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Old 09-01-2020, 09:59 AM   #1
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2021 F-150 18" or 20" Wheels?

I'm in the process of ordering a new 2021 F-150 to tow a 2020 25' GT. I'm looking for pros and cons on sticking with the 18" stock wheels or upgrading to the 20" wheels. I suspect the smaller profile tire will be less susceptible to side flex, thereby controlling TV and trailer sway a little more, but probably not as compliant when absorbing bumps in the road. We don't plan on boondocking or being off road on anything more than an occasional maintained gravel/dirt road.
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Old 09-01-2020, 10:52 AM   #2
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check the documentation...

...I think you will find that the 18" set up is specified on the heavy duty or high payload configurations. I would take that to mean the 18" setup is somehow superior when accommodating additional weight?
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Old 09-01-2020, 11:18 AM   #3
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It's true that the F150 heavy duty payload package requires 18" wheels however it isn't even available on Lariat trim and above, for whatever that's worth.

My take is that 20" wheels aren't going to affect either your ability to tow a 25' GT or carry the max payload that a Lariat or above level F150 can carry anyway. My experience with 20's on an F150 was that ride wasn't compromised, There is still a lot of sidewall on the tire; it's not like running low profile 30 or 35 series tires on a sports car.

IMHO, it comes down to your willingness to spend the extra money for the look of a 20" wheel, which I happen to like. I don't see any other real downside.
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Old 09-01-2020, 04:34 PM   #4
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I think a 20" wheel is a good size for a 1/2 ton truck. That said, I would have no issue with an 18" wheel. The bigger wheels are heavier, your fuel economy is generally not as good as with a smaller wheel, and the ride quality is generally not quite as good as the smaller wheel. I wouldn't go up to a 22" wheel on a truck, but lots of people seem to like them. The 20" wheel seems to me to be a good compromise between looks and performance.
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Old 09-01-2020, 04:51 PM   #5
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I am getting my new 2020 F150 XLT with 20 inch wheels this week. Why 20" wheels with the XLT? I gain 200lbs of rear axle capacity and the tow rating goes to 12,500 lbs with a 1250lb tongue capacity. That's why you want to go with 20 inch wheels. And that was the ONLY way to get that tongue weight and tow capacity.

I know it seems odd. That set up cost $1295 more. But that's what the book said, and I sat down with the dealer rep who builds lots of trucks and he said you have to get that configuration to increase the tongue and tow capacity.

P.S. The fuel economy rating on the pickup is the same as with 18" wheels.
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:29 AM   #6
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Good to hear that your fuel economy is the same! Maybe that's more of a truck thing than a car thing. On most passenger cars or sports cars, larger wheels deliver slightly slower acceleration, and reduced fuel economy. My wife drives a fully electric vehicle, and it has 20" wheels. The 22" wheel option for that car made a huge difference in range.
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
P.S. The fuel economy rating on the pickup is the same as with 18" wheels.
This kinda makes sense. A major factor here would be the overall circumference of the tire, which is more important than the size of the rim. The normalization factor is the larger wheel comes with a lower-profile tire.

To put this in numbers, a 20" wheel has ~11% greater circumference than the 18" option, but overall circumference of the tire is only ~4% larger on the 20".
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:15 AM   #8
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Wheel weight also factors into the equation.
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:08 AM   #9
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Tire Cost

Check out the difference in the cost of replacing the tires down the road. That may help you decide.
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:27 AM   #10
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The 20" wheels look cooler. As someone pointed out though, the overall tire circumference is what determines gear ratio issues.

If you took the truck offroad, a larger tire side wall gives superior traction and protection in rocks, etc. But that's not an issue for you.

I'd stick with the better look though. The truck will pull your trailer just fine either way.
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:34 AM   #11
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In your specific case I'd opt for the 20" tires, because tongue weight carrying capacity will be the limiting factor on your planned 25" trailer. I've found the F-150 pulls a 25' trailer okay, but it's very hard to restore sufficient weight to the front axles. Granted, my 25 footer has the worst combination: front twin beds, lots of storage space in the front with none in the rear (except the bumper), and a 925# tongue weight.

If I were doing much mountain driving with a 25 foot Airstream, I'd likely opt for a 3/4 or one ton truck. But my F-150 is a daily driver and I don't want a bigger/taller/stiffer sprung truck. If it proved inadequate in my area (which it isn't), I'd opt for a smaller and lighter trailer. But my use is primarily flatlands.
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:48 AM   #12
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Depending on the engine you order and the towing package you order will determine what Ford says should be the tire size. I have a 2019 F-150 Lariat with towing package which shipped with 18 inch wheels.

I've ordered a 2020 F-250 with diesel and max towing. That will also ship with 18 wheels due to the package/setup.

You should talk with your salesperson and see what Ford says your engine/tow package tires come with it.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:41 PM   #13
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At the time I bought mine, I ordered in July 2018, 18” was the size for tow package (Lariat 3.0L). I upgraded the Blue Ox bars that came with the 28’ FC. tongue wt is 1200#; I use 1500lb bars. I put Roadmaster springs on the truck to eliminate porpoising. At the scales, the front is loaded nicely; the wt on the trailer axles goes up 400#. I think it was similar on the front.

It rides like a Cadillac! BUT, the 3.0L should stay below 10,000’; it throws codes for the turbo at 10k.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzabe View Post
Depending on the engine you order and the towing package you order will determine what Ford says should be the tire size. I have a 2019 F-150 Lariat with towing package which shipped with 18 inch wheels.

I've ordered a 2020 F-250 with diesel and max towing. That will also ship with 18 wheels due to the package/setup.

You should talk with your salesperson and see what Ford says your engine/tow package tires come with it.
I had a 2017 F-150 (new generation) 4x4 Lariat 3.5L which also had the max towing package but was able to order 20" wheels as an option. It's the same for 2020; the 18" are standard but the 20's are optional on the Lariat.

I currently have a 2017 F250 4x4 Platinum diesel with the max towing package. It came standard with 20's.

One variable that will change what size wheels you can order is 2x4 versus 4x4. For example, playing with the 2020 build function on the Ford web site you can order an F250 Lariat max tow diesel with 20" wheels but you are forced to choose 4 wheel drive to get that option. With the 2x4 drivetrain you are limited to 18's.
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:49 PM   #15
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Based on all the insightful advice, I'm going to order it with the 20" wheels. It's going to be my everyday vehicle as well as my TV, so the cooler look of the 20" wheels wins out. I really appreciate all the help....Thank you!
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Old 09-02-2020, 03:59 PM   #16
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We also have a 2019 F-150 XLT SuperCrew (short-bed) 4x4 (FX4) with the Max Trailer Tow package (3.5L ecoBoost and 10-speed transmission). My understanding (which may not be correct) was the the 18" wheels and corresponding tires were part of the FX4 (offroad) package.

We tow a 2020 FC 27 FBT using a ProPride 3P-1400 hitch. Used in from Nov 15, 2019 through Mar 17, 2020. Towed extremely well. ABIR, we gave up a few hundred pounds of towing capacity with the FX4 package, but we were never going to be close the GCWR of the F-150 with this trailer. Our limiting factor was the GVWR of the F-150. We are at/close to the that weight while being well under the GVWR of the trailer and the GCWR of the truck.

All of that notwithstanding, having been to The Desert Bar near Parker, Arizona, we wanted the off-road capability in the truck. If it turns out that rarely/never use that, we will likely forego it the next time around.

BTW: Our powertrain does not support full-time 4WD. The 4hi and 4low modes are clearly off-pavement, low-speed only. The front differential fights the steering if a turn starts to get too tight. A friend bought a 2019 F-150 shortly after we did. Fancier trim level, I think, and he got 20" wheels/tires and the front differential supports full-time 4W.

~Bruce
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Old 09-02-2020, 04:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allenkelley View Post
I'm in the process of ordering a new 2021 F-150 to tow a 2020 25' GT. I'm looking for pros and cons on sticking with the 18" stock wheels or upgrading to the 20" wheels. I suspect the smaller profile tire will be less susceptible to side flex, thereby controlling TV and trailer sway a little more, but probably not as compliant when absorbing bumps in the road. We don't plan on boondocking or being off road on anything more than an occasional maintained gravel/dirt road.
18'' wheels, and r less $$$ when they need tire replaced....really
not that much difference in the towing
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:09 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BandLAir View Post
We also have a 2019 F-150 XLT SuperCrew (short-bed) 4x4 (FX4) with the Max Trailer Tow package (3.5L ecoBoost and 10-speed transmission). My understanding (which may not be correct) was the the 18" wheels and corresponding tires were part of the FX4 (offroad) package.
I didn't have the FX4 package on my 2017 F150 with 20's so I can't speak from that experience. But, FWIW, I was able to go on the Ford web site just now and spec a 2020 F150 Super Crew XLT with max tow, 20" wheels and FX4.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:31 PM   #19
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Lariat and above have a different 4X4 system that includes 4A. I am always in 4A. It applies power to the rear unless it detects slip, the it distributes power to the front. I tow a 7000# trailer. Today I needed 4L to tow up Kill Hill at Hartman Rocks in CO with the trailer.
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Old 09-08-2020, 03:33 PM   #20
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Thanks. We Test drove a 2019 XLT SuperCrew that had he 4A mode on the transmission selector, but did not have the FX4 package so we ended up not buying that one. "Assumed" that the truck the dealer found for us would also have it, but alas it did not. Of course, I didn't know enough to specify that we wanted/needed it and if a higher trim level was required to get it we would have passed anyway.
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