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Old 03-16-2014, 10:07 AM   #1
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Towing with a sport truck

My 2007 Harley Davidson F150 AWD will be towing a 2008 26' Jayco Jayflight 26BH travel trailer weighing 4500 lbs dry starting this summer for camping. I have the 2" block removed from the rear leafs to level the truck. I like the look and ride a lot better with it lowered slightly so I don't want to put the blocks back in as I use the truck as a daily driver as well and it makes loading things in the box a lot easier. I think I'll be looking at 700 lbs of tongue weight and stuff in the box. Everything else will be loaded in the trailer.

I'm worried about sag when towing and stability. Would a set of Hellwig helper spring work for my situation? And not affect me when I'm driving unloaded? Or should I just keep it stock? I will be using an EAZ-Lift weight distributing hitch. I have spring codes UUMM on my truck and 305/40/22 Cooper Zeon LTZ tires rated at 2601 lbs at 50 psi. I will probably run 45 psi when towing. It's maybe not the ideal tow rig but it's what I have to work with.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:36 AM   #2
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According to your truck's specs, maximum towing capacity WITH a weight distributing hitch is 5,100 lbs.
2007 Ford F-150 Specs: AWD SuperCrew 139" Harley-Davidson Other Specs
If your trailer's dry weight is 4,500, you should weigh it loaded. Dry weights listed by manufacturers are optimistic or flat out lies by they time they add options.

I think you will be beyond the safety limits of your truck before you leave the driveway. If you value your truck and family, be very cautious attempting to go anywhere loaded like this.

The weight limits of your truck are calculated on many factors you can't correct with helper springs. As soon as you load a cooler, partner, kids, etc. in the truck, you've reduced the tow capacity even more. It's just not a good idea.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:01 AM   #3
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You will do well to put the helpers to keep your drive line in line. The blocks on 4 wheel drive do 2 things, lift the rear and also keep the drive shaft and joints angled right for most load application. By removing the spacers the shaft will now be closer to the box and loading might create misalignment.
You truck will tell you when its overloaded. Nothing to do with safety. Watch your temperatures and you should be fine.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:03 AM   #4
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I know the limits that Ford has placed on my truck. It's pretty disappointing to say the least. No one really seems to have a solid answer as to why it is so low.

Things I have noticed: spring codes... My truck has the same spring code as my brothers 2005 FX4. They look the exact same too. Which kind of gets rid of the word that Harley springs are lighter.

Tires: the stockers are a little bit lower rated then the normal f150 tires. Not by much. But I have a set of 305/40/22"s with a higher rating of 2601 lbs at 50 psi. So more rating then the fx4 18"s.

I don't see anything else that would limit the tow and payload ratings of these trucks to the point that ford has done. Maybe the awd system? Well the 2wd model has only 200 lbs more rating... Tire pressure is all I can figure. They recommend only 35 psi. But the fx4 recommends 40 psi giving it a higher rating... But maybe I am missing something... Then again legally they can only go by the door sticker.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:12 AM   #6
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I know the limits that Ford has placed on my truck. It's pretty disappointing to say the least. No one really seems to have a solid answer as to why it is so low.

Things I have noticed: spring codes... My truck has the same spring code as my brothers 2005 FX4. They look the exact same too. Which kind of gets rid of the word that Harley springs are lighter.

Tires: the stockers are a little bit lower rated then the normal f150 tires. Not by much. But I have a set of 305/40/22"s with a higher rating of 2601 lbs at 50 psi. So more rating then the fx4 18"s.

I don't see anything else that would limit the tow and payload ratings of these trucks to the point that ford has done. Maybe the awd system? Well the 2wd model has only 200 lbs more rating... Tire pressure is all I can figure. They recommend only 35 psi. But the fx4 recommends 40 psi giving it a higher rating... But maybe I am missing something... Then again legally they can only go by the door sticker.
Most trucks made now are never rated or designed properly for towing.
You need proper load rating tires for towing stability. More pressure and harder tires go a long way to help in towing. Myself with a 1/2 ton I prefer 50 lbs in the tires. Rims need to take the pressure.
Remember that Ford knows that 99% of the sport trucks sold are used for pleasure and not towing.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:33 AM   #7
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I agree with caissiel about the spacers keeping the drive in alignment, that was my first thought on reading you'd removed them. When I looked up the specs and saw the weight issues I felt they were more important. I disagree that "You truck will tell you when its overloaded. Nothing to do with safety. Watch your temperatures and you should be fine." Engine and transmission temps clue you when it's working hard, but extended braking distances, squirrelly handling, and premature failure of drive train components will be further clues.

Now you want to put larger tires on it, which will reduce torque. The specifications take in to account axles, bearings, BRAKES, and many other factors. Look at the # of wheel lugs on a F150 (6) compared to a F250 (8) or F350 (8). Just one of the other factors that must be considered when calculating capacity.
Sure you might be fine towing on a calm, dry day in a straight line, but toss in some wind, an emergency stop, or need to swerve, and suddenly the trailer will be driving you!

You ask, "I know the limits that Ford has placed on my truck. It's pretty disappointing to say the least. No one really seems to have a solid answer as to why it is so low." It's called a SPORT truck, not a heavy hauler. It has 4 doors and a short bed, AWD not a 4 X 4 with a transfer case. It's a F150, not F250 or F350. Don't try to do things it wasn't designed for.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:01 PM   #8
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The weight and size of the trailer may push me around a bit. I just find it weird that they lowered the ratings that much. Same springs, rear end, gearing, transmission, engine, cooling etc are all the same as other trucks that are rated at 4000 lbs more... I think I will do fine with pulling it despite the neutered ratings.

I really do appreciate the constructive criticism. I'm just stuck with this truck for the time being. My next one will be bigger and better when it comes to a tow vehicle that's for sure. But my brother tows a much heavier trailer (same size though) and he does fine with his 2005 F150 FX4. So I can't see this truck doing much worst.

I will weigh the trailer though when I pick it up.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:10 PM   #9
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The tires are wider then the stockers. But they are shorter. Giving me a little extra gear. And they weigh the same as the worn down stock tires when I removed them. I haven't noticed any loss in torque, power or fuel economy.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
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It does have a transfer case. A pretty beefy looking one. It just automatically transfers power to the front when needed. It's more of an automatic one speed four wheel drive.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
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Advocate, your original post said " I'm worried " " stability ". BFlinn, has given you a run down on your problems, and having towed over the GCVW with a pick up , I agree with him 100%.
Another thing to " worry " about, travelling overloaded may well give your insurance company , a reason to deny any claim should you have an accident.
JMHO. Lower profile tires have less air volume to absorb heat and less sidewall area to dissipate that heat. Hotter tire = more chance of a failure.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:06 PM   #12
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My apologies. Please keep in mind that I do not have the trailer yet. Waiting on the snow to be gone before I pick it up. These are preliminary concerns. I have towed a fairly heavy boat with the box full of Jerry cans and heavy coolers. I never felt any problems with that setup. The boat and trailer would be 3700 lbs. The truck full of passengers and the box literally full. It pulled way nicer then my 2003 F150 lariat which had a much higher towing capacity.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
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My 2007 Harley Davidson F150 AWD will be towing a 2008 26' Jayco Jayflight 26BH travel trailer weighing 4500 lbs dry starting this summer for camping. ...
Dry weight is a meaningless number that will result in your being overloaded when on the road. So ignore it and use the GVWR of the trailer as the probable wet and loaded weight of the trailer when on a camping trip. The GVWR is 7,500 pounds, so count on around 7,000 pounds wet and loaded trailer weight.

Dry hitch weight is also a useless number that will result in your being overloaded when on the road. Instead, use 15% of the GVWR of the trailer as your worse-case hitch weight (tongue weight). 7,500 x 0.15 = 1,125 pounds hitch weight. You may not have quite that much hitch weight, but you'll probably have at least close to 1,000 pounds.

Weigh the wet and loaded F-150 including people, pets, tools, firewood, full tank of gas, and whatever else you haul in the pickup when going camping. Include the shank and head from your weight-distributing hitch. Subtract that weight from the GVWR of your F-150 and the answer is the most hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. If the answer is less than around 1,000 pounds, then you're probably going to be overloaded with your family in the truck when dragging that trailer.

I'll repeat the important part of that conclusion: If you have less than 1,000 pounds of unused payload capacity available for hitch weight before you tie onto the trailer, then you're probably going to be overloaded with your family in the truck when dragging that wet and loaded trailer.

If it were my family involved, and upgrading the tow vehicle is out of the question, then that 26BH is going to get traded for a pop-up folding camping trailer before we hit the road. There are nice ones available that have GVWR Less than 3,000 pounds.

When my kids were still home, our camping trailer was a Wheel Camper pop-up tent camper with an 8' floor and GVWR less than 3,000 pounds. We camped all over the USA in that camper, from California to Maine and from Florida to Seattle, but usually in the Colorado Rockies. Inside was a dinette and an ice box and storage space for the following: Coleman gasoline camp stove, Coleman gasoline lantern, Coleman gasoline catalytic heater, 5-gallon water jugs, one gallon of Coleman white gas, big plastic dishpan, big "tea kettle" for boiling water on the camp stove, and a simple "slop jar" porta-pottie. No running water, no reefer, and no AC. We made it just fine and dandy, and the kids had a blast. And our V8 powered tow vehicles were not overloaded.

Here is a link to the Jayco pop-ups.
Floorplans - Jay Series Sport Camping Trailers - Jayco

The model 8 with GVWR of 1995 pounds is close to what we had. The Model 12BS with GVWR of 2,700 pounds is much roomier, with options for AC, reefer, water tank and hot water heater, and a standard pottie/shower room. Used ones are available at huge savings over new.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:47 PM   #14
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My 2007 Harley Davidson F150 AWD will be towing a 2008 26' Jayco Jayflight 26BH travel trailer weighing 4500 lbs dry starting this summer for camping. I have the 2" block removed from the rear leafs to level the truck. I like the look and ride a lot better with it lowered slightly so I don't want to put the blocks back in as I use the truck as a daily driver as well and it makes loading things in the box a lot easier. I think I'll be looking at 700 lbs of tongue weight and stuff in the box. Everything else will be loaded in the trailer.

I'm worried about sag when towing and stability. Would a set of Hellwig helper spring work for my situation? And not affect me when I'm driving unloaded? Or should I just keep it stock? I will be using an EAZ-Lift weight distributing hitch. I have spring codes UUMM on my truck and 305/40/22 Cooper Zeon LTZ tires rated at 2601 lbs at 50 psi. I will probably run 45 psi when towing. It's maybe not the ideal tow rig but it's what I have to work with.
Just reading through the comments- I know exactly where you're coming from right now. I got blindsided by the low payload capacity on a Ram I ordered. Came lower than what the build site said it should have been... but that's my own damn fault.

So, the situation you're in is not ideal, but if you're completely stuck- it's not a total write off.

You're 22's are killing you. Go down to an 18 with a dcent LT tire. There are some that don't look half bad. Also, what rear end ratio? 3.73 would be ideal. 3.55's passable, but since it's an 07 you have the 4 speed- it will work it and you'll know it. Get a good cooler. With the 22's you will bbq your transmission with that much trailer.

The blocks were there for a reason- to keep the truck at the proper stance and proper driveline angles when loaded. Skip the blocks, add a leaf, it will raise it again and add functional carrying capacity (see my notes below) and raise the rear back up so it rides properly. Also invest in some better shocks because OEM are garbage.

On the Harley is it full time AWD? If so, forget it. You'll cook the transfer case if they are simalar to the BW 44-44 with the clutch.

Since it's a Harley, do you have the brake controller and 7 pin?

Brakes. Make sure they are top notch.

Make sure your receiver is up to the task. As SmokeyWren pointed out above, your real world hitch weight will likely be significantly higher than the dry hitch weight. You need to consider the battery and LP tank(s) as well as the load from a properly loaded TT. It will go up.

Watch your axle ratings! I have no problems exceeding GVWR, but that's me. I am not saying I do it happily, but I know my axle ratings and have my weights and feel safe by not exceeding those axle ratings even though I am over GVWR on my TV. Axle ratings are not to be toyed with. You have to drive with your head screwed on straight and plan as much as you can. You will be a heavy beast.

Keep in mind, anything I mentioned here is purely functional, but NOTHING will change the ratings as it left the factory. The sticker is what it is, and you risk being cited if you are pulled over, so the decision is up to you, and my comments may- and likely do- run afoul of the forum hive mind. As long as you don't drive like a sausage you will be no more dangerous than the guy next to you eating a sandwich in his Prelude. But the key is to drive your combo like something could happen at any second.

That's where you stand from my arm chair. Modify the truck and be careful, trade the truck, or trade to a smaller trailer. Forget about towing with anything in the bed and load light and get a good WDH with anti sway.

FWIW, in my Ram after the TT is tied on with the family on board, I am under on all axles but over GVWR by about 5-600. Ideal? No. We will take 2 vehicles on extended stays, and just cope with it for the short, nearby weekend jaunts. But in a couple years time, all of my weight problems are off to college so I skipped the 2500 since our TT is only 5600lbs loaded for a week- 26' like yours. It's not something I am happy about, recommend, or take lightly, but it's the hand I have been dealt since I am certain to get a divorce if I trade our hardwall for a popup. To be honest, I stripped off the trifold, spare and jack to save some weight, next I will drop the skid plates and steps to shave any weight I can. Life is never ideal
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