Confusion about car's tow capacity

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by dundy, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. dundy

    dundy New Member

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    I own a 2016 Ford Explorer 3.4L V6. I have the Class III tow package installed. Ford's website says that I can tow a maximum of 5,000lbs with a weight distribution hitch and 2,000lbs without one.

    The sticker on my hitch says "Class III Hitch, Max Gross Trlr Wt Carrying 5,000lb, Max Tongue Wt Carrying 500lb".

    Do I need a weight distribution hitch if I am looking to tow something over 2,000lbs? The PUP dealer said he's never installed a WDH for a pop-up before (it's frame cannot handle it). Any input is appreciated.
     
  2. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    According to Ford, yes, you'll need a WDH if the trailer is over 2000 lbs. Many popups can't use a WDH but I think some can. Do you already have a pop up? If so, which one?
     
  3. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    I would follow the owner's manual footnote 3 (if it applies) on page 241
    http://www.fordservicecontent.com/F...-Owners-Manual-version-3_OM_EN-US_02_2016.pdf
    3 For towing trailers up to 3500 pounds (1588 kilograms), use a weight-carrying hitch and ball, which uniformly spreads the trailer tongue loads through your vehicle’s underbody structure. For towing trailers over 3500 pounds (1588 kilograms), up to the maximum trailer weight, we recommend you use a weight-distributing hitch to increase front axle load while towing.
     
  4. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    The sticker on the hitch is the rating of the hitch.
     
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  5. Eric Webber

    Eric Webber Active Member

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    Some campers are set up for a wdh while others are not. My Coleman Santa Fe (and most Coleman/fleetwood) has nice square tubing as a tongue and is great with my Andersen WDH. A thinner C channel or I beam might be less suitable
     
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  6. Spridle

    Spridle Well-Known Member

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    There is a lot to know here and no universal answer. Even following factory suggestions you may still find it unsuitable for the weight. Conversely, some combinations tow great at the maximum.

    My only universal answers to towing questions are to make sure to have have functional brakes on the camper and have your car wired to control them and if in doubt, keep it slow.

    PopUps are light which is great, but the rocking motion of the single axle can wreak havoc on some car based tow vehicles. In that situation, regardless of weight, a weight distro hitch will greatly stabilize your towing.
     
  7. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    Most C channel pup frames will not handle a WDH. The frame will twist and break. Check this out in an owner's manual. The dealer is right. I wouldn't put a WDH on it.

    Are you worried about the hitch capacity, or if the Explorer's rear suspension can hold it up?
     
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  8. dundy

    dundy New Member

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    I'm just worried whether I can safely tow a PUP I am considering or not.
     
  9. dundy

    dundy New Member

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    I'm looking to purchase 2019 Rockwood Premier 2716g
     
  10. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    The sticker on your hitch is for the hitch only not your vehicle.
     
  11. threebeachboys

    threebeachboys Active Member

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    Ok - I almost bought an Explorer, so did a lot of research. . . . But the whole weight distribution issue was just not something I wanted to deal with. You do need the WDH over certain weights - can't remember if it was 2,000 or 3,500. There are also tongue weight restrictions - though I don't think that would be a problem with the vast majority of pop-ups. On the other hand, not all trailers are compatible with a WDH. And IIRC, Rockwood's frames will not work with one. Do not rely on what a dealer tells you; look at all the written material for both your tow vehicle and the trailer. If it is not clear from that information, contact the manufacturer and get your answer from them in writing. Damage to the tow vehicle and/or camper is bad enough. But if you are towing outside of manufacturer specs and there is an accident, you may have issues with insurance coverage and liability. IMHO and as someone else mentioned, electric brakes and a brake controller are essential.

    I ended up buying a Jeep GC with a full tow package and HEMI engine and added a sway control bar (cheap insurance, IMHO). Does just fine with my Aliner.
     
  12. Minimalist

    Minimalist Active Member

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    If I am not mistaken the need of a WDH has more to do with the tongue weight than the overall weight of the trailer. I am pretty positive that Ford assumes a 10% tongue weight in their WDH recommendation. If I am right, Ford says everything over 350 lbs tongue weight should use a WDH. The trailer you mentioned has per their website a tongue weight of 370 lbs. This is empty and will likely increase once you have loaded everything up. You also need to find out if that is with battery and gas or without.

    One word of advice is try to learn as much as possible about your vehicle, your trailer and towing in general. There is A LOT of misinformation out there and very few people really do understand the physics behind towing completely (and neither do I). There is surprisingly little research about towing and how all the different components play into it.
     
  13. daveman

    daveman Member

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    Something else to remember/consider is the tow vehicles (TV's) payload...the tongue weight (TW) needs to be included as part of the TV's max payload weight. When I bought my F150 the dealer showed me the "tow ratings" for the truck...mine is just shy of 10K. BUT if you assume 13% tongue weight of a trailer, subtract that from the trucks available payload, add the driver/passengers + gear...a little reverse math and I can tow just over 7K before the payload limit hits...and that's with a WDH. Something dealers seem to gloss over during the sales pitch, but something to be considered when you're looking at how much weight you can safely tow.

    I'm loving the F150 tow experience with the pop-up….but it's only 2900-ish pounds loaded with a TW of about 350 (I carry 2 loaded propane tanks plus battery on the tongue). Towed the same trailer with my 2010 Escape (3500 pounds max towing capacity) and I was right on the TV's max payload (a little over if I had too many campfire hot dogs :) )
     
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