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Tow Vehicle Recommendation - Going to Rockies

 
Old 05-05-2019, 08:10 PM
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Default Tow Vehicle Recommendation - Going to Rockies

Hi Everyone!
I bought a brand new 28' camper that weighs 6500lbs loaded. I currently drive a QX56. I'm a newbie so I believed that with a 8900 towing capacity, that I would be good. On our first trip, I stopped at a CAT scale. Turns out I'm over on GVWR, GAWR Rear, and Payload. Complete bummer. My ball hitch weight is 800lbs. My current payload is about 1450 lbs (stuff in truck and trailer hitch weight).

I'm planning on going on a 3 week camping trip in the fall to the Rockies. I'm looking to upgrade to a Ford truck that I can comfortably tow camping with trips in the mountains about 8 times a year. I'm hoping an F150 can do the trick. I've test drove a couple of F250s and they are big! I've been looking at the 2017s 3.5L ecoboost. Would this be a good tow vehicle for my camper? Or do I need to bite the bullet and consider a F250 (would probably get the gas model).

Ultimately, looking for a comfortable truck that would be good for 6-7 hour days of towing and that my wife would feel comfortable driving.

Thanks! I appreciate your help.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:30 PM
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6500LB is right in the wheel house for most 3.5L and 5.0L F-150s. However, I say “most” because as you go up in luxury, you go down in payload, which is the first weight rating you will exceed when towing a travel trailer.

Depending on how much you carry in your truck, you might be able to get a lightly optioned Lariat... they usually have between 1600-1700lb payload. If you’ve already been to the cat scales than you know how much stuff you carry... so what are you payload requirements?

Most XLTs without the sunroof are in the 1900 range.

I needed payload so I special ordered a heavy duty payload package Lariat and have 2333lb available.

Finally, I would recommend the 3.5 eco boost because nothing beats a turbo when towing in the mountains!
Lou

Last edited by Sweetlou; 05-05-2019 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:53 AM
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When I weighed at a CAT scale, the stuff in the truck weighed in at 650 lbs (two passengers, firewood, water, propane, etc). The trailer hitch ball calculation came to 800 lbs. The camper weighs 6500 lbs wet so the percentage of weight on the ball is 13%. Seems like a good number. Total payload is 1450 lbs. My QX56 max payload is 1288. With also being over on GVWR and GVAR too much camper for the QX56.

I would think I'd be bringing more stuff with me camping if I had the room in the bed of the F150. Something comfortably current payload would be needed. Need your help on what you guys think would consider safe and comfortable.
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:44 AM
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Without getting into the math, get the 250. I picked up a 28' bh recently. The 17 3.5eb pulls it, but you know it's back there. It's alot of trailer behind not a lot of truck. I'm on the fence with upgrading trucks. I may hold out since I live in FL which is flat land. In the mountains and with winds, you'll appreciate the added size/weight of the 250. Plus coming downhill where the trailer will push. The gas 250 gives you 3000 lb payload which is a nice cushion. The TT will help in the mountains though.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:14 AM
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Driving at elevation robs most engines of power. I have the 5.0 in my truck and for what I do I like it. But you lose 3% of your engine power for every 1000' you go above sea level. There are lots of 10,000-12,000' passes in the Rockies. Choose enough engine to handle the load when operating at 70% of your engines power. Engines with turbo's are much less effected by the altitude. I drove all over Colorado last November while elk hunting and had no issues with my 5.0 even though I was carrying a fair amount of weight in the truck. If I were pulling a trailer the 3.5 EB would have been a better option. I think the 6.2 in an F250 would do it too. The turbo diesel in an F250 would fly up those passes with 10,000 lbs behind you.

If you choose an F150 carefully it can do the job. Make sure of the axle ratio, payloads etc. For doing this occasionally I'd be tempted to stay with an F150 if I found the right truck. But if this is going to be a regular thing a heavier duty truck might be a better option. You are really right on the fence.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:17 AM
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As the one poster said, a 1/2 ton with a 6ft bed 302 XLT will give you ~1800lbs of payload, and a bit less with a Lariat.

The 3/4 was too much of a compromise, so I opted for a special ordered HDPP, and I couldn't have gotten a better compromise.

That's an individual decision based on the compromises you are gaining versus what you are giving up.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by all50states View Post
When I weighed at a CAT scale, the stuff in the truck weighed in at 650 lbs (two passengers, firewood, water, propane, etc). The trailer hitch ball calculation came to 800 lbs. The camper weighs 6500 lbs wet so the percentage of weight on the ball is 13%. Seems like a good number. Total payload is 1450 lbs. My QX56 max payload is 1288. With also being over on GVWR and GVAR too much camper for the QX56.

I would think I'd be bringing more stuff with me camping if I had the room in the bed of the F150. Something comfortably current payload would be needed. Need your help on what you guys think would consider safe and comfortable.
If you want some room on payload, either get an HDPP or an F250. And remember that for every 100 pounds you put in the bed, you lose 769 pounds of what you can safely tow, while 100 pounds more in the trailer only impacts 13 pounds of payload in the truck.

Also remember that every Ford truck has a payload sticker on the door jamb. Do not rely on any salesperson, read the sticker for yourself.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:58 AM
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Another consideration is that I'll be adding a 2nd battery to the front of the camper bringing my tongue weight to around 850-860lbs and my current payload to 1500lbs (not counting any extra stuff in the bed).

ricktwuhk, could you please share the math behind this: "And remember that for every 100 pounds you put in the bed, you lose 769 pounds of what you can safely tow,"
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:39 AM
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all50states - I was in a similar situation. Jeep GC with 5.7 towing a 27ft, 5,500 pound loaded TT. On paper it worked with the 7,000 pound tow rating but at the scales I was over on GVWR & hitch rating without taking all I wanted to take. The 5.7L worked really hard up some steeper mountain passes with engine & trans temps way too high. It also ran 3,000 - 4,000 RPM for hours going into a head wind crossing the plains. And stability in cross wind was less than I'd like.

I initially went shopping for an F250/350 SRW until I realized it was too high to fit into any garages at work (unacceptable). So I researched f-150s and found that they are all over the map in terms of payload & axle ratings. Some have less payload than your QX56 with others (although exceedingly rare) having nearly 3 times as much. Moral of the story - The right F150 will do the job but make sure you get the right F150. You can see what I ended up with in my signature. 3.5EB is a beast. HDPP would give you breathing room in the capacity but you can probably get away with less.

Here are some things I learned along the way:

HDPP - Heavy Duty Payload Package - 7850 GVWR, 4800 RGAWR, Crew Cab 4wd Payloads ~2,200 - 2,600 pounds.
2018+ Max Tow - 7050 GVWR, 4050 RGAWR, crew cab payloads ~1100-2000
2015-2017 Max Tow - 7050 GVWR, 3800 RGAWR, crew cab payloads ~1100-2000
All other 2015+ are 7050 GVWR, 3800 RGAWR or less with crew cab payload ~900 - 2000
2.7L EB trucks have lighter chassis / springs / axles in general so I don't recommend for your weights
3.5L EB is a beast in the hills and I averaged 11.1 MPG on my last 3,000 mile tow (cruise set to 67 MPH where I could)
Recommend a long bed for the more forward weight distribution and longer wheelbase (helps with stability)

Last edited by Gladehound; 05-06-2019 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:16 AM
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All good info provided by others along with marshallr about losing power at higher elevation. If you need more data points, I too will recommend either a HDPP 150 or 250 gas and if you got deeper pocket, go to 350 in that order Since you like to bring the kitchen sink I'd say the 250 gas or the 350 diesel. Don't forget to post pics of that TT!
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