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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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  #16  
Old 08-18-2014, 01:16 PM
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You'll be fine.

So many guys expect to run 75 MPH in the #1 lane up a 6% grade… the 3.55's will do OK and so what if you downshift on a long grade.

I spent over 4,000,000 miles with 10 to 24 speed transmissions… shifting doesn't bother me.
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  #17  
Old 08-18-2014, 02:06 PM
westcoasting westcoasting is offline
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I tow about the same weight trailer with those gears. I wouldn't want much more but it is comfortable towing as is. Big hills slow you down but who cares about speed when you are towing.
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  #18  
Old 08-18-2014, 04:51 PM
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I had a 29ft prowler non-lite weight that was 5450 dry, I pulled it for YEARS with a F150 5.0/AOD/3.55 and it did fine.

Idiots try climb hills at 65mph+ , people with trucks that last 25 years and a quarter mil do it at 55mph

(and truth be told, not that long ago for some of us, people pulled these weights behind the 120hp 1bbl carbed I-6, or a 137hp 302, or a 157hp 351 or a 168hp 400 or a 185hp 460 (all in the 70's) and with axles in the 3:1 or 3.25:1 range. Very few 373 or 410s were used for that weight back in the day
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  #19  
Old 08-18-2014, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quaddriver View Post
I had a 29ft prowler non-lite weight that was 5450 dry, I pulled it for YEARS with a F150 5.0/AOD/3.55 and it did fine.

Idiots try climb hills at 65mph+ , people with trucks that last 25 years and a quarter mil do it at 55mph

(and truth be told, not that long ago for some of us, people pulled these weights behind the 120hp 1bbl carbed I-6, or a 137hp 302, or a 157hp 351 or a 168hp 400 or a 185hp 460 (all in the 70's) and with axles in the 3:1 or 3.25:1 range. Very few 373 or 410s were used for that weight back in the day
Keep in mind that 3.73 axles behind the 0.71 overdrive of an E4OD is the same as 2.65:1 gears behind a non-overdrive trans from the 70s. Even 4.10s are the equivalent of 2.9:1.

But I agree. 3.55 gears are fine for towing heavy loads. Just don't expect to be in overdrive on steeper hills or into head winds. And you might need to drop into 2nd uphill into the wind.
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  #20  
Old 08-18-2014, 08:09 PM
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ford recommends the MAX GCWR with a reg cab F250 7.5 auto 3.55 as 15,000lbs

Same truck but with 4.10s is 18,500lbs
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  #21  
Old 08-18-2014, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Diesel_Brad View Post
ford recommends the MAX GCWR with a reg cab F250 7.5 auto 3.55 as 15,000lbs

Same truck but with 4.10s is 18,500lbs
Looks like his rig is well below the recommendation.
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  #22  
Old 08-18-2014, 08:26 PM
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Like Dad says, "Don't worry about the mule, just load the wagon!".
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  #23  
Old 08-18-2014, 09:54 PM
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I would take a look at your transmission cooler, make sure it is clean of any debris, pulling that kind of weight would really put some stress on the tranny, want to make sure it is doing its job.
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  #24  
Old 08-19-2014, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by zackcj7 View Post
I just bought a Dutchman Four Winds Express Lite 27 foot travel trailer. Should take delivery of it this week. I have never towed anything bigger than a 10ft trailer without trailer brakes. My truck is a '94 F250 4x4 460 auto with the factory tow package. The truck runs great and aside from the air conditioning not working is in tip top shape. I just ordered a Tekonsha Prodigy P2 brake controller for the truck.

Guys who tow big stuff and travel trailers regularly please give me any advice you can think of. I have never towed anything this big before and i'm a little nervous.
Anything over 600lbs of tongue weight pretty much requires a weight distribution hitch.

You don't need anything expensive, just something that can handle your trailer's weight, along with what you haul in it. Make sure that your trailer is as close to level as possible, with the front of the trailer being 1-1.5" lower than the rear, along with the rear of your truck being as close to stock height as possible. This is done by setting the initial height of the hitch ball and then by setting hitch spring bar pressure to bring the trailer to level along with the rear of the truck to stock height.

Here's a decent video on how to set up weight distribution hitches.

If you have only the stock transmission cooler and no temp gauge, install them. You may be surprised how hot your trans is getting unloaded. Avoid anything over 250 degrees with 230 degrees being your maximum. At 300 degrees I have seen the clutch material in the converter dis-bond from the clutch.

A good trans cooler is the tru-cool 4739, which just so happens to fit into the middle of the front bumper. This sounds nice and all, but there's much more plaguing the trans cooling system than just a cooler. I have a 7.3L E4OD truck with 3.55 gearing. Stock, unloaded my truck would see temps over 220!!!!! Insane right?!?!?!?! I tried several different setups, including new model SD coolers, aftermarket tube/fin with fans, etc,etc,etc... Nothing worked well enough for me to be able to tow my 12k TT, while keeping the trans in a manageable cooling scenario. It would be fine at about 200 degrees on the interstate, and would climb to nearly 300 degrees in light traffic, and the only way to cool it was to shut it down. There was a flow problem, as in not enough flow, keeping the trans from cooling. Mind you, I had a brand new radiator installed at that time also.

All this being said, I had to do something. Many will say I'm doing things wrong here but, this is the only combination I've found, other than buying a $600 6.0L cooler, that has worked. I have installed 3/8" transmission lines with the appropriate 3/8" check valve at the rear of the trans and fittings in the coolers and radiator. The fluid travels from the pump, through the 3/8 lines to the new radiator trans cooler. From there, the fluid travels via 3/8 tubing to the tru-cool 4739 in the bumper with two 8" cooling fans on it. It then travels via 3/8" line to a 2001 F350 V10 trans cooler that is mounted between the center support and the driver headlight. The fluid then travels back to the transmission via 3/8" tubing and 3/8" check valve. I have checked the pump pressure and it's well above the specified pressures so I feel it is safe. I NEVER see temps above 190 when towing 12k now. 190 was the absolute highest and that was traveling on a 95 degree day, up and down grades in western Virginia, near Blacksburg.
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  #25  
Old 08-19-2014, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for all the advice!

I could probably get a 4:10 rear swapped in if needed. The local yard has several. It's having to have the TTB front re-geared to match that will be the issue.

I'm going to get a transmission temp gauge for it pretty soon.

I have a state park about 15 miles away from my house that will be a good test for the first time out. Most of the places I plan to take it are less than two hours from home and are accessible by back roads and 55mph highways. Plenty of hills in North GA though.
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  #26  
Old 08-19-2014, 09:42 AM
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Just a little saying about trans temps gauges....while mebbe a good idea (yet I have never used one in 34 years of driving) what exactly are they telling you? The outlet temp of fluid at its hottest point....

what destroys a tranny is the INLET temp which of course, is in the pan and not so easy to hook up to. I would expect the temp gauge to read high. I would expect a gauge on the OTHER line to read far far lower.

Most tranny shops convert the units to 'full oiling, full cooling' during rebuilds which should be a clue - not ALL of the fluid hits the cooling circuit at once and not all of the fluid passes thru items like planetary gearsets etc. Do you need this?

By all means add a larger cooler. when ford made the xxxxxlb GCVWR recommendation, they did so with the factory cooler bolted to the front of your radiator. Is it enough? too much? not enough? All auto trannys will fail - they have to, its how they work - they eat themselves as they work. but what is early? The truck in question here is 20+ years old and in its 3rd service life.

I suspect ultimately you will have more problems due to the fact that your truck is 20+ years old, rather than the coach is too heavy....

they break, they all do. Which is why you weigh an $800/month payment vs an occasional water pump...

(I myself needed a new tow vehicle recently and sourced a 1990 big block suburban 1 ton from a rust free area of the US. and I STILL had a weep hole open up in the water pump but the $45 price tag was still more attractive)

PS: Perhaps, but not by all means add a tranny temp device. Probably never add an external oil filter.
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  #27  
Old 08-19-2014, 10:01 AM
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I spent the last 3 years towing trailers around the US. the one thing I would say that has not been said. Trust your gut. if you get the feeling something is wrong, feels weird, or that guy in the lane next to you is going to try something trust you gut!! Stop and check it out, or give them a little distance. And most of all enjoy the road!
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  #28  
Old 08-19-2014, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackcj7 View Post
Thanks for all the advice!

I could probably get a 4:10 rear swapped in if needed. The local yard has several. It's having to have the TTB front re-geared to match that will be the issue.

I'm going to get a transmission temp gauge for it pretty soon.

I have a state park about 15 miles away from my house that will be a good test for the first time out. Most of the places I plan to take it are less than two hours from home and are accessible by back roads and 55mph highways. Plenty of hills in North GA though.
The front gear swap is SIMPLE. Just swap out the 3rd member. Couple hour job. Easier than doing a rear axle swap
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  #29  
Old 09-07-2014, 01:21 PM
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Towed the travel trailer for the first time this weekend. For the most part everything went great. We went to a campground at the lake about 30 miles one way from the house. I used a weight distributing hitch and a nice Prodigy P2 brake controller. The 460 had no issues pulling the weight it did fine even on long hills. The truck brakes and trailer brakes did great. Probably could use new rear shocks on the truck.

I didn't get around to installing a transmission temp gauge yet. Which I could have used. The E4OD overheated as I was pulling it back into my driveway. My driveway is a fairly steep hill and it took me about five tries before I had the trailer where I wanted it. As soon as I put it in park to chock the trailer it started to puke out tranny fluid. I shut the truck down and let it cool for a couple hours. The truck seems to be okay after it cooled down but I will need to change the fluid and add a better cooler and a gauge. Would it have helped to put the transfer case in low to back the trailer up my driveway?
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  #30  
Old 09-07-2014, 01:34 PM
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Yes. For maneuvering into a spot with a lot of slow back and forth type stuff the trans cooler is doing little to nothing for you so 4 low will take a tremendous load off.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:34 PM
 
 
 
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