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Old 07-25-2016, 07:13 AM   #1
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Review of first trip with Ford F-150 as tow vehicle

I just got back from taking our maiden voyage with our Ford F150 as a tow vehicle. I thought I would try to summarize in case it might be helpful to anyone else. First my basic setup is as follows:

Truck
2016 F-150 4x4 Supercrew
3.5L V6 Ecoboost
Max Trailer Tow Package
36 gallon extended range fuel tank

add ons: Firestone Air Bag Suspension Kit
Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch

I will include a picture of the information on my truck below, a picture of my truck and trailer and a picture of my trip screen from the truck. The trailer was connected to the truck the entire trip, as we had a second vehicle with us that we used for sightseeing.

Trailer
2014 30 Flying Cloud Bunk

I traveled 5,000 miles my Route was as follows:

Jonesboro, Arkansas
Lincoln, Nebraska
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Twin Falls, ID
Portland, Oregon
Cannon Beach, OR
Coos Bay, OR
Crescent City, CA
Lodi, CA
Kingman, AZ
Amarillo, TX
Jonesboro, AR

My point of reference of comparison was my prior tow vehicle a 2014 Ram 2500 diesel, which was a great vehicle, just a little bigger than I wanted drive on a daily basis. My observations were as follows.

The ride comfort was excellent. I think an essential part of this was the addition of Firestone Air Bag Suspension Kit, which I ran at about 60lbs. When I ran air down to about 10lbs, porpoising was more of an issue.

Power for pulling up grades was never an issue, although my route did not have any grades that would really push the vehicle.

Downhill grades of 5-7% of any significant length required shifting transmission to manual and downshifting accordingly with engine rpms hitting around 5,200 with some braking required. This is where I really missed the exhaust brake on my RAM. With that being said, I was never in an uncomfortable situation.

As far as fuel economy goes, I averaged 11mpg over 5,000 miles. Here I am assuming the trip computer on the truck is accurate.

The only other observation was on my trip home is when I hit an area with strong crosswinds, I would estimate 40mph+. I felt like these moved me around a little more than when I towed with my RAM.

Overall, the vehicle exceeded my expectations. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone looking at this vehicle or considering making a similar trip.
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:41 AM   #2
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Interesting post and comment on the poundage your running your air bags at.
We have a 2014 F150 and run our bags at 20 lbs. Now I'm wondering if I should try increasing ours and give it a try.
Thanks
Doug


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Old 07-25-2016, 08:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for the report. Are you running 1,000# bars?
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:09 AM   #4
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Sounds like a great trip we too part of the same route also starting and ending in jonesboro we went from Lincoln to Casper to Yellowstone and spent to weeks there and in the Rockies. Next yr we talked about going all the way to the west coast. How long was your trip. I still work at st. Bernards and can only do three wks off max at a time.
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcticfox View Post
Interesting post and comment on the poundage your running your air bags at.
We have a 2014 F150 and run our bags at 20 lbs. Now I'm wondering if I should try increasing ours and give it a try.
Thanks
Doug


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How I arrived at the PSI was as follows;

I hooked up my trailer and got everything ready including equal-i-zer, then I added air until I was level (which was about 55lbs).
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Old 07-25-2016, 10:30 AM   #6
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When said 5000 miles you weren't rounding! Thanks for the write up. Is your truck a XLT?
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:06 AM   #7
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Hi from AZ. . . thanks for the info, I just traded my '11 150 w/Ecoblahblah for the same truck new, and you now have, so following along. My '11 had airbags on rear (run @ 25 lbs), a Banks cold air box, & a 4" cat back exhaust. Have exhaust & air box ordered, but not sure of the airbags. I had a devil of a time keeping them aired up, & 3 trips to fix never really did. I'm hoping the 'max tow pkg' will help. I was getting 12.5 to 13.5 pulling, near 20 solo, so we'll see. . . travel safe, & come see us in Hell, er Arizona . . . Craig
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:07 AM   #8
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airbag question

I'm relatively new to Airstream towing but I have what I think is a combination pretty similar to this one with a very similar F150 and a 29' Sovereign. I don't have any trouble getting my rig leveled out with the weight transfer hitch so I'm confused by the mention of 'leveling' the rig with airbags. What's up with this? Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:27 AM   #9
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Why are you guys using 'Air Bags'?
I have the identical Ford, pulling a 30' FC. that typically weighs about 7800-8000 lbs. using an 'Easy Lift' hitch, and 1500 lb. bars. (Andy's set-up at CanAm)
So far it seems to work. No problems, everything is level when loaded.
I did try a Reese dual Cam hitch with 1000# bars, but it wiggled like a snake caught in an electrical socket. So back to the Easy lift. It groans a lot when turning, Echh!
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:32 AM   #10
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Hi again from AZ. . . not really 'leveling', just like the assist carrying the trailer weight.
My Equalizer levels it well....
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:07 PM   #11
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Thanks for your travel results. Currently looking at 2013 F150 XLT , 6.5 bed/topper with similar configuration as yours. I have watched the info. on Eco boost engine since first year. Driving PU on Wed. Currently towing with 95 Suburban 2500 with 454 gas guzzler.
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaag View Post
How I arrived at the PSI was as follows;



I hooked up my trailer and got everything ready including equal-i-zer, then I added air until I was level (which was about 55lbs).

Ya that is how I did it also, but only needed the 20lbs to get the final level state.

For the other poster who asked why we are using air bags? I found that even after setting my ProPride hitch up properly so the correct weight we being moved back onto my front axle. The rear of my truck still sat a little low. ( maybe .75 of an inch) the air bags take that out. So everything is perfectly level ( the trailer itself, the truck and the relationship between the two)

Hope this sheds a little light on what I did and why I did it.

Cheers
Doug


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Old 07-25-2016, 01:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaag View Post
I just got back from taking our maiden voyage with our Ford F150 as a tow vehicle. I thought I would try to summarize in case it might be helpful to anyone else. First my basic setup is as follows:

Truck
2016 F-150 4x4 Supercrew
3.5L V6 Ecoboost
Max Trailer Tow Package
36 gallon extended range fuel tank

add ons: Firestone Air Bag Suspension Kit
Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch

I will include a picture of the information on my truck below, a picture of my truck and trailer and a picture of my trip screen from the truck. The trailer was connected to the truck the entire trip, as we had a second vehicle with us that we used for sightseeing.

Trailer
2014 30 Flying Cloud Bunk

I traveled 5,000 miles my Route was as follows:

Jonesboro, Arkansas
Lincoln, Nebraska
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Twin Falls, ID
Portland, Oregon
Cannon Beach, OR
Coos Bay, OR
Crescent City, CA
Lodi, CA
Kingman, AZ
Amarillo, TX
Jonesboro, AR

My point of reference of comparison was my prior tow vehicle a 2014 Ram 2500 diesel, which was a great vehicle, just a little bigger than I wanted drive on a daily basis. My observations were as follows.

The ride comfort was excellent. I think an essential part of this was the addition of Firestone Air Bag Suspension Kit, which I ran at about 60lbs. When I ran air down to about 10lbs, porpoising was more of an issue.

Power for pulling up grades was never an issue, although my route did not have any grades that would really push the vehicle.

Downhill grades of 5-7% of any significant length required shifting transmission to manual and downshifting accordingly with engine rpms hitting around 5,200 with some braking required. This is where I really missed the exhaust brake on my RAM. With that being said, I was never in an uncomfortable situation.

As far as fuel economy goes, I averaged 11mpg over 5,000 miles. Here I am assuming the trip computer on the truck is accurate.

The only other observation was on my trip home is when I hit an area with strong crosswinds, I would estimate 40mph+. I felt like these moved me around a little more than when I towed with my RAM.

Overall, the vehicle exceeded my expectations. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone looking at this vehicle or considering making a similar trip.
I have a similar truck a couple of years older. If you have the heavy duty tow package there is a Tow Haul switch you engage on the gearshift. With that engaged all you do is tap your brake and the engine brake downshifting works automatically. It also manages the turbos, engine and trans cooling and keeps things from overheating. It works like a charm.
I the beginning I tried to do all that manually and I had the trans and engine overheat on a very steep long climb.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamblinManGa View Post
Hi from AZ. . . thanks for the info, I just traded my '11 150 w/Ecoblahblah for the same truck new, and you now have, so following along. My '11 had airbags on rear (run @ 25 lbs), a Banks cold air box, & a 4" cat back exhaust. Have exhaust & air box ordered, but not sure of the airbags. I had a devil of a time keeping them aired up, & 3 trips to fix never really did. I'm hoping the 'max tow pkg' will help. I was getting 12.5 to 13.5 pulling, near 20 solo, so we'll see. . . travel safe, & come see us in Hell, er Arizona . . . Craig

For what its worth, I also installed Firestone airbags on my 2012 Ecoboost. I ended up removing them after a few trips because they were limiting the suspension travel and with higher psi the ride was way to stiff. I replaced them with the Road master spring setup and now the truck rides like a dream with the Trailer behind it and it levels beautifully every time regardless how I load the truck. I have the Blue Ox hitch.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
When said 5000 miles you weren't rounding! Thanks for the write up. Is your truck a XLT?
I do not see any XLT branding, so I assume not.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkeach View Post
I'm relatively new to Airstream towing but I have what I think is a combination pretty similar to this one with a very similar F150 and a 29' Sovereign. I don't have any trouble getting my rig leveled out with the weight transfer hitch so I'm confused by the mention of 'leveling' the rig with airbags. What's up with this? Thanks.
Here is how I was instructed to do this, and the inches may be slightly off since I am going from memory. If I measure the front tire from the ground to the top of wheel well I get approximately 37" and if I measure the rear tire from the ground to top of wheel well I get roughly 41". I then connect the trailer and inflate airbags to achieve roughly these same measurements. Hopefully this makes sense.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
I have a similar truck a couple of years older. If you have the heavy duty tow package there is a Tow Haul switch you engage on the gearshift. With that engaged all you do is tap your brake and the engine brake downshifting works automatically. It also manages the turbos, engine and trans cooling and keeps things from overheating. It works like a charm.
I the beginning I tried to do all that manually and I had the trans and engine overheat on a very steep long climb.
I do have that, and it worked beautifully on uphill climbs but on downhill I had to handle in manually or my speed increased too much.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
For what its worth, I also installed Firestone airbags on my 2012 Ecoboost. I ended up removing them after a few trips because they were limiting the suspension travel and with higher psi the ride was way to stiff. I replaced them with the Road master spring setup and now the truck rides like a dream with the Trailer behind it and it levels beautifully every time regardless how I load the truck. I have the Blue Ox hitch.
Sounds like a great setup!
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaag View Post
Here is how I was instructed to do this, and the inches may be slightly off since I am going from memory. If I measure the front tire from the ground to the top of wheel well I get approximately 37" and if I measure the rear tire from the ground to top of wheel well I get roughly 41". I then connect the trailer and inflate airbags to achieve roughly these same measurements. Hopefully this makes sense.
Have you checked your TV axle weights? I would think this process might result in an overload of the TV rear axle. May not be a problem, depending on truck's payload rating and tow package. I use the same measurement technique, but control the loading with the WD hitch. If result is not level, then I move the hitch ball up or down and do it all again until I get proper wheel well heights and a level arrangement. When I did it this way on my 25 the axle loads were acceptable. I haven't done it yet with my 30 and the 2500 TV.

Al
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:40 PM   #20
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If you had to make the same trip tomorrow would you want to do it with the Cummins or ecoboost?
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