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Old 06-08-2013, 06:26 AM   #1
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Comparing GCWR to Actual Weight

We literally put the cart before the horse, bought a 23FB, and now we need the tow vehicle. We live in Colorado, so there's higher altitude and mountain towing. The question is, what is the minimum the Gross Combined Weight Rating should exceed the actual weight of the tow vehicle + the AS to ensure ease of driving and minimize engine heat buildup. For instance, the F150 5.0 and the Tundra 5.7 both have GCWR's of about 14500 lbs. My actual weight is about 25% less. For us technicians, is this enough of a gap to move us over hill and dale with ease?
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:44 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, BobGall. Yes, I think you will find that the GCWR weight will not be the limiting factor, but the RAWR (rear axle weight rating) will. Most any of the late model 1/2 to pickups with a towing package will be more than suitable for a 23 footer, even in Colorado.

I would just caution you to make sure the vehicle does in fact have the towing package, and not just the hitch, and the later model trucks with the six speed transmissions do a much better job than the earlier four speeds.
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:49 AM   #3
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I think either vehicle will be fine, if they have the 6 speed trans and tow package.

IMO, you should be more concerned with payload capacity of the tow vehicle. What you load into the tow vehicle adds up quickly when you consider it will already have the added tongue weight. The actual tongue weight will be somewhere between 10 to 15% of the trailer's loaded weight. Do some honest math before you jump in.
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:56 AM   #4
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One more consideration....tire load rating.
Our RAWR is 5500lbs, the OEM tires were not safely up to the task, check just to make sure.


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Old 06-08-2013, 03:43 PM   #5
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This comments are most insightful and definitely all new news to me and allow me to think this through and not be stuck with a tow vehicle that's inadequate.
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:46 PM   #6
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Also make sure there is a completely separate transmission cooler, not built into the radiator.
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:30 PM   #7
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One more thing to look at:
The truck's GVWR is a given. The truck's maximum trailer towing weight is a given. When you add those numbers together you would think this would be the GCWR of the truck, but it is not. The GCWR is less. (on every truck I have owned)
If you have a heavy loaded truck you might have to give up some trailer weight.
I you have a heavy loaded trailer you might have to give up some truck payload.
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:27 PM   #8
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One more thing to look at:
The truck's GVWR is a given. The truck's maximum trailer towing weight is a given. When you add those numbers together you would think this would be the GCWR of the truck, but it is not. The GCWR is less. (on every truck I have owned)
If you have a heavy loaded truck you might have to give up some trailer weight.
I you have a heavy loaded trailer you might have to give up some truck payload.
That's cuz yuoz can load the truck to the gills, or youz can load the trailer to the gills....but you better not do both. Different specs for different needs.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:13 AM   #9
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So when the owner of my repair shop says I really need to get a F250 Diesel to pull 6000 lbs., it's way too much, right? The F150 5.0 size range would work with care to the specific specs for my situation (rear axle, tires, transmission cooling, absolute load amounts. Now I have a sense of direction.

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Old 06-09-2013, 07:46 AM   #10
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If you are leaning toward an F150, test drive an Ecoboost. The turbo is a great addition for high altitude mountain passes.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:09 AM   #11
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So when the owner of my repair shop says I really need to get a F250 Diesel to pull 6000 lbs., it's way too much, right? The F150 5.0 size range would work with care to the specific specs for my situation (rear axle, tires, transmission cooling, absolute load amounts. Now I have a sense of direction.

Bob
Most likely, yes. Unless tongue weight plus all the stuff you want to put in the bed overloads the rear axle. Say you want to put a Harley, an outboard and Zodiac....etc. Then maybe a 1/2 ton is not enough truck for a 6000# trailer. But if I understand you correctly, in your case a 1/2 ton is certainly adequate.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:12 AM   #12
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It is better to have reserve weight capacity than be at the maximum limits for both the trailer and especially the tow vehicle.

With the legal climate that exists today, overloading any axle or tire ratings, payload or gross combination weights coupled with an accident puts the driver in a very difficult defensive position. The door stickers are the maximum ratings and exceeding them could put your insurance coverage at risk for intentional overloading the vehicles.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:28 AM   #13
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Pay close attention to the payload limits as that seems to be where you will max out first. Payload includes your passengers, any accessories you add to the truck, and anything you carry in the bed/inside of truck and the added weight the trailer tongue adds to what the truck is carrying. It adds up quickly. Best way to be sure on your weight is to load the trailer with your belongings and water and take it to the CAT scales to be weighed. (Or have a friend take it with their truck if you don't have one yet).

There are other posts on what weight measurements to take at the CAT scales and how to do it.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobGall View Post
So when the owner of my repair shop says I really need to get a F250 Diesel to pull 6000 lbs., it's way too much, right? The F150 5.0 size range would work with care to the specific specs for my situation (rear axle, tires, transmission cooling, absolute load amounts. Now I have a sense of direction.

Bob
You might need a F150 or you might need a F250. It depends on how you plan to load your tow vehicle. I have towed my 30' Airstream with a half ton Chevy. I tow my 25' Airstream with a 3/4 ton Chevy. The reason; I changed the way I camp by taking more stuff along with me. I carry a close to 2,000lb on/in my truck. Now that I retired I stay on trips for months instead of weeks.

Look at the tag on the door of the vehicle you are thinking about buying. It will give you the weight (payload) that the manufacturer says you can add until the truck is overloaded. The weight of the truck includes a full tank of fuel and all equipment that came from the factory. Everything else inside or on the vehicle is part of the payload, including driver and passengers.

From the payload, deduct the weight of you, your passengers, all the stuff inside the truck cab, all the stuff in the bed, and the weight of the trailer bearing on the truck. If the total of all these things does not exceed the payload limit of the F150, you may be ok. You have to consider if you carry most of your weight in the rear of the truck, then the axle weight rating comes into play.

Going back to your original post:
If you do not carry a heavy generator, extra fuel, a heavy tool box, or heavy camping gear in your truck bed you should be ok with the 1/2 ton, as long as you have the factory towing package and a six speed. You did not say if you are getting a crew cab or a standard cab. The more passengers you carry means less gear and tongue weight allowed. A long bed truck (wheel base) generally will carry more than a short bed.
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