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Old 02-01-2003, 10:52 AM   #1
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Towing with 2003 Expedition?

Is anyone out there towing with a 2003 Expedition. I have been looking at them since they have a rating of 8900/8650 (4x2/4x4). My wife has an Expedition now and we tow with an Excursion. I would like to get to one tow vehicle and another small run around. However, my wife loves her Expedition. I am going to be test driving an Expedition with the trailer some time next week but I want to get any thoughts from people that have actually used one.

Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2003, 12:16 PM   #2
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2003 Expedition
Consumer Guide Rating: Best Buy

Pros: Passenger and cargo room; Trailer-towing capability; Visibility

Cons: Fuel economy; Entry/exit
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Old 02-01-2003, 02:28 PM   #3
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The Expedition has a pretty short wheelbase... 119" compared to the Excursion's 137". A little short for a 26' trailer. Ford specs give it a 7000 lb GVWR, but I've heard folks say theirs has 6800 GVWR on the sticker. These specs also say:

Max Trailer Weight
4.6L V-8 - 5271 lbs/4x4 - 5569 lbs
5.4L V-8 - 5420 lbs/4x4 - 5689 lbs

while the Ford Towing Guide says:

Max LOADED Trailer Weight
4.6L V-8 - 6050 lbs/4x4 - 5750 lbs out of 11,500 GCWR
5.4L V-8 - 8900 lbs/4x4 - 8650 lbs out of 14,500 GCWR

Read the note at the top of the page and realize the weight of fuel, people, cargo, and options in the truck (which can amount to a lot) come out of that rating.

Fuel up the Expedition, add all the people and cargo that'll be in it when you tow and take it to a CAT scale. Subtract that weight from the GVWR to see how much tongue weight your frame, suspension and tires can handle, and from the GCWR to see how much your drivetrain can pull.
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Old 02-02-2003, 09:14 AM   #4
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Rodger / Moe

RVgazette has a good review on the new Expedition. The 2003 has a much stiffer frame and newly designed independant rear suspension that has greatly improved the handling performance. It appears that this has helped raise the tow rating number for this year. The HD tranny with the 5.4 is rated to handle over 500 foot pounds of torque. The engine puts out 350 foot pounds. True the wheel base is fairly short but the good side is the axle to ball distance is fairly short too.

The article also repoerts that for a large SUV it is one of the cleanest ( Ultra low emissions class)
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Old 02-02-2003, 11:51 AM   #5
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Wayne,

Those are '03 ratings I used.

You have to be careful about transmission input ratings. The SuperDuty's 4R100 is rated at 1000 ft-lbs. When considering how much engine torque it can support, you have to take the 1.86:1 torque multiplication of the torque converter, unlocked and slipping, into account.

That's why I don't want to increase the 525 ft-lb rating of my automatic PSD... it comes out to 975 ft-lbs into the transmission in stock configuration. And it's why so many PSD owners who do hot-rod trash their trannies.
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Old 02-02-2003, 12:02 PM   #6
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Good info Moe.
I wasn't aware of the torque converter multipication factor.
Thnxs.
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Old 02-08-2003, 09:15 PM   #7
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We were looking at one, but my son made us look at a Ford E-350. It had a higher tow rating, lower sticker price and more room. Ours has 4 captians chairs and ton of room.
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Old 02-08-2003, 09:49 PM   #8
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I tow a 27 foot Safari with a 2001 Expedition and a Hensley Hitch. I have towed this rig from Houston to Palm Springs, The East coast , and to Naples , Florida--plus several trips to the Big Bend area of Texas. About 17000 miles in all. Absolutely no complaints, vis-a-vis power, acceleration, braking or sway( there is none of the latter). Probably loaded, my trailer weighs 6500 to 7000 lbs. Most likely, the hitch is a great part of my overall satisfaction. There is no problem as regards good speed. I find myself having to slow down all the time. And I had no problem with the mountains in southern Colorado or through New Mexico and Arizona. I have the 5.4 liter v8.
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Old 02-13-2003, 12:31 PM   #9
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OK. Did some more calculations. RoadKing, help me out on these. My A/S is listed (haven't weighed it yet) at 5100 dry, 6800 GVWR. If we subtract the 6800 (GVWR of trailer) from the 14500 GCWR for the Expedition, we get 7700 for total Expedition weight. I don't know that the dry weight is for the Expedition but if the GVWR is 7000/6800, it appears to be within limits.

We actually towed our trailer with a new Expedition last saturday. It did surprisingly well. It ain't no 6.8 Excursion. We tried a decent hill and it was actually accelerating up it in 2nd. The braking was very impressive, better than the Excursion. But that may be attributable to the Tekonsha Prodigy that I just got.

Any further thoughts are appreciated. I feel that I am going to persue this avenue so we can consolidate our vehicles and get a better one for running around town.

Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2003, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Andy

You always have to subtract the extra drag of a large vehicle from the extra horsepower it may produce. For example the Ford Expedition has a 5.4 Litre but only a 4 speed and with its extra bulk the Explorer will outperform it towing an Airstream.


Andy
Roger... I recalled this quote from a previous thread. I believe the author was refering to a 2002 or older Expedition and they are not as refined as the new one that you are looking at. The drag and weight factors would still apply. Also considering that weight is good but only more applicable if on vehicles with a low centre of gravity.
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Old 02-13-2003, 03:02 PM   #11
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Roger,
If your trailer does hit the 6800 GVWR, and its tongue weight is 12% or 816 lbs, with a Hensley hitch, you're looking at putting a bit over 1000 lbs on the Expedition.

You're correct in your math, but lets add a coupla hundred pounds for a Hensley, and put the trailer at 7,000 lbs out of 14,500. leaving a max weight for the wet and loaded Expedition of 7,500 lbs. The less it actually weighs under this, the better it will PULL, especially in the mountains. But we also have to worry about how much it can CARRY.

And it will have to weigh a lot less than 7,500 lbs, because the GVWR is, let's say, 6800 lbs. When we subtract the 1000 lbs of tongue weight and Hensley, the most it can weigh, wet (fueled) and loaded (with all passengers and cargo), is 5,800 lbs.

Most vehicles weigh a lot more than their published curb weight and for a 2WD Expedition, that's 5152, while a 4WD is 5409. Add to these 28 gallons times 6.3 lbs/gallon (176 lbs) and you get a wet curb weight of 5328 for 2WD and 5585 for 4WD.

Assuming the curb weights aren't any heavier than published, and that's a really bad assumption, that only leaves 472 lbs for people and cargo in the 2WD, and 391 lbs for people and cargo in the 4WD.

That sure isn't much for people and cargo, and I'm betting even that disappears when you get the real, wet and loaded weight of the truck. Even if you didn't get a Hensley, you're only looking at 75 lbs more capacity.

Now the conservative rule of thumb says you need 110" to pull a 20' trailer, and 4" more wheelbase for each additional foot of trailer. That would put the Expedition right for a 22' 5,000 lb International, which would certainly allow a family of four and an ice chest, etc in the truck with the 600 lb tongue weight plus a hitch.

A more reasonable rule of thumb might add 3' to that, but a 25' is really a 26'. At this length, a 6300 lb 25' (really 26' and 680 tongue before Hensley) Safari would be a _little_ long, but would sure leave another 100 lbs more for passengers and cargo in the Expedition.

I guess I'd leave it at this. With the GCWR, the 5.4L (w/o 17" wheels) might pull it okay with plenty of power. And with a Hensley, the length to wheelbase might not be a problem (but even though I'm a Hensley proponent, I don't believe in using it as a cure for SWB vehicles with long trailers). I guess the real issue is whether you mind the truck being over its GVWR when loaded for camping with the trailer hooked up. If you don't, just make sure to carry plenty of liability insurance (which is a good idea anyway).

Hope this helps,
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Old 02-14-2003, 08:32 AM   #12
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I use a 97 Expedition to pull my 29 Ft. 93 Excello, 1000. I use the Hensley Hitch and have no complaints with performace or stability. The hitch made a big difference in stability and I have been using it for about 3 years. I been up some 8% grades in Arkansas and am totally satisfied. I did change to synthetic auto Trans fluid on the first change. I have 55000 miles on the Expy and have had no problems. Would not hesitate to recommend this combination.
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Old 02-14-2003, 09:41 AM   #13
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Hello Moe...

A couple thoughts on the formulas that you are using.

Talking wheel base alone is only half the equation. The overhang distance is of equal importance. The next paragraph explains.

"Calculate overhang as a percentage of the wheel base.
For example, a 116" wheel base and 40" overhang comes out to a 35% overhang ratio. A 130" wheelbase with a 50" overhang comes out to a 38% overhang ratio - in this case not as good as the shorter wheel base. Of course, an even better combination would be a 130" wheel base with a 40" overhang, which would come out to 31% overhang."

The Expedition has a short over hang ( roughly around 35%) which is a benefit worth factoring into.

The second thought is hitch weight. 1,000 lbs is roughly correct with a Hensley but once it is set up and road ready ( weight has been distributed ) approximately 30% (300 lbs) has been displaced to the rear wheels of the trailer. This puts roughly 500lbs on the rear end and roughly 200 lbs on the front of the vehicle. Actual hitch weight the vehicle picks up is about 700lbs. I spent a lot of time at a weigh scale last October with my combination and realized this from my testing. Note that no 2 combinations will be the same but the same principles would apply.

I believe these items may help explain the success of this particular vehicle.
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Old 02-15-2003, 11:20 AM   #14
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Thumbs up SUV comparisons

Folks;
Here is a good article comparing the Durango, Trailblazer, and Expeditions as they relate to towing A/S's

http://www.rvlifemag.com/file317/threetotow.html
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