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Old 07-10-2016, 02:13 PM   #1
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Ford F150, F250, F350 Pay Load... at Elevation

OK. Who reads the manuals that come with each new vehicle?

Well... I do and it is enough to make one wonder WHY did I even buy a new vehicle that is totally unfamiliar and more complex than the one I did own? From a 2012 5.7L Crew Max Tundra to a fully loaded of who knows what F350 King Ranch Diesel 4x4.

The 2016 Super Duty Ford F350 6.5' bed has a cargo capacity of 3,456 pounds. My wife's 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser, 1230 pounds.

Reading the Operator's Manual for Ford Super Duty trucks was an interesting CYA (Cover Your Arse) warning:

" For high altitude operation, reduce the gross combined weight by 2% per 1000 feet starting at the 1000 foot elevation point. " (Page 191 Trailer Towing- 2016 Guide section)

I have to expect that this 2% per 1000 feet elevation starting at 1000 feet elevation also includes the F150... if not all the F Series trucks. Although this was titled Super Duty Owner's Manual.

Do the math... or at least 'consider' the math. Colorado mountain travel might put you at 7,000 feet to 9,000 feet when not doing the up and over passes that could exceed 10,000 to 12,000 feet regularly. This would reduce your truck's designed cargo hold in the 10% to 20% range just due to elevation and your engine's ability to handle it all.

Or is the Gross Vehicle Weight?

Toss out the pets and kids when coming up and over Monarch Pass?

After just reading the Diesel Engine supplementary booklet... there are so many filters used in the system, I had better get one of each for preventative measures.

Then the Cargo capability when towing at Elevation... in the general operation manual.

Even commercial Aircraft have to take cargo in the hold, and in the bulkhead under strict considerations, before loading commercial cargo to deliver. It is even more important.

When working with 1200 to 1400 pound cargo pay loads... if these numbers are even close to being worth considering... maybe a F150 3.5 Eco Boost pulling a 27 foot Airstream is going to be, way off the charts. Off in a negative direction.

Please, tell me this is just another CYA for the manufacturer and can be ignored at will. Or... is this something to consider when purchasing a Tow Vehicle. Even our very capable 2008 Land Cruiser with the 5.7L engine and the transmission that can handle anything... at 1230 pound cargo limit will be taking on more than designed.

... and I have just begun reading the pages of caveats and must do's.
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:37 PM   #2
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Since you reduce the GCWR by 2% per thousand it's unlikely the cargo carrying capacity will be limited. A F350's (swr) GCWR is probably around 25,000 so even a 20% loss will leave it at 20,000. If your 25 International is fully loaded (7300) that leaves you 12,700 for your truck.
Your post left me curious about my truck so I checked the GM diesel supplement and found no restriction.There was a warning about coolant boiling at a lower temperature at higher elevations.

Terry
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:45 PM   #3
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I have never heard of such a thing. I wonder if it is an attempt to maintain the j2807 performance standard when factoring the physics of high elevation and combustion???? I can think of no mechanical reason for this statement, other than reduced performance.
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:51 PM   #4
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Well, I am one of those anal people that does read all of the things that come with my cars, trucks, cameras, phones, electronics, stoves, ovens, coffee makers, etc, you get the point. I have a 2013 F-150, EcoBoost. It says the same thing in my manual. My problem is that the 2013 payload is only 1100 and I have a 100 pound bed cover, leaving me only 1000, so not enough to tow an AS with peeps, stuff in the truck. I am waiting for the 2017 models, told they would be here late August, into September and look at their stats. If I go the trailer route, I am going WAY OVER with the TV capacity to be sure I have enough. Plan to put everything I can in the truck rather than the trailer. F 250 or 350, and think I will go with the gasoline engine as it has more payload than the diesel. I wonder how many peeps just hitch up the trailer and never look at any of the data.
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:14 PM   #5
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Well, I am one of those anal people that does read all of the things that come with my cars, trucks, cameras, phones, electronics, stoves, ovens, coffee makers, etc, you get the point. I have a 2013 F-150, EcoBoost. It says the same thing in my manual. My problem is that the 2013 payload is only 1100 and I have a 100 pound bed cover, leaving me only 1000, so not enough to tow an AS with peeps, stuff in the truck. I am waiting for the 2017 models, told they would be here late August, into September and look at their stats. If I go the trailer route, I am going WAY OVER with the TV capacity to be sure I have enough. Plan to put everything I can in the truck rather than the trailer. F 250 or 350, and think I will go with the gasoline engine as it has more payload than the diesel. I wonder how many peeps just hitch up the trailer and never look at any of the data.
A lot! Maybe most.
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:41 PM   #6
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Additional Information from Owner's Manual

I believe that Terry tblkfsh in Post #2 is right. May take some additional understanding of terminology, as well.

Page 187 of the same owner's manual:

GCWR = "Combined Weight Rating (as in Post #1)

...is the maximum allowable weight of the vehicle and the loaded trailer, including all cargo and passengers, that the vehicle can handle without risking damage. (Important: The towing vehicle's braking system is rated for operation at Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, not at Gross Combined Weight Rating). Separate functional brakes should be used for safe control of towed vehicles and trailers where the Gross Combined Weight of the towing vehicle plus the trailer exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the towing vehicle."

"Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight= is the highest possible weight of a fully loaded trailer the vehicle can tow. It assumes a vehicle with mandatory options, driver and front passenger weight of 150 pounds each, no cargo weight, internal or external, and a tongue load of 10 - 15% conventional trailer. Consult an authorized dealer for more detailed information."

"Replacement Tires with a higher limit than the original tires do not increase the GVWR and GAWR limitations."
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:25 PM   #7
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"I can think of no mechanical reason for this statement, other than reduced performance."

I agree with this. You'll lose some power and may end up a little slower, but mechanically there should be no difference. As long as you're not over rpm, which is likely electrically limited, I can't think of anything you would hurt.
Steel, springs, axles, ball, hitch; they don't care what altitude they're at.
Keep an eye on all your temps and rpm and I think you would be fine. Again, maybe slower on hills and such, but still moving.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:32 PM   #8
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Porsche Cayenne's manual states a similar thing, that max tow rating is reduced by a certain amount (can't remember) per every 1000# ft of elevation.
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:22 PM   #9
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Ray, the Ford manuals I read said that gasoline engines lose power at elevation, which is true, and so to maintain the same performance, reduce weights by 2%. No mention of weight ratings. I don't think the rating changes at all. And if you have any reserve power, you don't need to reduce weights either, but if you want to go up the hill at max throttle at elevation, then yes, expect a performance degradation compared to sea level.

Unless you have a turbocharged engine.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:53 AM   #10
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Ray, the Ford manuals I read said that gasoline engines lose power at elevation, which is true, and so to maintain the same performance, reduce weights by 2%. No mention of weight ratings. I don't think the rating changes at all. And if you have any reserve power, you don't need to reduce weights either, but if you want to go up the hill at max throttle at elevation, then yes, expect a performance degradation compared to sea level.

Unless you have a turbocharged engine.
You are mostly correct minus your last sentence. Even turbo charged engines feel elevation. Just not as much as naturally aspirated engines.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:04 AM   #11
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Mine is turbocharged and has the same reduction listed in the manual.
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:17 AM   #12
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You are mostly correct minus your last sentence. Even turbo charged engines feel elevation. Just not as much as naturally aspirated engines.
It will depend also on engine/turbocharger design. If the turbos hit speed limits then there will be measurable reductions in output. With larger turbos that don't spin as fast, not as much. At 16,000 feet my Expedition really struggled. Diesel haul trucks couldn't function with the same derates, so we used high altitude configurations with compound turbos to avoid turbo speed limits. We maintained rated power to 10,000 feet on the standard configurations.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:22 PM   #13
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Power reduction at altitude

If you have a one ton truck. You are going to be hard pressed to exceed its towing capabilities with the trailer you have. The F-150 can pull it under most contditions but has to rev higher and work harder to climb. You do not have and engine brake. The 150 will wear out sooner than expected due to how hard it has to work. The F-350 diesel is a beast. You may have to pull a bit slower over the 11,000 ft pass but it will not fail you. The down hill is much easier on your brakes if you have the desiel engine brake. Like most companies, Ford prints the booklet on the truck after trying to place as much liability on the purchaser. It is the way of things because we live in a litigious society
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:29 PM   #14
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A lot! Maybe most.
Ditto. I don't know how more people don't get hurt or killed in mountain terrain. Too many times I am completely amazed in what I see.
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