F-350 4WD fifth wheel bed clearance

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cougar3514v

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My wife and I have selected a trailer (Cougar 290EFS), and with a pin weight of 1410 pounds, we thought that an F-350 would serve us better than an F-250.  In my searches, I have found loads of 4WD F-350's, but the 2WD's are almost non-existent.  The problem I'm having is that the bed height of a 4WD F-350 is 58.2" high according to the documentation from Ford.  On the Cougar, the height of the portion of the trailer that would sit over the bed is 62" when it is level.  As I understand it, this is a bit close.  The Cougar already has the axles beneath the leaf springs, so a swap wouldn't help any.  Is there anyone out there who pulls a fiver with a 4WD SRW F-350?  Any suggestions?  Thanks!

-Dave
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Are you sure about the 58.2 inch bed height? That's  a hair under 5 feet!  I know the Ford 4x4's are tall, but I don't think the bed is 5 feet off the road.

Ford has a lowering kit for 4x4 Superduty pick-ups - I think it drops it about 6 inches.

And an F250 would probably work fine for your trailer - there is usually no more than a 1000 lb difference in rear axle capacity between a 250 and a 350.  Don't get hung up on the model designation - look at the GVWR, GCWR, and rear axle GAWR figures.  You will find that the GCWR is exactly the same and that is the most critical factor.
 

blueblood

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RV Roamer said:
Are you sure about the 58.2 inch bed height? That's? a hair under 5 feet!? ?I know the Ford 4x4's are tall, but I don't think the bed is 5 feet off the road.

I think he's talking about the dimesion to top of bed side and on my son's 4wd F250 that's about right; the fifth wheel clears by only a couple of inches max. He has no problem pulling off road even in the UT back country or any where else.  He does have air bags installed but they make little or no diffference on heigth as far as I can tell as well as an 8 ft. bed to negate need for a slider. One interesting point is that at least for State Farm the insurance rate on F250 is lower than F350 even though they are basically the same. 1
 

tomordee

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Jun 17, 2005
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I have a 2000 F250 4WD long bed with a 56" top rail height and pull a 28' cedar creek with a 59" fifth wheel height with the hitch set properly and when the fifth wheel settles the truck I have 4.5" clearance and this presents no problems what so ever plus the trailer sets level when being pulled
 

cougar3514v

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Thanks for the help.  I knew I could count on the experts!

I got the dimension from the Ford brochure, and although it's a bit cryptic, I think it's right.  They give the dimension from the ground to the bed floor of 38.2" for the 4WD F-350 followed by a height of 20" from the floor bed to the bed rails. I went to the local Ford dealer and took a very informal estimate: I stood next to the bed.  The bed comes just short of my shoulder, and since I'm 6', I'm guessing that 58" is probably close.

You've brought up a very important point, however.  I have been debating with a friend of mine regarding the F-250 versus F-350.  The F-250 is shorter, so that would solve my problems.  Here is how I see the weight calculations though. The pin weight of the Cougar is 1410#.  The payload for the F-250 is 2600# (long bed) or 2800# (short bed).  As I understand it, these payloads are for a bare-bones truck, and I've been married to my wife long enough to know that bare-bones ain't gonna cut it.

So I take 1410# out for the Cougar, around 800# for four passengers, a dog, and "stuff", 250# for a hitch (I'm not sure about this measurement), and 261# for 29 gallons of gas (342# for the 38 gallons in the long bed).  When I add 10% for good measure, I get a total of around 3,000#.  That was my reasoning behind looking for an F-350.  Have I messed my numbers up?

Thanks again!  The members of this list have been great.  I've learned so much!

-Dave

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Yeah, 58 inches would be about right for the side rails on an empty 4x4.  That, however, has almost nothing to do with either truck height or trailer height. Clearance between trailer and the sides of the box is largely governed by the hitch height and the kingpin box on the trailer. Some are adjustable and some are fixed.  Some pin boxes angle downward and some are essentially flat/level.

Note that these heights are usually measured from the road surface on an empty truck.  Putting a couple thousand lbs of 5W kingpin weight on the hitch is going to bring that down somewhat, surely a couple inches and maybe as much as 4-5.

If the hitch and kingpin are adjusted for maximum clearance, the trailer might have a slight nose-up attitude on a tall 4x4. Not ideal, but you need some space between to allow for side-to-sde rocking.  I would guess that 4-6 inches of clearance would be typical.

 
M

MTRancher

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I tow with a F350 SRW 4x4. I've towed both my camper; a FW 2004 Wilderness and also a Keystone 2003 Cougar Bunkhouse. I have not experienced a clearance problem with either camper and I have towed into some pretty hilly and bumpy off road areas. I do have my 5th wheel hitch plate set on it's highest level; but I towed on the standard level prior and did not have any problems. It's amazing how little clearance you need to be okay. I probably have 5 inches of clearance between my box sides and the overhang off the camper. My camper rides 1/2 inch off of level.
Personally I prefer the ride and handling of the 350 over that of the 250. Perhaps I'm overkill on the weight for my camper but I tow a lot of other trailers and have maxed my truck out many times. Go drive both before you buy.
 

Nickens

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RV Roamer said:
And an F250 would probably work fine for your trailer - there is usually no more than a 1000 lb difference in rear axle capacity between a 250 and a 350.? Don't get hung up on the model designation - look at the GVWR, GCWR, and rear axle GAWR figures.? You will find that the GCWR is exactly the same and that is the most critical factor.

I would agree that the GCWR is critical, especially for a TT where you are only putting 500-1000 tongue weight onto both axles of the TV.  You still need to be mindful of how much weight is being transferred to the TV:  eventhought they both may have a 20k GCWR, the F350 generally has 1000 more payload capacity than the F250.  When you are putting 1500 right over the rear axle, you will be glad to have an F350. 

There is a page on the Ford website that gives the base weight and options weights for every truck and engine combo they make.  I will post it tongiht as I don't the link at work.  I was considering an F250 until I realized that after the options, people and fuel, I really didn't have much left for tongue weights and toys.
 

Nickens

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Jan 31, 2006
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Here is a link to the Ford website I was talking about.? It's for 2004 trucks and suvs, but you can search around on the site to find other years.? The capacities are pretty muchthe same for the 2002-2005 trucks.

One very telling comparison for camper or cargo (pin weight) capacities:? a diesel F250 CC 4x4 is 815 lbs vs 1920 for an F350? (base weight, deduct for other options like FX4, Lariat, etc.).

http://www.ford-trucks.com/lc/lc.php?action=do&link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ford.com%2Fen%2Fsupport%2FSearch_Results%3Fadvancedsearch%3Dgcwr%2Bexcursion%26searchmethod%3Dall_words%26param0%3Dford%26param1%3Dfordveh

If that doesn't work I presume I can upload the pdf?? Hope this helps.

-Blaine
 
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