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Can my Truck Tow This?

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  • Can my Truck Tow This?

    I hate to add another thread on a topic that comes up often, but I have some questions.

    I have:
    2015 Ford F150, V8 engine and 3.55 axle ratio, factory towing and HD payload package. Crew cab with regular length bed.

    According to what I've found online, Ford claims I have about 9k of towing capacity, whether dead weight, weight distributing hitch, or 5th wheel/gooseneck. They also claim over 3K of payload capacity.

    So - can I safely tow a small/light 2 horse gooseneck? I only haul my own (one) horse. I often put a cot in the trailer to dry camp, so the thought of having a gooseneck for a mattress/more space is very attractive, but not if I'm going to be swaying all over the road. I'm not looking to carry water or a week of supplies - I just like to cheap out on hotel costs during a weekend horse show.

    Basically - just how much can I trust Ford's claims of towing and payload capacity? I like to keep a nice big 20-25% margin for safety from stated towing capacities, and it SEEMS like I might safely be able to put a 1200lb horse in a 4000lb gooseneck trailer and still be well under their listed capabilities, but I'd love to get some advice from those who are far more seasoned veterans at safely hauling. I'd hate to install a hitch in the bed of the truck, buy a trailer, and then find out I get blown all over the road when hauling.

    (because we all know where this is going, I will not be upgrading to a 3/4 ton diesel. It's just not in the cards or the bank account).

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I towed my 3-horse Gooseneck trailer (with 2 horses) with my husband’s GMC 1500 for a few years until we could afford an “extra” towing vehicle. It did just fine in most situations. If it was really windy we were not going 75 mph on the interstate, but that’s okay. Also note that I live in North Dakota and we’re flat. And the very farthest I travel from home was 3 hours and that was not very often. I also got a 6-inch extender on the ball since hubby’s pickup was a short box. Did fine - could maneuver pretty tightly but just watched the back window.

    As always, the main issue with being undertrucked is not with pulling but with STOPPING.

    Personally, I feel a gooseneck is much more stable than a bumper pull. I will never own a bumper pull. You won’t fishtail in a gooseneck.

    How often are you hauling?
    How far?
    What terrain?
    Those are things to consider.

    It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

    Comment


    • #3
      There should be a tag on the inside of your drivers side door with tow capacity. You will also need to know the "pin weight" which is the weight of the neck on the ball in your bed. Then you compare those with trailers on the market as there can be a range of thousands of pounds in two horse goosenecks.
      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I've never pulled a gooseneck, but I've certainly heard over and over that it's more stable than a BP. I've been pulling a tiny little 2H Brenderup, but that's so small that just about anything can pull and stop it (completely different braking system though, so apples and oranges when comparing to anything else)

        I haul 1-2x/month, anywhere between 2 and 4 hours each way. All highways (well, PA turnpike in particular, so there are inclines and declines as you go through the mountains, but they're pretty decently graded), except that every barn ever seems to have a steep drive with washed out gravel, so as soon as I'm off the main roads we're slowly bumping along up to the stabling area.

        In my mind, my ideal trailer would be a small 2H slant gooseneck where I can pull out the divider, give horsey the full horse compartment, and keep my mattress and all the tack in the front compartment. I just want to make sure that's safe. If not, I'll be just fine making do with a 2H BP with a dressing room.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by OuttaShape View Post
          Basically - just how much can I trust Ford's claims of towing and payload capacity?
          100%. Payload and towing capacities are actually tested by the OEMs. There is rigorous testing involving loaded trailers and hill climb criteria before the vehicle goes to market. Obviously this rating is dependent on how your truck is equipped.. Different equipment on different models = different tow ratings. Not all F150s are meant (or built) to tow 9,000 lbs.

          Judging by the description of your vehicle - you are likely fine to tow a small gooseneck. But please, always double check the specific rating on your truck and it's equipment and compare to the trailer weight you're planning to tow.

          Comment


          • #6
            GN is definitely stable at speed and wind. That long truck is a plus too. Your truck has a high ratio axle. That 3.55 is good for gas mileage but a strain for towing. A GN will be a lot more load than the B'up. With one horse, I would do it and treat your transmission to "severe service" maintenance / fluid changes.
            Equus makus brokus but happy

            Comment


            • #7
              I switched from a BP to a GN last year (with a bigger truck) and there has been a HUGE improvement in highway stability. I never feel any sway at all, so I think your fears about that part are unfounded.

              Comment


              • #8
                The truck can probably tow it, but the real question is how well can the truck stop the trailer, especially if something were to happen to the trailer brakes?

                I lived in PA most of my life, and hauled all over the state, but would not want to do it without enough truck to stop my trailer. I had a brake box go bad on a camping trip, and hauled home with no trailer brakes on a 4 horse trailer with a 6’ LQ with one horse on board.With a one ton truck, stopping was not ideal, but still could be accomplished safely.

                You do need to know the exact weight of what you are towing. The best way to do that is to load everything up and head to the nearest scale. After that, compare your numbers to the Ford specs. The 3.55 rear would be a concern for me as it gives you much less torque and power for hills and mountains. The transmission may also take a beating too.

                There is no doubt in my mind that a gooseneck is much easier and safer to pull than a bumper pull, as I have had experience with both. I would choose a gooseneck over bumper pull any time.
                "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

                Comment


                • #9
                  Get a true length of the truck before proceding further. "Regular length bed" on a crew cab could be six feet or some other smaller length. Your total truck length could just be the same as a plain, one seat pickup and bed. You might need to pay extra for some bed length. Know that a longer chassis gives more hauling stability with a trailer. They also allow better control with gooseneck than very short bed trucks. Several old threads about turning short using a shortbed truck and breaking out the rear truck window, when parking the gooseneck trailer.

                  Truck makers use the same length chassis under different seating models, club cab, crew cab, but truck is NOT actually longer. The bed length ordered will change actual chassis length if you pay for the longer bed. You need to know the true length on model you are looking at because it can affect how/what you haul.

                  I second gooseneck being nicer to haul and park. My horses ride between the truck and trailer axles, get a better ride in that "hammock" location of suspension.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't tow a GN with a half ton. I have a 2013 F-150 with almost identical specs and it took me months to settle on a 2H BP SL that's all-aluminum with a small DR. Your truck is slightly more capable than mine. Here is a screen cap of a spreadsheet illustrating my specs and calculations. Just my opinion. Good luck.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What is the GCVWR of the truck? How much does it weigh? Subtract the latter from the former and you have the maximum you can tow, legally, with the truck. Simple arithmetic computation.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Based on information given. Yes, no worries.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Personally, I would feel comfortable occasionally towing a very basic GN with that truck if primarily driving on flat-ish/non-mountain roads. Be cautious about adding too much weight if your trailer has a weekender package. If you plan on frequent, long distance towing, you may burn out your truck.

                          My 2011 F-150, V8, 3.5L crew cab short bed with 3.73 gear ratio is my commuter vehicle, and does well with my fully loaded, basic 2H slant BP, but I do get some sway. GN should reduce that (sadly, it's not an option with my short truck bed.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            GN all the way. GNs are much more stable on the road and no sway. Also, I didn't see it mentioned but if this is an auto transmission, turn off the overdrive when hauling. Your tranny will thank you for it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As Guilherme said, it's just math. However, to do the math right, you have to know how much the trailer in question weighs - they are all over the map. I'm guessing you could get a decent GN that weighs about 4,000 lbs empty, so as long as you don't put a giant water tank in, you are probably going to be fine on your tow capacity. But you do still need to look at the GCVWR (how much the whole thing, truck, stuff in truck including gas, horses, hay, water, gear, hitch...weights), and the payload rating. Check with the trailer manufacturer as to what percentage of the weight is transferred onto the hitch for a GN - that will help you figure out the payload number.
                              The big man -- my lost prince

                              The little brother, now my main man

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I pull a 3800# (dry) 2H aluminum gooseneck with a 2016 F150 with max towing package. Loaded with hay, horses, and tack, the trailer is no more than about 7000#. I have *zero* problems at all, ever. I haven't driven through the mountains with it, but I'm from Iowa - quite unnecessary. I love how handy my setup is!

                                Fair warning: I tried to use the same truck to pull a steel 3500# bumper pull 3H, but it had so much fishtail I bailed on that idea FAST. Get the gooseneck. Wayyyy more stable with a smaller truck.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I did a metric ton of research on this when I was putting together my rig, and maybe it can help someone else (and fwiw, the rv forums are the best source of info on this topic; there are always a few experts who really know their stuff, and many newbie rv-ers who are towing way over their vehicle’s limits!).

                                  What most people don’t understand is that when towing a gooseneck, a truck’s advertised towing capacity is almost never the limiting factor - especially these days, with towing capacities as high as they are. Instead, the limiting factor is the truck’s payload capacity, since goosenecks put so much weight in the truck bed.

                                  Basically, payload - which I’m using to mean the amount of weight, from whatever source, including the “pin weight” of a gooseneck or fifth wheel type trailer, that a truck can carry - is the difference between the maximum the truck can weigh according to its manufacturer specs (the GVWR, usually shown on a door sticker) and the actual weight of the truck. The only way to accurately know the actual weight of the truck - including gas, driver, and all passengers you intend to carry, plus whatever gear you regularly carry in the truck and anything you intend to carry in the truck bed when towing horses, like hay or bedding - is to take it to some scales. You can’t rely on the manufacturer’s curb weight specs. For example, the base curb weight according to specs of my 2012 F350 is 7481 lbs. But when I brought it to the CAT scales to weigh it, with me, a full tank, & gear in it, it weighed quite a bit more: 8200lbs (3340 on the rear axle, 4860 on the front).

                                  So in my case, the truck’s actual weight is 8200, plus say 20p for another passenger. The manufacturer-specified GVWR for the truck as equipped (it can depend on tires, options, etc) - ie, the maximum it and all its contents can weigh - is 11,500. So I have 3100 lbs of payload.

                                  The next thing you have to do is figure out how much weight your trailer will put in the bed of your truck (pin weight), and determine if that pin weight is less than that payload by a enough safe margin (whatever that means to you) (For this to be accurate, you must have already taken into account in the truck weight anything, like hay, you intend to carry in the truck bed!). Again, the only sure way to do this is by going to a scale. You can do rough calculations - assume the pin weight is 25% of the trailer; it will rarely be more than that (and may well be less).

                                  But in order to even do this, you have to feel confident you know the weight of your fully loaded trailer with horses in it. The weight the trailer manufacturer gives is generally way low - it barely includes the wheels! My trailer manufacturer, for example, gives an “official” weight of 6680 for the trailer that’s just like mine, but 6” wider and a foot longer. And yet my slightly smaller - and so supposedly lighter - trailer actually weighs in on CAT scales at 7300 lbs!

                                  I took my truck and trailer - a 3H GN - fully loaded with with 3 horses, hay, etc to the CAT scales to get an accurate weight. The weight on the rear truck axle was 5600, and on the front axle was 5000, for a total of 10,600 truck weight, compared to 8400 without the trailer. So fully loaded, I’m using 2200 of my 3100 lbs of payload (or looked at another way, I’m 900 lbs below my GVWR of 11,500). This is about as close as I’d want to go - with horses it’s nice to have a margin.

                                  To illustrate how important these calculations are: this fully loaded actually trailer weighed 11,800;lbs (and btw, the pin weight was about 20% of the trailer weight). BUT according to manufacturer my truck has a “towing capacity” of about 16,200 lbs. It is obvious from the above calculations, though, that it would be highly unlikely that I could haul such a heavy gooseneck without exceeding my payload. It’s the GVWR that acts as the limiting factor, not the towing capacity - and this is typically the case for trailers that hitch in the bed (goosenecks, fifth wheels).

                                  Anyway, I hope this was helpful. Like I said, I really did a lot of work with the figures; in fact, back in 2011, I first bought an F250 for my (then) new trailer, but after only 6 months decided I had made a mistake and that it wasn’t a sufficient tow vehicle, and traded it in for an F350! In an ideal world I’d have even a little more margin - meaning a dually - but my current circumstances make that wildly impractical, and I feel confident that what I have is sufficient. I’m a bit anal about it, but it feels like trailering is dangerous enough without adding an underpowered tow vehicle to the mix!

                                  Last edited by Amordoro; Apr. 19, 2018, 12:21 PM. Reason: Typos, grammar, clarity

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Amordoro View Post
                                    I did a metric ton of research on this when I was putting together my rig, and maybe it can help someone else (and fwiw, the rv forums are the best source of info on this topic; there are always a few experts who really know their stuff, and many newbie rv-ers who are towing way over their vehicle’s limits!).

                                    What most people don’t understand is that when towing a gooseneck, a truck’s advertised towing capacity is almost never the limiting factor - especially these days, with towing capacities as high as they are. Instead, the limiting factor is the truck’s payload capacity, since goosenecks put so much weight in the truck bed.

                                    Basically, payload - which I’m using to mean the amount of weight, from whatever source including the “pin weight” of a gooseneck or fifth wheel type trailer - a truck can carry in its bed is the difference between the maximum the truck can weigh according to its specs (the GVWR, usually shown on a door sticker) and the actual weight of the truck. The only way to accurately know the actual weight of the truck - including gas, driver, and all passengers you intend to carry, plus whatever gear you regularly carry in the truck - is to take it to some scales. You can’t rely on the manufacturer’s curb weight specs. For example, the base curb weight according to specs of my 2012 F350 is 7481 lbs. But when I brought it to the CAT scales to weigh it, with me, a full tank, stuff in it, etc,, it weighed 8200lbs [3340 on the rear axle, 4860 on the front).

                                    So in my case, the GVWR for my truck as equipped (it can depend on tires, options, etc) - ie, the maximum it and all it’s contents can weigh - is 11,500. The actual weight is 8200, plus say 200 for another passenger. So I have 3100 lbs of payload.

                                    The next thing you have to do is figure out how much weight your trailer will put in the bed of your truck, and if is less than that payload by a enough safe margin (whatever that means to you). Again, the only sure way to do this is by going to a scale. You can do rough calculations - say 25% of the trailer weight on the tongue; it will rarely be more than that (and may well be less). But in order to even do this, you have to feel confident you know the weight of your fully loaded trailer with horses in it. The weight the trailer manufacturer gives is generally way low - doesn’t include anything. My trailer manufacturer gives a weight of 6680 for the trailer that’s just like mine, but 6” wider and a foot longer. And yet my supposedly lighter trailer weighs in on CAT scales at 7300 lbs!

                                    In my case I took the truck and trailer - a 3H GN - fully loaded with with 3 horses, hay, etc to the CAT scales. The weight on the rear axle was 5600, and on the front axle was 5000, for a total of 10,600 truck weight, compared to 8400 without the trailer. So fully loaded, I’m using 2200 of my 3100 lbs of payload (or looked at another way, I’m 900lbs below my GVWR of 11,500).

                                    This is about as close as I’d want to go - with horses it’s nice to have a margin. To illustrate how important these calculations are - this fully loaded trailer weighed roughly 12,000 lbs (the pin weight was about 20%). BUT according to manufacturer my truck has a “towing capacity” of about 16,000 lbs. It would be highly unlikely that I could haul such a heavy gooseneck without exceeding my payload though, at least if I wanted any margin at all. It’s the GVWR that acts as the limiting factor, not the towing capacity, and this is typically the case for trailers that hitch in the bed (goosenecks, fifth wheels).

                                    Anyway, I hope this was helpful. Like I said, I really did a lot of work with the figures; in fact, back in 2011, I first bought an F250 for my (then) new trailer, but after only 6 months decided I had made a mistake and that it wasn’t a sufficient tow vehicle, and traded it in for an F350! In an ideal world I’d have even a little more margin - meaning a dually - but my current circumstances make that wildly impractical, and I feel confident that what I have is sufficient. I’m a bit anal about it, but it feels like trailering is dangerous enough without adding an underpowered tow vehicle to the mix!
                                    The above is an excellent presentation but there is a missing number: the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating. That is the MAXIMUM that the truck-tow combination can weigh. This is independent of the type of trailer. You can find that number in the Owners Manual. It's a number from Engineering, not Marketing. It's a legal limit as well as a good sense limit. You have sufficient information to do the calculation ((GCVWR -(actual truck weight + actual trailer weight)). Do that see what you get.

                                    Again, very well done!!!

                                    G.
                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Yes, sorry, I omitted GCWR just for the sake of some simplicity and brevity (!!) - and also because I believe that in the majority of cases if you’re within the truck’s GVWR, and your (horse) trailer is reasonably balanced (pin weight in the 15-25% range), it’s highly unlikely it is going to be an issue. But it is nonetheless a consideration.

                                      So for the sake of illustration, in my own case, my truck’s GCWR - the maximum *actual* weight permitted by the manufacturer (and also a legal requirement?) for the combined truck & trailer (ie, including all gear, occupants, etc), is 23,500 lbs. On the CAT scales, the total weight of my own rig, fully loaded with 3 horses, 2 passengers, a full tank of gas, and a typical amount of gear was 19,600 lbs, so well within the limit.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Amordoro, I was reading this and thought "this sure sounds familiar..." HAHAHAHA. (I know Amordoro very well in real life...). This issue of the truck and trailer weighing more than you thought is pretty critical, I think. Between A and Guilherme, this is everything you need to know to figure this stuff out.
                                        The big man -- my lost prince

                                        The little brother, now my main man

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