Manufacturers Continue to Ignore SAE Standards

Towing J2807 Ford Ram II

In what could turn out to be one of the strangest chapters in pickup truck history, manufacturers look as if they will continue to ignore the Society of Automotive Engineers’ towing standards — which they all agreed on for the 2013 model year — for at least one more year.

As we've covered here before, the SAE J2807 towing standards were settled more than a year ago, and it looked like new-truck buyers were going to be able to compare any half-ton and three-quarter-ton pickup truck (as well as quite a few other one-ton trucks) tow ratings with direct competitors. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

In one of the most exhaustive articles written on the subject, Automotive News charted the history of the SAE-designated panel and where it stands today. And after repeated attempts to contact someone at SAE, Automotive News concluded that we're likely to stay in this standoff, where none of the manufacturers — except Toyota, which adopted the testing protocols two years ago — will use the new procedures and ratings unless everyone does.

In all likelihood, half-ton ratings will drop only a few hundred pounds; three-quarter-ton trucks could, depending on the configuration, drop several thousand pounds; and the strongest one-ton pullers will be over the 13,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating of the requirement, so they'll not be included — for now.

Whether or not a story like this will be enough to get the truck makers back to the table to figure this out remains to be seen. In fact, we've even played with the idea of an informal lunch to take care of this. All we know is that there needs to be some way to allow consumers to cut through the towing hype and hyperbole of the commercials and marketing materials to truthfully see how each truck compares with any other.

At the heart of the issue is the safety of the driver, and we're guessing manufacturers can understand that putting current or potential customers at risk is not a good idea.



Towing numbers will go down across all brands. People will become upset that they were given exaggerated towing numbers in previous models. This will create unhappy customers and those who are in the market and need to tow will not want to purchase a truck that isn't rated to the same numbers. And although it might make some manufacturers stronger in some areas, they will become weaker in others. Manufacturers have no reason to adhere to the standard, it only puts them in a compromised position to sell the most trucks possible.

Didn't Kia or Hyundai just get sued for exaggerating MPG claims on window stickers? If the government is that strict about giving people honest mileage figures to use for shopping...then they darn well ought to force these lame manufacturers to use real towing numbers too. They should ALL respect the SAE standard. I hate Toyota with a deep passion...but I applaud them for having the guts to do what's right.

Safety should be the number priority for the manufacturer. If they do not want to follow the SAE standards then the federal government should mandate it for the benefit of everyone. After seeing what Dodge has done with their imaginary ratings for their trucks, something has to happen so all the manufacturers follow the standards so the consumer knows exactly what he is spending his hard earned money on.

It's going to take federal action to force the automakers to adopt these standards, and that means someone at NHTSA is going to have to make threats, etc.

Unfortunately, we probably need some sort of tragedy to spur this change. Maybe if an over-loaded pickup truck crashes into petting zoo full of baby bunnies on national TV, we'll have the leverage we need to force Ford and Ram (the biggest offenders in my opinion) to embrace realistic tow ratings.

I'm *STILL* amazed that Ram increased their tow rating on the Ram 1500 by hundreds of pounds in 2009 without changing ONE thing on the truck. How in the hell is that possible - don't change anything, yet the truck can pull more? Outrageous.

@ Durastrokinns: Not true for Toyota, they complied for the 2011 model year and beyond. Yes, the numbers dropped but not my much, except for the Sequoia.

My theory is there are physical limits to what can be done with four wheels on the ground. If so, then there can be no winner and therefore, no one can booast the most.

Mike Lavene should be ashamed of his wishy-washy stance. If an OEM wants to be the leader in a segment, then LEAD. This kind of fancy footwork should come back to bite them in the ass. At least I hope so. In his former life Mike would not have ducted the issue.
Isn't still planning to do a shoot-out? The Procedure for measuring the standards, i.e. arriving at a #, is a published one. Just add this as a segment of the shootout. Let the chips fall where they will. I don't care who has the biggest towing numbers, I just want them to be HONEST numbers. The way the OEM's are acting, I say go back to the 16,000 lb cutoff so that the 1 tonners are included. They should be competing with one another on quality and price, not on numbers we can only 'hope' are true.

I too would like to see this across the board.
It would be nice to research a truck to purchase on facts, instead of advertising.
With Toyota going to these standards already, it would seem to give them an advantage when the others do it.
It could be a good selling point to the customer, do you use made up numbers or a set of real numbers.

Keep in mind the 3/4 and 1 ton trucks will also have to comply withthe EPA fuel economy disclosures too. I think that starts in 2014 (not sure if that is actual year or model year).

They'll likely do everything once and I know Ford and GM are planning not only new half tons but 3/4 and 1 tons too (GM obviously has shown us the 1/2 tons but provided no specs yet). They aren't ready to play ball until the new trucks are here so they won't look woefully behind others. The new Titan will likely be in the fray at that point too.

Ford said they will use it on the new truck. GM won't use it until everyone does which means Ford. How hard is this to understand? Who cares what Fiat does?

On Ford half tons the ratings will all go up or stay about the same due to the weight savings and increased power.

As for a shootout, why does the shoout affect anything? They will all be towing and hauling the same weight.

If they do something stupid like MT where they go by the % of the rating, that just hurts the guy with the higher rating.

It's a non-issue for the shoout.

The non-SAE numbers are not "made up." Each manufacturer sets their own criteria. The only thing the SAE does is uniform the criteria. For example, they will use 20% king pin weight on 5th wheels instead of 17% and they will add in for a heavier driver and a paseenger. All things people should have been doing on their own.

Example of how the max ratings don't really change for half tons:

From the "Tow Ratings adjust on 2013 GM" article:
"In the 1500 class, a two-wheel-drive Extended Cab standard bed with a 6.2-liter V-8, 3.73:1 axle ratio and the Max Trailering package was rated to tow 10,700 pounds in 2012. According to the 2013 order guide, the rating will be 10,500 pounds."

The rating dropped 200 lbs. GM was cheating us out of 200 lbs of towing, right? Wrong!

The 10,500 lb rating is 200 lbs less than the previous rating. But it acounts for an extra 50 lbs for the driver and a 150 lb passenger.

So the rating didn't change at all. Only the weight of the people in the truck was added in which you were supposed to subtract from the max tow number to being with.

sure every one should be at the same standard, but is said standards with or without trailer brakes controls from the factory? or are they listed with and without? and with aftermarket contrl instaled?

People want federally-mandated standards? Heck the government can't do anything to fix the economy and you trust it to understand everything about engineering and physics in relation to towing capabilities? You guys give the government way too much credit! I am completely fine with manufacturer-suggested maximums, even if they do use their own standards. They have their reputations on the line, so if the vehicles can't handle the loads they rate them at, don't you think there would be natural negative consequences?

On Ford half tons the ratings will all go up or stay about the same due to the weight savings and increased power?

Are you serious? Then why haven't they adopted the standard?

I think there might be magic spring dust in your look-aid.


Look at the old GM half tons, the tow ratings didn't change, moron. I have a question for you. Why did Toyota wait 7 years to put in an integrated trailer brake controller?

I wish they would test braking at GVWR, not just trailer tow ratings.

Tow ratings are the max limit of what can be towed,meaning you don't want to be pulling that all the time or for long distances. I wouldn't buy a travel trailer weighing more then about 7K and pull it with any half ton, I would get a 3/4 ton, sure people do but thier taking more risk.

Toyota is increasing towing on the 2014 Tundra. Yet it still has the same powertrains, same chassis and suspension. See below.



I work for a Toyota Dealer and have been exposed to a lot of insider info on this truck.

From what I know:

1) Same Physical Cabs
2) Different hood, front fenders, bed, and tailgate
3) Different face and tail
4) Same powertrain 5.7L etc... might have more power
5) Hugely upgraded and improved interior
6) Big info center between speedo and tach
7) All new nav system witn entunes
8) Upgraded towing specs
9) Large fuel tanks across the board

That is all i know for sure


Posted by: Jeremiah Soltis | Jan 24, 2013 2:35:04 PM

Way to lash out Dave, by calling me a moron. If I'm going to spend 40 grand on something, I want facts, not marketing. For as long as can remember, people knew how to put their own brake controllers in. Maybe just not you Dave.

I believe if a test was done like I sugested, start in Seattle, I 90 up to Lethbridge, 3# to the #33 to the 97C over the #5 then back to Seattle. load them with the max tow rating the spec the truck with.
Advertise it then if they are splattered on the side of the road they might get real. If they do not get real then they will have no one to blame if the Government does it for them.

@TRX4 Tom
I do think a brake test should be part of an overall handling test. But brake testing would be a larger part of a trailers capacity.

When towing you don't want a vehicle to be stopping a trailer, especially a large load in comparison to the tow vehicle.

Standards need to be in place, just for safety reasons. I still can't believe the "loads" that HDs can tow.

Maybe because your light commercial market is very reliant on towing. The manufacturers will have problems providing realistics tow ratings.

But who has the bigger dic......

@TRX4 Tom
I posted the above post and I accidently placed your name into the poster name box.

Sorry, I didn't mean for that to happen.

I'm a Tundra owner, but love me some Ford too. Disappointed that Ford didn't do the right thing, I don't care what GM or Ram do, but they should respect their customers also.

Maybe some people want the trailer brake to brake the trailer's brakes, and not just the trailers.

Mike Levine also wrote several times that the 2009 Ram LD and HD trucks didn't offer integrated trailer brake controllers that year, when GM and Ford did. Ram fixed that missing feature one year later for 2010.

Toyota should have added it by 2009 but wo't get around to it until 2014.

You are the one who started the insults with your kool-aid talk. Where does it say you have to change a part to increase the ratings? If it the part is capable of the increase, the rating can change.

In Ram's defense they did consider the SAE standards when they made the increase in 09. Ram stated, "Our engineers performed both simulation and real-world tests to ensure that all of our internal targets and all the guidelines set by the new proposed SAE tow standard were achieved. The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500’s towing capability was re-rated without sacrificing performance, quality or reliability." Notice how TundraHQ failed to mention that and how the 2014 will increase without any changes.

@ Ramond Yes 7,000lbs sounds a whole lot more realistic. I think the PR damage and repercussions from potential law suits (accidents)if definite limits are set by the companies could be potentially a huge problem.

not just the *trucks. Trailer sway control for Tundra will only brake the truck's wheels, not the trailer's too.

Mike Levine had one more thing to say on this matter.

The Tundra can tow more than 10,500 lbs. Most states require a TBC when pulling trailers with a GVW over 3,000 lbs. It's a pain to add an aftermarket TBC - as evidenced by the cuts on our hands during the 2008 Half-Ton Shootout.

If Toyota is going to make a point about the Tundra having added trailer sway control for 2011, then they should have gone the full distance and given their buyers the option of an ITBC.

If I'm wrong for pointing out a simple feature that would make the Tundra a better tow rig from the factory, then I don't want to be right.


Thank you, Mike Levine. I'll also add if Tundra is going to make a point on SAE standards they should have went to the full distance and added the ITBC. How hard would that have been?

In the long run, it won't change anything. People will always exceed the "rated" towing capacity. I know an old farmer who regularly tows 20,000 lbs with a '96 F250. My friend's parents pull a 33' camper with a Chevy Trailblazer. I've pulled a 14,000 lb backhoe with a '90 Dodge 1/2 ton (4lo the whole way), and I've exceeded the weight rating on the hitch of every truck I've ever owned. I'm not saying I recommend any of these things, but the fact is, people do it all the time. No matter what standards are in place, qualified operators will know exactly how far they can push the limits without becoming a hazard, and morons will push too hard and cause a lot of damage.


I apologize for the Kool-aid remark. I just don't see why Ford wouldn't adopt a standard from which they would benefit if they would actually benefit.

Max towing for a 2013 Tundra=10400lbs. Max towing for a 2014 Tundra=10400lbs.

@Big Al: I was talking about the braking for the sake of the GVWR for a vehicle on it's own, not Gross Combined Weight Rating, a truck, or suv, with trailer.

Both I believe should be done. I believe the SAE J2807 actually tests to see how it would stop at a minimum with no trailer brakes, but people need to stick to the rules of what requires trailer brakes. But one issue is that some states barely have any trailer brake laws, and they may not enforce it, until after an accident, when they come to find the operater had no trailer brakes.

Recently I took a picture of an old 80s Ford Bronco that had a trailer hooked up to it, and it was sitting in a Wal Mart parking lot. This is the mentality that is out there: the trailer was about a 20 foot trailer, originally a dual axle trailer, it had the FORWARD AXLE REMOVED, and had a late 70s, early 80s F-150, or maybe F-250 longbed on it. Looked to be 4x2. So, a MINIMUM 3700 pounds or so of truck on it. So, to make matters worse, this joker had it hooked up to the BUMPER ball, aren't they only rated for 500 pounds of tongue weight, max? The front end of the Bronco was probably almost 10 inches higher then normal ride, if not more. I coulda climbed under the one axle and checked for brakes, but I don't make a habbit of crawling under others vehiches in a parking lot. I will gladley look under them at a dealership though. But since the person didn't care about anything else, why care about brakes? That's pathetic.

If I was a DOT officer, I would be writting this ignoramic all sorts of tickets.

He would have been better off with a dolley.

i honestly dont see a problem with the way it is now. how many accidents do you see because someone is towing too much. i dont think the factories should have to comply with these test. people who tow should do research and make the best decision based on what they want. its not like people are getting ripped off. you make a test and it just adds to the cost of the manufactures and that makes its way to the consumer. i think should quit pushing the subject. its actually getting a little annoying.

@Luke: "qualified operators will know exactly how far they can push the limits without becoming a hazard, and morons will push too hard and cause a lot of damage."

So what makes people "qualified"? Wow, towing a 33' trailer with a little Trailblazer? Oh, but they are qualified! Lol! If I see them comming I will get out of the way!

Of course I can't talk too much, I might have possibly exceeded my GVWR in my truck, with air bags, but then atleast I have the axle weight rating, the longer wheelbase, a strong tire, and the brakes, both in the truck and on the trailer.

Lol, pulling a 14,000 pound back hoe. With a half ton! When the trans blows, you might be the first to dog whatever brand you break, and call them a pos!

When you think about, it's all silly. You think Ford doesn't know what GM's ratings would be under J2807? Or Ram doesn't know Nissan's? They all know exactly what the other guy's ratings would be through their competitive analysis departments. If there was going to be one clear loser the other three would have moved - you think they don't want to stick it to the other guy? Either that or they all overstated by such huge margins they can't put it in writing. Seems to me that Toyota thought their numbers would get reduced the least so they decided to go first.

Tailgate Lock from Master Lock:

Oops? ^^ Meant for the tailgate theft piece. LOL.

Why do we have to wait for the manufacturers to publish the results? NHTSA publishes their crash test results, the EPA publishes their gas mileage test results, so the SAE should be able to publish their tow ratings whether manufacturers want them to or not. If I could go out to the intertubes and find the comparative data, that's all I need.

Here's an idea. Why doesn't get a truck from all the players and do an "informal" J2807 test. Go to Davis Dam with a trailer and keep adding 500 pounds until you hit those limits. I'm sure you can find a 12% grade some where too for the other tests.

hr206, They would have to get each configuration with each engine to test the tow ratings. It's a lot easier for the manufacturer to do their own than for someone do all the manufacturers.

@Luke - I disagree. It is human nature to get away with what ever they can and/or be completely clueless as to what is safe.
If one gets away with something dangerous, does that mean it is safe to do all of the time?
Ever play Russian Roulette?
Just because you pulled the trigger on an emptry chamber, doesn't make it right.

@Dave - figures that you'd be the biggest apologist in relation to towing since Ford is notorious for playing the magic spring dust game.
Read the Tundra information, there were stuble changes to the suspension. The pictures of the interior show a built in trailer brake.

The arguement that there is no point to having a standard since no one will comply is absurd.
Why not just post a "Reasonable and Prudent" sticker on GVW or GCVW and see what happens. Montana did that in 2007 with their speed laws. It was a courtroom nightmare defining it.

There needs to be a standard testing procedure expecially in light of 30,000 lb tow gorilla's amongst our midst.

It is a shame that companies are fixated on profit over safety.

@TRX 4 Tom- they do. Stopping distances are one of the biggest determining factors for setting GVW. That part is straight from NHTSA. Basically, a vehicle has to meet certain stopping distances at the rated weight to be compliant.
@Dave- part of J2807 is vehicle stability. As part of this refresh, Toyota may have been able to increase ratings some, because of improved vehicle stability control. Also, "suspension tuning" was listed as an improvement. This could change numbers slightly.

@Jim. Testing every configuration is obviously not possible. I'm thinking about testing a configuration with the highest tow rating (since that's what all this d!ck waving is about) and I think it would be interesting to test the configuration with the lowest tow rating. I'm sure we'll all find flaws in whatever testing methodology is used, but hey, draw a line in the sand.

Yep, Lou, Ford uses magic spring dust to get their ratings and you are a clown.

The only reason Tundra went ahead with it early was because they don't have a new model coming anytime soon. They had nothing to lose and some badly needed PR to gain.

If you're a manufactuer and had a new truck less than a year away why wouldn't you wait until the all new models?

What do the SAE standards get you? As a buyer you really dont' gain much.

There was a 50-150 lb drecrease on the old GM half tons. Wow. I was going to buy a GM half ton, but thanks to the SAE standards I know know I can load it it up to 10,550 lbs instead of 10,600 lbs. Thanks SAE. That was a close one!

Mostly the same 1 ton or a 100 lb increase on 5th wheels.

I don't tow 5th wheels and wouldn't buy a RC or extended cab 3/4 ton for such so I don't care about what went on with GM's 3/4 tons.

All of the duallies get extra time or are allowed to travel at lower speeds to make it through the tests.

Moreover, The big 1 tons that everyone constantly complains about are exempt. Mark Williams has revealed they are not included!

These standards are the biggest fairytale I have ever seen.

@Mr Knowitall: Well, maybe they meet MINIMAL stopping numbers....

Lets see more real testing.

@ dav


The Tundra is able to control sway better WITHOUT an ITBC because the braking system controller is BETTER than what the others use!

EVERYONE READ THISS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am SO SICK AND TIRED OF THIS TALK ABOUT ITBC's! let me ask you guys and gals a question since you folks dont seem to be thinking this all the way through!

1. what is the trailers brakes arent connected properly? it happens ALL THE TIME.
2. what happens when the trailers brakes arent adjusted properly? it happens ALL THE TIME.
3.what happens when you have surge brakes and have NOTHING to do with the braking system on the truck?

i could go on BUT,,,,,,,, NOW introduce the uneducated know it all into the equation that needs noone to tell him whats actually correct and now hes on the road with a 30' Sea Ray cabin cruiser thats weighs 10k and the idiot thinks his brakes are controlled by the truck? OR how bout the guy who just thinks trailer brakes work with no maintenance??????

NOW, do you think that the salespeople will be able to relay this info correctly to the consumer if they took this into consideration?? ANSWER HECK NO!!! for gods sake there are people that post on this site on a DAILY basis that think their max tow package truck they bought in 4x4 is the SAME as the trucks max fuel economy! need i say more?

@ dav

Also for the record. i have been informed that the WHOLE reason why Ford wont play ball is because the ecoboost cant handle the max load on davis damn with 100 degree ambient heat with ac on without the turbos shutting off to keep from overheating and then the measely little 3.5 CANT KEEP THE LOAD OVER THE MINIMUM 40MPH the rest of the way up.

Secondly Toyota has decreased the weight of the tundra which will increase towing capacity. a platinum crew max in 2013 4x4 weighs in at 5805lbs which is 300lbs heavier than the other trucks in the same catagory with exception to fords boat anchor 6.2 dinosaur motor.

@Dave - and I'd be your best buddy if I agreed with what Ford was doing?

"What do the SAE standards get you? As a buyer you really dont' gain much."

I would gain consistency and the ability to make a properly informed decision.
I'd know that a 10,000 lb rating for a Ford is the exact same as it is for a Tundra.
As a buyer, that would be a huge gain.
No vague fuzzy PR hyperbole to base my decisions on.
I'd know that I could tow 9,500 lb safely with my current truck.

Since I did not buy my truck to tow that much, I'm not too concerned. I follow the same broad guidelines that most guys do. Max numbers are fine once and a while at lower speeds and short distances.
Anything consistent means going and buying the next size up truck.
I had seriously considered a Tacoma but since it was at the limit of what I wanted to tow, I purchased a 1/2 ton. I'd buy a 3/4 ton if I planned on towing close to max for a 1/2 ton.

Has anyone ever read the J2807?, I have read about it on the link in one of the posts here on PUT.COM, and from what was there, it seems all they are interested in is acceleration, from a standing start, and from 30mph to 60mph, on level ground and an incline of set %, and then they time said acc. and with a certain laod, you have to be able to acc. at a min. rate to quarlify for the standard, it mentions nothing about stopping, with or without trailer brakes, so all it seems to tell us is how powerful said engine is in said vehicle, it has nothing to do with load cap, mpg,braking or even control, all it is concerned with is acc., from start, flat and hills, acc. from stop, flat and hills, all of them in a limited amount of time and what the GVWR is from the manuf. that is all there is to do with the standard.

oxi moved his whole entire house with his 2010 Tacoma with the reliable 2.7L 4-cylinder so I think the average garage queen will be fine!

oxi also has a 2100 payload rating thanks to the Deavers...

If you need more than that, rent a Uhaul!


STOP being jealous with your hate!

You do not know me and do not know my pickup, so STOP with your personal insults of HATE!

You keep this up, I will make sure you get banned! Folks like you are nothing but TROLLS and offer nothing to this forum but HATRED and INSULTS!

Posted by: oxi | Nov 4, 2012 6:42:50 AM

TRX 4 Tom and Dave get it and see the big picture. We prefer real world testing, not these stupid minimal standards.

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