Ford Regular Tow Package vs Max Tow Package – What Truck Owners Need To Know

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  • Post last modified:August 19, 2020

Ford trucks have a long history of use towing trailers, whether that be on the occasional weekend, or more often. But you may be wondering what the differences between their regular Trailer Tow Package and their Max Trailer Tow Package are. This is important if you already own a Ford, and especially if you are in the market for one. We researched the topic so that we can break down the differences for you.

The Max Trailer Tow Package is only available on the F-150. It adds up to 2700 pounds more towing capacity over the standard Trailer Tow Package on a similarly configured truck. Some configurations on the F-250, F-350, and Expedition, offer similar gains. Depending on the other options and configurations you choose, the Trailer Tow Package includes:

  • 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness
  • Auxiliary transmission oil cooler 
  • Engine Oil Cooler 
  • Class IV trailer hitch receiver
  • Pro Trailer Backup Assist 
  • Tailgate LED
  • Smart Trailer Tow Connector
  • Upgraded front stabilizer bar

The Max Trailer Tow Package includes everything in the standard package except the auxiliary transmission oil cooler. Added in the Max Trailer Tow Package are:

  • 3.55 Electronic-locking rear axle
  • 36-gallon fuel tank
  • Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
  • Upgraded rear bumper

To add the Max Trailer Tow Package, you also have to switch to the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine.

If you are still unsure which vehicle is right for you, or you want more details about the available packages for each vehicle, continue reading.

A dark blue colored Ford F-150 moving down the road with a person driving it, Ford Regular Tow Package vs Max Tow Package - What Truck Owners Need To Know

Tow Packages by Ford Truck

Ford F-150

The F-150 is the most common of Ford’s trucks and has enough towing capacity to suit the towing needs of many. It is the model that has the most variety and flexibility of available packages. 

The towing capacity varies a lot, based on engine, cab, and even tires. While a conventional bumper hitch will tow a maximum of 5000 lbs. , with even the Trailer Tow Package, you may wind up with as little as 7,600 lbs. of towing capability if you have the Regular Cab with the 2.7L engine. You may also get up to 11,100 pounds of towing capability if you opt for the 3.5L v6 and the 3.55 axle ratio. Add the Max Towing Package, and you’ll expand that up to 13,200 lbs, though that would require 20-inch tires and wheels.

The one thing to remember with the F-150 is that to get the Max Trailer Towing Package, you must upgrade to the 3.5L engine. It is not available with 2.7L, 3.3L, or the 3.0L  turbo-diesel V6 engines. It is also not available with the 5.0L V8. Upgrading to the Max Trailer Towing Package may add only about $300 more than the standard Trailer Tow Package, but the cost to upgrade to the 3.5L engine will set you back an additional amount. That may come into play in your decision on how much towing capacity you need. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Max Trailer Tow Package is only available with specific cab and bed combinations. You can get it with:

  • Regular cab and 8ft. bed
  • SuperCab with 6 1/2ft. bed or 8ft. bed
  • Any SuperCrew

The Trailer Tow Package is available on everything except the Raptor, which includes it as standard equipment.

Click here to read a more detailed look at towing with the F-150.

Ford F-250

 

The Max Trailer Tow Package is not available on the F-250. However, it does have a High-Capacity Trailer Tow Package available. It offers a higher GCWR(Gross Combined Weight Rating), and an upgraded axle, which allows for a higher towing capacity. It requires the 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel engine. 

Without the High-Capacity Trailer Tow Package the expected tow ratings are:

  • Conventional tow rating up to 15,000 lbs.
  • Goose-neck tow rating up to 19,500 lbs.
  • 5th-wheel tow rating up to 19,000 lbs., limited by the 5th-wheel hitch rating.

With the High-Capacity Trailer Tow Package:

  • Conventional tow rating up to 20,000 lbs.
  • Goose-neck tow rating up to 22,800 lbs.
  • 5th-wheel tow rating up to 19,000 lbs., limited by the 5th-wheel hitch rating.

Ford F-350

Like the F-250, Ford doesn’t make the Max Trailer Tow Package available for the F-350. However, the choice of a gas or diesel engine, as well as whether you choose duals on the rear, makes a big difference in the F-350.

Based on configurations, with single rear wheels and gas engine, the expected tow ratings are:

  • Conventional tow rating up to 15,000 lbs.
  • Goose-neck tow rating up to 21,000 lbs.
  • 5th-wheel tow rating up to 19,000 lbs., limited by the 5th-wheel hitch rating.

With the single rear wheels and the 6.7L V8 Turbo Diesel engine:

  • Conventional tow rating up to 20,000 lbs.
  • Goose-neck tow rating up to 22,800 lbs.
  • 5th-wheel tow rating up to 19,000 lbs., limited by the 5th-wheel hitch rating.

With duals on the back and a gas engine, the expected tow ratings are:

  • Conventional tow rating up to 21,000 lbs.
  • Goose-neck tow rating up to 21,200 lbs.
  • 5th-wheel tow rating up to 21,200 lbs.

With duals on the back and the 6.7L V8 Turbo Diesel engine:

  • Conventional tow rating up to 21,200 lbs.
  • Goose-next tow rating up to 37,000 lbs.
  • 5th-wheel tow rating up to 32,500 lbs., limited by the 5th-wheel hitch rating.

 

Expedition

If your towing needs don’t require as much towing capacity as the pickups above, then you may want to consider an Expedition. If you check the online build-your-own tool, you can see that the Expedition is available with a Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package, which adds:

  • Heavy-duty radiator
  • Pro Trailer Backup Assist
  • 3.73 electronic limited-slip differential
  • Integrated trailer brake controller
  • Two-speed automatic 4WD (if 4×4) with neutral towing capability

Without the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package, the maximum tow rating is 6000 lbs. on the standard Expedition, 6,300 lbs. on the Expedition Max. However, if you opt for the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package, that moves up to 9,300 lbs. for the standard Expedition, 9,000 for the Expedition Max.

This makes the Expedition a viable choice if your towing needs are modest. For example, a family of four who takes the camper to the lake on the weekend might be better served by the Expedition than any of the pickups.

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Towing Package?

If you are outfitting a standard F-150 with the standard Trailer Towing Package, then you expect to pay around $595. To add the Max Trailer Tow Package, you will pay $895. Keep in mind, with the Max Trailer Tow Package, and you will also need the 3.5L V6 engine, which may be an additional cost.

For the F-250, the High Capacity Trailer Tow Package will add $1,130. It requires the 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel, which can add a lot to your cost if your F-250 doesn’t already have that.

The F-350 doesn’t list a towing package, but to get the most towing capacity, you will need the 6.7L diesel engine.

Adding a Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package to the Expedition will set you back $1,570, according to the Ford online build-your-own tool.

Does a Tow Package Increase Towing Capacity?

Generally speaking, yes. On the F-150, for example, adding the standard Trailer Tow Package increases the tow rating from 5000 lbs. to at least 7,600 lbs. It will vary based on the particular vehicle and configuration you choose.

What is Ford High Capacity Trailer Tow Package?

The High Capacity Trailer Tow Package is the towing package available for the F-250. It adds an upgraded rear axle and increases your Gross Combined Weight Rating. It also requires you to have the 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel engine.

How Do I Know If I Have Max Tow Package?

If your F-150 has the Max Trailer Tow Package it should have all of the following:

  • 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness
  • Engine oil cooler
  • Class IV trailer hitch receiver
  • Pro Trailer Backup Assist with Tailgate LED
  • Smart Trailer tow connector
  • Upgraded front stabilizer bar
  • 3.55 electronic-locking rear-axle
  • 36-gallon fuel tank
  • Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
  • Upgraded rear bumper

If any of these are missing, then you do not have the Max Trailer Tow Package.

Do I Need a Brake Controller if I Have a Tow Package?

A trailer brake controller is already included in these vehicles:

  • F-150 with Max Trailer Tow Package
  • Expedition with Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package
  • F-250 with a High Capacity Tow Package
  • F-350 DRW

It is an add-on option on other models.

Can you add a tow package aftermarket?

Adding a factory-style towing package after the fact may be very difficult, but there are aftermarket parts that can take the place of many of the options within the standard tow packages.

Like this aftermarket class IV hitch on Amazon.com:

And this aftermarket trailer brake controller on Amazon.com:

With the right combination, you may find that aftermarket towing accessories and upgrades may fit your needs.

Other Articles You May be Interested in:

How Big A Travel Trailers Can an F-150 Pull? 

How Much Can You Tow With a Ford Ranger? (With or without a towing package)

Should You Buy a Used Pickup for Towing?

 

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