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Old 08-20-2011, 04:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Max safe weight I can tow with my dually

Hey guys,
I need a little help trying to figure out how heavy of a 5th wheel I can tow with my truck. I am looking into buying a toy hauler but dont want to go to big or to small. I own a 02 F-350 7.3. The rear springs are stengel brothers and are rated at 4400lbs each. In addition to the springs I also have installed helper air bags. Also have a Banks 6 gun chip installed and a big head waste gate actuator. I have a 6.0 trans cooler and a GTP38R turbo that I am installing next.
Any suggestions or tips from your experience would help.

Thanks
Chris
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The springs & chip can't increase the trailer capacity, but they CAN DEcrease it. Read the owner's manual for the (complicated) formula to calculate the max trailer tongue weight & trailer weight. It'll help if you can get an actual curb weight on the truck as-is. Many truck stops & salvage yards will let you drive across the scale free if you DON'T want a certified slip.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I didn't install the springs or chip to increase the trailer capacity. I installed the springs to up my pay load. F-350 GCWR is 20,000lb. An F-450 GCWR is 26,000lb. That is the reason why I changed the springs. The chip is only there for added performance. Thanks for the info tho.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
I installed the springs to up my pay load. F-350 GCWR is 20,000lb.
Doesn't matter...still doesn't increase the payload of the axles and frame.
Your axles and the GVWR are the deciding factors. I have air bags and they are meant to bring the headlights back down to the road if I drive at night with the trailer attached.

SmokeyWren is the towing capacity guru and I 'spect he will be along sometime to give you all the numbers.

You need to take your truck fully loaded with everything your gonna have in it on a normal trip (fuel,tools,people,pets etc) to the scales. then take the GVWR and subtract the scale weight from that and That's how much weight you can put in the truck.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think your miss understanding me. I'm not concerned with how much weight I can put IN the truck. With the suspension that is in the truck it will hold what I need it to. What Im concerned with is the max that I can safely tow with it. I understand all the readings and formulas. Just trying to get an idea of what the most weight some people would tow with it.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I know people that tow 14,000 lb fifth wheels with a Ford F250 SRW, Is it safe? If your towing more than the rated capacity and you get into an accident, what explanation will you give the Judge when he is asking why?

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I understand all the readings and formulas
Then that's your answer..I wouldn't worry about what the "other guy" is doing.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I appreciate your opinion. Just trying to get an idea of how much I can tow and if I might have any issues.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD01 View Post
I appreciate your opinion. Just trying to get an idea of how much I can tow and if I might have any issues.
If you're planning to get a 5th wheel, it's the same, just keep in mind the gcvwr as well I believe.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HD01 View Post
I appreciate your opinion. Just trying to get an idea of how much I can tow and if I might have any issues.
HD01...THIS IS THE DEAL. Look to determine what the gvwr of the truck is. If it is 13,000# it is 13,000#. Now take your truck to the scales, full of fuel, and get the weight, net total, front axle and rear axle. Let's say for example your truck weighs 8,000#, 5k on the front, 3k on the rear. One more weight rating. Find the rear axle gvwr, might be 6,000#. You can put 3,000# over the rear axle. Dosen't matter what springs you use, air bags...whatever...this would be your maximum payload. NOW. Look to see what your combined gvwr is. Let's say for example it is 23, 000#. You could tow a trailer weighing 10,000# as long as, 1. if it's a 5er the pin weight dosen't exceed 3,000# or 2 if it,s a conventional hitch, a trailer at 10,000# not exceeding the hitch mfg.'s hitch rating. These are all only rough numbers, you have to check your door jamb to get your actual ratings. Now, people tow overloaded all the time. Is it safe...depends on the driver, condition of the truck etc. If the truck is badly maintained...imho you can't tow anything safely...PERIOD. That said towing over weight can 1. Get you a fat ticket 2. Put your passengers safety and the safety of the public at risk and 3. If you are in an accident that involves great proprty loss or loss of life, EVEN IF THE ACCIDENT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, could cost you every thing you own. I'm not paranoid...but i've worked too hard to take that risk. How many 3/4 ton trucks do you see towing a 40' toybox? I would guarantee that they are all over weight. LIFTED you say? Changes the weight balance of the truck, cg, compresses the rear springs too much taking weight off the front...need I say more? To each his own!!! Oh, and the tires, also check the weight rating of the tires, and remember in dual config. it is less than single.

Moral of this long winded rant: You CAN tow 50,000#. You SHOULD tow what your truck is rated for not exceeding the max + 5% (my arbitrary do not exceed point).

Sorry for the long post, and yes I do have a commercial drivers license.
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Last edited by ryqster; 08-22-2011 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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...I understand all the readings and formulas...
Then, you know the answer. NO ONE IS GOING TO OR SHOULD ADVISE YOU TO TOW MORE THAN YOUR TRUCK IS RATED TO TOW.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Here is the story for my 02 7.3 F-350:

GVWR: 9,900 lbs
GCWR: 20,000 lbs
Wet and loaded truck weight: 8,400 lbs

That leaves me with 1,500 lbs for payload and 11,600 lbs trailer weight.

Given that fivers usually apply about 15-20% of their GVWR to the pin, I would have to find a fifth wheel with a GVWR of no more than 10,000 lbs.

Get the truck weighed like was mentioned before and you can get your numbers narrowed down.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD01 View Post
What Im concerned with is the max that I can safely tow with it.
...
Just trying to get an idea of how much I can tow and if I might have any issues.
You can have "issues" towing a 100# trailer, or nothing at all. The idea of "safely towing" is meaningless. Getting near a vehicle is among the most dangerous things you can ever do - more dangerous than being in the active military during combat (check the stats). So regardless of what the truck is rated to tow, YOU are the limiting factor. If you've never towed a boat before, don't start with a 9-ton 5er 40' long. Start small. Learn how the truck reacts, and how YOU react. In all kinds of weather. On all kinds of surfaces. Then move up slowly - it should take years before you even approach the truck's max. If you NEED to tow something that big, get someone with some experience to show you how, then practice a few times before the big trip. Don't dive into it blind.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You can have "issues" towing a 100# trailer, or nothing at all. The idea of "safely towing" is meaningless. Getting near a vehicle is among the most dangerous things you can ever do - more dangerous than being in the active military during combat (check the stats). So regardless of what the truck is rated to tow, YOU are the limiting factor. If you've never towed a boat before, don't start with a 9-ton 5er 40' long. Start small. Learn how the truck reacts, and how YOU react. In all kinds of weather. On all kinds of surfaces. Then move up slowly - it should take years before you even approach the truck's max. If you NEED to tow something that big, get someone with some experience to show you how, then practice a few times before the big trip. Don't dive into it blind.
Well said!! I started with a 21 1/2' fiver and it was a whole different world. Went to a 27 1/2' for a year before my present fiver. Been towing fifthwheels since 1987 and in that time I have seen more and more people pulling HUGE trailers with little trucks...Scares me to be on the same road as they are. I didn't see where you live in your sig..In Calif, if your trailer has a GVWR of 14,000 or more then you have to have a Travel trailer endorsement on your license.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I didn't install the springs or chip to increase the trailer capacity. I installed the springs to up my pay load. F-350 GCWR is 20,000lb. An F-450 GCWR is 26,000lb. That is the reason why I changed the springs. The chip is only there for added performance. Thanks for the info tho.
Installing heavier springs does not up your payload. It might allow you to carry your weight better, but you are still limited by the tires and axle ratings. You've already stated your GCWR so go weigh your truck loaded and subtract that number from 20K. See what it is. If you want to go a couple thousand over that is your business.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:34 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I own a 02 F-350 7.3.
GCWR is not usually a legal limit for RV trailers. Your GCWR is 20,000 pounds because of the power, torque, cooling capacities of various cooling systems, and frame strength of your truck. You can hot-rod the engine to get more power and torque, but that won't change the frame strength or the cooling capacity of your engine, tranny, differential, u-joints, etc.

8,500 pounds for the wet and loaded dually leaves 11,500 pounds max trailer weight before you exceed the GCWR of the truck.

With your Banks go-fast mods, you might be able to pass the test to drag more than 11,500 pounds worth of toy hauler with a 2002 dually. Find a long mountain grade of 7 or 8 percent and drag that trailer up that grade at a minimum of 55 MPH. For examaple, I-70 from Denver to the Eisenhower tunnel, or "The Grapevine" grade in SoCal. If you make the top of the pass without breaking something or overheating something and never have speed of less than 55 MPH up the grade, then you might be able to get by with exceeding the 20k GCWR without any ill effects. However, you'll need aftermarket gauges for the coolant temp, motor oil temp, differential lube temp, tranny fluid temp and exhaust gas temp (EGT) to be certain you don't overheat anything.

You mentioned the F-450. In 2002, the F-450 was a lot more truck than the F-350 DRW. Stronger frame, and much shorter legs in the gear ratio are the biggies for GCWR, and why the F-450 has a GCWR of 26k. And tires, wheels, and suspension along with the stronger frame were the big differences in the GVWR. So your mods still don't allow you to be in the same class with a 2002 F-450.

What do "others" do? There are lots of idiots in the world that tow severely overloaded. Don't be one of them. With your tow vehicle, I would put a limit of 12,000 pounds GVWR for any toy hauler I considered. Yes, they make them, but they're not as popular as the monsters with GVWR of 14,000 or more. For example, here's the 2012 Forest River Wildcat 311THX with a GVWR of 11,515:
http://www.forestriverinc.com/nd/def...0&series=exFWs
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My Sierra Blanca in the sig pic was a great pickup for 11.5 years. I sold it a coupla years ago. I drove a hand-me-down 2003 F-150 SuperCrew 4.6L 2V for a while, but it was unacceptable for towing more than a rowboat. Replacement is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew Lariat that tows my 5,000-pound TT like a dream.

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