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Old 06-12-2008, 09:42 PM   #1
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DF5.4 is an unknown quantity at this point
Getting a new TV

We have a 1999 Ford F150 as the current TV. It's got the 4.6 and no tow package. I have upgraded a lot of things on it over the years. It's gone everywhere we have wanted. Last year we went to Maine with it. There were a couple of times pulling the Sunline in 90+ degrees up a grade when it got warm enough to shut off the A/C. I've always known that the 2970 was at the upper limit of the truck (if not a little over it). Last weekend we went to Hickory Hill in Bath NY. (see this months calandar picture). It was in the mid 90s Friday. There is a hill going south on RT 390 out of Dansville NY that gains about 1100 ft in 10 miles. About half way up I had to stop because the truck got too hot again. We waited about 15 minutes on the shoulder and it cooled enough to go the rest of the way. I turned the heat on in the truck to finish the climb. (not a fun way to ride in 90 degree weather). It was cooler coming home and made the trip uneventfully.

Renee and I started talking about upgrading the truck. Today we bought a black 2007 Expedition XLT. It has the HD tow package and the rear load leveling suspention. The GCWR of the F150 was 11500lbs. This one is 15000lbs. The kids will have plenty of room (they're not getting any smaller) and now the dog can ride with us in the A/C. I got a the carfax report on it and it was a company car in Dearborn MI. The reciever looks like the only thing put in it was a cover. We pick it up Saturday morning.

Now my questions. I might have to adjust the hitch height. What is the best way to do it? How do I change my screen name since I will no longer have a 4.6 truck?
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:34 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new Tow Vehicle. I think you need to contact Sarah to change your screen name.

That new truck should pull that Sunline like a champ.

Dont fret though, coming out of Death Valley a few weeks ago, the temps were 117 degrees and we also had a 3000 foot climb in some 20 miles

We pulled over a few times just to let the turbo cool down because it was screaming so loud I thought I was going to throw a bearing! I wasnt worried about the motor overheating, I was more worried about the trans blowing!
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:40 AM   #3
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Cooling

On my motor home I used the winshield washer tank and pump to spray the radiator instead of wash the windows. I added a seperate switch to turn the washer pump on. When the radiator gets hot I just spray the radiator and transmission cooler.

On the road in Labrador,

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Old 06-13-2008, 04:15 PM   #4
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Hitch Height

My GM owner's manual has more information on towing than I have seen anywhere else. I suggest you read your Ford manual looking for detailed info on how that load leveling suspension relates to towing. I have never had that kind of suspension, but knowing the dynamics of WD hitches and anti sway would think that you still need to do the same setup as before. A load leveling suspension will likely raise your TV all by itself, but it won't shift weight. The load leveling feature won't activate until you start the engine, so I'd guess you should set the hitch up as always--but read the book!

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Old 06-13-2008, 04:23 PM   #5
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I've been a car/truck nut since I could read. My dad got me a subscription to Hot Rod when I was 5. Some of my favorite reading is new car owners manuals. I'll be going through mine this weekend.

My sway control is the Reese dual cam HP. I'm planning on keeping the WD and sway control the same as before.

My biggest question on the hitch setup is how to figure how high to set it.
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:17 PM   #6
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Hitch Height

I'm not going camping this weekend so I'll take another shot in case the Reese experts are all gone and you want to play with your new toy this weekend

I installed my own Equal-i-zer so had all the instructions in the box. I did a brief search online, but Reese does not have a very helpful website. If you don't have the instructions, here's what I would do:

Level the trailer. Put the drawbar as set up for your F150 into the receiver and back it up to the trailer. With proper WD your Expedition might drop 1-2" with the trailer attached?? Disassemble the hitch head if necessary and bolt it up into what looks like the best fit of holes. If you don't have instructions, take special note of all pieces, washers, spacers etc. and get them back in the original locations. The nuts will need to be torqued to the proper setting so you might want to wait for JohnB to find those for you. My Equal-i-zer is 200 ft. lb. and I would think Reese won't be any less and could be more. In the unlikely event the hitch head can't be matched up with the coupler, you'll need to get a new shank with a longer drop/rise, but I think the F150 and Expedition should be pretty close to the same height.

When you're satisfied with the height of the ball/coupler, take the weight off the ball and measure the distance from the front and rear fender lips to the ground. Equal-i-zer says the front and rear suspension should compress within 1" of each other when the WD bars are attached. Start with the chain link your F150 was at, put all the weight on the ball and re-measure the fender lip to ground. Adjust the chain link if necessary. You should check this again before setting out on a fully loaded trip, or better yet, load the Expedition up.

That should give you something to do this weekend. Hopefully some Reese experts will be by to fill in the holes.

Henry
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DF4.6

My sway control is the Reese dual cam HP. I'm planning on keeping the WD and sway control the same as before.

My biggest question on the hitch setup is how to figure how high to set it.
Hi DF4.6

See if this helps. First I do agree with Henry you will need to redo the Hitch setup. Each vehicle will react differently to the adjustments.

Now to your question about height. And I see you are using the Reese HP DC.

This is how I set the shank height to "start" with. I say start as you may need to adjust 1 hole after the WD is properly adjusted on the TV.

First you need to air up the TT tires and the TV tires to proper towing pressures.

Then you need to find the natural TT level point. TT's tow best when level. The axle loads are more equal on the duals and it helps prevent sway.

This is how I determine level. With the TT Unhitched and on a hard surface straight spot, physically level up the TT by the tongue jack using a normal home carpenters level. Be as picky as you can. And check level in a few places. Most TT’s have sort of a bow wave to them. Over the axles is rigid and there is sag from axles to ball and axles to bumper. Check level in a few places and take the happy medium. I do siding, bottom of frame and in some case go inside and put the level on the floor in a few places as some TT frames are wedged shaped. You can also measure the frame to the ground along 3 to 4 places along the bottom of the camper. Again you will see the frame has sag to it so it can be a combo of bubble level and tape measure. This process only really takes 5 minutes or less. See this pic’s

Find happy medium for level


Use frame


Use siding


Use frame


Once you level the TT, then take a tongue to ground measurement in and easy to repeat place. I use the frame just behind the ball coupler. Now you know all the time where level in on the tongue. Write the number down as now you can tell if you are nose high or low and by how much.


Now for the shanks. Changing TV’s sometimes means readjusting your hitch for proper WD and that the TT is level. Pending the TV and the existing shank you have it may be able to just readjust it or you have to buy a new one. There are many types and sizes. A WD shank is listed for a certain drop or rise. And you need to know if it is a round bar head or a trunnion head as the same shank can raise or lower the head to different heights since the head is made different. That is if you are looking at a catalog rise or drop rating.

Since you have an existing shank, let’s see if you can use it. What I am going to show you first is how to do this “without” air shocks. Level the TT, put the hitch head in the TV receiver and back up slow to the TT. Stop just before the ball coupler. Now here is a target dimension that I would estimate to work on your size TV and camper. You want to target for the ball to be 1” to 1 ¼” higher then the top of the TT ball coupler. When the WD is set right the rear of the truck will squat that 1” to 1 ¼” and the TT will be level.


However in your case, you have what sounds like air shocks on board to auto level the back of the truck. This active suspension sets up a little bit different due to the auto air shocks. What I am about to tell you is how it is done on GM SUV’s and I would expect Ford to follow the same guide lines but check your manual. I have a host of GM manuals but I’m collecting the Fords.

Target the shank height unhitched from TT to be only about 1 /4 to 1 /2” lower then the ball with the truck running. The truck will pump up to this level after WD is adjusted.

Now to set the WD, turn the truck OFF, wait the time period to let the back sag down. Again on GM’s it is like 10 minutes. Yours may be quicker or longer to sag. Adjust the WD on the truck like normal with the air suspension off/truck off. Once the WD is set, start the truck and the back will pump up about 1” and the TT will again be close to level or slightly low.

What I have found is if you are setting the WD with active air suspension, you cannot tell if your are transferring the weight wiht teh truck running as the truck keeps moving on you. I have not personally done an Expedition with active suspension but I believe this to be the case as the GM’s work this way OR after market air bags/schocks. Again read your manual and if it says something totally different come back to us as some times it is hard to figure out what they mean by adjust the hitch with the truck running. Most times they mean shank height adjustments with teh truck running and not necessary the WD with the truck running.

As far as shanks go, yours may work in the drop down position or need to flip up to get the right height. Or you have to buy a new one. If you cannot find the exact right hole pick the one closest to level or slightly nose down. Do not go nose up as some TT's sway more when nose up.

Once you get done having proper WD on the TV, and the truck turned on and auto leveled, if the TT tongue height you figured out before comes out with TT level or slight nose down, then you are good to go. If the TT tongue is too low or nose high, then you will have to drop a hole or raise a hole on the shank. You cannot tell 100% the shank height until after the WD is set with a fully loaded TT and TV. What I described here will get you real close and sometime hits dead on the first time.

Here are some various different rise and drop shanks and some in action. On my campers/TV's I allwsy seemd to be in a drop shank arrangement. But it is purely TT and TV dependent.



This Reese pn 54917 is a 6” drop shank with very fine adjusting holes. I like this fine adjusting feature.




Using the full 6” drop on a K2500 Suburban and a T2499




Hope this helps and let us know if you need more

John
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Old 06-22-2008, 02:23 PM   #8
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Thanks John. I started measuring everything yesterday and saw I needed the drop bar. I picked up the same bar you show at Camping World after church today. I just got done mounting the head to it and now when Renee gets home I'll hook it up to the TT. The owner's manual has some instructions for setting up the WD.
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:23 PM   #9
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Renee got home earlier than expected so I hooked everything up and going for a ride. All I can say is WOW. What a difference between this truck and the old one.

The only question I have is when I was parked on level ground the TT was nose high by about half a bubble. Is this OK?
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DF4.6
Renee got home earlier than expected so I hooked everything up and going for a ride. All I can say is WOW. What a difference between this truck and the old one.

The only question I have is when I was parked on level ground the TT was nose high by about half a bubble. Is this OK?
How high is a 1/2 a bubble? In inches I mean.

Level is best.
Next is slight nose down.

Nose up can give issues on some setups by the wind doing different things over the top TT and aggravating sway some times given the right conditions.

How many inches or fractions of an inch above level are you?

If the WD on the truck is right where it is suppose to be, then your choices are only the increments in the hitch shank holes. And when you change holes, you may have to tweak WD once last time. Also before you declare you are too high, level or low, set up the WD as correct, set the shank height as correct then drive around a few turns and recheck. The TV suspension will change/settle and then give you a truer towing stance. Just dialing it in the yard sometimes will change once you towing about 500 feet with 4 turns.

Or being ¼” high may turn to level or turn to ¾” high. Or being level may turn to ½” low. The TV has springs and springs never settle exactly in the same spot but do settle within a range if the weights do not change a whole lot.

Glad your new truck and shank are working better.

John
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Old 06-24-2008, 06:29 AM   #11
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It's about a 1/2" high. That's after driving about a 1/2 mile. I pulled into a level parking lot and checked everything. If I lower it one hole that will lower the ball 1". Should I also concider that all these measurments are with the TV and TT unloaded and one of the 30# is empty?
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:26 AM   #12
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John,
GREAT pictures and tutorial. I didn't know the frame has a sag. That could explain why Tweety's front end always measures an inch lower. We need to take her to a level parking lot and do this proceedure.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DF4.6
It's about a 1/2" high. That's after driving about a 1/2 mile. I pulled into a level parking lot and checked everything. If I lower it one hole that will lower the ball 1". Should I also concider that all these measurments are with the TV and TT unloaded and one of the 30# is empty?
OK now we have some numbers.

You said the TV was not loaded and 1 LP tank is empty. That will change things.

First depending on how much weight you add the TV rear axle will drop some and the TV front will rise some. Basically WD will be affected, how much depends on how much weight you add and where in the TV and the size of the WD bars. And yes the TT will most likely drop some of the 1/2" high, but at the cost of shifting the WD on the TV.

Ideally you set the WD with the truck and camper loaded to go camping. Then set the WD on the TV correctly, then raise/lower the shank to level out the TT and then recheck the WD again as changing shank height has a slight interaction with WD.

Being a 1/2 “ high will not kill you, but optimized it can be helped some. Again with 1/2“ lower being better then ½” high. You really will not know this until you load up the camper/and TV.

You are now armed with how to do this and you are realizing what affects what we commend you for doing it.

Great job and good luck. Let us know if you need more help on this and let us know how it goes.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetse
John,
GREAT pictures and tutorial. I didn't know the frame has a sag. That could explain why Tweety's front end always measures an inch lower. We need to take her to a level parking lot and do this proceedure.
Pam
Pam

Thanks for the kinds words.

On frame sag, yes they do from what I have found. And some are different then others.

If you really want to see it jump out at you, pull a straight line ( a string pulled tight) down along the bottom of the frame and you can see it.

From what I have seen,

The wheel axle area is rigid and supported straight.
Behind the rear axle can sag down.
Forward of the rear axle to the ball can at times sag to the Tow ball.
The front A frame welded onto the TT can run up hill in relation to the frame.

The longer the TT, “generally” the more sage there is. Also frame widths and TT loading affect this. An empty TT sags less then one close to max weight ratings.

Best is to try and find the most level spot on concrete or black top. Then use the carpenters level and the tape measure and find the happy medium.

John
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:07 AM   #15
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I finally set up a Photobucket account. Here's the new truck.

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Old 06-25-2008, 01:47 PM   #16
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Nose high or low?

Nice looking truck!

I am still curious as to how the load leveling suspension is working and hope you will continue this thread as you gain some more towing experience with your new TV, which I believe also has an IRS. The "old" school of thought is that a rigid suspension with leaf springs is better for towing, but I would like to hear some of your first hand experience going from an F150 to this new to you technology.

If the load leveling suspension is working the way I think it does, it will pump up to the "dialed in factory setting" regardless of load on the tongue or in the TV. In fact, with today's finely tuned computers, it should pump up to the same setting all the time, but in practice the factory may leave some tolerance and while the controls may be electronic the end result is mechanical. So, how reproducible is the ride height from day to day, with family and dog, with trailer or without? If the height is highly reproducible, it would be worth playing with the extra 1/2" to try and get the best setup in what will likely be a long term combination for you.

If the TV pumps up to the same height all the time, your trailer will always be 1/2" nose high unless you lower the hitch. So you may have to decide between being 1/2" high or 1/2" low... or hunt up another shank with different hole spacings. Being nose high reduces the clearance at the bumper, loads the axles unequally and promotes sway. Being nose low loads the axles unequally... and... doesn't "look right."

Please indulge me while I ascend my soapbox Test yourself the next time you see a nose high and a nose low trailer. I believe we're wired like all other animals. Nose high is a dominant, confident, arrogant position--big tough truck with a strong hitch. Nose low is a submissive, weak position--wimpy overloaded truck, clueless operator with the wrong hitch or setup. So we are naturally more tolerant of a nose high trailer than we are of a nose low one. But the nose low is actually better if you can't achieve level!

Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. John's comments about trailer sag point out the difficulty in finding a "true level" spot. I've also found by painful experience that not all levels are level. Believe me, you don't want to buy cheap here. And regardless of where you put a tape, no piece of asphalt or concrete is without its little dips. I believe that if a combination "looks level", it is probably good enough unless you really don't have a good eye for this kind of thing. Now, I certainly wouldn't recommend laying a house foundation this way. Step back from your combination so you can take in the full length without shifting your eyes. Does it look ok? Can you walk the full length of the coach without noticing a change in height? Do the doors stay put? How level are you right at the refrigerator?

All of this takes time and may sound rather tedious so it depends on your nature and how important 1/2" is to you. My wife couldn't care less, but I'd rather play with this kind of stuff than mow the lawn any day of the week. Check the time of this post; I'd rather post on Sunlineclub.com than mow the lawn too

Henry
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:42 PM   #17
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I am going to try lowering the ball one hole and see what happens. I am also guessing that the load leveling suspension (LLS) will compensate for the different loads. I am going to pick a spot on the TV and carry a tape measure with me the next few times I travel. I'll check that measurement whenever we stop.

My concern now is if the Reese dual cam sway control. If the LLS is carrying the weight that will take some weight off the spring bars for the WD. If there is too little weight on those they will slip off the cams and the trailer will sway too easily.

I also noticed when I was backing into the driveway after taking it for a test drive Sunday that I need to turn off the LLS. When the back of the TT started up the driveway and the nose of it dropped I heard the compressor start. That caused the back of the TT to drop a little reducing my already precious clearance under the rear bumper and dump valves. I'll let you know how it works. Maybe this weekend I'll take it for a ride again and I'll take my camera and get some pictures.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:50 PM   #18
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Yeah, that was my concern in my original post: how do you follow conventional wisdom in setting up WD when the LLS is doing its own thing?

On thinking about this some more I'm wondering if you'll need several passes over a scale. Only use one with 3 platforms to get all axle positions in one pass. Take the fully loaded rig to a typical truckstop with plenty of parking. Drive the TV over solo first and also double check the lengths that the trailer axles will get onto the 3rd platform. I had plenty of room with my crew cab and 2499.

This will give you the base axle weights for the fully loaded TV. Then hitch up with your best guesstimate of appropriate WD and drive over again. Going by my experience, the front axle should not get lighter and maybe be 50-100 lb. heavier. The rear axle, of course, will be much heavier. If you don't like those weights, adjust the chain links and try again. On my truck the combination looked pretty good with the front axle staying the same weight hitched and unhitched. I added a little more WD because the rear had a bit more squat than the front, but have not weighed it since, but am guessing it didn't get much heavier.

Others have mentioned that you can re-weigh a rig at no or minimal additional cost so be sure and ask about that. Truckers can make adjustments to axle weights as well so they really should allow a re-weigh.

Hope this gives you, or others, some (better) ideas.

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Old 06-25-2008, 08:36 PM   #19
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There is a procedure in the owner's manual for setting up a WD hitch. It involves turning off the LLS and taking measurments. I want to get the ball to the right height then I'll try that.
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:41 PM   #20
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Here everything hooked up for the test ride today. I ended up going about 50 miles.

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