, it lists 4 different max tow ratings ranging from 2,000 to over 7,000 lbs.

2,000 sounds light and 7,000+ sounds like alot.

Anyone have any ideas how to decipher this chart. How much can I safely tow?
Your manual will break that all down. It should have a different column for the E-150, the 250 and the 350. It should also break down which rear-end ratio gives which tow rating. The higher the numerical gear ratio, the higher your tow rating will be. 7K doesn't sound like alot, but it does with the 3.55 rear. It should be all in there, my 98 has it all, as did my 93 owners manuals, Ken
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:53 PM
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From the 1991 Ford towing guide:

5.8, 3.55, auto= GCVW=12,000 Max tow=7400lbs
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Old 08-05-2004, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rclarke
From the 1991 Ford towing guide:

5.8, 3.55, auto= GCVW=12,000 Max tow=7400lbs
Really? That is scary. My wallet just jumped out of my pants pocket when it realized I could buy an enclosed trailer for the race car and actually be able to tow it...
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Old 08-05-2004, 06:30 PM
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The older van manuals aren't very concise when it comes to tow rating for a particular model.

In reality, Powerwise, It will easily tow 4000-5500 lbs for a travel or enclosed trailer, or as much as 7-8000 lbs for an open car trailer.

Although those dinky 150 series brakes and 15 inch C-load rated tires will really hamper handling; steering; and stopping ability.
Especially if you've gotta do grades.

-J-R-
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Old 08-06-2004, 08:06 AM
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Thanks for the info, fortunately, I spend most of my time around the Michigan / Ohio area which is fairly flat. However, I do make the occasional trip to western PA to visit the family, which is fairly hilly.

The owners guide is really not that straightforward. I was guessing around 7k, but it seemed like alot. I'll definetly need to invest in a weight distributing hitch and electric brake controller for the trailer.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:29 PM
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Sorry to re-hash an old topic, but the time has come when I need to put the E150 to the test.

I re-typed a page from the owner's manual to help explain the confusion in that I am having. There is also a rough scan in my gallery.

There are three separate max GCWR's for the 3.55 / 3.54, 351 combo.

GCWR________Trailer Weight
9500_________0-2000
10500________2000 - 3500
11500________3500 - 7600

Nothing designates if the three different GCWR's are for the E150, E250 or E350. They are all listed for the 351, 3.55 / 3.54 combination. Does anyone know why there are three different GCWR's and corresponding Trailer Weight ratings? There are 4 different rear axles offered with the 3.55 / 3.54 ratio. Even this doesn't seem to line up with the towing charts.

Now, if I assume that my van empty weighs in at 5000 lbs, and my max GCWR is 9500 lbs, then I should be able to tow 4500 lbs, right... If the GCWR is 11500 lbs, then I should be able to tow 6500 lbs.

How do I know what my max GCWR is? Max GVW on the door tag is 6500 lbs.

I don't know why this is so confusing.

The reason that I'm asking is that I just bought a 89 F350 4x4 Crew Cab. It needs some work so I will either A) have to get it towed 50 miles for $200 or B) tow it myself for the cost of a trailer rental.

I figure that the F350 weighs anywhere from 6000 - 6500 lbs.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86rustbucket
The reason that I'm asking is that I just bought a 89 F350 4x4 Crew Cab. It needs some work so I will either A) have to get it towed 50 miles for $200 or B) tow it myself for the cost of a trailer rental.
The van wouldn't like doing it on a regular basis, but for 50 miles with no big hills, and VERY CONSERVATIVE DRIVING, you should be ok. Drive it like you stole it, and you may be asking for problems... or an early grave...
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:59 AM
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Like Ian said. If you are EASY (don't really run over 45) it will be fine... You'd be better off getting a trailer brake controller and a trailer with brakes...
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2005, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86rustbucket
Sorry to re-hash an old topic, but the time has come when I need to put the E150 to the test.

I re-typed a page from the owner's manual to help explain the confusion in that I am having. There is also a rough scan in my gallery.

There are three separate max GCWR's for the 3.55 / 3.54, 351 combo.

GCWR________Trailer Weight
9500_________0-2000
10500________2000 - 3500
11500________3500 - 7600

Nothing designates if the three different GCWR's are for the E150, E250 or E350. They are all listed for the 351, 3.55 / 3.54 combination. Does anyone know why there are three different GCWR's and corresponding Trailer Weight ratings? There are 4 different rear axles offered with the 3.55 / 3.54 ratio. Even this doesn't seem to line up with the towing charts.

Now, if I assume that my van empty weighs in at 5000 lbs, and my max GCWR is 9500 lbs, then I should be able to tow 4500 lbs, right... If the GCWR is 11500 lbs, then I should be able to tow 6500 lbs.

How do I know what my max GCWR is? Max GVW on the door tag is 6500 lbs.

I don't know why this is so confusing.

The reason that I'm asking is that I just bought a 89 F350 4x4 Crew Cab. It needs some work so I will either A) have to get it towed 50 miles for $200 or B) tow it myself for the cost of a trailer rental.

I figure that the F350 weighs anywhere from 6000 - 6500 lbs.
Yikes, I can see the cause of your confusion, but somewhere is a conversion guide for those tow ratings. I am just guessing that it's in your owners manual. If not, there are other places to find it, although I'm not sure why the manual is so vague. My guess is your tow ratings are dependant on rear axle ratio, engine, transmission, tow pkg and maybe tire choice. 50 miles is not going to kill your van, stopping will be difficult, but maybe, a rental trailer can be had with surge brakes, if you're going to rent a trailer anyway. Electric trailer brakes are cheap, and easy to wire in. Good luck, I am stuck on your tow ratings, post whatever info you can on your van, and maybe someone can decipher it for you ? Ken
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Old 01-18-2005, 01:20 PM
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We have successfully towed over 12k with an E150 clubwagon... It has a 302/AOD/3:55 rear. We used an equalizing hitch, and electric trailer brakes. Dad made it 150 miles then started to overheat... We later found the radiator was clogged.
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Old 01-18-2005, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfogle
We have successfully towed over 12k with an E150 clubwagon... It has a 302/AOD/3:55 rear. We used an equalizing hitch, and electric trailer brakes. Dad made it 150 miles then started to overheat... We later found the radiator was clogged.
Me; 93 Clubwagon (actually Econoline but a Mark III, raised roof, full load conversion), EFI 302, AOD, 3:55 rear, equalizing hitch and trailer brakes. Portland Ore to Anaheim Ca in July, up over the grapevine with 24' camp trailer and all necessary accoutrements inside/tied on the back. 5 kids inside, two adults. Front and rear a/c blazing on max all the time. Fast it wasn't, but 65-70 almost every relatively flat mile. It got a work out over the mountains, but second gear and 75% rpm would tow at 35-45 mph, I was in the slow lane with the fiver guys with their Dodge Cummins towing 35-40' of over the road condos so I was not holding up traffic. I was probably at 6-8K for total load with the trailer and all the gear. At 275,000 miles I traded it in for my 1 ton, V-10. It was running fine, I never had the heads off, although it did need exhaust manifolds (but once warm they would seal up tight, yea, that is lazy, I know). It was a great van for towing once I put some thicker sidewall tires on it, as long as you towed sanely, Ken
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:39 PM
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We had a 16 foot trailer made from an old mobile home. When he got it loaded it tipped the scales (with the van empty) right at 12k. He then proceeded to throw at least another 1000 in the van. If it had not been for the clogged radiator the trip would have gone without a problem. BTW, ours is an '88, with 300k+.
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Old 01-19-2005, 03:40 PM
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GCWR is Gross Combined Weight Rating.

The trailer weight ratings are based upon the reciever.
Class 1 = up to 2k
Class 2 = up to 3.5k
Class 3 = up to 6k (10k w/weight dist)
Class 4 = up to 10k (12k w/weight dist)

Remember, you really don't want to exceed more than 10% of the trailer's total weight on the hitch.
The way I read it, you shouldn't exceed 7600 with a weight distribution hitch.

For towing the truck, I'd use a tow dolly. The dolly will support most of the weight. All the van will basically do is provide the go and whoa.

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Old 01-20-2005, 07:54 AM
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Thanks for all of the input. Aces, your explanation seems to work the best to decipher the owner's guide. As I mentioned earlier, I have a 5.8, 3.55 rear end with a class III hitch. However, I decided not to risk the tow due to the fact that we got around 6 inches of snow yesterday... not the best conditions for towing a 6500 lb trailer (truck) with no trailer brakes.

Also, I had a heck of a time finding a trailer that would hold the truck. The truck's width is 79 in. Most tow dolly's can only support 75 in. max width. Also, the F350 Crew Cab, 8ft bed is one long truck. Wheelbase is 169 in. and overall length is 245 in. I figured that my best bet was to try to get the thing running and fall back on a tow truck if necessary.

Long story short, couldn't get it running (it's kind of funny how 7 degree air temp and 30 mph winds and 6 inches of snow can make working outside a bit of a chore!)

The interesting thing was that the truck barely fit on the flatbed that came to pick it up. The rear wheels were within 1 ft of the end of the deck.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:54 AM
 
 
 
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