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Old 05-09-2014, 02:52 PM   #1
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Towing

My wife and I will be newbees to rving. Been a boater our whole life and time for a change. I would like to get some expert advice on the type of vehicle to purchase to pull a travel trailer. The trailer we are looking at fully loaded and the weigh of passengers, fuel and cargo in the bed of the truck will be 9,200 lbs. Looking at the rating for a Ford F150 short bed, 2WD with a 5.4 V8 with a 3.73 rear end the towing capacity is 9,500 lbs.

Being we will be traveling cross states, through mountains, will this vehicle be safe, is it underpowered? Am I too close to the towing capacity? Am I too close to the towing capacity? Do I need to go to an F250 for higher towing capability with a different suspension system than the F150?. Please advise. I have talked to several Ford Dealers and get various feedback. Need to know from someone with experience towing so I don't make a huge mistake.

Thanks

Ken
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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I would go with the F250 with a diesel. I say diesel because it will cost less for fuel due to better mpg while towing and it will also have a better resale value and will last longer.
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:06 PM   #3
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And you know that your fully loaded weight will be 9200 pounds how? I am not trying to be snotty, just trying to understand how you arrived at 9200 pounds without having the trailer?
Since you have nothing Start with the trailers GVWR, the trucks GVWR and passenger + stuff weight. No body can definitively give you how much your truck might weigh when loaded ready to travel.
Personally I am not a real fan of 1/2 ton trucks. Great as grocery getters, but not really great for serious towing.
A 3/4 ton from any of the manufacturers will provide you with;
Stronger frame,
Better tires and wheels,
bigger brakes,
Stronger suspension,
higher towing capacity.

That is to just name a few of the benefits.
The downside,
possibly stiffer ride, Depends on weight capacity of the specific vehicle
possibly a bit lower fuel economy, Depends on rear end ratio as much as anything.
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:07 PM   #4
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Add up the following:

2 pax @ 200lbs
full fuel tank (gas or D2)
water tank on proposed trailer
full LP tanks

At that point you won't be able to safely pull the trailer, not with that axle ratio. You need a heavier truck - F250, Dodge 2500, Chevy 2500. Choice of fuels is up to you. Having owned many diesels and one very good gasser, I would look for a used V10 or 7.3 diesel. Forget the Hemi or any small diesel motor.

As for re-sale value - nada - no one is going to give you as much as you paid unless it's less than 3 yrs old.
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:51 PM   #5
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You are obviously looking at used trucks since they don't make the 5.4 anymore. For the weight you're looking at towing, (which is debatable at this point) I would suggest a 3/4 ton truck. Not knowing what you want to spend it's hard to give you any choices. But assuming you aren't spending a whole lot considering that an F150 2wd 5.4 SB is on the lower end for used trucks. I would suggest a GM 6.0 2500. No need for a diesel for that low of weight. Plus for what you want to spend for the F150 I doubt you will find a decent priced diesel 3/4 ton. Stay away from F250 5.4's. Total dogs. Darn good motor, just underpowered. Ram 5.7 2500's may be harder to find and would work out also. Ford put the new 6.2 in the F250 in 2011. But may be more than you want to spend.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:12 PM   #6
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As a old full time boater, 8 years worth, I really enjoy my Class A. Darn near the same thing except for the requirement to paint the bottom every few years
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:12 PM   #7
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Would like to see a bit more information about the truck and trailer. On the surface the information looks alright but cannot confirm it.

How much does the trailer weigh? If what you say the the total weight of the truck, trailer, passengers, good, etc weighs 9200 you may be OK.

For curiousity what kind and size of trailer are you planning to tow?

I checked the capacity of a 2010 F150 with 145" wheelbase and 5.4 engine. The spec says the towing capacity is 7100 lbs (you say 9200 so must be a different year). That is the max loaded weight of the trailer for conventional towing. No idea if your truck is the same model or even the same year.

They did not show a regular cab with a 5.4 but a supercab base weight was 5200 with a GVWR of 7050. In this case the GCWR should be in the 14,100 lb range.

You have to confirm the GVWR from the information tag on the drivers door and at the same time look at the GAWR (front and rear). Weigh the truck (by axle) with everything you are going to take and then add the weight of the trailer tongue to the rear axle weight to see if you exceed the rear rating. Dont forget that the actual weight on the rear axle will be more as the cantilever effect will move some weight from the front axle to the rear.

If all of your axles are good and the GCVW is not exceeded you are golden. The 5.4 has adequate power. The axle ratio is on the high side for serious towing but if you have a small trailer like a trilium, etc you will be ok if you are willing to take your time.

CHECK THIS OUT - if your salesman can not help you (they are trying to see a vehicle and a lot of times are not interested in the numbers) ask to see one of the truck fellows. They should be able to tell you exactly what the numbers are.

As pointed out if you are seriously going to tow a 3/4 ton may be a wiser choice. Most of the time you catch the bug and soon move up to larger units with more amentities. Generally this means the existing tow vehicle has to be replaced as well so the cost is higher.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:29 PM   #8
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Absolutely a 1/2 ton truck with ANY motor, trans or rear end combination will NOT tow that trailer safely. Get a 3/4 ton and don't look back. As an example a F150 crew cab XLT will cost approx 39k a similar F250 XLT crew cab is 42k. For 3k you are getting double the truck and will have more flexibility if you change trailers later.
Don't rely on factory tow ratings.
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:36 AM   #9
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It's not the tow rating I would be concerned about. It is the payload of a 1/2 ton. For the past two years (since I got into camping) I always believed that my 1/2 ton could do the job. Unfortunately the payload was a measles 1400 lbs. that didn't take long to use up. Traded up to a Ram 2500 5.7 Hemi. Took it out this weekend for its first trial. Difference of night and day in windy conditions (as we had driving to the campground). I don't regret for one moment purchasing the 3/4 ton. Just my two cents worth! Good luck with your search and enjoy the great times.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:07 AM   #10
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Read the ford towing specs for the f150.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:22 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies!! Sounds like F250 is the way to go for a safer and a better handling vehicle.

Regards,

Ken
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcereska View Post
The trailer we are looking at fully loaded and the weigh of passengers, fuel and cargo in the bed of the truck will be 9,200 lbs.
You lost me there. What will be 9,200 pounds? It sounds like the weight of the wet and loaded trailer, plus the weight of driver, passengers, cargo in the truck with a full tank of gas will weigh 9,200 pounds. But that weight is not meaningful when matching trailer to tow vehicle.

Instead you need the actual weight of the wet and loaded trailer. If you don't have the trailer yet, then the best estimate of the gross trailer weight is the GVWR of the trailer.

Quote:
Looking at the rating for a Ford F150 short bed, 2WD with a 5.4 V8 with a 3.73 rear end the towing capacity is 9,500 lbs.
You don't say the year of the truck, but the last 5.4L engine was installed in the 2010 model year. But none of the 2009 or 2010 F-150 4x2s with 5.4L engine, 3.73 axle ratio and 5.5' beds had a tow rating of 9,500 pounds.

But if I go back to 2004 thru 2007 model years, the F-150 SuperCrew 4x2 shorty with 5.4L engine and 3.73 axle ratio had a tow rating of 9,500 pounds. And the SuperCab with 6.5' bed, which was the mid-length bed for a SuperCab.

Quote:
Being we will be traveling cross states, through mountains, will this vehicle be safe, is it underpowered? Am I too close to the towing capacity?
Without better weight data on the trailer and without knowing the GVWR of the F-150, nobody can give you a certain answer. My guess is you will have plenty of power and torque to tow the trailer at a reasonable speed up any interstate mountain grade. But you'll be overloaded over the GVWR of your F-150.

My F-150 has a tow rating of 8,400 pounds, but I run out of payload capacity for hitch weight long before I get close to 8,400 pounds gross trailer weight. On a long trip from west Texas to Knoxville, Detroit, then home, my RV trailer grossed only 4,780 pounds (4,220 trailer axle weight plus 560 tongue weight), but I was 100 pounds over the 7,100 pounds GVWR of my pickup.

Quote:
Do I need to go to an F250 for higher towing capability with a different suspension system than the F150?
You probably don't need more towing capability for pulling the trailer, but you'll need more hauling capability for the hitch weight without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle.

But don't get too excited about getting a huge trailer to tow with an F-250. They have the same problem with lack of available payload capacity for hitch weight as the F-150 - i.e., you can't get close to the tow rating before you run out of GVWR. Yeah, they can haul a heavier trailer with more hitch weight than most F-150s can without exceeding the GVWR of the F-250, but nowhere near the tow rating of the F-250.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcereska
Sounds like F250 is the way to go for a safer and a better handling vehicle.
Yep, within reason. But here's some more numbers:

2005-up F-250 with V-10 or 6.2L gasoline engine, GVWR = 10,000 pounds. DO NOT buy a '99 thru 2010 F-250 with the 5.4L gas engine - simply not enough engine for that truck.

Wet and loaded weight of a CrewCab 4x2 gas engine shorty with driver, full tank of gas, passengers, toolbox full of tools, spray-in bedliner, trailer hitch and other options = 7,500 pounds, which leaves 2,500 pounds max for hitch weight. 2500 pounds max hitch weight is more than your receiver is rated for, so you can tow a TT with a WD hitch with hitch weight up to the max weight capacity of your receiver. If your receiver is rated for 1,250 pounds hitch weight with a WD hitch, then don't buy a TT with a GVWR over about 8,500 pounds. Or you can go to a fifth wheel RV with a max weight of about 12,500 pounds.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:34 PM   #13
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Hey SmokeyWren;
You spent time and effort on an excellent response.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:07 AM   #14
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Hey SmokeyWren;
You spent time and effort on an excellent response.
As always. He's very informative, with good advice...
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