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Old 04-16-2003, 07:35 PM   #1
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2003 Expedition as tow vehicle for 25' Airstream

What do you all think of the 2003 5.7L Expedition 2wd/4wd, 8900/8650 tow capacity, as a tow vehicle for a 25' Airstream?

Used suburbans don't seem to be where it's at for us Brenda thinks she could "stand" an Expedition. The Jeep is hers you see....

I know it is too short BUT aren't we better off (excpet for the $ to trade) than with the 6500 tow capacity of the Jeep?

At 17' an Expedition will fit in our garage...I'll only have to stand on the hood to get to the deep freeze.

Kistler
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Old 04-16-2003, 08:26 PM   #2
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I towed a 21' Airstream with a 1998 Expedition for a couple of years and many thousands of miles - thru the mountains, along the interstates, the backroads, about everywhere. I know that many folks think they are a little short for towing, but I personally never had a bad moment with my setup. Used the Reese dual-cam sway control that came with the trailer and the tow combo was always rock steady.

The 2003 model is redesigned, so my experience may not exactly mirror your situation.

Overall, it was a good truck and I put over 90K miles on it before trading it in. Other than routine maintenance, never had a problem with it. The gas mileage was terrible when towing, so bring lots of cash on your vacation!
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Old 04-16-2003, 09:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for replying....the Jeep is awful on gas when towing so that's not a surprise BUT in town the 4.7L is about 14 and solo about 20....so much for that

I wonder what this "new" swing axel rear--they call it independent now, I think...will be like? When the Expedition is squished down by tongue weight do you suppose the rear wheels will be slanted....I do not like that look.

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Old 04-16-2003, 11:11 PM   #4
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On the cover of the WBCCI member book they show several Expeditions pulling the larger A/S's. Seems to be a popular choice and probably all have the 5.4 Triton V8 in them, a good engine from what I hear though the mileage isn't a whole lot better than say the V10 Excursions or 7.4 Vortec Suburbans. As far as the independent rear suspension I know what you are talking about having several MBZ's and similar IRS vehicles. I doubt if you would have the same problem on the latest Expeditions with much more robust springs, shocks and a proper WD hitch.

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Old 04-16-2003, 11:57 PM   #5
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Re: 2003 Expedition as tow vehicle for 25' Airstream

Quote:
Originally posted by Kistler
What do you all think of the 2003 5.7L Expedition 2wd/4wd, 8900/8650 tow capacity, as a tow vehicle for a 25' Airstream?

I know it is too short BUT aren't we better off (excpet for the $ to trade) than with the 6500 tow capacity of the Jeep?
Kistler
Am I reading this right, you're currently using a Grand Cherokee to tow a 25' Classic and you think an 03 Expedition will be too short?

An 03 Expedition is longer, wider, & heavier than your Grand. That combined with an engine that actually produces decent low-end torque makes it a MUCH better tow vehicle.

Trailer Life just did a tow test with an 03 Expedition in their April issue. Except for poor mileage (mid 7s towing a 6500 box trailer) they seemed genuinely impressed.
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Old 04-17-2003, 08:46 AM   #6
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Chas

Quote:
On the cover of the WBCCI member book they show several Expeditions pulling the larger A/S's. Seems to be a popular choice and probably all have the 5.4 Triton V8 in them, a good engine from what I hear though the mileage isn't a whole lot better than say the V10
At least one of those combos was from our unit and at least one of them blew their engine during the trip.
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Old 04-17-2003, 09:08 AM   #7
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I pull a 21 footer with a 98 expedition and have had no problems. Last Spring my wife and I went from NC to FLA and on to CA and back visiting national parks such as Grand Canyon, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. My gas mileage ranged from 10 to 12 mpg except once when I faced a strong headwind in TX it dropped to about 7.5. On flat terrain I use overdrive. I use the hitch that came with the expedition and weight distribution bars. I think that if you do not exceed the towing capacity listed for the expedition (with trailer fully loaded) you will find it to be a good combination. Apparently the changes Ford made with the suspension improved towing capacity because my 4wd only has 7300 lbs towing capacity.
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Old 04-17-2003, 11:01 AM   #8
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Pahaska,

Yes, I was somewhat surprised to see the Expeditions on the WBCCI book pulling what I believe to be was around 30' A/S's, possibly even a triple axle 34. Not exactly my preferred choice for pulling such bulk but I am sure they were trying to keep down on the size of their tow vehicle, garagability, ease of parking, what the wife likes, etc., etc. and it looks like they ultimately paid the price. The 5.4 has to spin pretty fast to put out the kind of horsepower it takes to pull a large A/S. If I were to pull with a SUV I would definitely look into a Powerstroke Excursion or if money was no object I would wait for a Duramax Suburban, just my opinion.

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Old 04-17-2003, 12:41 PM   #9
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The Ford Towing Guide says the GCWR of the Expedition with 5.4L and 3.73:1 gearing is 14,500 lbs, and that the tow rating is 8900 for 4X2 and 8650 for the 4X4. When you subtract those tow ratings from 14,500, it means they are assuming the 4X2 weighs 5600 and the 4X4 weighs 5850 when establishing these tow ratings.

Compare that to the Eddie Bauer curb weights in the Expedition specs, of 5339 for the 4X2 and 5595 for the 4X4, and that assumes a load in the Ex of 261 lbs for 4X2 and 255 for 4X4, which after 110 lbs for a hitch and sway control leaves 150 lbs for a driver, no passengers, no cargo, and no 175 lbs of fuel in the tank! This is how tow ratings are determined.

Let's look at your situation...

Although it probably weighs several hundred pounds more, let's assume the 4X4 EB Expediton really does weigh the published 5600 lbs. Add 175 lbs for gas and 325 lbs for two people (no cargo), and it's up to 6100 lbs.

Out of 14,500 GCWR, that leaves 8400 lbs for trailer and hitch. 1100 lbs over a loaded 25' Classic.

Out of 7,000 GVWR, that leaves 900 lbs for hitch, sway control and tongue weight. If we say the hitch, etc weighs 110 lbs, that leaves 790 for trailer tongue weight. IF the tongue weight is only 10% or 730 lbs, that leaves 170 lbs, plus any weight transferred back to the trailer axles, for cargo in addition to two people in the Ex. But again, this assumes the Ex isn't heavier than the published curb weight, which is overly optimistic from my experience.

If we use the 110" wheelbase = 20' trailer and 4" more wheelbase for every foot of trailer rule of thumb, we find the Ex appropriate for a 22' International. If we stretch the rule by adding 3' for the tongue, that puts the Ex at 25', but the 25' Classic is really 26'.

What I see here is a recipe for a white knuckle experience and a worn out tow vehicle.
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Old 04-17-2003, 06:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by RoadKingMoe


If we use the 110" wheelbase = 20' trailer and 4" more wheelbase for every foot of trailer rule of thumb, we find the Ex appropriate for a 22' International. If we stretch the rule by adding 3' for the tongue, that puts the Ex at 25', but the 25' Classic is really 26'.

What I see here is a recipe for a white knuckle experience and a worn out tow vehicle.
Maurice,

I've read several of your previous posts and most of them show quite a bit of thought and research. This one however DOES NOT.

First off the GVWR of a 2003 25' Classic is 7300 lbs, not 8,000.

Next, if your hitch is PROPERLY set up (and more than 75% of the ones I see are not) it will transfer 25-30% of the hitch weight back to the trailer wheels. I don't know how much a Hensley hitch weighs but the Reese High Performance trunnion hitch I used weighed no more than 65 lbs. IF you piled 6 people and their gear in an Expedition then added 6-700 of tongue weight you would be over it's 7,000 lb. GVWR. I have to hope that most people who need this much capacity would opt for something larger.

Where did this "wheelbase to trailer length" RULE come from? There was a time when the vast majority of travel trailers were towed by full size passenger cars, regular-cab pickups, or Suburbans, none of which had a wheelbase longer than 130". Yes, longer (wheelbase) is better, but it's not an absolute.

The overall design of the tow vehicle has far more to do with it's suitability as a tow vehicls than it's wheelbase. The old solid axle/leaf spring (both axles) Chevy Blazer is a good example, it's was a terrible tow vehicle (very twitchy). The Blazer that replaced it worked fine even though it's wheelbase was almost identical.

I currently own 2 "tow vehicles", a 2002 Ford Explorer and a 2002 Ford F350 crewcab dually with a Powerstroke. While I'm in the market for another Airstream I don't plan to use either of my current vehicles to tow it. The Explorer's 5,800 lb tow rating is insufficient and my dually is a pain to drive anywhere except the open road. I'm looking very hard at a 2003 Expedition. It's not perfect but based on what I've been able to determine should handle the 25' Safari I plan to buy very well.
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Old 04-17-2003, 07:43 PM   #11
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Re: Chas

Quote:
Originally posted by Pahaska


At least one of those combos was from our unit and at least one of them blew their engine during the trip.
I looked at the cover pic a bit closer just now and they appear to indeed be pulling triple axle 34 footers!! Crazy! I am not sure exactly where this caravaan was but see some good sized mountains in the background which could equate to a few blown 5.4's.
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Old 04-17-2003, 08:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Heywood


Maurice,

I've read several of your previous posts and most of them show quite a bit of thought and research. This one however DOES NOT.

First off the GVWR of a 2003 25' Classic is 7300 lbs, not 8,000.
...
I'm looking very hard at a 2003 Expedition. It's not perfect but based on what I've been able to determine should handle the 25' Safari I plan to buy very well.
You are correct. I obviously looked at the wrong line in the weights.pdf file.

I'll edit the post and fix it. I still believe the Expedition isn't up to the task. I would also encourage you to wait for the '04. One of the major issues it addresses is the poor crash test performance of the F150 on which the Expedition is built.
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Old 04-18-2003, 12:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by RoadKingMoe


I still believe the Expedition isn't up to the task. I would also encourage you to wait for the '04. One of the major issues it addresses is the poor crash test performance of the F150 on which the Expedition is built.
The 03 Expedition has almost NOTHING in common with the current F150. The only reason to wait for 04 might be the 3 valve 5.4, but I wouldn't count on what is really needed, low end grunt.
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Old 04-18-2003, 08:20 AM   #14
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Well I bought an Expidetion 3 weeks ago to pull an older(lighter) 25. Let me address a couple of points. The engine is the weakest part. The new 3 valve variable valve timing engine should be called "beat the Vortec". However, it looks like it is only going into the 04 f-150 pick-ups. It may be 05 before it appears in the expy. Crash test results are excelent with the new unit. Interior design of door pulls etc. looks like a text book for Arthritse Today magazine. The four wheel disk brakes are huge, it stops like a car. The Indepedent Rear Suspension rides smooth. It is several miles an hour faster in high speed emergency manovers than GM. If it squats too much I am going to add airbags. Compared to a Tahoe I think it is the better rig and it cost less to boot.
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