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Old 08-01-2007, 01:10 PM   #1
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The F150 as a TV; one guys perspective

The subject of what TV is adequate for what trailer is a perpetual topic here, so I figured I would weigh in on my experience with my truck-trailer combo.

I just wrapped up my first western trip* with the Trade Wind (68) towing with my 1991 F150 (302 engine standard transmission) and have come to some conclusions. First: the F150 which has a new engine (factory rebuilt) from last summer and new radiator (this summer) is perfect for eastern towing including anything the Smoky mountains had to throw at it; for plains towing when there is significant wind and for high altitude towing it was enough to get by with the following caveats. First, it really needed more power. Whether or not a engine larger than 5 L would have been adequate I can’t say, but the 302 just had no punch. Second, even with the new radiator extended high RPM steep climbs (> 2 mile) that slowed speed to less than 40 MPH tended to cause temps to rise albeit not to the point of “overheating” on any of the climbs I experienced. Finally, while I has no breaking problems, I have to say on some of the long down grades it occurred to me that a beefier braking system would have been better.

The biggest surprise for me was that the truck did fine at altitude (9,000ish ft) but the big issues were long steep climbs and wind on the plains. So, is the F150 an adequate TV? The answer is a qualified yes. Yes, provided that 1) you are in the east or 2) doing limited plains or high altitude towing, 3) are mindful of the limitations of the rig and can adjust your travel attitude and driving habits to cope with them, and 4) can tolerate a certain level of stress related to demanding this much from the rig under such conditions.

If I were staying in the east with only limited plans to travel the Rockies I would be happy to stick with this truck. Having said that, since I am moving to the plains and anticipate extended high altitude travel, I will be looking to move to a ¾ ton TV.


* See http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463/max-rpms-302-a-33108.html for some of the pre-trip size up and the during the trip discussion of TV issues.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:48 PM   #2
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1999 F-150 5.4L 4X4 w/ off factory lift & road package, short wheelbase, 17" wheels and 3.73 LS axle here - I've seen severe crosswinds on the prairie and especially sweated the semi's wind shadow & buffeting, and also prayed for a tailwind as gusts scoured away momentum... I agree your conclusions are valid for both the 1991 and 1999 F-150 models range...

I added helper-leaves to the rear spring pack a while back and upgraded the load range on the tires so now it's the front-ends turn again at 105k miles. I know I need new arm bushings but am wondering what else to swap out while thats being done? Any one familiar with the odd grommets and such in the torsion bar suspended Ford 4X4?
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
If I were staying in the east with only limited plans to travel the Rockies I would be happy to stick with this truck. Having said that, since I am moving to the plains and anticipate extended high altitude travel, I will be looking to move to a ¾ ton TV.
Hi Rodney,

Thanks for the informed opinion. I have enjoyed following your trip. Where on the plains are you planning to move?

Vaughan
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:16 PM   #4
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Hi Rodney,

Thanks for the informed opinion. I have enjoyed following your trip. Where on the plains are you planning to move?

Vaughan
Thanks! I have accepted an appointment at Cameron University in Lawton OK. I am moving next week. Actually, the Trade Wind is there now.
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:22 PM   #5
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Thanks! I have accepted an appointment at Cameron University in Lawton OK. I am moving next week. Actually, the Trade Wind is there now.
Congratulations!

What will you be doing there? I am with an Economic Development, non-faculty, unit in the College of Business at UA Little Rock.

Vaughan
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:42 PM   #6
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Congratulations!

What will you be doing there? I am with an Economic Development, non-faculty, unit in the College of Business at UA Little Rock.

Vaughan
Faculty in the dept of psychology
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
The subject of what TV is adequate for what trailer is a perpetual topic here, so I figured I would weigh in on my experience with my truck-trailer combo...
good observations g'd'....

it is hard to appreciate the differences east/west of the river...

and wind and grade and traffic and heat and long long stretches of roadway.

without being 'out there' in it.

understanding where one plans to travel and how frequently is so important in selecting the appropriate rig.

relating the stresses of travel to the equipment is another thing we don't fully understand until the bigger rig is tried...

have a good fall in lawton, and welcome to the low side of the high plains...

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:08 PM   #8
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One of my favorite subjects. The plains will be a change, but it has its own kind of beauty. I spent several years in Dalhart, north of Amarillo.

Vaughan
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Old 08-01-2007, 05:25 PM   #9
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Is the 302 the 4.6L?

I think most of what you exp would be amplifed with a heavier (newer) Airstream, compared to a vintage.
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Old 08-01-2007, 05:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Is the 302 the 4.6L?

I think most of what you exp would be amplifed with a heavier (newer) Airstream, compared to a vintage.
302 is 5.0L. Started as 221 CI, then 260CI then 289CI, then 302CI.

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Old 08-01-2007, 06:59 PM   #11
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I think the 4.6 L would be about 276 CI + - a little.

They are supposed to have move HP and Torque than the 302 but it is still a very small block V8.
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I think most of what you exp would be amplifed with a heavier (newer) Airstream, compared to a vintage.
I wouldnt think of towing a newer trailer of the same length with this truck.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:15 AM   #13
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I think you are following the same kind of path as a lot of folks - you use what you have, and then plan for the future.

My first AS tv was a Tahoe - 5.7L, tow package, the whole shebang. But it just wasn't right even for my 25' Safari. Travel with a 3/4 ton (a diesel at that) takes a lot of stress out of travel. So - enjoy what you have until you can save enough nickels to move bigger, then smile.

Good luck with your new position, Gen'l.

Pat
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:46 PM   #14
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Cameron University

Good luck at Cameron. If you need any information on the Lawton area, please let me know.

I am a Cameron Alum., BA '81
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