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Old 12-05-2014, 04:33 AM   #1
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Ford E450 CGWR

The topic of tow weights came up on another thread, and instead of hijacking that thread, I thought I'd start another conversation.

I came up with some interesting information about the CGWR for my 2011 model year E450.

CGWR = Combined Gross Weight Rating, which is the total weight permissible for the vehicle and anything that moves because of it; which basically means the vehicle, cargo, and trailer.

GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, which is the total weight permissible for the vehicle, including cargo, people, and the trailer's tongue weight (but not including the trailer weight).

Normally, the trailer weight is determined by CGWR minus the GVWR.

Of course, many of you know this already, but I am providing it as background information for the topic at hand.

In around 2011 or so, Ford increased the CGWR of the E-450 chassis from 20,000 to 22,000lbs.

However, published specs from Thor show 2011 and prior years E-450 based coaches as having a 20,000lb CGWR, while the 2012 and later models having a 22,000lb rating.

I did some research and found a Ford service bulletin, Q-193, published in Aug 2010 (basically for the 2011 model year), that indicates to increase the CGWR from 20,000lbs to 22,000lbs, a heat shield must be installed on what they call a 42 pin multi-connector.

The heat shield consists of small rectangular piece of cloth basically, that cable-ties around the connector. This piece of cloth increases the CGWR from 20,000 to 22,000lbs.

Kind of stange huh?

But I had a theory about why this was so - and I contacted Ford, and they confirmed my theory was correct.

Apparently the reasoning is the extra CGWR requires the engine to work a bit harder, which increases the temperature of the engine and exhaust system. Since the 42 pin connector is located on the underside of the chassis, close to the exhaust system, the connector has to be protected from the extra heat.

That's it. Nothing more to increasing the tow capacity by 2,000lbs than a piece of cardboard.

Also, when Ford ships the chassis to the RV manufacturers, they put the heat shield in a bag attached to the vehicle for the RV manufacturer to install, should they choose to (why Ford just does not install the shield at their factory is puzzling to me).

I was able to confirm though that Thor did install the shield. So even though the Thor specs show a 20,000lb CGWR, the fact is, the CGWR is 22,000lbs.

When I asked Ford that since I had the heat shield, if I had the 22,000lb rating, and they told me to ask Thor... I suppose it's a liability response.

And I bet if I ask Thor... they will tell me to ask Ford.

At any rate, the good news in all of this is it seems the chassis is tougher than the original 20,000lb CGWR spec. And with my toad, my CGWR will not be more than 17,500bs, which is under both 20,000 and 22,000lbs. And having a 22,000lb rating just means I have more of a towing margin of safety, which being a conservative tower, I always strive to do.

Driving around the relatively flat terrain of lower Michigan is one thing, but driving to Florida over mountainous and hilly terrain is one very good reason I like some safety margin in tow ratings.
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Old 12-05-2014, 08:48 AM   #2
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THOR #1150
Over on ford-trucks.com there is/was a lot of speculation about the differences between the F-350 and the F-450. The trucks are almost identical (people compared all the part numbers! The only real difference being the badging.) well at least for the SRW versions. I would suspect its the same thing between the E-350 and the E-450 chassis as well. Which would mean that all of us with E-350 chassis' have an even greater safety margin..
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:38 PM   #3
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I don't know what the E-350/E-450 differences are - if any (assuming both are equipped with the V10). Perhaps the E450 has a beefier chassis?

Or maybe just more heat shields?

Kind of interesting though that some people are comparing part numbers between E-350 and E-450 chassis.
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:17 PM   #4
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interesting for sure.
I sure most of us have seen, heard about, or even done it ourselves..... loading to what surely must be seriously "overloaded" with no ill effect.
I would really love to know what the overall factors of safety they use really are in these things.
My bet is that the safety factors were much greater back when we were kids than they are now, but I'll bet there is still a whole lot of cushion built in..... Not that I'm suggesting purposely overloading, just sayin'
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:34 PM   #5
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THOR #531
Not sure for the E series, but for cars and pickups, there is generally a disclaimer for the towing capacity that you may have to reduce the tow rating by any "options" added to the vehicle, plus the tow ratings are intended for flat terrain in moderate climates.

Towing in severe climates or hilly terrain and the tow rating goes down.

One thing is for sure, I used to tow a 6,800lb boat with my Dodge RAM 1500 (8,000lb towing capacity). The boat actually weighed more than the truck, and I had to be careful when going around street corners that as I slowed down, I had to make sure I did not turn the wheel, as if I did, I could feel the boat pushing the rear end of the truck forward.
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