What’s the Ford F-150 Towing Capacity? – What Trailers and Campers Can It Safely Tow?

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In a nutshell, How much will a Ford F-150 tow?

If we include a max trailer tow package, an F-150 can have a max towing capacity of 14,000 pounds. Now, you have to keep in mind that the truck can’t hold any extra gear nor have any other passengers other than the driver inside. However, the base model of the F-150, paired with the 3.3L Ti-VCT V6 engine delivering 290 HP and 265 lb.-ft can tow up to 8,200 lbs, and you have to step up to the range-topping 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine with 400 HP and 500 lb.-ft to unlock the full towing potential of 14,000 lbs.

What Travel Trailer Size Can an F-150 Pull?

There are various types of the F-150, and all of them have different towing capacities. The trailer size that an F-150 can pull depends on various factors such as the engine power, rear-axle ratio, with or without gear, etc. Now, you may hear the salesperson throw some ridiculously high or even low numbers, but this is all a plan to get you hooked. If we have to give a number, it would be somewhere close to 8000 pounds.

Can an F-150 Tow A Fifth Wheel Trailer?

Technically, yes, an F-150 can tow a fifth-wheel trailer, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Most fifth-wheel trailers are rather large, so you’ll get very close to the tow capacity specifications.

However, if you get a smaller fifth-wheel trailer, crunch up the numbers precisely and have a specific trailer tow package, and install a goose-neck hitch on the truck, you’ll be able to tow it. Some of the payload dynamics would be altered, however, but you will be able to get the job done.

If you don’t want to alter anything plus get a full-sized fifth-wheel camper trailer, you might want to consider getting an F-250 or an F-350, which are far more suited for towing a standard fifth-wheel trailer.

The Towing Capacity of Different F-150 Models and years

Check out some of the F-150 models by year and see how their towing capacities compare, depending on the engines they can come with.

Ford F-150 by yearLow-end engineMiddle-end engineHigh-end engine
2016 F-1503.5L Ti-VCT V6 – 7600lbs towing capacity2.7L EcoBoost® V6: 8,500lbs towing capacity3.5L EcoBoost® V6 – 12,200lbs towing capacity
2017 F-1503.5L Ti-VCT V6 – 7600lbs towing capacity2.7L EcoBoost® V6: 8,500lbs towing capacity3.5L EcoBoost® V6 – 12,200lbs towing capacity
2018 F-1503.3L Ti-VCT V6 – 7,700lbs towing capacityTurbocharged 2.7L EcoBoost® V6 – 9,000lbs towing capacityTurbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 – 13,200lbs towing capacity
2019 F-1503.3L Ti-VCT V6 – 7,700lbs towing capacity2.7L EcoBoost V6- 9000lbs towing capacity3.0L Turbo Diesel V6 – 11,000lbs towing capacity
2020 F-1503.3L Ti-VCT V6 – 7,700lbs towing capacity2.7L EcoBoost V6- 9000lbs towing capacity3.0L Turbo Diesel V6 – 11,000lbs towing capacity
2021 F-1503.3L Ti-VCT V68,200lbs towing capacity3.0L Power Stroke V6 – 12,100lbs towing capacityTurbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 – 14,000lbs towing capacity
2022 F-1503.3L Ti-VCT V6 – 8,200lbs towing capacity3.0L Power Stroke V6 – 12,100lbs towing capacityTurbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 – 14,000lbs towing capacity

What Affects the Overall Towing Capacity of the Ford F-150?

Towing capacity can be affected by various reasons. There are several features that most Ford trucks have that can increase or decrease the towing capacity. Here are some of the features that affect towing capacity of a F-150:

  • Engine Strength
  • Axle Ratio
  • The Length and Weight of the Truck
  • Payload
  • Tongue Weight
  • Towing Package
  • Trailer Towing Package

Engine Strength

The power of the engine is immensely important to get more towing capacity. The two elements that determine the engine’s strength are the horsepower output and the torque.

If you scroll back to the table above, you can see that different models of the F-150 come with different engines. The 3.5-liter PowerBoost Full-Hybrid V6 is the strongest F-150 engine you can currently get, with 430 horsepower and 570-foot pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. Although the most powerful engine of the range, the towing capacity of the F-150 paired with the 3.5L PowerBoost is 12,700 lbs.

Axle Ratio

The Axle Ratio is important as well because it determines how the truck uses its torque. The axle ratio is essentially how many times the wheels of the truck will turn to use the power from the engine.

When you are pulling a lighter weight, you want faster movements, and on the other hand, if you are towing a heavier load, you want slower movements so all of the power and force can be redirected to pull more weight.

When it comes to towing, you want a higher axle ratio. However, if you are not towing, a lower axle ratio is way better to fuel economy.

The Length and Weight of the Truck

The length and weight of both the truck and the trailer/camper that is being towed will have a massive impact on the towing efficiency and control of the truck.

For example, if you have a bigger trailer and if you tow it with your F-150, the faster you go the more mass that trailer will have, which will affect the control over your truck and the trailer. This can be felt more when there are fast winds, which might create sway in the trailer.

Because you can only control the truck, we advise you to look for a truck that’s heavier and longer than the trailer/camper. If it’s the other way around, the trailer can push the truck easily. Moreover, it will certainly sway more on open roads with high winds and it can even damage some parts of the truck or get you into trouble.

Payload

Payload is the max weight that you can place on or in the truck, including the weight of the driver, passengers, a full tank of gas, and other gear. Different F-150 trucks will have different values of payload. If you surpass the truck’s max payload, you will have trouble with the tongue weight, which can affect towing.

Notably, even though the 3.5l EcoBoost engine has the biggest towing capacity, if you’re looking for the maximum payload capacity, it comes with the 5.0l v8 engine when paired with the available Heavy Duty Payload Package.

Tongue Weight

Tongue weight is important because it will give your truck more stability. It can be described as the amount of pressure the hitch puts on the truck, in this case, the F-150. The heavier the trailer/camping you are towing, and the more weight that is close to the truck, equals more tongue weight.

If the trailer/camper is not that heavy, and not so much weight is near the truck, the tongue weight will be low. This can cause sway, which can cause a lot of trouble, especially for inexperienced drivers.

Towing Package

A towing package can come with several elements that will make towing easier and will increase the towing capacity. In this case, Ford offers various towing packages with their own special elements. While some may come with the trucks, some will need to be ordered. Here are some of the towing packages:

Class IV Trailer Hitch

This package is included in Ford’s basic towing package, and it features a 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness, Class IV trailer hitch receiver, and a Smart Trailer Tow connector. With the Class IV Trailer Hitch, you will be able to increase the towing capacity up to 7000lbs.

Trailer Tow Package

Apart from the 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness, Class IV trailer hitch receiver, and the Smart Trailer Tow connector, this package upgrades the Class IV Trailer Hitch with an auxiliary transmission oil cooler and an upgraded front stabilizer bar in this package. The towing capacity will also be increased to 11,000lbs.

Max Trailer Tow Package

Considering all the elements in the previous packages, with the Max Trailer Tow Package you will also be getting an engine oil cooler, a 36-gallon fuel tank, a trailer brake controller, and an upgraded rear bumper. This package will increase the towing capacity to a staggering 13,200lbs.

Which Full-size trucks provide similar towing capacities to the F150?

While the Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the US for the past 40 years, the competition among the full-size trucks is fierce. Some of the full-sized trucks that can provide similar towing capabilities as the F-150 include:

F150 towing capacity FAQs

What can I do to prevent trailer sway?

Extra prevention can always come in handy, and that is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights several tips on what to do to prevent trailer sway.

The first tip is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to the towing capacity of your vehicle. Some of the tips include always trusting the manufacturer when they recommend specific gear for towing, driving slower in order to decrease the strain on the truck and the trailer, avoiding sharp turns, and always making sure tire pressure is normal.

What should I do if my trailer starts to sway?

Most of the time when a trailer starts to sway it is because you have gone beyond the reasonable capacity of the payload or tongue weight. Winds and storms are other major factors that may start to sway the trailer.

If your trailer starts to sway, the best thing to do is start slowing down by letting your foot from the gas, and not hitting the break instantly. The truck will start slowing down, and the trailer will slowly stop swaying.

Is there an advantage to having a diesel engine for towing?

If you are frequently towing, having a diesel engine can work to your advantage because they typically produce more torque. Better fuel economy is another pro when it comes to diesel engines, however, because of the size and weight of the trucks, the efficiency won’t be so noticeable.

If you are just towing once or twice a year, i.e when going on holiday trips, then it will take a lot of time to see the return of investment in a diesel engine.

Is having four-wheel drive an advantage when it comes to towing trailers?

It all depends on the conditions and the place you reside. If you are getting constant rain or snowstorms in the winter, a four-wheel drive truck will be an immense help. Every F-150 is available with four-wheel drive and has “Four High” and “Four Low.”.

When the conditions are slippery, turning on the “Four High” will activate a limited-slip differential, meaning the front wheels will move more slowly than the rear ones. On the other hand, you should only use “Four Low” if you ever get your trailer or truck stuck and need to pull it out.

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About Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman is an interesting travel blogger and outdoor photographer with a great sense of humor. He owns an RV Accessories shop in New York City so he has the knowledge necessary to provide thorough reviews and give advice on how to choose the right products for RV travel. He puts all that RV knowledge and experience to good use in his sharing posts. Besides product buying guides/reviews, Chris also writes informative articles, how-to articles and RV camping guides in his own interesting viewpoint. Chris’s blog is one of the most reliable information sources for RV campers no matter if you're an expert or a determined beginner.

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