How Big a Travel Trailer Can an F-150 Pull? [Towing Capacity]

What size travel trailer can a Ford F-150 tow?Eager to get on the road and experience the travel trailer lifestyle but can’t afford a heavy-duty pickup to tow a travel trailer with? You may be wondering about the real towing capacity of a light-duty truck like the Ford F-150.

Is the F-150 be a good option for towing a travel trailer? And if so, what size travel camper should you be shooting for?

The F-150 can tow up to 13,200 lbs with the right trim level and tow package. However, when it comes to towing a camper, most (but not all) F-150 models can safely pull a travel trailer that’s under 6,000 lbs. Depending on a few factors that we’ll get into later, some F-150s can safely tow a travel trailer that weighs up to 7,000 pounds.

Have you heard higher figures thrown around by a salesperson? Don’t be fooled.

In theory, an F-150 with the Supercrew Cab (i.e. heavier and longer) coupled with a Max Trailer Tow Package, has a maximum towing capacity of 13,200 lbs. However, that would mean towing with an empty truck – with no passengers (other than the driver) or any gear.

The Ford F-150 – magnificent as it is – has a limited towing capacity in the real world. If you’re planning on getting a trailer that weighs over 6,000 lbs (gear included), you should consider getting a larger truck that has a higher payload capacity.

This post was originally posted in July 2018. We’ve updated it and revised the information to match the 2020 Ford F-150 versions. 

The towing capacity of an F-150 pickup truck

There is no single number that represents the towing capacity of a Ford F150. Just how much your F-150 can tow depends on several factors:

  • Engine
  • Axle ratio
  • Truck weight
  • Truck length (determined by the type of cab and length of the bed)
  • Whether or not you have a towing package.

If you look at the very detailed brochure of the F-150, you’ll see that there’s a big long table for towing capacity. So, how much weight can an F150 pull?

Whoa, lots of numbers!

Let’s make things a bit easier.

On the low end, an F-150 with a 3.3L Ti-VCT V6 engine generating just 290 horsepower and 265 torque, with a regular bed and short cab, is limited to the 5,000 maximum towing range. That’s not much if you want to pull a travel trailer behind you.

On the other side of the spectrum, the same truck with the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost engine generating 375 hp and 470 torque, with a SuperCrew cab and a longer bed – along with a robust towing package – can tow over 10,000 lbs.

We’re going to break down each of the factors in great detail in this post. You may want to grab a coffee – this isn’t a short post, but it’s important if you plan on towing any trailer with your truck.

Is it just the Ford F-150

Well, it really isn’t. It’s about the F-150 range of trucks, also known as lightweight or half-ton trucks.

Other trucks in the same category include:

  • Ram 1500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • GMC Sierra 1500
  • Nissan Titan
  • Toyota Tundra

In short, a half-ton truck is one that can take on a payload of approximately half of a ton. And as we explained here, the payload has a direct effect on towing. And just as a side note, these days, half-ton trucks have higher payloads that go beyond the half-ton point.

2020 Red Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck at a Ford dealership.

The payload is about how much you can load on the truck itself – regardless of towing. So why would it even be relevant to the weight of the trailer?

Well, it’s relevant for two reasons: the issue of tongue weight and the issue of your total weight (truck, hitch, and trailer).

Tongue weight

Tongue weight is the amount of pressure (weight) the hitch puts on your F-150 truck (or any other towing vehicle). Clearly, that amount of pressure will depend on how much weight you’re towing as well as weight distribution within the trailer. The more weight there is and the more of that weight is in the front of the trailer (closer to the hitch), the more tongue weight you have.

Tongue weight is a good thing – to a degree. It’s good because it makes your entire setup much more stable. Driving with a trailer that’s too light or one that has too much of the weight closer to the rear could mean you’re not getting enough tongue weight. That is a major reason for sway – the greatest fear of truck drivers that tow trailers.

Read more about tongue weight and how to measure it in our post about towing capacity.

You can weight the tongue using one of these –

See this trailer tongue weight scale on Amazon

Back to towing capacity.

In order to tow safely, Ford recommends a tongue weight of 10%-15% of the overall trailer weight (that’s trailer + gear). Experienced RV’ers suggest sticking to the 12%-15% range for a safer towing experience.

The question is – is 12% of your trailer weight (your optimal tongue weight) something that can be easily factored into your payload?

With an average payload capacity of around 2,000 pounds, and assuming you need at least 1,000 lbs for passengers and gear, that leaves you only 1,000 lbs for your tongue weight before you exceed your overall payload capacity. If that’s 12% of your trailer weight, we’re already talking about a limit of  8,333 pounds in trailer weight, regardless of your suggested towing capacity “on paper”.

We’ll get back to tongue weight and payload later on, as we look at the actual specs of various Ford F-150 models.

Payload affects your weight limits

The Gross Vehicle Weight is the measurement that takes into account everything that you get on the road. That’s your truck’s dry weight + actual payload + hitch + trailer. In the end, that number should not exceed your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR.

A word about the alternative: Heavy-duty trucks

Naturally, the larger trucks can tow more. 3/4 ton and 1-ton pickups are known as heavy-duty trucks. These beasts of vehicles were made to take on heavy loads, both in carrying capacity (payload) and in towing capacity.

To quote Joe Bruzek from Cars.com

Higher classes and payloads are made possible by heavier frames and stronger suspensions, brakes, engines, or a combination thereof. This beefier construction helps a lot in towing a trailer as well, with tow ratings that easily outperform the lesser light-duty pickups.

That’s why an F-450 or a Chevy Silverado 3500HD are heavy-duty trucks. Not only do they have a higher payload, they can also tow heavier loads.

That doesn’t mean the half-ton or lightweight trucks can’t tow a travel trailer. They certainly can.

And in order to get some real-life figures, we’re going to take the F-150 and see just how much it can actually tow when a travel trailer is concerned.

Towing a travel trailer?

If you plan on towing a travel trailer, that matters.

Towing a 5th-wheel is different from towing a travel trailer. With a 5th wheel, you get what’s known as a gooseneck hitch. Part of the towed unit sits on top of the truck’s bed making the whole rig very stable. It’s almost as if they become a single unit in terms of weight allocation. This is better for two reasons:

  1. The truck gets to do the heavy lifting with its bed – just as it was designed to do.
  2. In windy conditions, the 5th wheel is very securely attached to the truck so there’s a lot less sway.

This is why the same truck can tow a heavier 5th wheel than a trailer. In the manufacturer’s charts, you’ll see that gooseneck towing (i.e. 5th wheel) gets higher maximum weight towing ratings than just trailer towing.

Read more: Types of RV’s

So, what’s the real towing capacity of an F-150?

Ford takes pride in the F-150 being “Best in Class” where it comes to towing capacity.

But just how much can an F-150 pull?

Ford F 150 displayed at ford dealership

The answer is not that simple.

Types of F-150 pickup trucks

When you talk about a Ford F-150, you’re talking about several possible models. In 2020, Ford offers these trucks in several basic configurations –

  1. XL
  2. XLT
  3. Lariat
  4. King Ranch
  5. Platinum
  6. Limited
  7. Raptor

Basically, the XL is the most basic model while the Limited edition comes with all possible bells and whistles. The rest offer combinations of systems and features, either as standard or optional. The Raptor is up with the Platinum and Limited but has better offroad abilities (including a more powerful engine).

These specific models also have different features that affect the truck’s towing capacity. With Ford, you can mix and match many of the options, so it’s important to be aware of them. They are:

  1. Engine strength
  2. Axle ratio
  3. The length of the truck
  4. the weight of the truck
  5. Payload

Let’s look into each one in more depth.

1. Engine strength

The stronger the engine, the higher the towing capacity. A stronger engine provides more horsepower and – more specifically – more torque.

There are several types and sizes of engines available in the F-150. The strongest one is the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost engine. This is a powerful gas-driven engine that generates 375 HP at 5,000 rpm. Even more importantly for towing, it can generate torque of 470 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm.

That is actually more torque than an F-250 generates with its 6.2L V8 engine!

Note that this is the standard engine of the F-150 Platinum and Raptor but not the other F-150 models! You can absolutely buy even an F-150 XL with the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine but it’s optional for all other models other than the Limited or Raptor.

In fact, in a Raptor, you have the High Output version of this engine for even more torque. The Raptor’s High Output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 generates a staggering torque of 510 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm and a total of 450 horsepower! Which is great for its off-road abilities.

Click here to read more about the 2020 F-150 Raptor.

2. Axle Ratio

Axle ratio is very important for providing torque. And torque matters when you’re towing. Torque is the force that gets the wheels of your trailer (and your truck) moving when the light changes from red to green. Once in motion and at full speed, torque doesn’t really matter anymore, until you need to brake using the force of your engine.

Anyway, let me give you the “axle ratio for dummies” explanation.

So, the engine creates energy. That energy makes the driveshaft rotate very fast. The energy from the driveshaft is then sent to the axle (either one or two – depending on whether it’s a 2WD or 4WD).

What the axle does is determine how many times the wheels will actually turn using that energy. The slower they’ll turn – the more energy goes into every turn and the stronger the pull of the truck. The faster they go, then the less energy is put into each turn of the wheel.

If you’re hauling/towing a relatively small weight on the road, faster movement at the same energy investment will get you rolling faster with less fuel. That’s a good thing!

However, if you’re towing or hauling a heavyweight, you need the wheels to move just a little bit slower and use that excess force to pull more weight.

The number of the axles ratio looks something like 3.15. That’s the number of times the driveshaft turns for each single turn of the wheel. The higher the number, the slower the movement and the more force goes into each turn of the wheel.

Or in other words, for towing – you want a higher axle ratio. For better fuel economy (when not towing) a lower axle ratio is better.

3. Length and weight of truck

Actually, make that length and weight of truck vis a vis length and weight of trailer.

We’re talking very simple Newtonian physics here. When you have a towing vehicle and a towable hitched together, they’re going to affect each other. The faster you go, the stronger the effect.

Making a turn or driving through wind is when you might get into trouble.

Since you’re in control of the towing vehicle’s behavior,  you basically want that vehicle to “take the lead” as far as the forces of physics are concerned. That means that for maximum control, you need the towing truck to be as heavy and as long as possible.

Imagine a huge heavy truck towing a lightweight small towable. Clearly, if there’s sway, it’s the towable that’s going to take the brunt of it. The truck will remain stable.

On the other hand, imagine a super heavy long trailer, towed by a small lightweight truck. In this unlikely scenario, any sway from wind or from just about anything else could easily throw the towing vehicle out of course. And once that happens and the driver loses control, the towable follows. Bad, bad situation and why you should never pull above your towing capacity.

In a pickup truck, the weight of the truck that matters for towing purposes is the GCWR or “gross combined weight rating”. Basically, that’s how much weight your truck can take in payload and its own weight. Get to know how much a Ford F-150 weighs.

As for the length of the truck, it’s a question of the type of truck cab  plus the length of the bed (box). Here’s how long a Ford F150 truck is.

Back to the F-150 –

King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models are available only in the crew cab configuration, making them by definition the longer of the F-150 trucks. They also have longer beds by default. Having said that, you can definitely order a basic F-150 XLT with a crew cab and a long 8ft bed.

5. Payload

Yes, back to payload again!

Remember the tongue weight that we discussed earlier in the post? Now it’s time to bring it all together.

Payload is the total maximum weight of the driver, passengers, gear and a full tank of gas. In other words, the amount that you can put on or inside of your truck itself (regardless of towing) on top of the truck’s own dry weight. When you’re weighing the amount of pressure your trailer hitch puts on the truck, that number factors into the overall payload capacity also.

For example, let’s say your tongue weight is 450 lbs. If your truck’s payload is 1000 lbs., then you only have 550 lbs. left to load the truck. That 550 lbs is what you have now for the driver, passengers and gear. If you go over that, then you exceed your overall payload because of the tongue weight.

Ford takes great pride in the payload capacity of the F-150:

Reducing weight is an effective way to increase payload. And that’s what resulted from cutting the weight of the F-150 body with high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy. Greater strength with less weight helps achieve a best-in-class* payload rating in F-150 models.

So, what’s the actual payload capacity of an F-150

It varies quite significantly. What’s more, you can get payload packages that add to your payload in almost every model.

At the lower end of the F-150 payload scale you’ll find the following combination:

  • The 3.3L gas engine
  • 4WD
  • Supercrew cab

An F-150 truck with those specs has a payload of 1,700 lbs.

For top payload capacity you’ll need the following configuration:

  • 5L V8 gas engine
  • 2WD
  • Regular cab

With these specs, your F-150 payload is going to be 3,270 lbs.

As you can see, that’s almost double the payload, which means you get more room in terms of adding heavier tongue weight and consequently, a heavier trailer.

Click here to see Ford’s gross combination weight guide.

The Towing Package

A Ford F-150 truck and Lance travel trailer are pulled to the roadside in the San Juan Mountains.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the towing package.

What’s a Ford Towing Package?

Essentially, it’s an enhancement of the truck that includes the towing hitch itself, as well as several elements that increase towing capacity as well as ease of towing. Ford offers several types of towing packages for the F-150 trucks. The basic ones are included in some of the models “off the shelf” but most need to be pre-ordered.

Let’s take a look at what these packages include and what they provide you with.

Class IV Trailer Hitch

This is Ford’s basic towing package. It’s included as a standard feature in the Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models and it’s optional in the XL and XLT.

Towing capability:

  • Up to 6,000 lbs. with the 3.3L Ti-VC  T V6 and 2.7L EcoBoost engines
  • Up to 7,000 lbs. with the 3.5L EcoBoost and 5.0L V8 engines

This package includes:

  • 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness
  • Class IV trailer hitch receiver
  • Smart Trailer Tow Connector

Trailer Tow Package

This is an upgrade to the Class IV package, adding an auxiliary transmission oil cooler and an upgraded front stabilizer bar. This package is a standard feature in the Raptor model and optional in others.

Towing capability: Up to 11,100 lbs

This package includes:

  • 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness
  • Class IV trailer hitch receiver
  • Smart Trailer Tow Connector
  • Auxiliary transmission oil
    cooler
  • Upgraded front stabilizer bar

Max. Trailer Tow Package

This ultra package is for heavy-duty towing. It can only be used with the stronger  3.5L EcoBoost engine and either a 3.55 electronic-locking rear axle or an 3.73 one if you also have the Heavy-Duty Payload Package.

Towing capability: Up to 13,200 lbs (!!)

This package includes:

  • 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness
  • Class IV trailer hitch receiver
  • Smart Trailer Tow Connector
  • Auxiliary transmission oil cooler
  • Upgraded front stabilizer bar
  • Engine oil cooler
  • 36-gallon fuel tank
  • Trailer brake controller
  • Upgraded rear bumper

And whichever towing package you choose, you can also add the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system
with a trailer hookup lamp.

Read more: Best Ford F150 Tow Mirrors (By Year of Truck Make)

But remember payload and tongue weight!

If you plan on loading the truck itself with even more heavy gear, you’ll be eating into your payload capacity, which could dramatically decrease your range of towing capacity.

Measure your tongue weight and make sure to keep it between 12% and 15% of your trailer weight. In some F-150 models – mostly the heavier 4WD – that could significantly limit your towing capacity.

Also, the one rule of thumb everyone keeps repeating is to tow under your maximum towing limit. It’s just so much safer and reduces sway issues, especially with a light-duty truck as your towing vehicle.

Which is why with most F-150 models a good weight for towing would be in the 6,000 lbs. range and no more than that. With some configurations, you can push that limit up to the 8,000 lbs. range, but you probably shouldn’t for safety reasons.

Let’s wrap up. I’m going to write a separate post reviewing the kind of trailers that are actually in the 5K lbs range, just to get a feel of what kind of travel trailer RV’s we’re talking about – even when towing with one of the more basic F-150’s.

In the end, despite the impressive numbers in Ford’s tables, it’s their footnote at the bottom of the same page that counts the most –

Towing Notes:

Maximum loaded trailer weights shown. Do not exceed trailer weight of 5,000 lbs. when towing with bumper only. The combined weight of the towing vehicle (including options, hitch, passengers and cargo) and the loaded trailer must not exceed the GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Trailer tongue load weight should be 10-15% of total loaded trailer weight. Make sure that the vehicle payload (reduced by option weight) will accommodate trailer tongue load weight and the weight of passengers and cargo added to the towing vehicle. The addition of trailer tongue load weight, and the weight of passengers and cargo, cannot cause vehicle weights to exceed the rear GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) or GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). These ratings can be found on the vehicle’s Safety Compliance Certification Label.

That’s a lot of text in small-print so we hope the way we explained in this post helps. If you found this post helpful please share it around! There are many new owners of Ford F-150 out there and it’s good to spread the message about safe towing.

And if you own a light-duty truck and used it for towing, we’d love to hear about your own experience too. Just leave us a comment below.

Know more about the Ford F-150 here:

How Much Does A Ford F-150 Really Cost?

What’s the Average Gas Mileage for a Ford F-150 Truck?

Can You Plow with a Ford F150?

Ford F150: What Are the Common Problems?

 

This Post Has 62 Comments

  1. John Cain

    Thank you for the informative article. That being said I pull a sportster 301thr with my f150 xlr super crew. It has the max tow package as well. I also haul 2 800 lb Harleys in the trailer. I have a husky centerline weight distribution hitch . The truck has no problem with handling or pulling whatsoever. My tongue weight dry is 1300lbs and I dont usually put much of anything in the bed. My nearest calculations put my trailers loaded weight at about 10500lbs. I wouldn’t really want to go beyond that.

    1. Anne

      Thank you for your comment! Much appreciated! I guess a lot depends on your level of comfort and experience and possibly on the type of roads you’re driving – this is great input, nothing quite like hands-on experience!

  2. Kkk

    I’ve spent the last two weeks on the net and talking to TT dealers trying to learn this stuff and this post is by far the best advice I’ve found so far. The TT dealers don’t even seem to know this stuff! Thanks.

    1. Anne

      So glad to hear this! Hope you can find the right travel trailer for your truck!

  3. ed Wilson

    So glad I found your article.I have 2018 F150 2.7 v6 ecocboost supercrew 2wd sb with 3.15 axle.I have a 7way connector,class IV hitch,smart trailer tow and trailer brake.My truck has 6350 GVWR and 1710 payload,that matches every chart I have seen.My tongue weight is 10.5 percent.Have a weight disbursement hitch.Going to tow a travel trailer at 5500 lb. with cargo in it. Its rating is 6000lb. Keeping 500lb under weight.And stay below payload weight.Your published chart Im ok and do not want to push it any higher.But here is the issue.The 2018 Ford tow guide does not list my truck axle.there is no 3.15 axle with my engine.If you look at the 2017 Ford Tow Guide my axle is listed and its tow capacity is 7600/7700.The GCVR is 12700 same as last year.Dealer tells me 7700 capacity for 2018.Actually spoke to a Ford product engineer in Detroit yesterday. She did not realize my engine/axle ratio was not on the chart.said it should be the same.Told me the only difference was cosmetics and paint choice, yet nothing confirmed.Am I ok?

  4. Ed Wilson

    My 2018 F150 2.7 v6 supercrew 2wd sb 3:15 axle.Does not appear on the 2018 ford tow vehicle chart.My truck and engine are there but not 3:15 axle. The 2017 Ford tow guide shows my truck with the 3:15 axle.Capacity at 7700.I can find all the other data.6350GVWR 1710 payload I have class IV hitch,7 pin harness,smart tow connector and trailer brake.Looks everything is the same,only question is tow capacity.Iwant to tow a travel trailer @5500 lb.that is with cargo and 500 lb. below its 6000 gross.

    1. Anne

      Hi Ed,
      I think it’s fantastic that you’re making such an effort to get a solid answer. I think you did the right thing to contact Ford about this but what I would do next is contact them in writing – not over the phone – stressing the engine/axle numbers. I don’t know whether that reduces – or possibly increases – your towing capability but since you’re cutting it fairly close with those 500lbs, I would want to see Ford’s answer in writing first. Let us know what they said and good luck!

  5. Lisa

    Can you provide the link to the article that shows which common travel trailers can be towed with the F150??

    1. Cory

      varies a lot with slide outs and other configurations. I have a 29 ft Jay Flight that has one small slide out and is around 7,500 loaded. There are 25 ft trailers that weight more with multiple large slide outs.

      1. Tommy

        How much payload and towing capability for both fifth wheel and travel trailer can I handle with a 2019 F-150 crew cab 4WD with 5.5 ft bed and lower end tow package ? I realize a special hitch ie sidewinder may be required for fifth wheel .

        1. Anne

          Hi Tommy,
          I’m not sure what your low-end tow package includes and also, prefer not to provide specific advice for liability-related reasons. Your best bet would be to call the Ford helpline and ask one of their engineers to go over the specs with you and determine those numbers. Good luck!

  6. Bill

    What a great article. I would like to however to know how using a gooseneck hitch would affect the trailer weight. I sometimes pull a stock trailer and I’d like to go to a gooseneck. Since I don’t tow very often I’m trying to maximize the best fuel mileage when not pulling to having the ability when I am. A 20′ aluminum gooseneck weights around 4120lbs empty and could hold up to another 7,880 lbs. GVWR: 12000.00 lbs. However there wouldn’t be any other gear involved. I’m thinking the 3.5L Turbo with a SuperCrew 2wd and a 5.5′ bed would be adequate. Thanks;

    1. Anne

      Hi Bill,
      I’m so glad you liked the post. I assume you’re asking about moving from a 5th wheel hitch to a gooseneck? I can see the appeal. That would also free up a lot of room in your bed. I tend to agree with you on this being an adequate setup in most driving conditions. Maybe not all though. As always, when in doubt, I suggest emailing Ford and asking them specifically. Best to have a guarantee from one of their engineers.

  7. Leland Mckenzie

    My F150 5.4 Triton long bed is loaded right now with 2.5 tons of cement and cinder block and brick debris. I do demo work in Tijuana Baja California Mex. Did I mention its the 3/4 ton? 7 lugs. Awesome rig!

  8. ANGELICA ENACHE

    I have an 2016 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost with Super crew and I want to buy a truck camper. I don’t know what is the maximum weight that I can get for this truck. On my yellow stick from the door it said ” the combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed 655kg or 1446 lbs. Please help me with this info. Thanks

  9. Steve

    I have a 2018 F150 XLT FX4 withthe 5.0 engine and 3:55 gears. My TT RATING IS 7000 lbs loaded and truck is rated at 9100 lbs towing. Haveing major issues towing as the truck seems to be floating on the rear end. TT is running true no sway. I can,t get enough tongue weight to hold that rear end down on the truck. Not sure if the all aluminum body took so much weight away it is causing a problems. I have towed the TT with another 1/2 ton Chevy and a Tundra and have no problem. Your post is very informative on the F150 and was wondering your thought on this problem I am having. Any ideas I am open as I am at a loss

    1. Anne

      That’s interesting, Steve. And strange, you’d think the towing rating will take the make of the body into account. Have you tried calling Ford about this? Maybe one of their engineers can help you out with suggestions re the hitch you’re using?

  10. Gideon

    Great article
    I would like to see the same information regarding F150 trucks that pull 5th wheels. I do not find much info and towing capacity tables about it yet all salesman would sell you a 5 the wheel for your F150

  11. Travis whobrey

    Would air bags help with possible holding more payloads

    1. Anne

      Hi Travis,
      I don’t think that would be the case. The weight of the airbags is already factored into the vehicle’s curb weight.

  12. Jp

    Here is what i found ( short version) LEGALLY your 2018 f150 can tow about 5,000 lbs.
    add a weight distribution hitch and it jumps considerably to 3/4 ton truck range. Power is not the issue, its springs and suspension. The WDH keeps the tail from wagging the dog and if you have an accident you’re LEGAL. Hope this helps

  13. Sherwood

    Would this information change much for a 2019 F150

    1. Anne

      Hi Sherwood,
      In the end, it all depends on the specific numbers for your model. The principles would be the same.

  14. Dave Templin

    Great article…I’m new to towing TT. Just purchased a Winnebago Minnie GVWR of 7,000 (dry wt = 5,320). My 2014 F-150 XLT has a v6 3.5 ecoboost engine with 3.15 rear axle. Its equipped with TT braking system. I had a R3 recurve wt. distribution hitch w/sway control installed. I live in AZ and plan to go into the mountains of Flagstaff. After reading your article, I’m worried if the truck will be able to tow this TT ok? I would appreciate your insight/reply. Thank you, Dave

    1. Anne

      Hi Dave,
      Congrats on the new Winnebago! Just to be sure, I would call Ford’s customer service and ask them.

  15. Pat Deegan

    Hi, I have a 2010 Ford F-150 supercrew 5.4 gas with 3.55 rear axle tow package and Blue Ox 1000 WDH that pulls a Grand Design Imagine when loaded up is probably 7200lbs. No problem whatsoever towing that trailer. That being said I am not going to be the first to the top of the mountain, for that I would go diesel, but for flatland Illinois it does very well.

    1. Anne

      Thanks for adding this comment, Pat. Always great to learn from people’s real life experiences!

  16. KEN KIRBY

    I might have messed up here… Just upgraded to a 2019 F-150 XLT Supercab, 3.5 Ecoboost, 3.54 gears, 36 gallon tank, and max tow package. I’m a signature away from a 8800 trailer and after a brutally quick learning curve, I’ve come to the conclusion that’s WAY TOO MUCH trailer for the truck. The payload for the truck is 2075 lbs, tongue weight is 831 lbs, and the numbers are saying it’s a gamble at best. What say you?

    1. Anne

      Ken, I think that if you feel it’s way too much than it’s definitely too much. Might be time to consider upgrading the truck?

  17. Dan

    Ken, Regardless of Ford’s numbers, that trailer will not tow worth a squat with your truck. Did you order HD Payload as well? I didn’t on my 2018 and it’s killing me that I spent 54K on a truck that doesn’t tow as well as my 2001 Supercrew.

  18. Chad

    Wow! Not sure I’ve ever found such a thoughtful article that addressed exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for writing this, its tremendous! However, I really green when it comes trailers, towing capacity, axles and everything so I still have a question and I hope someone can help. I need the maximum towing capacity i can get in a 2018 F-150 Supercrew (4-door) 4×4 short bed (prefer platinum). I see it’s listed at 12,7000 (is that trailer and tongue combined) and need to know the exact package combination to achieve this. To get there I need a GCWR of 17,800-18,1000 and a 3.5L EB. Would I need the Heavy duty payload package or would max tow package with the 36 gallon tank and engine oil cooler be sufficient? What size wheels? Ive read different things 18, 20, or 22? How do I tell if the truck is equipped with the Max tow package? What does the upgraded bumper look like? Is the trailer brake controller offered by itself as an option or is it only available with the Max tow package?

    I apologize for all the questions and if someone can help me out I’d really appreciate it. We need to stay in an F150 and want to increase our travel trailer options buy getting the truck that can haul the most.

    1. Anne

      Hi Chad,
      Glad you liked the post! Personally, if you’re thinking of getting to the limit of a truck’s towing capabilities, it’s best to just get a stronger truck. You never know when road conditions will challenge your setup even further, so some cushioning is always a good idea. If you really want to force an F-150 to the limit in an extreme setup, it’s best to call Ford’s helpline and talk to a qualified engineer about this. Don’t rely on Internet advice for this as you’re pushing a truck to its limits. Good luck!

  19. Chuck Perlock

    Great Article, Super advice, Thank you

  20. Cal

    Hi. I have the same problem as Steve does my truck sways all over the highway at times it’s almost uncontrollable. total trailer weight 5800 pounds tongue wiegh is 500 to 550 the truck is a 2016 F150 tow package 5 L super crew 4×4. Todate I’ve installed airbags 10 ply tires runnig them at 65 PSI. I now use a friction sway bar as well as my load equalizing hitch system from Reese. I’ve tried different hitch head hurts I’ve tried different amounts of weight distribution with the bars verified by running it over the scales nothing really seems to help.

  21. Caro B.

    We are newbies. Anything we can learn from you is appreciated.

    1. Anne

      Hi Caro, take a look around the site – lots of info about various topics!

  22. Todd

    This is a very good article, one that I myself try to pass on to NEWBs looking to get a trailer or truck to match their trailer. Too many times people see 13,200 and buy a blinged out Lariat only to find out it can’t tow more than 6K. Then there are the others who buy an HDPP for conventional tow and think they can tow a 10K 40′ monster trailer with it. News flash for them, if it is a 5.0, it can tow no more than an 11,500 @10% trailer, or more realistically, since I advocate splitting the 10-15 in the middle, @13%, ~8100 pounds tops is what a 5.0 HDPP can tow. A 3.5 Lariat with Max Tow can actually tow more trailer than the 5.0 HDPP, up to 9400 pounds @13% TW.

    One thing though, the article touched on, but didn’t dive into, and would like a more in depth article on is trailer length, especially a travel trailer. Newtonian physics is the key here. There are some who think their HDPP can tow a travel trailer over 35′ and be just fine, except for the 2.3 pound per square foot wind force @30 MPH that pushes against the trailer. It can move that light truck with ease, where a more massive truck, key word mass, is less likely to be moved, and is more appropriate for a long travel trailer. There should be a limit to length for any half ton, AKA under 8000# GVWR pickup truck or SUV.

    1. Benjamin Minick

      That is some great advice Todd! Thank you for sharing. We will look into writing a post of trailer length.

  23. Rufus Bryant

    Great article here for sure, I have the 2013 F 150 super crew 4 wd with 5.5 bed and pull a 2016 sport trek toy hauler with dry weight of 6600 lbs and max gvwr of 8600 lbs and have had it since new( both to and camper) and have pulled in mountains of nc and tenn and haven’t had any issues, now I’m looking at a fifth wheel and trying to decide of need to upgrade my f 150 or go with the 250. Forgot to mention my truck has the 3.5 eco with the extra tow package. Just wondering and looking since ford had gotten to really upping the price of new 250’s. Do I need to just stick with what I have or go bigger truck?

    1. Benjamin Minick

      Rufus, Thanks for the compliment. When it comes to upgrading, only you know your requirements. Keep us posted on what you decide.

  24. j

    Have a 2016 F150 XL 3.5L V6 NA (non ecoboost) 3.73 gears, no idea what tow package I have have 7 pin / 4 pin wiring, Will i be ok pulling a less that 4000 TT?

    1. Benjamin Minick

      J, we cannot say for certain. You would have to base it on your personal tow capacity.

  25. Jeffery Smith

    I would like to know how big a travel trailer can a 4.2 2008 Ford F-150 XL pull

    1. Jacob Self

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeffrey. When I searched for your truck’s towing specifications, I found a document from Ford that claims that your truck can tow between 5,100-5,700 pounds depending on the vehicle’s wheelbase and rear axle ratio. It’s critical that the truck’s maximum towing capacity not be exceeded. Be safe!

  26. Glen

    Best article I’ve seen on this subject! I’m shopping for a used truck to pull a trailer I plan to get that I believe will weigh 6000 lb loaded. The tongue weight is 840 lb from the spec sheet. I plan on towing in the mountains, so high altitudes and long ascents and descents will be involved. I’m basically convinced I should shop for at least a 3/4 ton.
    Anybody think I might be able to find a decent older 3/4+ tow pickup for under $10,000 in this range if I shop around?

    1. Jacob Self

      Thanks for stopping by, Glen. We appreciate the positive feedback on our post! I think you’re right — a 3/4 or 1-ton pickup would be the safer bet, both in terms of towing capability and in terms of stability when towing in the mountains. As for your question, I think you can probably find a decent truck if you shop around, but likely not a diesel truck…diesel trucks really hold their value, so you might have a hard time finding a good reliable diesel truck for under $15,000. When it comes to towing, especially in the mountains, the last thing you want to do is compromise safety by getting an older truck that might not be reliable. Thanks again for the comment!

  27. Dustin

    Question…
    I have a 5.0 L 2016 f150 crew cab 157″, 3.73 ratio locking diff. , trailer tow package with trailer brakes, trans cooler, 18″ wheels, and so on…..
    So that puts me up there in towing capabilitys according to the chart…
    My question is on my original window sticker it also says 7050# gvwr package…? That is mixed in with the trailer tow package…
    What does the 7050# package mean?
    All I can tow is 7050…?
    Just wondering because the Ford chart says different?
    Any answers would be great
    Thanks

    1. Dustin

      Also it is 4×4,
      It seams to me that I have all the things for Max trailer tow? But not sure… I have heard that only comes in the 3.5 L turbo?
      Thank again

    2. Jacob Self

      Thanks for the comment, Dustin. Just to be safe, we recommend contacting Ford to get a definitive answer on this one.

  28. Rodney

    I have a 3.5 eco boost in a super crew and max tow package everything else stock . I found a killer deal on a super light Coleman travel trailer. Says it’s a 28 ft but hitch to bumper is 32 dry weight is 6512 hitch weight is 695 cargo capacity 1100 this article makes me believe I’m biting off more than I should is this true in your opinion?

    1. Jacob Self

      Thanks for stopping by, Rodney. The weight of the trailer itself appears to fall within your truck’s towing limits (the 3.5 Ecoboost has a maximum towing capacity of over 10,000 pounds per Ford’s guidelines). But the areas of concern would be the tongue weight and the truck’s ability to handle such a long trailer (being only a 1/2 ton). To err on the side of caution, we recommend consulting with Ford to get a concrete answer. Again, that engine is very capable and should be able to pull the weight, but there are other factors that might make it unsafe. Thanks again for the comment!

    2. Bill

      For what it’s worth – I have a 2016 F150 screw 3.5 eco, 6.5 bed, 3.55 gears, max tow and 4×4 accompanied with a Blu-Ox Weight distributing hitch. I tow a 2018 Winnie Minnie 27BHSS (very similar to your specs). UVW is 6700 and Gross is 8800. I usually tow on the light side but the truck and trailer work well together. Of course you will feel it when a semi passes you at 60mph but I have confidence in the setup. Just watch your speed. Plan the journey and you should be fine IMHO.

  29. George

    I have a 2019 Limited F150, 4×4 with 3.55 axle, 3.5l V6 EcoBoost High Output which is 450Hp and 510 ft lbs, 22″ wheels, has the heavy tow package. The GVWR is 6,750. Can I tow a car hauler with vehicle weighing in at around 6,600 lbs. Also, how would it pull in the Smoky Mountains.

    1. Jacob Self

      Thanks for leaving us a comment, George. To be as safe as possible, we suggest following Ford’s towing guidelines/specifications. Towing can be risky business, so it’s best to speak to the experts at Ford directly for clarification/assurance. A couple of things to note:

      1. Even if the numbers check out in terms of towing capability, it’s important to understand that a 1/2 ton truck will handle a heavy load differently than a 3/4 or 1 ton truck will. In other words, the drivetrain might be more than capable of pulling the load, but the actual weight of the truck itself might make towing heavier loads more treacherous. Your truck might perform very well pulling the load you mentioned, but we just wanted to throw that out there.

      2. If your truck can, in fact, tow that load successfully, be extra careful when towing in the mountains. The good news is that the 3.5 Ecoboost should perform well in the mountains since the turbos will draw in more air to compensate for the less dense air.

      We hope that helps. Stay safe!

    2. Jake

      I have the same truck And hitch combination and looking to purchase a very similar weight/length Rockwood trailer. What is your trailer’s hitch weight? Are you concerned about exceeding your hitch class weight limit? Thanks, Jake

  30. David T

    I have a 2018 F-150 4×4 with the ford trailer tow package and the 3.3l V6. I just picked up a new travel trailer of 19 ft and weight 3500# empty. My first tow was taking it home and was disappointed with Ford’s performance. It being a very windy day, I decided to take the local 2 lane roads. The truck struggled any time it was out of first gear. This was a change from the early ’80s when I used an F-100 with a 300 cu in to pull a 36-foot bunkhouse travel trailer. The F-100 was no barn-burner towing the 36-footer and only bogged down when going over the Catskills in New York. I am seriously considering changing to the 3.5L eco-boost and no longer backing up traffic for miles.

    1. Jacob Self

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Dave. We’re sorry to hear that the 3.3-liter V6 has been a disappointment. Unfortunately, just because a truck is technically rated to tow up to a certain weight doesn’t mean it will tow that weight (or even a couple thousand pounds under the maximum weight) well. The 3.5 Ecoboost is sure to handle that load much better. Best of luck!

  31. Jake

    I noticed in several of your answers, you recommend contacting a Ford engineer to verify truck and rig configuration. Do you have a recommended phone number or email for them? Thanks, Jake

  32. Gregg

    Great article, you have a lot of info on the 3.5 e oboist engine, but what you don’t show is the 3.7 V6 F150 XLT super cab with two package.

Leave a Reply