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Old 07-26-2010, 11:36 AM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Looking for tow capacity of a 2006 F 150

Picking up my first Airstream today. It's a great day! I am a little worried about pulling it. I have an 2006 F150 Supercrew with 5.4L engine, but don't know about gear ratio's for rear end. The unit is a 31' 1973 Sovereign, (although the floor plan is slightly different than what I found on line). Just have to pull it about 60 miles to get it parked so that I can start repairs. Any advice would really be appreciated.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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In most cases if you don't know what the rear axle ratio is you'll find that it's not a towing-oriented ratio.

Technically you're probably over your towing capacity or at least close to it.

With a good sway control WD hitch and properly working brakes I would think you'd be reasonably safe for a short drive like that, though.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:49 PM   #3
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If your F150 5.4L crew has the same set-up as mine, and a 10,000 lb class III/IV hitch, your tow capacity is 9,800 lbs. If not, it's around 7,500 lbs, which is about the same as the trailer, dry. Be sure to check if your hitch is 5,000 lb or 10,000 lb rated as either type may be installed. The bumper hitch maxes out at 5,000 lbs.

The ratios of the diff only vary from around 3.5 to 4.1 and with the strength of the transmission and engine, wouldn't present a problem in towing the 31' Sovereign as long as it's dry and not got a lot of extras in it.

If you are nervous about it, you could remove all the mattresses, drawers, trays, cabinet doors and etc. and transport those down on a later trip. That would remove about 600 lbs.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:47 PM   #4
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Your F150 will have absolutely no problem towing a 1973 Sovereign. My F150 also has the 5.4L V8 and even with a 3.55 RE, I have no problem pulling my 72 Sovereign, even up the big overpasses. A fully loaded Sovereign of this era will weigh about 6,000lbs (the dry weight of my Sovereign is 4,700lbs).

Back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, almost all tow vehicles were cars with V8 engines, very few trucks. Indeed, I've found that anything heavier than 1/2 ton (like my old Excursion) will beat the hell out of your Airstream.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:17 PM   #5
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Hitches/Towing

Thanks for the information! Managed to tow the unit the 60 miles, could feel it back there though! I think I should look into new hitch. Anybody have some advice on anti-sway bars or the best hitch to use? I don't think there are too many additional items that would be adding weight to the trailer, so I would want to know that my hitch and tow vehicle are up to the task. Maybe I need to trade my truck to a 3/4 ton. I am a complete novice at this, so...whatever info someone has on hitches.....
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:45 PM   #6
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There are a handfull of good hitches out there. The Equal-i-zer and Reese Dual Cam are fine hitches that cost about 3-400 bucks. The Hensley Arrow is the best but is also the most expensive at about 2,500 bucks.

When you say you "felt" the trailer, what exactly did you feel? Sway? Too much weight on the rear axle?
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:24 PM   #7
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I could feel resistance when I went over small bumps in the road, it was most comfortable at about 80 kms, 55 mph. Maybe this is normal. I have it parked for repairs, but am wanting to take it out once this year to see how everything works and feels. I can manage with the set-up I have for one trip, but would like to have an idea of what needs to be done for next year. Would I need a professional installer to install new hitch, or could I do it myself?
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onalimb View Post
Picking up my first Airstream today. It's a great day! I am a little worried about pulling it. I have an 2006 F150 Supercrew with 5.4L engine, but don't know about gear ratio's for rear end. The unit is a 31' 1973 Sovereign, (although the floor plan is slightly different than what I found on line). Just have to pull it about 60 miles to get it parked so that I can start repairs. Any advice would really be appreciated.
Hi, crawl under your truck and look for a metal tag on one of the differential cover bolts. Preferably it would say 3:L73 or 4:L10 on the tag. The "L" is for limited slip. With a 3:55 you might be marginal towing your trailer. Newer trucks with 3:55 gears are OK because they have a six speed trans instead of a four speed trans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onalimb View Post
I could feel resistance when I went over small bumps in the road, it was most comfortable at about 80 kms, 55 mph. Maybe this is normal. I have it parked for repairs, but am wanting to take it out once this year to see how everything works and feels. I can manage with the set-up I have for one trip, but would like to have an idea of what needs to be done for next year. Would I need a professional installer to install new hitch, or could I do it myself?
Hi, only a guess here, but if you feel resistance going over bumps, it could mean that your axles are shot and giving no suspension action.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:06 AM   #9
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Given the choice between buying a fancy WD or anti-sway device, I'd put that money towards new axles first.

If you're happy doing 55, and you understand frozen trailer axles will happily tear your frame apart over time, you'll know the hitch can wait.
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