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Old 04-22-2018, 12:02 AM   #1
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New Tow Vehicle

Just got my new tow vehicle - 2018 Ford Transit XLT150 with 3.5L EcoBoost, heavy duty tow package and integrated brake controller.

GCWR=11,200lbs
Vehicle Weight=5,500lbs
GVWR=8,500lbs (I think the tires will limit this to 8,249lbs)
Towing Capacity= 5100lbs

Looks like the GCWR is my limiting factor. But assuming that my 21' weighs in the neighborhood of 4,500lbs and I remove the last row of seats from the trailer(150lbs), I should have cargo capacity of between 1,200 and 1,350lbs. I think I can live with that and I'm sure the 3.5L EB will provide power to spare.

Any opinion as to whether I should use the WDH that I'd been using with my 4Runner?

Chas
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvanzan View Post
GVWR=8,500lbs (I think the tires will limit this to 8,249lbs)
The Ford.ca site lists the tire spec for single-rear-wheel Transits like this as
235/65R16C 121/119 R
That's a commercial tire with a 121 load index, which means 3,197 pound per tire. The factory-installed tires never limit the GVW to less than the GVWR, and certainly won't in this case (with a total of 12,788 lb capacity to carry 8,500 pounds). Of course, they'll only have this full capacity at a specified pressure - apparently 85 to 90 PSI in this case - but you can use a more reasonable pressure to meet the load requirement (following the direction on the tire information placard).

Chas, why would you expect the tires to limit gross vehicle weight to 8,249 pounds?
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:15 AM   #3
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That is an interesting combination. Yes, your GCWR will limit you. Most people do not want to be at that limit so they try to stay at least a few hundred pounds below it. Does your manual say anything about a WDH?
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cvanzan View Post
Any opinion as to whether I should use the WDH that I'd been using with my 4Runner?
Normally I would consider factors such as these:
  • Although it has the regular wheelbase, it's still 3300 mm / 129.9" - that's pickup truck territory. The longer the wheelbase, the less reason there is for a WD system.
  • Have you worked out what your axle loads will be with cargo and hitch weight? If the rear axle load is not close to the rated capacity, axle load is not a reason to use WD.

But in this case...
Quote:
Originally Posted by float5 View Post
Does your manual say anything about a WDH?
Yes. The owner's manual explicitly states:
Quote:
Weight Distributing Hitches
A weight distribution hitch is not recommended for use with your vehicle.
Done.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post

Yes. The owner's manual explicitly states:

Done.
Which is not the same as "A weight distribution hitch is prohibited" . It's just not recommended. Use one or not.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Which is not the same as "A weight distribution hitch is prohibited" . It's just not recommended. Use one or not.
I agree that it's not a prohibition. If someone thinks they know better than Ford what should be used with a Ford Transit, they take responsibility for their decision. Keep in mind that Ford has nothing against WD; they allow, recommend, and even require WD (depending on hitch load) for other Ford vehicles.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:50 AM   #7
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And, I agree. So, if use of a WDH gives you a more comfortable ride, there is no reason not to use one ( other than expense of the unit and its weight ).
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:15 PM   #8
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I think your cargo capacity is closer to 3000#'s less hitch weight approx 600#'s equals approx 2400#'s. GVWR 8500 less weight of vehicle 5500 equals 3000. This van is made to carry 15 people (15 x 200# = 3000#).
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Old 04-22-2018, 03:29 PM   #9
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Looks to me as if the OP has it correct and he has far far less cargo capacity when towing than when not, due to the GCWR. A not uncommon situation.
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:44 PM   #10
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I'm still trying to understand this, so please bear with me. OK, I now see the 1200# limit, but wouldn't you reduce 1200# cargo capacity by the tongue weight of the trailer?

I also noticed that the tongue weight limit on this van is 500#'s, if correct, I would recommend WDH.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:35 PM   #11
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The 2759lbs max cargo capacity number came from the door sticker. Not that I will ever need near that much.

I took out the 3rd row seat today and it weighs at least 150lbs. That'll give me another 150lbs of margin on the GCWR limit.

If I don't use the WDH, how much sag at the rear is acceptable before considering adding booster spring (air or otherwise)?

Chas
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Old 04-22-2018, 11:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesPou View Post
I think your cargo capacity is closer to 3000#'s less hitch weight approx 600#'s equals approx 2400#'s. GVWR 8500 less weight of vehicle 5500 equals 3000. This van is made to carry 15 people (15 x 200# = 3000#).
Although the payload if not towing would be about 3,000 pounds...
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvanzan View Post
GCWR=11,200lbs
Vehicle Weight=5,500lbs
GVWR=8,500lbs (I think the tires will limit this to 8,249lbs)
Towing Capacity= 5100lbs

Looks like the GCWR is my limiting factor. But assuming that my 21' weighs in the neighborhood of 4,500lbs and I remove the last row of seats from the trailer(150lbs), I should have cargo capacity of between 1,200 and 1,350lbs.
... the GCWR (11,200 lb) less the van (5,500 - 150 lb) and loaded trailer (4,500 lb) leaves 1,350 lb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesPou View Post
I'm still trying to understand this, so please bear with me. OK, I now see the 1200# limit, but wouldn't you reduce 1200# cargo capacity by the tongue weight of the trailer?
No, because the tongue weight is part of the 4,500 lb trailer weight.

When considering the GVWR, the tongue weight (and not the rest of the trailer) must be allowed for:
8,500 lb GVWR
- (5,500 - 150) lb van w/o rear seat
- 500 lb estimate of tongue weight
= 2650 pounds... far more than the restriction due to the GCWR, so it is the GCWR which controls what can be carried while towing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesPou View Post
I also noticed that the tongue weight limit on this van is 500#'s, if correct, I would recommend WDH.
Where did you see the tongue weight limit? I looked carefully, and couldn't find any indication of it in the owner's manual, or any indication of the van having different limits for weight-carrying and weight-distributing. Using WD will not change the limits of the vehicle or of the hitch. I have no idea what is marked on the hitch itself.

Chas, what does the sticker on the hitch say?
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Old 04-22-2018, 11:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cvanzan View Post
If I don't use the WDH, how much sag at the rear is acceptable before considering adding booster spring (air or otherwise)?
If the van's rear suspension bottoms out over bumps, then that seems like too much to me.

I suggest checking the rear axle load against the Gross Axle Weight Rating. If you're not close to that limit, there shouldn't be a concern with rear axle load, regardless of the ride height.

You can anticipate your rear axle load by weighing the van empty (getting separate scale reading for each axle), then adding the effect of the cargo and trailer. And of course you can just wait until you get the trailer and pull it across a scale, since you know you will be within GVWR, GCWR, and trailer weight rating.
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvanzan;

If I don't use the WDH, how much sag at the rear is acceptable before considering adding booster spring (air or otherwise)?

Chas
We seldom tow in the dark, Chas, but have on occasion. Rear sag will affect your headlights and ought to be corrected.
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:32 AM   #15
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search "2018 Ford Transit Trailer Towing Selector" has chart that shows 500# max tongue load for transit van

my hitch (Draw-Tite Class III Max Frame Round Tube Receiver Hitch - 2009 Toyota Tundra) is rated 600# and goes up to 800# with WDH, that's one reason why I'm going with WDH when I get my new Escape 21

I see some hitches don't change load capacity with/ without WDH, I guess depends on model?
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:39 AM   #16
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The numbers on the hitch are the numbers for the hitch, not for the vehicle it is placed on. The lowest number is still the actual number.
See the label on my WDH. Obviously, my RAV4 cannot tow 14,000 lbs. I am still limited to 3,500 lbs tow and 350 lbs. tongue.
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Old 04-23-2018, 12:09 PM   #17
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Thanks all. As soon as I get 1,000 miles on the Transit I'll try hooking up without the WDH and see how it tows and how much the rear end sags. If it feels like the trailer is wagging or bouncing the Transit I'll go with the WDH. If it tows ok, but it sags to the point where the headlights are noticeably affected I'll install some sort of "helper" springs (air or otherwise) on the rear axle.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesPou View Post
search "2018 Ford Transit Trailer Towing Selector" has chart that shows 500# max tongue load for transit van
The quoted value is simply 10% of the trailer weight. The cargo van is rated to tow 7,500 pounds, so it says 750 pounds... because the cargo version (only) is available with a 12,600 pound GCWR (requiring a 3.73:1 final drive ratio), which has nothing to do with hitch load handling capability, unless the high-GCWR package comes with a stronger rear suspension (not likely, because the cargo van's GVWR is not higher). The vehicle clearly has no issue with more tongue weight than any Escape will have, as long as the GVWR and GAWR (rear) are respected.

If anyone wants a Transit which can handle even more cargo and hitch weight, the Transit 250 (rather than the lighter-duty Transit 150) is the solution - that also makes the 3.73:1 final drive ratio standard and makes a higher GCWR available in the wagon.

I note that this towing guide includes this ahead of the table with the hitch weight limits:
Quote:
See chart below for the weight-carrying capacities of this hitch receiver. (This capacity also is shown on a label affixed to each receiver.)
... which does not even consider the possibility of WD use (weight-distributing capacity).

The owners manual - which is the same for both cargo and wagon versions - doesn't mention a hitch weight limit, but shows the higher trailer weight limit for the cargo version, only if it has that higher GCWR package.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesPou View Post
I see some hitches don't change load capacity with/ without WDH, I guess depends on model?
Yes, every hitch can be different. The VESC V-5 / SAE J684 towing equipment standards do not define a tongue weight limit (by class or in any other way), so it's up to the hitch manufacturer to decide what the hitch can handle, and up to the vehicle manufacturer to decide what the vehicle can handle, in each mode (weight-carrying and weight-distributing).


It really would be worthwhile to read the sticker on the Transit's hitch.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
The numbers on the hitch are the numbers for the hitch, not for the vehicle it is placed on. The lowest number is still the actual number.
See the label on my WDH. Obviously, my RAV4 cannot tow 14,000 lbs. I am still limited to 3,500 lbs tow and 350 lbs. tongue.
Very true.

Since there is no actual hitch weight limit for the Transit (except as a result of axle weight rating and cargo+passenger load, or the recommendation to not exceed 15% of the trailer weight), the hitch is the only source of a specific fixed hitch weight limit in this case. If the van is carrying a lot of stuff or carrying it very far back, the remaining capacity available or hitch weight could be the lowest number.
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by cvanzan View Post
The 2759lbs max cargo capacity number came from the door sticker. Not that I will ever need near that much...
Thanks for sharing the sticker. It shows different tire pressures front and rear, reflecting the higher Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for the rear than the front, neither high enough to need the full capability of these tires at maximum inflation.

If greater stability and lateral stiffness is desired at the rear when loaded with the trailer, an even higher tire pressure could be used (within the maximum shown on the tire sidewall).

The actual GAWR values will be on the other sticker, along with GVWR.
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