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Old 01-09-2018, 11:20 PM   #1
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Towing my new TT and the weights

Well I picked up my new TT last weekend, a Jayco X19H hybrid, and headed for a RV park for a month. Towing it was a bit rougher than I expected, but not too bad. I think there are issues with my WD, and some improvements needed in the truck, and/or my towing abilities.


The truck is a 2007 F-150 with the 4.2L engine, 3.55 ratio, and 4 speed auto trans. It has front and rear axle weight ratings of 3400lbs, and GVWR of 6500. According to Ford’s RV & Truck towing guide it has a GCWR of 10,000. My truck did not come with the tow package, but when I got it did have a third party (UHaul) trailer hitch mounted. (I bought it used before I ever thought about getting a RV). I have since added the trailer wiring for the 7 pin trailer connector (OEM wiring and connector from Ford). So, the only thing missing from the tow package is the Trans Oil Cooler. That is the next thing to add.


According to Ford without the tow package the truck is limited to 5000lb trailer, and a frontal area of 60 sq. ft. The new trailer's empty sticker gives the UVW as 3839lb (GTWR 4950), and the box measures 7ft x 8ft (54 sq. ft.). So, I figured I could tow it without having the tow package.


Here are the actual CAT scale weights without passengers, so add about 500lbs to the truck.


Truck alone with full tank of gas
Front: 2600lb, Rear: 2160lb, Total: 4760lb


Truck with trailer as picked up from the dealer with full tank of gas, 40lb propane, battery, WD hitch, supplies needed to setup and connect at the campsite (hoses, levelers, etc.), and it also appears there was about 10gal of water.
Front: 2640lb, Rear: 2480lb, Trailer: 3780lb, Total: 8900lb.


Now for the issues I experienced while towing.
The first thing I noticed was there was some ‘bounce’ or ‘wave’ at times going down the road (think of being in a boat in mild waves). It wasn’t bad but noticeable. I also felt the wind when a tractor trailer passed me on the freeway, about like when I am driving my little Honda Fit when it is very windy.


Second was my transmission temp. I am using a ScanGaugeII to monitor the trans temp. I believe the sensor is reading the pan oil temp. It was running 205-215 on hilly north GA back roads, with the outside air temp at or below freezing. This seems quite high, but not scary high. The Trans temp was about 190-200 before I got on the back roads.


The last thing I had an issue with was trying to pull some of the longer/steeper hills. There were a few where I lost some speed going up them. Due to the trans temps, I tried not to give it more gas to get up hill unless I was losing more than 5-10 mph on the hill. I did not turn off the O/D, as suggested by the dealership, but I have since read that I probably should have. Not sure how having the O/D on or off in this situation would have affected the Trans temp.


I believe the WD hitch was not properly set up, and most likely the wrong size hitch. When buying the TT they added an amount for a WD hitch and I ask them to match etrailer’s price on a 6000lb equalizer 4 point sway control. This hitch handles tongue weight 400-600 I believe. What I received was the 10,000lb equalizer 4 point. I think it designed for tongue weights of 700-1000. I don’t think the hitch I received was helping much since by looking at the weights above there doesn’t seem to be much distribution, and the ‘bounce’ I experienced.

Should I go ahead and get 6000lb equalizer, or is the 10000 OK for my weights?



Should I have seen the weights distributed more when I weighed?


Is the ‘bounce’ normal, or caused by the WD hitch being wrong?


Are the trans temps in the “high, but no cause for alarm, get a trans cooler when you get a chance” range or are they in the “DO NOT TOW WITH THAT TRUCK UNTIL YOU GET A TRANS COOLER!!!” range?


Would the trans cooler make that big of difference?


Should I turn off the O/D, and if so should I turn it off whenever I am towing, or should I keep on when on the freeway?


What are the effects of the O/D being on/off on the trans temps?
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:06 AM   #2
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I don't have any experience or knowledge about your truck and engine. Take this with a grain of salt.

I take my truck out of OD just before an uphill. If you pay attention, you will feel it downshift, and then fell it "Lock Up". On my truck, the "Lock Up" will equal a few hundred less rpms on the tach. For it to "Lock Up", I have to be off of the throttle a bit. This allows you to start climbing with a higher rpm and be closer to the maximum horsepower and torque of your engine. On my truck, climbing a hill without the trans "Locked Up" increases the trans temp substantially.

As for the wd hitch setup, there are lots of videos on youtube on how to set them up. Search your brand and I'm sure you get lots of info. I would think that once you get your hitch set up properly, the "Wave" you mentioned will decrease. Your towing experience will be much nicer.

I hope this helps. Good luck and good camping
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:31 PM   #3
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The bounce you describe like a boat going over waves can be reduced but not eliminate by getting the WD dialed in better.

The 2007 F-150 4 speed trans and 4.2 litre engine is simply not the most powerful tow vehicle. It will always struggle on uphill accents. You could think of upgrading to a 2011 or newer F-150. Either the 5.0 litre or 3.5 litre eco-boost would amaze you. The 2007 F-150 in my opinion makes more noise than acceleration when you hit the gas. The 2011 F-150's with the 6speed trans is actually zippy. Just go test drive a 2011 3.5 eco-boost.
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:25 PM   #4
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I'd say the poor handling is definitely due to the hitch not being dialed in. You can YouTube demonstrations of how to properly set it up and it's relatively simple with basic hand tools. As for tranny temp, your truck is simply working too hard. I towed a 5000lb TT with the 4.6 v8 and 3.55 rear end and it sucked. Yes your truck may be rated to tow that weight but the testing is not done with a TT but a utility trailer and either steel weights or water totes so way less wind resistance. I'm not saying you can't tow with your set up so invest the largest trans cooler you can get, turn off OD, and stay around 3k RPMs when towing for the best power and less strain on powertrain.
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himandher818 View Post
The first thing I noticed was there was some ‘bounce’ or ‘wave’ at times going down the road (think of being in a boat in mild waves). It wasn’t bad but noticeable. I also felt the wind when a tractor trailer passed me on the freeway, about like when I am driving my little Honda Fit when it is very windy.
Probably because you don't have the spring bars tight enough. Tighten the spring bars until the distance of the front fender to the ground is between zero and one-half inch of that distance without a trailer.

Quote:
Second was my transmission temp. I am using a ScanGaugeII to monitor the trans temp. I believe the sensor is reading the pan oil temp.
The temp of the ATF in the pan is the ideal place to check it. But I'll bet the ScanGuage uses the same sensor as the Ford computer - in the valve body of the tranny.


Quote:
It was running 205-215 on hilly north GA back roads, with the outside air temp at or below freezing. This seems quite high, but not scary high. The Trans temp was about 190-200 before I got on the back roads.
Ford designed the tranny to run at about 195° to 205° F. using a thermostat to keep it up there. 210° to 225° is hot but okay for short times. 225° is the red line, so don't allow more than 225°.


Quote:
Not sure how having the O/D on or off in this situation would have affected the Trans temp.
If the tranny will stay in OD with the torque converter locked and not downshift when working hard, the longer legs of the OD causes the tranny to have to work harder to drag the trailer up the grade. But the real problem is the unlocked torque converter.

[quote] What I received was the 10,000lb equalizer 4 point. I think it designed for tongue weights of 700-1000. ...
Should I go ahead and get 6000lb equalizer, or is the 10000 OK for my weights? ]/quote]

Your hitch is probably fine if you manage the tension on the spring bars to return the front of the truck to where it was without a trailer. My WD hitch is rated for up to 1,400 pounds tongue weight, but my tongue weight is only 650 pounds, and my hitch works great. I simply don't tighten the spring bars as tight a they will go. However, my ProPride hitch cost about three or four times as much as your Equalizer, so the ProPride may be more adaptable than an Equal-I-Zer. I would properly adjust the Equalizer spring bars to bring the front end back down to normal, then take it on a towing trip. If proper adjustment of the spring bars didn't solve the problems you noticed, then and only then would I trade it in for a 6k hitch.

Quote:
Should I have seen the weights distributed more when I weighed?
Depends on whether you had the spring bars adjusted to match the weight on the hitch.

Quote:
Is the ‘bounce’ normal, or caused by the WD hitch being wrong?
Probably caused by improper adjustment of the Equal-I-Zer hitch. I've never noticed any bounce of my TT.


Quote:
Are the trans temps in the “high, but no cause for alarm, get a trans cooler when you get a chance” range or are they in the “DO NOT TOW WITH THAT TRUCK UNTIL YOU GET A TRANS COOLER!!!” range?
As long as you never see over 225°, you should be okay until you can install a good oil-to-air (OTA) heat exchanger (tranny oil cooler).

Quote:
Would the trans cooler make that big of difference?
Probably. You may be okay this time of year, but next summer you'll probably overheat the tranny without an OTA tranny cooler.

Quote:
Should I turn off the O/D, and if so should I turn it off whenever I am towing, or should I keep on when on the freeway?
With my much more powerful engine, I keep OD turned on unless I'm climbing a steep grade. With your weakling engine, I'd probably keep OD turned off when the trailer is attached.

Quote:
What are the effects of the O/D being on/off on the trans temps?
Nothing if the tranny stays in OD and the torque converter stays locked. But when the torque converter unlocks and the tranny downshifts, that creates a volcano worth of heat that the cooling system cannot overcome.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:35 PM   #6
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Jeeze, so many comments about my undersized engine, but it is very true.

When I got the truck, an RV was not even something I was thinking about getting. I wanted it for Lowes/Home Depot trips, moving household goods, appliances, furniture, maybe towing a small flatbed cargo trailer. It does those things quite well. An upgraded truck in on the wish list, maybe in a year. When I do it will be to a truck that won’t even notice this little trailer.



I read the owner’s manual for the WD hitch, and I’m sure it was NOT set up correctly, unless they got lucky when setting it up. They did no measurements or adjustments. They just set it up in the default configuration. I will set it up correctly, and see if that makes the towing better. I also checked the Equal-I-zer site for sizing, and it said the 6000lb was what I needed, but there was a notice in red lettering saying I was close to the max and should consider the 10000lb hitch.



I had seen the mention of keeping the torque converter locked mentioned in other threads and on other forums, but no real definition to what that means. Everyone assumes, everyone knows. 1361, thank you for the description of it.


I am now looking at ordering a transmission cooler right away. Something like this is what I am currently looking at getting. https://www.etrailer.com/Transmissio...le/D13504.html
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by himandher818 View Post
I had seen the mention of keeping the torque converter locked mentioned in other threads and on other forums, but no real definition to what that means.
When someone talks about "locking" the automatic tranny, they really mean locking the torque converter. The torque converter is a fluid coupling between the engine and the tranny. When not locked, the fluid (ATF or tranny oil) slips to allow the engine and tranny to turn at different speeds. That slipping causes heat to build up in the fluid. With the engine not working hard, there is very little heat buildup. But when the engine is working hard with the engine turning faster than the transmission, there is lots of slippage and therefore lots of heat buildup.

After the tow vehicle gets up to cruising speed, the torque converter locks the engine and tranny together so there is no fluid coupling slippage and thus not much heat buildup in the fluid. But when climbing a steep grade, the tow vehicle's computer knows that the engine cannot pull the trailer with that gear ratio, so the tranny needs to downshift to change the gear ratio. So the computer unlocks the torque converter, then causes the tranny to downshift. While the torque converter is unlocked, the fluid coupling slips a lot and thus causes a lot of heat buildup in the tranny fluid. The torque converter remains unlocked until the computer senses that the engine can handle the load without strain.

With an underpowered engine, or with a heavy load that causes the engine to work hard, or even with a powerful engine when climbing a steep grade or going against a strong headwind, the torque converter can remain unlocked a lot.

So increased tranny oil cooling capacity is required to handle the volcano worth of heat the unlocked torque converter adds to the tranny oil.

Here is a pretty good How Stuff Works article on torque converters:
https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-...-converter.htm

I mentioned that the torque converter lockup is controlled by the vehicle's computer. By software. So a bright computer programmer can fiddle with the software and allow the driver to lock or unlock the torque converter. Some enthusiasts install a module (computer) that allows them to be able to lock the torque converter. With that mod, you have to be wide awake so you can unlock the torque converter before the engine stalls. But you might be able to keep the torque converter locked longer than the stock computer software "tune" would allow, to prevent the tranny from "hunting" between gears when climbing milder grades.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:36 PM   #8
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When I was towing with a Nissan Titan the transmission always ran hotter using overdrive. It was a 5 speed so I always towed in fourth. Towing in the Rockies and Smokey Mountains if the transmission temperature started to rise I would down shift a gear and it would cool down. A transmission cooler does make a considerable difference.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:52 PM   #9
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I was told by one heck of a good mechanic to not tow in OD. Too hard on everything including your nerves. Also 1 question I can't find the answer to in your posts; do you have an antisway bar alongside your hitch connection? When I did the TT thing the antisway unit did make a heck of a big difference.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:03 PM   #10
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I thought the Tow/Haul mode switch on modern trucks does exactly this tranny locking/unlocking function telling the computer that there is a heavy trailer on board.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wandersabout View Post
I was told by one heck of a good mechanic to not tow in OD. Too hard on everything including your nerves. Also 1 question I can't find the answer to in your posts; do you have an antisway bar alongside your hitch connection? When I did the TT thing the antisway unit did make a heck of a big difference.
He has an Equalizer 4 point with built in sway control. The older hitches used a separate sway bar but the better hitches now all have it built in.
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:49 AM   #12
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He has an Equalizer 4 point with built in sway control. The older hitches used a separate sway bar but the better hitches now all have it built in.
Thanks
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:08 AM   #13
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Keymastr, thanks for clearing up the sway control question from Wandersabout for me.


Desert Flyer, this truck doesn’t seem to have a tow/haul mode. In my previous truck (2006 1500 Silverado) it was on the end of the gear shift. On the end of the gear shift on this truck is the OD on/off. If there is a tow mode, I haven’t found it, and I seem to have misplaced the owner’s manual. If I don’t find it soon, I’m gonna have get a new manual.


SmokeyWren, thanks for additional info about torque converters. I had read a few ‘how things work’ type articles, but all leave out the details I needed such as …


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1361 View Post
you will feel it downshift, and then fell it "Lock Up". On my truck, the "Lock Up" will equal a few hundred less rpms on the tach. For it to "Lock Up", I have to be off of the throttle a bit. This allows you to start climbing with a higher rpm and be closer to the maximum horsepower and torque of your engine. On my truck, climbing a hill without the trans "Locked Up" increases the trans temp substantially.

And …


Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
When not locked, the fluid (ATF or tranny oil) slips to allow the engine and tranny to turn at different speeds. That slipping causes heat to build up in the fluid. …
After the tow vehicle gets up to cruising speed, the torque converter locks the engine and tranny together so there is no fluid coupling slippage and thus not much heat buildup in the fluid.

That is information I was missing to help me. Pretty much all my towing experience, and most of my general driving experience, is with a manual transmission. This is the first time I have ever put a strain on an auto transmission.


So, if understand the torque converter correctly, it serves a function similar to a clutch that is designed to slip to allow a smoother transition between gears. The torque converter being locked is like the clutch being engaged, and when unlocked the clutch is slipping (by design).
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