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What does towing by "bumper" mean? Seriously.

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Old 07-12-2018, 03:37 AM
CrossCut
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What does towing by "bumper" mean? Seriously.

Amusing question, but consider this: The owner's manual of my 2014 F-150 notes that tow weight is limited to 5,000 pounds if towing by "bumper". So, does that mean capacity is limited if the ball of the hitch is bolted directly to the OEM bumper? (Actual bumper is the limiting object.) Does it mean that, even if I use the OEM receiver hitch, I am remain limited to 5,000 pounds? What if I use a weight-distributing device? Am, I still limited to just 5,000 pounds? Or, can I tow up to the max limits? I've read that some other manufacturers limit the towing capability UNLESS a weight-distribution hitch is used. When such a "load-leveling" hitch is used, the towing capacity then increases.

So, what's the story? Any of you know where I can find more detailed information? I'd like to tow a 5,800-pound travel trailer with the receiver hitch. Do I have the wrong truck?

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Old 07-12-2018, 08:07 AM
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It does state 5000lb rating using bumper and I'd take that as fact. Reading the brochure further down shows the breakdown using a WDH of 11,200lb towing capacity, but that's going to be based on max tow packages installed in your truck already. The towing chart shows you were you are in general towing depending on your engine/gearing/etc.

If you have a tow package at all, you should be ok with a 5800lb TT and a WDH system in place.

Griz
 
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:22 AM
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I have not see a "REAL" pumper pull setup on a pickup truck in many years.....
aka a stamped metal bumper with a hole for a 1 7/8, 2 or 2 1/2 inch ball... ( NO RECEIVER )

its a sub-frame assembly below and behind the almost real bumper... ( sheet metal and plastic )
 
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:39 AM
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My '91 Ranger had a ball on the bumper. I used it only for light stuff. To tow really heavy (for that truck) I added a frame mounted receiver hitch.

Now, "bumper pull" is simply shorthand for anything that has a tongue that attaches to the back of the truck.
 
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by CrossCut View Post
So, what's the story?
IMO Ford puts a very low non-WD rating on the hitch so that people don't tie on to a 10,000# trailer with a POS zinc 2" ball rated to only 5000#; the ratings are obviously low so there has to be some kind of "seriously, think first" aspect or maybe just a flat CYA from Ford - even the bigger hitch on the SD series has the same (used to at least) 500/5000# limit on weight carrying, on trucks with GCWRs for 26,000#s. The hitch can carry a 1,130# load with WD bars, so the hitch itself is not going to snap in half at 600# of tongue weight. There are more concerns about sway than the weight itself.
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...l#post17766348

In F-150 world, there's more to the rating than just weight and hitch concerns; Ford caps all towing without the 535 towing package at 5000#, and trailer frontal area to 36 sq ft due to the lack of a trans cooler. Sway control is important with smaller RVs because weight balancing is pretty well fixed in design and tank location; you can't roll the skid steer forward a few inches if you get the tail wagging around like on an equipment trailer. If it weights 5,800#s and pulls fine, I don't think you need a WD hitch for that light a weight, even on an F-150. But if you get sway, there's only one solution.
https://www.etrailer.com/question-138890.html
 
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:19 PM
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Thanks for the responses. On yet another page of the manual, I found reference to a 5,000-pound limit if the truck is equipped with a step bumper, and a ball mounted on this bumper. That leads me to believe that this limit can be exceeded with a receiver hitch.

Where can I find reference for this: "Ford caps all towing without the 535 towing package at 5000#"? Is this buried somewhere in the owner's manual? Some other publication? What is this package? My truck has a receiver hitch, electric brake controller, and beefed-up cooling. So, do I have the 535 package?
 
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:34 PM
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You can look at the information on your door stickers and decode your gearing to see what is in the pumpkin, which will help in reading the tow ratings in table.

You can get the info from Ford, but it is not free usually, whereas digging will produce most of the same results.

Griz
 
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CrossCut View Post
Where can I find reference for this: "Ford caps all towing without the 535 towing package at 5000#"? Is this buried somewhere in the owner's manual? Some other publication? What is this package? My truck has a receiver hitch, electric brake controller, and beefed-up cooling. So, do I have the 535 package?
Sorry, forgot to attach the .pdf file. Page 3, "Trailer Towing Package" in the left hand column, and the "Required Equipment" and "Frontal Area Considerations" sections in the right hand column. If you have a receiver hitch you have the 535 package at least, if the brake controller is factory then you have the Max Trailer Tow Package. All of this would be listed on the window sticker.

Ford puts the same BS 500/5000# rating on the Super Duty hitch - a real Class III hitch is rated to 600/6000#, and Class IV is rated to 1,000/10,000# weight carrying. Based on the top end WD ratings, the Ford F150 hitch is at least a Class III, and the lower end SD hitch is at least a Class IV. Ford lists Class IV on F-150 literature in multiple places.

If you're loaded correctly and don't have a sway issue, I think you're fine if 5800# is the scaled weight of the trailer. Please check to make sure the ball is rated to at least 6000#, there are 2" ***** that only go to 5000#.
 
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:53 PM
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Small correction to the above.

the electronic brake controller was available without the max tow, so having it is not a guarantee for max tow.

but, if it was factory installed it guarantees that you at least have a towing package so you are not limited to 5,000 lbs towing. Also, if you have the external trans cooler in front if the a.c. condenser then you are also good to go.

it sounds like you have the right truck and should be fine.
 
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Old 07-15-2018, 06:54 PM
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Bumper pull just sounds crazy! Correct me if I'm wrong but trucks are so much higher than they use to be I don't think anything you connect nowadays could safely be pulled by a bumper. Your trailer would be dragging all over the place.
 
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Old 07-16-2018, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by meborder View Post
Small correction to the above.

the electronic brake controller was available without the max tow, so having it is not a guarantee for max tow.
The integrated brake controller was only included in the 60M/C/P packages, not the 535 towing packing. What was the code for a standalone controller with just the 535?
TRAILER TOW PACKAGE (535)
Usage: Required for towing over 5,000 lbs.

Availability:
• Standard on FX2/FX4 and Lariat
• Optional on XL, STX and XLT

[SIZE="3"]Includes:
• Class IV trailer hitch receiver
• 7-pin wiring harness
• Upgraded radiator
• Auxiliary transmission oil cooler
• SelectShift Transmission[/SIZE]

MAX TRAILER TOW PACKAGE – MANUAL MIRROR (60M)
Availability:
• Optional on XL Regular and SuperCab
Not Available with:
• 126" wheelbase
• Power Equipment Group (85A)
• Max Trailer Tow Package (60P)

Requires:
• 3.5L EcoBoost™ Engine (99T)
• 3.73 LS rear-axle ratio
• Heavy-Duty Payload Pkg. (627)
• XL requires Fog Lamps (595) with XL Décor Group (86D)

[SIZE="3"]Includes:
• Upgraded rear bumper
• Class IV trailer hitch receiver
• 7-pin wiring harness
• Upgraded radiator
• Auxiliary transmission oil cooler
• Trailer Brake Control
• SelectShift Transmission
• Side mirrors, black manual telescoping trailer tow w/manual glass[/SIZE]

MAX TRAILER TOW PACKAGE – POWER MIRROR (60P)

Availability:
• Optional on XL Regular and SuperCab, XLT and FX2/FX4
Not Available with:
• 126" wheelbase
• Max Trailer Tow Package (60M)
• XLT SuperCab 145" wheelbase with P235/75R17 BSW A/T (T7B),
L245/75R17E BSW A/T (T7E) or P255/65R17 OWL A/S (T73)
• XLT SuperCrew with P255/65R17 OWL A/S (T73) or L245/75R17E
BSW A/T (T7E)

Requires:
• 3.5L EcoBoost™ Engine (99T)
• 3.73 LS rear-axle ratio (XL, XLT and FX2)
• 3.73 electronic-locking differential axle (XLT w/Off-Road Pkg. – 55A and
FX4)
• XL requires Fog Lamps (595), XL Décor Group (86D) and Power
Equipment Group (85A)
• XL and XLT Regular Cab requires Heavy-Duty Payload Pkg. (627)

[SIZE="3"]Includes:
• Upgraded rear bumper
• Class IV trailer hitch receiver
• 7-pin wiring harness
• Upgraded radiator
• Auxiliary transmission oil cooler
• Trailer Brake Control
• SelectShift Transmission
• Side Mirrors, black manual telescoping trailer tow w/power glass
(includes heat, turn signal & puddle lamps)
• Memory feature included on side mirrors when order with FX Luxury
Package (55F)[/SIZE]

MAX TRAILER TOW PACKAGE – POWER, CHROME
MIRROR (60C)


Availability:
• Optional on Lariat, King Ranch® and Platinum

Requires:
• 3.5L EcoBoost™ Engine (99T) or 6.2L V8 (996)
• 6.2L V8 on Lariat and Platinum also requires SuperCrew 145" WB
• 3.73 LS rear-axle ratio
• 3.73 electronic-locking differential axle (Lariat or King Ranch® w/Off-
Road Pkg. – 55A)

[SIZE="3"]Includes:
• Upgraded rear bumper
• Class IV trailer hitch receiver
• 7-pin wiring harness
• Upgraded radiator
• Auxiliary transmission oil cooler
• Trailer Brake Control
• Side Mirrors, Manual Telescoping Trailer Tow w/Power Glass (includes
heat, memory, turn signal & puddle lamps & Chrome Skull Caps)[/SIZE]
 
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by texastech_diesel View Post
The integrated brake controller was only included in the 60M/C/P packages, not the 535 towing packing. What was the code for a standalone controller with just the 535?
I lost track of the option codes when they went to numbers rather than names.l, so I don't know what the specific option codes were by number.

Max tow came with the brake controller as part of the package. But, the brake controller could be added as a stand alone option on any truck with the standard towing package. Most often you will see it in the Larait and FX trucks as they tend to be more heavily optioned by nature. XLT trucks tend to only have the brake controller if you specifically added if when ordered., unless it was a max tow.

also, it is a pretty popular add on in the aftermarket. Any truck with the towing package can be programmed to work with the factory controller, it just has to be enabled in the computer.

the big dumbo mirrors are usually a dead give away as well. But those can be added in the aftermarket too, so you still have to be careful. If you see the towing mirrors and brake controller on a truck with a flex fuel badge, then it still isn't a true max tow because you couldn't get max tow with the 5.0 (3.5 TT and 6.2 only).... except in Canada, IIRC.

in the end, the GVWR is the best way to identify a max tow truck. Usually it is right around 7700, but was slightly higher with the 6.2 because of the heavier engine.

it's more than a little confusing. ..
 
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:01 AM
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my 2000 e-250 5.3L gas engine extended van has a step bumper with a hole for ball and it states 5K total and no more than 500 tongue weight. We use the "bumper hitch" all the time to pull 4x8 utility trailer for bricks, mortar etc when doing larger jobs around town.

works like a charm and not banging shins on fricken receiver hitch.
 
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:28 PM
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I cringe when I see trailers hooked up to a ball on a bumper. You used to see it more often than you do now days.

What I really can't stand is the rigs with multiple ***** on the bumper. On some trucks you will see all 3 size ***** in a row. Only the center ball pulls symmetrically as the others are offset to either side. Probably wouldn't make that big of a difference in handling, but just the nature of being offset doesn't sit well.

The truck's tow ratings shouldn't be limited to 5,000lbs. That is the capacity for the bumper frame - ball mounted to the bumper. A receiver hitch can have a higher capacity rating than what the truck is actually rated for. So with a draw bar mounted ball in the receiver you can go up to the max rating for the truck. There may be different tongue/pin and overall weight capacities for "bumper pull" (also may be listed as conventional towing) and 5th wheel/gooseneck so try to stay within those.

If you stay within the tow ratings of the truck you should be OK on the following, however two ratings you never want to exceed are the rear axle rating or the pair of rear tires' weight capacity combined, which ever is lower. Your tires will have a load rating on them (number, not the letter - likely D's but D range can have varying load capacities). If the pair of tires is rated to, say, 3500lbs (1750lbs per tire) and your rear axle is rated to 3250lbs the lower rating is 3250 so that is what you want to stay within under any circumstance (just to illustrate - you will have to verify what your numbers actually are).

Your tongue weight will add to the rear axle weight, not exactly an exact addition (more loading, actually, on the rear axle than the tongue weight itself - the tongue weight will unload the front axle, unless you have a strong weight distributing hitch which will re-distribute some of that weight back to the front).

For getting set up it is a good idea to get scale weights. If you have access to a drive over scale at a gravel yard or shipping center of some kind this is a big plus. The last one I used was at a steel fabricator. It was a single scale - one number at a time for one set of axles. Take a reading with each axle, add everything up, and you have your weights. If you don't have access to one you can go to a truck stop and use the CAT certified scales (pilot, flying J, loves, what have you). They charge for the weights, but if you are changing your loading around hold on to your first ticket and you can get re-weighed. I forget what the re-weigh charge is, if any, but it is not full price.

Nice thing about a scale somewhere that isn't busy is you can drop the trailer and not have to worry about tying up traffic. We had a scale where I used to work that I used every once in a while. No one was ever on it, once in a blue moon you'd see a flatbed roll over it and that was it.
 
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