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Can 2011 Ford F-350 5th Wheel Towing Capacity Be Increased with Aftermarket Parts

Question:

I have a 2011 Ford F-350, 6.7 diesel, 4x4, crew cab, 8 ft bed, with a 3.55 rear. The towing guide says the maximum 5th wheel towing capacity is 15,700 lbs. Is there any way to increase the 5th wheel towing capacity? we are looking at a new 5th wheel camper that has an empty weight of around 13800, with a gross vehicle weight of about 16800 lbs, Even though we travel with pretty empty black, grey, and fresh water holding tanks, I dont want to take a chance on overloading the trucks towing capacity, but I hate to have to buy a new truck just to get a new camper. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

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Expert Reply:

A pickup's towing capacity is a function of several factors including the engine, drive train (2WD or 4WD), cab style, bed length and rear axle ratio, all of which you mentioned for your 2011 F-350 4x4. The towing capacity, as determined by the auto maker, cannot be increased by addition of aftermarket parts; it will remain the 15,700-lbs as noted on page 20 of Ford's 2011 towing guide. Even adding a heavy-duty rear-axle air bag kit like # F2703 will not actually increase towing capacity although it will hep correct for rear end sag from the trailer's pin weight.

You CAN reduce the burden on your power steering, engine oil and transmission systems by adding supplementary coolers that work along with any factory-installed coolers. These will usefully reduce thermal stress. However, no cooler or other "bolt-on" part can actually increase your truck's towing capacity. That remains as determined by Ford.

Your long bed F-350 is certainly a very solid tow vehicle and since it is a long bed 1-ton truck it really is the ideal type of vehicle for pulling a 5th wheel. Instead of a new vehicle you might investigate some of the lightweight 5th wheels now on the market. Jayco, KZ, Keystone and others do offer trailers built with lightweight composite materials.

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