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Opinions on which Ford truck I should get for the wife's trailering needs

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Old 01-19-2018, 11:46 AM
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Opinions on which Ford truck I should get for the wife's trailering needs

Howdy! Hey I posted this question at the end of one of the threads in this forum (Worst CL ads) but I thought I'd start a new thread with this topic in order to expand the audience and get more opinions. BTW, I'm going to post this same question on the NBS forum "1996 to 2016 Super Duty" forum to see what the NBS afficiandos say. Hope it's not a rule violation of some sort. TIA.

I'm looking for opinions on choosing a towing rig for my wife. She'll haul a BP 2 horse trailer twice a week, 15 mi round trip, and also 2 to 4 longer trips a year to places like Yakima, La Grande, etc to polo tournaments. Initially, I was looking at a 7.3L diesel due to their bulletproof reputation. But my wife wanted a newer rig because of the safety features available on later models so I looked at mid-2000 F250s that had the notorious 6.0 and 6.4L diesels. I know some of the folks here that own the 6.0 and 6.4 will profess how good those engines are and that only the earlier (pre-2006) engines were the problem, but I'm not having any of that. I'm not touching those with a 10 ft pole. Well, that pointed me to a gasser- the mid-2000 5.4L gasser. I've done the research and gotten the impression that for this type of trailering requirement, a 5.4L gasser will suffice. But now I'm back to considering the mid-90s F250 that is the focus of this forum. I love the looks of the 95-97 square F250s, especially the rare-as-hen's teeth crew cab long bed. Now my wife is warming up to the OBS, as she is into classic, and vintage stuff. So the question is which would you choose given my wife's situation? If you were in my shoes, and assuming both rigs were in exceptional condition with appropriate wear and tear, and similar trim (XLT, crew or extended cab, 4x4, auto trans, etc), would you get a 97 F250 7.3L diesel or a 2009 F250 5.4L gasser?

BTW, I noticed the 1997 is an OBS but the year grouping of this forum stops at 1996. Why is that? Thanks again!!
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:47 PM
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'97 was an unusual year. The F-150 and F-250 had switched to the new body style, but the F-250HD and F-350 were still old body style. So the '97 OBS get lumped in with the '92 - '96.

Regarding the rare OBS F-250 CCLB, it's actually non-existent. All OBS CCLB were F-350, all OBS CCSB were F-250.

Regarding your main question, you are going to get a lot of very biased opinions on this forum, and we can start with mine. I had an '08 F-250 CCSB with the 5.4L and I hated that engine. Absolutely no power below 3000 rpm. I had a '95 with a 351W that was MUCH more pleasant to tow with, even though it had way less rated power than the 5.4L. If you don't mind spinning the engine at 5000+ rpm the 5.4L isn't bad. But I hated it.

Also that truck had no compression braking at all (the ECM would open the throttle to prevent compression braking). Diesels don't have much compression braking (stock, you can add an exhaust brake and fix that), but my automatic '02 diesel still had more compression braking than my manual trans 5.4L.

That said, the older trucks are older (duh!) which perhaps needs to be a factor. Also they really don't have very high towing ratings. The 7.3L PowerStroke is the best (20K GCWR, edit to add with 4.10 gears), but people who are used to new truck tow ratings are shocked at how low these trucks are. Brakes in these trucks are pretty good, but probably better in the newer ones. The newer trucks generally ride better too.

You might want to add a 7.3L diesel '99 ~ '03(?) SuperDuty to the mix. Stay away from the Mustang 5.4L (if you feel the same as me about it) and away from the newer diesels, but still get a newer design truck. After having the '08 and '02, I've decided that I really don't like Ford trucks after '97, so I can't see ever owning a newer truck again personally. But the newer trucks do have a lot going for them.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:02 PM
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You should look at a SuperDuty with the 6.8L V10. I had one in a 2000 4x4 and it towed like a freight train. You could even find it in an Excursion which perhaps your wife would prefer due the extra dry storage.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:39 PM
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You should look at a SuperDuty with the 6.8L V10. I had one in a 2000 4x4 and it towed like a freight train. You could even find it in an Excursion which perhaps your wife would prefer due the extra dry storage.
I have a 6.8L V-10 in my 2015 E-450-based motorhome. It can hold speed on just about any hill, but like the 5.4L I had, it screams to do it. If you're willing to let the Triton engines run in their powerband (4000 ~ 5500 rpm) they'll do great (and OK between 3000 - 4000). I'm not, but that's me.
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:04 PM
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If you really want something in the mid 2000's then I would definitely recommend the 6.8L V10. We have one in our 2001 Excursion and it hauls our camper and a two horse trailer a few times a year with ease, aside from having to brake a little sooner then normal you hardly even know the trailer is attached.
We've tried our 05 F-350 5.4L a few times but it's just so slow and has to work so hard that we don't ever tow with it anymore.

If you're okay with something older (Like an OBS) and you don't mind the poor gas mileage then I'd go for the 7.5L. It pulls very much like the 6.8L, but it does it at a much lower rpm, which I prefer. The 5.8L is a decent all around engine, it's a little better on gas then the 7.5L and will tow whatever you need, but don't expect it to be very fast.
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Old 01-20-2018, 09:31 AM
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If I had an obs primarily for towing, even light, I'd get a 460 or a 7.3. The 7.3 has a great reputation, but it is finicky and will require you to familiarize yourself with it specifically (it's not really like other engines) and the typical problems that arise in the form of electrical woes (sensors, harnesses, etc). The 7.3 will get good mileage towing, but if you don't want the hassle of learning the 7.3, best to stick with a 460 and live with the mpg (which, while towing, is as good or better than smaller gassers that have to spin to the moon to keep moving). A few tasteful mods to an otherwise stock 460 really wake them up as well.

Also, when it comes to obs trucks, the transmission is important to take into account when deciding what to get. If your wife likes manuals, the zf5 is undoubtedly the most reliable factory option. The e4od is also a solid transmission, but it does have a reputation of overheating so Trans temp needs to be monitored and, if necessary, cooling mods need to be done to keep it happy. A lot of people upgrade the Trans cooler as soon as they get a truck equipped with an e4od, and I'm not sure but the later models may have gotten a bigger Trans cooler from the factory.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:03 AM
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Another trans issue, that's rather counter-intuitive, is that with the 460 the manual trans hurts the towing rating quite a bit. A '97 460 with 4.10 gears and an auto has a GCWR of 18,500 lbs. With a manual it's 16,000. Not sure how heavy the horse trailer will be, or if you care about staying legal, but those are the ratings.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:32 AM
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Old vehicles are not for everyone. Are you working with people who want to make this work?

Who is going to work on this hypothetical truck and what are they best at? Preventive maintenance is the penultimate key to success with older vehicles.

Awareness of little problems before they become catastrophes is the ultimate key to success. Will your wife keep track of tire and hub temperatures and check fluid levels, tire pressure, etc?

I have cattle and 16' stock trailer. My SRW f250 with a 460 and E4OD is not even challenged with this load. I think mine has a factory tow option or something. It has trailer wiring, a rear sway bar and an extra upside down rear leaf spring, 4.10 gears, limited slip.

Last, listen to what she wants. She might not speak up now but might stress out later and you might end up happiness challenged. Crew cabs are the new family cars.
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Old 01-20-2018, 12:01 PM
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If you want a newer vehicle that will tow a medium sized load, then the 05-2010 f250/f350 with the 362hp/457tq V10 is a great choice. It just needs to run at a higher RPM than a diesel

Lots of modern conveniences and safety features in a reliable truck.
If I could find a decent clean one, I would buy one just to have.

The great thing about the v10 is it scares most people away because they think it is a hog on fuel(no worse then the 5.4), yet it will blow the doors off a 5.4 so it is priced cheaper. It has more power than the second gen 7.3 powerstroke(250hp/505tq) and you get the really good coil spring front axle and torqueshift 5 speed auto
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Old 01-20-2018, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by HardScrabble View Post
Old vehicles are not for everyone. Are you working with people who want to make this work?

Who is going to work on this hypothetical truck and what are they best at? Preventive maintenance is the penultimate key to success with older vehicles.

Awareness of little problems before they become catastrophes is the ultimate key to success. Will your wife keep track of tire and hub temperatures and check fluid levels, tire pressure, etc?

I have cattle and 16' stock trailer. My SRW f250 with a 460 and E4OD is not even challenged with this load. I think mine has a factory tow option or something. It has trailer wiring, a rear sway bar and an extra upside down rear leaf spring, 4.10 gears, limited slip.

Last, listen to what she wants. She might not speak up now but might stress out later and you might end up happiness challenged. Crew cabs are the new family cars.
One of the keys in life!!
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Old 01-20-2018, 01:29 PM
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Some GREAT info here guys!!!! Truly appreciate the discussion, especially WRT transmissions! Something I wouldn't normally give a second thought to.
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Old 01-20-2018, 01:38 PM
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I've found all modulars to be fuel hogs because of their need to rev. But, if I was going to have one, it'd definitely be the 6.8. All things considered, I'd rather have a 460 but the later 5 and 6 speed autos are pretty damn nice as far as comfortable gearing goes.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:24 PM
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Upside-down spring? I don't know what I was thinking when I typed that.

The 6.2 looks like the gasser to own but I never drove one. Never seen many for sale and too rich for my blood anyway.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:45 PM
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Unlesss you have a lot of mountains, a 2 horse bp isn't asking much but the weight would be a consideration. I hauled a lot of vintage cars with a light 16 foot flatbed behind a 96 F150 with a 5.0 and overdrive automatic. Also pulled a tandem trailer with 250 gallons of water and my concrete saw. All Texas flatlands and no complaints. If you step up to a 5.8, might as well go 460 for about the same fuel consumption.
Into the newer stuff, my sister is on her third F150 Ecotec twin turbo V6 and drags a 2 horse with a tack room almost everwhere she goes. Gets about 16 towing and 21 empty.
The 6.0 PS is a great engine after it's had a couple problems taken car of and I wouldn't be a bit afraid of one but the 6.4 is a grenade. Most give up around 150,000 and can't even be rebuilt. I myself still run a 7.3 power stroke and they are just a good old soldier. Kinda noisy but relatively cheap to work on (for a diesel)
Sorry to disagree with others but I've pulled loads with 7.3 PS and V10 and the V10 can't cut it, plus I've moved a bunch of campers with a V10 and averaged about 4-5 mpg when you really put it to work and a 7.3 PS will still get 9-10 with the same load and pull it better. They can be bought cheap though.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:38 AM
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I've moved a bunch of campers with a V10 and averaged about 4-5 mpg when you really put it to work and a 7.3 PS will still get 9-10 with the same load and pull it better.
That is really surprising to hear. We normally tow our camper with the V10 in the mountains, and we've never had ours drop below 11 mpg. Hell, even my 460 stays above 7 mpg.
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