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First time towing with 2015 3.5 L eco-boost

Old 09-13-2015, 10:27 PM
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Default First time towing with 2015 3.5 L eco-boost

I broke the 1000 mile barrier this weekend, so thought I would do a short test tow with my 3.5 L eco-boost F150 with the 5.5 foot bed. The boat was about as light as I tow it as it had only 70 gallons of fuel, the 25 gallon water tank was empty, no ice, bait or the usual fishing gear. I've weighed the rig on a DOT scale with an identical load and the trailer axles were 7700 pounds and the tongue weight is right at 400 pounds. The vehicle payload was also very light as I was the only occupant, the 36 gallon tank was only half full and nothing was added to the cab or the bed. The trailer hitch was a straight, 10,000 pound rated hitch and ball and there was no weight distributing hitch.

The engine was amazing! My previous tow vehicle was a 2003 Tahoe with a 5.3 L engine with the max tow package. The eco-boost is clearly in a higher class compared to the 2003 Chevy 5.3 L. I was towing on a straight, flat country road had two opportunities to go from 5 to 60 mph aggressively, but not pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor and what a difference! I never timed how long it took the Chevy to get up to 60 miles an hour, but my impression is the eco-boost is much, much faster.

Fuel economy I was able to run for about 15 continuous miles with the cruise control set at 62 mph without having to brake for traffic. With a comparable load and identical cruise control setting, the Chevy delivered 8.9 9.0 miles per gallon with the gear selector on drive (not overdrive) without engaging the tow transmission mode. The F150 delivered 8.6 8.8 miles per gallon with the gear selector on drive without engaging the towing mode. With the gear selector in drive and not engaging the tow mode, the transmission progressed through the gears fairly quickly and got to sixth gear without seeming to strain. Because the road was flat, I was able to maintain 6th gear. The mileage in the first few miles was about 8.6 and in the latter third of the trip, the mileage crept up to 8.8 miles per gallon. This road is absolutely flat and there was no wind today. I went through the owner's manual fairly quickly and did not see any recommendation on which gear to use while towing. What are other people using with comparable loads? The driving range calculation did not seem to reflect the lower mileage while towing as I had about 18 gallons of fuel in the tank and the driving range estimate was over 300?

There been a couple threads about a towing and 8000 pound load requiring a weight distributing hitch to prevent sway, but I did not experience any sway. With the trailer on the tow ball, the rear end was exactly 2.0 inches lower than in the unloaded condition.

This truck is my every day drive to work vehicle and looking at the numbers over three weeks of daily commutes, my mileage is running 20 25% better than the Tahoe for city driving. Fuel economy while towing is virtually identical to the Tahoe, but the eco-boost's performance accelerating the trailer from low to highway speeds was impressive. Overall, I am delighted with the performance.
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ADM1953 View Post
I broke the 1000 mile barrier this weekend, so thought I would do a short test tow with my 3.5 L eco-boost F150 with the 5.5 foot bed. The boat was about as light as I tow it as it had only 70 gallons of fuel, the 25 gallon water tank was empty, no ice, bait or the usual fishing gear. I've weighed the rig on a DOT scale with an identical load and the trailer axles were 7700 pounds and the tongue weight is right at 400 pounds. The vehicle payload was also very light as I was the only occupant, the 36 gallon tank was only half full and nothing was added to the cab or the bed. The trailer hitch was a straight, 10,000 pound rated hitch and ball and there was no weight distributing hitch.

The engine was amazing! My previous tow vehicle was a 2003 Tahoe with a 5.3 L engine with the max tow package. The eco-boost is clearly in a higher class compared to the 2003 Chevy 5.3 L. I was towing on a straight, flat country road had two opportunities to go from 5 to 60 mph aggressively, but not pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor and what a difference! I never timed how long it took the Chevy to get up to 60 miles an hour, but my impression is the eco-boost is much, much faster.

Fuel economy I was able to run for about 15 continuous miles with the cruise control set at 62 mph without having to brake for traffic. With a comparable load and identical cruise control setting, the Chevy delivered 8.9 9.0 miles per gallon with the gear selector on drive (not overdrive) without engaging the tow transmission mode. The F150 delivered 8.6 8.8 miles per gallon with the gear selector on drive without engaging the towing mode. With the gear selector in drive and not engaging the tow mode, the transmission progressed through the gears fairly quickly and got to sixth gear without seeming to strain. Because the road was flat, I was able to maintain 6th gear. The mileage in the first few miles was about 8.6 and in the latter third of the trip, the mileage crept up to 8.8 miles per gallon. This road is absolutely flat and there was no wind today. I went through the owner's manual fairly quickly and did not see any recommendation on which gear to use while towing. What are other people using with comparable loads? The driving range calculation did not seem to reflect the lower mileage while towing as I had about 18 gallons of fuel in the tank and the driving range estimate was over 300?

There been a couple threads about a towing and 8000 pound load requiring a weight distributing hitch to prevent sway, but I did not experience any sway. With the trailer on the tow ball, the rear end was exactly 2.0 inches lower than in the unloaded condition.

This truck is my every day drive to work vehicle and looking at the numbers over three weeks of daily commutes, my mileage is running 20 25% better than the Tahoe for city driving. Fuel economy while towing is virtually identical to the Tahoe, but the eco-boost's performance accelerating the trailer from low to highway speeds was impressive. Overall, I am delighted with the performance.
That's awesome - congruent with all the other EB experiences. I recently watched a youtube on the TFL - I believe the 3.5 EB out towed a new escalade with 6.2L uphill with both having the same load.
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:40 AM
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Hi, quick comparison. My travel trailer is lighter than your boat. [6,300 lbs. GVWR] My tongue weight is way higher at about 900 lbs. So I use and need a WD hitch. My truck averages around 10.8 MPG while towing. I have towed my trailer over 13,000 miles.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ADM1953 View Post
The engine was amazing! My previous tow vehicle was a 2003 Tahoe with a 5.3 L engine with the max tow package. The eco-boost is clearly in a higher class compared to the 2003 Chevy 5.3 L. I was towing on a straight, flat country road had two opportunities to go from 5 to 60 mph aggressively, but not pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor and what a difference! I never timed how long it took the Chevy to get up to 60 miles an hour, but my impression is the eco-boost is much, much faster.
Naturally aspirated, 285 horsepower versus forced induction, 365 horsepower. Of course it pulls much better than the Tahoe did!
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Old 02-21-2017, 02:10 PM
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I would certainly run in tow haul mode at all times when pulling that kind of a load. I would also lock out 6th gear at all times so the maximum achievable gear is 5th.

I bet you see a little better MPG and eliminate some shifting if you ever get into an area with some hills. Plus the downshifting strategy will make life easier for your brakes. While these engines make amazing power at very low rpms and will move the load its not exactly good for them to keep them in high boost/ low rpm conditions for very long.

Higher RPMs with lower boost will net you better MPG than lower RPMs at higher boost up to a certain point.

The reason for this is that low rpm high boost conditions force the PCM to make the air fuel mixture very rich to control detonation / pre-ignition. Basically using extra gas to cool the combustion chamber.

At higher RPM there is more air moving through the engine so that has a cooling effect, plus in a lower gear at a higher rpm the load that the engine sees is effectively spread out over more "power strokes" so each piston, rod ect is seeing less net load. AKA its easier on the engine.

This is a tiny engine doing the work of a large engine so this would be my advice.... but its your truck soooo....... its your option.

If you think I'm just blowing smoke do some research on low speed pre ignition. Towing heavy with tow haul off in 6th gear is kind of inviting LSPI in my opinion.
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Old 02-21-2017, 02:58 PM
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Hi, I always use Tow / Haul mode when towing. I never lock out sixth gear, but I have 3:73 gears.
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Old 02-21-2017, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Aj06bolt12r View Post
I would certainly run in tow haul mode at all times when pulling that kind of a load. I would also lock out 6th gear at all times so the maximum achievable gear is 5th.

I bet you see a little better MPG and eliminate some shifting if you ever get into an area with some hills. Plus the downshifting strategy will make life easier for your brakes. While these engines make amazing power at very low rpms and will move the load its not exactly good for them to keep them in high boost/ low rpm conditions for very long.

Higher RPMs with lower boost will net you better MPG than lower RPMs at higher boost up to a certain point.

The reason for this is that low rpm high boost conditions force the PCM to make the air fuel mixture very rich to control detonation / pre-ignition. Basically using extra gas to cool the combustion chamber.

At higher RPM there is more air moving through the engine so that has a cooling effect, plus in a lower gear at a higher rpm the load that the engine sees is effectively spread out over more "power strokes" so each piston, rod ect is seeing less net load. AKA its easier on the engine.

This is a tiny engine doing the work of a large engine so this would be my advice.... but its your truck soooo....... its your option.

If you think I'm just blowing smoke do some research on low speed pre ignition. Towing heavy with tow haul off in 6th gear is kind of inviting LSPI in my opinion.
^^ This guy knows what is up.
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Old 02-21-2017, 02:59 PM
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My boat with trailer and all is about 7500lbs, and even the 2.7 pulls it easily enough. No problems at highway speeds and doesn't take forever to get up to speed either. Never did check the mileage because I didn't want to know lol Towing that much=bad, but since I don't tow often I didn't really care. I was more concerned with trans temp which was still in the middle.


I also don't have a WD hitch and it sits nicely. Didn't use the tow/haul because there aren't that many big hills on my travels. But my trailer has brakes, and I did crank up the trailer brakes a bit to save the truck brakes. Nice to hear those turbos under load, as well as since I did the VTA mod, I get a BOV sound with every gear change lol
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:24 PM
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How do you lock out 6th gear?
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark P View Post
How do you lock out 6th gear?
If you have a column shift there is a plus/minus switch near the end. Just hit minus, if you hit it again it locks out 5, etc..
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