Those "tow ratings" G posted are the result of someone at Ford sitting around tying to figure out the best way to confuse the heck out of you. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif The tag trailer number is the receiver hitch max. Their 5er number is the GCWR minus the weight of a pickup with no options and nothing in the truck. The result is numbers much higher than you'll ever get on a truck scale without exceeding Ford's weight limits.
If you want realistic tow ratings, here's how to brew your own.
The pickups have both a GVWR and a GCWR. Ford says you shouldn't exceed either weight rating.
You didn't say exactly which pickup, so I'll assume the most popular = CrewCab shorty 4x4 PSD automatic.
F-250: GVWR = 10,000, GCWR 23,000
On the F-250, GVWR is probably the limiter for 5er towing, and the rating of the receiver hitch is probably the limiter for tag trailer towing.
Step 1. Load the truck with everything you'll probably have in the truck when on the road. Driver, passenger(s), pet(s), tools, jacks, coolers full of cool, trailer hitch, etc.
Step 2. Go to a truckstop with a CAT scale and fill up with diesel, then weigh the wet and loaded truck.
Step 3. Subtract that weight from GVWR and the answer is the maximum hitch weight you can have without being overloaded over the GVWR. Subtract that weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GCWR and the answer is the max weight of a loaded trailer you can tow without exceeding the GCWR of the tow vehicle.
Example: Your wet and loaded truck weighs 8,400 pounds. 10,000 GVWR minus 8,400 = 1,600 pounds max hitch weight. At 17 percent hitch weight, that's a max 5er weight of about 9,411 pounds. At 12 percent hitch weight, that's a max tag trailer of more than your receiver max weight with a weight-distributing hitch. So your realistic 5er tow rating is 9,400 pounds for a 5er or 12,500 for a tag trailer.
Move up to the F-350 SRW and the big difference is the GVWR goes up to 11,400 pounds. 11,400 minus 8,400 = 3,000 pounds max hitch weight. 3,000 pounds hitch weight is a 5er that grosses around 17,000 pounds, which would exceed your GCWR. So on the F-350 SRW, the GCWR is the limiter.
The GCWR is 23,000 pounds, minus 8,400 pounds for the wet and loaded tow vehicle = 14,600 max weight of a 5er. Because of the receiver limitation, your max tag trailer is still 12,500 with a weight-distributing hitch.
So your realistic tow rating of the F-350 SRW is 14,600 pounds for a 5er or 12,500 for a tag trailer.
But don't buy the trailer yet. First weigh your wet and loaded truck and be sure my estimate of 8,400 pounds is about right. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/warmsmile.gif