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Old 11-14-2014, 11:45 PM   #1
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Some Advice or Reassurance

We are planning on going full time real soon, like almost yesterday. We chose the floor plan that seems right for us; bought a '09 Montana 3585 SA in great shape; a '99 f350 Super Duty 4x4 dually, V10. Have been really happy with the power and mileage on the few short hauls we have had them out on but...we are getting ready to take off to warmer climes which from Vermont means long hauls.

In reading through the various discussion threads, I am beginning to wonder if our configuration is right. We are not speed demons and have no place to get to in any particular hurry so driving 75 mile an hour does not enthuse us but we would like to be relative legal and safe.

Back in the '80s, we hauled our nursery stock all across the country with not nearly the power and never had any concern...maybe youth and age does that.

So the numbers Ford Towing charts say that the MTW for our particular truck is 12,700# and our fifth wheel Dry Weight is 11,495#. That leaves us with 1,105# and that doesn't seem to leave much room for living. Or, have I figured wrong?
And, if I'm not wrong...how much over is still safe and wouldn't get us a ticket or, is that not a consideration?

Any help or advice will be much appreciated!
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:29 AM   #2
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I wouldn't worry much about this never been wieghed yet in over 30 years.
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:38 AM   #3
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I would not worry cause you have a duelly. Check your rear tires often and enjoy.
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitanigha View Post
We are planning on going full time real soon, like almost yesterday. We chose the floor plan that seems right for us; bought a '09 Montana 3585 SA in great shape; a '99 f350 Super Duty 4x4 dually, V10.
Ford specs are
GCWR = 20,000 with 4.30 axle, 17,000 with 3.73 axle
GVWR = 11,200

Quote:
So the numbers Ford Towing charts say that the MTW for our particular truck is 12,700# and our fifth wheel Dry Weight is 11,495#. That leaves us with 1,105# and that doesn't seem to leave much room for living. Or, have I figured wrong?
Dry weight of a 5er is a useless number. Use the GVWR of the trailer as the estimated weight of your trailer when you load it up for a full-timer's move from one campground or RV park to another. The GVWR (shipping weight plus carrying capacity) of your trailer is 15,560 per the Keystone website:

Montana Specifications for 2009

The dry hitch weight of that trailer is about 17.4% of the shipping weight, so if you pay attention when loading the trailer the wet and loaded trailer should maintain about 17.5% pin weight. 17.5% of 15,560 is 2,373 pounds hitch or pin weight.

You read the wrong Ford towing chart. The '99 F-350 DRW towing chart for a V-10 shows 10,200 with the 3.73 axle and 13,300 with the 4.30 axle. But that tow rating assumes your wet and loaded tow vehicle weighs only 6,700 pounds.
(20,000 GCWR minus 13,300 tow rating = 6,700. 17,000 GCWR minus 10,300 tow rating = 6,700.)

A fulltimer's F-350 DRW gasser is going to weigh a lot more than 6,700 pounds, so your real-world tow rating is going to be a lot less than 10,300 or 13,300.

So step 1 is to load the truck with everything and everybody that will be in it when you move from one location to another. Remember that a full-timer must haul everything you own with you when you move the trailer. So include the installed 5er hitch, all the people and pets and tools and jacks and anything else that will be in the truck when towing. Drive to a truckstop that has a CAT scale, fill up with gas, and weigh the wet and loaded truck (without trailer). Subtract that weight from the GCWR and the answer is the max weight of any trailer you can tow without exceeding the pulling capacity of the truck. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GVWR and the answer is the max hitch weight you can haul without exceeding the payload capacity of your truck.

Let's assume your truck has the 4.30 axle, so your GCWR is 20,000 pounds. And let's assume your wet and loaded truck ready to back up to the 5er weighs only 8,000 pounds.

11,200 GVWR minus 8,000 truck leaves 3,200 pounds for hitch weight. Your max hitch weight should be less than 3,000 pounds, so your dually has enough payload capacity to handle that.

20,000 GCWR minus 8,000 pounds truck leaves only 12,000 pounds for max trailer weight. So if your wet and loaded full-timer's trailer weighs 15,000 pounds, you'll be 3,000 pounds over the GCWR. Your truck will probably be able to pull that much weight if you spend a few bucks on mods to increase tranny cooling capacity, and don't attempt to climb any steep mountain grades.

But if your dually has the 3.73 axle ratio, then then you're screwed. Step 1 would then be to change out the ring gerar and pinion in both front and rear axle to get at least the 4.30 ratio, and even shorter legs would be better

Quote:
And, if I'm not wrong...how much over is still safe and wouldn't get us a ticket or, is that not a consideration?
You won't get a ticket for exceeding the GCWR (tow rating). But you'll be the slowpoke holding up traffic on any steep hills or mountain passes. And if you overheat the drivetrain because of exceeding the GCWR, then you could get a ticket for not properly maintaining the tow vehicle and breaking down on a busy highway.

If you pay attention to the weight you load into the truck and trailer, then you shouldn't be overloaded over the GVWR of the truck. But weigh the wet and loaded rig on a CAT scale in the middle of every move, and try very hard not to exceed the GVWR of the pickup.

Good luck.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren
Ford specs are
GCWR = 20,000 with 4.30 axle, 17,000 with 3.73 axle
GVWR = 11,200
Those specs are assuming you have an automatic tranny. If you have a stick shifter, the GVWR is the same but the GCWR is slightly different: 20,000 with 4.30 axle and 16,500 with 3.73.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Your truck will probably be able to pull that much weight if you spend a few bucks on mods to increase tranny cooling capacity, ...
Asssuming your transmission is an automatic: (Ignore if you have the 6-speed ZF manual stick)

Let's expand on that thought.

The weak spot in a '99 F-350 DRW drivetrain (assuming an automatic tranny) is the 4R100 tranny. It's a good, dependable tranny if you never allow it to get too hot, but if overheated it will go south in a heartbeat. So you want to prevent it from overheating.

Step 1 is to install a good tranny temp gauge with clear markings around the 225° redline. Mine was an ISSPRO R5659R. Note the bottom peg is 100°. Most tranny temp gauges have the bottom peg at 140°, but then in the wintertime you'll rarely see the gauge move off the bottom peg so you'll wonder if it's working right.
ISSPRO R5659R EV Series Trans Temp Gauge at DieselManor

DieselManor is primarily a website for diesel parts, but your 4R100 tranny is the same as the 4R100 tranny in my '99.5 F-250 PowerStroke, so the ISSPRO R5659 gauge will work just fine. Install the sender for the gauge in the port on the side of the tranny. Instructions for exactly how to install the sender are included on the DieselManor website, so do some surfing there.

Watch that gauge like a hawk, especially when towing at less than 40 MPH. When the torque converter is turned off at slower speeds, the tranny sends a volcano worth of heat at the tranny cooler, overcoming the cooling capacity, so the tranny temp soars. Any tranny temp over 210° is hot. The red line is 225°.

If you ever see over 210°, then you need to invest in increased cooling system capacity. Step 2 is to replace the smaller oil-to-air (OTA) tranny cooler with the much bigger one from a 6.0L PowerStroke. Everything should fit except the plumbing line connections will be different sizes. You can buy the correct connection adapters at any decent hardware store to connect the 3/8th lines to the 1/2" connecters on the tranny.

Ford used two different 6.0L tranny coolers, originally with 32 rows then replaced by a more efficient cooler with 26 rows. You want the one with 26 rows. Source is any Ford parts counter that will sell it to you at a decent price around $300. List price is over $400.
Here's one:
6.0L Transmission Cooler 26 Row - Riffraff Diesel Performance
Here's another:
5C3Z-7A095-CA Ford Auto Trans Oil Cooler

If you don't like one of those sources, then search for Ford part number 5C3Z-7A095-CA. Ford no longer makes that part number, so they may be getting harder to find.

Part II: Maintenance of the 4R100

If you want the tranny to last, then you must use good ATF and change it every 30,000 miles for synthetic such as Mobil 1, or every 20,000 miles for dino ATF. Be certain the ATF is rated MERCON Plus, which Mobil 1 is.

Here's the link to the DIY procedures for changing the ATF. Do not rely on any tranny shop or lube shop to do it right. If you don't DIY, then print out the instructions and insist the shop follow those instructions to a "T".
Changing ATF: 7.3L PowerStroke Engine and 4R100 Automatic Transmission. - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com

Part III. Overhauling the 4R100 tranny

Even with excellent maintenance and not allowing the tranny to overheat, the life of the OEM tranny is around 100,000 to 120,000 miles of hard work. The newest 4R100 is now 12 years old, so parts are becoming scarce. Plan ahead and know all about a reliable 4R100 overhaul shop before you need them. I had mine done at the best of the best, Brian's Truck Shop (BTS), but that was years ago. They still show the 4R100 on their website, so if you want the best of the best (and are willing to pay for it), then I'd recommend them. Expect a bill for around $5,000. BTS | 4R100 Ford TruckTransmissions
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Old 11-16-2014, 06:46 PM   #6
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The max tow and gcwr ratings aren't that high for gas duallies. The truck will do what you need to do no problem. And being that it's a v10 shouldn't be as slow as some might lead you to believe. There are plenty 35ft plus MH's out there pulling cars with very happy owners.

Smoky wren gave you good advise on the tranny which is usually the weakest link on any gas job.

I would not be overly concerned with the truck being able to pull the trailer nicely even though it is rated to tow considerably less than a diesel. A lot of what you read on the net from folks will be the most extreme of situations. I wouldn't think twice about pulling a 12k trailer with a gas dually. You won't have the horses of the guy with the f-250 diesel but you will have a more stable, comfortable, safer ride.
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