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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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  #1  
Old 08-17-2014, 05:35 PM
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Just bought a travel trailer, need towing advice

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.
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Old 08-17-2014, 06:44 PM
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Being a little nervous is good. Over confident or scared would both be bad.

It's mostly common sense stuff. Maintain the equipment and don't push it past its (or your) limits. Drive slower than normal, leave more room than you think you need to between you and the vehicle you are following, slow down for stops sooner than you think you'll need to, take corners wider than you think you need to.

As you drive it more you'll gain experience and you'll figure out how cautious you actually need to be. Just over-do it a little until you find the new balance.
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:00 PM
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First… check your trailer hitch for rust out. I had a '94 F-150 SC that had a rusted out hitch that bent the first time I put a loaded trailer on it. Got the truck from my son who had bought it used… he never towed with it. Never saw the problem beforehand.

Second… I strongly suggest buying an anti-sway set-up. While the truck can certainly do the job, cross winds can play havoc with any high profile trailer. The extra few hundred dollar investment will be well worth it.

Third… Buy the best parts for that hitch you can afford. There is a lot of Chi-Com stuff being sold today made with sub-standard steel even from the name brand sellers (Reese is one).

Have fun...
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:47 PM
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If you do spend money on a load distributing/sway control hitch,check out the Hensley Arrow hitch...I've got one on my 08 Expedtion,and I won't tow another trailer without it..They are expensive,but VERY MUCH worth every dollar...
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:12 PM
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Towing a 27 foot trailer is same as towing a 10 foot trailer just corner little bit wider nothing to it you'll do fine, yea you'll want a decent trailer brake controller and trailer mirrors / mirror extensions so you can see around it. You'll want to be able to see what's next to you on both sides clearly you won't see much behind it but not a problem.

long trailers are easier to back up too!

Take little time read the the instructions fine tuning the controllers setting, you want them to work with each other truck and trailer when slowing or stopping from low as well as high speed situations. Enough braking force applied for those oh crap moments people will surely put you in time to time but yea light enough so doesn't skid or do all the work at light brake pedal type stops. Choosing settling in on initial gain setting takes a little trail and error until happy with it.

I put the swaybar on ours but with very little tension set almost none at all. Depends on where the axles are located the trailers weight distribution over them and where the weight is placed inside the trailer. Goes to tension setting on weight transfer springs too, how much is needed a well balanced load won't require much keep headlights down on the roadway where they belong, hitch weight is a good thing but too much is just that, too much.
Heavier items / supplies stowed forward and kept nearer the floor, lighter items toward the rear and up high same time keep total hitch weight in mind. Might need to go over that with your wife a little bit, if for example she handles that aspect such as mine always has the loading of food and supplies.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:38 PM
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Very good advice so far.

My truck is almost like yours. Its a '96 F250 7.5L, C6 trans, tow package.

I pull an 18' bumper hitch flatbed thats normally between 4000lb and 7000lb. It took a couple of adjustments to get the hitch height where the trailer was close to level with my different weight loads. Also if I get caught in the rain, starting out on a slight upgrade can be a challenge since I currently have open diffs in my truck. Truetrac going in by the end of the month.

My trailer doesnt catch the wind like yours will. I used to have a 24' enclosed and the wind will push you around.

Like others have said start out slow & easy and get the feel of it

Good Luck

Todd
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:41 PM
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I hope you have 4.10 gears, you are going to need it
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:02 AM
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Thanks everyone!

When I replaced the rear gas tank I removed the hitch, cleaned it up and replaced all the hardware with new grade 8 fasteners. It should be up to the task.

I've never used a trailer brake controller before but the one I bought is supposed to come with a really good set of instructions.

I plan to start out going to places nearby and get used to it before I attempt any long trips.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel_Brad View Post
I hope you have 4.10 gears, you are going to need it
I have 3:55 gears with limited slip. Hopefully with the torque of the 460 it will do okay.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:30 AM
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Don't tow that bad boy in OD.

Always test your brakes before you set out. The first time you try to stop with an improperly set trailer brake controller, it will take several hours to unclench your butt cheeks...

Jason
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:57 AM
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I dunno if this was mentioned - but you want to use a weight distributing setup. Even tho you have f250 springs, the frame is still the same and a 27ft trailer it going to sit at least 700lbs on that hitch - which may be over the limit for the hitch as weight carrying, but will definitely be over the limit for the frame ends

You can research my 'ford rusty frame fix' solution which can be applied even if you don't have excess rust as it replaces the last member with a stronger one and moves the attachment points
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:00 AM
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shotgunmessiah6
What is the dry weight of the trailer?
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GuitarJesus View Post
What is the dry weight of the trailer?
Hitch dry weight: 642
Gross weight: 7700
Unloaded weight: 5006
Net Cargo: 2694
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:21 PM
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shotgunmessiah6
Yeah thats pretty much the max you can tow. Honestly look into getting a 4.10 rear. That thing is gonna pull like a dog
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:22 PM
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That should be managable. My truck (in sig) has towed a 21' boat all over that weighed 3200 dry, add trailer, gear, 85 gallons fuel, and a 4wheeler in the bed and I was well over 5k with the 351/E4OD/3.55 combo and it wasn't too bad even with just hydraulic surge brakes on the trailer (granted, boats have little wind drag whereas a travel trailer is a sail). You're in Atlanta so its not like you have 12k foot CO mountains to drive over either. Glad you picked a lighter trailer, some of the ones guys have picked on here are crazy loads for old pickups. Just take it easy and go from there.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:22 PM
 
 
 
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