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Old 01-28-2012, 11:43 AM   #1
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Question Questions on Tow Vehicle Upgrade Options

Hi everyone!

We are new to RV'ing and realize that it is a different world from towing our 22' open-bow boat. So now I have some questions about aftermarket and OEM upgrades I could possible do to my truck. Specifically, do they really help and are they worth it?

I only have a 1/2 ton, not expecting to be pulling anything much heavier than our boat. My tow vehicle is a 2010 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4.
  • 5.4L 3valve V8
  • 3.55 ratio (I know it's high)
  • Tow package
  • 'Ford rated' to tow 9600 Lbs (overstated, I'm sure)
  • Class IV hitch setup.
In order to improve it's ability to tow (not looking to tow more weight, but it's ability to tow my combined weight rating with stability and safety in mind). I am thinking of adding the following upgrades and am looking to your advice and feedback as to their 1) viability, and 2) your recommendation if any of mfg & model(s).

  1. A quality anti-sway/weight distribution system like the Equalizer 4
  2. An airlift kit, be it an inflatable solution (negative: it adds more weight to the vehicle) or not.
  3. A 'performance tuner' (via the OBDC port) that tunes the engine's air:fuel ratio and timing parameters for increased HP and torque? If so, what model do you use and how do you rate the performance gained and your overall satisfaction with it? Has it positively, or negatively impacted your gas mileage?
  4. Possibly upgrading the differential's gear ratio to 3.77:1 or lower. Not sure what that would cost but I don't imagine it would be cheap.
  5. Are there other upgrades I am not thinking of that are cost effective and do a good job?
I'm hoping to to have to upgrade our tow vehicle, but if necessary I will. Just might have to put off getting a TT until then as I don't want to buy a lot less than what we want only to try and upgrade it later.


Thanks for any feedback you can provide.


Ray


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Old 01-28-2012, 12:41 PM   #2
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What size/weight of TT's are you looking at?
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:30 PM   #3
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rayk4e,
I think the if trailer GVW is 8500# or less, you should be good to go. The WD and antisway system is a must, airbags will keep the truck level and ride better (good idea) the tuner is up to you, from what I have read and heard, they don't do a whole lot for the newer gas engines (not like the diesels) and if you stay under the 9600# for the trailer you shouldn't need to change rear gears, you just might not be able to use overdrive if there are any hills. with the tow package, I am sure you will be good to go.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWillRVToo View Post
What size/weight of TT's are you looking at?
HERE's a link to the thread with the TT's he's considering. Note the numbers he's posting are UVW's.

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Old 01-28-2012, 08:08 PM   #5
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Thanks, Lori.
I agree with Frank.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:03 PM   #6
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Let me know if you have any questions regarding an Air Lift kit. I would be happy to help you find the best kit and possibly controller to suit your needs.

Question for you though, what did you mean by this statement:
"negative: it adds more weight to the vehicle"

Are you talking about the actual weight of the air bag kit? If so, this isn't much, the shipping weight of a normal kit is under 20 lbs.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:01 AM   #7
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Thank you again everyone. Frank and IWillRVToo, I appreciate the 'can-do' encouragement and advice. I really am trying offset my lack of practical RV experience and benefit from everyone's advice. And IWillRvToo, I really enjoyed looking at your photo gallery. It really reflects your passion for the RV lifestyle. And I am really impressed with the quality and composure of the pictures. You really have a great eye and talent.

Airlift, I will definitely reach out to you depending on what I ultimately decide to do. I think the airlift kit is something that is worth doing regardless of whether I get a larger TT or not. Just having it available is a plus to me. I did assume (wrongly it appears) that the kit, with compressor(s) and hardware, were much heavier than 20 lbs. Thanks for the clarification.

I'm looking forward to the day I'm asking for travel destination advice instead, and having the opportunity to meet fellow RV'ers and make make new friends. Hopefully, we'll get to meet you all someday.

Take care,
Ray
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:56 AM   #8
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I would do either the air bags or the eq hitch - you don't need both. A tuner kit is up to you again they work best on diesels. You need to look at the CGWR of the truck. this number is the most that the drivetrain can handle and should be greater than the total weight of the loaded truck + loaded trailer. A quick guide is to simply add together the GVWR of both the truck and trailer and if they are less than the CGWR you are in the right ballpark with your total weight.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy the sly old fox View Post
A quick guide is to simply add together the GVWR of both the truck and trailer and if they are less than the CGWR you are in the right ballpark with your total weight.
Yeah, but it's a huge ballpark. Depending on which tow vehicle and which type of RV trailer, it could mean you'll be overloaded when on the road.

Example:
Tow vehicle = 2012 Ford F-250 diesel CrewCab 4x4
...GVWR 10,000 pounds
...GCWR 23,500 pounds.
RV = fifth wheel with GVWR of 13,499 and wet and loaded hitch weight of 18 percent = 2,430 pounds

GVWR of tow vehicle plus GVWR of RV = 23,499, or less than GCWR of the tow vehicle.

Conclusion: That tow vehicle will be overloaded with that trailer.

2,430 hitch weight subtracted from 10,000 GVWR of the F-250 leaves only 7,570 pounds for the wet and loaded tow vehicle before you tie onto the trailer. But the F-250 will gross closer to 8,500 pounds when wet and loaded for the road with typical load of passengers, 5er hitch, toolbox full of tools, etc.

Example 2:
Same tow vehicle but travel trailer RV with GVWR of 13,499 and wet and loaded hitch weight of eleven percent, or 1,485 pounds. 1,485 hitch weight subtracted from 10,000 GVWR of the tow vehicle leaves 8515 pounds max weight for the wet and loaded tow vehicle. Now we have a much smaller ball park, with a good chance of not being overloaded when we cross the CAT scale.
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