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Randbo

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Posted: 02/09/18 07:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi, experts,

My wife and I are trying to decide between a Class C and a travel trailer. The key question is will our 2001 Ford E-150 van tow a travel trailer comfortably?

Our van has a 5.4L V8 engine with a 3:55 gear ratio. It is rated at 12,000 pounds GCWR and has towing capacity of 7,000 pounds. We are looking at the Rockwood Mini Lite 2509S with a dry weight of 5,170 pounds. I have a weight distributing hitch installed on the van with a max gross trailer weight of 10,000 pounds and a max tongue weight of 1,000 pounds. The van has rear air shocks. I would buy a sway bar hitch and a transmission cooler.

It seems like the van will tow the trailer on paper but what kind of experience will I have towing it up a mountain for example? I don't want to strain the van engine, etc.

Thanks for your advice.

* This post was edited 02/09/18 09:56am by Randbo *

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Posted: 02/09/18 07:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What is the payload capacity of the van?


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Posted: 02/09/18 07:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Towing capacity for a truck/ van is more often limited by the carrying capacity than the tow 'capacity' or the GCWR.

Your van should have a max payload number on the door sticker. Take that weight, subtract the following:
1 - Weight of a full tank of fuel
2 - Weight of all the people who will be traveling in the vehicle
3 - Weight of any clothing or personal items they will carry in the vehicle
4 - Weight of any tools in the vehicle
5 - Weight of any camping gear, toys, etc you will put in the vehicle
6 - Weight of the vehicle weight distribution hitch

The number left is the amount of carrying capacity you have for the tongue weight of the trailer.

Many times vans end up with a negative carrying capacity even before the trailer tongue weight is added.

One thing which helps tremendously is if the transmission has a "Tow/Haul" mode that can be engaged. That does shifting on a different basis than regular travel. It makes a significant difference on wear and tear on the engine and transmission.


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handye9

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Posted: 02/09/18 09:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As others have noted, it's not a simple tow capacity compared to trailer weight.

Payload (AKA "max occupant / cargo weight") is what the tow vehicle is rated to carry. Trailer tongue weight, along with the weight of a weight distributing hitch, is counted as cargo weight on the tow vehicle.

Advertised tow capacity, does not include passengers or cargo in the tow vehicle. As you add weight (people, pets, cargo, etc) to the tow vehicle, it's available payload and tow capacity are going down, pound for pound.

Here's a link to a calculator that may help.


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Posted: 02/09/18 09:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PawPaw_n_Gram wrote:

Towing capacity for a truck/ van is more often limited by the carrying capacity than the tow 'capacity' or the GCWR.

Your van should have a max payload number on the door sticker. Take that weight, subtract the following:
1 - Weight of a full tank of fuel
2 - Weight of all the people who will be traveling in the vehicle
3 - Weight of any clothing or personal items they will carry in the vehicle
4 - Weight of any tools in the vehicle
5 - Weight of any camping gear, toys, etc you will put in the vehicle
6 - Weight of the vehicle weight distribution hitch

The number left is the amount of carrying capacity you have for the tongue weight of the trailer.

Many times vans end up with a negative carrying capacity even before the trailer tongue weight is added.

One thing which helps tremendously is if the transmission has a "Tow/Haul" mode that can be engaged. That does shifting on a different basis than regular travel. It makes a significant difference on wear and tear on the engine and transmission.
Payload sticker already accounts for a full tank of fuel. You do not need to subtract that.

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Posted: 02/09/18 11:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Were there yellow payload stickers back in 2001?


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Posted: 02/09/18 11:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Long time E150 owner

Randbo wrote:


Our van has a 5.4L V8 engine with a 3:55 gear ratio. It is rated at 12,000 pounds GCWR and has towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.

With that ratio, I am guessing you do NOT have the HD trailer tow option. The HD trailer tow option include a 3.73 rear axle, a HD radiator, and auxiliary transmission cooler and a 7 pin trailer connector in the rear plus break out wiring for the brake controller under the dash.

These are all NECESSARY if you are going to be towing over 4,000 lbs.

I am not a fan of air shocks, but you can add a leaf to the rear spring pack for very little cost.

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Posted: 02/09/18 02:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First, I’ll assume the van is in good well maintianed condition.
Chassis will handle a 6000lb plus trailer fine with a wdh. Those engines like to rev, so it’s ok to winder up and keep it there.
It will not be able to pull moderate grades without losing speed. 2nd year will be tops for any hill really.
But the most important thing to consider is how good of shape is the van? That will pretty much max out it’s capabilites.


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Posted: 02/09/18 04:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The old 5.4 2V was a good dependable engine! A powerhouse it was not!! If you are very patient, it will pull the trailer, after adding proper tow equipment. If you really plan to tow any mountain grades, you will not be a happy camper. Unless you can get a run, 1st gear likely on 7 percent grade. Payload may be an issue, but IMO, you just don't have enough power to comfortably pull a 6K+ loaded high walled trailer.

Jerry





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Posted: 02/10/18 06:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't play the numbers game, but I can relate my personal experience.
I towed an old 19 foot travel trailer with a 1976 Ford E150 Club Wagon, 351CI V8 engine, auto tranny. We went into the mountains of Central Montana on 2-track dirt roads, we went over the Continental Divide several times on paved highways, with no problems. No WD hitch, no "sway control", it just worked.
Prior to that, we had a 1975 Ford E150 Club Wagon, and towed a 15 foot camp trailer in the mountains of North Central Wyoming. We even towed it to Tucson and back. Again, no WD hitch, no "sway control", no problems.
OP, if your van has P rated tires, I would replace them with LT load range D or E tires, and go for it. If you (or the van) are not happy with the towing performance, then you can think about re-gearing the differential to 3.73 or 4.10, or replacing the van.
Good luck.


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