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Old 12-12-2010, 08:19 PM   #1
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2008 28' Safari SE
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2011 Ford F-150

My wife and I are contemplating buying our first tow vehicle followed by a travel trailer. We live in Florida, but plan to travel to points west including through the Rocky's and possibly to Alaska. At this point a 28' Airstream (7,300 GVWR) is our #1 choice for a travel trailer if we were going to buy one today. The thought at this point is to buy a 2011 F-150 with the towing options and the new Ecoboost engine. We would stay primarily at state & National parks as well as BLM lands. My questions are: Do you think the tow vehicle is a satisfactory choice given the size & weight of the trailer? Are you comfortable with the reviews of this new drive train? How do you feel about a 4x4 vs 2x4 in terms of needing four wheel drive and maintenance cost? Are there other considerations I should be concerned about?
Thank you for your help.
John Dibble
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:08 PM   #2
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I can't speak for the engine as my truck is 2008. However, the transmission is well proven now, and the 4x4 system is as reliable as they come. The rear axle and springs are the full 3" as found on super duty versions and the rear axles/back end have been greatly improved since 2004.

If you'll ever be going off tarmac or concrete, you'll find the 4x4 option a great investment.

I personally think that with a decent WD hitch, your trailer is well within the capabilities of that truck. Others may disagree, but I have never felt unsafe in my F150 FX4.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:45 PM   #3
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The truth is that you will ned to decide how you want to travel to really know. If you are not happy going up substantial grades without slowing down, then you'll need/want more Tow Vehicle. If you can handle taking it a bit easy on the grades, you will be fine. I have owned both 150 and 350 Fords over the years and the big trucks just cost you more. They pull nicely, but you have to realize that if you can just take it easy on the grades, you will be fine. The 4X4 option is very nice to have if you get into a situation where you ned it! You will always get that money back! When you sell you will fine the extra cost is recouped in the resale and you have the advantage of the option if you need it. For my money... No-brainer. Best of luck!
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:16 PM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to you F-150 questions. You may be asking it to go above and beyond pulling a trailer of that mass and weight. We have a 2005 Safari 25FB. Ready to camp, Lucy tips the scales at 7400#. A 28 will probably go at least 8000#,

With a quality weight distribution/sway control hitch system and trailer brake controller, you will be able to move the mass down the highway. You may have some straining on any significant grade.

I like 4x4. It has saved Lucy's butt on a couple of muddy upgrades in campgrounds.

It all depends on what is in your personal comfort zone.

Brian
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:20 PM   #5
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Hi, you buy that one and let us know what you think. The tests and numbers are great, but I'm still thinking in the lines of the same truck, but with the 6.2 L engine. As for the transmission, the new trans is behind the new 6.7 L diesel and the new 6.2 L gas engines. I don't know what trans is being used behind the Ecoboost.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:24 PM   #6
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The current tow equipped F150s are rated to 11,000 lbs or so, depending on model/configuration.

Given I can only take one vehicle on trips, and often I like to roam without the trailer. Therefore, I struck a balance between regular drivable truck, and tow vehicle - a balance that'll be different for every owner.

If you suspect you'll be driving the truck a lot unhitched, an F150 may suit you better than a 250 or 350. However, if you expect to use the truck exclusively for towing, an F250 might give you a more peaceful existence.

So really, the F150 is up to the job and is flexible, but larger trucks are even better suited to the job and less suited to other tasks.

Do you plan to use the truck for anything else?
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysecondjoy
My wife and I are contemplating buying our first tow vehicle followed by a travel trailer. We live in Florida, but plan to travel to points west including through the Rocky's and possibly to Alaska. At this point a 28' Airstream (7,300 GVWR) is our #1 choice for a travel trailer if we were going to buy one today. The thought at this point is to buy a 2011 F-150 with the towing options and the new Ecoboost engine. We would stay primarily at state & National parks as well as BLM lands. My questions are: Do you think the tow vehicle is a satisfactory choice given the size & weight of the trailer? Are you comfortable with the reviews of this new drive train? How do you feel about a 4x4 vs 2x4 in terms of needing four wheel drive and maintenance cost? Are there other considerations I should be concerned about?
Thank you for your help.
John Dibble
John, I think Dave Parker has summed everyone else's contributions nicely. We have a 2009 28' International that is 6100 lbs dry and 6900 loaded. We've been towing with a 2000 2500 Suburban which is a 6.0 liter engine with 385 ft lbs of torque. Going through Texas where the speed limit for trailers is 65, we are very comfortable (Equalizer hitch) at 70. The heavier truck with longer wheelbase is a very stable towing platform. At that higher speed, we are deeper onto a better torque range, too. But if we are moving at 55-60 and need to climb a hill or fight a headwind, we really feel it. On the other hand, once we're camped and going on local excursions without the trailer, that 6.0 liter is very thirsty. Because we need an SUV due to the length of our windsurfing gear, we cannot consider Fords with their max Expedition engine in the 5.4 range. We have decided that our next tow vehicle will be the Yukon Denali XL with the 6.2 generating 417 torque and a better highway non towing mileage due to gearing. There have been a few instances in the 10 years we've been towing similar weight trailers where 4wd would have been nice, but very few, so we're undecided there.

Dave has it just right. If you're willing to go slower uphill and work your transmission, the 5.4 should be fine for you, especially if your ratio of towing time to exploring time is low. I'm a mileage freak myself, but I can't personally imagine towing a rig of your weight with an engine that small, even if the truck is perfectly capable. We just like to be able to stay at speed. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:14 AM   #8
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hi john and welcome...

hereIN lies the problem....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mysecondjoy View Post
My wife and I are contemplating buying our first tow vehicle followed by a travel trailer...
it has been wisely repeated 1000s of times here (except this thread) and 2 the point of cliche' status...

find/buy the stream first, then choose the proper towing mule.
__________

u might THINK the 28 is fine, but what if a 30 turns out 2b magical?

or perhaps a 34 will be perfect,

or a lightly used newer 30 slide unit?

many NEW streamers who use their units a lot UPsize quickly by 2-3 feet.

it's very very common.
__________

trucks are easy to find, even ordering directly is quick, so there is really NO reason to buy the truck first.

and a LOT of reasons to pin down the stream initially.
__________

the new 150s are really really nice and the towing capacity is great.

with integrated trailer brake controllers and big mirrors and antisway magic, like the BIG trucks.

the problem is PAYLOAD is limited in all but a few models/trims,

so CARRYING STUFF while traveling, easily becomes an issue.

once tongue weight, hitch weight, a shell, passengers, maybe a genset or 2 and so on, are loaded...

the 1/2 ton trucks often are OVER payload.

even the mighty 3/4 ton isn't always enough truck...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...350-70664.html

unless you expect to suddenly find the perfect stream and NEED to tow it home that day,

there are many reasons to delay the truck decision just a bit.

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:47 AM   #9
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John I currently have a 31 Classic and an Excursion V10 - but like you, I also want to take a serious look at the NEW F150 with the V6 Eco-Boost (365 HP, 420 Ft Pounds) The engine specs of the new V6 EcoBoost are better then my current V10 (310 HP, 410 Ft Pounds). The $$ advantage of the new F150 Eco-boost would likely be in daily use when not towing. It will be interesting to see in practice how this combo fares out with real world towing payloads.

Regards Rob
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