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Ford F-150 GVWR ‘package’ explained; it’s not what you think


As somebody who has been shopping for a new Ford F-150 lately, I’ve been stumped on what the heck these various Ford F-150 GVWR package items are on the sales sticker. If you’ve been stumped as well, here’s what it means.

The mysterious Ford F-150 GVWR package

Let’s start with the truck I’m looking at with its 7350# GVWR Package listed under the Optional Equipment/Other header. This grabbed my attention, since in the decade or so of testing trucks, I don’t recall seeing this “package.”

Ford F-150 GVWR package

This is the sticker from the F-150 truck I’m looking at buying. It sure seems like this is a package. (Screenshot by Tim Esterdahl)

Looking at my local Ford dealer, a few of the trucks they have on the lot have similar listings with one having a 6500# GVWR Package.

Ford F-150 GVWR package

This listing leads one to believe it is an optional equipment package. Not the case. (Screenshot by Tim Esterdahl)

I checked the Ford build site for these “packages,” and not surprisingly, they don’t exist. What the heck are they then?

Well, these listings aren’t a package at all albeit you do get a different frame depending on the GVWR. Yes, a different frame and a correspondence with the towing guide.

A thicker frame?

After doing some research, it turns out the Ford F-150 comes with different thicknesses of frames which are reenforced to handle more GVWR as well as towing. Basically, the better the towing number, the thicker and stronger the frame.

Looking at Parts.Ford.com, we can see the different frames. Here is an example of a frame listing on the parts website.

Ford F-150 frame choices

As you can see, each listing is for the same engine, same cabin and wheelbase length. The difference is in towing definition like light duty, medium duty, heavy duty or trailer tow max duty.

Ford confirmed with us depending on which GVWR and towing package the truck has, the frame is reinforced to meet this demand.

This reinforced frame can range from .087″ to .11″ depending on the package your truck is equipped with and if you have a higher GVWR rating.

Towing guide

In order to determine max towing and consequently which frame your truck has, you would take a look at the GVWR rating found on the door sticker.

Ford F-150 towing

You are looking for a sticker, like this one, with GVWR rating along the top. (Photo owner unknown)

You would then take this number and cross reference with cab/bed configuration aka as wheelbase length and 4×2 or 4×4.

Ford F-150 GVWR package

Here is a sample of the 2021 Ford F-150 towing guide and you can see the GVWR listed on the left by engine type. (Image courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)

Towing, by the way, is done similarly with the rear axle ratio, engine, cab/bed length and 4×2 or 4×4 cross referenced to find the number.

You can check out the 2021 Ford F-150 towing chart for yourself.

The bottom line on the GVWR package

I’m a big fan of this information, and I applaud automakers like GM, which list VIN-specific payload and towing on a door jamb sticker. It is also nice to know Ford has different frame thicknesses giving owners more peace of mind when towing heavy loads.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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1 Comment

  1. Brandon December 10, 2020

    I do not believe that chart is an accurate representation of specific trucks maximum payload. All that chart shows is the maximum available payload for that engine and wheelbase. The maximum payload listed is likely achieved only in the lowest trimmed model that engine is available in with no options. For example the maximum payload for the 5.0 V8 is likely achieved in the XL trim with no options as this is the lightest configuration for that engine/cab/wheelbase. Most likely that truck will not be on dealer lots as those trucks are often equipped with at least a few options.


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