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Ford Towing Guides

Quick Towing Weight Calculation

Provided you know the GCWR and GVWR for the truck, you can make a quick calculation for a safe towing weight.  This is not the maximum towing capability, for that you must know the exact loaded truck weight, which includes the tongue weight of the trailer. 





Safe Towing(*) Weight

The Manufacturer’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum safe weight of the truck and trailer.

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is basically the maximum total safe weight of your vehicle, counting the curb weight (the weight of our vehicle when empty), plus the weight of your passengers, any accessories added to the vehicle, cargo, and the “tongue weight” of a tow trailer (normally 10-20% of the combined …

Provided the GVWR of the truck has not been exceeded, then difference between the GCWR and GVWR is a safe towing weight.  Any weight amount under the GVWR can be added to the towing weight.

Example of Safe Towing Weight Calculation



Safe Towing Weight(*)

19,000 lbs. GCWR     (Less)

10,000 lbs.  GVWR   (EQUALS)   

9,000 lbs. 

(*) This calculation is for new trucks and is based on you knowing the exact GCWR and GVWR for the truck.  And that the GVWR has not been exceeded. This does not take into account the towing capability of the tires.

Common Towing Definitions

GCVW – Gross Combined Vehicle Weight (GCVW) is the total combined weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including passengers, payload and everything in tow.

GVW – Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the total weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including passengers and payload – but excluding all towing.

GTW – Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the total weight of the trailer plus all the cargo in it.

CURB WEIGHT – The weight of a vehicle without any passengers or cargo, but including all necessary fuel, fluids and standard equipment.

TRAILER TONGUE WEIGHT – The downward force exerted on the hitch ball by the trailer coupler. In most cases, it should fall between 10 to 25 percent of GTW.Trailer tongue weight must be accounted for in total payload.

REAR AXLE RATIO – The ratio between the revolutions per minute of the driveshaft and the rear axle. In general, a higher number offers more towing power; a lower number offers better engine efficiency. How does axle ratio affect my towing and payload capability? (Applicable to pickups and Chassis Cabs only.)
In general, a higher axle ratio offers more towing power and quicker acceleration, while a lower axle ratio offers better engine efficiency and quieter running. The axle ratio describes the relationship between the driveshaft revolutions per minute and the rear axle”s revolutions per minute. For example, an axle ratio of 4.1:1 means the small pinion gear at the end of the driveshaft must rotate 4.1 times for every single rotation of the rear axle. Finding your ideal axle ratio will be a compromise. You want a ratio that will give you good towing power without handicapping your non-towing performance too severely. By determining how much weight you”ll be towing and how often you”ll be towing it, you”ll be able to find a ratio that will maximize both power and engine efficiency.

Common Towing Weights (1)


Boat trailer: 300 – 1,512 pounds

6 x 12 steel utility trailer: 1700 pounds

6 x 12 aluminum utility trailer: 650 pounds

Car trailer: 1400 – 2,800 pounds

8.5 x 18 enclosed equipment trailer: 2,700 pounds

6 x 12 enclosed equipment trailer: 1,700 pounds

Dump trailer: 2,000 to 4,000 pounds


Boat trailer: 300 – 1,512 pounds

Fifth-wheel trailers: 19,000 pounds (3,126 pounds trailer tongue weight)

Travel trailer: 5,000 – 12,000 pounds

Camping trailer: 3,000 pounds

Truck camper: 3,500 pounds (unloaded)


Plywood: 3 pounds / square foot per inch of thickness

Gravel: 3,400 pounds / yard

Cement mix: 80 pounds / bag

Mulch: 500 pounds / yard

Sand: 2,600 pounds / yard

Pavers: 3,170 pounds / pallet (624 pavers)



Rollback: 1,500 pounds

Stake bed: 1,500 pounds

Cherry picker: 2,000 – 5,000 pounds


Canoe / kayak: 50 pounds

Motorboat: 2,500 pounds

Sailboat: 7,000 pounds


Racecar: 1,600 – 3,500 pounds

Sedan: 3,000 pounds

Station wagon: 3,600 pounds

Pickup truck: 5,500 pounds


Backhoe: 14,000 – 19,000 pounds

Bulldozer: 16,000 – 19,000 pounds

Cement mixer (6 cubic feet): 670 pounds

Cement mixer (1 cubic yard): 7,000 pounds

Commercial Wood Chipper 3,000 – 6,000 pounds

Generator (3100 watt): 181 pounds

Generator (6500 watt): 209 pounds

Generator (9000 watt): 225 pounds

Skid Steer: 4,500 – 8,000 pounds

Stump grinder: 1,450 pounds


Personal Use Tractors: 1,300 – 4,000 pounds

General Use Tractors: 4,000 – 10,000 pounds

Commercial Use Tractors: 10,000+

Notes: (1) Estimates only, actual towing weights will differ.  It is important to determine the actual Gross Trailer Weight of the trailer, which includes all cargo in it.