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Old 05-12-2013, 11:48 AM   #1
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towing issue

I have a 2011 Ford Expedition 2 X 4 with the heavy duty towing package.

They say one can town 9200 / 15000 lbs.
While understand you never want to push that limit.

I have pulled a tent trailer before and so towing is not new to me.

However I taken my voyage trip on our new 2014 Dutchmen travel trailer.
Its unloaded weight is 6550 lbs. We have maybe about 750 of cargo and in
the truck 2 adults and 2 younger teenagers.


I have a WD bars connected from the hitch to the trailer.

I did experience some limited swaying when you hit about 62 MPH on flat freeway.

Then the biggest concern is driving up the canyon pass. The pass was a average incline with the town haul button engaged. It really labored going over the pass.

Is there some thing wrong that with the truck I should be concern or is this a learning curve.

Any suggestions?
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
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What motor and rear axle? Should be the big one with at least 3.73s or so.
And what pass at what altitude? That all affects motors.

The sway can be fixed by adding a sway control bar if you don't have one.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:51 PM   #3
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I have the larger engine with the 3.73 axel.

We live just at 5000 ft elevation and Provo pass is less the 6000. Which is between Provo And Heber ut ...


Coming home come over the backside seem much better.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:57 PM   #4
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That 5.4L will be working pretty hard at that elevation and towing up hill. The engine will be fine but it will be working. That engine tends to make its power on the low end so expect some high RPMs when going up hill. You will be fine. Unless there is a check engine light on or you can feel a misfire in engine, your engine is working correctly.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:21 PM   #5
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The 5.4 engine, although reliable does not produce the HP or torque that is needed to tow without a struggle. It is an old design gasoline engine. A gasoline engine will lose 3% of it's power per every 1000 feet in elevation.

IMHO - that engine is really underpowered for that vehicle solo let alone trying to tow are heavy trailer while loaded with people and stuff.

Go test drive a F-150 eco-boost and you will see what I mean. Or even the 5.0 litre engine powered F-150. The newer engines are really nifty compared to the old 5.4.

But even the best gasoline engines will struggle with that much weight.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:30 PM   #6
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A new truck?

Or, just slow down and put on your flashers! You'll get up the hill eventually and you'll have a lot of friendly people saluting you.

But seriously, just try not to go as fast, stay in the lower gears, and you'll be surprised how much less your truck will have to work.

No gasoline engine is going to get you up an 8% slope to 10,000 ft, without some serious strain.

So instead of going up that slope at 55, drop back down to 30-35 and see how nice and relatively easy it will be.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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I agree with going slower if you can keep up with the trucks in the right lane. If you can not keep up with those trucks you do need a better TV.

If you have cars plus trucks trying to pass you it is a dangerous highway situation.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:30 PM   #8
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So Bubwheat you made a comment that I should stay in lower gears. Reading Ford handbook was no help, only going down hill. What recommendation can you all give me on changing the gears when going up
hill?
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gazingm42 View Post
So Bubwheat you made a comment that I should stay in lower gears. Reading Ford handbook was no help, only going down hill. What recommendation can you all give me on changing the gears when going up
hill?
Watch your rpm. Gas engines work best above its max torque around 3000 rpm.
I had a 2,8l that i kept at 5000 rpm. But had a modified exhaust to protect the heads and manifold. Stock exhaust causes a lot of exhaust heat at the manifolds so lower rpm around 4000 might be best.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:46 AM   #10
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With that weight, I would a little more concerned about the other side of that ridge. I towed with gasoline engine for some time and I never worried very much about going up the hill, but really did not like the smell from the brakes going down. If that 5.4 is healthy, it will do fine, just don't get in a hurry. The engine will have limited engine braking capability, so crest slow and keep,the down hill speed under control.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gazingm42 View Post
So Bubwheat you made a comment that I should stay in lower gears. Reading Ford handbook was no help, only going down hill. What recommendation can you all give me on changing the gears when going up
hill?
Lowering your speed will put you in the lower gears although you can do it manually on most automatic transmissions. If, as said above, you have a tachometer, just watch the rpms.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:04 AM   #12
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So Bubwheat you made a comment that I should stay in lower gears. Reading Ford handbook was no help, only going down hill. What recommendation can you all give me on changing the gears when going up
hill?

Let the PCM determine what gear is needed going up hill. If you find that it is up shifting and downshifting while going up the hill, select the lowest gear the PCM did and keep it there. I would keep the RPMs around 4-5K based on what you have described.

However, at some point the PCM will "learn" what is going on and then command the lower gear until after the hill has passed. It will take some time to do so though. My Edge would up and down shift going up hills. I let it do so because of the adaptive strategy. After a few more hills, the PCM would keep the lower gear even a mile after I came down the hill. This is because the PCM is no anticipating the next hill and preventing yet another downshift.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:09 AM   #13
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You have a 6sp tranny with the 5.4. Your sweet spot for power when climbing is 34-3500 rpms. It will run there all day up hills. I believe you have the select shift button? Put the tranny in tow haul mode when towing, and run in 5th gear on the flats. When you come to inclines just select the next lower gear and leave it there till you crest the hill. Or let it shift down on it's own. You'll hardly ever see 6th gear unless you have a tailwind. Running in 5th will keep the engine in a higher rpm and will be better for it. It's not good to lug a gas engine. If you start going down the hill then leave it in the gear you went up with. If you're leveling out after climbing then select the next higher gear to cruise in. When descending use tow haul mode and touch the brakes, that will automaticaly down shift the tranny. Don't worry about 3-4000 rpms when descending, let the tranny help with the braking. The 5.4 is a dog by todays standards. I know I had a 2010 F150 5.4 maxtow with 3.73's. I towed 7300lbs with it. 8.5 mpg. Hated it. Yes it got me there and back, but the tranny in the 10 doesn't have a select option so it hunted for the right gear all day long. The expedition is no different than an F150 in terms of size or weight. Your TT is going to be a load for the EX but if you take your time you'll do okay. I would also watch your payload numbers. Check your drivers door sticker for CCC. On a dry TT of 6500lbs you'll be near 7500lbs loaded and the equates to about 900lbs for tongue weight. 12% is a good number for tongue weight. If you're getting swaying then you need to look at how you're loading the TT, check both the EX and the TT's tire pressure and make sure your WD is setup right. Best thing to do, and I know it's a hassle but that is to get the whole setup weighed to see what you're dealing with. Also who setup the WD, you may not have enough weight transferred to the front of the EX.

A quick way to check is to measure the front of the EX's wheel wells from the ground up unhitched. Then hitch up w/o using the WD. Measure again. Then connect the WD. You want the front returned to close to it's original number. Ie; if you have 39" unhitched and 41" hitched (no WD), then you want the front to be 40" or less but not less than 39" when hitched with the WD hooked up. I would shoot for 39-1/2" myself.

Another thing to think about is the type of WD you have. Is it just a WD for lifting or does it have built in sway. I would seriously think about getting an Equal-izer hitch like this oneEqualizer hitch - 12,000 lbs - By Progress Mfg Or a Reese like thisStrait-Line Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion Bar - 12,000 lbs GTW, 1,200 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66084
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I have a 2011 Ford Expedition 2 X 4 with the heavy duty towing package.

They say one can town 9200 / 15000 lbs.
They lie. Or at least they severely stretched the truth.

Your 2011 Expedition with 5.4L engine and 3.73 axle ratio has a tow rating of 9,200 pounds and a GCWR of 15,000 pounds, but you can get close to that weight only when your SUV is empty - no cargo or passengers at all other than a skinny driver.

GCWR minus tow rating = the max weight of your SUV when towing, in order to tow that heavy a trailer. 15,000 minus 9,200 = 5,800 pounds. But when wet and loaded for the road, with a full tank of gas and the hitch head for the weight-distributing hitch, but without the trailer, a scale will show that your SUV with family and stuff on board weighs a lot more than 5,800 pounds

So on 99 percent of SUVs, the GVWR of the tow vehicle is the limiter. Your GVWR is probably 7,400 pounds, so hitch weight is your limiter, not gross trailer weight.

Quote:
However I taken my voyage trip on our new 2014 Dutchmen travel trailer. Its unloaded weight is 6550 lbs.
That RV trailer probably has a GVWR of 9,680 pounds. Way too much trailer for a half-ton SUV to tow without being overloaded. Even the three-quarter-ton GM 2500 SUV would be stretched to the limit with that trailer.

Unloaded weight is a useless number. The GVWR of the trailer will give you a much better estimate of the weight of the wet and loaded trailer in the middle of your third camping trip.

On their website, I don't see a new Dutchmen TT with dry weight of 6550. Close is model 261BHS with dry weight of 6461, dry hitch weight of 11.7% of dry trailer weight, and GVWR of 9,680. So wet and loaded hitch weigh percent of gross trailer weight should be about the same as dry hitch weight percent of dry trailer weight, or around 1,132 pounds.

With 7,400 GVWR and hitch weight of 1,132 pounds, that leaves a max of 6,268 for the wet and loaded weight of the SUV before you tie onto the trailer. I'll bet your SUV weighs a lot more than 6,268, so you're probably overloaded.

You need to make friends with a CAT scale operator and get the weights of your wet and loaded rig. Add the weight on your front and rear axles to get GVW. Compare GVW to GVWR of the SUV. The GVWR is on the Federal Certification sticker on your driver's door frame - the sticker that shows tire size and PSI, month/year of production, VIN, and several codes, as well as GAWRs and GVWR.

If your GVW exceeds the GVWR of the tow vehicle, you have too much trailer hitch weight for that tow vehicle. About the only fix is to trade for more tow vehicle or less trailer.

If you go for more truck, don't even think about any half-ton pickups. Go to at least a three-quarter-ton SUV or pickup. The CrewCab pickups may have enough passenger capacity for your needs. But if not consider the E-350 vans. With the right options those can tow a 10,000 pound RV trailer without being overloaded. My last choice would be a Government Motors 2500 Suburban/Tahoe XL SUV
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