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Open Roads Forum  >  Class C Motorhomes

 > Towing with Winnebago Minnie

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hr_sea

Seattle, WA

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Posted: 06/01/09 12:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 2003 Winnebago Minnie 24V on an E350 chassis (with the V10). The stated tow rating is 3500lbs and it came with a 3500lb hitch. I'd like to tow about 4000lbs with it - I'd replace the hitch with a 5000lb unit. Does anybody know if the 3500lb rating is because of the hitch they decided to install or if it's due to the frame/overhang/structure?

Although I don't have the specs in front of me, I remember the GCWR minus GVWR was about 8000 pounds.

Westronics

Redmond, WA

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Posted: 06/01/09 02:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have done extensive research on this topic. What I have discovered is:

1. The low rating is due to the hitch receiver selected. From ignorance or over-cautioness, manufactures have frequently labeled these MHs with a GVWR plus Hitch Receiver as the new GCWR.

2. Ford has a rather robust vehicle modification program (QVM)and they stand behind the original GCWR if the vehicle has been properly modified (per the QVM Q-18 standard). I would be greatly surprised if Winnebago did not follow that standard.

The one part of the standard that does not seem to be followed very well is from page 2 of the standard, to wit: "Competed Vehicle Weight Analysis."

All that said, 4,000 lbs (with a properly rated hitch receiver) should not be an issue. You might want to first visually examine any frame extensions to be certain they were done properly in accordance with QVM Q-18. See page 11 for starters.

But... be very careful about weight distribution. Too much tongue weight might very well off-load the front axle until it is dangerous to drive. The guideline from Ford (page 2) is that a minimum of 32% of the loaded weight be on the front axle (but limited by GAWR, of course) for an E450, 35% for an E350.

Good luck! Ask more questions, if you need more information. The above is only a very quick summary of some things I've learned.

BTW, for an E450, the GCWR-GVWR is 20,000 - 14,050 (14,500 for the most recent ones) or 5,950 lbs, but that means nothing, really. What is really critical is GCWR - GVW, which gives you the remaining weight you can tow, all other things being equal (which they rarely are, of course).

* This post was last edited 06/01/09 05:04pm by Westronics *   View edit history


2002 Jayco Greyhawk 24SS, Camera, ScanGauge, Inverter, Airtabs, Portabote, SeeLevel II, Tireman valves, Xatnrex Battery Monitor, Aero-flo vent, Trik-L-Start, XPS Rib, Chains, Lil' Stanker, Be kind to septic systems Ford: 1-800-444-3311. RV Tires


hr_sea

Seattle, WA

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Posted: 06/01/09 04:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for that info. I read a part of that QVM and it's very interesting (although I have no way of determining if Winnebago using the right grade of steel). The front already feels pretty light when driving and it does have what looks like a very long overhang for the wheelbase. I'm considering towing a dinghy on a dolly so I don't think my tongue weight should be too much of an issue - although I haven't begun to research that.

I think the GVWR for my E350 is 12,500. I don't remember the GCWR but remember thinking it was the same as the E450.

Bubby's RV

CA

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Posted: 06/01/09 04:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Westronics wrote:

....

But... be very careful about weight distribution. Too much tongue weight might very well off-load the front axle until it is dangerous to drive. The guideline from Ford (page 2) is that a minimum of loaded weight be on the front axle (but limited by GAWR, of course).

....

I think you meant to write: "that a minimum of 1/3 of the loaded weight be on the front axle".


John, Winnebago Minnie 24V


Dusty R

Charlotte Michigan 48813

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Posted: 06/01/09 04:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a '24 Itasca with the E-350 and the V-10. We were rear ended which drove the hitch forward into the bumper. We took it to the the dealer where we bought it new.I asked for a price for having it fixed. At that time I asked for two prices one with new hitch as it came new and one with the next rated hitch. The insurance Co. accepted their price for the repair, which was only one price which was with the heavier hitch. I have hauled 3000 lb. plus the weight of the trailer. No problem, it hauled the load nicely.

Dusty

Westronics

Redmond, WA

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Posted: 06/01/09 05:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hr_sea wrote:

...I think the GVWR for my E350 is 12,500. I don't remember the GCWR but remember thinking it was the same as the E450.


I think you are correct. It is a bit odd, but true, that an E350 can tow more than the heavier-duty E450, though both do have the same 10,000-lb ultimate limit (that's not usually an issue - I haven't seen a Ford Class C that is under 10,000-lbs, even measuring only dry weight ).

Bubby's RV wrote:

I think you meant to write: "that a minimum of 1/3 of the loaded weight be on the front axle".


Thanks. I fixed it. It is 32% for an E450, 35% for an E350.

kgmz

Portland, OR and Eatonville, WA

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Posted: 06/01/09 09:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hr_sea wrote:

Thanks for that info. I read a part of that QVM and it's very interesting (although I have no way of determining if Winnebago using the right grade of steel). The front already feels pretty light when driving and it does have what looks like a very long overhang for the wheelbase. I'm considering towing a dinghy on a dolly so I don't think my tongue weight should be too much of an issue - although I haven't begun to research that.

I think the GVWR for my E350 is 12,500. I don't remember the GCWR but remember thinking it was the same as the E450.



Don't worry about Winnebago's frame extension, they do it right and better than most other companies.

Take your motorhome to a good hitch and welding shop, they will know what to look for and can install and beef up a receiver and frame if needed. We had our receiver beefed up years ago, and regularly tow a 27' 6500 lb trailer with our Itasca. See pic below.


1998 29' Itasca Sundancer pulling a 2002 Interstate West 27' All-Sport, 10,400 GVWR with Yamaha Mountain Viper's inside.

2001 Suburban 2500 LT,8.1,4.10
2001 2500HD Crewcab Longbox LT,8.1,4.10


Kamphiker

South Florida (this 'aint paradise anymore)

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Posted: 06/02/09 05:44am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm not sure what literature you are looking at and if there could be some misprint (or my missing something) BUT, from my research when looking at shorter length C's (23 - 26 ft) where there was a option of either the E350 or E450, the E450 Has a higher GCWR, GVWR & GAWR-rear.

Example: 2006 WF324V

E350 GCWR 18,500 GVWR 11,500 GAWR-rea 7,800 GAWR-front 4,600

E450 GCWR 20,000 GVWR 14,050 GAWR-rear 9,4050 GAWR-front 4,600

One of the main differences between the E350 & E450 is the rear axle the E450 having a larger (higher cap) and rear gear ratio 4:56 for the E450 vs 4:10 for the E350. The rear end makes a big difference in combined towing capacity in addition to the higher GAWR for the rear axle While the front of both remain the same. Of course there is also the larger/thicker steel used in the frame rails.

I have still not had a expilnation as to why when you add up numbers the E350 combined front & rear GAWR does not match the stated GVWR where as the E450 does..... if you Subtract the GCWR from the GVWR of the E350 you have 6,000 lbs and the E450 has 5,950 lbs that the only place where I see the E350 having more capacity.

If Ford did not change any of the frame rail construction from the 99 - 2007 E350 or E450 I would think that by having a higher capacity hitch or your current hitch reinforced, upping the capacity to not exceed the GCWR would be OK. Of course anyone interested in doing so needs to do their own do diligence.

-> I need to go camping, Work stinks!


2006 Winnebago Outlook WF324V
2009 Honda CR-V 2wd TOAD ......Campgrounds in the Smoky Mountains NP
Last Camping trip ->2011 SUMMER SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK


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