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Old 09-07-2021, 02:27 PM   #1
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2002 f-150 gvwr vs. Gcwr v. Max trailer weight

New here, trying to figure out what I can safely tow with a 2002 F-150 5.4L, some kind of tow package but let’s assume not. We’re looking at something up to a 23 ft. Flying Cloud, empty about 4600#, tongue wt. 470-650 depending on model.

The Ford manual says GVWR 6300#, GCWR 5897#, “Maximum Trailer Weight” 3628-3765#. Curb weight about 4200#.
So what can I safely tow? I’ve seen all kinds of calculation methods and numbers up to 6000-7000#, but what’s up with Ford’s “Max Trailer Wt?”

The 2002 F-150 from my trusted mechanic cost $4,000 and has only 100k miles so I’m really not crazy about spending $25,000 or more for a newer truck.
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Old 09-07-2021, 02:55 PM   #2
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Welcome Aboard 👍

^
TYPO?

GVWR refers to weight capacity of the vehicle alone. GCWR, however, is a weight rating of the vehicle but takes a hitched up trailer into account. It is the maximum weight of a vehicle with a trailer attached.

So GCWR can't be less GVWR, because it is both TV & whatever you're towing.



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Old 09-07-2021, 03:16 PM   #3
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In order to get that information there need to be more information on the truck. Is it a crew cab/super cab, 2wd or 4wd, axle ratio and type of transmission. From what I see it ranges from a tow capacity of 5800 lbs up to 8600 lbs.
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Old 09-07-2021, 03:25 PM   #4
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What can you tow?

Ok, lets get started. Your 02 F150 with a 5.4 Triton V-8 should have a Combined Gross Vehicle Rating (CGVR) of somewhere north of 11,000 LBS and south of 15,000 LBS depending on how it is equipped. Your truck probably weighs around 5,000 LBS. Again, how it is equipped will make that more or less. You state that the manual says the Gross Vehicle Weight is 6300 LBS. Given that figure you can have approx. 1,300 LBS of cargo. Now, what is your truck rated to tow. Way back in 2002 it was probably rated to tow somewhere between 7,000 LBS to 10,000 LBS. Again, this depends on how it is equipped. What trim level? Supercab or Quad Cab? 6' Bed or 8' Bed. What Rear axle Ratio does it have? Factory Tow Package? All of this plays into what you can SAFELY tow.

Example...If your truck has a 12,000 LB CGVR and your truck weighs 5,000 LBS you can tow a 7,000 LB trailer. In theory. The limiting factor on your truck would be the Cargo Capacity. If you can only have 1300 LBS of Cargo (all the travel stuff + the passengers + the tongue weight of the trailer) your going to have to pack light and watch the tongue weight.

Now let's go real world...You want to tow a 23' AS. You should be OK. Note that the front bedroom AS has at least a 600/700 LB tongue weight and the rear bed AS has a much higher 800/900 LB tongue weight. Not sure which model you are looking at. After your all packed up and ready to head out on your first adventure stop at the first CAT Scale at a truck stop and do a 3 pass weigh in. That will tell you if you are OK or over weight on the axles or are exceeding the CGVR. Good luck and happy travels.
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Old 09-07-2021, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKCamper View Post
In order to get that information there need to be more information on the truck. Is it a crew cab/super cab, 2wd or 4wd, axle ratio and type of transmission. From what I see it ranges from a tow capacity of 5800 lbs up to 8600 lbs.
"The Ford manual says GVWR 6300#, GCWR 5897#"

So, the manual doesn't say the GCWR is 5897lb...it must be a typo.

My bad...

More info... Ideally would be actual weights with loaded AS & TV.

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Old 09-07-2021, 03:30 PM   #6
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One more tip

If your buying, or already bought, the 02 F150 with a 5.4 Triton educate yourself on the strengths and weaknesses of this engine. They had there share of problems. Not saying not to buy one but at least know what your getting into.
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Old 09-07-2021, 04:29 PM   #7
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I think Ford started putting payload stickers on their trucks in the early 2000s. I'm not sure if your 2002 truck has a payload sticker with the specifics, but that would be a great place to start.
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Old 09-07-2021, 08:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenaya View Post
23 ft. Flying Cloud, empty about 4600#

“Maximum Trailer Weight” 3628-3765#.
Ford says the Maximum Trailer Weight is 3765#, the trailer empty is 4600#. You will never tow the trailer empty.

We REALLY, REALLY need to know what towing package that truck has.
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Old 09-07-2021, 09:03 PM   #9
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Forget about the door sticker’s claim of payload capacity. It will be incorrect. Instead, weigh your empty but fully fueled truck on the CAT scale. Subtract that from the GVWR on the door sticker. That’s your payload capacity which has to accommodate all occupants (including the driver) and any dogs, gear, weight on the receiver, etc.

CAT is easy if you download the app and register a credit card. $12.50 around here for the first weighing. $3 for subsequent weighings on the same visit.

You will also have to contend with the rear axle weight rating and quite a bit squat on the rear axle. Squat can be mitigated in a number of ways but the first is a weight distribution hitch. My F-150 had Roadmaster Active Suspension which helped a little.

I replaced the F-150 with the F-250 because of payload issues, going from 1550# at the scale (but 1610# on the door) to 2895# on the door of the F-250 (not weighed yet). Both are Lariat trim levels, gassers, and FX4. The F-150 had a moonroof which I almost never opened. We left that sort of junk off the F-250 when we ordered it, except the “old man” bed steps. Those steps are looking to be essential given the height of the F-250. Drop the 4x4 and you gain payload.
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Old 09-07-2021, 11:16 PM   #10
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The 2002 was a steal so I’ve had it for a year. I know it has a bit of a bad rep and funky 2-piece plugs, but if it works to tow I can deal with the rest for a while (I hope.)
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Old 09-08-2021, 12:57 AM   #11
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I get the part about real world gross vehicle weight vs. sticker GCWR. Answer - find out what it weighs loaded. By the way I haven’t bought the trailer — what I can expect to tow safely/reliably goes into that.
Now to why I’m confused.
TOW PACKAGE: I don’t know what tow package it has - how can I find out? What I know is four things: it has a factory receiver, an obviously OEM electrical plug, a stamp on the plastic on the rear bumper that says “max tongue weight 500lb, max trailer weight 5000lb.” And it looks like it might have an oil cooler (trans fluid?) but that’s a guess.

OTHER: It’s an RWD SuperCab automatic: 5.4L Triton GLT V8 with 1:3.55 gear ratio. The door panel sticker says GVWR 6300lb. which is where I got that #, not the manual, so sorry. Front GAWR 3250lb Rear GAWR 3575lb. There’s no “payload capacity” on the sticker but ignore that per comments above.

On to the manual. It really does say 5897lb GCWR, max trailer weight 3628 to 3875lb.
There’s nothing there about tow packages (no surprise.). And I suspect the manual isn’t meant to address tow packages anyway. If I can believe the bumper info the (probable) tow pkg adds about 1300lb +/- to max trailer weight, for a total of??? 5000lb like it says?
So here’s the questions:
1. Assuming the bumper stamp is accurate (the round numbers make me wonder) one big problem is tongue weight. What are the options to get up around 900lb?
2. Would suspension work make a significant difference? What kind? (My father had a Ford truck in the 60s with a suspension that was literally hard as a rock until you put a fair amount of weight on it.)
3. I will be towing in Western mountains with steep roads. Am I going to be wimping along at 40 mph or making something reasonable like 50-55+? Ok downhill w/AS trailer brakes?
4. What am I missing?

I REALLY appreciate all of your advice — and how quickly it came in.
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Old 09-08-2021, 05:33 AM   #12
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The additional information is helpful. Based on your description, your truck certainly seems capable of towing a 23FB. The axle ratio is good, the axle weight limits are good, the fact that it’s RWD is good, etc. I suggested looking for a payload value on the door jamb sticker because it’s a good starting point. It’s a moot point though, as your sticker doesn’t have a payload value.

The way to increase your tongue capacity is with a weight distribution hitch. For example, my truck has a maximum tongue weight of 700 lbs., but that number goes up to 1,250 lbs when using a weight distribution hitch.

The thing about your truck that’s confusing is the published maximum trailer weights in the manual. The numbers you provided are in a very tight range, and they are very low. I’m also not sure how to explain the numbers on the rear bumper. That could be the hitch rating. For what it’s worth, this puzzle can be difficult for modern trucks too. It sometimes takes research in multiple places to find all the necessary information.

I agree with the others here that a trip to the CAT scale is your best bet to determine your payload limit. For reference, my 23FB International has a tongue weight of about 620 lbs. when loaded for camping. The trailer weight is typically around 5,300 lbs.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:51 AM   #13
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If the plugs have been changed out and the truck maintained, based on your description, I'd say you're fine with the 23' with a decent WD hitch and sway control. Have you looked to see that it has a transmission cooler?

We towed our 25' for several years and many miles with a 2003 King Ranch super crew with never a problem (other than wishing for more gears and/or ponies on the high passes).



And by the way, I believe we have a pair of slip-on towing mirrors that would fit if you want them.
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Old 09-08-2021, 10:28 AM   #14
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There is a web site that lets you enter the VIN, and you get the original window sticker. I did it once but can’t find it now.
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Old 09-08-2021, 11:21 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone! I feel a lot better about my truck now. I’ll follow up on your advice about the weight distributing hitch and sway bar etc.. And the slip-on towing mirrors sound cool — I’ve been wondering about how to handle that without tearing the doors apart.
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Old 09-08-2021, 03:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenaya View Post
The 2002 was a steal so I’ve had it for a year. I know it has a bit of a bad rep and funky 2-piece plugs, but if it works to tow I can deal with the rest for a while (I hope.)
If the transmission has not been serviced in the recent past have it done. Not a flush, just drop the pan, install a new filter and refill with the proper Motorcraft fluid. Take a good look at the fluid and give it the smell test. It should not smell burnt. Swipe your finger across the bottom of the pan after removal. A lot of metallic particles or sludge spells trouble. Should take 3 to 5 quarts depending on which pan your truck has. Your truck more than likely has a 4 speed automatic. If so, it is a 4R75W trans and is not the greatest at taking abuse. Make sure it has a trans cooler.

Tow with the Overdrive off. Engine will run slightly higher RPM but will tow better and help keep trans cooler by not downshifting every time you start up any small grade. Happy travels.
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Old 09-08-2021, 04:38 PM   #17
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This would be great info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
There is a web site that lets you enter the VIN, and you get the original window sticker. I did it once but can’t find it now.
I haven’t finished reading the thread yet, but just in case, anyone know of this website?
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:54 PM   #18
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There is a web site that lets you enter the VIN, and you get the original window sticker. I did it once but can’t find it now.
If your vehicle is less than 10 years old go to the proper brand dealer and ask one of the sales reps to print out your original window sticker. All you need is serial #. Give them a nice tip for there courtesy.

I have worked at 5 different new car dealers in my life and they all had the capacity to do this since computers became main stream.
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Old 09-08-2021, 07:36 PM   #19
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This page will give you all the info you are asking about, but keep in mind trucks can gain weight over the years as stuff gets added so get a scale weight first to know your true payload as the truck exists today. Looks like from the factory you would have a payload of 1675 for a long bed and 1850 for a short bed assuming yours is a styleside and not a flareside.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/specs/20...pecifications/
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:23 PM   #20
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Rereading your post about the rear bumper stamp saying 500 lbs max tongue weight/5,000 max trailer; I’m pretty sure that applies to bumper pull maximums, not towing with the hitch receiver.
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