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Old 07-09-2012, 10:36 PM   #1
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Newbie questions about the chicken and the egg

I'm just beginning the process of moving my life from a home to something more adventurous. Some things have happened in the economic downturn that are providing me with an opportunity to become more mobile. So, I have the dilemma that it seems many streamers have had. I currently own a 2007 F150 8' bed, reg cab, 6-cylinder, automatic, 2WD vehicle (fully paid for). It just hit 60,000 miles. I love this truck. I'm very comfortable driving it. It just fits me. I put about 7500 miles a year on it now (after scrambling to find a new job three years ago). I took about a 33% pay cut this round and am still reeling from the hit, but at least the new job is near by.

The problem is that everything I read says buy the trailer you need and then replace the tow vehicle to pull it. Makes sense.....it's just that I don't know that I can afford the new tow vehicle any time soon and I don't want my new home to become a stationary home....not able to get out and roam.

My best guess from reading all I can find on tow weights is that I can probably handle something weighing about 4000 lbs with another 1500 lbs of cargo and wiggle room. So that seems to put me in the 17-20 foot range, but I think longer term I need something in the 24-25 foot range for full timing. My truck wasn't designed for towing heavy equipment, but I don't want to under appreciate what it can do. I mean, it is a truck, after all. This paragraph is in serious need of affirmation or correction as I don't feel fully clear on all the tow specifications.

So, I'm looking for the wise words of experience I've been enjoying reading here in the forums. Guess I want someone to make it easy for me and say.....so, here's what you need to do....first bla bla bla and then bla bla bla and it will all work out perfectly. Sheesh....I don't want much, huh! I am working on severely limited funds. I work in the building industry ( a kitchen designer) and make about half what I made in 1995. Just doesn't seem to want to go in the right direction.....but, I have to say I'm grateful because I've been able to stay employed.

I really need to get this right 'cause I might get only one chance. Thanks for your input.

GDIUP
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:16 AM   #2
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What are you looking to spend on the trailer, and tow vehicle? The rating for your truck is 5600 lbs, but if you invest in a transmission cooler, maybe some heavier springs, and the right weight-distribution hitch, I can't see why a 25' is out of reach. You truck is way more capable of a 60's era station wagon that would be a typical tow vehicle in that era.

It all depends on what kind of miles you expect to log, in what kind of terrain, and what your expectations are. You truck might work hard on long climbs... but if you aren't in a big rush you can do it. If you are going to drag it to the lake once every few weeks... it's not a big deal... Drive from Oregon to Mexico... different issues.

If you are talking about full-timing, it again makes me think you don't need a huge truck if you are mostly staying put...
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:03 AM   #3
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Get you some super duty springs for the rear. Good luck with you. And be sure to get the transmission cooler, and do not go ripping down the road too fast, just take it easy.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:32 AM   #4
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Seems like it is way to premature to start talking about adding helper springs. Helper springs do not change the rear axle weight rating. Helper springs keep the rear end from sagging. We have no idea yet if the rear end of your truck is going to be sagging and thus needing helper springs.

You will be down on power a bit with the six cylinder, and the performance will be leasurely. That is OK. It is much more important that you can stop your rig when you need to.

Good luck.

Dan
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:10 AM   #5
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We pull our 34' with a 2009 F150. It does have he V8, but if you aren't planning trips back and forth over the Zrockies, I would think your current truck would b OK for a 25' or so. Just take it easy and enjoy the journey. There's no requirement to go ripping down e road.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:24 AM   #6
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Don't know how much I'll spend on TT yet...just started looking, but feel more confident about keeping my F150 now that I know it isn't severely underpowered for the task at hand. The whole idea is to move through the world thoughtfully and with awareness, so I don't plan on setting any speed records. Thanks for the input.....I'll keep reading!
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gd1up View Post
So, I'm looking for the wise words of experience I've been enjoying reading here in the forums. Guess I want someone to make it easy for me and say.....so, here's what you need to do....first bla bla bla and then bla bla bla and it will all work out perfectly. Sheesh....I don't want much, huh! I am working on severely limited funds. I work in the building industry ( a kitchen designer) and make about half what I made in 1995. Just doesn't seem to want to go in the right direction.....but, I have to say I'm grateful because I've been able to stay employed.
Hello Gdiup

I wouldn't recommend that anyone make a financial commitment to fulltiming unless they have prior experience with RV travel. Not because that experience would convince you that fulltiming is a bad idea (though it might; it's not for everyone), but rather because you'll better understand your wishes and wants.

If you're going to fulltime you'll want to be in one of the larger trailers, 25' and up.

There are two things to watch with an F-150. First, you have to stay under the axle rating for the rear axle. That should be easy to do with the trailer alone but if you add a truck cap and then load up a bunch of stuff in the bed you may have a problem.

Second, heavy towing will reduce the life of the power train, particularly the transmission. An F-250 or the Chevy or Dodge equivalents would have a more forgiving rear axle ratio and a larger and heavier transmission. The extent of the problem depends on where and how far you tow.
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