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Old 04-18-2022, 02:01 PM   #1
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F150 Powerboost disillusionment...

Greetings to all!

Needing to get a new truck and wishing to embark on the adventure of Airstream ownership (yes, I know - bad timing...), I ordered a new Powerboost F150. I really liked the idea of boondocking while having my own 50 amp service, and this 4x4 super crew has a towing capacity of 12,400 lbs - which I felt can pull any Airstream I wanted...

As you all know - ordering a truck now puts you in a loooooong wait; and long waits often makes one re-evaluate his/her thinking.

What I used to think:
  1. Ford's specs put the curb weight of this 4x4 super crew Lariat at 5,517 lbs.
  2. The max trailer/max payload package allows for GVWR of 7,350 lbs.
  3. This gives me 1,833 lbs payload.
  4. The tongue weight of a fully loaded 30ft is 880lbs.
  5. The remainder - 953 lbs - comfortable allows for 4 occupants (185 lbs each) with more than 200 lbs of "stuff" in the truck.

Trucks configured like the one I wanted are practically unicorns; they don't really exist on dealers' lots. However, I finally located one not too far away (it was sold, but I could see it). I rushed there before it's delivered and took a picture of the *real* loading data as shown on the door sticker.

Real payload of a truck like I ordered - 1,392 lbs.

Item #5 in the list above now should read:
  • The remainder - 512 lbs - cannot even allow for 3 occupants (185 lbs each) with ZERO "stuff" in the truck.

Bottom line: if I wanted to occasionally bring 2 adult-size guests -- this truck and a 30ft Airstream will not work.

My options at this point:
  1. Abandon the 30ft idea, go with a 27/28ft
  2. Abandon the Powerboost engine, go with a non-hybrid 3.5L option (about 500 lbs lighter)

Note that "go with a 3/4 ton truck" was not listed as ad option; I expect that at least half my yearly mileage will be without the trailer, and I don't want to "punish" myself with the discomforts associated with the heavier truck.

I thought this math lesson would be beneficial to those considering such a 1/2 ton truck for towing.

Other than "I told you so", I would really appreciate your opinion - especially if it is based on your own experience towing with such a vehicle.
Am I wrong (or missing something) with the options I listed?

Many thanks in advance for your knowledgeable (and patient...) feedback.

Cheers, Zevi.

PS: a "rule of thumb" note that is worth considering is the fact that every 1,000 lbs of trailer weight "costs" you 100 lbs in usable payload.
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Old 04-21-2022, 06:18 AM   #2
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It sucks the way auto makers market their vehicles. The F150 can tow a lot or get great MPG but NOT BOTH. The right vehicle for the job at hand. I did go with an F250 Diesel a 2020, and the ride isn't bad. The biggest complaint I have is parking, I back in rather than pulling in. My payload is around 2400 lbs with a gas engine it would be around 3000.
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Old 04-21-2022, 06:27 AM   #3
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Don't forget that you can carry a good bit of payload in the trailer itself of course. For my Caravel 20FB, the Powerboost is the perfect tow vehicle. I carry a couple bikes with a Rockymount rack in the bed, 20 gallons of fuel or water (I built a rack to handle 4 Jerry Cans between the bikes in the bed), two people, a loaded Yeti cooler, tools, bike gear, bike parts, and a few other things in the truck. Clothing and dry food goes in the trailer, and I can still get by with a couple full tanks in the trailer. Trailer also has a few tools and spares for the AS, lots of other supplies and gear, and so on.

I do wish the Powerboost payload was a bit higher, but we're managing just fine.
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Old 04-21-2022, 06:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt who View Post
It sucks the way auto makers market their vehicles. The F150 can tow a lot or get great MPG but NOT BOTH. The right vehicle for the job at hand. I did go with an F250 Diesel a 2020, and the ride isn't bad. The biggest complaint I have is parking, I back in rather than pulling in. My payload is around 2400 lbs with a gas engine it would be around 3000.
FYI, the Powerboost is not going to really get you much improvement in real world MPG - maybe 1 MPG max. The real benefit is the extra power (and torque) and the Propower 7.2kw system. I find I tend to drive it a bit more like a sports car when not towing because it's such a quick truck, negating any fuel economy savings from the hybrid system.
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Old 04-21-2022, 06:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeviB View Post

What I used to think:
  1. Ford's specs put the curb weight of this 4x4 super crew Lariat at 5,517 lbs.
  2. The max trailer/max payload package allows for GVWR of 7,350 lbs.
  3. This gives me 1,833 lbs payload.
  4. The tongue weight of a fully loaded 30ft is 880lbs.
  5. The remainder - 953 lbs - comfortable allows for 4 occupants (185 lbs each) with more than 200 lbs of "stuff" in the truck.

Which 30 foot AS that's "fully loaded" has a 880 pounds of tongue weight? I think you looking between 1000 and 1200 pounds "fully loaded" ready to camp.
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Old 04-21-2022, 06:59 AM   #6
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What are other Powerboost owners doing? Have you looked through Ford truck forums? Just curious, if other Powerboost owners are going to higher rated tires, or modifying the suspension? And what are they towing? Obviously you go into grey areas with regard to payload, but you might end up with a more capable tow vehicle with the Powerboost benefits.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:13 AM   #7
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I think you have to weigh the “discomforts associated with the heavier truck” against the discomfort of towing with an inadequate truck. What are the discomforts associated with the heavier truck? I know it’s a little bigger and more difficult to park, but is it that much worse? Modern 3/4 ton and a ton trucks have all the comfort features that 1/2 ton trucks offer. Maybe you’ll find that driving a truck that’s a little more difficult to park but makes towing a stress-free experience is worth the trade off.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:21 AM   #8
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I think you got all three numbers, truck tow limit, truck payload limit, and Airstream tongue weight from company marketing brochures. All three of those numbers are lies. My 2017 FC23FB has a brochure listed hitch weight of 467 pounds. Loaded, ready to camp, it is actually pushing 800 pounds. Almost double.

You have already discovered that Ford lied about the payload limit.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:25 AM   #9
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My advice is to get the AS you really want and get a TV to match. Changing TV's is easier and less expensive than changing trailers.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
I think you have to weigh the “discomforts associated with the heavier truck” against the discomfort of towing with an inadequate truck. What are the discomforts associated with the heavier truck? I know it’s a little bigger and more difficult to park, but is it that much worse? Modern 3/4 ton and a ton trucks have all the comfort features that 1/2 ton trucks offer. Maybe you’ll find that driving a truck that’s a little more difficult to park but makes towing a stress-free experience is worth the trade off.
I second all of the above. For 20 years I have had 3/4 ton (including diesels) loaners while my 1/2 ton was being serviced. It definitely used to be true that they were significantly more harsh and uncomfortable, but it is not true now. They do feel big though.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeviB View Post
Greetings to all!

Needing to get a new truck and wishing to embark on the adventure of Airstream ownership (yes, I know - bad timing...), I ordered a new Powerboost F150. I really liked the idea of boondocking while having my own 50 amp service, and this 4x4 super crew has a towing capacity of 12,400 lbs - which I felt can pull any Airstream I wanted...
Here is the bottom line for the F-150 Powerboost. It can work for two people in a highly modified FB25 model Airstream but it takes a lot of work and will not be cheap.

The result is amazing. A great truck with all the options that will fully power an 25FB Globetrotter indefinitely off grid.

I detailed the entire project in this thread: Electric Globetrotter.

Without the trailer size limitation (25' or less), modifications (all electric) and occupancy restrictions (only 2 people) a heavy well equipped F-150 PowerBoost is not going to work for you.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by CWSWine View Post
Which 30 foot AS that's "fully loaded" has a 880 pounds of tongue weight? I think you looking between 1000 and 1200 pounds "fully loaded" ready to camp.
Agreed. 30' with that truck - loaded up- and tongue weight is going to be no bueno.

Quote:
Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
I second all of the above. For 20 years I have had 3/4 ton (including diesels) loaners while my 1/2 ton was being serviced. It definitely used to be true that they were significantly more harsh and uncomfortable, but it is not true now. They do feel big though.

Also agreed. A modern, 3/4 ton truck (diesel as well) is light years ahead of what they were 15-20 years ago. As a daily driver it is livable (mpg will suck) but it will ride a tad more harsh while not under load than most 1/2 tons or a "car" of course.

Not sure driving any kind of a truck for a daily makes sense if you can afford to have a 2nd (or 3rd) vehicle and don't need a "work" truck for your job.
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Old 04-21-2022, 08:02 AM   #13
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One more comment: dropping from a 30 foot trailer to a 27 or 28 foot trailer won’t solve the problem. Those trailers will most likely have a tongue weight that’s well over 1,000 lbs.
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Old 04-21-2022, 08:04 AM   #14
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I agree with Hans627; if you chose the tow vehicle first then your Airstream it will be a compromise.

We wanted a 25’ but our SUV tow vehicle could only safely handle a 23’ Airstream. After one season we knew we made a mistake and traded the 23’ for a 27’ Globetrotter. That cost us twice because we had also trade the SUV and the trailer. Ouch x2!

Now we have a 3/4 ton truck with 2940 lbs of payload and no worries. BTW, we went with a gas truck because it was $9K less than a diesel and handles the GT fine, even in the mountains.

Follow Hans’ advice and buy the 30’ Airstream you want and match the tow vehicle. You’ll be much happier every day you travel with it and the other days won’t be terrible either. Maybe a Ford Tremor would fit the bill if you want to stay with the blue oval.
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Old 04-21-2022, 08:09 AM   #15
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I shake my head every time there is a post with purchasing a 1/2 ton, don't want a 3/4 ton as a daily commuter. As a full timer, I have been in every road, highway, parking lot and dirt road imaginable. The ride is fine, the parking is simple, and towing is easy and worry-free. Believe me, if you purchase an Airstream, soon to follow will be a bbq, generator, E-bikes, tools, clothes, chairs, ladder, pets, family and food. "Gee, I have ten pounds of margin on my gross vehicle rating." Don't be that guy.
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Old 04-21-2022, 08:36 AM   #16
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If you want that 30 foot Airstream you'll really want a loaded one ton diesel truck for towing and then also get a Tesla for your daily driver.
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Old 04-21-2022, 08:48 AM   #17
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I have the Powerboost and I love it! The main reason being that 7.2 KW ProPower on board. No need for a generator and gas cans. My payload capacity is 1546 lbs. I tow a 27' GT FB, no problems.

Totally agree with the others, get the Airstream you want first, and then the TV that is compatible.
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Old 04-21-2022, 09:05 AM   #18
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I have the Powerboost and I love it! The main reason being that 7.2 KW ProPower on board. No need for a generator and gas cans. My payload capacity is 1546 lbs. I tow a 27' GT FB, no problems.

Totally agree with the others, get the Airstream you want first, and then the TV that is compatible.
I have a PowerBoost *and* gas/water cans. ;-) Best of all worlds. Having an extra 15-20 gallons of fuel or water with me can add a couple days of boondocking off the ProPower system (or more in moderate weather).
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Old 04-21-2022, 09:06 AM   #19
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Here is the bottom line for the F-150 Powerboost. It can work for two people in a highly modified FB25 model Airstream but it takes a lot of work and will not be cheap.

The result is amazing. A great truck with all the options that will fully power an 25FB Globetrotter indefinitely off grid.

I detailed the entire project in this thread: Electric Globetrotter.

Without the trailer size limitation (25' or less), modifications (all electric) and occupancy restrictions (only 2 people) a heavy well equipped F-150 PowerBoost is not going to work for you.
I'll read the links (thanks), but as a quick question, did you need to make any suspension or other mods to the truck itself?
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Old 04-21-2022, 09:12 AM   #20
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I have the Powerboost and I love it! The main reason being that 7.2 KW ProPower on board. No need for a generator and gas cans. My payload capacity is 1546 lbs. I tow a 27' GT FB, no problems.
A "light" PowerBoost F-150 Lariat with all the tow options should work fine with a 27' GT FB. The 27' GT FB is only 200lbs heavier and actually has a lower hitch weight than the 25' GT FB. The "short coupled" 25' GT FB has an higher hitch weight than the 27' GT FB which creates a possible gross weight issue for the fully loaded F-150 Platinum PowerBoost. With either PowerBoost and only two people you can pull the rear seats that weigh 100lbs giving much more interior room and higher useful load.

For all combinations of a F-150 PowerBoost and the 25 '/27' GT FB the key to the most flexibility and better ride is to get rid of the 140 lbs of propane and 120 lbs of lead acid batteries on the tongue. That will dial you into around 12.5% of the weight on the tongue with a fully, balance loaded trailer.
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