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Old 12-22-2014, 01:16 PM   #1
TDG
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Towing with my F150 5.4

Hi folks. I know this information is here somewhere, but i haven't found it yet.

This summer i drug a 1975 31' Sovereign out of the bush for a song. For the price i paid and the condition it was in, the capability of my tow vehicle wasn't even on my radar. I simply couldn't walk away from the deal.

That said, I have a 2010 F150 FX4 SCREW (i think it's 157" wb) with the 5.4L and the maxtow package. I know that on paper, the truck can pull the airstream fine. But i wonder if it SHOULD pull it. My concern is, i live in Northern BC, mountainous terrain, steep hills, tight turns, no big freeways or flat roads to speak of...so this truck is going to be breathing heavy.

The Airstream weighs in at 7700lbs dry, so i know power will be an issue. But more importantly for me, is going down the backside of those mountain passes when i have to brake and maneuver this trailer. That's a lot of weight to control with a half ton, is it not?

Am i overthinking it, to trade up to an F250/350 diesel? Do i need all that extra? I get that the diesel and the extra size on the superduties will help, but am i worrying about nothing? I should add that i only pulled it out the trees 5 miles from my house, so I haven't experienced what it's like going down the road...that said, it sits nice on the truck.

My only comparrisson is that I currently pull a Near mint 1973 Vanguard, which is only 20' long and half the weight, so i've never really worried about pulling or braking it.

Any help would be appreciated
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:22 PM   #2
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I should add that i'm wondering what i could do to this truck to seriously upgrade the braking. What should i do to this truck to ensure it's the safest f150 i can make it...if i don't jump into 1 ton territory.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:43 PM   #3
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Towing with my F150 5.4

I'd imagine the weight of the trailer is less than that. Loaded for camping it might get on up a ways. Weigh it with full propane and fresh wAter. Add 500# to that for camping

At still under 8 k your truck will be alright. Brakes on the trailer is what to focus upon. May also need new axles so combine purchase. Direclink brake controller and best hitch. 16" wheels and Load Range E tires
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:35 PM   #4
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TDG,
I have the same truck. '10 F150, SCREW, maxtow, 157" WB, 6.5' box, 5.4 eng, 6 spd. The rating on this truck is 11,300 towing capacity. My '02 30' Classic w / slide weighs about 8,400 empty and near 9,000 with water, propane, etc. Hitch wt is 840. I use an Equalizer 10,000 / 1,000 hitch. We have towed from SW Iowa to Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park and, even went to Newfoundland with this rig. We also tow to SW Florida every winter. The truck handles the load fine. In tow/haul mode the tranny will downshift with brake application and will do a good job on the downhills. As mentioned, trailer brakes need to be in good condition. After our first big trip, which was to Newfoundland, I upgraded the inadequate P rated truck tires to Michelin LR E.
This truck has performed very well for me. I would expect yours to be similar. You will be working the truck a little on the inclines but I think you will have plenty of power -unless you have to be the first to the top of the mountain!

Dan
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:11 PM   #5
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what tires are on your truck? P or LT

are the trailer brakes in good working order? our truck should have disc front and rear so no issues that way.

equalizer hitch is a must to get weight 1/3, 1/3, 1/3

does you truck have a built in brake controller? learn how to use is so the trailer brakes come on a snitch before your truck brakes.

save, more than likely rotten mileage, the flat landers don't understand the real west, you should be just fine if all of the above are working correctly.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpt View Post
what tires are on your truck? P or LT

are the trailer brakes in good working order? our truck should have disc front and rear so no issues that way.

equalizer hitch is a must to get weight 1/3, 1/3, 1/3

does you truck have a built in brake controller? learn how to use is so the trailer brakes come on a snitch before your truck brakes.

save, more than likely rotten mileage, the flat landers don't understand the real west, you should be just fine if all of the above are working correctly.
Great to get some insight from the mountainous west...much appreciated. I'm running LT tires on the truck (goodyear Duratrac's), and i know they won't be up to the task. As for the trailer, she will go in for a full redo of the brakes. I don't want to be worried about that big bugger while snaking through Seattle on our next trip to Fort Flagler. Yes, i do have the built in brake controller...it's always been find with my last trailer, but as mentioned, this AS is more than double what the Vanguard is.

I should note that i am a novice trailer puller. I was just as nervous when i picked up the 20 footer...getting passed the notion of keeping up to traffic is going to be a bear for me. It get's dangerous for all those involved when traffic begins to back up behind somebody when you've only got 1 lane to work with and short passing lanes.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
I'd imagine the weight of the trailer is less than that. Loaded for camping it might get on up a ways. Weigh it with full propane and fresh wAter. Add 500# to that for camping

At still under 8 k your truck will be alright. Brakes on the trailer is what to focus upon. May also need new axles so combine purchase. Direclink brake controller and best hitch. 16" wheels and Load Range E tires
All i have to go on is the badge on the front of the unit. I has assumed it meant dry weight, but perhaps i'm wrong.

As i mentioned in the above post, i've got the built in brake controller, so i'd hate to have to replace it...but if i must, i must. Thanks for the tips on the wheel/tires. I hadn't thought about the wheels making much of a difference?
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer Dan View Post
TDG,
I have the same truck. '10 F150, SCREW, maxtow, 157" WB, 6.5' box, 5.4 eng, 6 spd. The rating on this truck is 11,300 towing capacity. My '02 30' Classic w / slide weighs about 8,400 empty and near 9,000 with water, propane, etc. Hitch wt is 840. I use an Equalizer 10,000 / 1,000 hitch. We have towed from SW Iowa to Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park and, even went to Newfoundland with this rig. We also tow to SW Florida every winter. The truck handles the load fine. In tow/haul mode the tranny will downshift with brake application and will do a good job on the downhills. As mentioned, trailer brakes need to be in good condition. After our first big trip, which was to Newfoundland, I upgraded the inadequate P rated truck tires to Michelin LR E.
This truck has performed very well for me. I would expect yours to be similar. You will be working the truck a little on the inclines but I think you will have plenty of power -unless you have to be the first to the top of the mountain!

Dan
Thanks, Dan. Good to hear from you folks with much more experience than myself.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:59 PM   #9
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Get the trailer ready. Brakes, hitch, bearings, etc. Make sure the truck brakes are up to snuff. It does have discs on all 4 wheels, does it not?. Hitch it up. Take the rig to the CAT scales. Weigh the truck and trailer hitched up. Weigh the truck unhitched. Adjust your WD hitch so you have some of the weight going to the front wheels. When you are finished the trailer should be level and the truck front axle weight should be back to what it was without the trailer or even a little more. When you get it hitched right take it for a ride up a moderately steep hill. Then you will have the information you need to tell you if you like to pull it with this truck. No need to panic yet. I pulled my 25' with a 1997 150 for just a little while. Then I bought a 2500 diesel. I can tell you we like the 2500 better but it is indeed over-pull. We pull 6 months of the year so I really like the heavy rig.
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
Get the trailer ready. Brakes, hitch, bearings, etc. Make sure the truck brakes are up to snuff. It does have discs on all 4 wheels, does it not?. Hitch it up. Take the rig to the CAT scales. Weigh the truck and trailer hitched up. Weigh the truck unhitched. Adjust your WD hitch so you have some of the weight going to the front wheels. When you are finished the trailer should be level and the truck front axle weight should be back to what it was without the trailer or even a little more. When you get it hitched right take it for a ride up a moderately steep hill. Then you will have the information you need to tell you if you like to pull it with this truck. No need to panic yet. I pulled my 25' with a 1997 150 for just a little while. Then I bought a 2500 diesel. I can tell you we like the 2500 better but it is indeed over-pull. We pull 6 months of the year so I really like the heavy rig.
Yessir, 4 wheel discs.

Looks like i'm about to get really adept at WD hitches...or hopelessly frustrated. Either way
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:40 PM   #11
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Look in spec sheet around here for your year and model of TT. 7700 is likely GVWR unless I am way off on a 1975 31'.
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDG View Post
snaking through Seattle on our next trip to Fort Flagler. Yes, i do have the built in brake controller...it's always been find with my last trailer, but as mentioned, this AS is more than double what the Vanguard is.
Seattle traffic is always terrible, no matter the time of day. sort of rivialing LA at this point.

Flagler is a great place with lots and lots of interesting trails to walk courtesy of WWI gun implacements.

i am sure you will fiddle with the built in controller and find the appropriate setting for the new trailer. should only take a couple of stops with it in tow until you figure out, more or less from the controller. just remember to have the trailer brakes come on a snitch before the truck brakes. you don't want the trailer pushing the truck nor do you want the trailer braking for the truck. easy enough to strike the balance.

see you in PT this spring/summer
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:01 PM   #13
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Looks like you have received some good advise here. I'm not sure I can add to it, other than to say the big trick with a 150 size truck to to make sure your hitch is set properly and your getting enough weight back onto your front end.
Other than that you will not have tons of power with the 5.4, but that does not mean it's not up to the task. It just means your taking the hills a little slower. That is not a bad thing as you get to see more as you drive by....lol
Good luck
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
Look in spec sheet around here for your year and model of TT. 7700 is likely GVWR unless I am way off on a 1975 31'.
Here are the year, name, length, dry weight, and dry hitch weight for various bath configurations:

1975, SOVEREIGN INTERNATIONAL LY, 31, REAR BATH TWIN, 5035, 490
1975, SOVEREIGN INTERNATIONAL LY, 31, REAR BATH DOUBLE, 5065, 495
1975, SOVEREIGN INTERNATIONAL LY, 31, CENTER BATH TWIN, 4975, 650
1975, SOVEREIGN INTERNATIONAL LY, 31, CENTER BATH DOUBLE, 4970, 690
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