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First tow report

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Old 08-18-2013, 11:32 PM
22rimfire 22rimfire is offline
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First tow report

Just got home. 302 miles, 255 of which were towing the travel trailer (approx 7k lbs).

First of all, handling was excellent, I could maybe tweak the equal-I-zer hitch a little, but it seemed pretty close. We have a Labor Day wknd trip planned that will take me close to the local CAT scale. I'll try to swing in and get the weights to know for sure. Coming from a 150, it felt very solid. No jerking whatsoever. I noticed more bounce than I thought it should have though on older roads which may indicate the stock shocks are as bad as folks say they are. No sway at all, and passing semis were a non-issue. No heavy wind to speak of, so we'll see how that goes later.

Brakes/controller- smooth and solid. Ford controller performed flawlessly, and was easy to set. Again, coming from the 150 it was very reassuring to have the bigger components.

Comfort/interior ergonomics etc- Can't say enough about Fords interior. Seats, guages, storage all comfortable for long trips. Mirrors! Oh man what a difference from the clip ons I used on my previous truck!

Interesting note that when in tow/haul the lane change blinker feature blinks five times instead of the normal three.

Ok, my impressions on the 6.2's performance- I'll qualify this by again saying I came from an f150 with the 2V 5.4, and I've never towed with a diesel. I also had a 1990 f250 with the 460 a few years back.

The power is there in this motor, at least plenty for my trailer. I'm going to call it "sneaky" power for now. What I mean by that is this motor is so smooth and quiet up to 4k RPM's you just have to get the gear and RPM you want for a given situation, and watch the speedo to see what's going on. So much different than my old truck that would scream at 3500. Being a bigger truck than I was used to it seems to be going slower than it really is to me. Even when not towing. I'll get used to that. I locked out 6th for the entire trip, which I'll do every time I tow. With the 3:73's it just seems to be pulling like it should up to 60 miles per hour which is the highest speed limit I saw on this trip. My actual speed never exceeded 63. Cruising at 60 in 5th yielded 1900 RPMS. No big mountain passes on this trip, just a couple short moderate hills, and lots of rises and dips. There are no long straight flat roads in western Washington LOL. Power wise, no problems maintaining speed limit on anything I encountered, and take-offs from a stop were impressively quick. I did notice that it definitely pulled harder the more miles I put on, and I'm not imagining that. I'm sure it was the adaptive thing. Should do even better as the truck gets more miles on it (had 973 miles at start of trip). So overall It gave me pretty much what I expected, but I don't think I'd want to pull heavier over big passes with it. Not saying it wouldn't, I just wouldn't on a consistent basis.

Transmission- tow/haul is quite a different animal. I commented before about this things propensity to up shift quick. Not so in tow haul, espessiailly if you're putting your foot in it. I didn't see 5th gear till I hit almost 55 if pulling hard. Empty I'd be in 5th by 35. Rolling along at highway speed, if I came to a hill, I could push the accelerator quickly a ways and get 4th. If I wanted to, I could push it down further faster and it would go right to 3rd. I liked that. I also never encountered it "hunting", but then I watch for that and manage it. The bad? The actual shifts themselves should be quicker. Tow/haul supposedly does this by increasing line pressure to reduce heat, but it's not enough IMHO. I know a tune would help this, but I bought an extended warranty and that's not in the cards. It's really not bad enough to bother me. The ability to manually shift is awesome too.

Mileage- I got 9.68 MPG hand calculated, and the trucks computer said I got 9.7, so it wasn't too far off. I can live with that, and it's actually better than my 03 f150 got towing the same trailer, which was around 8.


I live on a steep windy hill (about a mile), you have to slow to about 25-30 around the corners even when not towing. So right off the bat I'm going down the hill, put on the brakes for the first corner, it shifts down, then the next corner, and before I know it I'm in 1st gear and engine is almost redlining! At this point I'm freaking, as is the wife. Then I remember about the tap the brake pedal to shift down thing. I thought you just tap the accelerator to up shift? Didn't happen. I basically made what amounted to a panic stop and started over again. It happened twice on the way out. Soooooo, you come to a hill, tap the brake to the gear you want? Then what? What if you need to slow down more? If you push and hold the brake will it not shift down? Yes, I read the manual, but It didn't really explain it. Help me out here.

Other than that. The truck was
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:59 AM
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GSSF17 GSSF17 is offline
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Good report! I never realized the 5 blinks on the turn signal in tow haul mode versus 3 in normal. Interesting.

Getting used to the 250 myself still, even at 3800 miles on the clock. I can say, she does break in a little and seems to loosen up some around the 2k mark.

As far as the downshifting, I have not had it on any steep hills towing our camper so I cannot comment. I did have to panic stop once with the camper, and I wanna say the truck grabbed 2nd gear at about 40 mph.....engine screamed but it was short lived because the brakes did a wonderful job. But as far as a downhill thing, I would say that it's ok- the truck is still "learning" your driving style and getting accustomed to that with a little weight behind it. I'd say you're good.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:50 AM
kerm7807 kerm7807 is offline
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Hi Carl. I have an F350 and my trailer weighs about 9000lbs. I just wanted to give a quick reply about the down shifting. The transmission, learning thing is over rated. On steep grades like that, the harder you press on the brakes, the more the transmission will keep down shifting. It'll keep doing that and sometimes it's too much. When you're in a situation like that, pop it into manual mode and put it in a gear that you want for holding back, but not winding the **** out of your engine. The engine/transmission can only do so much. In most cases the transmission will down shift nicely and hold back perfectly except on some steep grades like you're mentioning. The transmission seems to drop a gear every time you hit the brake, so like if you have to brake, let off, brake, let off, it keeps dropping gears. When you put it in manual mode on the fly it will be in the gear it's currently in and you can down shift to suit. You'll like it much better. Then when you get to the bottom of the steep grade, just pop it back into drive and you're good to go. Good luck and I hope that helps, but I know for a fact it will continue to do that.

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Old 08-19-2013, 09:33 AM
22rimfire 22rimfire is offline
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Thanks Shane, that does help. I have since talked to my brother in law who has an '11 350 and he said pretty much the same as you. He said he will slowly pump the pedal at the top of the hill till he has the speed, and gear he wants, then just let it go and it usually holds that speed very well. If it's a steep hill and starts picking up speed he will go to "M" (like you said), and start braking, then downshifting as needed. I know it's part of my learning curve on the new technology, it was just weird when it happened.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:04 PM
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Lakelover Lakelover is offline
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We pull our camper through some pretty steep mountains and I recommend the manual mode on the way down, mine did the same thing!

Wait till you unhook and forget to turn off the tow-haul mode, thank goodness I had the seat belt on!
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:22 PM
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I know some may think it's my imagination, but the computer does adjust to the way you drive. Just sayin'. Again, I said this with the disclaimer that I had not towed in such incline/decline as many of you, so this symptom you all are describing is news to me.

Anyway, I have yet to ever have to hit the brakes that hard while towing the camper, to experience what you guys have described. Like I said, I had to romp on them once at about 45 mph for a vehicle that pulled out in front of me, and at about 40mph, the truck grabbed second and slowed us down. But that was it.

Either way, sounds like the truck is doing what it is supposed to. I will leave mine in auto and let the computer do the work. Having to shift it manually, especially in a twisty decline, is not my cup of tea. When there is 9k behind me, I prefer 2 hands on the wheel.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:53 AM
JohnnyThunder JohnnyThunder is offline
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I use manual all the time when I am towing our 34ft 8500lb TT except when in towns or cities. The engine is capable of pulling far more per gear than T/H mode allows for especially when you get into some nice rolling hills. I hated the way it kept going down to 2nd when 3rd was good or 3rd when 4th worked just fine in manual mode. Now when I am hauling the flat deck with 8000lbs of water on it I use T/H as it is mostly flats where I haul and the puter does a nice job with the shift scheduling.
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