The Ford F-150 Full Pickup Size truck is the best-selling vehicle in America, and there’s a reason why. It can double as a workhorse and as a family drive vehicle. Its huge model range includes work trucks, luxury trucks and even an off-road raptor.
A Ford truck is a really capable machine in and of itself, but a ford truck equipped with a properly installed tow package can really boost the entire setup.
In what follows, I will discuss how to identify a tow package and more specifically, how to identify if a Ford F-150 has a max tow package.
What is a Tow Package?
A tow package is the complete collection of all the necessary vehicle parts required to tow a load of your own choice safely and reliably.
Simply put, a tow package upgrades the weight rating of the towing vehicle and allows them to tow more weight reliably. It is common to think of the tow package as nothing more than a trailer hitch, but it is not as simple as that.
There is a lot more that goes into a tow package to ensure that you can safely put the load on your truck without compromising your safety or the condition of your truck. Along with a hitch platform, a tow package for your truck might mean:
- A more powerful engine
- Sturdier transmission and brakes
- A more robust electrical, wiring and cooling system to handle heavy loads
- Upgraded suspension system (i.e., enhanced shock absorbers etc.)
- Upgraded rear-end (differential) gearing for easier towing
It is important to bear in mind that not all of these features will be included in a tow package offered by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Some may contain only a small proportion of the features mentioned above. The features vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and the type of tow package that has been factory-installed onto your truck.
F150 Tow Packages
Ford offers a Basic Trailer Tow Package and a Max Trailer Tow Package for its F150 trucks. The Basic Trailer Tow Package includes:
Basic Tow Package Features
- Class IV Trailer Hitch
- Standard 4/7 Pin Wiring
- An engine cooler on every engine except the base 3.3L V6
- A heavier front stabilizer bar
- An Auxiliary transmission oil cooler (only in specific models)
- Tailgate LED for easier hitching in the dark
- Pro-trailer Backup Assist (makes reversing with a trailer attached much easier)
- Smart Trailer Tow Connector (monitors electrical systems of trailers attached)
Altogether, the F150 with a Basic Tow Package (Factory-installed) is a far more capable vehicle in terms of towing weight than a truck that simply has a hitch and wiring added onto it.
Max Tow Package
The Max Tow Package upgrades the truck to the best class in towing capability. This improved towing package includes all the mechanical and electronic upgrades that comes with a basic tow package meanwhile adding some more valuable features on top of it.
Also check out: How to tell if Expedition has Heavy Duty Tow Package?
How To Check If F150 Has Max Tow Package
- The most significant change is the upgrade to an electronic-locking rear axle with a 3.55 gear ratio. If the max-tow package is coupled with a Heavy-Duty Package, then the gear is further upgraded to a 3.73 gear ratio.
- Larger fuel tank than the base F150 trucks. The base ones are equipped with either a 23-gallon tank or a 26-gallon tank, but the max tow package comes with a whopping 36-gallon fuel tank.
- Upgraded rear bumper.
- Includes Integrated Trailer Brake Control
These upgraded features can help you identify if your F150 has a Max Tow Package installed or not. If you’re still unsure, the easiest way is to look up your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the Ford ETIS website and look over the various specifications to confirm whether your truck comes with a max tow package or not.
Reasons to go for a Max Tow Package
1. The Upgraded Electronic Rear Axle
This addition means that power will be distributed evenly to both rear wheels which improve traction on poor surfaces.
This will be the difference maker in your trailer moving or not in sticky roads with mud or snow. The 3.55 or 3.73 axle ratio is designed for better fuel economy and improved torque for towing applications.
2. The Larger Fuel Tank
Increased fuel tank capacity of almost 50%, the 36-gallon fuel tank in the max tow package is useful as fuel consumption increases by pulling heavier loads and the bigger fuel tank ensures that stops to the gas station are less frequent.
3. Integrated Trailer Brake Control (TBC)
The TBC helps make braking with a trailer attached smooth and effective. The Trailer Brake Control automatically applies the trailer brakes when the tow vehicle’s brakes are pressed.
The TBC control is located at the center console and includes a manual slide control lever with a plus-minus gain adjust button that applies the trailer’s electric brakes independently of the tow vehicle.
The adjust buttons control how much or how little power the TBC sends to your trailer brakes and can be monitored through the built-in dashboard. The simple and intuitive system makes stopping a trailer much simpler and safer.
Further improving safety, if at any time you lose an electrical connection to the trailer, you’ll be prompted with a warning message on the dashboard with an audible alert sound.
The base version of the Ford F150 has a mere towing capacity of around 5000 lbs. Through all these upgraded features, the Max Tow Package has an incredible towing capacity of 13,200 lbs. The four-wheel-drive version of the Ford F150 reduces the towing capacity of the vehicle to about 12,900 lbs.
The Max Tow Package is a valuable upgrade over the feature rich, not-so-basic Basic Trailer Tow Package.
It consists of a 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness, Class IV receiver hitch, 3.55 / 3.73 electronically locking rear differential, 36-gallon fuel tank, auxiliary transmission and engine oil coolers, an integrated trailer brake control (TBC), and an upgraded front stabilizer bar. The F150 with max tow rating specs out $43,515.
Overall, it is a vital addition to any Ford F150 that often gets used for towing and especially vital if the base model or the other tow packages do not meet your towing needs.