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Old 07-06-2019, 05:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Towing capacity of older trucks.

I have another thread outlining my build, but I figured this is better as a generic question. I have a 1965 F-700 cab on a 1986 IHC S1954 chassis. The Mercury is 23,000lb GVW, and and the IH was something like 28,000lbs. I am keeping the door tag from the F-700 and calling it a 23000 GVW truck.

I am looking at getting an older large 5th wheel in the next year or two, and I am hoping someone could help me with tow ratings.

I doubt my truck and trailer combo will exceed 23000 anyway, but I am wondering if there is any information out there of towing capacities of older trucks. I mean gross combined vehicle weight or whatever you want to call it. Everything seems to reference GVW on these old girls, as I assume these trucks would have rarely seen any towing duty. They always had boxes or decks on them.

My truck is probably going to be in the 9000lb-ish range when I am done, so that means I could basically haul a 14000lb camper on the back of the truck (in terms of weight). I am more worried from a regulation perspective if I ever had to produce any documentation regarding tow ratings.
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Old 07-06-2019, 06:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How are you making the truck that light?
I had a similar year 2574, it was about 22,000 empty. Gvwr of 50,000.
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Old 07-06-2019, 06:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, that’s just a guess at this point. The cab and hood from the f-700 truck is quite light, and the rest of the weight calcs I have just been adding up component weights. I might be out, but I can’t see being way off. It’s a 466 and a little spicer 5 speed, so not much weight there. It’s also not a tandem, so savings there. I could definitely be off 2k, but I can’t see it being anymore than that.

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Old 07-06-2019, 07:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, that’s just a guess at this point. The cab and hood from the f-700 truck is quite light, and the rest of the weight calcs I have just been adding up component weights. I might be out, but I can’t see being way off. It’s a 466 and a little spicer 5 speed, so not much weight there. It’s also not a tandem, so savings there. I could definitely be off 2k, but I can’t see it being anymore than that.
We have a 90s single rear International as well. I forget the model number, it's a "light" medium duty with a 7.3L and auto trans. It's around 15,000lbs empty. Granted it is a dumping flatbed with metal sides, so but of weight there.

9000lbs seems way light to me for a medium duty diesel truck.

My 2wd 1 ton Chevy with a small block and 4 speed is ~7k. I have a weight slip that it was 7400lbs, but that was with me and my 2 dogs in it, so that's an extra ~350lbs.

If I saw a pic of the truck it'd help to guess weight, but I'd expect it's in the 12k area.

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Old 07-07-2019, 10:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There were IH semitractors with the 466, 5 speed, and whatever axle you have if it's original. Just see what they were rated to tow. A juice brake semitractor might be unusual but I think the beer truck/trailer combos were setup that way.

The other way to go, from a logical feel-good standpoint, not a legal, prove your way out of a ticket one, is to look at your axle ratings and not exceed them. A S1900 usually has an 8 or 9k lb front axle and a 17,500 rear or a pair of 17k rears. Assuming your truck is a single, and that it really is as light as you think, most of it will be on the front when empty and the rear might 3k or so. That means you could add 14,000 to the rear without overloading it (if you're within tire ratings, obviously). So long as you don't exceed the axle or tire ratings of the trailer, you should be good so long as you're obviously recreational. More realistically, (than a 70k lb camper), you'll just want to get about 20% of your 5er's weight on the pin. An air-ride pinbox is a GOOD idea to protect the camper.

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Old 07-07-2019, 10:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What Nate said... you are grossly underestimating the weight @ 9k

Get an actual weight, then start running numbers.
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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will it be titled as a motorhome?

nobody ever asked me shit about what I weighed in a box truck with RV tags. I never stopped at scales either.
was legal to like 33K or whatever the limit was for my license in a motorhome, which was higher than just a regular truck because old men are perfectly safe driving 30K lb bus conversions down the road.....
I just stayed below the axle/tire ratings and gave no fucks.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don’t think I can register my truck as a motor home in the province, just towing an RV trailer, but that’s an area I need to do some homework on.

In regards to my truck weight, sure I may be off, I don’t know. What it weighs when I am done is what it will weigh.

The only reference I have is this. It’s fords specs for their new F-750 diesel. So, yes I may be off 2k.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My F750 weighs 13,400 with around 600 of that being extra frame rails. It has a steel Western Hauler bed and 6 aluminum wheels.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The only reference I have is this. Itís fords specs for their new F-750 diesel. So, yes I may be off 2k.
New truck ratings have SOARED in recent years. Brakes are bigger, stability control and antilock brakes are available, steering is way way tighter on new trucks... there are lots of reasons but the point is no truck from 1990 is rated to pull what a comparable 2010 truck is.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That listing was to compare curb weights of comparable trucks. By no means am I implying that my trucks towing capacity should be the same as a new one.
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Old 07-08-2019, 05:29 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The GVW is weight of the truck alone. So you and everything in it plus pin weight of trailer can't be over 23000#'s ideally (vin rating). And you can't be over rear axle rating or tires etc. You need to find the GCVWR with the S1900 should be 50k #'s ish maybe less single axle, I believe, if you have the VIN an IH dealer should beable to look it up.

With a 5th wheel tandom axle RV I doubt you'll be any were close to that even if truck weights 15k empty and trailer is 15k your still only 30k GCW. Even a 25k toy haler RV you could have say 5k on the pin and still have tons left on the rear axle and only really only be hauling a 20k trailer which is nothing for that truck.
Also most aftermarket RV 5th wheel hitches are only like 26k rated so I would run a MDT one.
I doubt you'll have any issues weight wise. Other than wanting more power output of the DT466, wanting, more gears and ride quality.

I would be more worried about driver license requirements for your weight of truck and what your towing IE you may need a CDL etc but ask your local .gov. Also you maybe able to registered your truck at a given GVW too meaning whatever the chassis is never hurts to see unless they tax it based on GVWR then you'll want lowest weight you can get and still be legal.

What is the GVWR on the RV trailer sticker?
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Last edited by Bo185; 07-08-2019 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:22 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Driver's license class would be dictated by the GCWR, meaning the rating (not actual weight) of the towing vehicle + towed vehicles. As for how much it can actually pull, we're assuming you're going to have a trailer brake controller integrated? Don't exceed the axle/tire ratings of the truck, then go by feel.

As for documentation, wouldn't the police have to provide documentation that you're exceeding your ratings, not just "that looks wrong, tell me what the GAWR/GCWR are"?

FWIW, my F550 crew cab 9.5' steel flat bed weighs just about 9000#. I love your build, but I too think that 9k is underestimating it a bit.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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...What is the GVWR on the RV trailer sticker?
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Originally Posted by Sask466 View Post
...I am looking at getting an older large 5th wheel in the next year or two, and I am hoping someone could help me with tow ratings...
I don't think he has "the trailer" yet. He's trying to determine his GCWR before buying the trailer. Smart move.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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OP's biggest roblem is he's in the great white north, and I imagine most of us have no experience with their licensing bullshit.

I suspect he'll be limited only by what he's legally allowed to drive.
but canada, so who knows.
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Old 07-08-2019, 12:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I have the Canadian equivalent of a CDL (Class 1A), so I am good to go from a driver perspective. I believe up here you need a Class 1 Locke this if your trailer is over 10k lbs up here.

This truck is a bit of a Frankenstein, so I haven’t make things easier for myself either. The truck has been inspected by the provincial vehicle regulator, so I am good to go on the 23000lbs.

Once I am able to weight this thing out, I can figure things out further too I suppose.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I don't think he has "the trailer" yet. He's trying to determine his GCWR before buying the trailer. Smart move.
Either way unless its a tripe axle toy hauler most large RV fivers will be around 15k GVWR tandem anyway. Biggest issue I see is the older truck my not have a published GCWR. The truck will handle it fine. As long as the build looks half way legit I doubt anyone will ever care seeing a MDT pulling a RV.


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This truck is a bit of a Frankenstein, so I haven’t make things easier for myself either. The truck has been inspected by the provincial vehicle regulator, so I am good to go on the 23000lbs.
Once I am able to weight this thing out, I can figure things out further too I suppose.
So your truck is Rated up to 23000 and your 5th wheel would be around 15k ish unless you're looking at a large triple toy hauler or something.

But even if truck weighs 15k and you have 5k pin weight that's still just 20k under the GVWR of the truck. And as long as trailer isn't over weight you'll have 10-12k on trailer axles your GCVW will only be 30k ish nothing to insane.
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Last edited by Bo185; 07-08-2019 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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If Sask is anything like BC, simply do not exceed the truck's GVWR with the pin/tongue weight. A heavy trailer endorsement or higher class license may be required - in BC that threshold is 4500kg. (~9900#) for the trailer.

An RV trailer carries its own GVWR with plate/insurance fee, whereas a commercial trailer's GVWR is rolled into what the truck is licensed for.

Truck manufacturers publish guidelines for GCWRs. It varies with how the truck is optioned; engine, trans, 2wd vs 4wd, tire size, axle ratio, etc. and varies further with aftermarket mods.

Again, check how Sask runs it, but its probably more similar amongst the western provinces vs south of the border.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:00 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Pics of this Hauler?
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:46 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Here is the build thread:

https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/#/topics/2553769
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:49 AM   #21 (permalink)
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New truck ratings have SOARED in recent years. Brakes are bigger, stability control and antilock brakes are available, steering is way way tighter on new trucks... there are lots of reasons but the point is no truck from 1990 is rated to pull what a comparable 2010 truck is.
Truer words have never been spoken - my 2004 2500 Dodge is rated for a bit less than a new 5.0 F150.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:06 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Truer words have never been spoken - my 2004 2500 Dodge is rated for a bit less than a new 5.0 F150.
The published number may indeed be bigger.... I just don't believe them.
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Old 07-20-2019, 03:16 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I can tell you this 7500lb trailer dry weight trailer is borderline unsafe with my “9000lb” towing capacity Expedition. I had a stiff crosswind, and it was bad. My point being with one of the notes above - I feel towing capacities of a lot of new vehicles is BS.

Is a 2004 Dodge 2500 really that much different than a 2019? Aside from a fair bit more horsepower, I can’t see now a new 3/4 ton would feel much different that a 15 year old one, both being new.
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Old 07-20-2019, 03:30 PM   #24 (permalink)
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well for one an 04 has a ten inch brake rotor up front and a 2019 has a 12 inch.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:06 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I can tell you this 7500lb trailer dry weight trailer is borderline unsafe with my ď9000lbĒ towing capacity Expedition. I had a stiff crosswind, and it was bad. My point being with one of the notes above - I feel towing capacities of a lot of new vehicles is BS.

Is a 2004 Dodge 2500 really that much different than a 2019? Aside from a fair bit more horsepower, I canít see now a new 3/4 ton would feel much different that a 15 year old one, both being new.
I have an 02 and 16 and I can tell you everything about the towing/hauling experience is a night and day difference. Suspension, power, brakes, ride quality.
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