'01 F-150 SuperCrew - pulling a 26' 5,800# dry toy hauler.. advice??

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shmuck2002

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Moreno Valley, CA
Hi guys, I'm new to the trailer world, and have been shopping for a toy hauler. I came across a 2000 Fleetwood Prowler 26A that i really like! It's dry weight is 5800#. the only toys that will ever go in it is 900# of jet ski's (two stand-ups), bringing me to roughly 6700# dry, plus all our crap, conservatively i'll be at 7500#

My truck is a '01 F-150 SuperCrew 5.4L, rated at 8000#. From what I have read here and on other forums, that does not leave much of a margin (some would say i passed the margin about 500# ago!).

So, here's my actual questions  ;) 

1) I am actually within legal and rated limits as I have figured, and i'm pulling on flat terrain only, so should I be cool with this?
2) does having a good brake controller help? I bought a Prodigy today as it came highly recommended
3) does a good WD hitch help as well?
4) a friend of mine put a coil-over airbag kit in the rear end of his Durango tow vehicle, and that helped dramatically; would that be a worthwhile upgrade for me if i choose to go with this trailer?

Thanks in advance for all your knowledgable advice!

Joe
 

FX

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Joe - I have an 05 Supercrew rated to tow 9,200lbs.  My trailer is just over 5k unloaded.  Some people have so much pride in their tow vehicle they are ashamed to admit their vehicle has problems towing a certain load.  I will be honest here.  I think you will be working your truck an awful lot towing that much weight.  I sure know mine works when towing...esp up hills! 
I for one can tell you out of experience that a good brake controller is very important.  I switched from some off brand to a Prodigy when I upgraded trailers.  It has helped avoid 2 accidents in a years time.  Coming back from Tahoe on a steep, twisty road and get to a turn to find that at the end of this sharp turn, traffic has stopped while Cal Trans does something to the road up ahead.  It was pretty scary when your going about 35-40 mph pulling a 6,000 (loaded) 27' long trailer and see traffic stopped just a short distance ahead.  I won't bore you with the other example because it sounds like you made the right choice.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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1) I am actually within legal and rated limits as I have figured, and i'm pulling on flat terrain only, so should I be cool with this?

Your truck will proably manage, but it ain't cool, either figuratively or literally. Even on flat terrain, the engine and trannyare going to be working hard and runing hot.

2) does having a good brake controller help? I bought a Prodigy today as it came highly recommended
It helps to get the full capability out of the trailer brakes. It doesn't increase towing capacity any.

3) does a good WD hitch help as well?
Again, it helps but does not increase capacity.  You must have a good WD hitch to carry the tongue weight without overloading the truck's rear axle. I doubt if you could pull that trailer at all without a WD hitch.

4) a friend of mine put a coil-over airbag kit in the rear end of his Durango tow vehicle, and that helped dramatically; would that be a worthwhile upgrade for me if i choose to go with this trailer?
What did it help? It doesn't increase axle capacity any and the weight distributing hitch should eliminate rear end sag. Air bags can help with side sway and some other fringe effects, but don't really do anythng at all to chnage the basic capability.
 

shmuck2002

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Moreno Valley, CA
Thanks for your replies gentlemen! They were exactly what i expected - you "can" do it, but you shouldnt. I did end up buying that trailer (umm.. 2 days after my orignal post ;) ), and have taken it out several times since. Yes, I "can" pull it, but I'm basically taking it easy with it while I shop for a new TV (uhh.. tow vehicle... not a plasma..although... >:)  )

Which segways into my next question, which i will generate a new posting for to get further feedback:

I intend to sell my '01 F150 and go for a slightly older, (95-99) Chevy 3500 Dually, turbo diesel.  the ones I like, are the "street truck" look, where they are slightly lowered (and I do mean slightly - 2" in the front, 3" rear), and have full airbag system for the rear axle. Does anyone have experience with doing this and how it affects one's tow rating - both hitch weight capacity and towing capacity? In theory, a properly set up suspension on such a truck should not have any negative impact on the towing or tounge weight, with an airbag system allowing the lowered rear axle to return to correct loaded level, as so not to bottom out the lowered suspension. I would be very interested in seeing your experiences with this in practice!

thanks guys...
Joe
 

shmuck2002

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Moreno Valley, CA
I took her out on the first long distance trip this past weekend, and yeah... i WILL be getting a new truck before pulling again! we drove out to the Colorado river at Blythe, CA from Riverside, CA. the drive out wasnt bad, but I made the run nice and early to avoid the heat, but the trip back was rough. It was 115 degrees, humid as all hell, and my transmission wanted to run away and cry!

Lesson learned: the gents here on this forum do know what they are talking about, they are not just being over-cautious. Give yourself the 15% "safety margin" between your fully loaded weight and your max, and have a safe trip!

My hat's off to you all for your advice, and my appologies to whomever may have been stuck behind me on the 10 fwy Sunday afternoon!!  ;)
 

Shayne

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shucks  Never apoligize for someone behind you,  They should have left 10 miutes earlier.  But yes you are right  These folks absolutely know what they are talking about.
 

Carl L

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I intend to sell my '01 F150 and go for a slightly older, (95-99) Chevy 3500 Dually, turbo diesel.  the ones I like, are the "street truck" look, where they are slightly lowered (and I do mean slightly - 2" in the front, 3" rear), and have full airbag system for the rear axle. Does anyone have experience with doing this and how it affects one's tow rating - both hitch weight capacity and towing capacity? In theory, a properly set up suspension on such a truck should not have any negative impact on the towing or tounge weight, with an airbag system allowing the lowered rear axle to return to correct loaded level, as so not to bottom out the lowered suspension. I would be very interested in seeing your experiences with this in practice!

The truck manufacturer bases his tow rating on the engine, transmission, cooling system, tires, brakes, rear end, AND suspension range for the truck model you have.  He uses the specs that he turned the truck out with.  You change them, you change the tow rating.  For example, if the mfr turns out your truck with 31" diameter tires on it and you switch them out for 34" tiires you have in effect just lowered the rear end ratio and the tow rating.

When you hitch a trailer, the tongue weight loads on to the suspension and lowers it.  You lower it some more with a lowering kit and eventually you get near the rubber bumpers that spell the end of the compliance in the trucks suspension.  In short, you hit a bump and you are closer to bottoming.  Ever wonder why 4WD rigs, especially of the off road persuation, are racked up so high?.  That is to give them high compliance in their suspensions when they hit those really humongeous bumps in the back country.  Lower your suspension, lower your tow rating.  How much I don't know.  But I would want a LOT of headroom in tow ratings if I did tow with a lowered truck. 

Air bags.  Maybe, but I suspect that they will not make up the whole route.  But then I drive a racked up 4WD so whadda I know.  ;D



HO
 

shmuck2002

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Moreno Valley, CA
Thanks for the reply Carl... You are right, the tow capacity is based on a lot of different factors, any of which can be adversely affected by the consumers' "upgrades". not to poke back, but that being said, a 'racked up' 4x4 could have a lower towing capacity than it is rated for ;)  As far as lowering, My intention is to lower it only to the point that airbags will 100% counter the ride height, allowing me to run at completely factory height when loaded :) then again, over on the fullsizechevy.com forum, there are several gents who tow a 12,000#+ trailer, lowered, airbagged, like no tomorrow!

I think the overall rule is, if you are going to be modifying a tow vehicle, be smart about it. True none of us are automotive engineers here (I guess i should bite my tounge on that..!), but with the Internet at your fingertips, it is not hard to properly research pros and cons of modifications, how it will affect your capacity, stability, etc, and make an intelligent informed decision.

.02 cents :D
 

Carl L

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Thanks for the reply Carl... You are right, the tow capacity is based on a lot of different factors, any of which can be adversely affected by the consumers' "upgrades". not to poke back, but that being said, a 'racked up' 4x4 could have a lower towing capacity than it is rated for

Not if it was racked up by the manufacturer, Ford Motor Co. in this case.  In that case the mfr's tow rating must necessarily take the high set suspension into account. 

Let me be clear on this.  When I first changed tires on the vehicle, going from P rated Goodyear T/As to L rated BFG flotation tires, I made a point of measuring the diameter of the old tires and buying new tires of the exact same diameter. That was done to preserve the final drive ratio that my tow rating was based on.

I am a firm believer that if your vehicle it a trailer towing vehicle, that use should dominate every thing you do with the vehicle -- maintenance intervals, lubricants, and modifications to engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes.  Tinkering with those items should be towards improving towing capacity, not compromising with it to accomplish some other end -- like stylishness for one.

There is an old cartoon about the internet:  A dog is seated at the keyboard of a computer.  He turns to another dog and says, "When you are on the internet, no one knows you are a dog."    Any clown can sit at at keyboard and BS.  Hell, I could be just an uppity Labrador retriever myself.  You are going to have to make up your own mind.  However, you will note that my philosophy with respect to towing ratings is believe the manufacturer's printed data and add a safety factor beyond that.  All I do for folks is look up the data, do some simple arithmetic, and write the results.  I always cite my sources so they can go and see for themselves. 

Do what you will, you have to live with the consequences not us.

 

shmuck2002

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Moreno Valley, CA
Very true Carl, and I didnt realize you meant a factory 'racked' truck ;) I really wasnt trying to pick a fight with you!! My overall point was, any changes to a tow vehicle, as you have said, have to be very carefully researched and calculated, not just "eh... that'll work" or "that'll look cool!". you are very right about that. We've all seen the kid with the 12" lift on their silverado (truck payment by mommy i'm sure..), 35" mud tires, and the 20" wheels which by design look too weak to even hold their own weight together on the road, pulling a boat at about 85 on the fwy. And we've all seen him 40 minutes up the road, pulled over, with a blown trailer tire, or the hood popped scratching his head, wondering what IS that awful smell and this red fluid all over the ground?!

;D
 
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