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Old 02-20-2006, 11:36 PM   #29
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Thumbs up F150 owner that just bought a 71 27ft Overlander

What did we do before the Internet? I'm new in this forum but have gotten tons of info to help me find the TT I wanted.

I too have a F150 (05 Supercab, 5.5' bed 133" wheelbase, 5.4l 3v, and trailer package). Due to the shorter wheelbase (much easier to park) my max towing is 8200lbs, however my new old airstream is lighter at less than 5000lbs.

I am a complete car nut and ALWAYS upgrade my vehicles. Dorothy (my beatuiful white truck) is no exception. I have already realized a significant improvement in power and MPG by installing a K&N cold air intake, power chip programer, and less restrictive cat-back single exhaust. The truck rumbles a little bit more than stock but the improvement in torque and power is very noticable, as is the 2-3 mpg improvement. I am now replacing the K&N intake with a factory approved Roush Supercharger ($3,995 on e-bay). This is a roots type blower identical to the unit Ford puts on their Lightning super-truck. This adds 120hp and 100flb of torque at very low RPMs which would improve the towing performance.

Here is the question - If I am safely within the weight limit, won't this combination be a good tow package on the hills as well as the fast flat stretches? Do I still have to turn off my OD if the engine is pulling the load easily? Should I get a trans temp gauge just in case?

I am a car nut but a trailer idiot - please let me know if I am missing something obvious. And you other F150 lovers, I encourage you to help your truck breath easier and run cooler with a less restrictive intake and exhaust. It transforms the 5.4l motor into a mellow monster.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:25 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimandrod
I guess sbrou14 says it all. I knew I would hear a lot of different view points, but I wanted to hear the experiences of those who have actually towed a similar trailer with an F-150. And... I do appreciate all of the viewpoints. That's how we all benefit from this forum.

It looks like I'll be fine. There are only two of us camping (total weight less than 375 lbs) no canoes, no jet skis, no dirt bikes and no snowmobiles. Just the basics. I have the right axel ratio, a 5.4L V8 and a decent tow package. As long as I take it easy on the road I should nave no problems.

By all means - if anyone else has any more comments, please add them.

Thanks again

Jim (the guy that started the thread)
We pull a 25' Classic with an 2000 Expedition which has the same platform as the F-150 with a Reese Dual Cam our gearing is low and it's rated to 6800# We weighed the trailer and we are under that loaded with 1/4 water tank, no spare and full propane and gear. We exceeded the GCVWR by 1000 # (13500#) packed for a month long trip, and the hitch weight is over. We have gone from Michigan to North to Maine, South to Florida twice and West to Arizona and up and down some hills and grades but not the Rockies with this combination. We feel the pull of passing trucks on the interstate. We average 11-13 miles per gallon towing. Before the Classic we pulled a 25' Safari. The Classic feels more stable. We are currently looking for a different TV and/or a lighter trailer to get within spec.
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Old 02-21-2006, 06:04 AM   #31
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bbutler,
Welcome to the forums
IMHO a tranny temp gauge is a must! Especially when towing. Heat will kill a transmission faster than anything I know. FWIW I just retired a 97 F150 V-6 from towing duty and it has over 300k miles on it. What I found by watching the tach was when the torque converter unlocked you would get a 5-700 rpm jump, then lock back down, when it started doing that on flat ground or mild inclines it was time to turn the OD off. And if you have the tranny temp gauge you would see the temps start to rise after a couple of these cycles, if you didn't.

Aaron
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:15 AM   #32
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Cool Still confused

Wahoonc,
What causes the converter to lock and unlock? If the truck is in OD and the engine is pulling strongly, i.e. the rpm's are not dropping, is there any reason to turn off the OD? In other words, do you turn off the OD because the engine is not strong enough to pull the OD ratio and is causing the tranny to shift in and out of overdrive? Or, does running in OD put stress on you transmission, regardless of your available engine torque?
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:47 AM   #33
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Brock,
It is my understanding that the engine is not strong enough to pull the ratios that the OD has so it will unlock the converter to bring the engine back to the power band. With the mods you are making it may not be as obvious, and you can reprogram the tranny too. But the OD's were designed for unloaded highway mileage. My 96 F350 PSD has the EO4D tranny in it, but the manual says to tow in OD. I know the owner's manual on my 97 F150 said to turn it off when towing. I have to assume they have the transmission on the F350 programmed for the towing. I don't have the tranny temp gauge on it...yet. It definitely puts a stress on the transmission, think about turning a 1/4" bolt using a 3/4" drive breaker bar...The transmission is typically the weakest link with a few notable exceptions...ie Allison that GM is using.

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Old 02-21-2006, 08:55 AM   #34
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If the computer wants to downshift because of the load, then upshift - back and forth... the tranny will overheat and self-destruct. The temp gauge mentioned earlier is a good idea. You will need to experiment to see what driving conditions, if any, will allow you to tow in OD.

Your engine enhancements are great for power, but otherwise more torque going through the system could wear out the tranny and rear end prematurely.

As you have read, transmissions seem to be the weak link (durability wise) when towing. Change the tranny fluid often (~30,000 miles?), monitor the transmission temperature, and prevent it from hunting between gears.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:02 AM   #35
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We never tow in OD. Quick question here everyone, if I had to make a choice between a longer 130" wheel base with a smaller engine and lower gears (i.e. the 2007 Avalanche -no 2500s for 2007) and a 120" wheel base with a larger engine and gearing (i.e the Denali-not the XL) which would be better for towing?
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:20 AM   #36
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Depends on the length and weight of your trailer, and where you will be going... but I would lean towards the longer wheelbase. Most of the time you are cruising on relatively level highways and the wheelbase will help to track straight and more resistant to wind and passing semis.

If you are buying new, why not get a long wheelbase with a big engine and numerically high axle ratio and have it all? Classic trailers are heavy!
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:02 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by dmac
Depends on the length and weight of your trailer, and where you will be going... but I would lean towards the longer wheelbase. Most of the time you are cruising on relatively level highways and the wheelbase will help to track straight and more resistant to wind and passing semis.

If you are buying new, why not get a long wheelbase with a big engine and numerically high axle ratio and have it all? Classic trailers are heavy!
I like the look of the Avalanche and can carry the bikes and generator in the short bed, my hubby wants 2007 with the GMT900 and other new features but Chevy has said no 2500s. It's very difficult for me to warm up to the look of 20 more inches of glass on the XL or burb. I thought we were good to go with the AV until I read they cut the 2500s for 2007. Hubby didn't want a pickup initially at all and this was a good compromise. Ergo my feelings to go with a lighter trailer as a possibility.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:14 AM   #38
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Carol,

I can understand your dilema, choosing between a Avalanche or 'Burb, or was it a Denali (not XL), and the various wheelbases.

I think a factor which is just as important than wheelbase is the type of tires on your tow vehicle. A short wheelbase with stiff LT tires will handle just as well as a longer wheelbase with Passenger rated tires.

That is also a key difference between a 2000 Expedition and a 2000 F-150; same platform, but with different tires will have very different handling characteristics.

Obviously, the best combination is a long wheelbase with LT tires, and the worst is a short wheelbase with P-tires. But there is a lot of room in between.
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:53 PM   #39
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I've been towing open car trailers from Durango to Scottsdale or Colorado Springs a couple of times a year for nine years. One TV is a '99 F-250 Crew Cab 4x4 with a V-10 and an '03 Navigator with the 5.4 300 HP. I've never found a problem towing in OD on flat ground.

Prior to ordering a 25' Safari LS SS FB (due the end of March) we towed a 34' gooseneck Featherlite car hauler with living quarters. Quite frankly, the Featherlite quality is equal to an AS in my opinion. But, it's difficult to compare an FL car or horse trailer with living quarters to an AS as they are designed for different tasks.
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Old 02-21-2006, 06:57 PM   #40
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F-150 Tow Vehicle

I have responded to the tow vehicle size polls and written a couple of messages about towing with a F-150. I have a 5.4L, 3.55 with a tow package and a 31ft Excella (8160lb max). I have a weight distributing with sway bar (Reece) hitch.
I towed my AS from Ann Arbor, MI to the mouth of the Columbia River and back home; 7000 miles during the summer of 2002. I lost track of the number of times I crossed the Continental Divide. I entered Lake Tahoe from Carson City and exited it from the north end of the lake (Truckee). I drove highway 49 from Placerville to Sutter's Creek and into Sacramento. I don't want to bore you with the rest of the trip but suffice it to say I was pleased with the way the F-150 handled the AS. I did not use OD and kept my speeds to under 65mph. My mileage was around 11 to 12 mpg and I had no service problems. There may come a time that I replace the 1998 F-150 and if I do I may plan for a F-250 diesel considering the price of gasoline and the fact that I may full time with my wife. Our children are growing up and I am about to retire. The highway looks aluminum to me.
Cheers..............
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:11 PM   #41
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Thumbs up Jury is in - Eastern Tennessee mountains w/ F150

Well we picked up Lola (1971 27' Overlander) in eastern TN and headed for the beach in Destin, FL. After research I found that the 2004 and later F150s have the same transmission as the F250, and the manual does not mention the need to turn off the OD when towing. After installing the tran temp gauge I was releived to discover that the temperature in OD never even approached the engine temperature. It stayed in 100 to 130 range the whole trip. The trick was to avoid the speed control unless you were on semi-level ground - too much OD downshifting to maintain an exact speed. Also, I would not turn on the OD until I was on the highway and wanted the lower ratio.

As far as equipment, I used an Equalizer stabilizer leveling hitch and towed the Overlander with ease. I also installed inexpensive air helper springs on the F150 so I can load it up without affecting ride height.

FYI, I decided not to install the Roush Supercharger until I tried the F150 with the improved intake and exhaust. The truck is now producing 330 hp and much improved MPG. Based on my maiden trip I don't think I will need the supercharger. The kindest thing you can do for your engine is to help it breath better. Regardless of your TV you should install a less restrictive intake and exhaust. I also reprogramed my truck CPU to a firmer shift and a mid-grade gas. I love this truck.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:27 PM   #42
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hi brock

good report on the f150...these are nice trucks......the thing about performance mods like the supechargers....it's always better to try it first without......the truck has plenty of power for towing without it.

cheers
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