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Old 01-08-2021, 09:25 AM   #1
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Another Tired TV Post - Towing an Classic - F-150 3.5L EcoBoost, Limited

Hey folks -

Bought a 26 foot Airstream pre-covid and have towed just fine w my current Ford. I'm rated for a max tow of 10,700 lb. No problems towing at roughly 7,500 lb.

Currently considering moving into a Classic 33' Airstream Q1 this year, and that's sitting at a GCVR of 10,000 lbs. When I add the hitch weight of 1,175 lb - well you're starting to see the math conundrum. Start adding myself and additional payload and we're topping out my max tow and it's getting hairy.

I know a lot of folks are gonna say, go buy a 250, but my question is, does anyone have experience and can speak to tuning up an F150 3.5L, 6 cylinder like mine and what the improved towing capacity may be?

My options I'm seeing are this -

1. Tune - increase tow capacity.
2. Buy a used 250.
3. Buy a new F150 that's rated at 13,900 lb. max tow.

Curious to see what the thoughts are.

PS my 2019 FC is for sale if anyone's interested.

Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:48 AM   #2
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I can pretty much summarize the next 50 responses for you.

You need a F250 at minimum for any trailer larger than 23 feet, though some may allow for larger than 25'. BTW, a F350 is better because it has heavier springs. Reasons are (1) with anything less (than a heavy duty truck) you'll probably kill yourself and family, plus anyone else on the road when you inevitably lose control and wreck, (2) stopping distance for the tow combination is shortest of all because the F250 is larger and heavier, (3) you'll get ticketed by the police and your insurance company won't cover you in an accident without a F250 and the larger trailer, (4) the diesel engine is also strongly recommended for its power and engine brake, (5) you can carry anything in the truck bed and not worry about payload, (6) best all you can say "When I tow I don't even know the trailer is there!"

Most likely the decision to move to a bigger truck will be driven by payload. I don't know the tongue weight of the 33 foot trailer, but add 200 lbs to whatever Airstream says loaded for camping.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:50 AM   #3
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Don't rely on that hitch weight being accurate. That trailer has a front bedroom, and there is a lot of storage place in the front of the trailer. On a real world camping trip, you're going to find the tongue weight being higher than you expect.

Whatever you decide, just be aware of your truck's payload and axle limits and make sure you're intentionally comfortable with whatever bandwidth you have.

It's a good idea to go with a 3/4-ton or 1-ton truck for that trailer.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:39 AM   #4
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X2

Find a horse that can pull the cart.
If you do like & keep the new AS it is likely to outlast any TV you choose.
A 2500 will safely tow any Airstream.
A 3500 is overkill and the stiffer lash-up could cause AS damage without spending more $$$ to soften it up.

Remember.....
“If you’re happy with what you’re using…it’s adequate.
If other people are un-happy….it’s not” 😂
RLC

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Old 01-08-2021, 10:51 AM   #5
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#2. Your #1 won't work. Your #3 might eek by, but, then again, it might not. If you're going to have to buy, don't go #3, go #2.

Good luck,
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffRadford View Post
Hey folks -

Bought a 26 foot Airstream pre-covid and have towed just fine w my current Ford. I'm rated for a max tow of 10,700 lb. No problems towing at roughly 7,500 lb.

Currently considering moving into a Classic 33' Airstream Q1 this year, and that's sitting at a GCVR of 10,000 lbs. When I add the hitch weight of 1,175 lb - well you're starting to see the math conundrum. Start adding myself and additional payload and we're topping out my max tow and it's getting hairy.

I know a lot of folks are gonna say, go buy a 250, but my question is, does anyone have experience and can speak to tuning up an F150 3.5L, 6 cylinder like mine and what the improved towing capacity may be?

My options I'm seeing are this -

1. Tune - increase tow capacity.
2. Buy a used 250.
3. Buy a new F150 that's rated at 13,900 lb. max tow.

Curious to see what the thoughts are.

PS my 2019 FC is for sale if anyone's interested.

Thanks!
Jeff- We loved our F150 EB 4x4 while towing our 25's...loved driving it around town, and parking, garage...all that stuff. But, payload sucked. We got the F250 6.7L because wife pushed me to...I had just taken a brand new F150 EB home with the new 10speed, for a night and was sold...but she kept telling me she wasn't comfortable and to go check out the new (2017 at the time) F250 diesel...I did and we ended up getting the F250 with our 28' FC; that was 3 years ago...I only have 2200lbs payload, but that works fine for us with 2 kayaks, and cargo I carry in bed...still have 300+lbs left. The F250 rides nice, does a great job towing with the engine brake while using cruise and tow haul mode. We have put 38K miles on the AS in almost 3 years, with no complaints for towing/hauling. I have 104K miles on the F250.

It dose not fit in my garage due to height of cab; it does cost more for fuel sometimes, and oil/fuel filter changes. It can be a pain to park in some lots. It requires more concentration to park our 28' vs our 25's due to the extra 12" wheel base on the 250. But, I feel good about our choice and safe when towing.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:27 AM   #7
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Except for the snark, good advice so far. You may be tempted to shoehorn the "Ultra-Max" F-150 in just know you'll be accepting a bit more risk than Ford thinks is wise. A heavier vehicle will manage the trailer not the other way around, where you as the driver will need to actively ensure the trailer does not get too far out of alignment with the vehicle. If you're okay with that as Bob says its adequate.
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:33 PM   #8
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For 15 years I have rolled my eyes every time the “heavy duty truck” boys chanted their mantra (nicely encapsulated in post#2).

But, in this case, I think you do need to fleet up to a 3/4 ton. The 33 is huge and the actual tongue weight, after you have loaded all your stuff in those forward storage areas, is going to be several hundred pounds higher than advertised.

Lash it to your F150 and you will almost certainly be over your GCVWR and probably over your rear axle rating. And that is without putting as much as an old horse blanket in the bed of the truck.
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:41 PM   #9
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Try this for the fun of it. Made me realize I should have bought a RAM 3500 or I need to switch to Bud Lattes!

Towing Calculator

https://www.airforums.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=218201
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Old 01-08-2021, 05:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
I can pretty much summarize the next 50 responses for you.

You need a F250 at minimum for any trailer larger than 23 feet, though some may allow for larger than 25'. BTW, a F350 is better because it has heavier springs. Reasons are (1) with anything less (than a heavy duty truck) you'll probably kill yourself and family, plus anyone else on the road when you inevitably lose control and wreck, (2) stopping distance for the tow combination is shortest of all because the F250 is larger and heavier, (3) you'll get ticketed by the police and your insurance company won't cover you in an accident without a F250 and the larger trailer, (4) the diesel engine is also strongly recommended for its power and engine brake, (5) you can carry anything in the truck bed and not worry about payload, (6) best all you can say "When I tow I don't even know the trailer is there!"

Most likely the decision to move to a bigger truck will be driven by payload. I don't know the tongue weight of the 33 foot trailer, but add 200 lbs to whatever Airstream says loaded for camping.
This is funny! And accurate to most of the TV posts. I'm not sure you'll get an answer, but it will be fun to watch.

You probably do need a 250, though
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Old 01-08-2021, 05:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgBullet View Post
This is funny! And accurate to most of the TV posts. I'm not sure you'll get an answer, but it will be fun to watch.

You probably do need a 250, though
It's funny but not even remotely accurate. Most overloaded combinations (those that exceed one or more of the OEM guidelines) tow just fine 99+ percent of the time so even overloaded, an accident is not inevitable and those who advise sensible towing combinations don't describe it that way. Overloaded combinations are twice as likely to be involved in serious accidents though. Those who tow over limits are clearly accepting additional risks as the crash numbers clearly demonstrate. They end up with combinations with narrow stability and performance profiles so if they happen to get out of those profiles they tend to have difficulties. If the driver never lets that happen, they the do just fine.

In crashes the police does cite drivers and in court liability does get assigned to drivers who are clearly towing over limits, so it is hardly a joking matter.
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:40 PM   #12
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But it's still funny!
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:16 PM   #13
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For the price of a maxed out ‘21 F150, you should be able to find a good late model used F250. And I’m not sure that even the newest maxed out F150 can safely do that job. The 150’s are very impressive when properly equipped but a 33 Classic is just asking too much of it.
We tow a 25’ International with a F150 max tow 3.5 Eco. We don’t overload and I’m within my comfort level towing like the OP with his 26’. The 33 however is a whole different ballgame.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:06 AM   #14
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Ignore the snarky comments about “this group” or “that group”. Pay attention to the numbers.....and, as has been mentioned, payload is usually the biggest limiting factor.

Will you add a topper to your truck? If so add 250 lbs to what you carry. Will you add a cargo slide? If so add another 300-400 lbs.

Likely a 3/4 ton gasser will work. If you go diesel, know that those engines will eat into about 900 lbs of available payload.

You’re going big with the trailer. Go big with the TV.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:29 AM   #15
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I installed airbags to beef up the rear axle on our 150 and towed our 25' 40,000 miles. After the truck passed 75,000 miles I started needing expensive repairs, and at 115,000 miles the truck started loosing power. I think the turbochargers were failing. I promptly traded it in on a Nissan Titan XD with a Cummings diesel. Much happier.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:39 AM   #16
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I have a 2014 30' International Signature. My fresh water tank is always full when I travel. My wife and I, and two dogs have lots of stuff - the bed of my pickup is usually pretty full.
No idea what it weighs, but my 2012 F150 with 3.5 Ecoboost took us all over without a problem. My 2018 F150 with 3.5 Ecoboost does the same.
My advice is simple - travel with the truck you have, it'll handle your trailer. If you don't like it, then change, but not before. My guess is that you'll be happy with your Ecoboost.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:43 AM   #17
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We love our F-150 eco max tow heavy duty but I can assure you that you will kill the truck and it is not safe to tow the 33 foot Airstream with it and I don't care how many disagree - buy the F-250 with max tow and be safe and happy.
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:16 AM   #18
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By all means tow as close to the limits as you want, and then join the crowd of those that feel righteous with their snarky comments about those who tow with properly equipped 3/4 or 1 ton vehicles. About a week before Christmas, just out side Tucumcari, NM I saw what looked like a Jeep Grand Cherokee (or other similar sized SUV) and a 23' or 25' Airstream. Couldn't really tell what they were as they obviously rolled the 75 yards or so down the embankment from the I-40 East Bound lanes and landed (not wheels down) in the break down lane of the I-40 West bound lanes.
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:58 AM   #19
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I have reading different post from several members stating that if you do something wrong or you tow with a vehicle that is not rated for the load you are carrying that your insurance company won’t cover your claim. This is totally wrong, your insurance company must cover you for any wrong or stupid thing you do. That’s why you purchase insurance.
I have spent forty years handling and managing claims for three different insurance companies and know what I am talking about. The only way that they can deny a claim is if it excluded in the policy or you don’t live up to the policy terms. So if you want to know what is covered or not read your policy.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:01 PM   #20
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Use caution however on going to a one ton vehicle. In some cases with GM vans for example, I found the towing capacities were actually a little lower for the one ton van, than the 3/4 ton van. Reason was the one ton vehicle was built with larger stronger components which in turn lowers the towing limits. At the time when I was looking at new Ford vans I would have had to go to the V10 gas engine to get 10,000 towing capacity. GM allowed that capacity with their 6.0 liter V8 in a 3/4 ton rating. The 1 ton in the GM van was rated for 9,600 lbs. The Ford 350 was a rough riding vehicle. My GM rides much better. I test drove both.

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