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Old 06-07-2012, 10:01 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by ezspdr View Post
The trailer, loaded will weigh about 7000lbs and I will be looking at both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton but would like to know what the optimum RA ratio would be.
You haven't reported back to us as to your decision, so I'll assume you haven't pulled the trigger yet.

Optimum rear axle ratio depends on the HP and torque curves of the engine and the gear ratios in the transmission, as well as the weight of your trailer. That gets pretty technical in a hurry, so the shortcut is to use the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of the truck. The manufacturer publishes a "tow rating", which is the GCWR minus the weight of the empty truck with no options. Those tow ratings are all overstated, so subtract about 1,000 pounds from the tow rating, and you'll have a realistic actual tow rating of a wet and loaded truck with normal options. So for a 7,000 pound trailer, you need a tow rating of at least 8,000 pounds.

Using the 2012 Ford F-150 as an example, there are 4 engine choices and several choices of rear axle ratio. There is a table in the Ford 2012 RV and Trailer Towing Guide that shows the tow rating of F-150s with 90 different combos of engine, rear axle ratio, cab, and bed length, as well as whether or not it is equipped with optional HD payload pkg or max tow pkg. 2012 F-150 factory tow ratings range from 5,500 pounds to 11,300 pounds, depending on all those factors. So with the right options, you can tow a trailer that weighs up to about 10,000 pounds with a half ton pickup.

At a glance you can see that none of the F-150s with the standard 3.7L V6 engine has enough tow rating. With the V8 5.0L engine, you need a 3.73 axle ratio to get over 8,000 pounds tow rating. With the EcoBoost engine, all the available combinations have tow ratings of at least 8,000 pounds. With the "big" 6.2L engine, 3.73 axle ratio is standard, and with the max tow pkg has a tow rating way over 8,000 pounds. But caution! The 6.2L engine with 3.73 ratio in the Harley-Davidson trim or a Raptor SuperCab has a tow rating of less than 8,000 pounds. (The Harleys and Raptors are made for hauling ass, not towing. )

My 2012 F-150 EcoBoost 4x2 SuperCrew with 6.5' bed and 3.15 axle ratio has a tow rating of 8,400 pounds. My cargo trailer has a GVWR of 7,000 pounds, so I expect no problems pulling that trailer. I haven't actually towed 7,000 pounds yet. My TT has a GVWR of 5,600 pounds, and we just returned from a 4,000-mile RVing trip, including the Cumberland mountains of eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, and the towing performance was excellent.

So again, optimum rear axle ratio depends on the HP and torque curves of the engine and the gear ratios in the transmission, as well as the weight of your trailer. With my engine and transmission, 3.15 axle ratio is great for towing my 5,600 pound TT and would probably be satisfactory with my 7,000 pound trailer. But with Ford V8 engines in a half-ton pickup, you need 3.73 to tow 7,000 pounds with no problems.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:21 PM   #30
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I have extensive experience towing, so here's my take. What may be good for one person, may not be good for the next. for an example; I have camped at a few places that have no paved parking spaces, just grass and an electric box. I have seen 2 wheel drive dually pickups get stuck trying to get their trailer out of their spot because it was slippery. that is a case where a 4x4 would be better but then again, how often is that gonna happen? I don't just use my truck for towing my rv, I also have a boat and some boat ramps are quite steep and when wet, a 2 wheel drive just won't make it. I also live in an area that snows often and about 2 times per year I have needed 4x4 because of my having to travel in it.
So 4x4 may be just a matter of need or as one user stated, like an insurance policy.

The matter of diesel over gas is something else. here's how I look at that; I have used both to pull my rv. using gas and a 1/2 ton gasser, my mileage was around 8mpg. I now have a 3/4 ton diesel 4x4 and mileage is 16mpg taking it easy. To me, if you are going to pull a lot, diesel is the way to go. it's cheaper on fuel, almost twice the mileage. also comparing a 1/2 ton with a 3/4 ton, when I pulled with 1/2 ton, I felt the trailer much more than I do now with my 3/4 ton. When pulling with 3/4 ton, you almost can't feel it back there.
I'm not saying that a 1/2 ton can't do some decent pulling, I'm just saying that if you are gonna do a lot of towing, use a 3/4 ton and if you want good mileage, go diesel.

and here's an observation, I have seen a dodge dakota pulling a smaller 5 wheel trailer. I know engine wise it's strong enough but really the size and weight isn't quite right. But it did it. I personally wouldn't do that. Being an ex truck driver, I tend to lean towards what some call overkill. I don't like to haul any where's near the max capacity of a tow vehicle. You want plenty of wiggle room for safety.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:13 AM   #31
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:42 AM   #32
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I now have a 3/4 ton diesel 4x4 and mileage is 16mpg taking it easy.
If that was towing an RV trailer, then you were probably the poky old geezer blocking traffic on the 2-lane highways in the Hill Country.

I towed an 8,000-pound fifth wheel for over 100,000 miles with a '99.5 F-250 7.3L diesel CrewCab 4x2. I sold that pickup with 194,000 miles on it, so about half the miles were towing that trailer. Granted, I'm probably older than you, but I was never the pokey ole geezer holding up traffic. Unloaded MPG was less than 16 MPG. Towing mileage depended on speed, with the optimum speed of 62 MPH (1,800 RPM) when I got around 12 MPG on the flats. At slower speeds the MPG decreased because the engine didn't make enough horses to prevent the tranny from downshifting for every little bump in the road. When I towed at the 74 MPH ticket limit to keep up with traffic on I-20 in west Texas, MPG fell to about 8.5.

My 2003 F-150 with 4.6L 2V engine did almost that good when dragging a cargo trailer grossing around 6,000 pounds. And my 2012 F-150 EcoBoost averaged about 9.5 MPG when dragging a 5,000-pound TT at 65 MPH on a 4,000-mile cross country jaunt recently.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:22 AM   #33
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16 mpg had to be empty. With my 4.10 DRW, I can get 16 or a bit over running 65 MPH empty. Towing, at 62 to 65 mpg, we get about 10 mpg....real world numbers and towing heavy.

As for the DRW getting stuck because it was a 2 wheel drive...never a problem on grass, gravel,dirt, wet or dry. Personally, I would not have a 4 wheel drive for my use.

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Old 06-08-2012, 09:23 AM   #34
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16 mpg towing ?!?

That would be heavenly !

like SW, mine is speed dependent on the flats due to punching a big ole' hole in the air is more of a factor than weight... and 8.5 to 11 mpg (only once !) 10mpg is more the norm towing.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:39 AM   #35
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Towing our 16K GVWR 5th wheel (see signature), I get ~10.2 MPG at 65 MPH and 16-17 running empty at 70-75 MPH. That's very close to the mileage I got with my previous 2002 Cummins HO-powered/6-speed manual Ram dually with 4.10 gears towing the same 5th wheel. That's the real world with a heavy, tall, wide 5th wheel.

And, as I've said, insofar as being stuck is concerned, I've had no problems at all in 16+ years of towing 5th wheels or running unloaded with 2WD duallies.

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Old 06-08-2012, 10:50 AM   #36
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And, as I've said...
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:26 AM   #37
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As long as people continue to imply that everyone MUST have 4WD to tow a 5th wheel, I'll continue to post that not EVERYONE needs it. If it troubles you excessively, put me on "ignore" and it won't be a problem.

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Old 06-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #38
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As long as people continue to imply that everyone MUST have 4WD to tow a 5th wheel, I'll continue to post that not EVERYONE needs it. If it troubles you excessively, put me on "ignore" and it won't be a problem.

Rusty

Lots of folks post their theory on something based on Aunt June's gardener's third cousins hair dressers story than had been repeated 4 times....never mind real world experience.

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Old 06-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #39
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As long as people continue to imply that everyone MUST have 4WD to tow a 5th wheel, I'll continue to post that not EVERYONE needs it. If it troubles you excessively, put me on "ignore" and it won't be a problem.

Rusty
if you go back and read, I responded to the guy that said people that opt for 4wd are doing it only "to look manly and that it is not needed."
can you show me where I implyed everyone MUST? I responded "it all depends on what you plan to use your truck for." a feller can have 50 years experience pulling a 5th wheel.. but if he is "koa style camping" naturally he is not going to need a 4wheel drive outfit.
not everyone needs DRW, again.. an option.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:06 PM   #40
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I would have gotten a 2wd for towing but for two things: they are hard to find in north east PA and I need it to get in my driveway and to work (I am only off if they close the roads. With the dually I toss 1k of gravel in the bed.) in the winter. I actually had my old GMC slide down the driveway and push against my leg while getting my mail... talk about shocked then funny as my immediate reaction was to push back against it to keep it from sliding into the road and then down hill a half a mile. LOL My sanity returned, dropped the mail and drove it off of the driveway into the snow, over the mail.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:01 PM   #41
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if you go back and read, I responded to the guy that said people that opt for 4wd are doing it only "to look manly and that it is not needed."
can you show me where I implyed everyone MUST?
If you will read posts #36 and #37 again, my response wasn't directed at anything you specifically wrote. My response was to your graphic expression of frustration (i.e., the ) because I restated the point that not EVERYONE requires 4WD to tow a 5th wheel.

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Old 06-08-2012, 10:35 PM   #42
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Lots of folks post their theory on something based on Aunt June's gardener's third cousins hair dressers story than had been repeated 4 times....never mind real world experience.

Ken
Aunt June 's gardener's third cousins hair dresser story sometimes makes more sense than some folks that like to imply they have the only real world experience.

Of the eight DRW trucks I've owned five were 4wd simply because a 2wd couldn't go where I had to go. Theres nothing more helpless than pickup with a heavy diesel up front/highway tires/non locking diff and 2wd trying to pull a trailer up a slick wet grassy slope or polished concrete wet boat ramp or in a muddy pasture or muddy worksite or simply gettin' away from a red light on black ice up a bit of slope.
Some folks have no need for a 4wd as they simply don't go where its needed. For those folks a 2wd works fine.
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