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Old 11-22-2017, 08:00 PM   #1
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Cornelius , Arizona
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2 WD F150 Towing Stability Issue

Last year I traded a 2013 F150 4x4 for a 2016 F150 2WD with Max Tow. I tow a 2015 27 FB International Serenity using an equalizer hitch. I have adjusted the hitch to work with the new TV and have verified the setup with the dealer and manufacturer.

The 2013 4x4 was very stable. The 2016 2WD feels unstable. I have added air bags and it has helped with vertical stability but it does not feel as stable as the 4x4 model. I do not feel side to side sway but it feels like the road is slick. Hard to describe, but I now experience white knuckles that did not exist with the 4x4 model.

Suggestions please! Perhaps some after market shocks to stiffen the suspension? Would a Hensley/Propride hitch help? Thanks for any advise.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:11 PM   #2
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A “slick road”feel is a classic symptom on too little weight on the front wheels. Maybe the weight distribution hitch isn’t adjusted properly or there’s just too much weight on the hitch for it to deal with? I suspect something is pulling your front wheels off the ground slightly.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:53 PM   #3
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I agree hitch is "off". Doesn't take much.

You'll want to run across the Cat Scale. Three passes, same day. Get the phone app for use, and the other for locator. Truck & TT loaded for camping with full fresh water & propane. All passengers aboard in all three passes.

See www.towingplanner.com. Fill in blanks.

Show all numbers from tickets in a post here, as listed. We'll try to get you sorted.

But let's start with the solo vehicle.

1) Better shocks ought to be first. Bilstein or KONI.

2) What make and model of tires?

3) A TARE weight of the solo vehicle: solo driver with gear kept permanently aboard (only) and across the scale after topping off fuel to brim at truckstop.

With that scale ticket, pics of door stickers for weights and for tire pressures.

Scale numbers are how to determine problems and solutions. There's a short range from high to low with every rig. Have to find that range, first.

.
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:12 AM   #4
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Why not post a pic of the setup? Is the truck level or does the rear squat down when hitched? I assume you have weight distribution. Maybe it's not set up right or on the wrong links of the chain.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:15 AM   #5
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I wish you were here. I could give you a perfect (safe) example of what they are talking about. I have a Cyclone Rake that I hook behind my riding mower to get up leaves and sweetgum balls from my 2 acre, heavily wooded lot.

When I hook it up, I almost can't tell it's there. When it is about full, I really, really know it. The front tires of the lawn mower are barely on the ground and the steering is so squirrely that it takes me about 8 or 10 feet to initiate a turn. I would hate for even a small fraction of that to happen on my truck tires.

My suggestion, just before you lower the tongue onto the ball, measure the height of the front wheel well from the ground. After getting the trailer hooked up, but before hooking up the WD hitch, measure again. My Ford manual says at least half of the difference between those two measurements needs to be put back on the front. After hooking up the WD hitch, measure it again. If that measurement is not between the original measurement and the one calculated in step 2, you don't have the right amount of WD adjustment dialed in.

Disclaimer: I have no connection to Cyclone Rake except for having owned one for about 13 months.
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Old 11-23-2017, 08:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbo View Post
...measure the height of the front wheel well from the ground. After getting the trailer hooked up, but before hooking up the WD hitch, measure again. ...at least half of the difference between those two measurements needs to be put back on the front...
And Andy Thomson says ALL (not half) should be restored, so that the squat is even--front and rear. That's hard to do on a crew cab truck because of its rather long wheelbase, but try...

I suspect two things--you're feeling the effect of a lighter front end (no 4WD differential on front axle) and not enough weight is restored to the front.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:34 AM   #7
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I call it skating, I get the same feeling with my F150 2013 2wd. I believe it is because of side wall movement. If you have original tires, the side walls are either 2 or 4 ply. I will be replacing mine with 6 or 8 play side wall. My trailer and vehicle ride height are in specs. Suspension is eaualized by hitch.

Tire change is what I am going to do. Might give up a little in ride but I believe it is worth it.

Have you ever driven with a low inflated tire, to me same feeling.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:40 AM   #8
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There are many in the same exact situation as you since Ford reengineered the rear suspension on the 2015+ trucks. Check any of the F150 forums and you will see just how common this is. To my knowledge no one has come up with a definitive answer to solve the problem but it does appear that the shorter wheel base 5.5ft bed trucks suffers the most.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:44 AM   #9
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I have the same 2016 F150 2WD with Max Tow (with 3.6L EcoBoost). I use a Blue Ox W/D hitch and I have no issues pulling our 2015 FC 25 FB Twin. Like others here I suspect your W/D hitch is not set up correctly.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:47 AM   #10
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Skating

Problem? Not enough truck. IMHO by the time you get done adding things to the F150 to make it feel like a bigger truck, you will have spent enough $$ to have invested in more truck.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QC TORPEDO View Post
Problem? Not enough truck. IMHO by the time you get done adding things to the F150 to make it feel like a bigger truck, you will have spent enough $$ to have invested in more truck.
Agree. You are asking a lot from a 150 pulling your 27.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard L. View Post
Agree. You are asking a lot from a 150 pulling your 27.
Tow vehicle is too lite...agree
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:28 AM   #13
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I used to have an F150 4WD and experienced the same squirrelly feeling when towing a boat that had a similar tongue weight as my EB 27'. Having learned from that experience, when we got the EB, we went into possible overkill and got a Chevy 4WD Duramax 2500 (3/4 t) truck. With this tow vehicle and an Equalizer hitch (adjusted exactly according to the book), the only difference between towing and not towing is that I need to make a very small change in headlight angle, the same as if I have a full load in the bed.

I agree with the other commenters that a half-ton truck simply does not have the suspension and mass to pull a 27' Airstream. In the past when PU trucks were made of steel, they weighed about 50% more than they do today and generally had a suspension capable of handling that weight plus 1,000 pounds. Today's half tons are optimized for gas mileage rather than load carrying. My experience suggests that the fact the truck has the engine power and cooling to pull a load does not mean that it can handle well with a lot of weight in the rear.

I also agree that you need other than the stock tires, heavy load shocks, and a perfect adjustment on your hitch to get into the envelope. Even then, when you look at the weight ratios between the TV and the trailer, you are pretty much at the limits. I recommend you limit your top speed to about 60 with that combination. I though, did have an RV trailer take over the controls once and deposit me in the trees well off the road and may be overreacting.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:46 AM   #14
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2015 f150 5.0 liter originally the similar problem. Added Timbren bump stops which cured the hitch up squats. Plus level it with the Equalizer but it felt like I had to really crank on the bars (add washers) which made it feel too stiff. I then put on Bilstein shocks. All the difference in the world. Didn't change the Equalizer, may need a slight adjustment. Then towed 2K miles and everything felt fine. No sway and didn't feel as stiff. I put all four shocks on but it was the rear shocks that did the trick. (I had to wait a bit between the front and back for unimportant reasons)You know Ford puts those soccer mom shocks on from the factory. Very happy with it now. Only problem is stiffer ride without the trailer. Small price to pay.
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Old 11-23-2017, 11:01 AM   #15
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I just wanted to jump in with our experiences for last year/this year (13000 miles towing) in the western states (big mountains and high passes, open lonely roads, etc).

We have a 2016 27' twin front beds Serenity with a 2016 F150 Lariat (max tow pkg, 4x4, Super crew, mid-size box, etc). We also use the dealer recommended/installed Blue Ox. Original tires.

We've had no situations or feelings of anything other than good travels, often having to remind ourselves we are towing something. No issues at all. Would we buy this setup again? Yes. And when not towing, the truck is a superb one on its own.

We hope you can incorporate issues others have brought up, and your experiences return to pleasant towing ones like you were used to.
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Old 11-23-2017, 01:53 PM   #16
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F150 towing stability issue

We recently replaced a 2010 F150 with a 2017 F150 towing a 28ft International. I have noticed the same problem. Occasionally it feels like the front end hits an ice patch (but in July). I thought it might be light front end. We did have the new truck set up by CanAm in London Ontario, supposedly the expert in towing. . Our trailer and truck are dead level. I also wonder if it is a function of newer model F150 front ends
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:59 PM   #17
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F150 Towing an AS 27

Just to chime in, towing AS 27 Intl Serenity with a 2014 F150 super crew cab 4x4 with no problem, level at all times when hitched up, using the 6.2L V8 which puts somewhat more weight on the front end. Went out of my way and rushed to get the 2014 to get the bigger V8 and the steel vs. aluminum body. Glad I did. 66 coupe
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:24 PM   #18
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I greatly appreciate all of your thoughts and comments. My plan at this point is to upgrade my shocks and look at tire options as well. I will need tires soon anyway so that is a sunk cost in the cost equation.

I will also fine tune the hitch set up and see if this resolves the issue to an acceptable level. I hope to do this by mid Dec. as we have a trip planned around the holidays. I will let you know my progress and pass along any success or disappointments so others can use the information.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:28 PM   #19
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I traded my five month old '17 F150 Max Tow 3.5L CC 4x4 for an F250 last month in anticipation of March delivery of our 25RB Signature. I simply could not warm up to the F150. It felt like it was skating just driving down the road. The electric steering is too light and felt so artificial. I had to re-learn how to corner with its too quick snap back to center. Frankly, it reminded me of a 1976 twin I-beam, six cylinder F150 work truck that I drove three decades ago. It took me a long time to own a Ford after that lifeless steering experience. Ugh.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:45 PM   #20
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Interesting posts. I had a 2009 F150, a 2015 F150 and now a 2017 F150- all 2WD. My observations are like the others- hitch, tires, hitch setting. The 2wd and 4wd are similar but the 4wd has more weight up front. Recheck your hitch this way:
1)
Measure your front wheel well height at their center from flat ground before hitching. Write the numbers down.
2)
Hitch up and adjust the hitch until you get as close as possible to the height of #1 without going lower. This will adjust the hitch front end weight.
3)
check the tires. Most likely they are P rated LT tires. These are softer sided tires than D rated and offer more roll for comfort- usually not on many 4WD. My first F150 had stiff walled tires that rode like a tank. I switched to Michelin MS2 D rated and felt some roll compared to the others. I started having lots of sway and ended up posting my issue on Airforums and a new hitch with anti-sway. My new F150 has P rated MS2 tires and I feel the difference as I did in the 2015 with the same tires compared to the D rated.

My thought is that if your hitch is dialed in that it is your tire wall softness. You are most likely feeling that lighter feel of the front end compared to the 4WD.
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