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Can a Ford F-150 Tow a Fifth Wheel?

Published on December 14th, 2018 by Camper Report
This post was updated on June 28th, 2019

‘Tis the season for RVs, my friends! Fifth wheels are popular vehicles and quite luxurious travel trailer that people will often buy. These trailers, however, need a specific weight of a truck to be able to pull them. 

Can a Ford F-150 tow a fifth wheel? Technically, a Ford F-150 could tow a fifth wheel, but it pushes the limits quite a bit. It is much easier and safer to pull a fifth wheel with an F-250 or an F-350 truck. The bigger truck makes it easier to pull the fifth wheel because it has more weight of its own to counter-balance the fifth wheel and pull it properly.

Keep reading to find out more about whether or not a Ford F150 can tow a fifth wheel and what trucks are best for towing a fifth wheel.

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Can a Ford F-150 Tow a Fifth Wheel?

Technically, a Ford F150 could tow a fifth wheel recreational vehicle, but it is not recommended. A fifth wheel is rather large and very close to the tow capacity specifications almost to an unsafe level. 

Due to the smaller size and build of the truck, you will have less control over the trailer. You also run the risk of tapping your car with the trailer when turning if the trailer hook isn’t set up correctly. 

Often, people have to spoof up their Ford F-150 trucks to be able to safely pull the fifth wheel, which would probably be putting you out for more money than you would if you were to just get the bigger truck that is more reliable and better suited for this type of a job. 

If you needed to move a fifth wheel vehicle from Point A to Point B and it wasn’t a large distance at all (for example, moving it from a parked location to a different parked location to fill it up with gas or something), then that is a doable thing for a Ford F-150 truck.

Just be careful with the truck and fifth wheel.

What Does it Take to Tow a Fifth Wheel?

When you are towing something, you will need a certain size of a truck, which depends on how much weight you are planning on towing. This is a basic fact about towing any vehicle or anything on wheels. This all is varying depending on the weight of the trailer the truck will have to carry. 

When towing something, there needs to be a balance in weight between the trailer and the truck. Without this balance, your truck won’t be able to tow your intended possession, R.V., etc. Your trailer’s 20% tongue weight will have to be close to, usually under, the weight limit of the truck. 

The Ford F150, for example has two different models.

5.0L V8 Crew 4×4 6.5-foot bed: max towing (w/ 3.73): 11,600 lbs; max payload: 2,640 lbs

3.5L V6 EcoBoost 4×4 6.5-foot bed: max towing (w/ 3.55): 13,000 lbs; max payload: 2,620 lbs

As you can see, the max towing amounts are rather similar and the max payloads are decently similar as well. The “Max Towing” weight as you can imagine is 11,600 lbs. or 13,000 lbs., depending on which truck you get.

The “Max Payload” is the amount of weight directly on the pickup bed. These two trucks can handle 2,640 lbs. or 2,620 lbs. of max payload when it is distributed.

 Before trying to tow something, you should always check the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door to double check the towing capacities and ensure that your trailer being hauled fits in that criteria.

These specifications are there to help keep not just you and your passengers safe, but also your trailer, truck, and any other equipment from getting damaged.

Another thing you should check for before towing something is to ensure you have enough clearance in between your truck and trailer to make turns without causing damage either.

If your trailer is set and hooked up too close to the tailgate of the truck from the trailer hitch, then you run the risk of tapping your back bumper every time you turn. So, make sure everything is placed and hooked up properly. 

When you are towing a big trailer, especially a fifth wheel, it is better to have a larger truck as well because not only will it have a larger towing capacity, but they also have a longer truck bed and more durable and reliable resources for towing such a large trailer. Basically, the bigger the truck the better for towing. 

When buying a truck to tow your trailer, however, you will need to not only make sure it fits all of the necessary criteria to safely pull your trailer, but you will also need to make sure it’s not so big that it is a nuisance to deal with when you aren’t towing something.

Big trucks take up more space on the road and in parking lots etc. which makes them harder to drive and park in. So, just make sure you keep in mind EVERYTHING you will be using your truck for. Wondering if your short bed truck is capable of towing a fifth wheel, and how easy it is? Here, you can find an article I wrote that answers that question and gives more tips for towing a fifth wheel.

Which Truck is Best for Towing a Fifth Wheel Trailer?

The best truck that I would recommend for towing a fifth wheel trailer would be the Ford F350. This truck is the biggest you can get with all kinds of cab space and a long, 8-foot truck bed.

This extra space makes traveling, especially with family, nice because you aren’t crammed. This truck, having all of the extra weight from extra space, is the ideal size for pulling trailers behind it as well. 

This truck, having more space in the bed of it, has a much easier trip hook up for a trailer. The extra long pickup bed also makes it much less likely for the trailer to hit your car when turning because of all of the extra room. 

This truck is a wonderful option for pulling trailers but, if you intend on using it for more than just pulling your trailer every once in a while, you may want to consider looking at a slightly smaller truck.

The Ford F350 is a great truck in every way, except that it is so big that it is a nuisance to maneuver when you are driving it around without the purpose of a trailer and it just becomes obnoxious to deal with.

It can’t slide into smaller parking spots very easy and it is harder to take turns in due to its large size. Not to mention that due to its large size the gas or diesel bill is going to be through the roof.

My personal favorite and next recommended truck for this purpose would be the Ford F-250. This truck is a larger, more accommodating size than the F-150. Due to the bigger size, it is much more suited to towing trailers and such, and it has the possibilities to tow more stuff because it is a bigger size, closer to those necessary specifications. 

With this bigger truck, you have more cab space as well, which is always nice. This truck is just big enough to tow everything without being obnoxiously large and nearly unmanageable due to its size. 

The Ford F-250 is the perfect size because it has enough space for the family along with enough weight capacity for pulling the trailer. Another bonus of getting this mid-sized truck is that it not only does great with space and traveling with a trailer, but it also is a small enough size to not be a nuisance to run errands and such in. It is the perfect size and specification.

In this article, you can find a list of eight trucks that we found are successful at towing a fifth wheel. We also give tips on how to easier tow an RV.

Related Questions

Can passengers legally ride in a fifth wheel? Passengers are allowed to ride in a fifth wheel if the passengers have a way to communicate with the driver and have an exit that can be opened from both the interior and exterior of the trailer. Safety glass in windows is required as well for this.

Can fifth wheeler trailers sway and roll over? Fifth wheel trailers can sway. Make sure you have your trailer hooked up correctly and well secured. Also be sure to drive safely and carefully with this huge trailer, because if you turn too sharp you could roll over very easily.

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25 thoughts on “Can a Ford F-150 Tow a Fifth Wheel?”

  1. I have a 2021 F150 crew cab 2.7L V6 ecoboost, with towing package and mirrors. Max towing is 10,500#. Looking at a 2022 Cougar fifth wheel. The 5ht wheel is 28.5′ and 7,300#. My F150 should not have any issues towing correct.

    • I’m looking at the same trailer with my f150… 5 litre tow pkg, the door sticker says 1604lbs GCWR …. This is not allowing you any cargo, the pin weight on your camper will be 1200-1400lbs .. 200lbs is not much to spare

  2. So, I am a full timer, I’ve had many different trailers and tow vehicles, over the years I’ve matured and now only purchae Ford vehicles, #1 they are the only real american company left. #2 they are infinately more superior than the others. Don’t believe all the hype. Now I don’t know who this guy thinks he is but he has no busines writing about something he knows very little about. Frst off F-150 250 and 350 all use the same cab nowadays and the 250 and 350 the same frame. So they are all the same size. They are however very much larger than the other brands out there, maybe that’s where he gets that from. We don’t normally “slip” in and out of small parking spaces with our trucks either. Most of us who are mature men back our trucks in on the far edges of the lot so its easier to get them out and we don’t interfere with other folks. Now The f150 is the only 1/2 ton truck that IS rated for 5th wheel, has a factory 5th wheel package, and has a max tow of 14000 lbs. Now that’s a lot of weight so don’t be wrecking your truck up with a lift kit or ruining your exhaust and think you can still tow, you will see this horrific blight every time you drive on the highway. As for some of the folks here, it’s sad that first, you don’t do your own research, and that you ask questions of forums only after you buy your truck. This is the sickness which leads to settling for one of the inferior brands. Before you buy your truck, know what you are going to do with it. All the manufacturers make great trucks. But you must order the appropriate package for your needs.
    WARNING: Comic relief section coming up, if you’re an immature croc wearing hairbunn boy stop reading now. )
    You don’t want to be the guy with a ram 1500 , uncorked hemi, a golfcart in the bed and a 28 footer on the back with the rear bumper scraping the ground. Or the shevie guy with a (wtf is that new bodystyle) thilverado that has 38’s sticking 8 inches out of the fenders and an overlifted front end squirving all over the road trying to pull a trailer with lawn mowers on it 70 mph in the passing lane all day wrecking up traffic. Or the f150 raptor guy trying to use his off road race ready truck as a pulling tractor. These things are not good especially for the collateral damage they leave behind.
    End of comic relif section. Hope you enjoyed I’ve equally made fun of everyone. If you’re a tundra or titan fan 😞I can’t appologize for you.
    The list on this site is the most accurate I’ve seen in my 50+ years of wrenching towing hauling and driving. This is about the way its always been and probably wil stay. When I have to trust a vehicle for my families livelihood, Ford will always be the superior choice.

  3. Hello. I bought an alpenlite that weighs 11,4000 lbs . I have a lariat edition 5.4 liter triton v8. It is a 1/2 ton pick up. Is this a good enough truck to use for this 5th wheel?

  4. So guys I Have a 2017 f150 with a 5 liter coyote with 4 wheel drive how would that do with a fifth wheel and it has a towing package on it

    • Go to door opening and see payload your truck. Consider hitch weight of fifth wheel and equip, weight of hitch in truck and weight of passengers. That total must be less than payload – simple!! Our case – Cougar xlite – hitch load – 1300#, Curt hitch 170#, wife and I 320#. Use propane tanks – minus 50#, no tailgate – minus 75#, one recliner and only two dining chairs.

  5. I intentionally bought a Jayco Eagle 28.5 Half Ton model so I could safely tow it with my 2018 F150 King Ranch 3.0 Powerstroke turbo Diesel. It handles like a dream, excellent braking, good acceleration, good radius can go 90+. Have alot more options camping than the big rigs. And I am still getting 18mpg on highway at 70mph. I wouldn’t change a thing unless I decide to go bigger someday.

    • Fact is you are woefully overloaded and you are a danger to all sharing road with you. Max trailer weight for your truck is 8000# and your fifth wheel is 9150# plus hitch, passengers and stuff!!

  6. So what I’m reading my F-150 2.7 EcoBoost with a 5 and 1/2 ft bed this is not recommended to tow a fifth wheel am I correct

  7. A fifth wheel 32 ft,10000 lbs is great for f150, not over loaded, no sway. Three slides cut down length. Same for trailer, more slides,shorter length. Fifth wheel $1000, trailer sway bars $350. Fifth wheel higher, no sway, perfect for senior.
    Most trailers sway, worse in wind. Larger than this, need larger truck for safety reasons. Have had a lot trailers,and fifth wheels. Drove highway trucks, so I know.

    • Doug you can’t be serious. i pulled a trailer with 6000 lbs total weight (3 tons of gravel plus the trailer weight) and the trailer almost pushed me into the ditch when i turned, it had so much momentum. i would say 10,000 lbs is way too heavy for an F-150. just because the rating is 11,600 doesnt mean you can comfortably tow that and be safe (or get up a hill!).
      You would also have to strengthen the rear suspension and switch from 20″ tires to 18″ truck tires to not risk a blowout.

      • Switching to 18″ tires will significantly lower the towing capacity. the maximum towing package requires the larger tires. Plus, since it was pushing you around, I’m assuming you didn’t have a trailer brake controller installed, or the trailer had no brakes. Comparing apples and pomegranates never ends well.
        I find many people are woefully uninformed on F150 towing issues and capacities. Properly optioned, it is fine. Improperly optioned it is a death trap. further complicating this is the fact that spec’ing an F!50 to 5th wheel tow is a complex process and not many really know how to do it, including your friendly salesman, whose only job is to make you like him. Best bet: Take the time and learn the process yourself. For instance, my 9500 lb. 5th wheel is well within the stated towing capacity, with the max towing package, but in terms of payload due to the pin weight, weight of the hitch, two passengers and the dog, I have 105 lbs. margin. Not a lot.

        • 18 ” rims not tires. the thicker sidewall is needed to handle a heavier payload, that is well-known in the truck world and i shouldnt have to explain.
          My truck is a fully loaded 6.5 ft box 5.4 Triton FX-4 with integrated brake controller. the brakes worked fine, it was me going too fast into the corner and onto gravel that was the issue – the ass end of the truck slid to the right as i hit the gravel turning left. Inertia.
          i had to almost floor the gas getting that 3 tons of gravel and dump trailer up a rather slight incline, so if anyone is trying to pull a 10k lb trailer out in headwinds and up steep hills or thru the Rockys with a gas engine, well i give you my best wishes but you obviously have the wrong truck for the job and are endangering yourself and others on the road when you get into an emergency situation (or even going up highways slowly and holding people up). you said it yourself its not an amateur set-up… well do the dealers care or even ask if you are experienced when they sell you an F-150 to tow a gargantuan ‘moving wall’ of a trailer?
          I also have a colleague who towed something like Doug there with his Ecoboost and if you think 22-30 Litres per 100km is ok, well its your wallet. PS that’s like 4 mpg. that should tell you something right there!

          • Wayne, you seem biased. I would love to do this with a f450 but who can afford it plus $5.17 per gallon today?

        • Towing travel trailer with f150 the weight of trailer determines ability and towing fifth wheel it is pin weight, hitch weight and passengers relative to payload which counts. Then payload is dependent on options and packages. RV manufacturers label product 1/2 ton or xlite when actually only perhaps smaller 50% of models actually qualify. f150 with max tow is limited to around 2000# payload and needs HDPP and max tow achieve 2400#. It is misleading all of us to called last model “half ton”. We tow with F150 4X4 3.5 max tow 3.55 and payload is 1920 pounds. Lastly all those towing should cross scales at least once and find that manufacturers weights are actually fiction. Previously had 2012 Durango 275RLS – said 7150 on RV – at scale 8000# and hitch weight 200# more.

      • Wayne if you struggled with a 6,000 lb trailer you either didn’t have trailer brakes or you simply don’t know how to properly drive with a trailer. I’ve got a 31 foot trailer that weighs in around 7700 pounds and my F150 pulls it, turns with it, and drives like a dream. There is no reason 6k lbs should have gave you a problem. Either the trailer needs work or your trailer pulling skills do.

  8. We tow a 36 foot arctic wolf with a dry weight of 9000 pounds with my 3.5 crew cab 2018 F150. We travel from Morgantown West Virginia (all mountains )to Florida along with shorter trips with our grandchildren. I have never had a tow vehicle any better outside of my Duramax 2500 . I asked my dealer prior to purchasing this RV and he said no problem. He was right. I would not recommend an amateur starting out with this set up.

  9. Having used both a F150 and F250 to pull the same fifth wheel trailer I will say there was not much difference other than mileage. The F150 was 2 inches shorter than the F250 but otherwise Cab and box are about the same. You really need to do more research.

  10. I currently tow a Rockwood Signature Ultralight 8229WS 5th wheel with my F150. Had to look hard to find one with 3.5L eco boost, max tow, heavy payload pkg, tow mirrors and 36 gal tank. It’s at max payload loaded but only the trailer weighs 9800# which is way under the tow capacity of 10,600# for a fifth wheel. It’s rated to tow a travel trailer that weighs 11,600#. It handles better than the F250 with the V10 that I used to to tow a 12,500# 5th wheel.

  11. Mind boggling that you would write this without enough research to know that an f-250 and an f-350 are the exact same physical size. They are the same truck in 98% of the entire truck. The only diffetence other than emblems is really the springs.


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