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Old 08-31-2003, 10:14 AM   #1
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help pick a tow vehicle

I have a 16CCD coming in, and will be buying a used tow vehicle; likely a '99 or '00 Ford F150. I'd appreciate any suggestions as to engine, axle ratio, differential, or especially how important the tow package is as a feature. I'm guessing it saves you some wiring, but beyond that is it necessary for a trailer this small? Also, as this is a used car, how do you know it has the tow package; is there some tell-tale equipment?

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Old 08-31-2003, 10:25 AM   #2
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Ford's tow package is more than just the trailer wiring. The factory adds an additional Trans cooler, a bigger radiator, higher load range tires, 7 way wire plug on the rear, sometimer the recivers depending on year, Tach, and a bit beefier rear springs.

Some of there things can be seen eaisly. The best one to look for is the 7 way wiring plug on the rear. If the truck was not used for towing it sometimes is attached to the frame next to the spare. Relocation and a brake controller is all you need. There also will be a plug just below and to the right of the steering wheel under the edge of the dash. This is for the brake controller to plug into. If you have this connector it is a 4 wire job to install a brake controller. Most of the F150's with a tow package will have a 3.55 Rear end. Stay away from OD when towing and you will be fine with a 5 liter, the 5.8 would be better. In the case of engine size bigger is better.

4X4 is your preference. More to maintain, more weight to lug around. I would reccomend trying to get an extended cab, just for the ability to take stuff in the cab with you. Short bed is only an issue if you go standard cab. It will make the wheelbase too short for proper handling.

Did I miss anything ???

Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 08-31-2003, 10:26 AM   #3
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I think the tow package is a very important option. It provides not only wiring, but typically also adds heavy duty cooling, transmission cooling, larger capacity alternator, and sway bars.
The Ford brand also has a complete wiring harness, which only requires minimal work to hook up your brake controller and hitch plug.
I think that if the trailer needs brakes to be legally towed, then the tow vehicle will work much better and longer if it has the factory tow package.
Chances are that you will not be paying for it if you're buying used.
You should also consider a rear axle ratio that is over 3:55 for towing. My vehicles have a 3:90 and a 3:73, and that works well. Your choice of an F150 is a goodone, in my opinion, as long as it is set up for towing, and has a big enough engine. ( V8/5.4l minimum)
The 16CCD is a very small and light trailer, so you will not have any trouble with the F150.
You will have to contact Ford to get the build codes ( RPO) for the packages that you want. Then look for the corresponding sticker inside the vehicle, or in the owners manual. A tell tale would be a factory tow hitch, wiring provisions, and a transmission cooler in front of the radiator. But pleae be cautios, just because it's got a tow hitch receive, does not mean it has the entire package.
Good luck, and enjoy your new CCD.
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Old 08-31-2003, 12:25 PM   #4
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This thread prompted me to go out and poke around our 95 E150 (passenger van) a little more, and I happily discovered that we do appear to have the tow package (if the additional transcooler is a tell-tale sign).

I had wondered, but never put much thought into it, because our trailer is so light I felt I wasn't going to stress the van out either way. However, now I look in the manual (which didn't come with the vehicle, we had to order one after we got it home) and see it says nothing over 2000# should be towed without the SuperCooling option, and nothing over 3500# without the heavy duty suspension. Even more important since I found out a friend with an identical E150 without the tow package overheated his tranny towing a trailer up the mountain to that astronomy party we went to last month, and severely damaged his transmission.

I've found the 5.8L v8 to be plenty of power, though I don't flog it too hard going up the mountains. We've got the 3:55 gears. Most of the time we stay in overdrive while cruising, and don't even know the trailer is there. We switch off the overdrive on the hills, and downshift in the steep mountains. We've been very happy with the performance (though I wish it got better MPG - it gets about 13, towing or in-town), and love all the extra interior room for dogs, blue tank, and assorted stuff we take with us.

Good luck in your search, but since you're picking this vehicle out specifically for towing, I'd definitly hold out for the tow package. I think it will not be hard to find trucks that already have it.

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Old 08-31-2003, 01:09 PM   #5
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I'm up in Anchorage, and will be buying the trailer, and car, in Vancouver BC. Sounds like I'll stick to the tow pckg and try to match with the 5.4 l. engine. I'm thinking a tonneau cover would be better than a canopy in terms of seeing whats back there. 4X is not essential to me, although I'm a little worried about the Alcan in October...... beyone that, I've bought a Prodigy brake control and plan on getting an equlizer hitch. Then its just a matter of getting 2 extra jobs to pay for all this stuff.
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Old 09-01-2003, 12:33 AM   #6
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Towing with an F-150

I can tell you how i like my F-150. I just completed a 1030 mile trek around Oregon towing a 22' Argosy Minuet .

My truck is a 2001 F-150 5.4 liter with the 4x4 off road package. It has the factory tow package(i had to reinstall the rv plug wiring becuase the previous owner decided it would be funner to cut everything out instead of pulling the plugs apart).

The trailer probably weighs about 3500 max loaded to the gills.

I have power to burn. I was passing anything i wanted going uphill. I rarely had any cars stack up behind me. When i did it was because i wouldnt take corners as fast as they were and i was more cautious going downhill.

The one incident i had worth noting could have been prevented. I was on a rural highway out of a town called Fossil. The road was a pretty steep downgrade with lots of switchbacks. This went on for about 5 miles. I have gotten lazy since having auto transmissions and didnt even think to drop the trans into 2 or low for the decent, as i would have while driving the worktruck(a manual trans) i do and towing a bobcat loader. I should have also cranked up the trailer brake controller a bit more. So...the brakes got pretty hot and were smoking something good by the time i thought of these things and pulled over.

Other than that, the truck was a great tow rig and on every hill i climbed, quite a few, it pulled them like a champ.

2009 F-350 FX4 Crewcab 4x4 6.4l
former '78 Argosy 20' Minuet owner
former '77 23' Safari owner
former 25' Fun Finder X-250BHS SOB owner
current 26' Komfort Trailblazer 262BSLE SOB owner
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