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Old 09-01-2018, 04:17 PM   #1
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Help spec a new F-250

Hi. Some of you may have seen my other thread, Help spec a new F-150. This is its companion thread.

I'm a newbie seeking advice on speccing a TV for a 2019 Globetrotter FB Twin. I'm hoping these threads provide me (and future owners of similarly sized trailers) some insight on how to navigate the myriad options involved in tow truck specs, hopefully without the dogmatic opinion that seems to have plagued the similar threads.

You can view the first post in that 150 thread for some context on trailer use and payload. For this thread, I'll get straight to my questions:
  • Whereas speccing an F-150 seems to be about finagling this option and that option to arrive at a workable tow and payload capacities for the GT, the F-250 seems a lot more straightforward. Am I correct in thinking that the only major decision to make is gas or disel, and that any 250 with the max tow package is more than capable of carrying my family and gear and towing my trailer?
  • Are there any configurations I should avoid? There is part of me that thinks that if I need to get a big truck, I might as well get a Platinum and some options then call it done.
  • Assuming I don't need Max Tow with the 250, I'm not clear on which axle ratio, wheelbase, or alternator I should get. 3.73 non-limited slip axle ratio is standard.
  • I've read differing opinions on wheel size. I have 20" wheels on my Volvo SUV and I like they way they ride. I switch to 18" wheels in the winter though due to potholes. Should I take a similar approach with the 250? Should I change the standard tire spec?
  • I really don't like the height of these large trucks; I wish they could be specced to be lower to the ground. Is there anyone carrying a family in a 250? How do people manage kids getting in and out of them?

Here's the build I'm considering:

Base config for the 250:
  • 6.2 FlexFuel (I'm really hoping I don't need diesel) / 4 x 4
  • CrewCab / 6-3/4' bed
  • Tonneau cover & bike rack

In Lariat Trim:
  • Lariat Ultimate package
  • Tow Technology package
  • Tailgate step
  • Power running boards
  • Misc accessories

In Platinum Trim:
  • Platinum Ultimate package

As you can see, the Platinum Trim w/ the Ultimate package pretty much takes care of everything I'd need to add on to the Lariat. Just not sure on the more technical specs (axle, alternator, wheel/tires, etc.). I'm very mechanically competent--when it comes to bicycles.

Here's where I'll qualify my interest in the 150. I don't want a large truck. I want a truck I can potentially use 100% of the time, which is the 150. A 250-size truck will be useless to me 9 months of the next year and probably 10+ months out of most years thereafter. At home a 250 will not fit in my garage (in fact will require car shuffling if it's in the driveway), will be a pain to drive around town, gets horrible gas mileage in stop-and-go traffic, and does not lend itself to urban parking or maneuvering. At the farm the 250 will rip up the trails I'm currently maintaining with my side-by-side. So though it is clearly a better truck for towing, it's a worse lifestyle truck for me. This is by no means disparaging those with 250s, just qualifying why I'm looking at both the 150 and the 250 and figuring out which set of compromises I am most comfortable with. I think a lot of the people who say "go with the bigger truck" assume the only use for the truck is for towing an AS and are not particularly concerned or considerate about the broader context in which a truck might play a role.

Seems like both trucks will roughly be the same price, though I suspect I'm more likely to find the 250 Platinum on a lot or even used and get a better deal on it than I am the 150 with all the specific options I'll need to make it work. I have the luxury of time here, though, since my trailer won't be picked up until after winter.

Anyway, hoping to get some advise on speccing a 250 here. In a similar spirit, let's not make this a "get a 350" or "get a 150" thread--let's make it helpful for anyone considering a 250. I'm hoping it's a lot more straightforward than the 150 given that the base truck more than covers the numerical aspects of my setup.
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Old 09-01-2018, 05:45 PM   #2
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In a 6.2, I would get the optional 4:30 gears. I would also.get the trailer tow camera system, tailgate step and probably blindspot monitoring. I would also probably get the 5th/gooseneck attachment points.
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Old 09-01-2018, 06:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CRH View Post
In a 6.2, I would get the optional 4:30 gears. I would also.get the trailer tow camera system, tailgate step and probably blindspot monitoring. I would also probably get the 5th/gooseneck attachment points.
I'm towing a 30' trailer with 2017 F250 and 3.73 gears. I find that gearing to be spot on. Certainly better than my 2012 F150 v8 with the 3.55. Those were too tall in my opinion.

I haven't tried them, but I'm not sure I'd go to 4.30 for an 8,000 lb trailer. I think you'll be revving needlessly.

And those will almost certainly be special order. I never saw one on the lot when I was searching.
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Old 09-01-2018, 06:49 PM   #4
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I also think 3.73:1 is enough. The 6.2 should do fine if you're not afraid to put your foot in it... it'll need RPM to climb, but letting it rev when you need it won't hurt anything.

For a 250 I would *ONLY* consider the gas engine, if I wanted the diesel I'd get the single-wheel 350 because that big heavy lump eats a lot of the 250's payload.

Personally I don't like power running boards. I keep a vehicle 10ish years and it's one more thing to break. You live in snow&ice country, I'd imagine the power running boards are problematic in icy conditions too, but that's pure conjecture on my part.
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Old 09-01-2018, 07:14 PM   #5
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I have read many 3:73 owners on truck forums that wish they had 4:30. I don't think I have seen it the other way around. 4:30 will yield better pulling from first gear all the way up. Gas mileage diffence will be negligible. In some cases, the 4:30 may give better mileage.
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Old 09-01-2018, 07:48 PM   #6
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Definitely some great discussion here with respect to payload, 4x4, mirrors, etc. I will cut to the chase here on the really important question: Definitely blue. Looks much better in front of a shiny new Globetrotter, in my opinion ! :-)
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Old 09-01-2018, 07:57 PM   #7
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Go big or go home. Get the 250 diesel. Pick your trim. You will have plenty of capacity. Towing is so much easier and relaxed.
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Old 09-01-2018, 08:03 PM   #8
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If I was going diesel, I would go F350 to get the most payload.
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Old 09-01-2018, 08:04 PM   #9
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Hi

After going around in circles on a bunch of stuff, I just caved in and got the Platinum version. If I'd taken the 4x4 off the list and also did not need the power running boards for the wife's knee issues .... I might have saved some money on a lower trim level.

I'm very happy with the gas version of the truck. I have not encountered any situation where I feel like I'm short on power or engine braking.

I would suggest that the electronic locking rear axle is a "really good idea". A 4x4 can still leave you spinning 2 wheels and delivering zip to the other two. Been there done that (unfortunately) several times in years gone by.

The camera ( 360 degree view) package is well worth the money. I use it pretty much every time I park the truck anywhere. Also the "lane warning" setup that turns on the little yellow light in the mirror ....worth every penny. The radar gizmo in the tail light housings that yells about cross traffic when you back up, worth it, but further down the list than the rest of the stuff. ( Yes, you need the full tow package with the mirrors and the camera out the back ...I just *assume* you are already getting all that).

Payload (or whatever you want to call it), the F-250 with the full up springs ( camper package does that plus a rear anti-sway for cheap) is "enough" for what we do. Yes, there's at least 500 pounds of crap in the bed and another 800 pounds in the cab as we roll down the road. That adds to the hitch and cover weights. It will do that plus the trailer ok ....

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Old 09-01-2018, 08:13 PM   #10
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Potentially another question to ask is how might your lifestyle change in the next 5 years or so. Do you see yourself going more or full time on the road?

Both F150 and F250 will do the job. Considering that you will have 75% usage unhitched... Which do wish to optimize more? Do you often find yourself reflecting and wish you would have just sprung for more?
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Old 09-01-2018, 09:13 PM   #11
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Again--thanks for the great input, everyone.

If I go 250, I suspect I'll go the @uncle_bob route and just get the Platinum / gas with Ultimate package and a few other things. There will be things I like and things I don't need but it'll cover all bases and presumably be pretty easy to find. I have a lot of the tech features mentioned so far in my every day car (a Volvo) and have come to like them and it would be good to carry that over into the trips I take with the AS in the coming years. I'm still not sure about the gearing but if general consensus is that standard (3:73) is good enough, I'd just as soon get that.

As for how my lifestyle might change in the next few years--my youngest is only in 3rd grade, so any major lifestyle changes are going to be a ways off. I'm taking an open-ended sabbatical from employment now to be a part of their lives while they are young and this whole AS / Alaska adventure next summer is part of that. We'll see how that goes and decide whether that's how we want to spend the summer afterwards, but as of now full-timing is not in the cards. My main hope is to get them interested in seeing new places and people--by truck, trailer, plane, bike, or otherwise.

Anyway, if I have to get a 250, so be it. It's just not ideal in other ways. I'm really lucky to have the choice, and I'll be fine either way.
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Old 09-01-2018, 10:30 PM   #12
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I reiterate... if you're going gas, the 250 is fine but if you go diesel go 350. The lengths (and turning circles, etc.) are the same for 250 and the SRW 350.

I think it's hilarious that some of the same people who preach that if you tow with an F150 the world will end because you went a pound over payload are ignoring the fact that the high-trim diesel 250s don't have much more payload than the high-payload 150s.
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:20 AM   #13
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While I don't doubt that you know your lifestyle, before completely discounting the 250 based on believed perceptions, I would recommend renting one for a week from Enterprise, or maybe a well used demo from a dealer if you can find one, be sure it is at least a 2017, as that is when the ride changes were made. This way you can confirm you can't live with it and feel confident with the decision.

A 3rd grader can climb.
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:32 AM   #14
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. . .
Anyway, if I have to get a 250, so be it. It's just not ideal in other ways. I'm really lucky to have the choice, and I'll be fine either way.
Great new thread and closing thoughts above.

Good advice from Randy in the last post, if you have not already spent a week or so driving a newish 250.

Best wishes for your sabbatical and family trips.

Happy Trails!

Peter
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