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How can I "legally" bump up the towing capacity of 1 ton pickup....

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How can I "legally" bump up the towing capacity of 1 ton pickup....

Old 05-02-2009, 10:12 PM
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Default How can I "legally" bump up the towing capacity of 1 ton pickup....

I like to trailer my boats here in So Cal. Mostly because slips are expensive and hard to get here. Looking at one of the 30' Express Fish type boats which seem to end up around 14K lbs boat/trailer/fuel/gear. I don't mind getting 1 ton pickup but it appears you cant "legally" tow over 12-13K lbs without a 5th wheel hitch/gooseneck setup. I am most concerned about my insurance company covering me in case of some accident. How can I bump my "legal" tow capacity into the 14K range with a normal affordable 1 ton pickup without having a gooseneck trailer built?
Old 05-02-2009, 10:32 PM
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Jody165,
Tow capacity is based on a number of components such as: engine, rear end gear ratio, springs, chassis style, axles, tires, etc. The weakest link could be any of the above and the weakest link most often determines what a truck can carry and what a truck can tow. Some think that by putting overload springs on a truck that it increases the capacity. Not necessarily so but it does make you feel better about towing over the limit. Usually the rules are made because of something that has happened in the past that created a serious problem for someone. The best thing to do in my opinion is to get the specs for your make of truck and see what is different from the 3/4 ton to the 1 ton to the 1+ ton. One example is that a ford f350 single rear wheel may have a higher towing capacity than an f350 dual rear wheel but the dual rear wheel can carry a greater tongue weight in the 5th wheel configuration than can the single rear wheel. Each manufacturer will have the specs for the different configurations, axle ratios, engines, etc. Take a look an see if you can do anything easy to raise the capacity. Usually it is not cheap and you are correct in that the liability can be a problem. Good luck.
Old 05-02-2009, 10:42 PM
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The first thing I'd do is to read the policy to see if it has any statement about towing a vehicle weights that has any effect on your insurance.. It is illegal to run a red light, but your insurance will cover you if you do it.
Old 05-03-2009, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by kerno View Post
The first thing I'd do is to read the policy to see if it has any statement about towing a vehicle weights that has any effect on your insurance.. It is illegal to run a red light, but your insurance will cover you if you do it.
Seconded.

Besides, it is not illegal to tow a non-commercial trailer heavier trailer than the manufacturer suggests in the US, however in California you do need to have a non-commercial class A license to tow a trailer over 10,000lbs legally. See the DMV manual.
Old 05-03-2009, 12:17 PM
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So I can, in theory, legally tow more than the manufacturers rating if I add the appropriate mods like beefier hitch, weight distributing hitch, electric over hydraulic trailer brakes, etc....? I just need to check with my insurance company for any exclusions regarding towing ... is this the correct understanding?

I had thought you could not "legally" tow more than the manufacturers rating, no matter what you do to the truck or trailer in question. And that the insurance companies may not pay in case of some accident if you are over the manufacturers limit. I am now hearing from you guys that this is NOT necessarily the case. Depends on whether the insurer has some specific exclusion....Correct?

Please get me straightened out on this, my future boat direction is very dependant on this. THANKS!!
Old 05-03-2009, 01:28 PM
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NO, you can not exceed the manufacturers rating of the tow vehicle
Old 05-03-2009, 09:17 PM
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Think of it like this...you knowingly exceed your manufacturers limit and then through no real fault of your own...you kill someone while towing...your insurance will probably pay up to the max...but you'll get sued for much more than that and you cant pay anyway because your in jail! Even if you don't go to jail, you could spend years dealing with it.
Old 05-03-2009, 09:29 PM
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Couldn't you tow more than 12K on a 1 ton with a weight distribution hitch?
Old 05-03-2009, 09:49 PM
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If you tow more than what the truck is rated for - plan to be buying a lot of transmissions.
Old 05-03-2009, 11:25 PM
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You need a 5th wheel or Goose neck to be legal, period .
Max on a regular hitch is 5K unkess you have the 2 1/2" reciever then it's 6K
Max with a Equalizer Hitch is 10K
ANYTHING OVER THAT you need a 5th Wheel or Goose Neck.

This is with ANY 3/4 or 1 ton truck .

What really works for everyone is to READ your owners manual and read the towing specs.

And remember , towing that kind of weight ................TAKE YOUR TIME for your Safety and the Safety of others .

Good luck and speed safely.
Old 05-04-2009, 01:53 AM
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What barlow46 says is correct to a point - the real issue is how you address the capacities and limitations of your tow vehicle. When a manufacturer prints a tow limitation in their literature it is based on a number of assumptions such as what the actual weight of your truck is and the limits of the factory hitch.

Let works backwards from the the Manf GCVWR Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating. Lets say it is 22,000# (most 3/4 and 1 ton trucks are in this range) - then lets say the truck actually weighs 7,000#. Using these figures you could tow a 15,000# trailer - but wait there are other limits like Front Axle weight, Rear axle weight - so now lets say you are OK on these. Now the boat and trailer must not exceed the total and tongue weigh limits of the trailer (Example 18,000" Gross weight trailer rating, trailer weight 4,000" then a 14,000# boat is OK). But now what about the hitch set up? A Putnum XDR is rated at 16,000# load equalizing and 1,600# tongue weight ( 14,000# boat and trailer with 5% (700#) to 9% (980#) and you are still good. (No factory hitch that I know of is rated this high - just check out the factory hitch limits on a Chevy 2500/3500 and the Ford F-250/F-350/F-450)

What I am trying to point out is IF none of the truck, trailer, of hitch limits are exceeded I would argue that you are legal - BUT you have to get an after market hitch set up and do a lot of weighing to make sure NONE of the components limits are exceeded.

Has anyone on the forum ever been "Busted" for towing overweight when none of the limits listed above have not been exceded?

SB
Old 05-04-2009, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by welder View Post
You need a 5th wheel or Goose neck to be legal, period .
Max on a regular hitch is 5K unkess you have the 2 1/2" reciever then it's 6K
Max with a Equalizer Hitch is 10K
ANYTHING OVER THAT you need a 5th Wheel or Goose Neck.
that's just flat wrong, check your manufacturer specs. If you don't exceed your tongue weight, trailer weight, gross vehicle weight and you're registration allows it, many trucks will do in excess of 10k lbs
Old 05-04-2009, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by welder View Post
You need a 5th wheel or Goose neck to be legal, period .
Max on a regular hitch is 5K unkess you have the 2 1/2" reciever then it's 6K
Max with a Equalizer Hitch is 10K
ANYTHING OVER THAT you need a 5th Wheel or Goose Neck.

This is with ANY 3/4 or 1 ton truck .
Wrong!
As an example, Ford f250 with diesel, weight equalizing hitch = 12,500 pounds. Gooseneck raises that to 16,000.
Old 05-04-2009, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by welder View Post
You need a 5th wheel or Goose neck to be legal, period
Cite the law or stop spreading the myth please.

Max on a regular hitch is 5K unkess you have the 2 1/2" reciever then it's 6K
Please explain this product then - http://www.etrailer.com/pc-H~45297.h...eid=2009301027

"Rated upto 18,000 lbs, 2,500 lbs tongue weight" - without weight distribution even

There are also dozens of class V hitches out there that will do 12k lbs without WD and 18k lbs with WD.
Old 05-04-2009, 08:48 AM
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OK...so now here is why I am asking this question in the first place. See how many of you are very confident that you are correct, yet some of your opinions differ 180 degrees. I appreciate them nonetheless and maybe this thread will help straighten this out. Been towing boats safely since I was 16 and I'm now 48. That experience has educated me to the point that I am very concerned about being legal and having bulletproof insurance coverage. Although I've never had a serious incident.

Let me refine my question: If I have a 1 ton pickup with a 12K towing rating (with weight distributing hitch notation), can I upgrade the hitch and the ALL other necessary components of the towing system to a 14K rating and be LEGAL and INSURED....I am confident that I can get the truck to functionally do this fine, my question is about being legal and completely insured. Regardless of what my insurance company says to me on the phone, if there is liability from exceeding some official limit then I open myself to litigation and lack of coverage, not to mention civil prosecution. Perhaps the manfucturers ratings apply to their OEM hitch setup but it can be upgraded and possibly the rating along with.... or maybe not.

Hope this clarifies. If there is anything in writing about this somewhere, please point me to it and I'll investigate further.

Thanks!!!
Old 05-04-2009, 09:37 AM
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First, if you give us the year/model of the tow vehicle, maybe you can get better and more exact info.

Second, one of the more common "illegalities" involved in towing heavier loads is the failure to license the tow vehicle in a higher weight class. Florida apparently uses the lightest tow rating as the default. You have to request a higher rating at the time of registration and, of course, pay a higher fee.

Other requirements include trailer requirements such as brakes, break-away devices, tie-downs, etc.

Last edited by gsniffen; 05-04-2009 at 09:40 AM. Reason: added info
Old 05-04-2009, 09:58 AM
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Dont even worry about it! Havent you seen all the pickups LOADED even over the cab area with those cages that are heading to Mexico. There is no way a 1980 1/2 single cab should be loaded 25' high, but they do it!!!! Thats what I would tell the law when you get pulled over. But then again, you are probably a legal US citizen so you dont have as many rights as the illegals out there!!!!
Old 05-04-2009, 10:04 AM
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Not looking for tow ratings, those are easy to find. But thanks for the offer. Just want to confirm whether I can legally enhance tow rating past manufacturers rating. I know how to do it technically, want to understand if it will be legal and insured....

Yes, I've seen those Mex duallys, really scary to watch them go down I-5, I change lanes to get as far away as possible....
Old 05-04-2009, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazy_Iguana View Post
If you tow more than what the truck is rated for - plan to be buying a lot of transmissions.
You got that right I have put transmissions in my last two trucks and if I was going to change one thing to make a truck tow more weight it would be a larger transmission cooler.
Old 05-04-2009, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bikem View Post
You got that right I have put transmissions in my last two trucks and if I was going to change one thing to make a truck tow more weight it would be a larger transmission cooler.
Get a manual transmission, issues will go away as long as you can drive a clutch and not cook it........
Just sayin
Monty

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