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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking into a wagon but want to maximize tow rating. I've reviewed the 72 page doc and everything else I can find, but still unsure if there's a way to get into the ~7k tow rating with a wagon. Anyone have a guess as to why the wagons are all way below the van with the same chassis and drivetrain? Is the suspension different?

Looking specifically at the 130"/3.5L/3.73, the van is rated for 7000 while the wagon only 5100. Can't figure out why.
 

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Stubble,

I have asked the same questions and done my own research addressing your exact question. The unfortunate answer is that only Ford can tell you for certain why there is a reduced GCWR on the wagon, but we can make some pretty good assumptions. Here is what we know:

1) The engine, transmission, rear end, and axles are all the same
2) The wheels, body, subframe and hitch mounts are the same
3) The cargo van does NOT require dual rear wheels to get to the 7000lbs tow rating, implying it is not an axle/wheel limitation

The only conclusion I can come (jump) to is that the rear springs on the wagon are tuned for a softer, more compliant ride given its intended use. Softer springs combined with the weight of the interior (insulation, seats, paneling, etc) on the wagon result in the reduced GCWR, which in turn reduces tow rating.

What this tells me (and I am not suggesting you should do this, nor am I suggesting this is safe, no legal liability etc. etc. etc.), is that the addition of some helper springs (air-ride air bags come to mind), the wagon should be capable of matching the GCWR of the van, giving you a tow rating (when subtracting interior weight additions) of ~ 6700lbs.

Once I actually see a wagon and can inspect the rear suspension more closely, I suspect we will be able to come to some more definitive conclusions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Chance, it seems the difference in GVWR and GCWR is what drives the max tow.

Obviously the Wagon drivetrain can handle a lot more than its rated 5100lbs, so the difference in GCWR must be in the chassis. I can't find info on what mechanical differences there might be. Weaker brakes? Softer springs? There is an earlier thread here with some speculation but nothing concrete.

My travel trailer is only about 4k on the scale. I may to upsize to ~5k. I only tow a few thousand miles each year.

I like a wide towing margin (My current tow vehicle and daily driver is a 6.0L 3/4ton Suburban.). That said, if the mechanical difference is just springs I would be inclined to go for the wagon. I would be nearing the 5100lb limit on paper, but still have a known comfortable margin in drivetrain.

Otherwise, i would either...

A. Try to find a way to order a higher GVWR in a wagon
B. Try to find a way to add a two rows of seats to a van

Neither of which look easy. Maybe I just need the Nissan NV, but I like the Transit so much better.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Stubble,
1) The engine, transmission, rear end, and axles are all the same
2) The wheels, body, subframe and hitch mounts are the same
3) The cargo van does NOT require dual rear wheels to get to the 7000lbs tow rating, implying it is not an axle/wheel limitation

The only conclusion I can come (jump) to is that the rear springs on the wagon are tuned for a softer, more compliant ride given its intended use. Softer springs combined with the weight of the interior (insulation, seats, paneling, etc) on the wagon result in the reduced GCWR, which in turn reduces tow rating.
Thanks, I'm right with you.

I don't think the wagon's outfitting should change GVWR/GCWR ceiling. The seats and paneling would only decrease payload capacity but not affect the overall weight rating if I understand how that works. So I think you're right in that there are spring differences. Maybe the brakes too? I would be surprised if there are any axle/hub differences but anything's possible I guess.
 

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Thanks, I'm right with you.

I don't think the wagon's outfitting should change GVWR/GCWR ceiling. The seats and paneling would only decrease payload capacity but not affect the overall weight rating if I understand how that works. So I think you're right in that there are spring differences. Maybe the brakes too? I would be surprised if there are any axle/hub differences but anything's possible I guess.
I didnt mean to imply a lower GCWR, only that you need to subract out that weight since it will impact CCC.

From an engineering and manufacturing perspective (and legal), there is no way they are using different brakes for the van and wagon. It would immediately open them up for a lawsuit the instant someone inevitably kills someone because they can't stop fast enough. Just imagine the lawer in that suit, "You mean to tell me Mr. Engineer that you put weaker brakes on the vehicle designed to carry 15 people?". No way. Perhaps more importantly, there is no functional or cost savings benefit to doing so (the rotor and caliper cost savings for marginally weaker brakes would come down to piston diameter and is negligible. Furthermore, the cost of maintaining a separate supply chain to service both brakes types would completely offset the manufacturing cost benefits.

There is, however, a functional benefit to the softer springs, and that is the only reasonable conclusion I can come to.

I didn't design it, so I cant say with certainty, but reason and fundamental engineer principles suggests springs as the cause for the reduced GCWR (with maybe a sprinkle of legal protectionism on Ford's part).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Agreed. Well I guess we can only wait and see, unless someone here has access to factory info.
 

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I googled "2015 ford transit van rear suspension" and a link to "2015 Transit - Ford Fleet" came up. This PDF, which I cannot seem to link with here, has front and rear axle ratings, plus a lot of other specifications. You may find something there which is useful.
 

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i'll google it and see if it comes up for me.

although it might not be possbile to link it here, at least we know it's out there, better than not having access to it at all.
 

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Chance, it seems the difference in GVWR and GCWR is what drives the max tow.

......cut......
For whatever reason it appears Ford limits the wagon to 11,200 lbs GCWR regardless of engine or drivetrain selection. If I had to guess I would lean towards it being about regulatory or liability rather than limited by hardware, but I have no real idea as to why.

For the combinations that have 11,200 lbs GCWR in both van and wagon models, the difference in max trailer weight seems to be due to the difference in vehicle weight, which is up to around 1,000 pounds for the largest vans. The heaviest wagon practically weighs 7,000 pounds empty, which doesn't leave much for trailer.
 

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Solid discs at rear is an interesting choice, particularly on a RWD van that could easily end up with more than half the total weight over rear axle.
 

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Chance, it seems the difference in GVWR and GCWR is what drives the max tow.

Obviously the Wagon drivetrain can handle a lot more than its rated 5100lbs, so the difference in GCWR must be in the chassis. I can't find info on what mechanical differences there might be. Weaker brakes? Softer springs? There is an earlier thread here with some speculation but nothing concrete.

My travel trailer is only about 4k on the scale. I may to upsize to ~5k. I only tow a few thousand miles each year.

I like a wide towing margin (My current tow vehicle and daily driver is a 6.0L 3/4ton Suburban.). That said, if the mechanical difference is just springs I would be inclined to go for the wagon. I would be nearing the 5100lb limit on paper, but still have a known comfortable margin in drivetrain.

Otherwise, i would either...

A. Try to find a way to order a higher GVWR in a wagon
B. Try to find a way to add a two rows of seats to a van

Neither of which look easy. Maybe I just need the Nissan NV, but I like the Transit so much better.
This is exactly my position.

I'm looking at plan B there as my solution.

It would be interesting to compare tow capacity for the Econolines, Cargo vs Wagon to see it Ford's specs follow a pattern.
 

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I was told by my dealer that the differance in the gvwr/gcvwr between the van and wagon is that Ford calculates all pasangers at 150lbs and does not include this in the gvwr of the wagon.

150x15=2250

Looks like it adds up to the difference but I cant find it in writing.

Sent from my GT-P5210 using Tapatalk
 

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I'm a little late to this thread, but I finally got my Transit 150 wagon last month. When I went to shop for a travel trailer this weekend, I discovered just how low the tow rating is: 4,700 lbs seems pretty small... even the 3.5L option only gives you 400 lbs more! That being said, I'm starting to think the same way as "Stubble"; I don't mind keeping a trailer purchase in the 5,000 range as long as I know I have a cushion... plus I'd be willing to look at helper springs, high-performance brakes, or whatever else is needed.
I'm noticing the difference between dry weight and gross weight is really going to be the sticking point. It seems that despite numerous trailers having low dry weight ratings, there are very few trailers that have gross weight ratings under the 4,700. I'll never tow a trailer with more than a few hundred pounds of gear (and I'm not fond of towing with liquids in the tanks), but I'm still worried about the legal aspects. One sales person told me that law enforcement will inspect your trailer's gross rating and compare that to your vehicles tow capacity.
That brings me to my question: how would an officer evaluate the Transit's tow rating in the field? There are no stickers on the driver's door jamb that I can find with a towing capacity. I want to be safe and legal, but some of the trailers I'm looking at (which have a low dry weight) are rated for lots of cargo and thus show a gross weight that is slightly higher than 4,700lbs.
 

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Look at the Gross Combined Weight Rating for your vehicle. That is max loaded weight including people, cargo and trailer. If you tow the max rating, which is in your manual, then you have very little left over for people and cargo in the van.

Each van will have the max allowable cargo capacity on the door jam. You already know what your Gross Vehicle weight can be, 8500 or 9000 lbs. This is without a trailer. Subtract what your cargo capacity is from that and it should be the empty weight of the van. Best way to figure this out is to actually weigh your van at the scales. Our local recycle center has scales that are free to use, and I use it every time I am on my way out on a trip with the trailer.

GVWR 8550 Short wheelbase ow roof wagon.
max cargo 3000
Base weight 5550 lbs aprox

Gross Combined rating 10800
Max trailer weight 4700
Base van weight 5550

Left over for people/gear 550 lbs

But also you have to remember you will have about 10-15% tongue weight so really you have nothing left for cargo.

Will not even get into the frontal area for wind drag.

Sucks don't it??
 

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Wow. That's really helpful... and terrible to hear. I guess I should weigh my van somewhere, but I assume 5550 is pretty average for a 10-passenger SWB wagon (?).
I'm looking at a 20ft ultra-lite/mini (3500 lb dry) camp trailer. Again, I wouldn't be towing it with more than a few hundred pounds of stuff, but I'll assume 500 lbs to be safe. That means in the formula above, I have 1,250 lbs for tongue weight, cargo and passengers. Probably cutting things very close (on paper), but this makes me think of the questions earlier in this thread about realistic capacities, since some configurations are rated upwards of 7,000 lbs towing capacity.
I suppose aside from the calculations, I would love to hear feedback on how the Transit does with towing. Is there already a good thread on here about how it handles, what to look out for, etc? Unfortunately, I didn't get the towing package (I bought an 8-month-old wagon so I didn't get that choice) but I've put plenty of hitches and wiring packages on previous vehicles so I'm not worried about that.
 

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There is more to the towing package than just the hitch. It has a tow haul mode and perhaps a better cooling system although not sure about that. Yes lots a threads on towing and a very long one on adding the tow package which should be of help to you.

Lots of people tow at the max without problems, but that is a personal choice. I am within 500 lbs of Gross combined with my astro gear and small 3000 lb casita trailer and it is a very well behaved rig. But I am usually alone so no worries about passengers.

Dean
 

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For those who have not removed or lifted the full size reclining wagon seats before, the rails and the seats are reeeeeally heavy. Heavier than anything I would have imagined. Regardless of each van's seat configuration, Ford had to make general wagon tow rating assuming you have all the seats possible for your model. Get a wagon, remove all the seats and in theory we should be able to raise that tow rating much closer to cargo.
 
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