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Old 11-01-2018, 03:46 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 24
Towing With A Shorty

I have searched and searched about towing with a shorty and see most people say they can't tow much. I don't understand why. Will someone please tell me if I am missing something???
2004 E350 17 passenger 6.0
GVWR 11,500
Rear GAWR 7800
Front GAWR 4050

We would remove a couple of the seats and have 5 people(600lbs), and about 300 lbs in stuff.

Travel trailer is 35' with tounge and 7900 lbs fully loaded.
Hitch weight 810lbs.

On Ford 2004 towing guidelines it says for a E350 cutaway chassis for a 6.0 the GCWR is 20,000 lbs and up to 10,000 lbs max trailer weight.
So if we were at the bus limit( which we will be lower if I figure about 2200 lbs for people and removing some of the seats) and the trailer we would be at GCWR of 19,400 and under the max trailer weight.

Any thoughts or advice on wether or not this could work and what mods we would have to do?

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Old 11-01-2018, 06:56 AM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
Posts: 592
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Startrans
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
Rated Cap: 12
I own 1997 e350 shuttle bus with little 5.4 liter gasser. I tow a 20 foot enclosed trailer with 3 atv's and a side by side in it , bus full of people and camping gear. Wish it had a bigger engine but the chassis is just fine.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:48 AM   #3
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 251
Year: 2007
Coachwork: ICCORP
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 16
When you start towing close to te maximum rated weight, you will be wishing you had a smaller trailer and/or larger tow vehicle.

Slow going up hills in mountains and hard on the brakes. For that matter, hard on the whole drive train.
Follow my build - and adventures at
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:48 AM   #4
Bus Geek
Tango's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
And, when towing...

Keep an eye on the EGT (if you don't have one...GET one!)

And also watch the tranny fluid temps.

Most school buses come equipped with the minimum trans. i.e. already near or at the max torque loading and can easily be overwhelmed by adding weight or horsepower.

Keep your cool.
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Old 11-01-2018, 03:18 PM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 24
So I guess I will weigh the empty bus and see where we are really at. I think it's our only option. We need something handicapped accessible and the E350 6.8L vans I am finding we will be over GCWR by 600 lbs. It seems the diesel versions of those vans are rare to begin with and the ones I have seen for sale that are in good condition are $30,000+ or they are school buses and box trucks. Thanks for the input from everyone.
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