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Old 10-03-2013, 09:03 PM   #1
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Trip Report - Overloaded – towing a 25’ fifth wheel with an F-150 EcoBoost

Darling Daughter wanted to move her RV back home. That's the 5er that we drug all over the USA for over 10 years with an F-250 diesel, then she wound up with it as a relatively inexpensive place to live. She's been full-timing in it in Austin for about 3 years. We decided to install a cheap 5er hitch in my F-150 and bring the trailer home.

The rig:

2012 F-150 Lariat SuperCrew 4x2 with 6.5’ bed, 3.15 e-locker axle, EcoBoost engine, Reese “Pro Series” 5er hitch, Ford regular towing pkg that includes bigger radiator and tranny cooler. I had already replaced small outside mirrors with Ford towing mirrors for towing my TT. Lightly loaded with just the hitch, full of gas, about 50# toolbox, DW and me. No pets this trip, and of course the camper shell that's usually on the pickup stayed in the barn for this trip. 2000 Keystone Sprinter 25RK (25’ with rear kitchen) fifth-wheel RV with one big slide, GVWR 7,900 pounds, wet and loaded hitch weight about 1,400 pounds (17 to 18 percent).

The good news – that EcoBoost drivetrain in tow/haul mode is a marvelous contraption. It towed my 8,000-pound 5er as good as my previous 7.3L diesel F-250. No problem with power and torque to maintain 68 MPH through the Hill country on I-10 west of San Antonio. It took most hills in fourth gear, but it got down to 3rd a couple of times. Climbing a grade in third gear at 68 MPH was still less than 4,000 RPM, thanks to the long legs of the 3.15 axle.The truck was working hard, but didn’t feel strained. MPG was not nearly as good as the diesel, but I didn’t expect it to be. We averaged 8.7 MPG cruising at 68 MPH for the 350 miles from Austin to Midland County via I-35 to San Antonio, I-10 to Ozona, and Texas 137 to home. That’s about 40 miles farther than my usual route through Llano and San Angelo, but a lot less 2-lane highway with others trying to pass.

The rig looked good. Very little sag in the rear end of the F-150, and the front axle stayed glued to the pavement, so driving and steering was “normal”. We got home before dark (on purpose) so no idea if my headlights would have been pointing at the stars. After sitting for three years being used as a residence in Austin, the tires still had 50 PSI, so I was able to tow it to a source for air. Pumped the tires back up to 65 PSI, and all was good. No problems whatsoever with the F-150 or trailer on that 350-mile trip.

Being overloaded over the GCWR, I was concerned about the rear axle temp, especially in the Hill Country. But my digital infrared temp gauge showed only 190° after a hot run in the hills, so the rear axle was not getting too hot.

The bad news – over 800 pounds overloaded over the GVWR and rear GAWR of the F-150, and almost 800 pounds overloaded over the GCWR of the F-150. We made it with no problems, but we were lucky.

The numbers from a CAT scale:

Steer axle = 3300 (front GAWR 3,750, no problem)

Drive axle = 4,680 (rear GAWR 3,850 = 830 pounds overloaded, including 138 pounds over rear tire capacty)
---------------------------------------
GVW = 7980 (GVWR 7,100 = 880 pounds overloaded)

Trailer axles 6800 (combined GAWR 7,000, so the trailer was not overloaded)
---------------------------------
GCW = 14,780 (GCWR 14,000 = 780 pounds overloaded)
=====================

I learned long ago to upgrade RV trailer tires and wheels to add weight capacity, so the trailer tire capacity is over 10,000 pounds @65 PSI. So we had no trailer tire problems, even though the tires are over 5 years old. Thank you Cooper ST225/75R15D tires on 6" wide rims (but Cooper no longer makes 15" trailer tires, so now I use Maxxis ST225/75R15E on my other trailers)

Bottom line. Anyone that claims they can tow an 8,000 pound 5er without being overloaded with an F-150 SuperCrew that does not have the HD payload pkg is probably blowing smoke. Show us the CAT scale weight on your rear axle.


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Old 10-04-2013, 08:52 AM   #2
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The eco-boost is an impressive engine. I was surprised that it seemed to do ok with as 3.15 axle. That is double impressive.

Good job
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:37 AM   #3
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Typical Cop! (Weight Police)

After thrashing so many here (actually giving good advice), you took chances yourself? You include - "We made it with no problems, but we were lucky" to justify a 350 mile pull. The cost of the hitch probably would have covered a RV mover to relocate the trailer for you!

All this above is just a little ribbing - NOONE take this seriously! Below is REAL!

Now being serious, I can say this - He weighed his options and did what he felt he needed to do. It sounds to me, he didn't like doing it but felt he could, given his knowledge and experience. He stopped and checked things regularly (including digital infrared temp gauge - most of us do not have or understand its use) to be aware of his equipments status.

To all those out there who are considering towing overweight; PLEASE - use your experience and common sense to figure out if your outcome will be just as good. If you do not have the experience and have come here for advice, Smokey and the other experienced towers commonly called 'the Weight Police' have to give the BEST advice they can - to help you prevent accidents, equipment failure (including tire blow outs), and any other mishaps caused by overloading. They do not know your experience, how you maintain your stuff, the age of replaceable goods that fail regularly (tires, belts, hoses, ect), what conditions you will encounter along the way, or a host of other varibles. They give good advice to keep you from having a failed trip with outcomes as light as having to change a tire - to as serious as you getting hurt/killed OR you possibly hurting/killing someone else that could be riding with you OR involved because your rig FAILED and they were in the wrong place when it happened.

I too admit to towing overweight, I weighed my options and considered the possible outcomes. My trips were less than 100 miles, but up to 1600 lbs over GCWR and max towing in FLAT Florida! No other weights were exceeded. My possible concerns were overheating of the engine, transmission or axle by pulling heavy. Trailer was well balanced to keep tongue weight below hitch max and max RAGW. Trailer brakes and controller were tested and adjusted each trip before and during. Speed was kept down to below 65 with the old TV and lower for conditions I knew I would encounter. I keep my stuff maintained properly and will cancel a trip if something can not be resolved before leaving. I too relied on my experience of towing, maintenance, mechanical ability to fix things on the road (USMC Amphibous Assault Vehicle Repair - Desert Storm veteran), and 47 years of other knowledge to make the decision to pull overweight.

The good news is I have upgraded my TV and am no longer towing overweight! I can MAX out my trailer and NOT be overloaded even then (another 2,000 lbs!)

To all those without the experience and knowledge - the advice you get to upgrade to a larger TV is because the larger TV can help you survive without the experience he and other 'Weight Police' have. It can overcome your lack of experience.

You can't buy experience or common sense - but you can buy a big enough tow vehicle!
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:47 PM   #4
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Hope all the Ecoboosters take time to let your turbos cool down after towing before shutting things down.
I worry that I never see any talk about that other than with diesels. A hot gasoline turbo will fry itself to death in a big hurry if you turn it off hot.

I'm a huge turbo fan (no pun) both gas and diesel, but you have to understand what's going on inside.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:59 PM   #5
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Not owning one--do the gas-turbo mfgs include an engine-idle shutdown?
If not, then I would think it isn't as important as you describe.
Or do they say in the owners manual----DO NOT SHUTDOWN WHEN HOT?
Joe
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:18 PM   #6
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What is the point here? Some are more sensitive to being over weight than others. It is like discussing different religions.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:05 AM   #7
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There is some type ofa thermo-siphon cooling system built into the ecoboost turbos that allow for hot shutdown....Not true of the older Ford/IH diesels and I have no idea if the latest generation of diesels have that.
BTW Smokey I dumped those Goodyears that looked and felt pretty light and went with a heavier Hankook set at 40 psi and the handling/stability while towing really improved! You got the Michelins on yours IIRC..?
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDI Minnie
Hope all the Ecoboosters take time to let your turbos cool down after towing before shutting things down.
I worry that I never see any talk about that other than with diesels. A hot gasoline turbo will fry itself to death in a big hurry if you turn it off hot.

I'm a huge turbo fan (no pun) both gas and diesel, but you have to understand what's going on inside.
Coming out of a turbo-diesel tow vehicle, that was one of my first questions even before I took delivery of my EcoBoost. The answer is in the following link. Note that Grovite posted in that thread too.
Turbo temp monitor - Ford F150 Forum - Community of Ford Truck Fans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Groveite View Post
BTW Smokey I dumped those Goodyears that looked and felt pretty light and went with a heavier Hankook set at 40 psi and the handling/stability while towing really improved! You got the Michelins on yours IIRC..?
Yeah, the stock tires on my F-150 are Michelin LTX A/S, P265/75R18, 44 PSI. 30,000 miles on them so far, including about 12,000 miles towing. The only thing wrong with them is they are expensive to replace. I had an unreparable sidewall puncture on one, and the replacement was about $245 out the door. My worst-worn tire now has a hair over half the tread left, so it looks like they will last around 60,000 miles with my use.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:33 AM   #9
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What's it say in the owners manual for turbo cool down? If it's not mentioned then no cool down is necessary. I know in my Ram CTD manual it actually lists cool down times for different driving situations.

SmokeyWren I'm really disappointed in you. I thought you were a proud member of the RV forums 'weight police'. After repeatedly reinforcing your opinion on being over GVWR's you yourself violated the one weight limit that I consistently bring up when comparing my Ram 2500 to a 3500. What's up with that? You were towing over your GVWR as well as your RAWR. I mentioned towing over my GVWR but have a RAWR that allows me to tow over my GVWR. I guess what's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:39 PM   #10
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You were towing over your GVWR as well as your RAWR.
I can't plead ignorance, because I knew exactly what I was doing. But let's rationalize it the way most folks towing overloaded do.

Ford rates my pickup to tow a trailer that weighs up to 8,400 pounds. Based on my trailer axle weight, my trailer was grossing less than 8,400 pounds, probably about 8,000. The rig looked good, drove good, and had no problems on that trip. So apparently I was not overloaded.
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:20 AM   #11
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I'd much rather hear this from a man who knows how to tow overloaded than from one who hasn't a clue about ramifications of towing overloaded.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:13 AM   #12
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Smokey,
I have to hand it to you. It takes a big man to own up to doing something that they preach against. Please take this as a compliment, that is how I mean it.
I agree with Ray,IN, that it is different with someone knowing that they are over the ratings and taking the proper precautions from someone towing over ratings and not having a clue.
I also am over my GCWR by 1500 to 2500#, not making excuses, but it is what it is. I do take precautions and also watch my boost levels and EGT's along with the water and trans temperatures. I also am learning the 60 to 65 mph since I am retired now and don't have to be anywhere in a hurry.
Keep up the good work on advising people the proper way to set up their rigs.
Frank
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:14 PM   #13
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I also am over my GCWR by 1500 to 2500#, not making excuses, but it is what it is.
Towing over the GCWR is no big deal. It's not dangerous to you or yours or others on the road. The GCWR is simply an indicator of the max weight you can gross without burning up something in the drivetrain on long steep grades. And without being the slowpoke holding up traffic on long steep grades. So stay off long steep grades and you're not really "overloaded". If you must tow over the Rockies, then do it on I-10, I-20, or I-80 - stay off I-40, I-70, and I-90. On I-40,crossing the Rockies is not as much of a strain as pulling up out of the Rio Grande valley near Albuquerque. Crossing the Rockies is much worse than climbing simlilar grades back East, because of the altitude. Altitude over 6,000 or 7,000 feet kills the power in most gasoline engines, so combined with steep grades and overloaded tow vehicle, disaster could be just around the next curve.

But exceeding the GVWR of your tow vehicle is serious business. It can result in broken parts such as springs, wheels, tires, brakes, even frame. And for most tow vehicles with single rear wheels (SRW), if you're over the GCWR of the tow vehicle, you're probably also over the GVWR.
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