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Old 04-16-2022, 07:10 AM   #1
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Ford Expedition w/5.4L V8 as Tow Vehicle?

I have a line on a low mileage 2013 Expedition with a 5.4L V8... tow rated at 9300 lbs. I will have a 27' AS International rated at 7800 lbs loaded... Thoughts???
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Old 04-16-2022, 07:13 AM   #2
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Seems a bit light for the job. Check the other ratings on the door frame sticker.
(That man in that tiny can)
(Same man, Bigger can)
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Old 04-16-2022, 07:20 AM   #3
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What’s the payload rating? Hitch rating?
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Old 04-16-2022, 07:30 AM   #4
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I had the same Engine in my 2005 Expedition thinking it could easily tow a 25’ Flying Cloud. Towed it and it struggled, shortly after that experience I purchased a 2018 F150 and it was night and day difference.

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Old 04-16-2022, 07:58 AM   #5
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I had that exact SUV, same model year, when we got our 27FB. Used it for towing the trailer for four years. It was okay on the flats but struggled on long grades at altitude, especially over 5,000 feet elevation. I had to be careful with loading stuff inside the vehicle as the tongue weight of the trailer and passengers used most of its rated payload.

I did check the rig at CAT scales and, with a strong weight distribution hitch, was within spec for its front and rear GAWR. Given that, the Expedition is pretty close to its max capability with the 27 foot trailer.

On the plus side the 2003 Expedition has full independent suspension which helps to keep it planted. When I retired in 2017 I sold my Expedition for a new Ecoboost F150. Probably due to its longer wheelbase the F150 does feel like a more stable tow vehicle, though 14 years newer doesn't hurt either.

Depends on how you foresee camping in the years ahead. If your trips are going to be within a couple hundred miles out and back on largely flat terrain the Expedition should be adequate.
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Old 04-16-2022, 08:10 AM   #6
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You will be at the Expedition’s limits. Expect 8 mpg, sometimes less. Payload will be a limiting factor.
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Old 04-16-2022, 09:19 AM   #7
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With any vehicle, van, truck, SUV, car ... the exact trim level and the precise options on *that* vehicle matter when it comes to it's weight and payload. One example could easily have significanlty more (or less) payload than the one next to it sitting there in the dealer's lot.

You will be right at / just over the limit with most SUV's trying to tow anything 25' or over. Yes, that assumes passengers and the like are involved. This is just looking at the ratings and says nothing about the performance. On many vehicles, the ratings assume you are going 45 miles an hour at sea level and not doing any crazy grades. Pulling up a long grade at altitude, you may loose 20% or more ....

You can hotrod just about any vehicle to take care of this or that. Unless you have past experience doing this sort of stuff, you may or may not get it right on a first time / DIY basis. I'd strongly advise getting a pro involved if you do decide to "make improvements".

As vehicles get older, stuff wears out. Some people spend a lot of time tearing this or that apart to keep it "better than new". Most of us only fix things if they break. As things wear out, the ratings / performance goes down ....

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Old 04-16-2022, 09:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MarcThompson View Post
I have a line on a low mileage 2013 Expedition with a 5.4L V8... tow rated at 9300 lbs. I will have a 27' AS International rated at 7800 lbs loaded... Thoughts???
I originally towed my 29’ Excella (7800 lbs rated) with a 2006 Ford Explorer 4.7 V-8. Worked well enough on relatively flat terrain. Wouldn’t recommend though. Always felt like the AS was pushing the TV. The Hensley helped tremendously. Was even brave enough to take it through the Canadian Rockies and Alaska. Twice! Long story short, this arrangement eventually took its toll on the Explorer, with a lot of major repair work needed.
Figured I needed something stronger so switched to the GMC 2500 HD. I guess ignorance is bliss. I really had no idea how bad the situation had been previously. Ever since switching its been extremely pleasurable to travel just about anywhere now without any white knuckles at all. Just sayin’. Amazing what you can get used to.
Cathy and Hans
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Old 04-16-2022, 10:12 AM   #9
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That lil 5.4 will be screaming it’s guts out the whole way. It’ll never get into OD and will swallow gas as fast as you can put it in.
Get a TV with lots of low end grunt or listen to the 5.4 rev itself into oblivion
Good luck
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Old 04-16-2022, 10:19 AM   #10
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It can survive towing in flat areas like Florida. But it will be at the edge of its max capacity all the time.

If you already owned it, but investing in it as a new tow vehicle is not a good investment.

Get a TV which can tow your trailer with capacity to spare. You'll be much happier.
Mark & Melanie Trowbridge
1964 Airstream Sovereign 30' (Double)
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Old 04-16-2022, 11:50 AM   #11
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Never push the limits of your tow vehicle. You won't like the results.
A vehicle over payload handles like a vehicle over payload. Also check Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). Don't exceed that.
I towed a 25 foot AI with a 5.3 GM product. I found it barely adequate under ideal conditions. It was too easy to get over payload.
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Old 04-16-2022, 06:00 PM   #12
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Will this be a daily driver for you or your wife? Is it what y'all want to drive and will "she be happy"? If so, get the Expedition. Consider purchasing a Propride or Hensley. It will work and work fine all day, yes, not as "efficiently" as a bigger unit. I had a F150 5.4 pulling a 25 AS with a 1,000lb Harley in it's bed. It worked very well for us for many years. I never pulled over 65mph and made it up and over the Smokies on I-40 numerous times. I have since retired and don't daily drive, we currently own a Super Duty with a 5.4L and still pull at 60 to 65. I feel safer in 3/4 ton but we never felt unsafe in the 1/2 ton. (On a side note, my wife HATES/refuses to drive my 3/4 ton) I hope this helps, Safe travels, no matter what you decide.
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Old 04-16-2022, 06:09 PM   #13
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One thing regarding my old 2003 Expedition, and F150's of that age is that the brake rotors had a habit of warping. I think they're a bit undersized. You either accept the shuddering when slowing or replace them annually. Towing will place extra demands on the brakes. The other thing to look out for is the transmission. My mechanic told me that the 4 speed transmission of that year might not make 150k. A friend put three transmissions in his, eventually selling it with almost 400k on the odometer, but he's pretty handy with that stuff. Just something to keep in mind.

I recall the 2003 Expedition hitch was rated for 900, or 950 lbs, tongue weight, and payload was listed as a generic 1,600 lbs regardless of trim. The 5.4 V8 engine likes to rev to get its max torque and horsepower, and on the plus side, it's not the year Ford went with those problematic two piece spark plugs. I usually got 9 to 10 mpg towing.
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Old 04-16-2022, 08:30 PM   #14
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We tried using my existing 2007 Mercedes ML20 CDI turbo diesel (after receiver reinforcement at CanAm in London, Ontario, CA) to tow a new empty of personal stuff 2013 25FB International Serenity. With the Hensley Arrow and Tekonsha RF remote brake control mounted, our tongue weight had morphed from the literature 833 pounds to about 1,100 pounds. After loading our gear with all tools to the rear, the tongue weight was just under 1,190 pounds. The trailer scaled camping ready 6,900 pounds of the 7,300 rating GVW. The Mercedes did fine at 55 mph when the trailer was empty but was not interested in the 6,900 pounds by the new noises it generated.

Acquired a new 2012 Ram 2500HD Cummins (which we still have and use only to tow our Airstreams). The 25FB did not work for us and became a 2014 31' Classic which got a ProPride hitch. Tongue weight at one point was 1,375 pounds due to 4 AGM batteries mounted on the "A" frame. When we went to Lithium batteries mounted inside under the sofa, the tongue weight dropped to just under 1,200 pounds. Our Curt receiver is rated for 2,500 pound tongue weight and a 17,000 pound trailer. We have scaled 19,200 pounds with no issues. I limit the rig to 65 mpg, which is peak toque speed in 6th gear, on the flats.

We then acquired a 2015 23D International Serenity and the Mercedes with the Hensley Arrow and Tekonsha brake controller worked well as a team. The 23D scales 6,049 pounds camping ready with just over 900 pounds tongue weight. The rig towed well at 55 mph.

However, at 207,000 miles the Mercedes was showing the beginnings of the third repeat of gasket failure due to poor heat control in the engine (roughly every 75,000 for $3,500). It was not worth the repair.

Acquired one of the last 2021 Toyota Land Cruisers. The 23D had another session of major upgrades that included new 3,600 pound axles (original were 3,000 pounds with 10" drum brakes) with 12" dual puck disc brakes and 3" steel plate factory built in lift plates and a ProPride hitch (without the Tekonsha brake controller required by the Mercedes because they forgot to put in a trailer brake controller on the assembly line even though it was on the order).

The Land Cruiser typically sees 17 mph (have seen 21 mpg at 70mph on flat interstates in the mid-west). Towing out of Apache Junction, AZ through the mountains of Salt River Canyon (6% multi-mile long grades both up and down) to Lakeside, AZ it averaged about 8.7 mpg. On the flats, it hovers just above 10mpg. Not too bad for a 5.7L V8 with 8 speed transmission.

The car is within all the numbers. But to make the range better between fuel stops I added an Australian 12.5 gallon auxiliary gasoline tank under the rear of the car and Firestone inside the coil spring air bags that stiffen the springs (no additional load capacity). I would not recommend the Land Cruiser for 25' or longer Airstreams.

I dialed in the weight distribution lift arm settings of the ProPride with the rig on my two sets of four wheel scales.

Once at the destination, the Land Cruiser is a very pleasent local driver. I can take five or six of the other members to the men's breakfast each week. Or tour other locations in comfort.

One of the issues one sees are advertised high tow ratings but real world load capacity is glossed over. In some cases, after pushing the math, one could see that after hitching then trailer to the proposed tow vehicle the thin driver (not to many of those around) at 170 pounds and a favorite tooth brush could go on a road trip with nothing else in the ½ ton pickup truck.

Cheaper to spend your time looking at actual door plates before signing a contract for a model not up to the towing task of your particular trailer, than to turn around and have to get a more capable truck. This especially applies to the math required to use non-trucks as tow vehicles.
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Old 04-17-2022, 05:42 AM   #15
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It’s important to look beyond the engine size as you evaluate a tow vehicle. Engine size is certainly one piece of the puzzle, but transmission and axle ratio are also important. My GMC has a 5.3L V8, but it also has an 8-speed transmission and a 3.42 axle ratio. It tows beautifully in the mountains. I use it to tow a 23-footer, not a 25-footer. If my truck only had a 4-speed transmission or if it had a 3.23 axle ratio, then it would not work so well. I’ve also added the GM accessories exhaust upgrade, which supposedly adds HP and torque. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the truck certainly sounds better than stock.
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Old 04-17-2022, 07:12 AM   #16
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As Dennis C stated it isn't so much about the engine but the total package. Most Expeditions are rated at 6000lbs max tow capacity. Only the models equipped with the max tow package and GCWR of 15,000 lbs. got the bumped to 9200lbs.
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Old 04-17-2022, 09:21 AM   #17
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Our family had a 2009 5.4 4WD Expedition Limited and that thing could barely get out of its own way. It was slow! No get up and go, definitely at the bottom of the list of vehicles we’ve owned. It had all the “amenities” of the time, and we did utilize those, but dang it was gutless. I’d hate to tow with it!
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Old 04-17-2022, 09:59 AM   #18
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Lots of changes to the Expedition over the years.

We towed with a 97 2 valve 5.4. 230 hp, but the limitation was the four speed transmission. Also drove a 4.6 with 215 hp for work but didn’t tow with it. That one struggled at higher altitudes, over 10,000 feet.

The 5.4 went to 260 hp, then the 3 valve came out with 300 hp, but still with a four speed transmission.

The 6 speed transmission came out in 2007 and greatly improved towing performance. The Ecoboost came out in 2014 with 365 hp, and that model got independent rear suspension, so that would be my starting point for a used Expedition tow vehicle. The 2018 with more available hp, and the ten speed transmission, would be better yet.

We never had payload limitations. What you choose to take along is up to the driver.
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Old 04-17-2022, 11:25 AM   #19
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The 4 wheel IFS came out in 2006. I would probably only look at Ecoboost models too for towing mulch at all.
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Old 04-17-2022, 12:56 PM   #20
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Thanks all for the input... clearly the Expedition is not on the short list..nor the long list! We'll focus on the F250's, 2500's etc.. I have been running the vin numbers through the Camping World tow capacity tool to get additional info...

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