The 2004 Ford F-250 trucks were able to achieve a pretty impressive towing capacity of up to 14,200 pounds, if they had the proper equipment and options installed. On the flip side of that though, some of these trucks were only able to achieve a mere 6,800 pound rating, which is a massive gap, so you really need to know what options needed to be installed on these trucks in order to get the most out of them.
Your owner's manual is filled with all sorts of handy info, and I strongly advise that you carefully comb through it to get familiar with your truck and that you comply with all of Ford's requirements and suggestions.
2004 F-250 Overview
Overall Capacity: The towing capacity for the 2004 Ford F-250s ranged from 6,800-14,200 lbs., which accounted for conventional, as well as 5th wheel hitch setups, automatic and manual transmissions and all other available options for these trucks as an overall capacity range.
Capacity By Trim Level: There were five different trim levels available for these '04 trucks and are listed below. I took the available engine options that were offered as standard options or as available options and used that information to list the capacity range for each trim level.
The image below laid out what trim levels had what engine options available to them and some trim levels only had specific options available to them, which is how I gathered the data and put it together.
- XL: 6,800-14,200 lbs.
- XLT: 6,800-14,200 lbs.
- Lariat: 6,800-14,200 lbs.
- King Ranch: 6,900-14,200 lbs.
- Harley Davidson: 10,200-14,200 lbs.
S = Standard O = Optional - = Unavailable
By Engine Options: Since there were three different engines that were available for these trucks, when you break down the data you can really see the capability of each engine and we can see that the 5.4 liter was definitely the weakest engine out of the three and surprisingly, the gas powered V10 engine had the highest rating for these trucks.
The 6.0 L diesel engine had the best overall range though, especially considering that the low end of the spectrum started at 12,500 lbs.
- 5.4L: 6,800-9,300 lbs.
- 6.8L (V10 Engine): 9,700-14,200 lbs.
- 6.0L (Diesel Engine): 12,500-13,700 lbs.
Automatic vs Manual Transmission: I also wanted to break down the automatic and manual transmission models to see if there is any significant differences and if we look at the figures below, we can see that they were very close and range and to be honest there was no significant difference between having an automatic transmission equipped in your truck or having a manual transmission equipped.
- Automatic Transmission: 6,900-14,200 lbs.
- Manual Transmission: 6,800-14,100 lbs.
Conventional and 5th Wheel Specs: Comparing the conventional hitch ratings, alongside the fifth wheel hitch ratings, we can see that the fifth wheel hitch did have nearly a 2000-lb. advantage over the conventional hitches on the higher end of the spectrum, but the lower end was exactly the same for either type of hitch.
Remember, if you are using a conventional type of hitch, you will need to have a weight distributing hitch installed, in order to achieve the highest ratings in the charts.
- Conventional: 6,800-12,500 lbs.
- 5th Wheel: 6,800-14,200 lbs.
The Two Tow Charts:
There were two different charts for the 2004 F250s, one chart listed the conventional specs, while the other chart list of the fifth wheel hitch specs. So each chart is targeting a different type of tow hitch, which is typical for most of Ford's trucks.
These charts did share metrics with the F-350 trucks as well, but I highlighted the areas of interest via red boxes. You can see that there were three different engine options available which makes the chart a little bit harder to read, along with the fact that they share metrics with another vehicle, but then you have all of the other standard Ford elements that come into play as well that add to the variables.
In order to figure out your maximum trailer weight rating, you will have to know the cab style you have equipped on your truck, plug in whether your vehicle is a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive model, apply the engine you have equipped in your truck, whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, along with the appropriate axle ratio that your rear axle is using.
Trailer Packages and Hitch Capacities...
I was able to find a couple of images that talk about two very important aspects of the 04 F-250 trucks and these are the trailer packages and the other is a lesser known aspect to most people and that is the hitch capacity weight limits when using a conventional hitch.
The first screenshot outline what these trucks had equipped, as far as standard trailer package options, but also lists the optional accessory, which is the hitch receiver itself. These trucks came with a lot of the necessary equipment that is needed when planning on pulling a trailer behind your truck because that is what these vehicles were designed to do!
The lower image talks about the different hitch capacities and most people do not realize that when using a conventional hitch, you will need to have a weight distributing hitch setup installed in order to achieve anything over 5,000 pounds for these trucks. This is the main difference between a weight carrying and a weight distributing hitch.
A Note On Trailer Brakes...
Like most other Ford vehicles made in 2004, the owner's manual only touches on trailer brakes briefly and simply states that they can be used with these trucks and they must comply with all local and Federal laws. There is no specified weight limit for your trailer made by Ford for these model year trucks though and this is where your local and Federal laws would come into play.
The Certification Label...
GVWR & GAWRs: The GVWR and GAWRs specifications were not listed in the owner's manual or the extremely valuable tow guide that Ford provides, however after performing a tad more searching, I managed to identify where this data could be located. You'll need to look on the certification label, which resembles the photo that is displayed above and will contain all kinds of extremely helpful details that you can utilize.
This can be found on the driver side door pillar or sometimes the door itself. Both specs can be identified on the certification label, if you look towards the top of the sticker, like I have laid out in the photo and will be shown in both lbs. and kgs.
GCWR: Like most Ford vehicles, the GCWR were specified in the charts, next to the axle ratios and engine options, on the left-hand side of the table. The GCWR for the '04 F-250s ranged from 13,500-20,000 pounds, which was also shared by the F-350 trucks.
Axle Code: The axle code is also listed on the label, at the bottom, which you can see in the illustration I have posted. This will have a code that is usually two digits in length and will tell you what your rear axle's ratio in your truck is, after it is deciphered. Ford did not provide an axle ratio legend for the '04 models in their guide, so you will have to use another online source to decode the code, like this one.
Alternatively, you could visually verify your axle ratio by looking for a metal tag on your rear axle housing with the ratio stamped into it.
A Few Helpful Links:
There were three resources I used for the research of the 04 F250 trucks and each resource provided me separate data that I pulled and was able to mash it all together in order to make this guide.
Ford's guide was probably the most helpful resource and provided me the charts and most of the other images found in this post and the brochure was handy when it came to the five different trim levels that were available for these trucks, along with the different options that were available for each trim level.
The owner's manual filled in the rest of the gaps and is probably the best resource for all of the information you could ever need. The manual is for the 250-550 trucks though and applies to all of these models, which are known as the "SuperDuty" trucks.
Last updated on April 27th, 2022 at 06:48 pm