SmokeyWren anwsers this question with a great explanation.
Its very easy to order too
light a pickup or truck to do what you intend to do. Before you order, understand exactly
what the weight ratings will be on your rig, and understand how that applies to the load
you plan to haul or tow. There are three weight ratings you need to understand.
GVWR - Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
GCWR - Gross Combined Weight Rating
Max trailer weight
The GVWR is the maximum a loaded vehicle can weigh, with
fuel, passengers, luggage, "stuff" in the cab and in the bed, tool box, trailer
hitch(s), and trailer hitch weight on the 5th-wheel hitch or on the receiver hitch. The
payload is the difference between the GVWR and the empty but "wet" truck before
you add driver, passengers, luggage, cargo, and hitch weight. [Wet means full of fuel and
all other fliuds needed to drive the truck).
A wet SuperDuty with a PowerStroke diesel (PSD) engine
weighs about 6,000 pounds for the lightest regular-cab short-bed 4x2 pickup with no
options, to almost 7,000 pounds for an XLT CrewCab single-rear-wheel (SRW) 4x2 with an
automatic transmission, up to over 7,500 pounds for a loaded Lariat CrewCab dually 4x4.
The GVWR for an F-250 SuperDuty is 8,800 pounds. So the XLT
CrewCab mentioned above would have a payload of only about 1,800 pounds, or a little more
than three-quarters of a ton. (Mybe thats why they call it a three-quarter-ton
pickup".) For two people and their luggage and "stuff" and a full toolbox
with a combined weight of about 1,000 pounds, that leaves only 800 pounds for the gross
weight of a camper or for hitch weight of a trailer. Believe it - 800 pounds is not much
of a camper, and only 800 pounds hitch weight is not much of a 5th-wheel trailer -
although you could pull a reasonable-size tag-along trailer over 7,000 pounds GVWR that
has a hitch weight of less than 800 pounds.
But keeping the weight of passengers and gear down to 1,000
pounds will be a real challenge to some travelers. If the driver and passengers and gear
weighs 1,800 pounds, then you will be traveling at your trucks GVWR without any
camper or trailer hooked on. And for your own safety you never want to exceed your
Note: The Ford 2000 RV and Trailer Towing Guide
includes a chart for maximum weight of slide-in campers. But the raw numbers in that chart
are misleading, even wildly optimistic, if you dont read and apply all the fine
print. For example, the chart shows an F-250 PSD Crewcab 4x2 could haul a camper that
weighs up to 1703 pounds. But after reading the fine print and doing a lot of
calculations, you will determine that the real practical weight limit on a camper for that
pickup would be less than 800 pounds.
An F-350 SRW has a GVWR of 9,900 pounds, or 1,100 pounds
more than the F-250. So with a curb weight of about 8,500 for your truck with passengers
and minimum gear, that would leave about 1,400 pounds of camper weight or hitch weight.
Which means a light camper, a small to medium-sized 5er, or a very nice tag-along trailer.
The big boy, a "one-ton Dooley" has a GVWR of
11,200 pounds and weighs about 7,500 pounds, for a gross payload of about 3,700 pounds.
Subtract 1,000 pounds for people and minimum stuff , and that leaves about 2,700 pounds
for camper or hitch weight. Nice camper, or nice medium-size 5er, or a huge tag-along .
If you have (or plan to have) a heavier camper or 5er (or
gooseneck trailer), then youll need to move up to a bigger truck so you can remain
within the GVWR of your rig.
The GCWR is the maximum combined weight of your loaded tow
vehicle and the loaded trailer. The GCWR of all PSD SuperDuty F-250 and F-350 pickups is
20,000 pounds. The GCWR of your rig, minus the curb weight of the loaded truck, tells you
the maximum weight of the loaded trailer you could pull if you didnt have to also
Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight
The maximum loaded trailer weight of a tag-along
(conventional) trailer you can pull with a receiver hitch is 10,000 pounds with any PSD
truck . So you dont have to worry about GCWR if you are hooking up to a conventional
trailer with a PSD with single rear wheels. With a dually, the most the loaded truck could
weigh is 10,000 pounds before you hooked up to the 10,000-pound trailer.
To figure out how much 5th-wheel or gooseneck trailer you
can pull while staying within the GCWR of your rig, load the truck up with a full tank of
fuel (i.e., a "wet" truck) then add all the tools and luggage and
"stuff" and driver and passengers that will be in the truck while youre
towing your trailer. Then take the loaded truck to a scale and find out how much it weighs
- i.e., the curb weight. 8,000 pounds? 9,000 pounds? More than that? Subtract that weight
from 20,000 pounds, and that will give you the maximum weight of the loaded trailer you
can pull (considering only GCWR, but note that you must also consider GVWR of the tow
Note: The Ford 2000 RV and Trailer Towing Guide
includes a table of maximum loaded 5th-wheel trailer weights. But that table has been
known to be misleading, even wildly optimistic, so use it as a very rough guide only and
subtract about 1,500 pounds from the weights in the guide. For example, that table says
the maximum loaded trailer weight for an F-250 CrewCab SRW 4x2 with PSD and automatic
transmission is 13,400 pounds. That assumes that the loaded F-250 tow vehicle with
passengers and gear weighs only 6,600 pounds. Which is ridiculous, because my wet truck
with hitches and empty aluminum tool chest, but without any passengers or gear or tools,
weighs 6,920 pounds. So the real-world max 5th-wheel trailer weight for that F-250 would
be about 12,000 pounds or less, depending on the number of passengers and tools, etc.
And thats only if you consider the GCWR without
considering the GVWR of the tow vehicle. With an F-250, you will bump up against the GVWR
of the truck long before you will have to be concerned with the GCWR. Because the hitch
weight of a 5th-wheel or gooseneck trailer is about 20 to 25 percent of the total trailer
weight, if you have only 800 pounds remaining for hitch weight before you hit the GVWR of
your F-250, then the maximum trailer weight you can pull is less than 5,000 pounds -
nowhere near the 12,000 pounds you would compute if you were figuring only GCWR.