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Ford Truck Club Forum > GARAGE TALK > Garage Talk: General Tech Talk



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Old January 26th, 2010, 04:51 PM
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Default Basic Towing 101

<p>[caption id="attachment_863" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Click for larger image."][/caption]</p>
<p>Looking to do some towing with yourford truck? Not to sure what you can tow? No worries, maybe we can shed some light on the basics of towing.</p>
<p>The first thing you are going to need to know is the towing capabilities of the vehicle. That information can be found in the owners manual. Heck, that was easy, so far. Next is the weight of the trailer you will be towing. Here is a chart that will give you an idea if you're not sure of the trailers weight.</p>
<p>[caption id="attachment_879" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Click for larger image."][/caption]</p>
<p>Now the definitions of some terminology that you will encounter with towing.</p>
<p>Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the weight of the trailer fully loaded.</p>
<p>Tongue Weight (TW) is the weight exerted by the trailer coupler on the hitch ball.</p>
<p>Weight Carrying (WC) is the tow rating capacity of a receiver hitch without a WD system.</p>
<p>Weight Distributing (WD) is the tow rating capacity of a receiver hitch when using a WD system.</p>
<p>Yourford truck may be capable of towing a heavy load but another thing that needs to be considered is the size of the receiver hitch on the truck. If you look at the receiver hitch it will have a WC and a WD rating on it. This will determine what class of receiver hitch your vehicle is equipped with.</p>
<p>[caption id="attachment_888" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Click for larger image."][/caption]</p>
<p>Most full size trucks are equipped with a class III receiver hitch with aWC of 5000-6000lbs, a TW of 500-600lbs and a WD of up to 10000lbs. To be able to tow up to 10000lbs you will need weight distributing bars or also called equalizer bars. WD bars alleviate some of the weight put on the rear of the truck by moving it back to or distributing it to the front axle. This "equalizes" the weight and levels out the truck.</p>
<p>Next in line is the ball mount and pin. There are separate ball mounts for the different classes of receiver hitch. Class III/IV/V hitches are a 2" receiver but check to make sure because some IV and V's are 2 1/2" receivers.</p>
<p>Ball mounts do have weight ratings on them as well. Standard 2" ball mounts are a 500lbs TW and a 5000lbs GTW but newer versions have changed to 600/6000lbs ratings. These are the maximum rates that can be towed, no exceptions, if you are towing more than the weight distributing kits have replacement ball mounts which are adjustable shanks. There are aluminum ball mounts and solid forged steel ones that do have higher ratings but, of course, are more pricey!</p>
<p>When towing you want your trailer to be level. For this to be done you will have to determine how much of a drop or rise the ball mount will need.</p>
<p> Measure from the ground to the top of the receiver hitch.</p>
<p> Measure from the ground to the bottom of the trailer coupler when the trailer is level.Subtract the trailer coupler measurement from the hitch height measurement and this will tell you how much of a drop is needed. If the trailer measurement was higher than the hitch then you will need a rise. This can be done by turning over the ball mount. Adjustable ball mounts are also available if you tow multiple trailers and don't want to have various ball mounts. They usually range from 5" to 10" in adjust-ability.</p>
<p>All that is needed now is the ball. On your trailer coupler there should be a plate, or it will be stamped into the coupler, with the weight ratings and ball size. Just like the receiver hitch and ball mount, the ball also has a weight rating. Make sure the shank on the ball is the same size as the hole on the ball mount. Standard shank size is usually 1".</p>
<p>One very important note to keep in mind is the part with the lowest towing rating is the most you can tow with that system. For example, the receiver hitch is rated at 5000lbs, ball mount is 5000lbs and the ball is 2000lbs. The most you can legally tow is 2000lbs. Another example is, receiver hitch 5000lbs, ball mount 8000lbs and the ball is 10000lbs. 5000lbs would be the most that can be legally towed on this system.</p>
<p>Trailer wiring is something that needs considering. Most standard plugs on trailers are a 4 prong or 7 prong. The trailer 4 prongs are a flat four with 3 male and 1 female outlets. The 7 prongs are a round outlet with six around the ring and a center ground. Your truck outlets will be the opposite which are referred to as the female plug. 4 prong plugs have just stop, turn, park and brake lights. 7 prongs have the same but also work with electric trailer brakes and charge for trailers with batteries. If your trailer is equipped with electric brakes you will need a brake controller which will help in slowing and stopping. Most RV and car trailers have electric brakes.</p>
<p>I hoped this helps with your basic towing needs. If you have any questions or are unsure consult a professional installer of hitches and wiring. test</p>
<p>To discuss this blog entry click here.&lt;/p&gt;</p>


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