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Ask Dave: Can I tow my Ford F-150 with my Tiffin RV?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses towing a Ford F-150 pickup truck with a Tiffin RV.

Dear Dave,
I have a 2019 Tiffin 32SA with a Ford V10 gas engine, as well as a 4×4, 4-door, 6-foot-bed, 2021 F-150 Ford truck.

Ford says the truck weighs somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds. My coach has a 5,000-pound towing capacity. I feel OK about towing it as I can unhook and drive it up any long hills we might run into when traveling to make it easier on the coach.

Have you heard from other Tiffin owners if towing at the high end of the recommended towing capacity is an issue? Thanks. —Rick

Dear Rick,
There is a big difference between towing legally and towing safely! I helped the Recreational Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation develop their comprehensive safety program, which includes towing. I spent a considerable amount of time researching and working with chassis manufacturers as well as RV manufacturers regarding this subject.

The first thing I would recommend is to weigh your F-150 and get an actual weight, not what Ford estimates it should be. There are many factors that can add weight to your vehicle such as aftermarket-installed options and what you might be putting in as additional cargo.

Towing capacity

A safe rule of thumb is to take 10% off your motorhome towing capacity. You do not want to be at maximum towing weight when it comes time to stop in extreme situations such as a mountain pass or 6% grade, hot weather, or wet conditions. So, if your towing capacity of the Tiffin is 5,000 lbs., you would take off 500 lbs., so that is under 4,500 lbs.

You also do not want to be at maximum weight as you will not have any additional power or torque when needed. That could be to not only get up the hill, as you indicated, but also in other situations you might need the “umph” to go a little faster. That would include, or example, at a merge lane to get ahead of a merging car, or to pass a vehicle and get back into the right lane.

And, finally, it is imperative that you install a supplemental braking system on your towed (toad) vehicle as it is required by Tiffin at anything over 1,500 lbs. It is also a law, known as “Road Use Laws,” in several states. They are all different. For example, Iowa is anything over 3,000 lbs., but New Jersey is 1,500 lbs. We are seeing more DOT Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers pulling RVers over and giving tickets for supplemental brakes. However, in my opinion it’s a safety issue and I would recommend either the Blue Ox or Roadmaster braking systems.

Read more from Dave here

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@BigDogRV
1 month ago

We flat tow a 2014 Ford F-150 super crew cab 4×4 (the largest they make) with a 5.5′ bed, and just had it weighed two weeks ago with the Smart Weigh program at Escapees. Ours has the steel body, which is heavier than a 2021 aluminum body. Ours weighed 6400 lbs., including about 250 lbs. of cargo plus a cap on the bed that weighs about 200 lbs. So without the cap and cargo, our steel bodied F-150 weighs nearly 6000 lbs. We tow it behind a Tiffin Phaeton (40′ DP) with a braking system. All that being said, we would never consider towing it behind a gas motorhome. Although the F-150 4×4 is flat towable, a gasser would not be able to tow it safely. We bought a diesel pusher with a 10,000 lb. towing capacity because we wanted a rig with the towing capacity for our F-150 and would not consider towing it with something smaller.

Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, NY
1 month ago

Any towing four wheels down questions, call Roadmaster for information. You don’t have to purchase their products to get information. They have a long list of each and almost every vehicle that can be towed 4 wheels down and can of course they will suggest their products. You need to know the make and year and model of your vehicle and they will know if it can be towed 4 wheels down and what the requirements may be. Stay safe, Stay well and Happy Holidays to All

Ron Lane
1 month ago

One thing not mentioned …. is the F-150 capable of being towed? Most 4×4 vehicles are, but the criteria for them is that the vehicle HAS to have a selectable neutral setting for the transfer case. Many 4×4’s have an “electrical” switch that engages the transfer case and does NOT have a selectable neutral (as does my Tundra).
And here once again I have to list my name/email along with checking the boxes below that I have provided/checked on many previous occasions …. even the one that says: “Save my data for the next time I comment”. What’s with that????

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Lane

Sorry for the hassle, Ron. I asked one of our IT folks, Jessica, about this to see if our procedure could be changed. Here’s part of her response, after previously requiring people to log in to comment and getting a lot of flak about it: “Since we don’t require people to login [anymore], they have to put their info in every once in a while so we know who’s posting.” Sorry, Ron. Apparently, that’s the “lesser of two evils” for our readers to have to deal with if they want to comment. Take care, and stay healthy. 🙂 –Diane

Irv
1 month ago

It’s not going to be that easy or safe to unhook a tow vehicle to drive up hills. If on the interstate you’d have to stop at an exit or rest stop, drive up the hill and on to the next safe and level stopping spot. On back roads, it’s often miles between spots large enough for the task.

Bob p
1 month ago

I believe he’s going to find out his F150 is considerably heavier. The ford estimated weight will be for a base line 2WD regular cab truck. That’s just like the tow ratings for pickups it’s all based on regular cabs with standard equipment, not the super luxurious 4WD heavily optioned trucks.

tom
1 month ago

Mississippi is 1,000 pounds, ignored by most. Love my M&G supplemental braking system.