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Old 05-30-2024, 02:21 PM   #1
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F150 vs GMC 3500

I recently purchased a 30RBT and am towing it with an F150 (eco Boost). Without getting into too much detail, I have weighed it under a multitude of conditions (CAT scale) and am within all of the weight requirements - GVW, GAWR, GCWR, and towing capacity. I use a WDH and sway bars which are fairly tight. The engine is more than powerful enough and sway is not a problem.

Here is my problem: When large trucks or buses pass me on the interstate, they push the back of my trailer toward the shoulder and I have to "white knuckle it" to keep everything straight. It is not severe, but enough to make the experience much less enjoyable. I previously drove a 5th wheel for 14 years so I am somewhat used to towing.

Here are some of the options I am considering:
1) Get better tow vehicle tires which have stiffer sidewalls.
2) Tow with a GMC 3500 instead. I have a 3500 I use for work but was hoping to make the f150 work.

Do you think that a 1 ton truck would help much?
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Old 05-30-2024, 02:43 PM   #2
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Can you post your CAT scale numbers from the three runs (TV only, TV & trailer without WD on, TV and trailer with WD on)?I'd like to know what your FALR (Front Axle Load Restoration) is. I believe that Ford typically calls for a max 50%. If you are under that number, I would crank it higher. If you are at or over that number, I don't think there is much to do. You could increase your tire pressure by 5 or 10 PSI over the minimum on your door jam to stiffen up the sidewalls, but that's going to be pretty minimal IMO compared to more WD. The 3500 series truck would definitely tow it better.
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Old 05-30-2024, 03:31 PM   #3
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Garyasml, we had the same experience with a RAM 1500 and our 27’ Globetrotter. It towed fine but at times felt like the tail wagging the dog.

We changed to a RAM 2500, a truck that’s over 1000 lbs heavier and no more issues. In fact, we’re getting the same or a little better MPG, 2940 lbs. payload and piece of mind.

You have experienced first hand that a half ton truck can tow a 30’ Airstream but has limitations. I think you answered your own question.
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Old 05-30-2024, 04:31 PM   #4
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I think I would get a ProPride hitch before I tossed out a working truck. I guess it comes down to how much you want to spend.
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Old 05-30-2024, 05:12 PM   #5
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I think I would get a ProPride hitch before I tossed out a working truck. I guess it comes down to how much you want to spend.
It would be cheaper to upgrade to a heavy duty truck than to try to make a large truck out of a small one with an expensive WD hitch.
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Old 05-30-2024, 05:25 PM   #6
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Mistake me if I am wrong but my understanding was that the Pro Pride hitch eliminates sway. My problem doesn't appear to be sway. The problem seems to be that the swoosh of air is moving my trailer and the truck is submitting to the trailer. As a previous contributor said - "the tail is waging the dog".

I was watching a video on towing and the person refereed to this as the "Bernoulli effect".
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Old 05-30-2024, 05:51 PM   #7
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This is well trodden ground, so I'll just say that I used to tow a 25 footer with an F150 EcoBoost and experienced a significant improvement in overall towing performance when I moved to an F250 diesel.

Your problem is likely related to the fact that your trailer outweighs your truck by quite a bit; the tail is wagging the dog, so to speak. If I wanted to tow a 30 footer and I had both a 1/2 ton and 1 ton available to me, as you apparently do, the choice would be a no brainer.
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Old 05-30-2024, 06:20 PM   #8
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There are several ways to approach the problem. The 3500 will most likely weigh 2,000lbs more than the f150 which goes a long way in controlling the trailer. You could switch to a hitch that holds the combination in a straight line. The Hensley/P3 will do this but I’m not a fan but the Reese Strait-line is a good choice that works well. Lastly get a good scale weight on the trailer and know your TW%. Verify a good loading condition on the trailer by having as much as possible centralized near the axles while maintaining the proper TW%. If it were me I’d give the Reese Strait-line a try if the 3500 wasn’t practical.
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Old 05-30-2024, 06:32 PM   #9
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The most important thing about towing safety and stability is the size of the tow vehicle with respect to the size of the trailer. You cannot make up for tow vehicle inadequacy with a trailer hitch. A hitch may make the rig feel more stable, but it in fact makes the problem worse.
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Old 05-30-2024, 06:44 PM   #10
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Thanks to all for your input. I see a common theme and it relates to the tow vehicle mass. I will hitch the trailer to the 3500 and do a lengthy road test amongst large trucks
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Old 05-30-2024, 07:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Garyasml View Post
Mistake me if I am wrong but my understanding was that the Pro Pride hitch eliminates sway. My problem doesn't appear to be sway. The problem seems to be that the swoosh of air is moving my trailer and the truck is submitting to the trailer. As a previous contributor said - "the tail is waging the dog".

I was watching a video on towing and the person refereed to this as the "Bernoulli effect".
Yes, it eliminates sway by removing the pivot point at the hitch. That worked wonders for us when we were towing our 30 foot trailer with a 1500 truck.
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Old 05-30-2024, 07:39 PM   #12
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While I can't comment directly regarding your truck, I have a similar experience going from a half ton GM van to a 3/4 ton. While my current 30' Classic slide out was never towed by the half ton, I did tow a 27' Safari with both vans. The half ton was very adequate for the Safari but when I upgraded to the 3/4 ton van, I very quickly noted the fact that the 3/4 van handled wind, braked much better, and was superior in tracking as we got into different kinds of truck traffic. Obviously there were other differences such as suspension travel as we got into dips in the road. Going from a 5.7 L gas engine to a 6.0 provided a noticeable power boost, a 4.10 rear axle on the 3/4 ton van vs the 3.83 on the half ton allowed me to tow in OD and the transmission on that 3/4 ton was much more substantial that what GM equipped on the 1/2 ton van.

Personally I can't imagine towing my current trailer with the 1/2 van.

A one ton vehicle obviously has a lot more mass and that alone will make the tow so much more comfortable for you.

I used to have a SOB 30' aluminum framed trailer that I pulled with a Chevy Astro Extended van. It was rated to tow 5,000 lbs and my 30' SOB was about 4,000 lbs. Had a great Reese dual cam sway control hitch. Problem was that trailer was like a sail and I got blown all over the highway when we had cross winds and when trucks passed me. One year later I upgraded to a full size half ton van and it made all the difference in the world. The mass of that trailer was just more than what that Astro could handle, even though I had a good hitch and the van was rated to pull that load very easily.

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Old 05-30-2024, 08:38 PM   #13
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Just get a propride hitch. Much cheaper than a 3500. What you are experiencing is called the “bow effect.” I had the same issue with my 28’ and an F150. Got a propride hitch and I don’t even notice trucks at all. The same is true for the Hensley.

The fallacy out there is that a 3/4 ton or 1 ton is going to prevent sway. It doesn’t.

I guess it depends upon how much and far and where you are going to tow. My wife and I go out 3 or 4 times a year and only go a 3 to 6 hours from home. So I see no need for a larger tow vehicle.

I can just guarantee that a propride hitch will take care of your problem.
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Old 05-30-2024, 08:40 PM   #14
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I tow a Flying Cloud 27FB with a 2018 F-150. The power and braking are good. I used a Curt equalizer/sway control hitch. It helps. If it is not set correctly, your vehicle is all over the road. I added air bags to the back to fix up the amount of movement and leveling that the doesn’t do. I have changed to 285-75/20 load range E tires. They help with stability some. The most important thing was adding the Hellwig rear anti sway bar. The control is amazing. In the end, if I could get a 3/4 ton to fit my Garage/HOA situation I’d go with a 3/4 ton in a heartbeat. That said it will never tow like a fifth wheel.
Does anyone know of a fifth wheel adaptor for Airstreams? Jus Kidd’in
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Old 05-30-2024, 09:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Phill K View Post
I tow a Flying Cloud 27FB with a 2018 F-150. The power and braking are good. I used a Curt equalizer/sway control hitch. It helps. If it is not set correctly, your vehicle is all over the road. I added air bags to the back to fix up the amount of movement and leveling that the doesn’t do. I have changed to 285-75/20 load range E tires. They help with stability some. The most important thing was adding the Hellwig rear anti sway bar. The control is amazing. In the end, if I could get a 3/4 ton to fit my Garage/HOA situation I’d go with a 3/4 ton in a heartbeat. That said it will never tow like a fifth wheel.
Does anyone know of a fifth wheel adaptor for Airstreams? Jus Kidd’in
The physics behind the propride and hensley is kind of like a fifth wheel. It eliminates the trailer pivoting on a ball. And lots of margin of error.

Another thing that I did was stiffen the back by adding a roadmaster suspension system. I was going to put in airbags, but the owner of the dealer that puts in suspensions said I could get by with a lot less cost by the roadmaster system.

Others have put in stiffer tires and bilstein shocks.
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Old 05-30-2024, 11:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
Just get a propride hitch. Much cheaper than a 3500. What you are experiencing is called the “bow effect.” I had the same issue with my 28’ and an F150. Got a propride hitch and I don’t even notice trucks at all. The same is true for the Hensley.

The fallacy out there is that a 3/4 ton or 1 ton is going to prevent sway. It doesn’t.

I guess it depends upon how much and far and where you are going to tow. My wife and I go out 3 or 4 times a year and only go a 3 to 6 hours from home. So I see no need for a larger tow vehicle.

I can just guarantee that a propride hitch will take care of your problem.
a) The OP says he isn't having a problem with sway.
b) He already has a 3500, so the cost of one is irrelevant.

Just sayin'...
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Old 05-31-2024, 04:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
Just get a propride hitch. Much cheaper than a 3500. What you are experiencing is called the “bow effect.” I had the same issue with my 28’ and an F150. Got a propride hitch and I don’t even notice trucks at all. The same is true for the Hensley.

The fallacy out there is that a 3/4 ton or 1 ton is going to prevent sway. It doesn’t.

I guess it depends upon how much and far and where you are going to tow. My wife and I go out 3 or 4 times a year and only go a 3 to 6 hours from home. So I see no need for a larger tow vehicle.

I can just guarantee that a propride hitch will take care of your problem.
Switching from a 1/2 ton class to 1 ton class vehicle with everything else staying the same will certainly raise the critical speed at which instability will occur. You can make any combination sway if you go fast enough
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Old 05-31-2024, 05:33 AM   #18
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Tow with the proper TV and there will be no "bow effect". The 1/2t is the wrong platform for that trailer. Don't ask a hitch to do the job of the proper TV.
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Old 05-31-2024, 09:15 AM   #19
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3500? Yes!

We bought a GMC 3500 after towing our 27 footer with a Denali Yukon. The difference in power and stability are incredible. We don't pushed around by big rigs anymore and have no concerns with our ability to easily cruise up mountains here in the West. Note: we have the Cummins diesel with Allison transmission.
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Old 05-31-2024, 10:39 AM   #20
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If you have a 3500 that you can use I would grab it and try it out over a weekend or something.
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