The F-250 is the first in Ford's Super Duty line of pickup trucks. The available V8 turbo diesel engine gives a mighty boost to your horsepower and torque, but how much can it tow? We've done some digging, and here's what you need to know.
Depending on the specific configuration, the maximum towing capacity for the 2022 F-250 with the V8 diesel engine ranges between 15,000 to 20,000 lbs. for conventional towing and 14,700 to 22,800 lbs. for gooseneck towing.
For safe towing, you should keep the trailer weight under 80% of your maximum towing capacity.
In this article, we'll look more at the F-250 configuration that can get you the most towing power and see some examples of what you can tow with it. We'll also cover the F-250's payload capacity and other principles of towing, like the rule of 80. Keep reading to get the whole story.
What F-250 can tow the most?
We've seen the maximum towing capacity for the F-250 can range a lot, even within a single model year. The main factors that can affect this are the engine, cab, drivetrain, and tow package.
Let's continue looking at the 2022 model year. If you currently own or are considering a different model year, you can find more information in your owner's manual or on Ford's website.
The configuration with the highest maximum towing capacity is the F-250 with the V8 turbo diesel engine, crew cab, 4x4 drivetrain, and the high-capacity towing package. This reaches 20,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity for conventional towing.
However, the configuration that gets the highest gooseneck capacity uses the V8 turbo diesel engine, regular cab, 4x2 drivetrain, and the high-capacity towing package. This setup will get you 22,800 lbs. gooseneck towing capacity.
Let's look at how each factor can affect your towing capacity.
When choosing the engine for your F-250, the V8 turbo diesel engine will always be your best bet. It increases the towing capacity by an average of 2,000 lbs. compared with the 6.2L V8 gasoline engine.
It may be a surprise, but the cab you choose can affect your maximum towing capacity. The regular and Ford's SuperCab are the same when it comes to trailer towing, but the regular cab has more gooseneck/ fifth-wheel towing power.
The Crew Cab does better with trailer towing than the others, especially when outfitted with the high-capacity trailer tow package. It performs a little worse when it comes to gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing, though.
For the regular cab and the SuperCab, the 4x2 drivetrains have higher towing capacities than the 4x4 drivetrains, and this difference is increased with the addition of the high-capacity trailer tow package.
When it comes to trailer towing with the Crew Cab SB or LB, though, the 4x4 drivetrain outperforms 4x2 drive trains. A Crew Cab SB with the high-capacity tow package and 4x4 drivetrain has an advantage of 4,800 lbs. over the same with 4x2.
Unsurprisingly, F-250s equipped with the high-capacity trailer tow package outperform those without it. The difference the tow package adds ranges from 200 lbs. to 6,400 lbs. depending on the other factors and type of towing.
The Rule of 80
Now you know more about how to get the highest towing capacity from your F-250. However, it's best practice to leave some room between your maximum towing capacity and the actual weight of the load you're towing. Enter the rule of 80.
This so-called rule (more of a guideline) states that you shouldn't tow more than 80% of your maximum towing capacity. While it's not without controversy, there are some generally good reasons to follow this rule.
While a vehicle can handle its maximum towing capacity, the closer you get to that figure, the more wear you will put on your tow vehicle, F-250 or otherwise. You may also find you have more difficulty operating your vehicle on slopes as you approach maximum capacity.
Another reason many follow the rule of 80 is that they don't actually weigh their trailers. While it is always better to weigh your trailer if possible, it's not always convenient. Following the rule of 80 gives you a little wiggle room to estimate the weight of your towed load and cargo.
For the same reason, it's better to use the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) instead of the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) when choosing a trailer or fifth wheel.
If you want to know the weight of your loaded trailer, check out this article: How and Where to Weigh Your Travel Trailer (Complete Guide)
Can an F-250 pull a fifth wheel?
So far we've looked at the F-250's conventional and gooseneck towing capacities, but what about its fifth-wheel capabilities? The F-250 is a very capable vehicle for pulling a fifth wheel, but there's more to the story.
In general, the F-250's fifth-wheel towing capacity is the same as the gooseneck tow rating, with one important caveat—the available fifth-wheel hitch for the F-250 is rated for 19,000 lbs.
Because of this, even if you max out your gooseneck towing capacity at 22,800 lbs., you will still be limited to a 19,000-lb. fifth-wheel towing capacity. Following the rule of 80, this means you can tow a fifth wheel with a GVWR of 15,200 lbs.
While many fifth wheels exceed this weight, there are still a lot of great fifth-wheel campers that the F-250 can handle.
One example is the Grand Design Solitude 310GK. This fifth wheel offers so much space and luxury that you won't feel like you're making any sacrifices by following the rule of 80. Check it out in the video below:
There are other options too. In fact, these days many fifth wheels can even be towed by smaller trucks, like the F-150. You can learn more about them and get some more fifth-wheel towing tips in this article: Can You Pull a 5th Wheel with a Half-Ton Truck?
What is the tow package on an F-250?
The available tow package for the F-250 is the High-Capacity Trailer Tow Package. The code for this towing package is 535. This package is only available for F-250s equipped with the V8 turbo diesel engine.
This tow package includes key features to make sure your F-250 is tow ready. It includes a 3-inch hitch receiver with a 2.5-inch adapter, 4- and 7-pin connectors, trailer brake wiring and controller, trailer sway control, and tow/haul modes.
Some dealers may include other features when you purchase an F-250 with the high-capacity trailer tow package. You can get more information by consulting your dealer.
There are also other upgrades available which, while they don't increase your towing capacity, can make towing easier. These include a tow camera and trailer backup assist system.
How much tongue weight can an F-250 handle?
The maximum tongue weight for the F-250 will depend on the hitch receiver. The standard hitch receiver for the F-250 has a maximum tongue weight of 1,820 lbs.
If you have the upgraded hitch receiver included in the high-capacity trailer tow package, the maximum tongue weight is 2,120 lbs.
However, these measures are the maximum tongue weight for these hitch receivers, and the ideal tongue weight for your setup will likely differ.
Ford recommends a maximum of 200 lbs. tongue weight for trailers up to 2,000 lbs. For heavier trailers, they recommend a tongue weight equal to 10% of the total trailer weight.
If you are towing a fifth wheel, Ford advises 15% as the ideal weight on the kingpin.
How much weight can you put in the bed of an F-250?
The weight you can put in the bed of your F-250, also called the payload capacity, will vary depending on your specific setup. For the 2022 F-250, this ranges from 3,040 lbs. to 3,980 lbs.
If you are unsure of the payload capacity of your truck, there are a couple of places you can look. These include your owner's manual as well as a sticker in the driver's side door jamb.
Remember, the tongue weight or pin weight of your trailer or fifth wheel should be considered as part of your payload. The remaining payload is free for you to use in the bed of the truck.
Of course, when you aren't towing, you have the full payload capacity to use. Remember that passengers and any cargo in the cab of your truck will also need to be considered part of your payload.
While it might be the smallest of Ford's Super Duty lineup, the F-250 is still a beast of a pickup truck. Equipping it with the V8 turbo diesel engine and the high-capacity trailer towing package will make sure you get the most towing power from yours.
Now that you know a bit more about towing with the F-250, there's nothing left to do but hitch up and haul out. Safe driving and happy hauling.