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Old 07-22-2013, 11:45 AM   #1
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I might need to upgrade TV

Good Morning All:

This site has been a wealth of info, keep it up!
My family and I have owned Ford SUVs for 10 years starting in 2003 with the Explorer and we now have a 2007 . We purchased our current Expy LTD used in 2011 with 84k.
My family normally camps 3 to 4 times a year with our longest trip about 400 kms each way with our 3000 pound Coleman pop up. The truck has run great with no issues and we normally get an average of 14-16 mpg pulling the Coleman. Wife and I decided to finally upgrade the trailer to a Ultralite quad bunk trailer this summer and unfortunately this is where my issues begin. When purchasing the Expy I didn't look close enough to specs and seeing the 7 pin plug in and trans cooler I thought the LTD had the hd tow package, Unfortunately it is standard package only.
We got such a great deal on the trailer and thinking at a dry weight of 4200 we would be fine. We are not first time RVers so I don't take the dry weight numbers as fact so after purchase I loaded it up full water, gear, gas and kids and headed to local CAT scales. I was unhappy to find us at a total weight of 12300 lbs. Trailer is 4950lbs Expy in at 7350lbs, the combination is rated at 12100lbs max from Ford.
The truck has a Reese brake controller and the trailer has a healthy Reese 12000 lbs wd hitch with anti-sway control.
We did a quick overnighter to our local provincial park just after purchase to test all functions 2 weeks ago and it pulled really well with zero issues.
After reading most of the towing posts here (my eyes hurt) I decided to purchase and scangauge2 to monitor Trans temp (f), coolant temp (c) and MPG(converted from lt per 100k) a bit closer.
This last weekend we took the family camping about 500km round trip and here are my findings
-MPG is right around 8. Terrible but seems like the norm.
-Trans temp w/o trailer average 175 F. Trailer hooked up average about 190f (weather is around seasonal averages 24 Celsius) crept above 200f once at end of trip while in reverse parking trailer at storage area with incline into spot. Once again this seems ok as it is just above normal temps.
-Pulled with overdrive off entire trip and rpms stayed around 2900 with lots of power on hills and trailer was really steady with zero sway.
Rear end sags about 2 inches, front rises about 1/2 inch. I will be tweaking hd hitch to rectify this this week.
***Finally my question- Do I need to upgrade to a larger SUV (excursion or Suburban 2500) or will my current (well loved) Expy be enough. Expy is paid for and has such low kms it would be a shame to sell but my family's well being is priority #1.

Sorry for being long winded but reading all the posts here I wanted as much info for feedback

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Old 07-22-2013, 12:00 PM   #2
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Welcome to irv2. I haven't got a clue but our experts will be along shortly.


Cliff,Tallulah and Buddy ( 1999-2012 )
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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The current TV is a 2007 Expedition Limited
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:58 PM   #4
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I think a flat screen TV is easier to tow vs the old tube TV's.... Lol

In regard to upgrading the SUV, I am not sure that I see the reason to do that. Especially if you love the old one and it is paid for. I'd suggest that you save that cost for traveling, tires, service, etc.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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one thing that might help is tow without the water then fill the tank when you get to where you are going. That will reduce the combined towing weight.
John, Joyce & Libby the Yellow Lab. - Fulltime since `08

2005 Kountry Star FW-35LKSA by Newmar
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by will40 View Post
... Trailer is 4950lbs Expy in at 7350lbs, the combination is rated at 12100lbs max from Ford.
...***Finally my question- Do I need to upgrade to a larger SUV (excursion or Suburban 2500) or will my current (well loved) Expy be enough. Expy is paid for and has such low kms it would be a shame to sell but my family's well being is priority #1.
Your Expy has a tow rating of up to 6,000 pounds, so the 5,000 pound trailer should be okay.

The problem with an SUV is you can either haul a bunch of people, or tow a 5,000 pound trailer, but not both at the same time without being overloaded.

Here's what I would do in your shoes.

Heat is the killer of towing vehicles, so get rid of the excess heat in the motor oil, coolant and tranny fluid.

1. Upgrade the oil-to-air (OTA) tranny cooler to the biggest one that will fit. If it doesn't already have and OTA tranny cooler and gets by with only the oil-to-water (OTW) cooler in the bottom of the radiator, then I would add the biggest OTA tranny cooler that will fit in front of the radiator.

2. Upgrade the radiator to the one that came with the HD tow pkg. Any sharp Ford parts person can tell you what you need.

3. Add an oil cooler. Use a "sandwich" adapter between the oil filter and the block as your source for the hot oil, then place the heat exchanger (oil cooler) anywhere it will fit under the truck. Etrailer.com has several, and one probably has the correct threads to fit your rig:
Engine Oil Coolers Sandwich Adapter Accessories and Parts | etrailer.com

That should take care of the heat problems. Next is hitch adjustment. You need several weights to dial in your hitch.

1. Wet and loaded trailer tongue (hitch) weight or TW. Two ways to get that. Easiest is with a tongue weight scale. But you can also weigh the Expy with and without the trailer tied on. Add the two SUV axle weights with the trailer tied on and subtract the two SUV axle weights without the trailer. The difference is hitch weight.

2. Weight on the two Expy axles with the trailer but without the WD hitch spring bars tightened.

3. Weight on the two Expy axles with the WD hitch spring bars tightened

Your goal is to remove about one half of the hitch weight from the rear axle and distribute it to the front axle and trailer axles when the spring bars are tightened.

For example, if the tongue weight of the wet and loaded TT is 650 pounds, the WD hitch should leave about 325 pounds of hitch weight on the rear axle, transfer about 160 pounds to the front axle of the Expy, and transfer another 160 pounds to the trailer axles. Those are round numbers, so plus or minus about 25 pounds is probably okay.

If that's not happening, then adjust the hitch per Reese instructions until you get it close to right.

Two ways to adjust the hitch. Simple is to tighten the spring bars one link more or less. That will transfer more or less weight off the rear axle. If that does the job, then you're done. But if too much weight is transferred to the front axle or to the trailer axles, then you need to change the tilt of the hitch ball until you get about the same weight transferred to the front axle and the trailer axles, with the spring bars tightened just enough to keep about half the total hitch weight on the rear axle.

Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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