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Old 08-31-2018, 10:32 AM   #1
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Driftless Area , Wisconsin
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Help spec a new F-150

Greetings, everyone.

Preamble: YesóIíve read all of the threads here from the last few years about 150s and Iíve taken notes. For those of you who have also gone through those threads, there is a lot of chatter. So for my sake and the sake of everyone else new to this, Iím asking politely to limit posts in this thread to order-speccing a Ford F-150 rather than berating people for their interest in that model. (There, I triedÖ )

***

I introduced myself in the ďBuyer GuidelinesĒ forum: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f353...ed-186197.html

Iím doing the legwork now on working out the best pricing and delivery timing on a Globetrotter 27 FB Twin; if we canít find one for this fall weíd like to start using it next spring and head out on our big trip from Chicago to Alaska next summer. It will mostly be me and my two kids (13 and 9 by next summer) with my wife joining us from time to time. In addition to those fine people, Iíll be carrying our bicycles, some camping and hiking equipment, and other miscellaneous supplies (possibly a small Honda generator).

Fortuitously, the purchase of the Airstream coincides with my need to buy a pickup truck for use at home near Chicago at and our farm. So of course Iíd like to spec the right truck. Iím considering all options, including an Expedition, the 250, and Toyotas, but this thread is about helping me spec an F-150. What is the right truck? For me itís one that will work at home and at the farm and on the road. I make furniture and intend to use it for that as well as light duty in and around at the farm. And of course, it will carry my family and a 27í Airstream to places near and far safely and reliably. So ideally it would have both a crewcab and a medium-size bed, but weíll see. Because while itís not make-or-break, Iíd love the truck to be able to fit in my garage (20í6Ē deep).

After seeing and driving both the F-150 and F-250 in person, without question my preference is the F-150. Though the next couple of summers will feature extended trips, I am not and will likely never be on the road full-time. The 150 is already 100% more truck than I thought I would need (I was hoping to get away with using my Volvo, but at that time I was not thinking about such long expeditions with such a large trailer). The F-250 is still under consideration; we will be spending ample time in this vehicle when traveling with the Airstream, and I do like that the larger truck can potentially make the TV more comfortable without subtracting from payload. But a lot of this is academic; I donít quite know what my payload will be, but for your consideration:
  • Around 550 lbs for the family
  • 100 and change for the bikes
  • a tonneau or a shell
  • WD hitch (donít know which one yet)

For easy reference, the published specs on the Globetrotter are:
  • GVWR: 7600
  • Hitch: 820 with LP & batteries
  • I am adding the second AC and solar options

Regarding the F-150:
  • either XLT or above trim
  • 3.5 EB engine, 10 speed auto
  • FX4 package
  • tow mirrors
  • Anything else you folks recommend? I've seen posts on swapping out tires, suspension, and brakes and so forth.

Here are my questions. As has been predicted here many times, the salesman I was talking to was not helpful.
  • 4x2 or 4x4ósome of the use for this truck will be managing trails at the farm, and Iím going to Alaska so my preference is 4x4
  • I canít find a way to spec both Max Tow and Max Payload on the F-150. Seems like itís one or the other, or am I missing something? I understand why this might be the case, but these options are the ones that in my opinion would make the truck comfortable / enjoyable for a family).
  • if I do have to choose between the two, for my intended Airstream is it better to get the Heavy Duty Payload or Max Tow option?
  • Are there other F-150s I should consider? Iíve read here that the suspension on the Raptor makes for poor towing, but presumably that can be swapped out. But even then, Max Tow is not available on the Raptor. Iíve also read here that people are disappointed in the payload numbers on the Platinum, and it doesnít seem possible to get Heavy Duty Payload on that one (which is a bummer)
  • I've never leased a car before. Does leasing a TV make sense? I'm considering it on this one because it'll give me a good trial run but I think there are mileage limits. Maybe you folks have some advice?
  • I've read as many news articles as I can find--any reason to wait for 2019 models (I can't find one unless the high-output Raptor engine in the Platinum would be ideal)?
  • Lastlyógreen or blue?

Forgive any overlap with existing threadsóI really have done my due diligence on this site and others.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:07 PM   #2
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Howdy Narayan,

I'm also going to pull the trigger on the purchase of an airstream this fall or early winter. I also had to buy a new truck.

After doing a lot of research I ended up with a F-150 4x4, with tow package and payload package. Max tow package doesn't add a lot of tow capacity but I believe it comes with a larger gas tank.

The payload package should get you around the 7000lb range which should cover the TW weight of around 900lb or your trailer and any supplies your carrying. Remember option like crew cab, sun roofs ect.. can really eat into you payload capacity. Also, if you are thinking of going with the Hensley or Pro Pride hitches that will be added to your TW.

I bought the v8 the 3.55 axle ratio which put my max tow capacity at around 9500, if I went with the 3.73 axle ratio it would have been around 11,000 lbs. Not sure but V6 TB may only come with the 3.55. Either configuration should keep you 20% under your max weight.

Other things to remember even if you get the tow package the truck will not come with the trailer break control, its a $300 -$500 option depending on the dealer. However, it will be prewired for the trailer brake control with the tow packages.

Ford also offers the Pro Trailer Backup Assist on the F150. It is only a couple of hundred dollar option on truck with the tow package. There are plenty of options regarding this option on the forum.

Verify anything the sales person at Ford tells you.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:47 PM   #3
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Hi

If you sit a fully loaded "max tow +" F-150 next to a F-250 .... there's not a lot of difference. If you dig into the specs on all the parts ... there's not a lot of difference. Price wise ... same thing.

You do indeed want the towing package on the F-150, you also want to get the payload / capacity / springs / whatever you want to call it up as far as you can. The "why" is pretty simple - the payload numbers you see on the web are optimistic. On a truck with options on it, the real payload numbers (the ones on the door post sticker) will be less. Often they are a LOT less.

Best approach - find a truck that is as close to the one you want and check it's sticker. That's about the only way to get the numbers. People have played with spread sheets to do this or that. It's not clear how close they get that way.

4x4 or 4x2 is kind of a never ending question on any truck. There will always be cases you can imagine that 4x4 will magically save you. I would suggest that a locking rear end often will do a darn good job as well. It some cases it will outperform a 4x4 setup.

Why bother with the 4x2? Well, the 4x4 adds weight (so it takes away from payload). It also messes with the front suspension (so handling is impacted). With most Ford's it raises the truck higher off the ground. That's not a help when you are towing. It's also not a help when you are tossing a big heavy generator into the bed.

Resale wise, indeed a 4x4 will sell for more. Dealers around here (like within a 600 mile radius) stock pretty much nothing but 4x4 trucks. The used market is full of a lot of 4x4's and very few 4x2's. Thus the buying public speaks ....

At lest when we go out, there's a bit more than 100 pounds of stuff in the truck. We "store" a lot of stuff in the truck rather than stuffing it into the trailer. We also go out for a couple months at a time. That plus likely 150 pounds for the hitch and about that for the cover do add up.

I don't think there's a better engine option on the F-150 than the 3.5 with the turbo. It seems to be the gas engine of choice.

Our F-250 very much did come with the trailer brake control when ordered with the full tow package. I'd be very surprised if Ford does not include it somehow on a package on the F-150. Yes, you get various other bits along with it. They all are useful.

Power towing mirrors are something I've gotten to love. Being able to pull them in (or put them out) as you duck into someplace is very useful. The Ford mirrors are also quite good in terms of view and adjustability.

Lots of variables ....

Bob
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Old 08-31-2018, 01:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Narayan View Post
. . .
After seeing and driving both the F-150 and F-250 in person, without question my preference is the F-150. Though the next couple of summers will feature extended trips, I am not and will likely never be on the road full-time. The 150 is already 100% more truck than I thought I would need (I was hoping to get away with using my Volvo, but at that time I was not thinking about such long expeditions with such a large trailer). The F-250 is still under consideration; we will be spending ample time in this vehicle when traveling with the Airstream, and I do like that the larger truck can potentially make the TV more comfortable without subtracting from payload. But a lot of this is academic; I don’t quite know what my payload will be, but for your consideration:
  • Around 550 lbs for the family
  • 100 and change for the bikes
  • a tonneau or a shell
  • WD hitch (don’t know which one yet)
For easy reference, the published specs on the Globetrotter are:
  • GVWR: 7600
  • Hitch: 820 with LP & batteries
  • I am adding the second AC and solar options
. . .
Thank you for your thorough research, and an excellent post!

Can you "make an F-150 work" within your parameters? Barely IMO, and you will probably regret not going for a 250, or even a 350.

I respect that you don't want to have the 150/250/350 debate here, in the same way I respect someone who chooses not to have surgery which may save their life.

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 08-31-2018, 02:10 PM   #5
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I purchased a 2018 F-150 last night and it came with:
XLT
4x4
3.5L EcoBoost engine
3.55 Axel Ratio
Pro trailer backup assist
MAX trailer tow package
FX4 off road package

Towing capacity is 12,700 lbs
Payload capacity is 2,030

We towed our 1998 25 FT Safari with a 2015 F-150 that had the 2.7L EcoBoost engine and NEVER had a problem with the F-150 towing it.

I'm sure our new F-150 will handle our "new" 2007 28ft Classic Limited just fine.
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Old 08-31-2018, 02:56 PM   #6
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First thing: Order the towing mirrors. They aren't included with any package, no one stocks them on the lots, and they are good to have.

If XLT really has all the goodies you want, consider an XLT 301a with HD Payload. HD Payload includes Max Tow, which includes the 3.5 Ecoboost, 3.55:1 e-locker diff and a few other useful things. HD Payload is VERY restrictive in some annoying ways... you can't get fancy options with it. It's available on base Lariat (500a) and mid-trim XLT (301a) and below. If you need the payload, you need it... my Lariat 502a 4x4 with the tailgate step and box-side steps has 1623 lb on the door sticker which is enough for my needs. The HD Payload truck is long, it may be annoying to get into your 20'6" garage. It's only available with crew cab+6.5' bed or supercab with the 8' bed.

I ordered my truck as well, because I wanted the towing mirrors and I wanted everything else just so... I usually keep a vehicle 10+ years so I get what I want when I'm buying. I went with the top-trim Lariat because it had some toys I really wanted... the LED headlights, air-conditioned seats, nav, etc. Some of that has since gone across the board to all Lariats, I'm not as familiar w/ the 2018 Order Guide as I was with the previous couple of years while I was planning. I've attached the configuration part of my window sticker, I'm very satisfied with my truck (towing a Flying Cloud 26U, including in Colorado and Wyoming. )

Did I mention "ORDER THE TOWING MIRRORS"?
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Old 08-31-2018, 03:00 PM   #7
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Great news on all the great toys!!

I have a lot of experience with the f-150 3.5 ecoboost and an International signature 27' FB almost the same as yours. I now have an f-250 platinum, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

My version of the 150 was a Platinum 2016. I already had the truck when I bought the trailer. This engine can pull! I had no problems at all with this truck. Being a platinum, it only had 1600 lbs. of payload so I had to be careful, but easily handled most anything, until I got into the mountains.

Grant you, mine was a 6-speed transmission and had a tow package, but not the max tow. Going down a steep grade was like holding on for dear life. You have to slow down - a lot. Setting the transmission to "tow" gave you control of the decent. Even manual control. The problem is there is no compression in the engine. It starts to wind up (5000 rpm) and you have to touch the brakes. The transmission then downshifts and winds up even faster. You hit the brake again and on and on. You start relying on the brakes to get you down the grade and you are in a very low gear going very slow.

Would the V8 offer a better experience? I would say definitely, but in all fairness, I've never driven one. The EcoBoost engine does not give you the compression to rely on it to slow you down. It feels like it is getting away from you all the time.

I traded for an F-250 diesel. Yeah, its a lot (a LOT) more money, but I'm also going to own it for twice as long (10 years or longer). For the first time in my life, I got a 6 year loan, but I had a nice trade.

The F-250 diesel is hands down a great tow vehicle. On a grade, you set the cruise for the speed you want, and sit back as it goes down the grade all by itself. Truly an amazing experience. The engine brake is a wonderful thing.

The suspension on the F-250 is amazing. It has a better ride than the F-150. Don't let anyone scare you that the ride is stiff, it's not! And the steering is remarkable. I've owned 4 f-150 over the last 18 years and after buying the 250, I will never go back.

The last question is this: Your new Globetrotter is a wonderful trailer. We loved our signature. What happens when you decide to move up to that Classic 30' like we just did? I would not recommend the f-150 for that job even if the spec says it can do it. When you get caught having to make the 10-hour drive that you swore you would never do during your travels, and it's raining and windy, white knuckling down the Allegheny's, you might have a little remorse for not getting the 250. That may be a little dramatic, but white knuckling down the Rocky's is too!

I guess my final point is to get as much truck as you can afford. Don't skimp here. I'm sure there are a lot of truck experts here (I'm not one) but listen to your own abilities and how safe you want to be behind the wheel, balance that with the cost and use that to help make your decision.
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Old 08-31-2018, 03:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 762x51 View Post
I purchased a 2018 F-150 last night and it came with . . .
. . .
Very often it is the front and rear axle weight ratings which mess up an apparently useable package for the F-150 IMO. The OP does not want that debate here . . . 'nough said.

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Old 08-31-2018, 05:27 PM   #9
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I bought a 2017 Platinum (701A), 3.5 ecoboost, 3.55, 7000 GVWR, max trailer tow package, moonroof (weight :-( ). The backup assist and trailer brake came as part of this (I have never used the backup assist). It's the super crew 145" wheelbase (5'5" bed). The sticker tells me that the total weight of payload and passengers should not exceed 1543 lbs. Front and rear axle loads 3525f and 3800r. Aside from the front to rear balance, a tongue weight of 800 lbs (plus the hitch assembly, which isn't light) and 550 lbs of family means you would be hard pressed to put much else in the back. Tools, your generator, a nice, full ice chest, bikes. I am more than happy with the weigh the engine pulls my 27' FB flying cloud (similar specs to yours with weight) but when I took the grandkids and stupidly loaded a few heavy things near the back of the bed, plus had a full fresh water tank, I wasn't happy with the way it tracked when driving in the medium-steep hills of western maryland.

I love this truck; it is comfy, works great just driving, and tows well. I feel that it is load limited, not towing limited (I think my configuration is good for about 11,000 lbs). The tow package is best for the big gas tank, especially if you are driving to Alaska. Towing on relatively flat ground I get about 12.5 mpg so I can go about 350 miles.

My advice (aside from considering the F250 for the load) would be to spec it lighter so your payload is higher. I don't have the tow mirrors and wish I did but I can survive without them. I bought off the lot or I wouldn't have included the sunroof, for instance, and going down a trim level loses some comforts but lightens it up. There is a ton of room in the back, which is the good thing for your kids! But especially for long trips, I would worry about the payload. You would certainly want to pay close attention to your f/r load balance, playing around with configurations a bit on a scale.

I hope this is of some use. Good luck!
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Old 08-31-2018, 05:31 PM   #10
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Oh, I love the 4x4 for stability when not towing (even in the wet) but yes, it also adds weight. The locking rear axle is probably sufficient unless you are going off road or plan to drive much in snow (in my experience, trucks in snow with 2wd are horrible!).
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Old 08-31-2018, 05:37 PM   #11
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Let's start with the larger tow packages are with 2 wheel drive. You loose capacity due to the heavier hardware on board. Also you will need the 6 1/2 foot box for the larger payloads. True in any pickup you look at.

You might want to consider the new 3.0L diesel if you are looking for mileage. Lots of torque and pulling power. And the 3.55 rear end will give you great pull with mileage. Recommended even for the diesel.

And forget the Raptor. Every review trashes it as a tow vehicle. Too tall, low tow weight rating, geared wrong.

I'll see if I can find the build sheets with options for the 2019 models.

And to quote a friend who owns a towing service- "4 wheel drive is good for getting stuck $500 further in"
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Old 08-31-2018, 06:45 PM   #12
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And to quote a friend who owns a towing service- "4 wheel drive is good for getting stuck $500 further in"
I drove an off road recovery tow truck many years ago. That was very similar to the line my boss used, that 4wd most often just got people further down bad roads that they shouldn't have been on in the first place. Not all of the company trucks were 4wd, a front mounted winch was more useful than 4wd on many occasions.
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Old 08-31-2018, 06:48 PM   #13
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I drove an off road recovery tow truck many years ago. That was very similar to the line my boss used, that 4wd most often just got people further down bad roads that they shouldn't have been on in the first place. Not all of the company trucks were 4wd, a front mounted winch was more useful than 4wd on many occasions.
For me the 4wd is about accelerating. Two times on my commute I have to stop and then pull out into 55 mph traffic in a right turn. When it is wet you just sit and spin the tires with 2wd. Even in FWD cars. Then again I'm not an idiot and don't push things much once I get going :-)
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:58 PM   #14
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First thing: Order the towing mirrors. They aren't included with any package, no one stocks them on the lots, and they are good to have.
<SNIP>
I agree that the towing mirrors are a nice option but I don't like them when not towing and the slip on extension mirrors work fine. If we were full timers then the towing mirrors would be a nice thing to have.

Just my opinion - We all have one -
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Old 08-31-2018, 08:11 PM   #15
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I have an 2017 F150 XLT 3.5 Ecoboost super crew short box. Payload is about 1800lbs. I have the max tow with 36 gallon tank. Get the large tank!!! Really helpful on longer trips where you have a little more leeway on where to stop for gas. I don’t have the towing mirrors, but honestly with the rear camera on the AS and Bliss system it hasn’t been a problem and I’ve driven through 2 hours of city traffic in Milwaukee and Chicago. But I’d still get them anyway if I was ordering.

Here are my suggestions if I was ordering:

1). Get bed LED lighting. Helps at night when you get to the campground.
2). Don’t get sunroof. Unnecessary weight.
3). Trailer backup assist is nice, but not necessary for a longer AS. It is nice for the short cargo trailer that I have.
4). Forget the NAV system. They don’t update it often enough and mine is so far out of date it’s pathetic. Better to get your own GPS that is updated regularly.
5). Towing mirrors with Bliss. I like the Bliss for blindspot warning.
6). I like the rear window that slides. It helps with ventilation.
7). I think the 4x4 is a necessity. But then again I live in WI and have to drive in snow a lot when not towing.
8). If you are ordering get the heavier duty towing tires.
9). Upgrade the shocks if you can as well. I didn’t get a chance to do those last 2, but would if I was ordering it.
10). You will want side steps to get in.
11). I’d get mud flaps as well to cut down on throwing stones.
12). Bed liner for sure.
13). I recently put on a front hood guard to keep stones from leaving chips on the front. Noticed a few.

I think all you will need is max tow package. I have a 28’ with over 900lb tongue weight. With the Propride Hitch I can dial it in wonderfully. No sway at all even with heavy truck traffic.

Have fun.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:31 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 762x51 View Post
I agree that the towing mirrors are a nice option but I don't like them when not towing and the slip on extension mirrors work fine. If we were full timers then the towing mirrors would be a nice thing to have.

Just my opinion - We all have one -
Yes, we all do. In my opinion, it's good to have good mirrors with comprehensive views to the side and aft when driving an 18' long truck. I guess the small mirrors look a little better when you're looking at the truck from outside, but other than that consideration the big mirrors are superior. Having had an F150 with slip-on mirrors for 8 years followed by my truck with the power fold/telescope trailer mirrors, I wouldn't choose the "pretty" mirrors. It's actually kinda weird now to drive my car after I've been driving the truck for a while, it feels like the mirrors are WAY too small.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
I have an 2017 F150 XLT 3.5 Ecoboost super crew short box. Payload is about 1800lbs. I have the max tow with 36 gallon tank. Get the large tank!!! Really helpful on longer trips where you have a little more leeway on where to stop for gas. I donít have the towing mirrors, but honestly with the rear camera on the AS and Bliss system it hasnít been a problem and Iíve driven through 2 hours of city traffic in Milwaukee and Chicago. But Iíd still get them anyway if I was ordering.

Here are my suggestions if I was ordering:

1). Get bed LED lighting. Helps at night when you get to the campground.
2). Donít get sunroof. Unnecessary weight.
3). Trailer backup assist is nice, but not necessary for a longer AS. It is nice for the short cargo trailer that I have.
4). Forget the NAV system. They donít update it often enough and mine is so far out of date itís pathetic. Better to get your own GPS that is updated regularly.
5). Towing mirrors with Bliss. I like the Bliss for blindspot warning.
6). I like the rear window that slides. It helps with ventilation.
7). I think the 4x4 is a necessity. But then again I live in WI and have to drive in snow a lot when not towing.
8). If you are ordering get the heavier duty towing tires.
9). Upgrade the shocks if you can as well. I didnít get a chance to do those last 2, but would if I was ordering it.
10). You will want side steps to get in.
11). Iíd get mud flaps as well to cut down on throwing stones.
12). Bed liner for sure.
13). I recently put on a front hood guard to keep stones from leaving chips on the front. Noticed a few.

I think all you will need is max tow package. I have a 28í with over 900lb tongue weight. With the Propride Hitch I can dial it in wonderfully. No sway at all even with heavy truck traffic.

Have fun.
You can't get the 360-degree camera system without nav. The 360-degree cameras are worth it if you're using the truck on a daily basis in places that have average-to-small parking spaces.

Max Tow includes the 36-gallon tank. You definitely want Max Tow, so you get the 36-gallon tank thrown in.

I thought I regretted not ordering the LT tires for a while, but then I found out if you do 4x4 plus LT tires you end up with pretty aggressive off-road tread, which isn't that great on pavement or for longevity. At 20k miles, I can already tell my AT tires have less traction than when the truck was new, but it's manageable for now. I'm guessing I won't be able to put up with them until the tread gets thin, though... maybe 30k miles and I'll probably be looking for some highway-oriented M+S Michelins.
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Old 08-31-2018, 11:59 PM   #18
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You can only get max payload with the low end trim options. You can get max tow on basically any configuration.

Payload is going to be your limiting factor. Do not trust the dealer on payload numbers: check the door sticker.
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Old 09-01-2018, 12:24 AM   #19
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South East , Michigan
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 451
My SOB is 7000# and I'm at about 900#TW.

As someone above noted - insist on the tow mirrors....
On my Platinum trim - I LOVE the active motion seats. Since you said you will be taking some long drives - these things are wonderful. After a couple hours of driving - turn them on and get a very nice massage. I skipped the moon roof - saved about 50# of payload. I have a soft tonneau. In retrospect, I should have skipped the side steps with the cover, I never use them - though that may be different for you on the farm.

To let you get a good idea on the cargo capacity, the F-150 forum has a long thread "Post Your Payload". OP has put together an excel spreadsheet you can download with actual number from lots of owners. Sheet has detail and summary that you can slice and dice if you are excel proficient. Many have detailed all the options on their trucks. Quite a few 2018's in most of the trim lines. So you can get a pretty realistic idea of what you will get on your order.
https://www.f150forum.com/f82/post-your-payload-332538/

Good luck and happy travels.
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Old 09-01-2018, 06:57 AM   #20
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Join Date: Aug 2016
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1. Get the 4wd. There’s no substitute. If the extra weight of 4wd restricts payload too much get a bigger truck. I’d never own one without. If you keep them as long as I do the 2wd are practically worthless after 10 years and 4wd still sell for a good price.
2. Get the power towing mirrors. They are larger but it’s the only way to go; slip on mirrors are a pain. Power mirrors fold at the touch of a button. I always fold them when I park.
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