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What factors towing capacity?

 
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:49 PM
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What factors towing capacity?

I was looking at the towing capacity charts for my 2011 and it really looks like the only factors are engine, wheel base, 4x4 and gearing. Why is this? Wouldn't things such as extra cooling capacity factor in as well?

I am FAR from meeting let alone exceeding the tow rating on my F150 but I am installing a trans cooler to help avoid possible problems in general (...though I'm not sure its needed since I havent seen temps go much above 205F even when towing...) and I was curious how that would impact my tow capacity. *IF* we were to end up with, say, a "little" toy camper trailer, would I be stuck with my 7800lbs trailer weight or is that rather stretchable?
 
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:09 AM
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Gears are a significant part of the towing equation. Ford does rate the 3.5 higher for towing with the max tow package then it does for a similarly equipped 5.0 truck. You really just need to stay within the bounds of your GCWR. Make sure you obviously stay under your GVWR but make sure you actually have 7800lbs of towing capacity available.


Its been my feelings that so far after owning 5 of these 2011+ trucks that the short wheelbase 145" hinders towing heavy and I am not long term comfortable above 8k. After switching to 157" trucks the added length and the structural difference in the frame thickness really makes for a more stable ride and I am more willing to tow upwards of 10k longer distances and more frequently. All my trucks have been 3.73 gears and both 5.0 and 3.5EB so thats the only gearing I have experienced.
 
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:02 AM
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A HUGE part of it is sales tactic. People on some forums poke fun at Ford for having "magic spring dust" that they sprinkle on their truck suspensions and magically get more payload and towing out of the SAME design just because a competitor raised their figures. If GM ups towing and payload, Ford will do the same despite not changing one single bolt on the truck. Which proves that the ratings aren't driven solely by engineering.

Also, within the same line you get variations. For example, my truck is rated to tow a couple thousand pounds less than the exact same truck with the 3.5 TT engine. The rest of the truck is identical. And both engines make the same horsepower. The torque curves are slightly different. There is nothing that truly gives the EcoBoost a ton more towing capacity...except the fact that Ford would like to sell more EcoBoosts since it's invested so much money into it's development.

It's all a game, really.
 
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:53 AM
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I kinda agree with WXboy. It is all a game. My truck has a tow capacity of 9500. I have the super crew 5.5ft box, 3.73 gear. I do not have the max tow package which would bring my truck from the 9500 to 11500. Currently from what I can find different in my truck and a max tow package truck is the supposedly heavier duty radiator, trans cooler and the max tow mirrors. Regardless I have a 34'11" camper I will be towing the dry weights at 6450 so with current gear in the camper I would estimate closer to 8k and I will be using a weight distribution hitch which according to the manufacturer says you can add 1k to your towing capacity using.

However, I recently took how from VA to OH my 1990 F150 STD long bed 4x4. I used the haul transport trailer so I was sitting around 2.5 tons. Air bags maybe in the future on my truck just for comfort and keep the truck level and keeping the crappy road bounce out of the rear.
 
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:37 AM
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There are so many variables to check about trailer towing, it is hard to judge what is safe and what is not. I suggest that you read, read, read, until you are satisfied that what you want to do is safe for you and your family. Sometimes just because you can, doesn't mean you should. You might go to RV.Com and post your question. You will get a lot of different opinions, Just my .02

This may help also: http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/f...w-ratings.html
 
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:55 AM
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Something to keep in mind:

If you are installing a trans cooler (assuming because it didnt come with one) then your truck did not come with the factory tow package. This limits your truck to 5,000 lbs towing regardless of gear and engine combination.

The towing package comes with upgraded engine cooling and an auxiliary transmission cooler.

This is by the book, of course and as stated above much of it is marketing.
 
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:36 AM
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meborder, I did nto see anything along those lines in the owners manual. Though you are correct that my truck doesn't have a tow package, it does have a nice receiver. The 5.0L also has the oil to water oil cooler and while towing a pontoon boat (24ft maybe?) during 100 degree summer days on 3 hour highway trips, trans temp with the standard cooling system didn't go much above 100C (which as I understand it, is the designed operating temp for mercon LV).
 
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:15 AM
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I found the 5,000 lbs weight limit on pg 264 just ahead of all the towing capacity charts.

Your temps sound fine though.

A friend of mine is pulling his 7,000 lbs travel trailer on a pickup without the factory towing package. Aside from his trans temp creeping up toward the yellow in the hills, his seems to be handling it pretty well.

As I said, much of this is simply "by the book"
 
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:25 PM
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Hmm, interesting. I wonder if they mean that specifically for trucks without even a receiver hitch more so than the full towing package. I'll have to check radiator p/n's, but other than possibly that, the trans cooler, and a OE trailer brake controller with fancy trailer wiring harness I don't think there is much difference.

Edit: according to fordparts.com, the standard cooling uses "RAD-68" and the Super Cooling uses "RAD-69." Prices are within $2.00 of each other, so I'm not sure how much of a difference there is- maybe somebody knows?


Originally Posted by Owners Manual
If your vehicle is not equipped with a heavy-duty trailer towing package,
the maximum weight your vehicle can tow is limited to 5,000 lb
(2,268 kg).
Note: Do not exceed trailer weight of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) when towing
with bumper only.
 
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Buck268 View Post
Hmm, interesting. I wonder if they mean that specifically for trucks without even a receiver hitch more so than the full towing package. I'll have to check radiator p/n's, but other than possibly that, the trans cooler, and a OE trailer brake controller with fancy trailer wiring harness I don't think there is much difference.
Sounds like you're referring to the "Max Tow" package. The regular towing package includes the transmission cooler, but doesn't include the trailer brake controller or super cooling radiator. Did your truck come with a receiver hitch from the factory? If so you have the towing package and included transmission cooler.

I wouldn't mess with the factory cooling circuit unless you need to. Every time you disturb those connections you create the opportunity for a leak, and any resulting damage would be your fault and not covered under warranty. The only time I've heard of someone overheating their transmission in an '09-present truck was getting stuck in snow with a trailer. If it ain't broke, why fix it?
 
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:51 AM
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As best I remember, any towing package comes with the upgraded radiator and auxiliary transmission cooler. Only if your truck did not come with any towing package did you get the "standard" radiator and not get an auxiliary transmission cooler.

There was some indication that the max tow trucks got a larger auxiliary transmission cooler than did the trucks with the standard towing package, but going through the parts list was somewhat inconclusive to me last time I tried.

I agree with tom 100% in not chasing down problems you don't have. That is to say I wouldn't be real quick to Change out my radiator unless I was having a definitive cooling problem while towing.

The point I was trying to make is that the cooling system is different if you didn't get the towing package and that the cooling difference is likely a key reason those trucks are limited to 5,000 lbs towing.

The auxiliary transmission cooler is an upgrade I would make, though. Especially with the 6r80 being thermostatically controlled, that is a safety factor I would add without hesitation. I'm not sure id go with a factory cooler, but a good plate style aftermarket cooler is a quick, easy, and relatively cheap upgrade with no perceived negative consequences.

On a 2011 or newer, the easiest way to tell if you have the towing package is to look at the gear indicator.
If it says: PRND321 you don't have a towing package
If it says:PRNDM21. then you do and you'll have the bigger radiator, aux. Trans. Cooler, and wiring along with the factory hitch
 
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by meborder View Post
As best I remember, any towing package comes with the upgraded radiator and auxiliary transmission cooler. Only if your truck did not come with any towing package did you get the "standard" radiator and not get an auxiliary transmission cooler.
That's correct for the OP's 5.0L truck, but not on all of them. It's confusing...the standard radiator on the EcoBoost trucks is the HD towing radiator on the 5.0L trucks. The 6.2L and EcoBoost engines got an even larger radiator with 10 more rows of tubes for the Max Tow package.




Originally Posted by meborder
The auxiliary transmission cooler is an upgrade I would make, though. Especially with the 6r80 being thermostatically controlled, that is a safety factor I would add without hesitation. I'm not sure id go with a factory cooler, but a good plate style aftermarket cooler is a quick, easy, and relatively cheap upgrade with no perceived negative consequences.
I don't agree. If he has the factory hitch, he has the factory external cooler. The same cooler used on trucks with the Max Tow package and rated to 17,100 GCWR. Nothing positive can come from adding yet another cooler, and the added restriction can cause issues with flow through the cooler circuit. There's also the chance for leaks.
 
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by WXboy View Post
A HUGE part of it is sales tactic.
Absolutely.
Originally Posted by WXboy View Post
If GM ups towing and payload, Ford will do the same despite not changing one single bolt on the truck. Which proves that the ratings aren't driven solely by engineering.
I used to be involved with tow ratings when I worked at Ford. When marketing wanted to change the tow ratings there was a procedure. Every engineering area had to approve the change. Sometimes we already had data that showed we were good with the change. Sometimes we would reject it unless we got money to make a change. Sometimes these changes were tiny and probably not noticed by the customer, but it went into making the truck pass the required tests to get the higher tow rating.
 
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Old 09-08-2016, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom View Post
That's correct for the OP's 5.0L truck, but not on all of them. It's confusing...the standard radiator on the EcoBoost trucks is the HD towing radiator on the 5.0L trucks. The 6.2L and EcoBoost engines got an even larger radiator with 10 more rows of tubes for the Max Tow package.


thanks for posting the radiator specs. I know I've looked at it before, but had forgotten most of it


I don't agree. If he has the factory hitch, he has the factory external cooler. The same cooler used on trucks with the Max Tow package and rated to 17,100 GCWR. Nothing positive can come from adding yet another cooler, and the added restriction can cause issues with flow through the cooler circuit. There's also the chance for leaks.

eeeh ...


His truck doesn't have the factory tow package (see post #7), so that's why I framed it the way I did. the bottom line for me was that he is towing with a truck that doesn't have the auxiliary cooler and there is nearly no downside to adding one. granted, there is a chance for leaks, or a future failure with a hose, but the risk isn't really that great if it is done correctly with the proper hose and fittings. I guess I've never had a failure on one that was done correctly.


added restriction? only if it wasn't designed for an auxiliary cooler would that come into play. perhaps if you went ape-poop with the cooler size, you could have so much cooler as to cause a restriction, but I think with any plate/fin type cooler you'd be hard pressed to cause a flow restriction by adding a cooler since the system was obviously designed with an auxiliary cooler in mind.


I don't agree that nothing positive comes from adding a cooler. additional cooling comes from adding a cooler, and that's the whole reason to add one. you aren't going to over cool the trans, so if the additional cooler lets the trans run closer to the thermostatically controlled lower limit, then there is simply no downside to doing so in my mind. it is just added insurance against overheating in a truck that is being used to tow.


that being said, it doesn't sound like he is having a real issue with temps so it may not be needed. but if it were my truck, I'd add it regardless - the reasons not to are far outweighed by the benefits in my mind.
 
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Old 09-08-2016, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom View Post
The 6.2L and EcoBoost engines got an even larger radiator with 10 more rows of tubes for the Max Tow package.

Sweet, I have the badass radiator!
 

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