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Old 01-01-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
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Homework on 2013 Ford F150 as a TV

Ford 2013 F150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup 145" WB and 5'6" Box with 7,650 lbs GVW

White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat with Pale Adobe accent
Kings Ranch Equipment Group 600A with 18" 7 spoke wheels and P276/65R18 BSW tires
3.5L EcoBoost engine with 36 gallon gas tank
Electronic locking differential in rear axle with 3.73 ratio
King Ranch Luxury Package
Max Trailer tow package = 1,900 lbs Payload & 11,200 lbs Max trailer weight
Stowable bed extender
Rear wheel well liners
Full coverage rubber floor mats
Skid plates for for fuel tank, transfer case and front axle

One would need to get actual weight information from the factory for this truck as it would be built to verify what I have been able to ascertain from publicly available information.

Our current trailer is a 2013 model 25FB International Serenity Airstream with tandem axles that has a GVW of 7,300 pounds. This is well under the 11,200 pound tow rating of this truck. The GCWR would be around 14,950 pounds (7,650 + 7,300 = 14,950) which is below the listed number of 17,100 pounds. If we were to upgrade in the future to the longest airstream, the tongue weight would be the same or possibly be 50 pounds less the current tongue weight and the trailer GVW would be 10,000 pounds which is under the 11,200 tow weight restriction. However, we would then exceed GCWR by 450 pounds.

According to Ford documentation (2012 F-150 Weight Ratings), the 1,900 pound payload number does NOT include the weight of factory installed options. The OPT/ARC (maximum allowable weight for regular production Options and aftermarket equipment Accessory Reserve Capacity) is 427 pounds for this model. The weight of gasoline (about 234 pounds for 36 gallons) is NOT mentioned as being included or excluded from the payload weight. The Ford Kings Ranch aluminum wheels are each rated 2,025 pounds and the "P" rated tires are rated 2,365 pounds @ 44 psi, so two wheels and tires capacity equals the 4,050 pound rating of the rear axle. The front axle is rated 3,900 pounds. Thus the two axles together have 300 pounds more capacity than the rated GVW of the truck. A weight distribution hitch may be able to spread the partial tongue weight (in theory, 2/3 of the total tongue weight) load evenly across the front and rear axle with the rest of the tongue weight to the trailer axles.

1,900 Factory payload
- 427 OPT/ARC
____
1,473
- 224 36 Gallons of gas @ 6.2 pounds/gallon
____
1,249
-1,280 Current Tow Vehicle payload = 2 passengers, some gear in the TV and net tongue weight
____
- 31 Over loaded by 31 pounds

We still have 265 pounds of capacity below the trailer GVW. If that additional weight were added to the trailer, there would probably be a slight impact on the tongue weight. However, the reason for a pickup was we would also like to be able to carry two small generators and their gasoline tanks along with a collapsing ladder in the pickup bed and that weight is not even mentioned in my calculations above.

If the 36 gallons of gasoline weight is included in the empty weight of the truck, then the payload would be 193 pounds below maximum and would cover the weight of the added items mentioned above in the bed. In either case, would Ford walk away from warranty claims for a vehicle that always towed near, at or slightly over the stated maximum vehicle payload? There is zero safety margin if the rear axle is loaded to maximum capacity of 4,050 pounds.

The towing and Ford forums are full of the issues with 1/2 ton pickups having a very limiting payload capacity, which is reflected in the calculations above.

It really appears that the F150 in Kings Ranch trim would be under rated for our current towing situation in terms of any safety margins.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:47 PM   #2
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According to my Ford F-150 owner's manual, gasoline is not additional weight to be added- included in the empty weight of the truck(not payload) or easier said, "weighed with gasoline". The ratings for payload and towing are vigorously tested at those limits. I would question those tires. I have an '09 with the towing package that just turned over 30K that I purchased as a CPO with everything original. The OEM tires are "Load Rating D" no P marking. And, according to the tire chart, the P is a regular passenger tire not a load rated tire. Another oddity is that according to Ford's options for towing packages, the tires are 17". Unless I am missing it somewhere, there were/are no 18" towing package options - both wheel and tire have to meet load/pressure requirements. Someone may have swapped wheels on that truck. Or, I am in error of not finding an 18" option. I do not see it. I would think that the truck would meet your need. Other than the tires it sounds great. I have less truck and a 7000lb AS gross weight and mine does just fine and is within limits. I have 548 lbs for payload minus tongue weight, have a 75lb generator and three people. We nearly max it out but it works. Ford information is available online if you get the VIN#. You can download the window sticker, etc.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:59 PM   #3
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You don't need to add in fuel, wheels and most other factory options. The bed liner is too small to even consider. The fuel is already added in the weight load and you don't need to consider that either. The only item you really need to add to the vehicle weight is the skid plate.
Your only possible problem would be the tounge weight of the trailer. Check your owners manuals (both the Airstream and the Ford F-150)
Your trailer has a tounge weight of 467 lb
Ford says not to exceed 500 lb on the tounge.
You're on the edge here. Very little margin left. You can tow with this combination, but just barely. You might want to get an equalizer hitch. Why not give it a try around the block and see how it goes?
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:34 PM   #4
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Ford says not to exceed 500 lb on the tounge. You're on the edge here.
I believe the hitch receiver weight is rated at 1,100 lbs, and 500 lbs dead weight on the bumper.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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The Heavy Duty hauling package requires the 17" wheels but is only available on long bed XL and XLT models. It is not available for the Kings Ranch model with short bed.

Thus the Max Towing package (includes a level IV hitch receiver and 7 way wiring, engine radiator upgraded and auxiliary transmission oil cooling tow mirrors, brake controller, etc. and works with the 18" tires and requires the 3.73 rear axle ratio to get the higher trailer towing weight limits. The tires mentioned are from the 2012 build sheet information. Remember that the 1,900 pound payload weight does NOT include the options.

The reference says that payload includes people,cargo and body equipment and is reduced by the optional equipment weight.

Subtracting 1,900 from the GVW of 7,650 is 5,750 pounds which is just above the base curb weight of 5,687 pounds. Removing the options allowance leaves 1,423 pounds. Several folks now say gas is included in the curb weight, so the net tongue weight on the current TV plus two people and a few accessories were about 1,280 pounds, so the net weight is about 193 pounds below GVW of the truck. Since the options allowance is not defined by individual item, it is an aggregate number and probably slightly higher than the actual weight of the installed options because of mix and match. Thus an actual scale weight requirement to knbow the starting point of the weight of the truck and then the net payload. The net payload should show on the door post sticker after the unit is built.

My Airstream 25FB International factory sales literature specification tongue weight is 833 pounds. I weighed it with my scales and the actual weight before "stuff" was about 1,150 pounds and went to about 1,175 pounds after adding my "stuff". I used the scale weights of the car before and after the trailer and took the gain in weight (less than the tongue weight because of the Hensley Hitch) as the 1,280, pounds.

The listing I used was from a price quote request to a dealer.

Solo mode for me alone drops 1,060 pounds off the payload in and on the truck.

The tire in the web price quote is the P275/65R18C that is rated by Michelin 2,365 pounds at 44 psi. However, the Ford wheel only supports 2,025 pounds at 50 psi which works with the axle ratings..

The issue boils down to, do you want to always tow at nearly full truck GVW?
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
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The issue boils down to, do you want to always tow at nearly full truck GVW?
For me the answer to that would depend on the amount of towing verses non-towing, 10%, 50% or 90%.

10-25% towing I wouldn't mind (and do that now), 80-90% towing I would want more of a margin.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #7
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I recently went thru this same exercise looking for a 1/2 ton truck that would also tow our 31 footer, and decided on another 3/4 ton Diesel. I can be done, but just not enough safety margin to give me the warm fuzzys.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:45 PM   #8
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Two comments.

1. King Ranch, not Kings Ranch (Named after the King Ranch)
2. Super Duty models also come with the King Ranch trim. Might be worth considering.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:06 PM   #9
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I am very comfortable/happy with our '09 5.4L setup towing our 34' Airstream. So far it has been through the "Dragons Tail" of NC (by accident) which includes 12% grades.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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Does the Ford documentation actually list the payload capability at 1900lbs? I find this a little dubious, as my 2012 Ford F150 with HD payload has a payload capacity of 2150lbs as listed on the door pillar. The HD payload adds 500 lbs to the GVWR of the truck over the same unit with just the Max Tow package. (GVWR with HD Payload: 8200lbs)

I suspect the Max Tow package adds considerable weight with the additional radiators, etc.

Also make sure you are adding the weight of the hitch to your payload calculations. If you are using a WD hitch, this starts at about 50lbs. If you are using a ProPride or Hensley, this is about 200 lbs.

As for margin - there is margin in these numbers. Unlike tow capacity, GVWR is a much more regulated number. The vehicle will be design to handle this GVWR over the entire life of the truck in dynamic situations - ie, rough terrain, etc.

There will also be margin to account for wear and tear - and (while I don't know with absolute certainty) also margin for fatigue/corrosion, etc.

If you take good care of your vehicle, and don't live in an area of high corrosion, I would not be too worried about living near the published limits.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:24 PM   #11
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As an addition to my above post. My buddy tows a huge fifth wheel with his 2010 F150 and the Ecoboost power plant. He is very pleased with 11 or so mpg while towing and 22mpg around town when not towing!
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #12
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If it were me, I would go with the V-8 and not the Ecoboost and also add a set of Airbags to the rear springs with the on board compressor. That alone with help cure the "interstate bucking" and make things alot more stable. The other additional option would be to replace the rear bumper and add one from South Texas Outfitters, much more HD than stock.

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:50 PM   #13
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As an addition to my above post. My buddy tows a huge fifth wheel with his 2010 F150 and the Ecoboost power plant. He is very pleased with 11 or so mpg while towing and 22mpg around town when not towing!
Aviator

I don't imagine your buddy has weighed his loaded truck at a CAT scale. I would not be surprised if he is exceeding the rear axle weight rating (4,050 lbs) by 1,000 lbs or more. Remember that his tongue is sitting right above the rear axle. I don't believe you can tow any loaded 5th wheel trailer with a 1/2 ton truck without exceeding the rear axle weight rating. Well there is one exception- a fiberglass Scamp 5th wheel made a few years ago.

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:59 PM   #14
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Switz

Glad to see that you are doing your homework. This is the correct way to select a tow vehicle.

I think that payload can be very confusing- does it include the weight of the driver? of fuel? I think the best approach is just to worry about the TV gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and the rear axle weight rating (RAWR).

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