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Old 10-15-2007, 06:30 PM   #1
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Anyone towing 34 ft with an Excursion

I just bought a 2004 Ford Excursion to tow my 34 fter.

I am using the same Reese dual cam sway control system I have used to tow this trailer with for 12 years behind a Suburban. The only significant difference is the tires on the Excursion. They are 305/50/20 ziex stz04 tires. I was quite surprised at the amount of sway and the fact that even small cars would affect the sway.

The rig handled well on truly flat roads, IE concrete or new asphalt, but was effected by passing vehicles on any road that had the least amount of grooving from heavy equipment.

My question is, has anyone towed with an Excursion with the original 265 75 16 tires and not had a similar experience. In which case the tires will go.
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:43 PM   #2
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I have noticed on other forums that most towing 30' plus trailers with the Ex are using a Hensley or modifying the Ex with after market radius rods to tighten up the suspension to prevent wallowing. Tires too may be an issues. Others here may know best.
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:28 PM   #3
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towing with an Ex

Airstream Forums - View Single Post - Tow Vehicle/Hitch Help

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Old 10-15-2007, 10:16 PM   #4
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We towed several 34's for years with an Ex (diesel), and I still think the Ex might be my favorite all time vehicle. We did use a Hensley, and I couldn't tell you the first thing about what tires we had. But with what I can only presume were standard tires, and using the Hensley, we towed flawlessly - for many thousands of miles.
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:19 PM   #5
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34' Airrstream pulled by 1/2 ton truck. That's a really tight fit. It's not within my comfort zone.
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
34' Airrstream pulled by 1/2 ton truck. That's a really tight fit. It's not within my comfort zone.
Moosetags,

I thought the Excursion was a 3/4 ton truck basis, since it originally came with the V10 gas or V8 diesel, and the Expedition was a 1/2 ton truck basis. Am I confused.

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Old 10-15-2007, 10:33 PM   #7
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I tow my 28' with a 05 Diesel Excursion 4x4. I have factory rims/tires, but changed the stock tires @ 20K to Bridgestone Dueler AT Revos. (E rated)

Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo

Best Truck tires I've ever had. Now at 53K with no issues. I keep mine at ~65 PSI. No sway from tires - has some sway with Equal-i-Zer hitch in some condtions, but now with Hensley rock solid.

In addtion, I've added/upgraded the suspension as follows:

Ride-Rite Air bags (Previously had Timbrens) (Vans - Suspension Enhancement Kits from Timbren Industries, but needed them with the Equl-i-zer hitch. The Hensley does much better in moving the weight forward.

Hellwig Rear Sway Bar Hellwig Products

Rancho RS 9000S Shocks (dialed in @ 3), and Rancho Steering Stabilizer.

Some owners have go as far as Radius Rods, but I've found I'm just fine so far... I may do that if my leaf springs begin to get weak and soft...

Another good place for Excursion mods: FordExcursions.com | Ford Excursion Owner and Enthusiast Club | SuperMotors.net

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Old 10-15-2007, 10:47 PM   #8
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I know a guy that pulls a 34', with a 2001, V-10 4x4 standard hitch no problems at all. I would check a couple of things:

1. Tire size, The Excursion came with 265/75/16. I can tell you first hand, put a larger tire on that truck and you will get more roll, done it, did it, got it. I went up just one size and 285's and got more roll, never again

2. Is the hitch setup correctly for the Excursion? My guess, the Excursion is a little higher than the Surburban and changes may need to be made in the hitch.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
34' Airrstream pulled by 1/2 ton truck. That's a really tight fit. It's not within my comfort zone.
The Excursion is built on the same chassis as the F-250. The Excursion has a modified wheelbase.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:45 AM   #10
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I've been towing my 34' with an '05 Excursion PSD for a year and a half now. I have the equilizer hitch w/d set up. My first towing experience was a very soft, mushy tow, and the AS pushed the Ex around the curves. Oh, the Ex came with the heavy duty towing option. I learned that that did not include a rear anti-sway bar, so in went a helwig anti-sway bar. I also added rear air lift suspension in lieu of adding an addition leaf spring. Now the Excursion controls the AS, and it's a great tow. I do notice I get more draft sway when a semi passes me than when I towed with the F250, but the F250 was a long wheel base. I have BFG all terrain tires, but I don't think they have impaired the towability of the Excursion.

The Excursion comes with a soft suspension so that the ride could compare to the Surburban. If you stiffen it up a bit, as I and others have, I think you'll notice a dramatic change in your ride.

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Old 10-16-2007, 12:13 PM   #11
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hi howieE....

bambi bandit has given you great suggestions, so follow up on each item.

i've posted several times on the issue of using lower profile tire/wheels...

here's a thread...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...-tv-28331.html

and post 12 and beyond here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f438...ize-25739.html

almost ANY of the e rated tires (properly inflated) in 265-275/70-75x16 or 17 will improve the towing experience.

the bfgoodrich rugged ta that came stock were great; much better than i expected.

about 5,000 miles ago the 'revos' bandit linked were mounted as replacements.

this IS another fine tire but may not go as many miles as the bfgs...

pirelli and toyo (my favorite choice) and miche' also have top tier e rated in your size...

i'd change tires and rims without hesitation, to either 16s or 17s

IF you are set on using the 20s inflate them to max sidewall pressure which does help them a bit...

but almost every issue noted in the other 2 threads still applies.

i've seen dozens of sets of the stock 250 wheels/tires available on ebay too.

the 16s are 1% smaller and this will result in a small improvement in power too!

so use the 'tire calculator' to stay close to oem specs...

and don't forget the spare!

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-20-2007, 03:21 PM   #12
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OK Fellows an update.

The trailer and hitch were set up to the Excursion before the trip, trailer dead level. I had only set the WD by measurements not scales.
A review of the system after my post showed the drivers side saddle wa about 1/2 way off the cam because the u bolts had slipped back on the tongue. This might amplify the start of any sway rather than retard it. I corrected that.

I took the rig the the cat scales and found I only had 40 lbs., not a lot to retard any sway, added to the front axle, this has been increased.

The truck does have a rear sway bar. While the Excursion has MUCH SOFTER ride than my Suburban, 1/2 tow Excursion verses 1 ton on the Suburban I am not questioning roll or read axle steering just sway induced by passing vehicles.

I will most likely put a set of Michelins on before towing next weekend.

Current weights

truck front axle 4160
truck rear axle 3900

truck front axle with trailer before readjusting 4200
truck rear axle with trailer before readjusting 4440

I was quite supprised that a 34 footer only added 580lbs to the truck
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Old 10-20-2007, 04:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
...I was quite supprised that a 34 footer only added 580lbs to the truck
good report howieE

i don't think you've posted the tongue mass unhitched and level....

IF your 34 has a tongue weight close to the figure a/s listed in those years....

750-850...

580 would be about right (with 2/3s going forward to the tv and 1/3 reward to the trailer)

does that make sense?

otoh IF your tongue mass is actually just 500+ lbs, that isn't so good.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-20-2007, 04:39 PM   #14
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The scale I went to had a rule that you could not disconnect the trailer on the scale so I could not get a good dry tongue weight. A very busy scale in centeral NJ.

I will stop on the road and get a weight asap.
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Old 10-20-2007, 05:55 PM   #15
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Howie,

Even though your hitch is set up properly, and from the weights you give it's about as close as you'll get it, the steering on your Ex feels vague because the four spring stack holding your rear axle on isn't strong enough to keep the axle centered under your 7,000 lb truck when you're driving. That results in the axle moving out of center, and causes rear-axle steering. It's uncomfortably vague going over railroad tracks, or over washboard surfaces, but it's downright scary when you're towing.

The Superduty trucks have an eight spring stack that is much more stout and capable of holding the axle under them. The Ex has the shorter four spring stack for improved ride as a passenger car.

Good aftermarket shocks, a 36mm Helwig sway bar, and Land Yot radius rods will totally eliminate that problem while not degrading the unladen ride much. Each one of those add-ons will help, but to eliminate it altogether when towing you'll need all three.

Roger
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
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..The Superduty trucks have an eight spring stack that is much more stout and capable of holding the axle under them. The Ex has the shorter four spring stack for improved ride as a passenger car...
while i agree with the upgrades suggested on the exc...

my 05 250 sd/psd with the maximum available rear stack, came with 5 leafs not 8...

also this stack fatigued enough after 2 years of towing that another leaf was added recently up to 6...

in addition sometime during the 6.0l superduty run the leaf springs were widened, so perhaps the exc has the older width.

it's tricky to translate #of leafs to capacity or stiffness...

the NEW 08 f-450 dually with it's massive payload/towing specs, only has 3-4 leafs...

but they are easily twice+ as thick as mine....

the new 250s/350s have 5, 6 or 7 leafs but they are thinner and LONGER than previous years...

supple AND strong, but again confusing direct comparisons....

cheers
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:40 PM   #17
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Thanks for clarifying that, Joe. The Superduty stacks were twice as thick... I presumed that to be twice the leaves... but they may in fact have had the same number of leaves, just much heavier duty...

Roger
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:58 PM   #18
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Also, on the Superfords Excursion forums there are a number of folks who are installing Superduty springs on their Excursion which would also cure the problem.

Roger
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:44 PM   #19
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Weekend Update

Just got back from a weekend trip to Hershey Pa., about 120 miles each way.

Before leaving I have new Michelin 2665 75 16 Es put on the truck.

My comment is I had more fun driving from Winnapeg Canada to Montana in a snow storm, with my Suburban, than driving to Hershey.

The truck was all over the road in calm weather and hard to contro in the 25 mph side wind I had on the way home.

I will call Hellwig in the am about thier sway bar. But keep your thoughts coming as this thing is downright unsafe at this point.
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:55 PM   #20
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hi howieE

i'm not defending your specific tire selection, i don't own this brand or model.

and i do think the excursion benefits from the other enhancements bandit suggested in post 7...

but most tires need 1-2-300 miles of road time to 'break in'

i recently put new tires on the f-250 and for the first 150 miles (non towing) they were very squirrelly...

it was SO BAD that i considered returning them (and i had kept the originals) but...

by 200 miles they were much improved at tracking, stopping, turning and so on.

i can imagine towing with them while brand new not have been pleasing, but now with nearly 6,000 miles the tires are excellent towing.

in addition, what inflation pressures did you use?

cheers
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