OT: Pickup Towing Capacity
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  1. #1
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    Default OT: Pickup Towing Capacity

    Well, a search shows we haven't talked about this in a while so here we go.

    My 2000 F150 with a 4.6L V8 is having trouble remaining a trusty steed. It's official towing capacity is 5500 lbs but when towing 4000 it struggles to get up steep hills. Not really what I consider proper performance for a listed 5500. Not infrequently I'm towing 4500 - 5000 lbs.

    Looking at the newer trucks most of them have a 3.7L V6 with a listed towing capacity of 5800 lbs. Granted I grew up when 5.0L was a really small V8 and Ford even made a straight 6 that was that size. Having a LOT of trouble thinking that a 3.7L will adequately tow my trailers. So are the marketing people from the same school as the ones telling us caulk is good for 25 years?

    What say ye?

    Steve

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    I don't have any experience with ford trucks, but I have owned a series of GM pickups. I have always had 3/4 ton pickups with a floating rear axle and a 350 small block and 4 speed manual. Regularly haul 8,000 - 10,000 Lb's with no trouble and took 14,000 from north Carolina to michigan with no trouble.

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    I guess I'm the grumpy old guy, but what's the flippin' hurry? God forbid the truck has to downshift on a steep hill while occasionally towing a trailer.

    I own a rollback truck that can gross 54,000 lbs. It has 260 horsepower. It's not fast, but it gets where I want to go.

    The new 6.7L Powerstroke in a Ford pickup has 450 horsepower. There are forums full of guys spending tons of money on these engines to get more power.

    I don't get it.

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    Towing capacity and pleasantness are totally different. Towing 6000lbs with a 1/2 ton truck vs 3/4 ton is a different experience. More power and more brakes is more pleasant.

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    I would hazard a guess that it's in the gearing to some extent on the 3.7 package.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I guess I'm the grumpy old guy, but what's the flippin' hurry? God forbid the truck has to downshift on a steep hill while occasionally towing a trailer.

    .
    Downshifting and watching the speed drop wondering if you will make the top, then looking at a truck with an engine with two less pistons and almost a whole liter less displacement is the problem.

    Once with an older truck with the aforementioned 5.0L straight-six I couldn’t get up the hill and came to a stop with a bunch of traffic behind me and had to back down about a half
    mile in traffic to be able to get off the road and turn around. Not sure why that being a problem is hard to get.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    Downshifting and watching the speed drop wondering if you will make the top, then looking at a truck with an engine with two less pistons and almost a whole liter less displacement is the problem.

    Once with an older truck with the aforementioned 5.0L straight-six I couldn’t get up the hill and came to a stop with a bunch of traffic behind me and had to back down about a half
    mile in traffic to be able to get off the road and turn around. Not sure why that being a problem is hard to get.

    Steve
    That's more like transmission problem if 5.0L straight six can't make it to the top. (Vs fully loaded 76 ton semi-trailer with maybe 450hp ..)

    Older 4.6 F150 is 220hp or what? Coupled to ancient 4-speed automatic?
    And 3.7 is over 300hp.
    Or wew 3.5 ecoboost 375hp with 10-speeed automatic.

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    If your trailer is a bumper pull, go test drive the new truck with your trailer loaded your way.

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    I don't know, my dad, my brother, and I all had Fords with the 300 inline 6. We all did towing. We used to tow 12,000 lbs routinely and it's not flat where we are. I recall one overheating incident, but that was self inflicted. Otherwise, no real issues.

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    No direct experience but I agree...these modern puny engines with a bunch of turbo's and 10 gears? I doubt they'll do the trick and if so, not for long. Putting 350HP through a 2" diameter crank flange for 150,000 miles?

    The 4.6L Ford has always been a soft engine, so is the 5.4L. They just don't have any low end power...you have to keep your foot in the gas and keep the revs up which is not a fun way to drive.

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    My brother had/has a 3.6 dual turbo EcoBoost in his work truck and he pulls 7K enclosed 7x14 trailers loaded to spec. and 12-14" wood chippers that pull harder than that and he says they do pretty good. His truck also has 2-3K in the back in tools and spare parts/supplies for his guys.

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    I have personally hauled 3700 pounds with my 07 Xterra [V6 Auto] and while I believe I disabled OD, it did fine.

    I hauled around 3000 pounds for a 1000 mile weekend and barely noticed it was there

    My brother has hauled well over 5000 with it and didn't report any real issues. Neither was he amazed by its performance

    I am thinking either your truck is flogged to death, or perhaps you are doing something wrong[not that I can think of what].

    I mean a truck with 300k miles can run like a swiss watch, start every morning, blow clean emissions and produce about 12 horsepower, this seems the most likely scenario to me. Unless you are wildly underestimating your load.

    Overheat on a long steep hill at slow speed, ok

    not be able to move forward in first gear even overloaded, hmmmm.....

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    My 4.8 liter 2004 Tahoe will get drug down to 45 MPH pulling 7500-8000 pounds if it is a long steep grade. I have no idea what the final drive ratio is. Pretty sure people that are pulling more with less have rear gears fit for hauling heavy loads up hills. Back in the day had a 66 Chevy 3/4 ton with a 275hp 327 cu in V-8 with beefed up suspension that I would put 6,000 pounds on the stake bed. With a 4 speed tranny and a 4.11 rear end I could go up the steepest hills almost as fast as it was empty. Of course I could never pass a gas station.

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    The 3.3L V6 may be a little weak, but the 3.5L EcoBoost would definitely handle that weight. Up to you if you want an engine with two turbochargers or not.

    The 10 speed automatic transmissions make more of a difference than the engine. I went from a 4 speed to a 6 speed transmission and could tell an improvement.

    I drive a 2014 F150 with the 5.0 V8 and a 6 speed automatic. It will pull 5,000 lbs as fast as I'd like (I'm more concerned about the stopping).

    Food for thought. In 1995 I had an F250 with a 7.3L Powerstroke diesel. 215 HP and 440 ft lbs of torque. That thing was a hauling machine. And mine was coupled to a measly E4OD four speed automatic. The 3.5L EcoBoost has way more horsepower and a little more torque with more gears than that truck. Not saying that I would gross 20,000 lbs with a 1/2 ton truck, but the power is there.

    Check out an F150 with the Max Trailer Tow Package. It will handle all the weight a 1/2 ton truck has business with.

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    You're comparing 19 year old technology to present day, no doubt the new truck will blow away the old in every way. Though if you regularly tow I'd skip the base engine and go to the new 2.7 ecoboost. Today's engines are made to run higher RPMs not be bogged down. Many companies have issues with sludging in engines that only go through short trips or are babied. It's better for any vehicle to go up a hill in the power band vs bogging down. Your old 4.6 likely sounds like it's going to come apart at 4-5000rpm (if it even spins that fast) but any new engine will just sing happily along. Transmission technology is also vastly improved. Also, turbo chargers have been around for decades now. Big rigs get 100's of thousands of miles on them. Just in my family I've seen 3 turbo cars go over 200k and none's life ended with a turbo failure. They're nothing to be afraid and they give amazing torque curves, just what you need for mileage and towing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I don't know, my dad, my brother, and I all had Fords with the 300 inline 6. We all did towing. We used to tow 12,000 lbs routinely and it's not flat where we are. I recall one overheating incident, but that was self inflicted. Otherwise, no real issues.
    I've been through that part of Illinois. Let's just say that your idea of "not flat" is dramatically different from mine.

    The EcoBoost is rated at over 10K towing but not sure I'd be happy with the maintenance costs. Hell, even with my fairly simple 4.6L changing 8 spark plugs is over an hour job. My brother just paid $880 to have an alternator on a Honda Pilot replaced. Can't imagine what working around the turbos is like.

    Yes, I know to within a couple of hundred pounds how much my trailers weigh and how much load is on them.

    But does seem that I would likely be OK with the 3.7L V6, which is good because it seems like most of the used trucks out there have this engine.


    Steve

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    Last one I did turbos on was $3700.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    I've been through that part of Illinois. Let's just say that your idea of "not flat" is dramatically different from mine.
    I'm not originally from here.

    But this seems like a pointless thread. Another guy who needs some unicorn truck that has 600hp, gets 40mpg, can park in the "compact car" spaces, rides like Cadillac, never needs an oil change, and costs $2500.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I'm not originally from here.

    But this seems like a pointless thread. Another guy who needs some unicorn truck that has 600hp, gets 40mpg, can park in the "compact car" spaces, rides like Cadillac, never needs an oil change, and costs $2500.

    Good luck.
    You mean a single cab 2500 chevy with a sloppy turbo setup on it

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    I've got a 1995 Ford F-250 with a 7.3 Powerstroke and a 5 speed ZF manual trans. It consistently gets 22 mpg, it has 210hp, 450ft-lbs, I've had 4,000 lbs in the bed and towed 18,000 on a gooseneck, it rides good, and I paid all of $2,700 for it.

    Of course there is a down side. The cab floor is rusted through, the rear fuel tank leaks, the fuel gauges don't work, the radio doesn't work (it's AM only anyway), it has no cruise control, it has no A/C, it has manual windows, it has no tilt steering wheel, it has a single cab, it's two wheel drive, and it doesn't even have a head liner.

    No such thing as a perfect truck.

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