Another newbie tow question


New Member
Hi All,
We are getting ready to purchase our first popup.
We own a 1998 Ford Explorer V6.
Number on door says GVW 5200.
Two pop ups we are considering:
2007 Williamsburg -- GVW 3500
2006 Niagara -GVW 3770
Does the 5200 on our vehicle mean that it can carry / pull a TOTAL weight of 5200 pounds? If so, how do I find out how much the truck itself weighs?
We carry 2 adult passengers and a child. If we purchase the Niagara, we won't be carrying much more than food for 3 or 4 days, clothing, bedding,outdoor chairs and Dutch oven gear.
If we purchase the Williamsburg, we'll have more stuff -- like a small microwave, portapotti, small table (to add counter space)... etc.
Wanting to do the right thing so we don't find ourselves needing to purchase another vehicle. This one is paid for and has been very reliable. Not wanting to mess up a good thing... should we be looking at smaller pop ups?
Also, is there anything we can or should do to improve towing performance. We are not do-it-yourselfers... not very savvy with anything mechanical, but have read about modifications people make to their tow vehicles.... such as a transmission cooling system. Wanting to keep things simple. Are we heading for complications here?
The Rays... hoping to soon be out of the tent and into a pop up! :cool:


Senior Member
Re: Another newbie tow question

GVWR is the maximum weight the vehicle can be without voiding the warantee, increasing your odds of breakdown or accident or increasing your legal liability. So your Ford Explorer can be 5200 pounds max. There should also be a GAWR (Maximum axel rating) for the front and rear axels. Somewhere (in your manual perhaps) is a GCWR (combined weight rating) which is the maximum the Explorer and trailer together can be.

The best way to find out how much the truck weighs is to load it up as you would for travel, and then take it to a scale (many truck stops). You want the total weight, the rear axel weight and the front axel weight, which you can get with one weighing at most scales. This should cost $10 or less.

Make sure you are not already exceeding the GVWR or front or rear GAWR. If not, subtract the actual rear axel weight from the GAWR and this will tell you what the 'pin weight' of a trailer you can handle.

Subtract the weight of the truck loaded for travel from the GCWR and this will give you and idea of how much trailer you can tow. Don't forget that if you don't already have a hitch on the vehicle, to figure that weight into the equations.

Also, get an idea of the 'dry weight' of the trailer. Subtracting this from the GVWR of the trailer will give you an idea of the 'CCC' or cargo carrying capacity of the trailer, so you can see if you can carry all the stuff you want to.

Grandview Trailer Sa

Senior Member
Re: Another newbie tow question

Let me see if I can make this a little easier. Your owners manual will have a listing as to the max. trailer you can tow. Look up "trailer towing" in the manual and pick your truck: engine, trans., etc. You will then know what Ford says you can tow. Then go to the trailers and find the weight sticker on them. There will be a UVW on the lable. That is unit vehicle weight. I would advise you not to max your truck, but knowing your truck and the probable weights of the trailers, I don't think you will have a problem.


New Member
RE: Another newbie tow question

Thank you. Actually, John's reply did make sense after I read through it slowly a couple of times, but I did appreciate the "abbreviated" version too.
Now we know!
The Rays.