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Old 05-17-2008, 03:45 PM   #1
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SUN #256
Ford F-150 owners

Ford owners,

I come to you for your opinions. Being a diehard GM owner my whole life, I am looking into the Ford 5.4 motor with the 3:55 RA combo. The 6,000 # of my T-2499 is maxing out my current tow rig. If I stay with GM, I have to go with the 5.3 motor with 3:73 RA.

The main use of my pickup is for daily commute. I love the 18 mpg commuting but it is dying while trying to pull the Sunline. What are your experiences with the Ford drivetrain pulling and mpg ? I do plan on keeping the 2499 a long time. It is perfect for the two of us. Will the 8700# towing capacity of the F-150 as I stated above be enough to tow safe and secure or do I need to go with a lower RA ratio and sacrafice my daily milage. I do not plan to do any cross country trips and tackle mountains with this set up, but I really would like to at least make it to a PA meet and greet sometime. My little 4.8 motor with the 3:42 RA just can't do the hills or stay a steady 55-60 mph without down shifting continuously. Staying within a 200 mile range and towing on a two lane at 50 mph is about the limit of my rig.

On paper, the Ford setup sounds ideal for what I need. But in real life, what is on paper and what really happens, usually is two different things. I do not want to start a hissing and spitting war between which brand is better. I just need alot of info before I make a decision. That is how we chose a Sunline. The facts showed that it was the best buy for our needs.

Thanks in advance


2012 Rockwood Windjammer 3008W
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:10 PM   #2
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I bought the same F150 you're talking about in November so I am looking forward to my first towing. I did bring it for inspection and was able to get to speed on the highway ramp which was novel. My Nissan 6cyl was maxed out with my T-1950. I expect to get better than the 8-9mpg towing with the Nissan which spend a lot of time at 4000rpm. 12 maybe? We'll see.

Paul & Sheri - Upstate New York - SUN-0258
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2012 F150 F/X 4, 6cyl EcoBoost, Max Tow pkg
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:42 PM   #3
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Ford F-150

We have had two F-150's. The first was an 05, Supercab 4x4, 5.4, 3:55 and worked great. Our second F-150 is an 07 with the same engine, axle setup. Although the 05 seemed to have more power we like the 07 just as well. I'm in the same situation as you where I use the truck daily, it gets decent mileage (15-16) but is able to tow with enough power. We have an 04, 2553 Sunline and on a recent trip to Myrtle Beach we averaged over 10 MPG. The F-150 tows easily out of overdrive and handled the hills in PA. well. But the fuel mileage was a little better in overdrive at about 62 MPH. I'd buy another!

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Old 05-18-2008, 08:47 PM   #4
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Bobo If I was you I would get the f-150 with 3:73 gear ratio,you will see very little difference in milage if any but the 3:73 will be a bit better when you are towing.If you where towing more often then it sounds you will be
I would then recommend 4:10 ratio,3:55 ratio will get the job done but the 3:73 will do it better.
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:44 AM   #5
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Towing a 2499 with a 1/2 ton

I drove a 77 F150 for 14 years so wouldn't say I'm biased even though my last two have been GM. What I'm biased against is the 1/2 ton. I towed my 2499 home from the dealer and one local camping trip with a stop at a scale with my 01 Silverado 4.8L with 3.42. Here are the numbers: FA 2880 lb, RA 3600 lb,, trailer tandems 4500 lb. for a GCW of 10980 lb. I don't have this truck anymore, but I believe the RA was 200 lb. over, the GVW 100 lb. over and the GCW 20 lb. under on a lightly loaded 2 night local trip. Moving to a bigger engine/higher numerical axle increases the trailer tow rating, ie. the GCWR, but it doesn't increase the 1/2 ton's weak link--the rear axle and the payload.

My 2499 has a TW of 840 lb. and I can easily get it to 900 lb. GM's owner's manual says to multiply TW by 1.5 to see the true effect on the RA and payload of levering all that weight off the long end of a weight distributing hitch. A tongue weight of 900 lb. will max out most GM 1/2 tons all by itself, even the ones with a 10000 lb. tow rating.

My current TV is a GMC 1500HD with 6.0 L and 3.73. I don't want to bore you with another set of numbers, but I am now at least 1500 lb. under on all numbers. My old 1500 was a daily driver, the HD is not. In no way is the HD as light and agile around town as the 1500. The 1500 regularly got 20 mpg calculated on US gallons, not Canadian ones. I feel good if the HD gets 15 solo, but mostly it's towing. I got 10-12 mpg on various tanks towing down I69/65 to FL.

I don't mean to be critical of towing a 2499 with a 1/2 ton. Everybody loads their truck and trailer differently and I have the heavier fiberglass one to begin with. Just read the label on the driver's door and take your current combination to a scale so you know what you're working with before you spend a pile of money.

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Old 05-19-2008, 10:44 AM   #6
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I think its also important to note that a 4.8 with a 3.42 is a really weak 1/2 ton.

The jump to a 5.3 with 3.73--not to mention the Z71 suspension would have given you quite a different experience.

It pays to test tow if possible.
Pittsburgh, PA

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Old 05-19-2008, 11:45 AM   #7
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We had the Ford 5.4L Triton with 3.55 gears in our E-150 (1/2 ton conversion van). We towed a Sunline T-2670 at the time that weighed ~6,000 lbs loaded. It towed great, no problems.

I was very happy with Ford’s 5.4L Triton engine, had real good power.
However, as rich2500 mentioned, I would recommend going with 3.73 gears in stead of the 3.55s.

The Ford ˝ ton with the 5.4L and 3.55/3.73 gears will tow just fine, but as henryj mentioned, you need to pay close attention to the trucks GVWR and RAWR.
Those two will be the weakest link in the weight calculations.
The tongue weight of the T-2499 can push over 1,000 lbs with its light back end and front pass through storage area. Because of the T-2499’s heavy tongue weight you can easily exceed the truck’s GVWR and RAWR as henryj mentioned.

Hope this helps.
Mary & Tom (aka Hutch)
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2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD 4x4 CC D/A
Sunlines: 2005 Solaris T-280SR; 1999 Solaris T-2670; 1998 Saturn T-24A
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:39 PM   #8
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I would agree that the 5.4 and 3.55/3.73 would be very capable of the job at hand. Naturally, the 3.73 ratio would pull better and the tow weight rating is higher on this engine/ axle combo.

As to the tongue weight/ MGCW, I did research these issues very carefully before buying the F150. This truck has the strongest frame of any 1/2 ton and the rear axle is easily the strongest, as well. I'm not talking about the HD version, either. I did get the LT truck tires option and I would strongly recommend them since they are VERY much better for loads and stability than the SUV tires that are supplied. Whether you go with 2wd or 4wd definitely get the LT tires!

2007 Ford F150 FX4 Supercab 4x4, 5.4 FFV engine, 3.73LS.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:38 AM   #9
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We just completed our first trip towing our T-1950 with the F150 (3.55 gears). With no highway traveling we went into the Adirondacks for the long weekend and saw 11 mpg. In contrast, without towing we've seen 18 tops traveling on the highway on cruise control. It performed beautifully on the hills and had all the power I needed. I installed a Prodigy controller which works very well also. The T-1950 weighs 3800# empty so we're probably towing around 4400 or 4500#. I bring a full tank of water from home.
Paul & Sheri - Upstate New York - SUN-0258
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2012 F150 F/X 4, 6cyl EcoBoost, Max Tow pkg
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:17 PM   #10
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I have towed the T2499 for over 15,000 miles and measured it about 6 ways from next Tuesday.

I pulled my T2499 with a K2500 Suburban with the 6.0 and the 4.10 rear end. This combo on the T2499 worked well however I never took it west to high elevations. But even then you have to watch tongue weights pending on what you are loading in that T2499 and in the back of the truck.

Hutch pointed it out, the back of this great rear living area floor plan is carpet and all the weight loads forward. My T2499 weighed in on a tongue weight of 1,200# loaded no water. Water will add another 200# and even that I could not do with the K2500 until I rebalanced the TT.

BUT, About 3 weeks ago I was camping with a fellow forum member and his T2499 on a F150. I had my Sherline tongue scale with me and we weighed his tongue. His was only 1,000# and he had some water in the fresh tank. So every ones “stuff” adds up different.

The F150 I do believe has a 990# rated WD receiver. This can be fixed if need providing you do not run out of rear axle capacity or GVWR. It is all tongue weight driven and what payload is in the back of the truck bed.

As you can now see, I have moved back to the Ford side of towing but at a higher capacity truck and a lot bigger camper. The Ford 5.4 engine from all I have heard is good, but watch the rear axle loads and get at least the 3.73 rear end. The frontal area of a TT eats tow ratings up. That wind drag is real which is why the book values do not always line up well. I pulled my T2499 with a 1500 Tahoe, the 5.2 with the 3.73. Pulling was not the problem, rear axle capacity and GVWR was.

AND I fully support the LT tires if you can get that option. It will help with sway that the P tires cannot over come.

Good luck

Hope this helps

Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.8L V10 W/ 4.10 rear axle, CC, Short Bed, SRW. Reese HP trunnion bar hitch W/ HP DC

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Old 05-31-2008, 06:33 PM   #11
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As a recent convert from a 1/2 ton (Chevy) to a 3/4 ton (also Chevy) I would suggest you consider going with a 3/4 ton of whatever manufacture.

Most of the 3/4 tons will come with heavy duty engine cooling, tranny coolers, and maybe even engine oil coolers.

The bigger rear ends will take more of the heat and abuse of towing too.

our 2380 is a lot lighter than yours, and I would not go back to a 1/2 ton to pull it.

I thought that it was a lot of coach for the 4.8 liter as well- you'll do much better with a bigger motor and more CCC.

Kelly & Greg Southeast MA
'04 2500HD Silverado
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