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Need suggestions for improved towing (2000 6.8L V10 4x4)(Pic Heavy)

  #1  
Old 05-21-2018, 10:58 PM
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Lightbulb Need suggestions for improved towing (2000 6.8L V10 4x4)(Pic Heavy)

Hello,

I purchased and fixed up a 2000 6.8L V10 about 2 years ago (replaced the interior and the engine + lots of other stuff), and have just recently purchased a 1994 30ft camper. I towed it about 118 miles round trip last weekend, and would like some tips/suggestions for improving the towing experience in the future. This is the first truck I have owned, and the first large trailer I have towed.

A little background -

The truck has a new motor in it with less than 2000 miles on it, along with a new power steering pump, gear box, A/C compressor and various other things that I replaced along with the motor. Tires are 37" Toyo open country R/Ts. All front and rear bearings and axle seals, along with wheel bearings were replaced when I swapped out the ring and pinion gears with 5.13 ratio ones. The transmission is original (I think) with 220k miles. It has fresh fluid and a filter done the same time as the motor. The truck has a significant lift on it. It was lifted before I purchased it, and I have no information on what kind of springs were used. I replaced the front leaf spring bushings last summer, and they had to be modified/trimmed down to fit (so the front springs are certainly not from the Excursion). It needs an 8" drop hitch to hook up to trailers. It has a Tekonsha P3 brake controller and stainless steel braided brake lines. The truck has an aftermarket air intake, Banks Torque Tube headers and a 5 star tune (I currently have the 87 octane ECO tune in it)

The trailer has a listed dry weight of 7000 lbs. With the improvements and additions I have made, I would guess its more along the lines of 8000-8500 lbs fully loaded. It is 30ft long and requires a 2 5/16" ball. I do not currently have any form of weight distribution or sway control hitch. The truck does squat slightly when its hooked up.



The truck has always had some issues with steering wonder (if you let go of the steering wheel on a straight road, it drifts to one side or the other). It is worse on bumpy roads. I feel like this is amplified when braking hard with the trailer in tow. The front end likes to go one way or the other and some counter-steer is required. This may or may not be related to the "lighter" front end due to the lack of a WD hitch, I'm not sure (first truck and first time towing a trailer, don't have much to compare it to). Brake controller is set on boost level 2.

Without the trailer, the truck runs about 2500rpms at 70mph, and I get about 9.5-10mpg. With "Overdrive Off" (Tow/haul on?), the engine runs about 3000rpms. The trip I made this weekend was about 118 miles round trip, at about 55mph and 2500rpms. I burned about 20.5 gallons, which I think comes to about 5.7mpg, a bit less than I was hoping for (I had hoped 8mpg).

Does anyone have suggestions on what I can do to improve handling when towing or maybe eek out another mpg?

As I said, the lift and suspension were done before I purchased it. I have no idea whats actually on it. Here are a few pics of the underside:

Front:










Rear:







Any tips or suggestions on what I can do or add to make towing this beast less of a white knuckled ride would be appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 05-22-2018, 12:37 AM
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A good WD hitch will go a long way in improving the tow experience.

As long as it isn't trying to shift into 3rd all the time, feel free to tow with OD on. That will improve mileage significantly.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 06:50 AM
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Yes, tow with OD on. You need a WD hitch, as the stock hitch is only rated for 500# tongue weight without weight distribution.

Check all front end components, ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends for slop. Also do you have a recent alignment? Make sure toe and caster is within spec (close to 0), and caster is close to +5.

Iím not sure how much towing MPG to expect with that combo, but Iíd be happy with 7.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:29 AM
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Last 2 pics, thereís your problem. They used lift blocks with the factory springs. And the factory traction spring is missing itís rubber snubbers. You also donít have a rear sway bar!

You need to get get rid of the lift blocks and get the proper springs that donít require them. Then get a rear sway bar. My X is still running the stock springs, but I added a rear sway bar. Without the sway bar the X wander d all over the place to the point I was ready to trade it. Then I found his site and the recommendation for the rear sway bar.

After you get the rear suspension taken care of then get a WD hitch with built in sway control. I recommend the Reese Straight Line (Dual Cam). But you NEED a WD hitch.

As as far as mileage I average 7.5 with my stock setup towing my 9200lb loaded 35ft trailer. With your lift I wouldnít expect more than 7! And get the towing tune from 5 star. Much better, should let you tow in OD with your gearing.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 1 Excursion camper View Post
Last 2 pics, thereís your problem. They used lift blocks with the factory springs. And the factory traction spring is missing itís rubber snubbers. You also donít have a rear sway bar!

You need to get get rid of the lift blocks and get the proper springs that donít require them. Then get a rear sway bar. My X is still running the stock springs, but I added a rear sway bar. Without the sway bar the X wander d all over the place to the point I was ready to trade it. Then I found his site and the recommendation for the rear sway bar.

After you get the rear suspension taken care of then get a WD hitch with built in sway control. I recommend the Reese Straight Line (Dual Cam). But you NEED a WD hitch.

As as far as mileage I average 7.5 with my stock setup towing my 9200lb loaded 35ft trailer. With your lift I wouldnít expect more than 7! And get the towing tune from 5 star. Much better, should let you tow in OD with your gearing.
Yes, this. The front looks like it's done correctly, The rear no. Those rear lift blocks are not helping you. Think of the axle wrap those multiply on the stock springs. Call junior at ATS and he can get you what you need. Sway bar combined with the correct springs will make all the difference.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ExxWhy View Post
As long as it isn't trying to shift into 3rd all the time, feel free to tow with OD on. That will improve mileage significantly.
So, it sounds like switching to the TOW tune and using OD is recommended. Is there ever a situation when "Overdrive Off" should be used?


Originally Posted by jasoncw View Post
Also do you have a recent alignment? Make sure toe and caster is within spec (close to 0), and caster is close to +5.
I had a shop do an alignment when I got the tires. They said everything looked "good". I dont recall what the alignment sheet said.


Originally Posted by 1 Excursion camper View Post
You need to get get rid of the lift blocks and get the proper springs that donít require them. Then get a rear sway bar. My X is still running the stock springs, but I added a rear sway bar. Without the sway bar the X wander d all over the place to the point I was ready to trade it.
Originally Posted by Oldguyfl View Post
Yes, this. The front looks like it's done correctly, The rear no. Those rear lift blocks are not helping you. Think of the axle wrap those multiply on the stock springs. Call junior at ATS and he can get you what you need. Sway bar combined with the correct springs will make all the difference.
Sounds like the rear setup is inadequate. I will have to investigate replacing the rear springs. Is a spring swap with this kind of lift difficult? I have never swapped springs before (but I do have a lift and the engine swap wasn't that bad).
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Skygrasper View Post
So, it sounds like switching to the TOW tune and using OD is recommended. Is there ever a situation when "Overdrive Off" should be used?
As Eric mentioned, only if it's hunting between 3 and OD. I rarely tow with OD off.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:22 AM
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Hello i also have the excursion v10 and i have travel trailer. I live in florida and have gone to new york and all around florida. Since my main purpose was to haul my travel trailer i left my truck original. I knew changing to much affects MPG especially gears and height. I have had 10 people in truck, rv and stuff , And still get about 10 mpg towing hand calculated. I have the window sticker it says 3.73 gear i tow with overdrive on. I don't go pass 2000 rpm and my speed at 2000 rpm is about 63. When not towing a get 16, 17 mpg . i also use regular gas. I tow with weight distributor and anti sway. My rv is 27 long 4 wheels. My steering wonder also i think its normal for these trucks. I have to admit your MPG scare me
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:28 AM
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It looks like your trac bar is oem? If it is your front end is being pulled left and not aligned with rear axle.

if so you need a aftermarket unit that is adjustable.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:20 AM
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I also am not a fan of the Rough Country Shocks for towing. I went to Bilstiens front and rear. Unloaded I couldn't tell but made a HUGE difference towing 8-10k. As mentioned the rear blocks to not help, and a proper sway bar will work wonders also. Just replacing all of my factory bushings and end links made the truck noticeably more stable loaded.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:47 PM
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If you're concerned about MPG, the 5.13 gears were a mistake if you want highway speeds. I'd skip the O/D off button if you're not going up and down hills.

Originally Posted by 1 Excursion camper View Post
Last 2 pics, thereís your problem. They used lift blocks with the factory springs. And the factory traction spring is missing itís rubber snubbers. You also donít have a rear sway bar!

You need to get get rid of the lift blocks and get the proper springs that donít require them.
Originally Posted by Oldguyfl View Post
Yes, this. The front looks like it's done correctly, The rear no. Those rear lift blocks are not helping you. Think of the axle wrap those multiply on the stock springs.
the axle wrap... any more wrap, and Santa would try to deliver it.
Originally Posted by rock2610d View Post
It looks like your trac bar is oem? If it is your front end is being pulled left and not aligned with rear axle.

if so you need a aftermarket unit that is adjustable.
As others have so well stated, your lift was not installed properly - if you're going to lift a truck, you can't cut corners like the previous owner of your truck. Adjustable track bar, no lift blocks, and you'll probably eliminate your steering wander. Extra points for a rear sway bar.

You should probably have your pinion angle checked to make sure you're not going to wreck your driveshaft.
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 96firephoenix View Post
If you're concerned about MPG, the 5.13 gears were a mistake if you want highway speeds. I'd skip the O/D off button if you're not going up and down hills.
He has 37Ē tires. 5.13ís are what is required to bring it too what is pretty close to 4.30ís
 
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rock2610d View Post
It looks like your trac bar is oem? If it is your front end is being pulled left and not aligned with rear axle.

if so you need a aftermarket unit that is adjustable.
I'm guessing the trac bar is OEM, and it actually does feel like it pulls to the left most of the time. Do you have any recommendations for adjustable trac bars? Are they easy to dial in once installed, or do I need a shop with alignment tools to do it?
 
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Skygrasper View Post



I had a shop do an alignment when I got the tires. They said everything looked "good". I dont recall what the alignment sheet said.

).
First thing first, can you find the alignment sheet and or call the shop and get a copy ?

looking at your setup I see a couple of details that should be corrected but none that are likely to be causing your poor handeling. FWIW I tow a 14k trailer with my Ex on 37s and a 8” lift.

changes I would make.
1. Have 5*to 6* of caster put into your front. ( I suspect you have 3*)
2. Replace the snubbers on your a rear anti-wrap bar
3. Remove the rear “add a leaf” that is on your spring pack.
4. Replace shocks. ( they sucked when new ) I can not make recommendations without I knowing your dimensions.

also, I have not yet positively identified the front springs but I suspect somebody put in 2 add a leafs, if this is the case I would remove those as well.

on your rear suspension the block is not ideal but with a new snubber on the anti wrap bar they will work fine, a better way to get your desired ride height would be to use a spring that has more travel. Your stock rear leaf has about 5.5 inches of travel and a f250 style leaf has about 8”. Ideally the longer travel spring would have a lower spring rate then the factory 420 lbs inch rate. But this is more about a better ride when not towing so I will not elobtate more for now, your current rear springs gs are fine once you take out that add a leaf and fix the snubber.

rear sway bar,
with your higher ride height comes a higher center of gravity and a rear sway bar will help with body roll when not towing but have little if any effect on wander and because the tounge weight of the trailer lowers the vehicles center of gravity it really doesn’t help much while towing. The down side to the sway bar is your rear seat passengers get rocked pretty good when driving around town and going into and put driveways or uneven roads. Rear sway bar is absolutely not needed on stock height excursions. ( hotly debated topic but we have done extensive testing to prove otherwise. )

weight distribution hitch,
Ya probably but without knowing your axle weights with and without trailer as well as tounge weigh it is hard to really say what is required. If you have scale weights and we can make better guesses.

Those changes would likely get you close with some further fine tuning possible.
 
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:00 AM
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I forgot the track bar.

hard to tell from the angle of the pic you posted but it looks like a 6/8 fabtech drop bracket was used and if so your angle and length should be ok.

The track bar bar should be on a parallel line with the tie rod from your steering box.

length wise, measure the driver side and passenger inside of the tire sidewalk to the frame distance. If both sides are the same your track bar length is fine.

check the track bar bushing, Park with your sidewall next to a curb, have somebody turn into the curb while you watch the track bar at the upper and lower joint. You will see if it is sloppy. You can not this by wiggling by hand as the torque spec is 425ft lbs on the bolts. Also verify the drop bracket bolts are tight, they come loose easy if you do not red lock right and torque them. Also a good time to check your pitman arm isn’t loose while doing the curb steering test.( common for DIY guys to not correctly tighten the nut)
 

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