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  1. #1
    Elite Member woodlandfarms's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
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    4,184
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    Los Angeles / SW Washington
    Tractor
    PowerTrac 1850

    Default Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    So I am looking hard at a 2006 F-150 extended cab. 4.6L 4X4 AT. It has 78K and was in a fleet deal (XL but loaded). I think I will get it for between 8.5 and 9.

    But now the wife has her eye on it. She is asking what can we pull with this. I see 6000lb is about the limit but what do you guys think real world? What she wants is a travel trailer with a shower and toilet and a queen sized bed. We like vintage, but I think those trailers will not have a toilet that she will accept.

    I worry about older trailers being too heavy, but the new ones seem to be pricey.

    What about 5th wheel? I see a lot of shorter 5th wheels on the road now. Are they easier to tow?

    Given how we live, I think we will be looking at used. New is nice, but I am not sure we would ever use it for the prices I see.

    What about a camper on this? I assume towing weight is different than bed weight

    Any further thoughts and comments will be appreciated.

    Carl
    Power-Trac 1850, grapple, hoe, 90" mower, 72" box blade

  2. #2
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    3,100
    Location
    Lee, IL
    Tractor
    John Deere 1070

    Default Re: Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    Check out the jay feather trailers. I borrowed one once and it was pretty nice. I believe it was a 23b, IIRC it was 20' plus the tongue length. The nice thing was that the beds folded out on the front and back (similar to a pop-up camper style bed) and had a slide-out, so it kept the travel size small but still had quite a bit of room. I think it weighed around 4500 lbs- your 1/2 would be fine, they pulled it with a suburban. This one I believe was an '08. Personally, I think I prefer a heavier trailer if you can pull it. Mountains and fuel mileage will be more of an issue, but they seem much more stable, especially in the wind.

    Never pulled a 5th wheel so I can't comment, but they sure seem like they would be nice.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    699
    Location
    Germanton, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100F IH McCormick Farmall 140, Massey Ferguson 135

    Default Re: Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    That 4.6 Liter puts out 220 hp at 4700rpms. That's relatively high rpms for extended towing on hills. I pulled an 8000# camper with. 5.3 liter v8. It was ok but tended to downshift a lot on rolling hills not to mention steep gades. With a much lighter trailer you will be ok. Remember that most camper weight ratings are dry weights and without personal contents. Your towing weight is reduced by what you might carry in the bed of the truck (bikes, grill, ATV, golf cart etc.). As a tow vehicle for 25' plus campers, I think you will be disappointed with performance in the 4.6 liter. For smaller campers I think you will be okay. Does the truck have an oil cooler and transmission cooler (I.e. towing package)? If not, I would steer away from it as a tow vehicle IMHO. A heavier 1/2 ton or a 3/4 ton truck with greater hp will serve you better especially if equipped with a towing package.

  4. #4
    Gold Member HHR's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
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    363
    Location
    Northern MN
    Tractor
    1997 Daewoo Dsl 801

    Default

    I had an 04 with the 4.6 and it was very low on power. I wouldn't tow more than 5,000 locally and 3,000 in the hills.

  5. #5
    Elite Member woodlandfarms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    4,184
    Location
    Los Angeles / SW Washington
    Tractor
    PowerTrac 1850

    Default Re: Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    I think we are going to be stuck with the 4.6L and just going to have to find a trailer that works. It is just the wife and I, no other company so a smaller trailer is not a big deal.

    Wil lcheck on the towing package. I thought it had a HD hitch and connerctor, but did not check the tranny cooler. Lots of mountains where we live so....
    Power-Trac 1850, grapple, hoe, 90" mower, 72" box blade

  6. #6
    Super Star Member Diamondpilot's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    14,304
    Location
    Daleville, IN
    Tractor
    Jinma 254/284 Ford 861 Powermaster at work

    Default

    The issue with a TT versus any other trailer of similar weight is drag. I would not tow a TT with a 4.6. Manufactures limit frontal area for this reason

    Skip the 4.6 and get a 5.4. You will regret the smaller motor.

    Chris

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    50
    Location
    Maryland
    Tractor
    n/a

    Default Re: Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    Quote Originally Posted by woodlandfarms View Post
    I think we are going to be stuck with the 4.6L and just going to have to find a trailer that works. It is just the wife and I, no other company so a smaller trailer is not a big deal.

    Wil lcheck on the towing package. I thought it had a HD hitch and connerctor, but did not check the tranny cooler. Lots of mountains where we live so....
    Look up the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) of the truck. You should be able to find it online. That will determine the maximum legal and safe limits you'll face. Jot down the rear axle load capacity as well.
    As previously stated, travel trailer weights are normally quoted as "dry weight". No personal effects, food, clothing, water, propane, etc. The trailer will have a sticker giving weight and cargo capacity - they're often placed on the inside of one of the trailer's cabinet doors.

    You also mention possibly buying a 5th wheel trailer. I'll give a couple of things to think about on them but first a bit on a "bumper pull" trailer.

    If you have the truck, the easiest way to match the trailer (5th wheel or bumper pull) to the truck is to load the truck as you will normally load it when towing - full tank of gas, you, spouse, stuff you think you'll take along, and go weigh it at a truck scale. Try to get individual axle weights as well as total weight. Oh, look up what a good sway control/weight distributing hitch and stinger weigh and add that to your calculations. That can easily add 100+ lbs. Subtract that weight from the GCVWR. The remainder is the max trailer weight you can (legally) tow. Figure you'll add anywhere from 250 to 750 lbs of stuff to the trailer before you set out. Allow for that as well when trailer shopping. You can legally tow anything that keeps you within the GCVWR but I suggest you try to leave a 10% margin. You'll inevitably wind up adding more than you planned and will eventually use up the margin. With a bumper pull, you want somewhere between 10% and 15% of the loaded trailer's weight on the ball. If you buy a bumper pull, I strongly spending the $$ and buy a trailer hitch scale. Load the trailer as you plan to use it and go back to the scales. If they'll let you, unhitch the trailer on the scale and weigh just it by itself. Now with the hitch scale you can move cargo around inside the trailer to achieve the 10%-15% tongue weight.

    I suggest you rethink a 5th wheel because you have to carry ~25% of its weight on the pin. That may very likely overload the rear axle of your truck. If you are serious about the 5th wheel, research the weight of the 5th wheel hitch as well. They are significantly heavier than a bumper pull hitch and the weight counts against GCVWR as well as taking up bed space.
    I've mentioned a couple of times what you can "legally" put on the road. Lots of people tow overweight but if you ever have an accident, the insurance company will weigh your rig. If you're over, they can deny a claim and you could wind up losing a lot of money - not to mention finding yourself in court if the accident is your fault.
    I hope I haven't discouraged you. We've been camping for a long time. Started out with a 20' bumper pull and now have a 34' bumper pull. We haven't found a 5th wheel that offers what we want and stays within the GCVWR of my tow vehicle - a GMC Sierra K2500HD Crew Cab.
    Good luck in your search and happy trails.
    Charlie

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    8,004
    Location
    Shingle Springs California
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    My 5th wheel lists dry and max weight. I had to look a bit before we bought it. Some manufacturers had the sheet in a kitchen cabinet, mine was in closet.

    Mine lists dry weight, max weight. It also lists weight of full water tank.

    To the OP, if you are set on that truck, look for something within it's limits. Just realize, in this day of huge trailers, you may have to go with a 14'-18', not a 30' with triple slides...

    The other consideration, at least if you tow in Ca and Or, you're not doing 70mph. Ca towing limit is 55mph...

    And you still will probably be in the slow lane the whole way over the Grapevine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Summey View Post
    Remember that most camper weight ratings are dry weights and without personal contents.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    699
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    Germanton, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100F IH McCormick Farmall 140, Massey Ferguson 135

    Default Re: Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    I don't disagree that on a spec sheet somewhere you can find max weight and cargo weight as well as weight with tankage. But on a typical sales flyer and on the plate located somewhere on the front left corner it is typically dry weight. It sells larger trailers. I have owned several travel trailers from a pop up to a 30'. I've seen the spec sheet posted in the kitchen cabinet or closet.

    The OP needs to be aware of the difference between dry weight and loaded weight when considering his vehicle and rv purchases. It is a serious safety consideration and will impact the longevity of the tow vehcile.

    The OP's question was "what do we think real world?" I think the 6000# towing capacity and the lack of power in the 4.6 liter certainly puts significant limitations on the weight/size trailer he ill be able to pull.

  10. #10
    Super Member jerrybob's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
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    Southwest Washington
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    yanmar 186D....JD LT180....DR Brush Cutter

    Default Re: Bunch O Questions about towing with a "new" truck

    That's a small engine for even a small travel trailer. Have you checked out tent trailers or the Aliner line? You can get some options...including a toilet. The 4.6 would pull these fine. Good luck.
    I Intend to Live Forever.....So Far....So Good!

    My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
    Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

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