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Towing a 22 ft or smaller Camper


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Look at the owners manual.  Find max tow rating. Get max combined vehicle gross rating. Realize this is the max limit with one person of 150 pounds and a tank of gas not a loaded truck with family of 4 seated.

 

Do you have tow package with cat 4 hitch, 7 pin connector and trailer brake controller? Before you start towing thousands of pounds make sure your truck is set up to tow. Weight distribution hitch or just ball on reciever?

 

Do you have lt tires or p rated tires? Are your shocks set up for towing or passenger comfort?

 

How heavy is the trailer you intend to tow? The tongue weight?? The advertised weight is empty as delivered to the dealer no battery nothing in the tanks.

 

I tow a 2013 hideout 27dbs behind an f150 with a 5.4 triton. If I fill the tanks I am at 90% of max tow rating. And it bouncess and and wiggles down the road.  I usually don't put more than 10 gallons in the tanks. If it's empty I am comfortable at 65 mph or less.

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Towing is one thing. Stopping is quite another, especially in hills and mountains. 

 

Downhill control. Brakes, low gears, trailer brakes, exhaust brake if running a so equipped diesel... very important to keep in mind.

 

Even in towing smaller campers behind an SUV or 1/2 ton you will benefit greatly by using a simple brake controller with a trailer axle brake.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Dantankerous
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Howdy,

My dear ol daddy sure got heated up when I drove the car with a trailer too hard.

Trailers just dont give the same feedback as a car.

Brakes and shocks gotta be right.

And helper springs might be good too.

Be careful.

Best

CR

 

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Go and talk to your dealer. Towing capacity depends on a lot more than the engine installed. Next talk to a several reputable RV dealers. take notes and then do your own research. Did they tell you the truth or were they just trying to make a sale.

 

Spend the money for the proper load leveling hitch, electric brakes, and anti-sway bars.

 

You need to know the empty weight of the trailer and the tongue weight. Add up all the extras. As others have pointed out this is the dry weight. Water weighs 8 lbs per gallon. Batteries, propane tanks, food, clothing, toys adds up fast. Now where is this weight located. Everything forward of the axles will increase the tongue weight by some amount. The closer to the front the greater percentage of the weight added to the hitch. Everything aft decreases it by a percentage depending on placement. 

 

What is the load and speed rating on the trailer tires. Most tires sold on new RVs are only rated for a max speed of 60-65 mph and have a usable life of 3 years no matter how much tread is left. Their load ratings will not be much above GVWR the trailer.  Top of the line trailers tires are rated for 80 mph+ and will have a usable life of 5 years. Don't skimp on tires. If one fails at highway speeds it will likely do thousands of dollars worth of damage to the trailer.

 

While everything may seem fine on a nice smooth road running 60+. It will not be when you encounter a large a dip in the pavement or a strong cross wind. Just got back from a 1500 mile trip. Saw two wrecks involving bumper pull RVs. No idea what happened but the trailers were totaled. Encountered at least 3 other truck/trailer combinations that were highly unstable. Trailers were fish tailing in a strong cross wind / bouncing erratically when they encountered the deep dips transitioning from the bridge surface to the pavement.  

 

As for longevity. The closer you are to max towing capacity the more wear and tear you put on the entire vehicle.

 

JMNSHO but when you make up for displacement by adding turbo chargers and other performance enhancing add ons to get more HP from a smaller engine you are going to really shorten the life of that engine.  

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No. I agree you can make a v6 do 80% of the work of a v8 but the v8 is designed to do the work. And isn't working crazy hard to do it like the v6 is.

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Know a lot of Fellers that tow Trailers , Never yet met a single one that said I sure wish I had a F-150 !!!! 

 

 

Jabez Cowboy 

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I once towed my 3032 john deere tractor on a 17 foot trailer with a chevy 1500 8 cyl.  It did the job but not near as good as the 2500 chevy .  I've since decided to put air bags in the rear of the 2500 .  It does even better.  

 

Now when I tow a side by side I barely know they are there.

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The F-150 is a very capable truck for towing campers within their towing range.  As with anything else, it all depends on how it is equipped.  Mine has a tow haul mode, factory trailer brakes, transmission cooler, and all sorts of electronic gizmos that make towing a trailer safer.  I went with the 5.0 liter engine and have towed our 27' double axle camper over 25,000 miles.  Our camper weighs 6,200 lbs fully loaded for a 3 week trip.  

 

The tires, wheel bearings and brakes are often ignored when it comes to routine maintenance on a travel trailer.    Tire blowouts are usually caused by low tire pressure.  When the tire heats up, it comes apart and beats the side of your camper to death.  If you have a tire pressure monitor system on the camper, you will know if you have a loss of air pressure.  

 

When you do replace wheel bearings and tires, never replace them with anything made in China.  Goodyear Endurance tires are good as are Timken wheel bearings.  There are others but those are what I use.

 

The 3.5 L Ecoboost is a very capable engine with better torque numbers than the 5.0 L that I have in my truck.  The only reason I didn't go with the 3.5 L is because I generally keep a truck 10 years and I didn't like the repair/replacement cost of the turbo if it goes out.  I just didn't trust it.

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4 hours ago, Yellowhouse Sam # 25171 said:

Its set up for towing head to toe but my question remains.....over the long haul will a 3.5 ecoboost stand up to the strain of many trips compared to a Dodge 5.7 V8?

Yes, the engine has been designed and improved to handle that strain.  The 3.5L ecoboost is reliable with proper mantanance.  The hemi is more forgiving if you tend to forget maintenance.  The annoyance with the ecoboost is slight turbolag when leveling the trailer on blocks.  You are idling and trying to move the trailer up on a 2" block, then the boost torque comes.  It is easily manageable but something you don't deal with from the hemi. 

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I found this website. Maybe it can help. Note the first thing it says is “consult your manual”.
https://letstowthat.com/2015-f150-towing-capacity/

 

Here is my theory on towing specs. If it is short haul towing, around 20 miles, about 2/3 of years max towing capacity is fine. If it is long haul towing I say 1/2 towing capacity. 
So, a tow rating of 5000 pounds means I would trust my vehicle towing 3300 pounds on the short hauls and 2500 on long hauls. 
 

Why do I say this? See @Sedalia Dave and @Dantankerousposts above. 
 

It’s my opinion towing specs are made to the vehicle’s maximum abilities on a flat test track with no traffic, hills, impediments, etc. 

They are also made to impress the buyer, just like those maintenance schedules that are stretched out to maximum to show a lower cost of maintenance. Think 7000 between oil changes. :blink: If you best performance over time cut those numbers by half.
 

In regards to towing, it’s not about performance. It is about safety!

Edited by Pat Riot, SASS #13748
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17 hours ago, Yellowhouse Sam # 25171 said:

I have a 2015 F150 with the 3.5 L Ecoboost which is touted as having torque equivalent to a Dodge 5.7 L Hemi.   Well, maybe so but which engine will last moving a camp trailer over hills and mountains for 5-6 K miles at a whack?

 

From https://www.automotive-fleet.com/125640/ford-releases-more-2015-f-150-towing-payload-specs

 

"The 2015 F-150 equipped with the 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost and rear-wheel drive can tow 12,200 pounds with a maximum payload of 3,180 pounds. This truck will offer the highest towing capability of any F-150 model. Adding four-wheel drive to the truck would decrease the towing capability to 12,000 pounds, said Ford spokesman Aaron Miller."

 

For a hitch tow, you should have 10 to 15% of the trailer weight on the tongue. Look at the ratings carefully. You will need a weight distributing hitch beyond a certain trailer weight. Also trailer brakes (using the 7 pin connector, not the 4 pin).

 

The tongue weight is part of the payload on the truck. Passengers, gear, and vehicle options all take away from payload. The truck has a maximum total capacity, a limit for each axle, plus there is a combined weight limit (truck plus trailer).

 

Do not exceed any limit. There are really only two reasons for the limits, safety and warranty (longevity). I don't second-guess the manufacturer on this.

 

Back in the day, an F-150 (C10, 1500) was a half ton vehicle. Your F-150 is now a 1.5 ton truck. But every option and every pound you add to the truck removes capacity. A bigger engine weighs more and removes capacity but may add longevity.

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22 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

 

From https://www.automotive-fleet.com/125640/ford-releases-more-2015-f-150-towing-payload-specs

 

"The 2015 F-150 equipped with the 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost and rear-wheel drive can tow 12,200 pounds with a maximum payload of 3,180 pounds. This truck will offer the highest towing capability of any F-150 model. Adding four-wheel drive to the truck would decrease the towing capability to 12,000 pounds, said Ford spokesman Aaron Miller."

 

For a hitch tow, you should have 10 to 15% of the trailer weight on the tongue. Look at the ratings carefully. You will need a weight distributing hitch beyond a certain trailer weight. Also trailer brakes (using the 7 pin connector, not the 4 pin).

 

The tongue weight is part of the payload on the truck. Passengers, gear, and vehicle options all take away from payload. The truck has a maximum total capacity, a limit for each axle, plus there is a combined weight limit (truck plus trailer).

 

Do not exceed any limit. There are really only two reasons for the limits, safety and warranty (longevity). I don't second-guess the manufacturer on this.

 

Back in the day, an F-150 (C10, 1500) was a half ton vehicle. Your F-150 is now a 1.5 ton truck. But every option and every pound you add to the truck removes capacity. A bigger engine weighs more and removes capacity but may add longevity.

 

That blurb leaves out a lot of details. Max capacity depends on; the rear axle ratio, wheel base, type of cab, certain options, type of hitch, and a lot more.

 

You would be very hard pressed to convince me that a vehicle with a curb weight of a little over 4000 lbs can safely tow 3 times its weight in all weather and road conditions.

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44 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

That blurb leaves out a lot of details. Max capacity depends on...

I did gloss details, but did call out options affect capacity. A crew cab usually has lower capacity. 4WD has lower capacity. A big engine tows better but lowers capacity.

 

A lower rear gear usually has more capacity.

 

Ford does have documents which go option by option for impact on capacity. One surprise in it is rubber floor mats reduce capacity compared to carpets. Only 4 pounds for my truck, but it is a minus.

 

The max capacity truck is usually a "stripped" truck except for specific options (oil cooler,  certain springs, specific engine, specific transmission, specific rear gear, specific cab and bed, and so on).

 

Do not believe a sales person! Dig for the documents and verify details.

 

Just setting up a weight distribution hitch takes me a few hours. It is rarely correct after first bolting it on.

 

Without going through all the details, towing at half capacity is arguably within specs.

 

There is nothing inherently wrong with hitting any or all maximums as long as every detail is correct.

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13 hours ago, Yellowhouse Sam # 25171 said:

Its set up for towing head to toe but my question remains.....over the long haul will a 3.5 ecoboost stand up to the strain of many trips compared to a Dodge 5.7 V8?

 

The answer to that is "no."  Boost puts a lot more stress on components and there are fewer of them in that truck, so the stress is over a smaller area.

 

Also, this is my personal preference, but Ford's OHC designs have no place in a truck.  They have a lot more moving parts and you don't have to spend long on the internet before you hear all about the valvetrain parts that are known to wear out prematurely.  An overhead valve design is superior for a truck and I don't know why Ford has been engaged in their 22 year long experiment to prove otherwise.  Neither GM nor Ram are on the bandwagon--to me that speaks for itself (but I also would not ever own anything with an OHC engine, ever, so I'm happy to show my bias.  No thanks).

 

I also agree with most of the comments above. If you want to know the capacity of the truck, you really need to weight it and subtract that from the GCWR, and also consider that you may not be able to get to the max GCWR before busting the GVWR, so the limit where the lesser of the two is overloaded.  I doubt any of the other ratings will matter, although if your truck came with car tires, the rear GAWR may be in play.  The comments about the trailer brakes and their associated controller are also a given, you would have to be suicidal to put that kind of weight back there without having brakes (and most all RVs are going to have electric brakes on every axle).

 

The best way to do this is to probably pick the trailer first and buy a truck that you know can pull the trailer at max GVWR, and then never load it that heavy.  For example, my trailer has a nearly 14k lb GVWR.  I never load it that heavy. I haven't weighed it fully loaded, but I doubt I've broken 11k by much, even with a full load of water.  And I still have 10-15% of my GCWR left so I have plenty of cushion (not a lot, but I'm not right on the line).

Edited by Chacón
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I have a 2018 F-150 4x4 with the 3.5 Eco Boost and the tow options. I tow a 19 foot fiberglass trailer with a dry weight of 2610 pounds and a GVWR of 4000 pounds. The F-150 performs exceptionally well. On the road it is hard to even notice that I am towing a trailer except for the lower gas mileage. I have towed from SoCal to British Columbia, in the Sierras, from AZ to WY and throughout the Southwest.

 

You should have no issues with the F-150.

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Most F 150 trucks come with 4 ply CAR tires , Up here in our province of B.C. they are pulling about every F-150 over that is pulling a trailer over 16 feet, or with a Camper on it and Ticketing over 85% for being Over-Weight .  And over 20% are being Impounded because of Being severally Over-Weight to the degree as to warrant a Court appearance ...  I'm glad I live in Alberta and have a Class C Motorhome .

 

Jabez Cowboy 

Edited by Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129
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I have operated many turbo equipped vehicles over the years. Both gas an and diesel. 

One thing you need to do when you have been driving for a spell, especially with a load. Is to let the engine idle for at least 1 minute before shutdown. This allows the engine oil to cool the waste gate bearings.  

OLG 

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DO NOT GO BY WHAT THE ADVERTISERS SAY, OR YOUR OWNERS MANUAL. The owners manual is a general reference guide. Look at the drivers side door jamb. It will have the exact towing capacities for your truck.

 

Total combined GVW is a worthless number. The real number is listed as "cargo capacity". That would be tongue weight, people, junk in the bed. 

And air bags do not add load capacity.

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11 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

DO NOT GO BY WHAT THE ADVERTISERS SAY, OR YOUR OWNERS MANUAL. The owners manual is a general reference guide. Look at the drivers side door jamb. It will have the exact towing capacities for your truck.

 

Total combined GVW is a worthless number. The real number is listed as "cargo capacity". That would be tongue weight, people, junk in the bed. 

And air bags do not add load capacity.

You will likely reach the carrying capacity of your truck with tongue weight and cargo before you ever get near the towing capacity.  A trip to the CAT scales will be money well spent.

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31 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

DO NOT GO BY WHAT THE ADVERTISERS SAY, OR YOUR OWNERS MANUAL. The owners manual is a general reference guide. Look at the drivers side door jamb. It will have the exact towing capacities for your truck.

 

Total combined GVW is a worthless number. The real number is listed as "cargo capacity". That would be tongue weight, people, junk in the bed. 

And air bags do not add load capacity.

 

"Cargo capacity," which is called "payload" on a truck, is just GVWR minus curb weight, perhaps with an allowance for the driver's weight.  It isn't as if it's some insightful number.  Anyone can calculate it with information that is freely available online.

 

Ram says my truck weighs 7,076 pounds.  I took it to the scale the day I bought it, full of diesel, and it was 7,080.  I'd say that's pretty good.

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This is what I tow. Note that I do have AirLift shocks to assist the suspension and 10 ply tires.

 

The trailer is not hitched in the photo. When hitched with the weight distributing hitch, the trailer is level.

 

I have only towed this combination about 500+ miles so far.

 

image.thumb.png.c16eb5d648b78a3da0989337735abce5.png

 

Edited by Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L
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I just bought a 2020 f150 4x4 with towing package 3.5 ecoboost to tow a 7000 lb Puma. Truck is rated to 11,500 towing capacity so it handles it just fine. I am using it for 2-5 hundred mile trips. If I were to want to tow similar weight 5-6 k miles per trip, I would go with a diesel. Don't matter which gas puller you get, it won't last as well as a diesel. I tow the trailer short distances, park it and run around in the truck. Long road trips, you will be way better with a diesel.

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How many people in the truck?

Each Person reduces the payload.

Bigger Heavier shocks ,,,,, same thing.

2 hours ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

This is what I tow. Note that I do have AirLift shocks to assist the suspension and 10 ply tires.

 

The trailer is not hitched in the photo. When hitched with the weight distributing hitch, the trailer is level.

 

I have only towed this combination about 500+ miles so far.

 

image.thumb.png.c16eb5d648b78a3da0989337735abce5.png

 

 

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3 hours ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

This is what I tow. Note that I do have AirLift shocks to assist the suspension and 10 ply tires.

 

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

This is what I tow. Note that I do have AirLift shocks to assist the suspension and 10 ply tires.

 

The trailer is not hitched in the photo. When hitched with the weight distributing hitch, the trailer is level.

 

I have only towed this combination about 500+ miles so far.

 

image.thumb.png.c16eb5d648b78a3da0989337735abce5.png

 

I like that!  What brand/model trailer is that?

Edited by Yellowhouse Sam # 25171
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2 hours ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

How many people in the truck?

Each Person reduces the payload.

Bigger Heavier shocks ,,,,, same thing.

 

 

2 plus Custer, approximately 375 pounds

 

2 hours ago, Yellowhouse Sam # 25171 said:

 

I like that!  What brand/model trailer is that?

 

The trailer is an Escape 19, made in British Columbia.

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Injun Ryder, 

How does your truck handle with the 4 wheeler loaded that high?  I looks like it would cause all kinds of handling problems due to the high center of gravity, not to mention all the tree limbs you're going to take out.

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2 hours ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

Injun Ryder, 

How does your truck handle with the 4 wheeler loaded that high?  I looks like it would cause all kinds of handling problems due to the high center of gravity, not to mention all the tree limbs you're going to take out.

 

As long as I drive with the knowledge of the SxS being up there, no problem. I have driven it on mountain highways and dirt roads. The sway was minimal. As for tree limbs, haven't encountered any - yet!:rolleyes:

 

BTW - The SxS weighs about 1600 pounds!

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The 3.5 EcoBoost is an amazing engine. Towing requires torque. And the 3.5EB is as close to the torque curve of a diesel as you can get in a gas motor. Torque ratings mean nothing if all the torque happens at one, very high, RPM......The 3.5EB has an extremely long, flat torque curve. I tow with a 2021 RAM 2500 with 6.4L Hemi......But I test drove a 3.5EB when I bought this truck and loved the engine. Felt a lot like my 2006 RAM/Cummins diesel. But the F150 simply didn't have the payload for a future truck bed camper. Now....My son-in-law has a new RAM 1500 5.7L Hemi with the aux electric motor for added torque. His truck tows a trailer similar in weight to mine, as good if not a bit better than the 6.4L Hemi in my truck....... These half ton trucks have become very capable of towing trailers, size and weight, that we wouldn't even consider a few years ago. Makes me smile when folks say 1/2 ton PUs are not good tow vehicles.....back in the 60s and 70s, thousands of trailers were pulled all over the country with Ford and Chevy station wagons with 150HP and two speed transmissions! I wrote an article on buying and owning a travel trailer on my web site. www.rvbprecision.com http://www.rvbprecision.com   ......You might find it interesting.

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23 hours ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

This is what I tow. Note that I do have AirLift shocks to assist the suspension and 10 ply tires.

 

The trailer is not hitched in the photo. When hitched with the weight distributing hitch, the trailer is level.

 

I have only towed this combination about 500+ miles so far.

 

image.thumb.png.c16eb5d648b78a3da0989337735abce5.png

 

What's the height? :huh:

Looks well above 13'6".

OLG 

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